Monday, March 31, 2008

Should Police Be Allowed to Carry Guns?

I am more than a little reluctant to write about this because I live in San Diego and the day may come when I shall need a San Diego police officer to refrain from shooting me down on the street. San Diego, and the surrounding communities, have a well earned reputation for having trigger-happy police.

It was in San Diego a couple of years ago that an off-duty police officer from the small town of Coronado spotted a black man driving a fancy car with a white woman in the passenger seat going over the speed limit. The 23 year-old cop tried to force the black man off the road claiming to be a police officer but never bothering to show a badge. The cop followed the man home and shot him several times. It would have been just another example of a white cop shooting an unarmed black man, an occurrence so common in San Diego as to be unnoteworthy, had the victim not been a professional football player.

The result of this one-sided gunfight is that the football player, Steve Foley, never played another game. The woman, Lisa Maree Gaut, was found guilty of trying to protect Foley by the driving car between the gunman-cop and Foley. The gunman, Officer Aaron Mansker, received an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Latest Cop Shooting News
On March 15 about 9:15 pm, a young woman was driving with her eight year-old son when she encountered a second car. According to reports one car "cut off" the other, a case of "road rage" ensued, and the driver of the second car fired five shots at the first car, wounding both the woman and her child. The shooter was an off-duty cop. Little has been officially revealed beyond this bare account. Who cut off whom? Don't know. Who got infected with road rage? No official word but, judging from the recipients of the bullet wounds I think I can guess. It is true that the woman was driving on a suspended license, although I don't believe California law calls for summary execution for that offense.

Police demanded blood tests of the victim for drugs and alcohol. There were no tests done on the off-duty cop. [Oceanside Police Capt. Tom] "Aguigui said police had probable cause to order Silva's blood drawn, but none to make a similar decision involving [off-duty officer/shooter] Frank White" (source). Apparently shooting an unarmed eight year-old child is not probable cause to suspect impaired judgment.

Blame the DA
San Diego's current District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis, believe that police work is a stressful and demanding job and she refuses to burden them with investigations when they engage in a little excessive gunplay. Even a cop has got to have a fun, right? In this she follows in a long line of San Diego DA's. For over two decades San Diego police officers have gotten away with shooting unarmed suspects. Screwdrivers and toy guns have been excuses. A naked man scratching his Johnson was once considered justification. The criteria used is the officer's "subjective judgment" at the time of the shooting that he felt endangered. All the cop has to say is "I was ascared" and he'll get off with a pat on his behind and maybe even a medal.

Other sources: California Criminal Law Blog, ACLU, CityBeat, OB Rag

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The General Election Campaign in One Sentence

An Obama presidency will be the cleanest break between two administrations since Roosevelt took over for Hoover. ~ Booman

One could write a thousand words and not says it so succinctly or so well. The United States is mired in the fifth year of a feckless, fruitless war. The nation's powerful economy has been shredded by a kleptocratic government. The phrase "sound as a dollar" has been rendered into a pathetic joke. Never in the 232 year history of this nation has the United States been held is such low regard by the rest of the world. Not since 1932 has this nation been in more need of of a sharp change. Half changes, changes of style but not substance, will be of no use. What this nation needs is a sharp, clean break from the past.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Who Ya Gotta Know to Get $250 Million Around Here?

Established in 1999, AEY Inc. has made a name for itself in the scrap metal industry ~
How did a small-time scrap metal dealer in Miami get a quarter-billion dollar contract from the Pentagon to deliver munitions to the Afghan army? How is it that a 19 year-old business owner (in 2005) got the security clearances to be a Pentagon contractor in the first place?
Albanian businessman Kosta Trebicka: I don’t want to make a deal with him, you know that he is a crook, you told me before that he’s a mafia guy, didn’t you?
Efrim Diveroli (owner of AEY, Inc): I think he is, either he’s the mafia or the mafia is controlling him. Either way he’s a problem. The problem is, I don’t have a choice. I have to deal with him. The U.S. government is expecting the products.
~ alleged phone conversation transcript, June 11, 2007
What sort of shady deals in Albania was Diveroli involved in? What was the condition of the munitions AEY shipped to Afghanistan? Much of it was 40 year-old junk according to an Afghan military officer. Then there are the legal scraps he has been involved in.

So many questions. Fortunately, Congressman Henry Waxman has asked Diveroli (now 22) and his 25 year-old vice-president (whose qualifications for a government contract includes being a licensed masseur) to a hearing on April 17.

