The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Archive for October, 2008

Political giggle for the morning

Posted by Bill Nance on October 29, 2008

I literally laughed out loud at this.

To Heck with the candidate. I want to vote for the woman on the phone!

Posted in Election 08, humor, Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Hillary Clinton’s private PAC

Posted by Bill Nance on October 28, 2008

I’ve written before that I think Bill and Hillary Clinton got a bad rap in the ’90s, and here in Massachusetts, I voted for Hillary in the Primaries. (A tactical move, not fanatic support).

At the time of the primaries, Joe Biden, always my first pick, had dropped out and I had the option of voting for Hillary, Obama or McCain. Since McCain was in no danger here, I voted for Hillary because at the time I deemed Obama had both lack of experience and was unelectable due to his race. Of the three, McCain at the time would have had my vote in the general election.

As we all know, Hillary lost the primary. I thought at the time that she would have made a fine choice as President.

These days I’m not so sure.

My change of heart has nothing to do with Obama. It is true he has, I think, won both the electability and the judgement argument, so the main points things against him are resolved as far as I’m concerned. But my second thoughts have less to do with this than with Hillary’s activities since the Democratic convention.

Conservative Democrats, women and center-right independents are key electoral demographics in a presidential campaign. Clinton won many states in the primaries specifically because she appealed to these groups. Obama’s weakness among these demographics probably could have cost him this election if the economy hadn’t melted down. Hillary’s support, including campaigning for Obama would have given him enormous credibility as well as pushing leaners firmly into the Obama camp.

But she’s remained virtually silent on the Obama campaign since the convention.

But she hasn’t been silent about her own private little PAC, called HILLPAC.

To have a PAC named after you is egotistical in the extreme. Only Hillary would have the moxie to do this. And no one but a blind person could fail to see the fact. I’ve been getting emails from this organization, all signed by Hillary, since about three days after the convention, asking for money to elect other Democrats, all women, to the U.S. Senate and Congress. Not a word from her on the Obama candidacy.

Let me say that again in case you missed it: NOT A WORD ON THE OBAMA CANDIDACY.

No one expected the Clintons, after a rather brutal primary, to sit down and sing “kumbaya” with Obama. But I did expect Hillary to get out there and campaign for him. It was hugely important and she knew it, as did everyone else. She hasn’t. She’s spent plenty of time electioneering, but not for Obama. –Until this week.

Now, when the election is nearly upon us, when the polls are showing Obama likely to win a huge victory, NOW she starts making campaign stops.

There is only one explanation for this: She was hoping he would lose so she could run again in 2012. Now that it looks like he’s going to win, Hillary is covering her bets.

So no, Hillary, I won’t be donating to your PAC (not that I’d contribute money to the Democrats so they can have a veto-proof, filibuster-proof majority anyway) nor will I ever, ever consider you a serious candidate for office again.

This stuff is so transperantly cynical and self-centered that it is a virtual disqualifier for holding high office. I hope New Yorkers send you packing the next election.

Posted in Barack Obama, Election 08, Hillary Clinton, News & Analysis, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hitchens blasts Palin/McCain on science

Posted by Bill Nance on October 27, 2008

Hitch weighs in on Palin/McCain’s disgusting record on science.

The juice:

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

Welcome to the party Hitch. It’s about time you joined the rest of us.

Posted in Election 08, John McCain, Politics, Right-Wing Nut-jobery, Sarah Palin, Science and Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Caligula for President!

Posted by Bill Nance on October 27, 2008

Clearly; this is the man we need in these dangerous times:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Hat tip: Boing Boing

Posted in Barack Obama, Election 08, John McCain, Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

More comments deleted

Posted by Bill Nance on October 26, 2008

Seems i’m getting rather a lot of comments recently that never make it past the filter.

All of these deleted comments are of the variety of “Obama is a Muslim,”  “Obama voted to let babies die,” or similar blatantly untrue claims.

You can say pretty much anything you want here within reason. What you cannot say are things that would amount to libel if applied to a private person. There are places on the web for such nonsense, this isn’t one of them.

I haven’t run stories about Palin’s youngest son for a similar reason. I consider it to be most likely false.

Call Obama an extremist, call him an abortion apologist, call him a socialist, or say he’s got no experience if you want. But there is a limit. If you’re too daft to grasp what that limit might be given the clearly stated policies on the About page, don’t be surpirsed when I delete the comment.

-Bill

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Joe the Plumber can’t fix this one

Posted by Bill Nance on October 25, 2008

From the Times of London:

Posted in Election 08, John McCain, Politics, Sarah Palin | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

I’m a dirty “Librul” -like Peggy Noonan and George Will

Posted by Bill Nance on October 24, 2008

I’ve been reading the apologists for the GOP and the McCain joke candidacy and I have found out that yes, I am a liberal. Who knew?

