Friday, June 27, 2008

Red Dirt Talk - Part 1, the Setup

So it looks like Hillary and Bill, kinda, are going to be good Democrats and try to lead the Unity Donkey down the garden path. A lot of folks will sigh "Oh well, we tried." and trudge back into line because they been told (and so they believe) that Obama is the lesser of two evils, that a McCain presidency would be such a catastrophic event that it is simply unthinkable... some of us won't buy that for any price. We're hearing hysterical wailings about the dreadfulness of McCain and blue sky predictions about the coming Obamatopia. Not so fast...

Most of the time, in business, in life and in politics, people throw around “blue sky” predictions. A lot of us do it for the sake of optimism, salesmen and politicians do it for a living. This is not a bad thing, per se, and we learn to counter the ‘blue sky’ talk with a healthy dose of skepticism: “Oh, come on,” we’ll say, “don’t tell me that Mustang GT was only driven on Sundays by a little old lady who never went over twenty miles per hour – I just don’t believe you.” It tends to work out and if it doesn’t, well, experience is a very fine teacher.

Sometimes, however, in life and business… and in politics, we need to get down from the blue sky to what I call the “Red Dirt Talk”. What are the numbers? Who’s on the hook? Who gets what and when do they get it? And the bedrock question: What’s it going to cost me?

I think we’ve reached a Red Dirt Talk point now – there can be as many Red Dirt Talk points as needed –we need to sit down, stare at the wall and really think about where we are, how we got here and what we really want to do next. It’s important, critical in fact, because history will be changed by what we do in the next several months – even if we do nothing at all, the world will change, just a bit, go there when it might have gone here… and a different future unfolds.

Let's review the facts, then look at the options and see if we can form a plan.

Fact: Hillary blew the campaign - why? I don't know, maybe Patti Solis Doyle was a fifth columnist but they should not have lost all those caucuses, especially after they did it right in Nevada. I don't like it but it's true.

Fact: the Democratic Party nomination has been taken from the obviously stronger, better qualified candidate and bestowed upon the weaker and less qualified candidate. There are numerous theories about who did what to whom, all the way from the massive collusion plot in which the Bushies have manipulated this in order to stage a coup before the election to the David Axelrod channeling Karl Rove with the complicity of the radical leftie-Bolsheviks to take over the Democratic Party for nefarious purposes (I actually kinda like that one myself). For the purposes of the Red Dirt Talk, it doesn't really matter. It has happened, barring a major reversal of fortune, BHO will be the Democratic Party candidate this fall.

"A newly released CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that if Obama does not select Clinton as his running mate, 22 percent of her supporters would stay home this fall (almost 4 million voters) -- and another 17 percent (a little over 3 million) would vote for McCain." --CNN (parentheses are mine). So, if we use 2004 as the baseline - GWB won with 62 million voters vs Kerry's 59 million. then take away 4 million Democratic votes, that leaves BHO with 55 million. Now take away another 3 million from that (Clinton supporters who will not stay home but will vote for McCain) and add 3 million to the Republican side. You end up with 65 million for McCain to 52 million for BHO. There is a word for this: landslide.

Fact: the Democratic Party won the 2006 congressional elections and now has a majority in both houses (233 v 202 in the House and 51 v 49 in the Senate) - granted the Senate majority rests on two independents and Lieberman is a Republican in all but name. This is certainly not veto-proof territory but it is also certainly enough to stop inimical legislation and prevent more damage by the GWB crowd... you would think. Curiously enough, there has been no action to counter GWBs excesses and people in leadership roles have averred that any health care reform is DOA. Impeachment is, famously, off the table sez Ms Pelosi (in one of the greatest acts of political stupidity in the history of American politics). Our several wars go merrily on their way, dispensing billions in government contracts (the cost of the Iraq war is now $5,000 per second) to titular American companies who have shifted their HQs to Dubai to avoid paying American taxes. GWBs tax cuts for the rich go on and on with no end in sight.

Remind me: what is it that makes Democrats so different from Republicans?

Estimates are that Democrats will pick up 15 more House seats in the Fall and as many as 6 more Senate seats. That would give an incoming Democratic president a 248 to 187 advantage in the house an 57 to 43 in the Senate well within arm-twisting range of a filibuster-proof majority (AKA rubber stamp Congress).

In the technology world there's a thing called "FUD", it stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Dismay. It's a propaganda strategy that Microsoft used effectively for years to destroy its rivals. Keep overhyping your (usually mediocre) accomplishments, trumpeting the crushing inevitability of your overwhelming (potential) victory, demeaning the quality and value of your competition with innuendo and implications of questionable moral lapses. Your target audience may not like you very much but they become afraid to stand against you... and your success is assured. If this feels familiar it is because the Obamabot/bolsheviks are waging a FUD campaign against you right now. To recognize this is to resist it, be aware.

I cite specifics of BHO's programs from his website but they seem to change depending on the audience he's speaking to at the moment. I've also included John McCain's positions on the same subjects. We can all run around with our hair on fire screaming and yelling about our issues and concerns but, at some point, we need to put on our critical thinking caps and look at the choices we have to make.

Red Dirt Talk - Part 2, the Positions (1)

Note: All text in blue is taken directly from the candidates' websites.

Foreign Policy


Ending the War in Iraq

Renewing American Diplomacy
Nuclear Weapons
Building a 21st Century Military
Bipartisanship and Openness

Foreign policy is not BHO's strong suit. He has trouble remembering how many states there are in the US, not to speak of confusing Arabs, with Iranians with Afghans (they all look alike, don't they?). He's developed the novel idea of sitting down around a big table and sorting out this mess with all those Arab folks. I'm sure that'll work. Apparently, even the Libyan President-for-Life Muammar Gadafy gets it: "The statements of our Kenyan brother of American nationality Obama on Jerusalem ... show that he either ignores international politics and did not study the Middle East conflict or that it is a campaign lie." and he goes on to say: "We fear that Obama will feel that, because he is black with an inferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites … This will be a tragedy."

