Sunday, August 31, 2008

MoveOn's talking points on the disturbing Palin selection

On August 30, 2008 MoveOn sent an alert outlining some key disturbing features of Governor Sarah Palin (quotes are direct form their email alert; colored text links to the references):

*1: She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside of Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.

*2: Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

*3: She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000.

*4: Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.

*5: She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.

*6: She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska..

*7: How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.

John F. Kennedy on how we should really treat religion in politics

Unfortunately, with the infusion of religion into our government, via "faith-based initiatives," with the infusion of faith into politics by obliging Barack Obama to attest to his Christian faith, we today have run far away from the credo of our first century and a half of politicians, to keep religious feelings to oneself.

It is inspiring to recall John F. Kennedy's address to Southern Baptists in the 1960 presidential campaign:
[B]ecause 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.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute -- where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be a Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote -- where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference -- and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials -- and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For, while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew -- or a Quaker -- or a Unitarian -- or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim -- but tomorrow it may be you -- until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end -- where all men and all churches are treated as equal -- where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice -- where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind -- and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, both the lay and the pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe -- a great office that must be neither humbled by making it the instrument of any religious group, nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding it, its occupancy from the members of any religious group. I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the First Amendment's guarantees of religious liberty (nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so). And neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test -- even by indirection -- for if they disagree with that safeguard, they should be openly working to repeal it.

I want a chief executive whose public acts are responsible to all and obligated to none -- who can attend any ceremony, service or dinner his office may appropriately require him to fulfill -- and whose fulfillment of his Presidential office is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation.

This is the kind of America I believe in -- and this is the kind of America I fought for in the South Pacific and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we might have a "divided loyalty," that we did "not believe in liberty or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened "the freedoms for which our forefathers died."

And in fact this is the kind of America for which our forefathers did die when they fled here to escape religious test oaths, that denied office to members of less favored churches, when they fought for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom -- and when they fought at the shrine I visited today -- the Alamo. For side by side with Bowie and Crockett died Fuentes and McCafferty and Bailey and Bedillio and Carey -- but no one knows whether they were Catholics or not. For there was no religious test there.

I ask you tonight to follow in that tradition, to judge me on the basis of fourteen years in the Congress -- on my declared stands against an ambassador to the Vatican, against unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, and against any boycott of the public schools (which I attended myself) -- and instead of doing this do not judge me on the basis of these pamphlets and publications we have all seen that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of Catholic Church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and rarely relevant to any situation here -- and always omitting of course, that statement of the American bishops in 1948 which strongly endorsed church-state separation.

I do not consider these other quotations binding upon my public acts -- why should you? But let me say, with respect to other countries, that I am wholly opposed to the state being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit or prosecute the free exercise of any other religion. And that goes for any persecution at any time, by anyone, in any country.

And I hope that you and I condemn with equal fervor those nations which deny it to Catholics. And rather than cite the misdeeds of those who differ, I would also cite the record of the Catholic Church in such nations as France and Ireland -- and the independence of such statesmen as de Gaulle and Adenauer.

But let me stress again that these are my views -- for, contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President [but the candidate] who happens also to be a Catholic.

I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me.

Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected -- on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling, or any other subject -- I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictate. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come -- and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible -- when my office would require me to either violate my conscience, or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office, and I hope any other conscientious public servant would do likewise.

But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith, nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election. If I should lose on the real issues, I shall return to my seat in the Senate satisfied that I tried my best and was fairly judged.

But if this election is decided on the basis that 40,000,000 Americans lost their chance of being President on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole nation that will be the loser in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people.

But if, on the other hand, I should win this election, I shall devote every effort of mind and spirit to fulfilling the oath of the Presidency -- practically identical, I might add with the oath I have taken for fourteen years in the Congress. For, without reservation, I can, and I quote "solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution so help me God."

Source: New York Times, September 13, 1960.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin & troopergate opera: this-is-why-there-is-a-vetting-process

Hello?! The Sarah Palin developing story of troopergate is why you have a vetting process. Just what is a vetting process? This is a euphemism for snooping into your potential running mate or appointee's history, to see if there is any dirt that will deep-six your appointee's political viability or integrity.
Look at how the Obama campaign managed the selection process. They assigned Caroline Kennedy the mission of weighing and vetting various nominee possibilities.
Here's are the main characters in the political soap opera:
*Palin's sister, Molly, who had a contentious custody dispute with her ex-husband,
*Michael Wooten, an Alaska State Trooper
*Walter Monegan, Alaska Commissioner of Public Safety

Walter Monegan claims that --while Palin never explicitly asked him to fire Michael Wooten-- Governor Palin's office raised the topic of Wooten's performance several times after December, 2006. "The Washington Post" found that Palin at first denied that she or anyone in her staff put pressure on Monegan to fire Wooten. However, by the summer of 2008, Palin admitted that her office made more than half a dozen calls to Monegan over the issue of Wooten. (See "Washington Post Investigations," "Exclusive: Chief Fired by Palin Speaks Out.") Simply put, Monegan has said that he felt implicit pressure from Gov. Palin, to fire her sister's trooper ex-husband, Wooten.
For a fuller exploration of Gov. Palin's troopergate, see this August 30 post at fellow blog, "The Political Carnival."

Just how was the Palin selection decision made? The controversy had been growing over the summer. It is incongruous that McCain did not allow adequate vetting of her selection.

* * *
A note on why this smear stuff matters

The Democrats and the Republicans live in two parallel universes:

Look at our nominees: our nominees are concerned with improving the lot of the majority of the American people; they are concerned with improving the diplomatic integrity of the American government, particularly, how we are seen internationally.

Just look at who the Republicans present as standard-bearers: for the second nominee in a row, in John McCain we have another bad-boy frat-boy type, this time, someone that makes coarse jokes at his wife's expense. (Put this in contrast to Obama or Kerry, speaking in measured, at times stentorian tones . . . )

The Democrats worry about getting the votes of people reading the New York Times or middle of the road or moderate-conservative publications such as The Atlantic or the National Journal.
Republicans are concerned about getting someone you'd want to have a beer with (Bush II or McCain, "McSame"). It is in this context that the Palin selection begins to make more sense: she's someone you'd want to have head your PTA or that you'd want to be your children's godmother.