My guess is that Efrim will plead the Fifth. Although, as Rule .303 points out, he may well be getting out of this lucky just being alive. Twenty-somethings who deal with the international arms market underworld frequently wind up with a bullet hole in their skull.

Sources: New York Times story, Raw Story take, TMP Muckraker

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Brokered Convention Will Not Choose Clinton

For the moment, let us assume that Hillary Clinton succeeds in her goal. She hangs on long enough, her ad hominem attacks do sufficient damage to Obama that by June he has not yet closed the deal. Her goal is to convince the superdelegates to look beyond Obama for a candidate.

Why would the superdelegates look to Clinton? The only way Clinton can make Obama unelectable is by making herself unelectable as well. Even if she succeeds there is no way the convention will select her. She will still have fewer delegates than Obama. If Obama hasn't closed the deal then neither has Clinton. To achieve the goal of a brokered convention Clinton will have to tear the Democratic Party apart. As each day passes an increasing number of Obama supporters decide they would not vote for Hillary Clinton if she were the last Democrat on the face of the earth. Clinton supporters are suggesting that if Obama is nominated he will simply be another thieving black man victimizing a white woman. If it goes to a brokered convention the enmity between the two camps will have become an irreparable breach.

If it is a brokered convention the superdelegates will be faced with the prospect that the only two Democrats who will be unable to defeat the weak-assed campaign of John McCain will be the two competing front-runners. The superdelegates would be wise to look for a compromise candidate. Al Gore or John Edwards would be far more attractive to a brokered convention that either Clinton or Obama. A compromise candidate will be the only way the heal the wounds of this primary season.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's Spring, Damn It!

I don't want to write about politics. I'm sick and tired of all things Clinton, the thought of one more day let alone eight years of daily Clinton crap makes my half-digested breakfast want to jump out of my throat.

It's Spring here in California. The flowers are blooming.
The mockingbirds are singing. There is a beautiful warm sun shining. The rest of the world can go to Hell for a day; I'm going outside.
Photo credit

Monday, March 24, 2008

4000 Dead to What Purpose?

waste -verb 1. to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander
It is not just that all these men and women died or that thousands more have been horribly maimed. That is tragedy enough but had they died for some good or noble cause their sacrifice might, in the grand scheme of existence, have been worthwhile. They did not.
  • The United States is less safe. Iraq had never been a danger to the United States or its citizens. The Iraq War is a five year conflict against a people who were never a danger to the US. Insofar as the War has gifted Iran with a new ally in the form of Shi'ite Iraq we have only succeeded in strengthening an enemy.
  • al Qaeda has flourished because of the war. The only al Qaeda-linked force in Iraq at the start of the was was Ansar al-Islam. They were safely ensconced in Kurdistan, outside of Saddam's reach. They were actually protected from attack by the United States controlled "No Fly Zone." Since the war, because of the war, al Qaeda had blossomed in Iraq.
  • Iraq was not improved. Iraqis live in greater fear now than they did under the boot of Saddam's dictatorship. Gangs of rapists and kidnappers now operate with impunity throughout the country. Iraq under Saddam and an economic embargo was prosperous compared to the country the United States has forged. Five years into the war the capital of Baghdad has no electricity most of the time and won't for at least another five years.
After five years war backers are still parroting phrases like "complete the mission" that are kept undefined. We cannot achieve "victory" if the war lasts 100 years because no one, still, can explain what victory in Iraq will look like.

And still they die. Still they are maimed. Our soldiers who want to fight for their country have been made to die for a mirage. It is all just a big waste.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Eggs and Bunnies

What do colored eggs and little rabbits have to do with the death and supposed resurrection of Joshua of Nazareth? Not a blessed thing. Easter is an old, pagan, holy day upon which the early Christians overlaid their Jesus story.

Easter, the name
All of the Germanic languages, including English, use some variation of the word Easter to label the Jesus resurrection holiday. Easter derives from Eostre, the Saxon goddess of fertility. It is curious that her name is strikingly similar to Ishtar and Astarte, the Babylonian and Phoenician fertility goddesses. The Romance languages all use some variation of Pascha, from the Greek word for the Hebrew Passover.

Eggs and Bunnies
Coloring eggs was a part of the Persian fertility celebrations that migrated to the eastern Mediterranean. Randy rabbits copulating have been symbols of Spring throughout Europe since civilization began. The two merged into an egg-laying bunny who became the avatar of the resurrected Christ.