You know you're in trouble when even the people who should be happy to take advantage of him feel that he's a disaster-in-waiting.

I've written about this previously: Go here for a longer discussion, I'll just bring in the last three paragraphs here:

Here's the point: it isn't enough to rope in some old guard cold warriors, hysterical firebrands, high powered, guns-for-hire lawyers and radical ideologues. Mushing them together doesn't get you a viable worldview, a coherent strategy or a workable foreign policy. You, the leader, must have a deep and strong understanding of how the world works, who has a bone in which fight, what they might be willing to give up to get what they can live with. This doesn't come from pre-digested think tank scenarios, cooked up by a random gathering of advisors.

Rather it comes from doing the cold dreary work of diplomacy, day after day, year after year. That way you gain -dare I say it? - the experience to understand both what you're hearing ...and not hearing; to be able to read between the lines; to detect and respond to a nuanced exchange of views. Working with community organizers on South Side Chicago just doesn't cut it.

America needs to be able to talk to its adversaries and its friends, we need to be able to tell the difference. We have suffered a drastic drop in global esteem not because we are powerful - we are, not because we are arrogant - and we are that, too - but because we have been stupid for the last seven years and everyone in the world knows it. We cannot afford to be stupid anymore, we cannot afford child-like naiveté, we cannot afford to abandon old allies or to credulously acquire new ones. The Obama Foreign Policy offers all these flaws and more: Obama's Foreign Policy offers up America to shame and humiliation, to retribution and retaliation. Obama offers to make America the chamberpot for all the ills, real or imagined, of every injured party, past or present, anywhere in the world. Simply put, Obama's Foreign Policy can be summed up in two words: America Last.


Importance of Succeeding

Support the Successful Counterinsurgency Strategy
Push for Political Reconciliation and Good Government
Get Iraq's Economy Back on its Feet
Call for International Pressure on Syria and Iran
Level with the American People
Border Security and Immigration Reform

This is standard McCain/Republican boilerplate: Foreign Policy = Iraq All the Time. Yes, they're obsessed with Iraq and, no, it still doesn't make any sense whatever. At least McCain is honest about his intentions and open about his fantasies. On immigration he's way out front of Obama and everyone else. Hispanic voters have already seen this and with their naturally conservative voting history, one would expect them to move to the (R) side of the ballot for this reason alone.

Economic Policy


Obama has had little to say about the US economy besides the same old tired bromides we've heard all too often. Currently - don't hold me to this, these could change in minutes depending on what's politically advantageous - they are:

--WARNING: Bromide Alert, the information below may cause you to lose brain cells --

From BHOs website:

Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief - BHO wants to give you $1K back on your taxes

Trade - Breaking News: BHO thinks NAFTA may have been a bad deal for Americans

...and the rest are just pure political quackery

Technology, Innovation and Creating Jobs

Support Labor
Protect Homeownership and Crack Down on Mortgage Fraud
Address Predatory Credit Card Practices
Reform Bankruptcy Laws
Work/Family Balance

*Sigh*, well that was pretty useless. Let's look at who his advisors are to see what that might tell us:

Austan Goolsbee: U. of Chicago neoclassicist who, for example, objects to single-payer health care on the grounds that it's not good for the 'free' market

David Cutler: Harvard economist who believes that high health costs are good for the economy

Jeffrey Liebman: a Harvard economist who want to privatize social security

Remember these names, you'll see them again under Healthcare advisors, BTW did anyone notice a pattern here? OK, hands down - it did seem kinda familiar, didn't it? Oh wait, this sounds just like GWBs economics... hmmm...


Will Help Americans Hurting From High Gasoline And Food Costs by Instituting A Summer Gas Tax Holiday

Will Stop Filling The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) To Reduce Demand
Will End Policies That Contribute To Higher Transportation And Food Costs
New "HOME Plan" To Provide Robust, Timely And Targeted Help To Those Hurt By The Housing Crisis
Student Loan Continuity Plan
Will Cut Taxes For Middle Class Families and Maintain The Current Income And Investment Tax Rates
Will Make It Harder To Raise Taxes Will Reward Saving, Investment And Risk-Taking
Will Reduce The Federal Corporate Tax Rate To 25 Percent From 35 Percent
Will Ban Internet Taxes and Will Ban New Cell Phone Taxes
Will Act To Lower Medicare Premiums
Will Propose An Alternative New And Simpler Tax System
Will Reform Social Security

This is a grab bag of the usual Republican shibboleths favoring business over citizens. The interesting points are the HOME plan, which lays out a rescue plan for homeowners victimized by the last crop of scam artists, er, mortgage brokers. This plan would provide a pathway from sky-high ARM mortgages to FHA fixed rate deals. It might actually help. Beware the Reform Social Security plan, this is yet another attempt to privatize, i.e., 'gut', a public program.

Educational Policy


Again from BHO's website:

Zero to Five Plan:

Expand Early Head Start and Head Start:
Reform No Child Left Behind:
Make Math and Science Education a National Priority:
Address the Dropout Crisis:
Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities:
Expand Summer Learning Opportunities:
Support College Outreach Programs:
Support English Language Learners:
Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America's Teachers
Recruit Teachers:
Prepare Teachers:
Retain Teachers:
Reward Teachers:
Higher Education
Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit:
Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid:

From the drivel above you wouldn't get the idea that BHO had given any thought whatsoever to education (and you'd be right) but his old pal Bill Ayers has thought about it a lot. Bill Ayers, BHO's chief education advisor, is better known as the ex-SDS founder of the infamous 'Weather Underground' a stalinist organization which used terrorist tactics to fight against US foreign policy - a lot of us fought US foreign policy in those days but only Bill Ayers' gang of thugs thought they needed to blow up power stations, rob banks and kill people to make their point. Unrepentant, Bill Ayers now runs an educational foundation and under the rubric of teaching 'social justice' he plans to propagandize the younguns (as the Catholics say: get 'em when they're young and you've got 'em for life) into his ideology. I won't go into a critique of his precepts here except to say that misdirection of the young is despicable and inculcation of any ideology is reprehensible.