So, for some voters, the ticket to Democratic success is to appeal on policy grounds. For other Republicans the main appeal is instead on the emotive level. The Republican talk radio cabal (Monica Crowley, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, etc.), a de facto arm of the Republican Party, have shunted aside the foreign policy expertise criterion that they applied to assessing Obama and have concocted non-policy, non-resume oriented mantras to justify her nomination.
Echoing the pitch about how Bush II and McCain are "regular guys," the Republican narrative machine and the voices echoing their talking points in the mainstream media, package Palin as the "hockey mom" trademark. Monica Crowley gets even bolder, labeling her today, "so cool" and "the It Girl."

The Democratic nominees campaign as gentlemen; the Republican nominees (or their operatives) operative through dirty smear and innuendo. Witness, for the latter, the Bush I smear campaign against Michael Dukakis; witness Swift Boat's smears against John Kerry. Let's hope that Barack Obama continues to break the Dukakis/Kerry mold of "remaining gentlemen, beyond the fray."

So, as to why this kind of personal issue matters. Focusing only on substantive issues, such as Palin's total opposition to abortion, her support for teaching creationism in public schools, is not sufficient. Again, Republicans operate in a parallel universe of using a different logic from Republicans. They work on a field of rhetoric, not substance, emotion, not substance, personal issues, not substance. We should defeat Republicans by targeting them at their points of vulnerability in areas of emotion and personal character. Democrats should put Palin's strong-arming and exploitation of her political and supervisory power front and center at discussions of her character.

* * * The quality of VP choices:
the Democratic nominees conscientiously try to get high quality runner-ups: witness Lyndon Johnson, Walter Mondale, Lloyd Bentsen, Al Gore, Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, the Republicans have many VP choices that scream: "don't impeach me, look-who-will-follow-me-should-I-step-down:" Spiro Agnew, Dan Quayle, and now Sarah Palin.

The unbearably light qualifications of Sarah Palin

Sarah who? Let's see how the right wingers and their pundit friends in the mainstream media make excuses or other justifications for John McCain's vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska.

The core of their critique against Obama has been his age and his experience. the choice of Palin is acutely hypocritical, as she is 44 years of age, compared to Obama's 47 years. Her experience at major levels of government is thinner than that of Obama's. He had been in the Illinois Senate for eight years and by the end of this year will have been in the U.S. Senate for four years, specifically, since January, 2005. Again, by contrast, Palin's government resume, before assuming the Alaska governorship in December, 2006, consisted of being mayor of Wasilla, what wikipedia contributors gushingly called Alaska's "fastest growing community," population, 8,000. It is a galling double standard for anyone to criticize Obama for his experience and at the same time tout the qualifications of Palin, who just entered the governor's office less than two years ago.

Of course, Democrats cannot become too sanguine over McCain's disastrously clumsy choice. Recall Dan Quayle; his verbal gaffes and his calamitous debate face-off with Lloyd Bentsen led many Democrats to think that he would surely sink George H.W. Bush's 1988 candidacy. We should think again, and not let up on underscoring how the Obama-Biden ticket is more mature, more contemplative and more responsible than this cynical McCain-Palin pairing.

Christopher Hayes of the Nation reminds us today that the Associated Press reported that Sarah Palin was a Pat Buchanan supporter in his presidential bid. The AP reported that she was among Buchanan supporters in a 1999 campaign gathering in Alaska:
"Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan's strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage."

In an August 29, 2008 appearance on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" Buchanan confirmed that she supported him for president.

Other veteran Republican elected officials must feel insulted by McCain's choice of Palin. Couldn't he have selected a Republican woman who was not a Buchanan supporter? She has zero foreign policy credentials. Couldn't he have selected a Republican woman who has experience and an education in foreign policy? As several pundits and blogs have opined, McCain's choice of Palin is shallow, rank tokenism.

With much of the nation fixated on foreign policy issues, perhaps we should reconsider the tendency to so quickly gravitate towards emphasizing presidential and vice-presidential candidates with gubernatorial experience. An exclusively state level-oriented resume usually indicates far less foreign policy expertise than Senate or U.S. House experience does.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Clintons & Obama, pt. 2

Ever since the mystery and drama left the major political party conventions --beginning with the first thoroughly scripted convention (the Republicans' 1972 convention, when Nixon breezed into a second nomination)-- the events have been predictable and often dull. The Democrats' convention this week has been punctuated by several memorable speeches: Michelle Obama's speech, speeches by party superstars (Kennedy, Kerry and Gore) stressing the urgency of an Obama victory. The Clinton team's stance toward Obama improved during Convention week.
More than a few columnists cited Hillary Clinton's endorsement speech as being "Obama-less." Bill Clinton did much on Wednesday night to counteract the lack of enthusiasm by Hillary. Numerous times he cited Obama's vision, program, intelligence and capability for being president. The speech was classic Bill Clinton: articulate and rousing. He essentially retracted his statement to ABC News suggesting that Barack Obama was not ready to be president. One would hope that Wednesday's enthusiam negated the doubt-casting assessment he gave earlier in the month.

Barack Obama's speech last night was further evidence that Obama is someone that has studied the campaigns of the past and has selected the strengths of some campaigns and avoided the pitfalls of other speeches. His high school years, years of growing attentiveness to politics for future politicos included the 1976 candidacy of Jimmy Carter. It is instructive to recall Carter's campaign and to note some parallels to Obama's campaign. Carter campaigned on a smile and on wanting to reform Wahington. This was a winning combination for his campaign. Like Obama, he seemed the outsider at the start of the campaign. He was less ideological and less liberal than other better known contenders such as Mo Udall, Frank Church or Jerry Brown. The smile and centrist essence of his campaign struck some party regulars as too folksy, potentially evading the pressing issues. Yet, he prevailed in the primaries and in the convention.
Obama has performed in a similar manner: the pitch for change has frustrated some of the Democrats' left flank, as it had provided fodder for the right-wing chat-sters. Akin to Carter, it seemed simplistic, non-substantive, lacking in policy specifics, a feel good phrase that wowed over voters.
And yet, it worked. In a year with a worsening economic situation, especially in industrial regions, Obama's uplifting and positive message struck a contrast to John Edwards' campaign's tone. Edwards' stump speech was full of sad stories. This writer agreed with his economic populism. But frankly, Edwards' narratives of failure were too depressing. Obama, on the other hand, spoke to bright horizons, of coming together and so forth.
And, so, Obama has won the nomination, perhaps studying and adopting the method of Carter.

