Tag Archives: Politics

…and while I'm at it (more politics)

May I just say that Palin’s other new tactic — implying that women who don’t vote for her are going to Hell — utterly unimpressive, and downright offensive? I suspect most of the women I know would feel the same. “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t support other women,” Palin said, quoting Madeline Albright. Although Albright — one of the most distinguished Secretaries of State that the US has had in recent decades — never actually said that. What she said was, “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women.”

It’s also a very curious tactic, coming from someone who, as former mayor of the town of Wasilia, voted against a measure that would have made the police pay for rape kits and leaving that burden with the victims, and who seems to be opposed to a number of ideals which are demonstrably good for women, including proper sex education and legal abortion.

More glass houses, more stones.

Political Playing Cards

I wonder if McCain really listens to himself when he talks, or does he, like Peter Griffin, just sort of drift in and out every now and then? More to the point, does he listen to Palin?

The McCain/Palin ticket, languishing in the polls at 42-50, has announced that they’re going to go really negative and attack Obama’s character. I guess they didn’t take into account the fact that announcing their new strategy gives the Obama campaign — never ones to let something like this slide — a chance to launch a pre-emptive counterstrike. Before McCain’s new set of ads come out, Obama’s campaign has already launched an ad emphasizing McCain’s erratic behavior during the recent economic crisis. Expect Obama to put out more such ads.

Meanwhile, Palin has decided to play the terrorist card, attacking Obama’s association with William Ayers, one of the founding members of the Weather Underground. Never mind that Ayers has been, since the 60’s, a respected professor of philosophy and an ardent politician (having worked closely with the Chicago mayor’s office to bring about school reform, for example), or that Obama’s association with Ayers was limited to working on two fundraising boards with him and living in the same neighborhood. These facts are supposed to be irrelevant; the point is, Palin insists, that Obama was “palling around” with terrorists.

Well, okay, I suppose that’s fine. But if they’re going to play the terrorist/anti-American card, they should expect to have it played back at them. For example, there’s John McCain’s association with G. Gordon Liddy, one of the men convicted of crimes surrounding Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Liddy served four years for his crime, and extolled more crimes in the name of subverting the Constitution. Said scandal, of course, led to Richard Nixon’s resignation. Liddy is now a conservative radio host, and McCain and Liddy apparently have a close relationship. Of course, Liddy’s radicalism never led to more than a breakin and time served.

Then, of course, there’s Palin’s association with the Alaskan Independence Party. The McCain/Palin campaign has delivered Palin’s voter registration history, showing that she was never a member of the party, but so what? Obama was never a member of the Weather Underground, but that hasn’t stopped Palin. Joe Vogler, founder of the AIP, made a number of statement extolling his hatred of the federal government and the “damn flag”. Palin was never a member, but the fact is her husband was a member for seven years, and she herself contributed to them.

Personally, I don’t care. Ayers’s radical past is behind him. Liddy has served his time. Palin’s association with the AIP ended several years ago. People and their ideologies change, and what matters in an election is the candidate and who they are now. Are any Republicans ever going to disallow Lieberman because he once embraced Democratic ideals? No, I didn’t think so.

Glass houses, stones. That’s all I’m sayin’.

More anti-gay weirdness

Right here in Sacramento there is a young couple, Rachel Bird and Gideon Codding, who have gotten themselves caught up in California’s tussle over gay marriage. They recently decided that signing a marriage certificate with the words “Person A” and “Person B” is somehow offensive, and they want to be recognized as “bride and groom” on the legal certificate. Until that happens, they feel that can’t get married at all.

At all. Did you get that? They’ve chosen not to get married rather than sign a piece of paper that says “Person A” and “Person B”.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Further puzzling the matter is that they seem to believe that they now can’t get married, and because of that, they cannot get the marriage benefits that other people who are married — like myself — enjoy. “We just feel that our rights have been violated,” said Bird. A very puzzling statement, because they haven’t been. Furthermore, Codding says, “We feel that some things are worth fighting for.” Like, the right to refuse to sign paperwork that doesn’t have the words on it that you want. And as the article states, “Because their marriage is not registered with the state, Bird cannot sign up for Codding’s medical benefits or legally take his name.” They worry that if, say, Bird gets very sick, she won’t be covered by Codding’s health care benefits. Or if Codding winds up in the hospital, then Bird won’t be allowed to visit him.