Personal rant alert: We don't know what educational techniques will work, remember New Math?, but there are practical things we can try first and then sort out what else needs to be fixed: first, limit class sizes to 15 kids or less. Try that simple solution for a couple of years, then when the dust settles, fix whatever is left. Hint: there won't be much.

We don't need BHO, Bill Ayers and marxist schooling for our kids.


One word: Vouchers

The Republican obsession with stealing every public dollar possible goes on. This one's insidious as well, it purports to be about ensuring that every child (and parent) gets to make a choice about the best way to spend their education dollars but it is actually a cover for transferring public money away from public schools and into private, especially religious, schools.

Security Policy


Here is BHO's Senior Working Group on National Security:

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Senator David Boren, former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Secretary of State Warren Christopher
Greg Craig, former director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning
Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig
Representative Lee Hamilton, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder
Dr. Tony Lake, former National Security Adviser
Senator Sam Nunn, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Secretary of Defense William Perry
Dr. Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State
Representative Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commissioner
Jim Steinberg, former Deputy National Security Adviser

These are essentially the same players as his Foreign Policy team except for the Albright and Christopher, brought in as 'ringers' to soothe troubled brows of HRC supporters no doubt - you can be sure that Zbigniew Brezinski isn't more than a "soo-eee" call away. So we needn't expect there to be any surprises, or creativity, here.

and from the BHO website, his homeland security plans:

Protecting Our Chemical Plants

Keeping Track of Spent Nuclear Fuel
Evacuating Special Needs Population in Emergencies
Reuniting Families After Emergencies
Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe
Protecting the Public from Radioactive Releases

Nothing new here - all the plans have been drawn up at the Rand Corporation for twenty years now. Still, I've got to wonder where all the "ChangeHopeBelieve" creative thinking is? Just following the GWB path leads to more surveillance, more ID papers (are your papers in order?), more control. Hmmm....


Strong Military in a Dangerous World

Fighting Against Violent Islamic Extremists and Terrorist Tactics
Effective Missile Defense
Increasing the Size of the American Military
Modernizing the Armed Services
Smarter Defense Spending

Security - Foreign Policy - Immigration - it's all sort of a moshpit for Republicans. There's a huge sandbox with great
gobs of money to throw around and since they've successfully castrated the Democrats there's no one holding a "STOP" sign anymore. McCain will have a field day here, what with BHOs inexperience and cupidity on display every day.

Red Dirt Talk - Part 3, the Positions (2)

Health Policy


Quality, Affordable and Portable Coverage for All
Lower Costs by Modernizing The U.S. Health Care System

See Economic policy and advisors, above.

This one's been gone over so many times that everyone on the planet probably knows it by heart. Fact is, in May of 2007, HRC put out her plan, complete with all the lessons learned from the 1994 debacle (which I must remind everyone again - was torpedoed by Democrats). HRC's plan very cleverly included a roadmap to single-payer, the ultimate goal. Exactly one week later, just enough time to plagiarize and re-brand, BHO came out with his copycat plan. Except BHO's plan dispensed with the single-payer option and places the mandatory membership subscriptions firmly in the hands of the private insurance companies - who is this guy working for again?


Will Reform Health Care Making It Easier For Individuals And Families To Obtain Insurance
Will Reform The Tax Code To Offer More Choices Beyond Employer-Based Health Insurance Coverage
Making Insurance More Portable
Will Encourage And Expand The Benefits Of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) For Families
Cares For The Traditionally Uninsurable
Will Work With States To Establish A Guaranteed Access Plan

Bromides from the (R) side of the aisle. It's glaringly obvious that McCain doesn't give a rat's ass about health care except in the context of preventing any public poaching of private party property (alliteration anyone?).

Energy Policy


Next in the examination chamber is Energy Policy, below are the BHO talking points

Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
Invest in a Clean Energy Future
Support Next Generation Biofuels
Set America on Path to Oil Independence
Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change

More valueless drivel on a large scale. First, the chances of us reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050 are vanishingly small (except for the small possibility mentioned below). Even if we did, by 2050 China and India will be producing 2 to 3 times our present CEs. This is not a US problem it is a global problem and must be addressed in that context. BHO utterly fails to address this.

Second, biofuels is a counter-productive deadend as is already becoming painfully apparent: fill your tank, starve a neighbor. BHOs reliance on pop solutions to real problems is emblematic of his incompetence.

Another personal rant: We need to bite the bullet - it's time to dump petroleum. Take the $150 billion BHO proposes to enable the unsupportable biofuels economy and put it into nailing down hydrogen fuel cell technology. Find better, cheaper ways to crack seawater into its constituent parts. Hydrogen for clean burning fuel, oxygen gets liberated into the atmosphere and BTW we stop pumping thousands of tons of carbon into the sky. I could go on...