Obama's speech last night also may have been the product of studying the strenghts and failures of Democratic presidential nominees since 1988. Obama's speech struck the right balance of policy substance and brevity. Too much policy specifics, and too much pondering would render him vulnerable the charge of being a dull bore, of coming across as academic. Think of Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry. Obama, one could argue is a parallel to Bill Clinton, a bright politician, an astute student of history, yet someone that can keep the specifics to limited chunks and can focus on the folksy stories emphasizing family history and shared values --things that drive intellectuals batty. Terms limits keep us from having another Bill Clinton; but parallels in oration and campaign style have given us the closest parallel in a candidate.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bravo to PBS!

Wowww!!! Mainstream media addressing race and racism among voters.

Yes, you can see it actually happening on "The Charlie Rose Show."

One other point, yes, Obama HAS gotten specific on policy. University of Maryland professor Ronald Walters, a panelist on C.Rose tonight said that he researched back to 2007, and found plenty of policy substance in Obama's speeches. (OK, I will concede that he says "Change" and "Hope" too much, lending himself to be seen as a characture, as something out of a film. Unfortunately, the clips that we get on the television news are his reiterating these sound bytes, not his enumeration of policy points.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beschloss' cogent criticism of Hillary Clinton's speech

Tonight on the PBS pundit panel, house PBS historian Michael Beschloss gave a rather cogent criticism of Hillary Clinton's speech tonight at the Denver Democratic National Convention. He noted that Clinton's endorsement was unenthusiastic, and that it was generic. Paraphrasing Beschloss, it was the essentially the same kind of speech she would have given were Senator Chris Dodd the Democratic nominee.

She could have given a more pointed endorsement of Obama's platform, by selecting key points of his platform. She could have point by point assailed John McCain's platform. After this, she could have made a summation argument that underscored the profound differences between the opposing candidates. Instead, her endorsement was vague and general, not quite "tepid," but hardly enthusiastic.

Obama and America's racial integrity; On Obama's age

That is, our electorate's integrity on race will be tested on race.

So far, we have much cause to worry when it comes down to how American voters will treat race. Michele Norris, on PBS' analytical discussions late Monday night of Barack Obama and race, squarely identified a key factor in voters' minds: Obama's race. She squarely noted that many voters are using code words and phrases as foils to express their discomfort with his race. All of this talk about "not knowing him well enough" is bunk; many voters are, frankly, racist. That is, they will not vote for Obama because he is part black. Connie Schultz, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, also on PBS's convention discussion panels, followed up on Norris' point Monday night, noting her blue collar background, emphasized her conversations with working class voters and many blue collar voters' saying that they will not vote for Obama because of his race. For decades, race has been the great cleavage in American society, dividing the working class. As Schultz pointed out, this great divide has persisted into the current election.

Phrases such as "I don't know him well enough," "I don't feel comfortable enough with him" are mere foils, mere cover for voters' racial anxiety. It is sad that pundits reiterate these phrases, without recognizing the deeper, the essential meaning of these phrases.

I am not arguing that to reject Obama indicates that a voter is racist. Rather, I am arguing that if the only thing that voters can produce is to not know him well enough is cause for not voting for him, then this suggests that it is quite likely that voters are racists and that they are using these phrases as excuses for their racism. There has been ample television coverage of Obama and his personal life. This litmus test of "knowing him personally" is unusual: Americans have known the same or far less about presidential candidates in the past and this did not prevent them from voting for them.

I feel a great uneasiness that this vote is the great litmus test for the American electorate's racial majority. Whether America has moved on, on the issue of race, will be tested on election day. Let's see how the votes come down; let's see what exit polls say and let's see what kinds of questions these exit polls ask.

Do voters want a fairer tax code for humbler classes? Do voters want out from this financial quagmire of a war? Then, they want Obama.
* * *
Here's Patricia Williams of the Nation, addressing the question of language and implicit narrative in the campaign, "Is It Racist to Say Obama's Untested?," in AlterNet, August 21, 2008.

Even Daivd Gergen suggested that McCain is using code words. See Sam Stein, August 3 in the Huffington Post: Gergen: McCain Using Code Words To Attack Obama As "Uppity"

The issue of age is one of those double standards that Obama is facing. We are forgetting that other presidents have had the same youthful age when assuming office. How often is age cited negatively in assessing John Kennedy's performance? While Kennedy is often noted as the youngest person elected president, Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest person to assume the presidency. He was 42 years, 10 months when he assumed the presidency, following William McKinley's assassination in 1901. His youth was never held against him in analyses of his presidential performance. By contrast, Obama will be 47 years of age on election.

Now, as to government experience, Obama exceeds the experience of Abraham Lincoln. We often remember Lincoln for the Lincoln-Douglas debates for the Senate. Yet, we forget that he lost and did not serve in the Senate. He had served merely two years as a member of the Illinois delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Labor and our democratic party

Democratic --connoting the people-- Party ... how well is this party representing working people? To the point, how well is the party mobilizing on the issues relating to trade unions, as trade unions are the instruments of working people's democratic self-expression and self-defense on the job. There is plenty of talk about the diversity of the Democratic Party. Is the labor movement under the party's tent?

We should be looking to the Democratic Party's platform in the Denver convention this week. First, will the party put the new check-off party vote on the platform; and secondly, will the party put overall labor law reform on the platform?

More crucially, will Barack Obama campaign on these issues, even if they get into the platform? And will party candidates in general, campaign on these issues?