SO lets see here:

  • I oppose Roe vs Wade because I think it’s bad law and believe in federalism. (Even though I think government should leave this decision to women -If you agree with me that abortion is at best a trade-off of rights, then don’t have one).
  • I think government in general should keep their noses out of people’s private lives, specifically what they ingest or who they have sex with, but in general, leaving me the Hell alone unless I’m doing someone else injury.
  • I think small government is a good thing. What government we need should be held strictly accountable and work as cheaply as possible while remaining efficient.
  • I think any program which spends money needs to be matched by either revenues or spending cuts in other areas.
  • I think the military needs to be well funded, trained and used both in direct support of our national interests and in the interests of world stability, because instability always comes back to bite us.
  • I think the Second Amendment to the constitution means exactly what it says and resent government trying to restrict my fundamental rights under the guise of safety.
  • I think taxes should be no higher than necessary to support government spending. I’m a believer in no tax breaks for anyone. If we decide to subsidize, we should do so directly and in the open light of day.
  • In keeping with Catholic Social Doctrine I believe society and government have an obligation to the poor and dispossessed. If this is “liberal” then the Catholic Church is a “liberal” institution.
  • I think it’s the duty of all men and women to serve their country, either with military service or some other community service. (Peace Corps, Teach for America, etc.). Those who do not serve are free-loaders.
  • Like Jefferson, I view banks and the stock market with distrust, knowing that great wealth acts in it’s own interests, often counter to those of the nation.

Now the last time I looked, these things all lined up with the views expressed by people like Edmund Burke, William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, et al.

But according to the new GOP, the “new conservatives,” these aren’t conservative positions at all. Apparently if one is hostile to fundamentalist wackos, reveres learning or disagrees over a strictly religious or frankly extremist position that a 2-second-old fetus is the same as a human being, you’re a “liberal.”

According to these people, if you vote anything other than Republican, if you question the racist, fear-based, politics of Karl Rove and company, If you look at Sarah Palin and see the obvious; that she is an incurious buffoon hopelessly out of her depth, or if you fail to show proper deference to bible-thumping wackos who’d never pass a sophomore test in any reputable seminary, you’re a liberal and a traitor to conservatism.

And people wonder why the number of conservatives deserting the GOP this year is so large?  It’s because the GOP has been taken over by the kooks. People who value their intellectual integrity and critical thinking don’t want anything to do with these people. -And rightly so.

Who has left the ship?

  • Colin Powell
  • Christopher Buckley
  • George Will
  • Peggy Noonan
  • Former MA Republican Governor Bill Weld
  • NRO writer Kathleen Parker
  • Bush Appointee and conservative Talk Show Host Michael Smerconish
  • Former MN Rep. Governor Arne Carlson
  • The Goldwater Family
  • Dan Drezner
  • Scott McClellan
  • Ken Adelman
  • Doug Kmeic

The list goes on and on.

So riddle me this my conservative friends: If virtually every conservative heavyweight out there has either endorsed Obama outright or publicly repudiated the McCain candidacy, are they all traitors? Were they all paid off by the “librul media?” Or maybe, just maybe, is the McCain cadidacy specifically and the GOP in general no longer very “conservative” at all?

Posted in Election 08, John McCain, News & Analysis, Politics, Sarah Palin | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The conservative vote should go to Obama

Posted by Bill Nance on October 23, 2008

On September 12, 2001 I started a reading program so I could understand exactly what the Hell had just happened.

I started with re-reading the Koran (yes, I had read it before, along with several apologetics on Islam), continued with my trusty Encyclopedia Btrittanica and of course everything I could get my hands on from the Web and the local library. I also re-read the incomparable Orientalism,” by the late Edward Said. Within a matter of days I had a reasonably good idea of what our enemies were up to and why, as well as a solid understanding of how incredibly wrong were the arguments Bin Laden and others of his ilk.

This wasn’t terribly difficult to do. All I had available were the resources of a fairly small local library, an encyclopedia and the web. Since then I have done my best to keep up with the issues and read new books and articles, knowing that having my information filtered through the lens of television and it’s focus on ratings and infotainment is no substitute for well thought out and researched books and news articles.

It’s blindingly clear to anyone who open to reason that Sarah Palin has never done anything of the sort, even with seven years time to accomplish it. On my worst day, after a few dozen beers, I could give a more clear, cogent and comprehensible view of national security issues than Sarah Palin does even with coaching. I am not a genius. I am not a scholar. I’m just a regular guy with something Sarah Palin clearly lacks: A brain and an interest in using it.

The absolute ignorance of this woman on every significant international issue is nothing short of astounding. She parrots the most stupid and jingoistic catch-phrases as though these are some substitute for actual knowledge or understanding of the subjects. This ignorance might be acceptable (if still stupid and ill-informed) coming from the mob. It is catastrophic coming from a President or someone in line to be President.

As the last seven years have proved, intellectual laziness, group-think and assumptions based on the false”truths” of ideological orthodoxy make for horrendous policy. Our failures in Iraq should prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. They led directly to too few troops to win an occupation, silencing of even supportive voices of dissent and an absolute unwillingness to deal with reality, even when the cost, both in blood and treasure were showing beyond doubt the existing strategy wasn’t working. (The time for the surge was 2004, not 2007)!