From his Lexington Project:
Expanding Domestic Oil Exploration and Use Domestic Supplies
Clean Car Challenge
Full Commercial Development Of Plug-In Hybrid And Fully Electric Automobiles Supports Flex fuel and Ethanol
Goes Green, Will Commit $2 Billion Annually To Advancing Clean Coal Technologies
Construct 45 New Nuclear Power Plants By 2030 With The Ultimate Goal Of Eventually Constructing 100 New Plants
Permanent Tax Credit Equal To 10 Percent Of Wages Spent On R&D
Will Encourage The Market For Alternative, Low Carbon Fuels Such As Wind, Hydro And Solar Power
Cap-And-Trade System That Would Set Limits On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Surprisingly, this looks to be a well thought out program combining accepted concepts such as Cap and Trade and Clean Coal initiatives. I like the tax credit idea and the emphasis on low carbon power. Not so much the expanded domestic oil stuff (can you say ANWAR?) but I want to talk for a moment about nuclear power.

It seems to be an article of faith in the leftie community that nuclear=bad. We need to stop engaging in knee-jerk responses to this. Yes, older nuclear designs were primitive and overly complex, some were even inherently dangerous, Chernobyl is the poster child for that. Yes, there is a problem with disposing of nuclear waste - but not an insoluble one. Yes, fission reactors are really only a way-station on the road to fusion. All stipulated. But. Let's look at nuclear power with our critical thinking caps on, this is the Red Dirt Talk after all...

Nuclear Myth #1: All those nuclear power plants are creating more and more radioactivity all the time.

No, Johnny, only a very few nuclear reactors actually create new fissile material - fast breeder reactors, and even then they create the plutonium from uranium as it transforms to lead (this transforming takes a very, very long time). Mostly what reactors do is just transfer radioactivity from one place to another (see Nuclear Myth # 2 for more on this) Bad point here, fast breeder reactors are what you want to build when you want to make weapons-grade radioactives. Extended point: there is radioactive material all over the planet with a high concentration in Africa (remember the Niger Yellowcake?). There is even some speculation that high radioactivity levels in Africa are responsible for mutations that led to the development of Homo Sapiens.

Nuclear Myth # 2: That nasty nuclear waste will just sit around forever making everything glow in the dark.

Well, yes and no... if you pick a remote place that is geologically stable (say Yucca Mountain) and sequester the waste in sealed glass containers and then store them several thousand feet underground in salt formations, you will get the glow in the dark scenario, but if you think critically about it there is a handy solution - take a deep breath here, assumptions are about to be challenged: go out into the middle of the ocean and build a floating launch facility, put your nuclear waste in a rocket and shoot it into the Sun. The Sun will know what to do with it. Yes, we've actually been sending nuclear materials into space for years. No, it's not inherently more dangerous than burying it in salt mines. Yes, rockets used to be famously unreliable and would blow up at the drop of a hat. No, that's no longer the case... did I mention that the launch takes place in the middle of the ocean?

Nuclear Myth # 3: All nuclear plants are unsafe.

They used to be exactly that, especially idiot designs like the open graphite reactors the USSR dotted all over the landscape. The fact is that many countries have relied on nuclear power for a substantial portion of their energy needs for decades (see France). They have developed new, simpler, inherently safe-by-design nuclear reactors, Pebble Bed reactors for instance. We in the US get about 14 percent of our energy from nuclear reactors. They're here, they're staying, they're getting safer all the time - get over it.

Nonetheless, there is a salient point here: fission is inherently dangerous by virtue of the fact that you have to gather relatively large amounts of radioactive material together in order to make it work at all.

So what's the solution? Glad you asked: fusion. This holy grail of energy production has been pursued by every capable agency on the planet for over fifty years. Why doesn't it work? Actually it does, the latest Tokamak reactor produces about 102% energy output from energy input - not very impressive. What is even more unimpressive (more unimpressive?) is the paucity of R+D spending on fusion research. In the decade of the '90s the total R+D investment by all the IEA members (the US, EU and Japan) totaled US $8.9 billion - total - for, essentially, all the countries of the world - combined - for ten years. Plainly we're not serious yet about energy independence, when we are, we'll know it because we'll be putting in about $100 billion per year into R+D and pilot production and ramping up to bringing fusion online to the grid.

Why should you be happy about this? Here's the interesting thing about fusion: if it breaks, it turns off; if you make a mistake, it turns off; if the bad guys get in and blow something up, it turns off. No muss, no fuss, no lingering evil cloud, no China Syndrome, no cancer down the line - no radioactivity.

It. Just. Turns. Off.

Did I mention that Exxon made US $40 Billion in profits... this year?



Create Secure Borders
Improve Our Immigration System
Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally
Bring People Out of the Shadows
Work with Mexico

Once again, BHO doesn't have strong positions on this, though I must say that cracking down on employers who hire illegals would go a long way to solving the problem outright.


Secure borders
Welcomes immigrants and guest workers

This is a McCain signature issue, he's been highly visible out front on this and has garnered the respect of Hispanics in Mexico as well as the US.

Space Program


Zero, zip, nada on his website, however his previous position (stated multiple times) was idiotic Go here for a deeper look at this)

Essentially BHO's opinion is that the Constellation program (our next generation space vehicle system) should take a break for, oh, say about 5 years so that he can funnel NASA funding into - education (paging Bill Ayers). Seriously, he's gonna bring the US$240 billion/year space industry to a grinding halt for 5 years... and then just flip the switch on 'em and crank it up again!?!


Strong supporter of NASA, the space industry, exploration, science, truth, justice and the American way - on this one anyway.

Supreme Court


Nothing on website, vaguely supports Roe v Wade and claims that: “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”

Apparently, BHO - the constitutional scholar, is off eating waffles somewhere.


Strict Constructionist
Supported Alito and Roberts

Well, he's a Republican. What you see is what you get here.

Red Dirt Talk - Part 4, the Conclusions

Choices to Make:

Ok, we've set the stage, How does it play out for the presumptive candidates?


For BHO, this is The Land of Dreams Come True. He can function pretty much as the king he imagines himself to be: commanding by fiat and having his wishes transformed into law. Surrounded by coteries of adoring acolytes and wizened viziers wishpering into his ear.