The first reform (check off) is needed to allow workers to join unions, unintimidated by owners and management.

We should remember that things that we take for granted, such as the 40 hour work week and worker's compensation, and the weekend, we owe to the hard labor of the organized labor movement of this country.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's an Obama-Biden '08 ticket! The bio

Early this morning the Barack Obama campaign announced that Obama had chosen Senator Joe Biden (Delaware) as his vice-presidential (VEEP) nominee. The news was sent out by text messages and email.

The two candidates will begin touring today in Springfield, Illinois, at a 2:00 PM Central Daylight Time.

Biden was born on November 20, 1942, and he joined the Senate in 1973 at the age of 30. He was one of the youngest senators ever elected to the Senate.

Biden brings strong foreign policy expertise. He is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He will be a familiar face to viewers of Sunday morning talk shows, being the second most frequent guest to "Meet the Press," after John McCain

He brings demographic connections that Obama "needs": he is an Irish-Catholic and he has a working class roots. In contrast to McCain's callous abandonment of his wife upon his return from Vietnam, Biden shows that he is a strong family man. Biden commuted daily to Wilmington, Delaware, back from Washington, to tend to his two sons. This was an essential commitment, as his wife and daughter had died in a fatal car accident. His sister and her family moved in, to help Biden's family. In 1977 he married his current wife, Neilia Hunter. They had a daughter together.

Obama's choice demonstrates that Obama has humility and is inclined to forgive and move on, for political expediency. Specifically, this shows forgiveness for Biden's asinine, patronizing comment that Obama is an African-American candidate "who is articulate and bright and clean."

The debut Obama-Biden rally will be broadcast at 2:00 PM, on Spread the word.

Biden is known for pointedly speaking his mind. He aptly assailed Rudy Giuliani's speaking style as consisting of nouns, verbs, glued together by 911.

We would hope that Biden counsels Obama on the need to respond (of course, when appropriate) with aggression to Republican attacks. Theda Skocpol, a Harvard University government and sociology professor, advised Obama to be more aggressive and pointed. Her "Wake Up, Obama Camp" in states the case as to why aggressive responses to McCain et al are important in the campaign for president:
Politics is not just about issues, it is a metaphorical test of strength. If a man will not get immediately -- if quietly -- angry and fight back when his patriotism is attacked, why should we trust him to defend the country? And if he won't punch back by explaining clearly why his approach to foreign policy is actually tougher and smarter, why McCain's is thoughtless and reckless, why would we think he is better to be Commander in Chief?

In her closing paragraph, Skocpol advised, "And pick a FIGHTER for VP, please. Do it yesterday. Obama, you need someone who will push hard at your side and make you better, too." With his choice of Biden, Obama has done that.

Watch Biden's heartwarming story of overcoming his hardships of stuttering and overcoming family tragedy shortly before his 1973 senatorial swearing-in, in an ABC News interview with Charles Gibson.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain for the draft? Youtube at Town Hall

John McCain addressed the subject of a draft at a town hall meeting in Las Cruces, Nem Mexico on August 20, 2008.

Similar to the old hair ad, does he favor bringing back the draft?:
Does he or doesn't he?

Associated Content says, no, his "Exchange in Las Cruces Taken Out of Context."

This piece, from does lend to the taken out of context argument:
Today at a townhall meeting, an audience member praised Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for his vow to “follow bin Laden to the gates of hell.” After a long question about veterans’ care, the questioner said she believed we needed to reinstate the draft, to which McCain seemed to readily agree:

QUESTIONER: If we don’t reenact the draft, I don’t think we’ll have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.

MCCAIN: Ma’am, let me say that I don’t disagree with anything you said.



AUDIENCE MEMBER: Senator McCain I truly hope you get the opportunity to chase Bin Laden right to the gates of hell and push him in as you stated on your forum. I do have a question though. Disable veterans, especially in this state have horrible conditions, their medical is substandard. They drive four hours one way to Albuquerque for a simple doctors appointment which is often canceled. Our VA hospital is dirty it is understaffed, it is running on maximum overload. The prescription medicines are ten years behind standard medical care we have seven hundred claims stacked up at the VA office in Albuquerque some of them are ten and seven years old waiting to be processed in the mean time these people are homeless. My son is an officer in the Air Force, and I am a vet and I was raised in a military family. I think it is a sad state of affairs when we have illegal aliens having a Medicaid card that can access specialist top physicians, the best of medical and our vets can’t even get to a doctor. These are the people that we tied yellow ribbons for and Bush patted on the back. If we don’t reenact the draft I don’t think we will have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.

MCCAIN: Ma’am let me say that I don’t disagree with anything you said and thank you and I am grateful for your support of all of our veterans.

Watch the youtube video and see what you think about the draft question.

McCain's mansions, pt. 2

John McCain doesn't know how many homes he owns.

Here's McCain answering a question about how many homes he owns, from Politico:
I think - I'll have my staff get to you. It's condominiums where - I'll have them get to you.

Is it 7 . . . or 13 . . .? This is the estimate that investigators have.

Even yahoo news has picked it up, in Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen's " McCain unsure how many houses he owns."

Brave New Films has yet another
viral video, this time on the number of homes that Hon and Cindy have. ... all of this in a time of mortgage, Freddie and Fannie crises.

[Thanks to the Blue Mass. Group.]


"The Chicago Sun Times" couldn't have said it better: "It's true; McCain has seven homes in five cities and three states."

And now, the Barack Obama campaign, using McCain's own words of bafflement in a 30 second TV ad, "Seven."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Political Truth -the blog that rocks: Ohio Congresswoman Tubbs Jones dead at 58

POLITICAL TRUTH-THE BLOG THAT ROCKS: Ohio Congresswoman Tubbs Jones dead at 58
See below for analysis of her place in the protection of the integrity of the vote.

Stephanie Tubb Jones and America's democratic republic

(Re my use of republic, go back to my first post, for a refresher: we live in a republic. A democracy connotes law-making and rule by all people.)