It really is not surprising that the fun, fertility festival continues to dominate the depressing, man nailed to a tree story the early Christians preached.

Cross posted at the newly resurrected Where God Went Wrong.

Friday, March 21, 2008

An Excuse to Hate

Sarah Vowell in her book Assassination Vacation opined about those people who could place their souvenir Confederate dishware on their American flag placemats. The two together seem inherently out of place but these people were openminded and could hate both blacks and Muslims.

Some people have latched passionately onto Rev. Jeremiah Wright because they have been searching for a reason to hate Barack Obama. Not just hate his politics, not even just hate him as a human being, but hate him for his skin. Some are Democrats, most are Republicans. They all have been searching for a way to justify their innate racism. They had first wanted the Muslim charge to stick but they realized that accusation just made them look stupid. Now they are taking a few out-of-context words by someone else and blaming Barack for them. It makes sense within their twisted social view.

These are people who would have never voted for Obama. They believe pasty-face is one of the Constitutional requirements for office. (Natural born citizen, 35 years-old, sunburns easily) These are the same people who would convert from Christianity to Odinism if they ever discovered that Jesus was swarthy (Secret Fact: He was).

In logic this is a form of ad hominem fallacy. A belongs to C. B also belongs to C. Ergo both A and B are the same. It is illogical and irrational. But, since when have racists ever been either logical or rational?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy 5th Anniversary!

I feels so bad that I missed the 5th anniversary celebrations of the United States colonial war in Iraq.
As you may know, the traditional 5th wedding anniversary gift is wood (see right). The US relationship with Iraq is like a marriage - not a 21st century Western marriage-as-partnership type of marriage, more like a 12th century Arab marriage-as-slavery style. Our embrace has been a legalized rape.

Iraq is still not the subservient, obedient spouse we had expected. We have, however, developed certain accommodations. We have learned if we pay the Sunnis a nice, fat allowance they won't try to shoot us in the ass so often. We've learned to ignore when the Shi'ites shamelessly flirt with Iran; we are getting pretty good at pretending they are not having hot, sweaty, desert sex together.

Most of us got the Seven Year Itch five years ago. A lone few (St. John McCain) are looking forward to the 50th, golden, anniversary. Although, by then, we will not have any gold left.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Racism in America, a personal story

In 1961 I was nine years-old. I attended an all white elementary school in Southern California. For a Spring school pageant my class was taught to dance and sing the song "Jump Jim Crow." It was not until years later I learned the obscene meaning of that phrase.
If it's left with me, there'll never be a nigger on the police force in San Diego. ~ San Diego Police Chief Arthur Hill, 1930
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, even into my youth, San Diego businesses had signs in their windows reading "Whites Only" or "No Coloreds." There is a cross on top of Mount Soledad in La Jolla. It is now called a "war memorial" but for the first three decades after it was erected in 1913 the cross was the gathering place for San Diego's many Ku Klux Klan rallies.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Religion and Presidents

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father... ~ Matthew 6:5-6
Nothing is more meaningless that a president's religion. When George Bush prays in public, which he does at every opportunity, he closes his eyes very tight and scrunches his face like he's trying to pass a strunkulis. It's quite a show. If anything, the performance displays his lack faith, the hypocrisy Jesus spoke about. Does Bush care what his pastor says? Apparently not as his own Austin pastor, Rev. James Mayfield, publicly chastised Bush in 1998.
Because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured -- perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again, not what kind of church I believe in -- for that should be important only to me -- but what kind of America I believe in. ~ John Kennedy, 1960
Many Republicans in 1960, as today, considered the Catholic Church apostate, the Great Whore as McCain supporter John Hagee has preached. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Billy Graham urged Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee, to organize a Protestant campaign to prevent a Catholic president. Even Nixon found this idea repulsive and he steadfastly refused to use religion during the campaign.
Both [North and South] read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. ~ Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address
Some people (me) believe that Abraham Lincoln was the closest any American president got to living a life that Jesus Christ would have approved of. The Second Inaugural stands with the Sermon on the Mount as one of the greatest speeches every delivered. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right. These are inspired words that live in history and few Americans have been able to live up to.