With the expected congressional gains the Democrats are likely to make and given their propensity to grovel, a rubber stamp congress for BHO is pretty much a done deal. If we had HRC in the executive we might actually see some groundbreaking legislation and the enactment of a number of sorely needed reforms. With BHO in the saddle we're much more likely to see a repeat of the current farce. Largely this kind of administration is reflective of the nature of the person who is POTUS. We've just been through a seven year example of how this can go horribly wrong. BHO's nature, both the revealed and the still hidden aspects - gives plenty of cause for alarm: narcissistic, solipsistic, arrogant, ignorant and truculent, he is a walking poster for exactly what to avoid when looking to fill an executive position with unlimited power.


For McCain, the picture is not quite so rosy, in fact, he's more likely to be a caretaker president, given the majority the Democrats will hold in both houses.

There will be few initiatives from the Executive branch. McCain doesn't have many new ideas, there may be some movement on campaign spending reform but certainly nothing on healthcare. With a Democratic congress there will not be any Supreme Court nominations even if all the sitting justices tripped on the steps and fell on their heads.

On the other hand, there are some good points to a McCain presidency: first, there would not be an Obama presidency - I can't stress enough how desirable this is. Next, he's not GWB - repeat that please: he's not GWB. No more idiots in the White House, what a relief. Further, McCain is regarded as an honorable man and we could sure use someone honorable to represent us to the world again. BHO already show deficits in that regard. Last, we survived seven years of GWB, I think we can survive four years of McCain but I really question whether our country can survive a BHO cult takeover.

...And another choice we could make:

I'm going to push the Red Dirt metaphor a little bit here. With PUMA and JustSayNoDeal out there stirring things up, I'm thinking that there may be another way onward. The goal is to get some leverage in the political game they play in Washington. We've been a two party system for some time because, among other reasons, the parties field full slates for all offices, including POTUS. Even the smaller parties like the Libertarians and the Conservatives are always running a Ron Paul or Bob Barr. It's pretty pointless, really, they're never going to get elected - sure it's an ego boost to say 'I ran for POTUS' but so did Lyndon LaRouche and Harold Stassen (many times each). It also feeds into the myth we have developed that 'anyone can run for POTUS', it's really useful for the two major parties because it bleeds off the anger a lot of people like us feel about having been hosed, yet again, by the party of our choice. We get all fired up and run around pushing our 'pet rock' for the highest office in the land... and when the inevitable happens, we turn back into pumpkins serene in the knowledge that we've participated in the 'democratic process'. But we haven't really accomplished anything (Red Dirt Talk, remember?) and deep down, we know it.

What about focusing on some real power? If the Democrats pick up 15 seats in the House they will have a 248 to 187 advantage over the Republicans, pretty much tromping rights on everything.

What If some interested people were to begin building a political party organization - call it the True Democratic Party, for example, with a clear focus on the 2010 elections. Traditionally the party in power loses some seats in the off-year election, given BHO's track record to date I would expect serious 'buyer's remorse' if he should get elected, certainly McCain would not be likely to still be a crowd pleaser. Moreover, the seething anger that many of us feel toward the Gang of Four (Pelosi, Dean, Reid and Brazile - with a sly reference to their Maoist forebears) will, no doubt, be exacerbated by the time the 2010 elections roll around. The purpose of the
True Democratic Party would be to pick the 50 most vulnerable Congressional districts and work to take at least 36 away from the Democrats. This would bring the Democratic House seat count to 212, that is 1 vote shy of a majority. Even half that many seats would scare the bejeebers out of the Gang of Four and would very likely lead to a significant amount of attention paid to the needs of True Democratic Party members by both major parties. This is called 'leverage', it is also what they call the "dish best served cold."

For myself, I will not ever vote for Obama. When he is installed as the official nominee of the Democratic Party, I will leave the Democratic Party - after 40 years. If necessary, that is if the election looks to be close enough so it might actually matter, I will (figuratively) hold my nose and vote for McCain. I can see that there is a path forward, certainly not one I ever expected to take. I think our democracy needs some critical thinking, some untypical action and, desperately, some different results than we have seen so far.

Repressing competency for magical thinking is a sign of a culture in deep trouble. Reagan and Bush were both that kind of sign, I had hoped the sickness was limited to the Reaganauts and the Bushies but it appears to have spread to the Democratic party as well. This essay is an attempt to deal with the reality of a deeply flawed process and candidate. The issues are of coequal importance with the character of the candidate and integrity of the process; when one is degraded, the other two can determine the balance, when two parts are deficient there is no good solution.

Think, think long and deeply, consider well your options and remember: You get whatever you choose.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Pledge


sign-160x240.gifWhen you read the I Own My Vote Pledge, keep in mind that the demands it contains are not admissions of defeat, nor are they conditions precedent to your vote. Hillary's campaign is only suspended, not ended. And only you can decide when your vote has been earned. Whether you are a PUMA activist, a WomenCountPAC donor, a Just Say No Deal blogger, a Clinton Democrat for McCain, a yellow dog Democrat for VoteBoth, or simply a Hillary Clinton supporter who feels like the Party leaders and their presumptive nominee are ignoring everything that you value, the most powerful statement you can make right now is that YOU OWN YOUR VOTE. Only in finding that common ground will we be counted, for only in that common ground will we be able to count ourselves.
* * * * *

On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Hillary Clinton suspended her historic campaign for President. To her 18 million voters, it may have seemed like an end, but I pledge to make it a beginning … a beginning of a movement to achieve the democratic and just country that Hillary has envisioned for America.