Stephanie Tubb Jones passed away, less an hour ago from an aneurism, in Cleveland, Ohio's Huron Hospital. She was a "reliably liberal" Congresswoman, representing Cleveland, as the obituaries report, such as Matt Schudel's of the "Washington Post".

As we mourn her passing and appreciate her service, we are reminded of how she stood up and acted decisively to protect the integrity of the vote. Specifically, she challenged the legitimacy of the 2004 vote for president, as officially tallied. "Sabra," a blog-poster at , uploaded Tubb Jones' January 6, 2005 office's statement that challenged the veracity of the vote count.

One of the more politically irritating and frustrating moments of watching "Fahrenheit 911" was watching the majority of Congress stay silent during the reading of the 2000 vote tally. Just a few Congresspeople valiantly refused to sit quietly. Let us remember the latter group and Tubb Jones and keep a mindful eye on the integrity of the vote.

Let's appreciate the most powerful part of Tubb Jones' statement:
"It is on behalf of those millions of Americans who believe in and value our democratic process and the right to vote that I put forth this objection today. If they are willing stand at the polls for countless hours in the rain as many did in Ohio, then I can surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress.

"This objection does not have at its root the hope or even the hint of overturning or challenging the victory of the President; but it is a necessary, timely and appropriate opportunity to review and remedy the most precious process in our democracy."

"I raise this objection neither to put the nation in the turmoil of a proposed overturned election nor to provide cannon fodder or partisan demagoguery for my fellow Republican Members of Congress.

"I raise this objection because I am convinced that we as a body must conduct a formal and legitimate debate about election irregularities. I raise this objection to debate the process and protect the integrity of the true will of the people.

"Again, I thank Senator Boxer for joining me in this objection to the counting of Ohio's electoral votes due to the considerable number of voting irregularities that transpired in my home state.

"There are serious allegations in two lawsuits pending in Ohio that debate the constitutionality of the denial of provisional ballots to voters (The Sandusky County Democratic Party v. J. Kenneth Blackwell) and Ohio's vote recount (Yost v. David Cobb, et al.). These legitimate questions brought forward by the lawsuits, which go to the core of our voting and Democratic process, should be resolved before Ohio's electoral votes are certified.

"Moreover, as you are aware, advancing legislative initiatives is more challenging when you are in the minority party in Congress. However, this challenge is multiplied when you are in the minority in the House of Representatives because of House rules, compared to Senate rules.

"Voting irregularities were an issue after the 2000 presidential election, when Democratic House initiatives relating to election reform were not considered.

"Therefore, in order to prevent our voices from being kept silent, it is imperative that we object to the counting of Ohio's electoral votes and debate the issue of Ohio's voting improprieties.

Tubb Jones was trying to make sure that our republic be truly democratic, truly representative of the people's (or at least those willing to vote) will.

It was upsetting to see, in the instances of 2000 and 2004, the losing Democratic nominees, Al Gore and John Kerry, respectively sit mute during the fury over contestable votes, or voting irregularities. They were acting too gentlemanly in not expressing an outcry. This might be fine if it were a card match. But this is our government and the direction of four years of policy (and longer, considering the Supreme Court nominees). Let us make sure that we don't veer in the direction of the gentlemanly losers if the November vote appears fraught with irregularities.

McCain's mansions

This just in, courtesy of Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films. It's very well-put:
"Most working families today do not have homes that have anywhere near ten rooms. John McCain has ten houses. Many working people in America have to work two and three jobs to provide for their families and pay their car loans. John McCain hops on a private jet. Is it any wonder why McCain champions a George Bush agenda of cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, helping oil companies turn record profits, and leaving working families to fend for themselves? McCain's velvet world leaves him utterly unprepared to make the tough choices we need to restore the middle class and ensure that everyone in America has quality, affordable health insurance."

- Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Political hate crime shootings, now in Arkansas

Today, minutes before noon, a gunman entered the Democratic headquarters in Little Rock Arkansas and asked to speak with Bill Gwatney. (Gwatney is the Arkansas Democratic Party Chair and is a former state senator.) A secretary turned him away; yet, he forced his way into Gwatney's office. He shot Gwatney several times. Gwatney is in critical condition in a nearby hospital, reported. The suspect, a white male in his 40s was shot while fleeing police from the shooting scene.

Less than a month ago, on July 27, there was a mass shooting at a liberal Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Two died and six were wounded as a result of the shooting.

Jim David Adkisson, the Tennessee shooter's rage echoed the themes of hate-filled right-wing talk radio. WBIR-TV obtained a letter in which the shooter targeted the church "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his [sic] country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets." "The Knoxville News Sentinel" reported in Hayes Hickman and Don Jacobs' "Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity on accused shooter's reading list: 4-page letter outlines frustration, hatred of 'liberal movement'" that Indeed, in his home he possessed copies of books by Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity.


Gwatney died from the gun wounds, at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital at 3:49 PM, "Arkansas Business" reported. Here is "Arkansas Business"'s obituary of Gwatney, "Gwatney A Bright Star in Arkansas Politics, Business" by Jan Cottingham. Apparently, Gwatney was more recently chief executive officer of Gwatney Chevrolet in neighboring Jacksonville. He leaves behind his second wife, two daughters and two step-daughters, "The International Herald Tribune" reports.

Police identified the gunman as Timothy Dale Johnson. News outlets have alternately identified the gunman as 50 years old or 51 years old.

By sheer coincidence "Newsday" (of Long Island, New York) this morning published an opinion piece, "Does shock jock hate speech lead to violence?"
The New York Times reported that politics had no role in the shooting.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

US flies Georgia troops to Georgia war

The United States armed forces have flown the Georgian contingent of the international coalition of troops back to Georgia. Until the troop withdrawal, Georgia had the third largest contingent, with 2,000 troops, following the United Kingdom. Georgia represented the last non-British force to have a contingent of troops in excess of 1,000 in Iraq. During peak years of 2003 and 2004 the international coalition included many countries having forces between 1,000 and 3,600 troops in Iraq: South Korea, Poland, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Georgia.

Russia did much to provoke a pretext for invading. It issued passports to people in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Hence, it could intervene, on the pretext of protecting "its people."