In his time Lincoln was called a prairie infidel, someone who was rarely seen on the inside of a church. His denominational faith is unclear, if he even had one. His faith was a private matter. Even today unreconstructed Confederates who continue to believe that emancipating slaves was an outrageous Federal act of theft attack The Cult of Lincoln because Abe was an infidel.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Founding Father. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Third President of the United States. Also denounced as an infidel in his lifetime. Jefferson was a Deist but definitely not a Judeo-Christian as defined by fundamentalists today. Jefferson wrote a translation of the Gospel that expunged all references to virgin births, miracles, and resurrection. His version, the Jefferson Bible, focused on the moral philosophy of Jesus without the supernatural mumbo-jumbo. He honored the teachings of Jesus while denying the divinity of Christ.
No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. ~ Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom, 1786, Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Decline and Fall of the United States

We are watching history. The collapse of a great empire is a rare event. To be able to witness it is an honor (most certainly the wrong word) few could claim.

I had thought the nation would be able to survive the presidency of George Bush. I was wrong. Seven years we survived, eight was too much. This once powerful nation is a feeble shell of its former grandeur.

The United States can still reduce the whole of the world to radioactive rubble but we cannot liberate a single marketplace. Iraq was a nation the Ottoman Turks easily controlled and even an enfeebled British Empire mastered that land in the 20th century. Yet, a sadistic tinhorn dictator suffering under a global economic embargo was more successful than the powerful US at providing basic services. The world is right to fear our insanity, a madman president can still destroy the world with the touch of a button. But if the mighty US military has failed, in five years, to conquer a pissant collection of feuding warlords there is little in this world we could defeat.

When Alan Greenspan says that the nation's economy is the worst since World War II he means the worst since the Great Depression. The start of WWII marked the end of the Depression and the war years had a booming economy. The seeds of our current economic collapse were planted by the Clinton Administration but they have been fertilized into full fruit by George Bush.

In 1999, Bill Clinton signed into law the repealing the Glass-Steagall Act (note: this is an important link). Glass-Steagall was a Depression era law that believed a stable banking system was vital for a strong nation. By 1999, bankers like Sandy Weill at Citibank were bristling under a law that prohibited them from the kind of wild, cowboy finances that was making Enron such an exciting business. Banks had access to billions of dollars yet they were required to make dull, safe investments. How boring. Weill and his kin were orgasmic over the prospects of what they could do if the shackles were released. Now we know. The above link suggests Hillary Clinton be asked if she supports her husband's repeal of Glass-Steagall? She should.

The US is entering what has been called the Very Great Depression. The safety nets woven by FDR and the New Deal are tattered shreds. The repeal of Glass-Steagall followed by eight years of lax oversight has brought the nation's banking system to the edge of collapse. Bear Stearns is not an anomaly but only the first of what will be several bank failures. The implosion of the dollar is a symptom of the economic crisis and the continued free fall of the dollar will suck more banks and businesses into the abyss. The massive budget deficits the nation has been running means that the government has no flexibility to help. The nation, like the banks, is nearing bankruptcy. I see no willingness by the rest of the world to help us.

The Future
Economically, we are in for a rough patch. Understatement, we are in for Hell. Although government statistics will try to hide it, unemployment is skyrocketing and will grow progressively worse. I expect runaway inflation, like Germany in the 1930's, rather than the deflation that roiled the United States during the Great Depression.

If the wrong person is elected president (John McCain), he/she may try nuclear blackmail to force the world's strong economies, China and Europe, to support us. The formula is simple, give us hundreds of billions of Euros, even we won't accept dollars much longer, or the United States will start bombing your cities.

It is a Brave New World we are entering.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

There's No Accounting For Taste

Several decades ago Susan Sontag wrote an essay where she recalled sitting in a theater and realizing that all around her were people who had voted for Richard Nixon. She knew it was true yet she could not believe it was possible. I feel the same way about Hillary Clinton. There are people out there, millions of them, who love Hillary more than life itself and I simply don't understand.