I stand together with Hillary Clinton’s 18 million voters to demand that Senator Obama and the Democratic Party:

  • Bring us together by seating 100% of the Florida and Michigan delegations in Denver with 100% of their votes, allocated in accordance with the popular vote of each state.
  • Bring us together by adopting policies on the Platform Committee that Hillary Clinton has championed.
  • Bring us together through reform of the primary and caucus system to reflect the basic principle of one person/one vote.
  • Bring us together through outspoken denunciation of all gender bias, racism and other forms of discrimination.
  • Bring us together by fairly and respectfully including Hillary and her supporters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver by, among other things, placing her name in nomination for President, conducting a roll call vote, and providing her a prominent speaking role during prime time on August 26th, the 88th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

I own my vote. It does not belong to any party. It does not belong to any candidate. It does not belong to any mob that would impose its will on me. Only I can decide how to use my vote, and I can decide based on any criteria I choose. Therefore I pledge not to give my vote to anyone who does not earn it.

Click here to sign the pledge:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Letter to Hillary, No. 2

Dear Hillary:

There are rumors going around that you intend to campaign with Mr. Obama and encourage donors to give money to his campaign. Please, please do not do this. I am asking you not to for several reasons; first, we who have supported you throughout the primary season have learned just what kind of man Barack Obama is - and it's not a pretty picture. While you may be 'impervious' the 'slings and arrows' - we are not. We have been deeply harmed and we have not forgotten.

Second, if you move to actively support Mr. Obama, it will be seen by many of us as a betrayal - both a personal betrayal and a betrayal in the context of principle. If this is to be a democracy then the contest for leadership must conform to those principles of democracy we stand for. Packing caucuses with thugs, stealing delegates, disenfranchising voters and race-baiting may be acceptable political tactics somewhere on the globe but not in this country and not for the highest position in the land. Mr. Obama's campaign tactics are, prima facie, evidence of his unfitness for the office. If you now go out and actively support him, you implicitly accept his despicable campaign tactics and condone his racist strategy. Such action will severely damage your own hard-won credibility as the seasoned, principled leader we know you to be.

Third, practically speaking, supporting Mr. Obama will avail you nothing. He is now infamous for imperiously accepting obeisance from those he has threatened and/or muscled into acquiescence and immediately throwing them under the bus the moment there appears to be the slightest political advantage to do so.

Last, as time goes on Mr. Obama begins to show his true agenda, it becomes more and more clear that this is a man without any interest in democracy whatsoever. Much like George W Bush before him, he has little interest in the outside world, the minutiae of making things work, nor even of the broad policies that guide the work. This is a man who cannot clean his desk, who will 'hire some people who know a bunch of stuff' who does not know that Iran and Afghanistan are not Arab nations. This is a man wants to rule by fiat, who is inarticulate to the point of idiocy without a teleprompter script in front of him... this is not just a fool - this is an arrogant, selfish fool.

Do you really want to help put him on the phone at 3AM, with the 'Button' in his hand?

There is no winning strategy here for you - though there may be other strategies to win, this is not one of them. Resist those who tell you to give in and help the party - they are not your friends. Resist those who hammer on you to stay silent and keep in line - they are not your friends.

We are your friends, there are 18 million of us - please listen.

Thank you,

Craig Della Penna

Friday, June 06, 2008

Speaking with Dragons

When speaking with dragons, it is wise to know the names of things. True names have great power and if you know the dragon's name...

I've been sitting back, these last few days, watching the dust settle and seeing all the old song and dance routines, the familiar pressures brought to bear in the name of party 'unity' for the Democrats. The slow, grinding, patronizing "there, there, now, now" susurrus meant to lull all the plebes back to sleep.

You shouldn't have woken us up...

"There, there," they say, "this will all be over soon, like a bad dream and you can go back to your little lives, we'll take care of everything." And they are, the maneuvering to neutralize Hillary's supporters goes on. Maybe they'll have to give her the VP slot just to shut her up, I'm sure they'll avoid that if they possibly can - after all, then they'd have to hire a food taster for Obama, wouldn't they?

...because we're not going away now...

The point of all the posturing and faux unity nonsense is not to provide a place for the actual winner of the primaries, no, it's to provide a plausible pretext for saying - to all the 'bitter' people: "See? It's all better now, come home and we'll talk about it; there, there, now, now." smooth as butter, "Just walk with us for a little while - until November - and then you can rest." the sound of unruffled feathers fills the room ...

...we have looked behind the curtain...

They'll play on all the buttons: the "Party Unity" button - "Come on now, Hils, you've been a good little Democrat for goin' on, what now? Forty years? Done what you're told, toed the line - except for these last few months - but what the heck: forgive and forget, right? Just reel in your white racists, er , uh, disaffected Democrats for us and we'll give you a big present, mebbe pay off your campaign debts - oh, don't you worry about that legal stuff, Obama'll fix that as soon as he takes over. Mebbe, we'll even make you the VP, eh? How'd you like that? You could snooze all day over at the Naval Observatory, cut ribbons at mini-malls, go to parties, hold a bake sale - anything you want!"

...we have seen through your mask, we know your true name now...

The "Little Lady" button: "Aw, don't be like that, Hils. You know we didn't really mean it when we said you an' Chelsea were whores - that's just politics, you know nobody means anything they say out there, it's just BS to rile up the voters so they'll do what they're told... well, sure, maybe you meant it but... Sweetie, why don't you just simmer down and let the menfolk handle things, hmmm? Don't you worry your pretty little head about it anymore, all right?"

...and you have had so many names through the ages, haven't you?...

The "Patriotism" button: "You have to swallow your pride now, Hillary, it's for the good of the country. After all, we let you go on and on through the whole, entire, useless primary season, didn't we? Even though you knew you we were never going to give it you, right? So now it's time to step back in line and be a good little soldier for Obama. After all you wouldn't want that other guy to win, right? So just get your stupid supporters to shut up and do what they're told and everything will be all right."

...some names come from the old days: Alcibiades, Dionysius of Syracuse, Caligula, Attila...