Monday, August 11, 2008

McCain's lobbyist culture: Georgia

What relationships could prejudice John McCain's pronouncements on the South Ossetia-based Russia/Georgia war? Again, where is the straight talk coming from? Let us see what is in the background of what McCain is saying in his loud talk. Everytime he speaks forcefully on an issue, there is, coincidentally, a conflict of interest: there are staff links or contribution links between him and the issue. (Either there is a major staff advisor that has lobbyist ties or McCain has been getting contributions from an industry, indicating a conflict of interest.) Hence, the Barack Obama campaign spokesperson Hari Sevugan says: John McCain is
"ensconced in a lobbyist culture."

Last week, we addressed McCain's connection to big oil financial contributors.

Now it is revealed today in "The Wall Street Journal" that
McCain's top foreign policy advisor
, Randy Scheunemann that was on the pay from the government of the Caucasus republic of Georgia, as a lobbyist, until March. However, this interruption in the lobbyist role does not represent a break from Georgia. In April, Scheunemann's consulting company, Orion Strategies, signed a $200,000 contract to represent the country's interest. Scheunemann argues that he is less entwined with the firm, as he is has stopped being a registered lobbyist for the company, yet one should remember that he still owns the company. This bears strong parallels to Vice President Dick Cheney's removing himself from Halliburton's daily operations, and the financial windfalls that he has enjoyed from Halliburton.

Previously, Scheunemann had been a foreign policy aide to Senator Trent Lott (Mississippi). McCain has been inappropriately sociable with Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili. "The Wall Street Journal" article, "McCain Adviser Was Lobbyist for Georgia", adds that McCain on his third trip to Georgia (2006), McCain rode around on jet skiis at the Black Sea villa with Saakashvili.

Should U.S. Senators be practicing sporting activities with foreign leaders? The coziness can lead to an impression of being too amiable and a likeliness to develop policy bias in favor of the foreign state or foreign interests.

Scheunemann's influence should be troubling for anyone, liberal or those conservatives less inclined to neoconservative international adventurism. Scheunemann has been an aggressive voice advocating for regime change. In 2002 he served as the executive director of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. He also had close ties with the Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi, dating to Chalabi's pre-invasion exile years. Other parts of Scheunemann's professional portfolio include lobbying for a range of countries --including Georgia-- that wish to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On
The links with energy interests just keep on coming.

July 20, Scheunemann's name arose in a "Times of London" report of the dismissal of the George W. Bush lobbyist Stephen Payne.
(Payne had been dismissed after offering to bribe White House officials with a $250,000 contribution to the Bush Presidential Library.) Payne said that Scheunemann was “working with me on my payroll for five of the last eight years.” (Scheunemann worked for the Azerbaijan-based Caspian Alliance in 2005. The Caspian Alliance is a subsidiary of Payne's Worldwide Strategic Energy.) For more discussion of the McCain-Scheunemann-Payne-foreign interest links, see Lindsay Beyerstein's July 22 piece, "McCain campaign continues to obscure the record on Scheunemann and Payne."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Excellent chart: McCain beholden to Big Oil contributors

Excellent chart detailing the Big Oil money contributions to the John McCain. Scroll to the bottom to click on the chart and find oil corporation contributions to McCain's presidential campaign.
It comes from Oil Change USA.

No wonder he's a one note Johnny with a determinist explanation for our energy woes: Just let us drill more. This is why many of us call him "John McSame," continuing the pro-big oil policies of Bush-Cheney.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Effects of McCain's lobbyist ties

The New York Times reported on July 27 on the lobbyist contributions to John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. McCain clearly led the three in contributions from lobbyists. His campaign has received $181,000 from lobbyists. Obama has received slightly more than $6,000 from lobbyists; and Clinton received more than $87,000 in contributions from lobbyists.

Document shipper DHL was bought by the German, Deutsche Post World Net in 2002. Then, in less than a year, the firm was bought by Airborne Express. The company is now about to leave a Wilmington, Ohio airport. The human cost of this is a job loss of 8,000 jobs, Stephen Koff reported in The Cleveland Plain Dealer on August 6.
Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, was a lobbyist that pushed for this merger

Public Campaign Action Fund has issued a fact sheet Wednesday, August 6, on the very dirty details:
But while McCain has expressed concern about anti-trust issues, and the entire Ohio congressional delegation has called for an investigation (1), a report today in the Cleveland Plain Dealer shows that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in fact played an important role in the merger deal that permitted a foreign-owned company to own DHL in the first place.

“Those jobs are on the chopping block because Sen. McCain and his campaign were involved in a deal that resulted in control of those positions being shifted to a foreign corporation, and there's no getting around that," Joe Rugola, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, told the Plain Dealer.”

Moreover, three lobbyists in significant positions on the McCain camp lobbied for the companies in question, and one of them has lobbied not just for DHL, but much more recently for UPS. This prompts additional questions: Why isn’t McCain joining the Ohio delegation in calling for an investigation into a possible anti-trust violation? How can McCain impartially investigate anti-trust issues when his top advisors recently earned more than $1 million from the companies involved to help them make the type of deal that is under scrutiny today?

Three McCain staffers have lobbied on behalf of the companies involved, and one of them, John Green, has lobbied for both of the companies involved in the anti-trust issue

* Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, and Christian Ferry, McCain’s e-campaign director, both lobbied for Deutsche Post, the company that bought DHL and Airborne in 2002 and 2003, between October 2003 and December 2005. During this time their firm, Davis-Manafort, billed $465,000 in fees.

* Davis and Ferry both also lobbied on behalf of Airborne in 2003, earning an additional $125,000 in fees. Their work involved lobbying the Senate to approve the DHL-Airborne merger, which it did.

* John Green, McCain’s liaison to Congress, lobbied for Deutsche Post from June 2003 to April 2006, earning $600,000 in fees.

* Then, Green recently lobbied on behalf of UPS, earning $40,000 for lobbying work between August 2007 and March 2008.

What does McCain have to say about mergers? What does McCain have to say about job losses (job-killing, to use the right's latest buzz phrase) that result from mergers? Do McCain's financial and professional ties color McCain's economic policy proposals?