For the past few weeks I have sought out bloggers who love Clinton (HRC is their preferred shorthand), trying to discern why. Why would they support the only human on the face of the earth capable of uniting Republicans to defend the White House? Why would opponents of war cleave to someone who has supported the colonial occupation of Iraq and as late as October 2007 voted support for war with Iran? What creates a fanaticism so powerful that it has led lifelong progressives (I hate this euphuism; we are liberals, damn it.) to make racial statements that would embarrass David Duke?
  1. Sisterhood. There are millions of women who clearly state they have been waiting their entire lives to vote for a woman for president. For them, anything that stands in the way of this dream is misogyny. Oddly, or perhaps not so odd, this has led many down the path of misandry and racism. Read also. Also this poem on the theme.
  2. Fear. Fear of the future (Prosophoba). Fear of change (Metathesiophobia). Fear of our differences (Xenophobia). "Obama scares me to death" wrote a emailer quoted here. This tendency of Clinton supporters to be afraid was behind the famous "3 am" ad. Mostly these fears are unspecified. I have not been able to find anyone who could articulate a basis for these fears. The fear of the future is expressed as a longing for the past, a fervent wish for a return to 1992, even though going backwards is impossible. The fear of change is more nuanced. Her campaign strategy is to keep red states red and blue states blue; her policy positions provide cosmetic change through continuity. HRC gives people who fear new frontiers a comfort place - sameness with an old/new face.
  3. Health Care. This is the only liberal issue where HRC can be said to stand above Obama. Yet, it is such a murky, wonky issue. I doubt many Clinton supporters could explain the differences between them. There is also the fact that her plan is unworkable - barring an electoral landslide, Clinton would never get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate for her plan. I have to wonder whether this issue is simply an excuse; a rational hook to hang an otherwise irrational opinion.
Here is strong support for Geraldine Ferraro and HRC from a conservative perspective.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Statistics in the Bush Era

For example, the Ministry of Plenty's forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at one-hundred-and-forty-five million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions.
The Administration announced recently that inflation was at zero for the month of February. I didn't believe it.
In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than one-hundred-and-forty-five millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all.
Earlier, they had reported that unemployment had dropped even though 63,000 Americans had lost their jobs in February alone. I laughed that people were stupid enough to believe that.
Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain. ~ 1984
Every statistic reported out of the Bush Administration is a fantasy. Soldiers mortally wounded in Iraq who don't die until they reach German hospitals are not counted as fatalities. The shopping basket used to calculate the CPI is continually adjusted to mask inflation. The real unemployment numbers are at least twice what is officially reported. It has been a long standing government tradition to tweak numbers but the gap between official statistics and the truth has never been greater.

Ours is a government supported by a scaffold of lies. From the beginning (the Florida vote count) through the run up to war to the current economic depression the only obvious truth have been the lies. Sometimes bold, often earnest, occasionally confoundingly brazen the lies are too numerous to count. That frequency has become the Administration's strength. It is less exhausting to simply believe the lies even when we know them to be false. So we choose to believe there is no inflation even though the evidence of our pocketbooks disagree. We choose to believe that as the Iraq War continues longer and longer that the dead are resurrecting. It is comforting to believe the lies when the truth is so horrible.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prelude to War

One of the few remaining roadblocks to Bush declaring war on Iran has fallen. Adm. William Fallon has been open about his opposition to hit and run bombing or any other attack upon Iran. A man of integrity and intelligence, he was out of place on the Bush Team. As head of Central Command he was in a position to stop a stupid war. His firing, official a "resignation" but no one other than a fool would believe that, opens the door for a compliant yes-man to be elevated to this position. Bush has the Kyl-Lieberman/Clinton amendment which authorizes and attack. He will soon have a toady commanding the troops in the region. It is only a matter of time now.

I suspect war with Iran will come shortly after the November election unless polling data indicates that active combat will enhance McCain's chances.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Clinton's Concept of Second Class Citizens

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others ~ George Orwell, Animal Farm
The Clinton campaign is all about how some states and voters are important while others are immaterial. To Clinton, if you live in certain states (California, New York, New Jersey) then you are important and your votes matter. If you live in other states (Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota) then you are unimportant and your votes should matter little.

If your are an older voter, a woman, or a Hispanic (in some states but not in all) then you are a Real Democrat and your votes are more important. If you are a younger voter or a disillusioned Independent then you are of a lower caste and your votes should be judged less worthy. If you are a Republican voting for Barack Obama because you are disgusted by the Republican Party politics of fear then your vote is meaningless. If, however, you are a loyal Republican voting for Hillary Clinton because Rush Limbaugh tells you to then your vote should be counted twice. And if you are Black your vote should be seen as purely symbolic and ignored.