Gee, what’s that like?

Ask a few hundred thousand gay couples in the United States, and they’d be happy to tell you.

Says Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, “Those who support (same-sex marriage) say it has no impact on heterosexuals. This debunks that argument.” I’m not a lawyer, but I did study philosophy in college, and took several courses in logic and critical reasoning, and I don’t understand Dacus’s position at all. I really mean that. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s just plain stupid. What’s affecting this couple is not a change in wording in legal documents regarding marriage in California, it’s just their own bullheadedness.

California now legally allows gay and lesbian couples to get married, though Proposition 8, if passed, would deny that right to them. I’ve already made my own position quite clear: Vote No on 8. There are some things in a democratic republic like the United States that you don’t get to vote on, and among those are peoples’ rights. In this case, judicial opinion simply trumps popular vote, no matter how much the right wing bleats about “activist judges”. The recognition of this truth is part of the reason we have a Constitution in the first place. It’s not a matter of state rights (and, frankly, the fact that Obama says it is is one of the very few qualms I have with him). You just don’t get to vote on this. The fact that it’s on the ballot is not “democracy in action”; it is, pure and simple, intolerance in action.

Of course, among the rights that we don’t get vote on in a democracy is the right to be stupid. Bird and Codding have chosen to exercise that right. That’s fine if it works for them; but the rest of us, including the thousands of gay and lesbian couples in California, shouldn’t have that stupidity shoved down our throats.

ETA: I also recommend this entry on ‘s blog about the subject.

Les Misobamas FTW!

Today’s mashup of Les Misérables and the 2008 political season comes to you from Jib Jab:

I especially liked McCain as Javert. I thought that was truly inspired.

Edit: Whoops, turns out that was Ultimate Improv. The video was just hosted at the Jib Jab site. Still, it’s pretty funny, don’t you think?

Why I'm voting for Barack Obama (a brief note)

The world is a complicated place, and become more and more complicated every day. Communications technologies are still growing. Many resources, and not just fossil fuels, are becoming scarce (millions face a serious lack of drinking water, not to mention food). With Russia expanding their muscles again and ongoing threats in Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, diplomacy is becoming more and more important. The global economy is becoming more complicated and more interdependent. Medical and biotechnological advances are coming so rapidly that keeping up with them is almost impossible. More and more nations are developing viable space programs. And the threat of terrorism remains real for most of the world.

With increasing complexity comes a need for increasing flexibility, and better ways of leveraging the knowledge and technologies that we have. For the United States to remain relevant in the increasingly complicated world, we need to be flexible, to look at new ideas, and to work cooperatively with the other nations of the world to solve the problems that face everyone on the planet.

For eight years, we’ve been burdened with an Administration which has gleefully placed the interests of corporations above science, which has eschewed diplomacy as viable alternatives to warfare, has blatantly ignored the wishes of the international community, and broken a once strong economy with obsolete “trickle down” and supply side economic policies. The old ways of doing things don’t work anymore, haven’t really worked for decades; heck, if nothing else, Vietnam should have proven to the government that the old ways of war simply don’t work. The Bush administration has also degraded our nation’s moral standing in the international community. While we were once an inspiration for human rights organizations throughout the world, we have increasingly become their target, with the prison camps at Guatanamo, illegal wiretapping and pardons for the corporations involved, and interrogation techniques which are broadly understood to be torture (regardless of any rhetoric about waterboarding). Our nation has an obscenely high poverty rate, an unforgivably high rate of illiteracy, and a health care system which is leaving more and more Americans inadequately covered, not to mention an income gap that even Alan Greenspan admits is a growing problem.