Where's the straight talk express on this issue?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Guantanamo; and the Nuremberg and Ichigaya precedent

Just what is the United States saying with its treatment of the Guantanamo detainees?

Let's look at the conduct of the war criminals in Germany and Japan and how the victors treated them:
With the genocide, murders, slavery, medical torture and aerial bombings of civilians by Germany, the perpetrators were given:
the Nuremberg Trials, with standard legal rights.
And the massive Nanjing atrocities, the murders, medical torture, slavery, torture of POWs by Japan, the perpetrators were given:
the Ichigaya Court at Ichigaya, Tokyo, with standard legal rights.

Look at what the Axis criminals wrought: murder of millions and abuse and pain upon the survivors. The US took care to employ the kind of justice practiced in the US, the kind of practice that it would probably expect were its soldiers accused of war crimes.

While the murder of three thousand in the skies and the World Trade Center was indeed profoundly tragic, what kind of message is the US sending, by suspending due process from its detainees?

We often hear people citing George Santayana's adviso to study history, in order not to repeat the mistakes of history. This is too narrow, and it is too negative. Yes, we ought to avoid the mistakes and crimes of the past. Yet we should also learn not only from crimes, but also from actions that were taken that demonstrate our commitment to certain principles of administration of justice. History can provide us with precedents of action and policy.
In the instances of the prosecution of WWII war criminals we allowed for due process. This was done ought of principle. Holding up those principles showed the character of our sense of justice, even if the crimes and criminals were most repugnant. Again, what kind of message are we sending, by withholding due process -against suspects that -if guilty- had committed acts far less heinous in volume than those in WWII? Are we saying that the Guantanamo detainees have done acts worse than those in WWII? What kind of face are we now showing the world?

Rice: "United States will be fine" under Obama

This just in: " Rice: US would be safe under Obama"
"Yahoo News" reported today that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said that the US would be safe under a President Barack Obama.
In an interview with Politico and Yahoo News released Thursday, Rice, was asked if she would feel secure with a president Obama.

"Oh, the United States will be fine," she responded. "I think that we are having an important debate about how we keep the country safe," she said, pointing to the Middle East and Iraq.

"Those are important judgments for the American people to make."

This is impressive! She is not just any voter expressing her opinion. Let's just review the credentials of who is making this assessment, putting aside what we think of Rice's policies and practices under President George W. Bush, here is the professional background of Secretary Rice: former National Security Advisor and Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow (on leave) at Stanford University-Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

This counteracts the damage from Bill Clinton's tepid assessment of the United States under a President Obama, as expressed in his August 4 interview with ABC News.

Delicious! Where is the youtube video for this?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Creepy McCain as stalker video

Daily Kos called this a video that McCain doesn't want circulated on the Internet.
He credited the Chris Matthews Show with researching this six year old video.

In 2002 McCain made an appearance on Saturday Night Live. He acted as stalker in a shower.

DK argued that it was creepy, as McCain seemed to be enjoying, identifying with the role.

Follow this link for Matthews' introducing the video, and McCain's 2002 stalker sketch on SNL.

From Brave New Films: John McCain suggests his wife enter a topless beauty contest at a Biker Rally in Sturgis, SD.

Vs. McCain myths: Abortion

Somehow, John McCain's deviation from a few of today's conservative standards has lead many people to believe that his views are moderate on every issue. The record will indicate that on several issues Senator McCain is not moderate; today let's address abortion.

On February 2, 2008, National Public Radio ran a "Weekend Edition" story by Julie Rovner, "Misperceptions About McCain's Abortion Stance." She contrasted the belief of many Republicans that McCain is pro-choice with his public statements. She quoted him from a 2007 appearance on "Meet the Press,"
"I have stated time after time after time that Roe v Wade was a bad decision, that I support a woman — the rights of the unborn — that I have fought for human rights and human dignity throughout my entire political career."

David O'Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee said that McCain had been "very consistent" in his opposition to abortion. He said that the RTL Committee had supported him in every one of his senate races. This appreciation of McCain is reflected in the Committee's rating of McCain. In 2005-2006 the Committee gave him a 75% rating. And in 2003-2004 the Committee gave him an 82% rating.

How have abortion rights advocates rated him? The National Abortion Rights Action League gave him a zero rating in each of these years. The February NPR report added: NARAL's president, Nancy Keegan, noted that "He voted against family planning, he voted against the freedom of access to clinic entrances — that was about violence against women in clinics." She further noted, "He voted against funding for teen pregnancy-prevention programs, and making sure that abstinence only was medically accurate. This is very, very extreme."

See the interest group ratings here.

McCain often responds to queries about positions on major issues and then responds by saying that he's uninformed on the issue. (For snippets of his confusion, see Brave New Film's compilation, "McCain's YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare," toward the upper right of this page.) A July 23, 2008 NPR "Morning Edition" report noted that Carla Fiorina, a McCain adviser, complained about health insurance plans that will cover Viagra, but will not cover contraceptives for women.
A reporter asked McCain on July 10 about Fiorina's concern and about McCain's vote against legislation requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives. McCain responded, "I certainly don't want to discuss that issue." He also said that he didn't know enough about the issue to give her an answer and that he cast thousands of votes. Watch him squirm as this exchange was recorded on CNN.

Let's remind on-the-fence voters about his stance on contraceptives and abortion. Keep in mind that two Supreme Court Justices are might retire during the next administration: John Paul Steven will be 89 next April. Ruth Bader Ginsburg will 76 next March. These are the court's two most liberal justices. Do we want an anti-birth control, anti-abortion president selecting their replacements?