One of the most disturbing ideas coming out of Hillary Clinton is the notion that a voter's worth depends on his class or where she lives. It is an anti-democratic belief.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Dream Tickets Don't Happen

The Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, are advancing an Obama as Veep message. When I first heard it I thought of Diving Miss Daisy. The Audacity of Arrogance to presume that the man leading in the election should meekly accept a subservient role. Clinton can't win by herself, she can't drive the car, so she wants Obama to take the demeaning role of her political chauffeur - to do for her what she cannot do.
The vice-presidency isn't worth a pitcher of warm piss. ~ John Nance Garner
The concept of a Dream Ticket where two equals, a nominee and his charismatic rival, join forces to run a single campaign is a myth of American politics. It has never happened. The closest we have come in the last century is 1976. Gerald Ford barely beat Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. Ford needed the more popular Reagan and asked him to be Vice-President. Reagan refused, concluding that while Ford would benefit from the arrangement he would not.

The Vice-Presidency is a closet in which to hide an annoyingly popular person (Teddy Roosevelt) or a place to put a cypher who has gained a few IOUs. An equal would never accept second place on a ticket for the simple reason he can do more outside the administration than he could ever accomplish as the Veep.

In this instance, Hillary needs him. She needs his voters. She needs to calm the explosion that would certainly follow her absconding with the nomination. Were Obama to accept the role of Hillary's caddie he would become marginalized. As a potential rival she would be certain to hide him. He would be unable to forge an independent political base for a future run while the Clinton base, even if they were willing to share it (unlikely), is a top down structure of no use to Obama. The dream of Obama's campaign would dry up like a raisin in the sun. As an independent voice not strapped to the anchor that is Hillary Clinton, Obama can continue to build his dream for our future.

Obama has rightly rejected the offer. He did it far more gracefully than I would have.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hillary Is a Monster

If I had know it was this easy I'd have done it months ago. Samantha Power called Hillary Clinton a "monster." Hillary went livid - a short trip at the best of times. Samantha resigned. Pity that.

It's not like she was the first to make this observation - witness the right-wing art above. Nor is Samantha the cutest person to declare it.

While the term may be a bit of hyperbole it is not completely outlandish. Reuters ran this photo of Hillary at a campaign rally in Ohio that fits the theme perfectly.
And the London Daily Mail ran a serious article in January titled "How Hillary Clinton made a pact with the devil for political power."

So, because pissing off a Clinton is one of life's few unmitigated pleasures, Hillary Clinton is a monster!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid

I think that since we now know Sen. (John) McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. ~ Hillary Clinton, March 6, 2008
By August, the economy will by in the crapper. The statistics don't show it yet but it doesn't take much talking to people you meet to realize that workers are being laid off and businesses are not hiring. While the Federal Reserve will not let a major bank fall into bankruptcy, rumors are rampant that several banks are teetering. Already, in January the Fed convinced Bank of America to acquire Countrywide Financial by guaranteeing to cover BofA's losses. The Fed will continue to prop up banks while middle-class taxpayers default on the mortgages in greater numbers. Worldwide food inflation, pushed by galloping fuel prices, is hovering just below the radar. Runaway inflation on pizza and beer is going to hit Americans hard.

Come August, no one is going to care who is the better 3 am insomniac. The American public will be far more afraid of losing their jobs and finding the money to feed their children to give a rat's ass about esoteric foreign policy issues. They will want an end to the financial drain that is the Iraq War so resources can be redirected towards the US economy. There will be little patience for a general election debate that is focused on waging war.

PS to Hillary: If you really want to be the Democratic nominee for president it would be a good idea to stop sounding like McCain's campaign spokesman. Even George Bush is not as effusive about McCain as you are.
Calling McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee a good friend and a “distinguished man with a great history of service to our country,” Clinton said ~ same source

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Handicapping the Presidential Race - Endgame

And then there were three. The handicapping is a little different now. In blue are the odds of gaining the Democratic nomination, in (green) the odds of winning the presidency. In {red} are the odds of being elected president as calculated by the Intrade Trading Exchange.

Barack Obama (D-Sen-IL) - 1 to 5 (2 to 1) {1.2 to 1}
The delegate math is the math. It is possible, but extremely unlikely, for Obama's campaign to implode and for Clinton to walk away with the prize without wallowing in the, well you know. As the campaigns stagnate for the next seven weeks with no elections to excite and the funds raised and spent on an endless pre-convention fight, the chances of winning in November dwindle.