After the 'sweeting' ploys are done, the bouquets scattered on the ground, the courtship over, we'll begin to see the plan unfold. The disingenuous attacks on patriotism, the false claims of moral superiority, the demonization of the 'other'. All the classic ploys that each side will now use, identical tactics and strangely similar messages - because there is now no difference between them. The Republican fanatics we have all reviled in past contests for their lies, smears and blatant racism - will now be matched filth for filth by home-grown Democratic thugs.

...some have more recent provenance: Lenin, Beria and Stalin from Russia, Mao from China, Hitler and Goebbels from Germany, Pol Pot from Cambodia, Tojo from Japan...

The grandiose proclamations, like the one today: "no lobbyist money allowed" while the lobbyists' lawyers sit on all the advisory boards and the money flows, unimpeded. Obama will, no doubt, be 'shocked, shocked' to discover that "K Street" money has somehow appeared in his coffers.

...oh, and there are others, so many, many others...

The blatant racism that pervades the Obama organization has been subject to a peculiar wrinkle in the fabric of space/time: everyone (the Obamabots, the political world and the media) has agreed to ignore it, rationalize it, invert it - to the point that, if it is ever even mentioned, the transgressor is immediately accused of racism themselves. It will be interesting to see how that strategy works when Michelle's words with Mrs. Farrakhan are 'leaked'. They may not remember, but we will.

...they come in all shapes and sizes and colors, they come as ministers or as wise men with words as seductive as a summer dusk; they come as firebrands, burning with passion, keepers of a secret flame; they come as bearers of glad tidings, eager to spread the good, good news...

The themes of the potent demagogue, riding high on the surge of his own rhetoric are legion in our culture. Hubris is the word the Greeks invented to describe the fault: overweening pride and arrogance, sufficient to make the gods take notice and intervene. Calling yourself 'transformative' might qualify, comparing yourself to Kennedy, to Lincoln, to... well, who's next? That might qualify as well. many shifting shapes, so many thin disguises, a veil for every taste, a coin for every sleight of hand...

The dance goes on and on, the steps are set, lines learned, lights on... let the beguiling begin.

...but we know you now, whatever your disguise, despite your soporific words - the sound of silk on silk - the warmth of a mother's kiss...

Like all the empty men before you, you seek to fill the void inside with the empathy and energy of your acolytes, that is why there is no surcease, no surfeit; there are never enough new followers to fill your need and there never will be. They hear in you the echo of their thoughts because you have no center, all is reflection and refraction, their hopes and dreams meet your event horizon and fall past remembrance into your dark center from which nothing escapes.

...we know what you want, the only thing you want - our grasp released, our embers banked, our brow lowered, eyes unfocused, hands folded - our acquiescence...

The unending cycle now repeats, in a slow chaconne: step - don't worry, I'll take care of you, step - give me your allegiance, step - don't bother with the details, step - I'll do the thinking for you, step - sign here and then forget, step - now you can sleep again. will not wrest it from us this time, you will have to tread the great wheel again, to another time, another imagining, finding other victims in other dreams of power...

Some, of course, will not collaborate, for any price. The proud who require honor and respect, the stubborn who demand to know the details, the critical thinkers who want positions defined and defended, the questioners who want their questions answered. We who are not satiated with soaring rhetoric (we can do that, too, we're not impressed) . We who want to know the 'what' of what is it you're planning, the 'how' of how you plan to do it, the 'why' of why it is you think we should. We have hinted and implied, we have asked and requested, required and demanded and your response has been...silence, eloquent in its quiet thunder... so be it. Now we will answer you.

...for now we know your name, we have no need to speak it, you are already robbed of your power over us. The time has come for you to hear our name - so you will know we mark you, we who will never give in, never forget, never forgive.

Our name is: Nemesis.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Just sent a letter to the Hillary campaign

Dear Hillary:

Well thought, well said, well fought... over the past several months it has become plain that the Democratic Party doesn't want you or Bill anymore... we do, however. Perhaps it's time for you to take a leap of faith - in us.

The Democratic Party is now on a journey of self-concerned, self-involved, self-immolation. Neither you nor any of us can save our erstwhile party from destruction. The best thing that we and you can do for our country now is to create a third party.

We will follow you there, all 18 million strong and more.
Please do not squander your energy and talent on the dregs of the Democratic Party. They no longer deserve you, but we do and we will dare if you will.
Yes, we can.


Craig Della Penna

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Covenant They Made

Hmmm… let’s see if I understand this:

The Democratic Party is just sick of li’l ol Iowa and New Hampshire stealing the spotlight for all those months of pre-primary campaigning. After all, these puny states have only a relatively few delegates between them and their population is only tiny percentage of the Democratic voters.

So, the DNC decides that they’re gonna put a stop to this nonsense in 2008 and they’ve got just the hombre to do it Howard “YeeHaw” Dean. Dean, with the help of some other interested parties – Brazile, Dashielle, Pelosi, etc; Obama partisans all, curiously enough – come up with a plan. They’ll declare that no state Democratic Party can hold a primary/caucus before an arbitrary day in February. There! That’ll do it!, they thought, none of those states would dare to defy our orders.

“Surprise, surprise, surprise!” as Gomer Pyle used to say. It turned out that Iowa, New Hampshire and several other states thought that they might want to get in on the early bird spotlight and through a series of negotiations Michigan decided to represent these other states in a protest against the arbitrariness of the DNC rules committee… so to discourage these miscreants the DNC decided that they would allow Iowa and New Hampshire (who were going to do what they wanted anyway) to hold their primaries/caucuses as they wanted … but the DNC would add a couple of other states to the early draw to – what? – oh yeah, to balance the demographics… yeah, that makes sense, right?