My point is this: I believe that the Bush administration, and the Republican party in general, represent older models of how to deal with the increasingly complex problems which face the nation and the world (because with increasing international communications and travel, the world’s problems are undeniably ours as well). If continued, these models will simply decrease our nation’s relevance and exacerbate problems that could be solved. Relying on a “free market” approach to the economy has proven disastrous. John McCain, who has voted with President Bush and who yet maintains that he is a “maverick” and “reform oriented” (as if there has been any significant political reform in our country since 1787), has demonstrated a commitment to these older models. I believe that keeping such models in place is simply burying one’s head in the sand, ignoring how much more complicated the world is becoming.

Barack Obama has, I believe, demonstrated a level of intelligence and an open-mindedness which I believe will better meet these challenges, restore our nation’s moral standing, and acknowledge that the old ways of handling problems will simply no longer work. He’s not my ideal candidate; in some ways he’s far too conservative for my tastes. But by demonstrating a commitment to, for example, hiring a science advisor who is not beholden to any corporate interests, facing problems of the health care crisis, and increasing the role of diplomacy in working with the other nations of the world, I think he is better suited to lead our nation forward. Heck, of all the candidates I’ve seen, Obama is the only one who has not flat out denied that our nation still has a problem with race relations.

This is why I have chosen to vote for Barack Obama. He will, in my opinion, be more prepared to lead our country in the direction it needs to go. John McCain, no matter how many mooseburgers his running mate may have eaten from moose she’s killed herself, is simply unprepared for that challenge.

Tax cuts under the Obama plan

Among the many lies that the McCain campaign has spread about Barack Obama is that he intends to increase everyone’s taxes. The truth is that Obama’s economic plan would, in fact, CUT taxes for over 95% of American families; Obama’s plan, in fact, cuts taxes to middle class and lower income Americans more than McCain’s plan would.

To figure out what your tax cut under the Obama plan would be, visit ObamaTaxCut.com.

Please note that I don’t intend to debate the actual merits of Obama’s economic plan vs. McCain’s; my purpose here is simply to counter one of the lies that the McCain campaign has been spreading about Barack Obama.

For more truth behind the lies and smears surrounding Barack Obama, visit FightTheSmears.com.

The Proper Palin

Clearly, McCain misspoke. He meant to say Michael Palin. Here is a video detailing Michael Palin’s qualifications as a true candidate for Vice President of the United States:

Oddly, it makes no mention of his foreign policy experience. As a resident of England, which borders two different countries, Michael has the same amount of international relations experience as Sarah. On the other hand, Scotland and Wales are part of the United Kingdom, so maybe they’re just one country? In which, England borders no other countries, which means none of the politicians there have any foreign policy experience. Back when England was just a tiny little place surrounded by a hundred other petty little monarchies, the leaders obviously had more foreign relations experience than, say, Tony Blair or Gordon Brown.

Really, this is all too confusing. Just go to the Michael Palin for President website and signup for the newsletter so that you can get a free fuzzy thing.

PhotoShop wins again.

So, that picture of Sarah Palin in a bikini and carrying a gun? Yeah, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. Much as I despise Sarah Palin’s positions on most issues and insane as I think the McCain campaign is for selecting her as a VP candidate without bothering to vet her at all (I stand by my assertion that the main reason for the selection and timing was to draw attention from Obama’s amazing speech at the Democrat convension), this kind of thing — a PhotoShopped image which gets captions like, “Meet America’s First Trailer Trash VP” — is really just beneath us. Beneath us as Democrats, beneath us as liberals, beneath us as Americans. It’s absolutely appalling that any woman who rises in politics or any other endeavor which brings her into the spotlight is simply assumed to have posed in skimpy clothing at some point in her past, or even completely nude. Palin never has, and to suggest, even via PhotoShop, that she has is pandering to the worst elements of our culture.

I also should mention that I am thoroughly unimpressed with the revelation that Palin was once a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Unless there is substantial reason to believe that she still believes in their cause and supports their goals, it’s completely irrelevant. After all, I was once a Libertarian; now I consider libertarianism just as flawed as Communism. People change their politics. So what.

And as for her teenage daughter’s pregnancy: Well, yeah, Palin’s remarks display a remarkable amount of hypocrisy, but for God’s sake leave the kid out of it. Again, it’s just beneath us.