The Choice is clear!
Download this National Abortion Rights Action League web page and comparison chart or the PDF flyer: "Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Evan Bayh -no shadow conservative

"Evan Bayh is not a Stealth Conservative" reads Josh Patashnik's column today in The New Republic's online site. The latest Internet buzz is that Barack Obama is likely to select the Indiana Senator as his running mate at the Denver convention. Patashnik cited this voting pattern on the part of Bayh:
This is somebody from a deep red state who has voted against extending the Bush tax cuts; against confirming John Bolton, John Roberts, and Sam Alito; against the gay marriage amendment; against cloture on cutting the estate tax; in favor of comprehensive immigration reform; in favor of S-CHIP expansion; in favor of stem-cell research; in favor of restrictions on detainee treatment; and in favor of the Iraq troop-withdrawal funding bill. He even opposed CAFTA. It's true that he sided with Republicans on tort reform, partial-birth abortion, and a flag-burning amendment, but do Democrats really want to be the kind of party that makes litmus tests out of those issues?

Let's look at the ratings by interest groups, as reported by Project VoteSmart: we cannot say that Bayh is conservative: He started his Senate career with an Americans for Democratic Action rating of 90. ("Almanac of American Politics, 2002") In the last rating, the ADA gave him a rating of 95. Admittedly, foreign policy is Bayh's area of centrism. The National Journal gave him a Liberal on Economic Policy score of 56 percent.

Back to Patashnik, he cited an analysis by Nate Silver on his "FiveThirtyEight" blog, entitled "Evan Bayh: Latent Liberal?"
In the post, Silver argued that Bayh is as liberal a senator as Indiana was likely to elect. Indiana is a state that has generally tilted Republican, for generations. (Remember, Indiana last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1964.) Silver's Evan Bayh column and analysis charts.

If geography counts for anything in a VEEP choice, Bayh would bring heft in helping to anchor Indiana and Ohio for Obama.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Great free software programs!

*notepad++ 5.0.2 is a very good text editor, which is important if you are writing your own HTML web page. The latest release clears up crash problems that were frequent with the 4 version. Basically, it serves as a souped up replacement of notepad (which traditionally has come along with Windows). :( -> It only works with Windows, and 95 or later. Space used in MS Windows: 2 MB.
*XnView 1.94.2 is a very handy image editor and organizer. It launches very quickly and you can easily handle jobs like tweaking the contrast on your digital photos, to eliminate darkness that may have come if you shot your picture with a darkening sky. It converts and resizes pictures. It can read a gigantic range (around 400) of different file extension types of pictures. This last feature puts it ahead of Picasa. In terms of organizing your picture archive,you can embed metadata comments into photos. Space used in MS Windows: 4.9 MB.

*GIMP 4.6.2 is a free counterpart to Adobe's Photoshop. All the online reviews I read speak of its power. However, it is not as intuitive as many other programs. On the good news side: Software developers created a help file that can reside in your computer. (A few oddities that reviews skip over: it doesn't come with a help file. So, the help file is a separate download. Installing GIMP requires first installing something called GTK environment. The last thing is safe; it doesn't cause any problem for your computer.) Originally developed for Linux, it is now available for Windows and for Mac OS X. Space used in MS Windows: 14.2 MB.

*OpenOffice 2.4.1 (officially, is a free, open source counterpart to Microsoft Office. It most everything that most people will want with MS Office -exc deal with the obnoxious *.docx extensions that MS Office 2007 creates. It is only a matter of time that they and commercial competitors like Corel create office suite revisions that can read the files. (This might be in the OOo 3 version that is currently under beta development.) Using this in Mac OS X is possible; but this requires installing other programs before installing OOo. Hopefully this last problem will be resolved in the 3 version. Space used in MS Windows: 106 MB.

*KompoZer 0.7.10, free WYSIWYG HTML page editor, replacing NVU editor, which itself was based on Mozilla's Composer. A free counterpart to Adobe's Dreamweaver, MS FrontPage or MS Expression Web. Space used in MS Windows: 6.2 MB.

The source for a number of the programs about is .
A comprehensive site for downloading software programs is .

All of these are safe with Vista. (The Vista incompatibility problem is mainly with software developed before Vista.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

What troop-snubbing?

All this mythology of snubbing the troops!

Barack Obama did meet with U.S. troops on his trip to the Middle East in July.

Scroll down on this Huffington Post site for photos of Obama visiting with G.I.s in Kuwait.

This Huffington Post site includes photos and videos of Obama with U.S. troops :

If Obama had made a stop in Germany the right and right pundits would have accused him of exploiting troops for a photo op.

CORRECTION on: Clinton to Covention: don't nominate me

The New York "Daily News" and Raw Story report this morning that Senator Hillary Clinton (New York) will not submit the petition asking to be nominated for president at the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month. Clinton has been urging her 1,886 delegates to support presumptive nominee Senator Barack Obama (Illinois).

Democratic Party rules require candidates to submit petitions, asking to be place in nomination. Observers are seeing Clinton's move as an indication of party unity with Obama. However, some Clinton insiders fear that an actual vote count on the floor might embarrass Clinton, as many Clinton delegates have announced their allegiance to Obama.

The Convention will be held from August 25 to August 28. Clinton is scheduled to speak on August 26.

CORRECTION:It is an open question, once again, as to whether Clinton will allow her name to be placed in nomination. Reports in the last hour on an online webchat that Clinton had today, Thursday, August 7, reinstate the mystery as to whether she might allow this her name to be placed in nomination, particularly this Associated Press report, "Obama rejects talk of trouble from Clinton backers."
Neither this article, nor others posted in the last hour address the question of a petition-to-be-nominated. Additionally, there are words of concern in the AP story on Clinton's role in the convention:
"As is true in all conventions, we're still working out the mechanics, the coordination," Obama said. One such issue is whether there will be a convention roll call on Clinton's nomination, he said.

"I'm letting our respective teams work out details," he said. Asked if that meant he wouldn't object to her name being placed in nomination and a vote taken, Obama said: "I didn't say that. I said that they're working it out."

And from Clinton, from the August 7 webchat:
In the Web chat, one person asked Clinton directly: "Are you truly supporting Sen. Obama and encouraging your supporters to do the same or are you just saying what you have to?" Clinton insisted she was sincerely behind Obama.

Another questioner wanted to know if there was "any possibility" her name would be placed in nomination, arguing that doing so "would at least give your supporters a voice in the choice for the party's nominee." She was noncommittal.