They decided to add Nevada (WTF?) which was a caucus state, mebbe that was it (?) and South Carolina as the primary state. Huh? What the heck is the logic about South Carolina? Oh wait… we really needed to let the african-american voters show their love - and did they ever.

Let’s pause a minute here to entertain a conspiracy theory: What if… Donna Brazile and a bunch of other Democrat loser, ebbing-craft, slipping-power, Pooh-Bahs (Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Dashielle, Kerry, etc, etc) had decided, after the Kerry debacle, that they wanted their very own sock-puppet to dangle just like Cheney-Rove had dangled GWB for six long years. Where would they find an idiot/naife ? Well, who better that the psychologically-damaged, conveniently mulatto, man-child, Obama? He of the stirring, though curiously content-free, speeches – this waif could be used with impunity, after all he had no provenance, no actual real world experience, no basis upon which to judge their proffers of ‘power’. How could he/they resist?

And they had learned their lesson well – the despicable lineage of Lee Atwater, Roger Ailes and Karl Rove had founded a new Madrasah. Willing acolyte David Axelrod and his ilk had studied well – and as well had studied the original craftsmen of deceit and dishonor: Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Beria, Gobbles, Mao and Goering.

How to deceive the rubes? How to convert the concupiscent? Why use the rule of opposites… if your client-puppet is a black racist: accuse his opponents of being white racists! If your opponent is a woman, let your representatives heap scorn and humiliation, make tawdry jokes, name her a bitch, call her a whore… if you have no policies, no program other than your own overweening pride; whatthehell, elide any questions, avoid any actual substantive debate, concentrate on your feelings, her personality, your cuteness, her reported stony façade. Emphasize her stiffness, her wonkiness, her ‘likeable enough’ quotient. After all that’s what’s really important here: you’re cute and she’s… old, really old…

Not to worry, thought the Democratic ‘leaders’, Obama’s legions of brain-dead zombies will carry us forward as far as we wish to go…

So, they formulated their plan and suborned the primary process through subversion of the votes, complicity with the cross-over Republican voters, intimidation in the caucuses, threats, intimidation of the delegates – all the classic Bolshevik/Rovian strategies – culminating in the blatant, naked takeover of the DNC rules committee which stole delegates from primary voters and awarded them to the hijackers.

The transparent, despicable posturing of the DNC in yesterday’s exercise in Marxist double-speak, was indicative of the direction the - now dead - Democratic Party wishes to go. This is no longer the party of labor, workers, citizens (vs business). This new radical leftist/fascist party is now a cult of personality, dedicated to the vapid, festered guidance of a single, pathological entity. Their every action dedicated to his consecration, their every thought consecrated to his ascension, their very will offered in sacrifice to his accretion of power.

Fanaticism, requires no prima facie, it asks no perception from its adherents, it abjures critical thought and strives to eliminate: questions, reflection, - thought itself. Fanaticism such as the New Obamaist Democrats want only your blind obedience, your thoughtless, mindless acquiescence to whatever the Obama high command generates as the thought for the day.

So, the “Democrats” had to rationalize their machinations (not for the benefit of the cadres – they don’t care how they win , so long as they win) but for the despised, but vitally necessary ‘bitter’ Democrats – the white-trash democrats, the Hillary supporters who they hated but who are absolutely necessary for the anticipated Bolshevik victory in November.

How to mollify, persuade – deceive – those stomach-churning, useful fools – the Hillary supporters? What about faking a proposal to – kinda, sorta – make believe that we support the (stupid) voters in Florida and Michigan? After all, we don’t have to really listen to these idiots, we just have to get them to sign on to the Obama Democratic Party for November, after that – who cares?

That’s the ‘secret’ plan surfacing in these troubled waters, revealed almost by accident in yesterday’s pageant. I watched the first 40 minutes of the charade and concluded, rightly as it turned out, that the fix was in and that the only thing they really had left to do was to fight for table space close to The Anointed One… and make sure to show the Clintons where the servants exit door was.

This was the covenant they made those many months ago, achieve the nomination by any means necessary: lie, cheat, steal, intimidate, suborn the vote, disenfranchise legitimate votes that don’t go your way. Bribe some delegates with puerile promises of influence and power, intimidate the ones you can’t bribe, threaten their careers, murmur sweet nothings in their ears about what might happen if they don’t acquiesce, comply… submit. This is the covenant they will live by going forward, anyone no longer useful will be thrown under the bus (I see The Anointed One’s church is no longer useful) or pushed back into the closet until white-trash relatives come to visit - they’ve pulled Joe Biden out of the closet and dusted him off to show that Obama knows how to spell ‘foreign policy’. The propaganda tsunami rolls on, the main stream press mouthpieces are stacked in maintenance mode until The Anointed One needs them to savage McCain. This is the covenant they seek to make for our future.

This will not stand. There will be repercussions. The contempt of the Obamaites for the rest of us and their blind assumption that we white-trash ‘bitter’ people will do what we’re told; that will be the rock upon which they founder.

As I read and communicate with others in the politically active community of the internet I have seen a new movement of the masses. More and more often I see and hear and read from people who have heretofore been silent, content to let the world of politics wend its way; confident that, in the end, the right choice would be obvious to all… no longer. They have seen the light at the end of this tunnel and they know it for the oncoming train it is. The Obama Party thinks they have the nomination/election wrapped up, they assume that all those old union members, white-trash ‘bitter’ people, creepy old people, frumpy housewives, low class, blue collar worker bees – will all come back to the fold (after all, where do they have to go?)

Not this time. Not for this vapid, senseless, stupid crew of thugs. They can stand in the smoking ruins of a party they chose to incinerate. They can reap the whirlwind of the viciousness and enmity they have sown. To paraphrase Shakespeare:

The Obama Party is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets its hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

But we who remain and can think, may choose another path.