Hillary Clinton (D-Sen-NY) - 10 to 1 (20 to 1) {5 to 1}
To take the nomination Clinton will have to go nuclear. The past week was only a hint of what is to come. To win, Clinton must destroy Barack Obama's reputation, she must destroy him as a human being. If she can accomplish that she will, as necessary collateral damage, cleave the Democratic Party.

John McCain (R-Sen-AZ) - (1 to 1) {1.6 to 1}
It is a sweet life. Until at least July, John McCain will be the invisible man. He will be able to raise money, form coalitions, appear presidential (when he appears at all) without being bothered by any opposition. His opponent for November will either be a crippled Obama or a Clinton with a third of the Democratic Party in full rebellion over her tactics. Because of George Bush no Republican can win in a walk but it is possible McCain will need do little more than jog into the White House.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Clinton-McCain Conspiracy

I had this thought Sunday night. Then, it was little more than a gut feeling and sparks in the foil hat I wear to bed. Over the weekend, in her fatigue, Clinton let slip the truth.
[Senator McCain] will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002. ~ Hillary Clinton, March 1, 2008 (thanks to DailyKos)
Clinton-McCain Unity Ticket
Hillary Clinton and John McCain are running on the same platform. That one is titularly a Democrat and the other a Republican is a meaningless distinction. Both will maintain a colonial occupation of Iraq. Both will avoid negotiations in favor of a war footing. Both will maintain low taxes for their constituents, the wealthy elite. Both will impose additional taxes on the lower classes - Clinton in the form of mandating the poor to purchase private health insurance, McCain by shifting taxes from corporations onto the poor. The Clinton-McCain constituents are the neo-conservative warriors-by-proxy and corporate CEOs.
She [Hillary] and John McCain are very close. They always laugh that if they wound up being the nominees of their party, it would be the most civilized election in American history and they're afraid they'd put the voters to sleep because they like and respect each other. ~ Bill Clinton, Jan. 25, 2008
It doesn't matter to their constituents which is elected, as long as one or the other gains the office. It barely matters to McCain and Clinton. Events have dictated that Hillary take the role of the ruthless pit bull. Being loyal, first and foremost, to their Unity Ticket, she has taken to the job enthusiastically. Because she is nominally a Democrat, Clinton has been more blatantly racist than McCain could be. A clue to how close their unity is: McCain has never once criticized Clinton, Clinton has never once criticized McCain. They have praised each other, but never has either spoken a word of criticism about the other.

As things now stand, Clinton's job is to attack Obama and attack the Democratic Party. Her job is to do this for John McCain so McCain can take the high road. If she does her job well, by July she will have successfully painted Obama as the blackest of Blacks who eats white Christian babies for breakfast every morning. If she does her job extremely well she will take the Democratic nomination; she and McCain can then march arm in arm to November secure in the knowledge that whoever wins will carry out the platform of screwing the American people while killing as many foreigners as possible. Kumbaya.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Art of Misspelling

I am a creative speller. That is to say that the juxtaposition of letters to represent certain words found in the English lexicon is a haphazard exercise with me. Computers have helped over the years but my creativity can be beyond even their abilities to reason and deduce.

In my youth I hated elementary school spelling bees. They were my personal torment. If the DHS was intelligent they would eschew waterboarding for my visit to Gitmo. With my allergy issues I would find pouring water up my nostrils a meditative experience. However, if they stood me up under bright lights and asked me to spell words like bougainvillea and onomatopoeia I would crack in mere moments.

Consider the word schizophrenic. If you had put a thousand pre-Bush dollars in my hands and said they were mine if I spelled that word correctly - one shot - I would just hand the money back. I know the word, can use it in a sentence, I even know the difference between schizophrenic and Multiple Personality Disorder. But, spell it? I can't even get close enough to give my computer a fighting chance to figure out the word I'm looking for.

There is, however, a virtue to this spelling handicap of mine. I have built a marvelously vocabulary of alternatives to words I can't spell. Like Porky Pig in those Warner Brothers cartoons, when my mind stutters over spelling a word I can always come up with a synonym. Often, the synonym is the better word for the occasion than they one my mind is misfiring over.

So, you will never see me criticize someone for their spelling. Even Dan Quayle of potatoe fame got a free pass from me. I feel their pain. Correct spelling is an overrated skill. I have no truck for people who can spell syllepsis correctly but don't know the difference between war and peace. I have no respect for people who can rattle off penurious without a hiccup but think $6 an hour is a living wage.