Palin represents a choice so stark for anyone who actually loves their country I can hardly believe any sane person could support her. George W. Bush has shown even Republicans how anti-intellectualism and a lack of curiosity about the world are clear and present dangers to our national security.

Sarah Palin takes all the worst qualities of the President and expands upon them. Never in the history of this country has a person more clearly unqualified for high office been nominated to be in the line of succession.

This isn’t just about experience, it’s about good judgement. John McCain, in his most important decision as a potential President, has shown an utter disregard for the safety of the nation in a cynical attempt to get elected at any cost.

McCain famously said he’d rather lose an election than lose a war. What about placing the entire country in jeopardy? No sane person can defend Palin’s lack of understanding on the serious issues facing the country. For McCain to have picked her as V.P. is a move that makes him utterly unsuitable to be President.

On November fourth, I hope my conservative friends will make the right choice and truly place their country first. Given John McCain’s age and questionable health, placing Sarah Palin anywhere near the White House is the most irresponsible act I can think of, strictly from a national security viewpoint.

Hold your nose if you have to, but if you reach for the McCain lever, remember the buffoon who you may be voting into office. Patriots will vote Obama.

Posted in Barack Obama, Election 08, iraq, John McCain, National Security, Politics, Sarah Palin | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Socialism my ass

Posted by Bill Nance on October 21, 2008

For as long as I’ve been following U.S. elections (From Carter/Ford to present) Republicans have been screaming Socialism and attributing semi (and not so semi) communist sympathies to the Democrats.

First, a definition: “Socialism: -A broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

The claim that the Democrats, as a party, represent socialism is as silly as the claim that the Republicans, as a party, support totalitarianism. Are there honest-to-god communists in the Democratic Party? I’m sure there are many. I’m equally sure there are just as many Republicans who are in the KKK or the John Birch Society. Despite the lame attempts to define each other by their fringe-kook members, the vast majority of the people in both parties have always been centrist capitalists of one stripe or another.

Now as far as Socialism goes, there has never been an even remotely serious attempt on the part of the Democrats to socialize the means of production. In fact, the only actual nationalizations in the nation’s history have been either temporary war-effort nationalizations (railroads in WWI), the nationalizations of of the TVA(1939), airport security nationalization (2001), and of course the recent bailouts.

Other nationalizations have been subsidies of failed infrastructure projects, notably AMTRAK, which were judged (by both political parties) too important to allow to fail completely.

Now of course the claims of Socialism from the Republicans (and it’s always the Republicans) also center around social programs and “wealth redistribution.” There might have been some truth to this claim in 1980 and 1992. The U.S. government was in both cases bloated, tax policies skewed and welfare programs running amok. But when you actually look at the numbers, it’s not the poor who have ever been on the receiving end of the lion’s share of wealth redistribution. The largest recipients of welfare have always been giant corporate interests, whether it’s been oil companies, agri-business, defense contractors or lately, health insurance and drug companies.

Such “welfare” programs have been in the forms of both direct subsidies and also in the form of tax breaks which essentially mean the corporations pay little or no tax whatever. John McCain can talk about top marginal rates until he’s blue in the face. There is hardly a single large company that’s actually paying those rates. They all have so many loopholes and special breaks that the actual rate of taxes paid is tiny.

Ask yourself: How many U.S. companies have actually relocated completely outside the United States? Remember that capital always acts in it’s own interests. If actual tax rates were ruinously high, there wouldn’t be many giant corporations left in America. They haven’t gone anywhere because the taxes they actually pay are much smaller than they would pay elsewhere.

Republicans love to talk about the wonders of Capitalism. But they always fail to note that actual laissez faire capitalism hasn’t existed since at least 1863 when the U.S. Government created the national banking system.

Hundreds, even thousands of limits on capital have existed in the United States for a century or more, most of which the vast majority of Americans support wholeheartedly. I don’t see a widespread movement to do away with social security or medicare for instance, nor to dis-establish the Federal Reserve or remove work-place safety laws or wage and hour laws. Nor have any of these things been in a Republican Party Platform in my adult lifetime.

Every one of these things can be labeled socialism. The regulation of private capital.

Socialist government structures exist in many forms in many different ostensibly capitalist countries, including the United States. No reputable, serious person is talking about doing away with them. At most people talk about reforming them or making them work better. Usually regulation (which Republicans have been calling “socialism” since 1913) results from problems arising from failures of capitalism.

Free-market economics works and works well; better by far than any known alternative. But it doesn’t work for all things in all circumstances. The Federal Reserve was created to stop the boom and bust cycles in the economy that hurt everyone except the very wealthy and the very lucky. Social Security was created because every successful society in history has had some way of protecting it’s elders from the worst of poverty. Regulations on workplace conditions were created because given no regulations, workers were being maimed and killed because it was cheaper to hire new workers than to fix unnecessarily dangerous working conditions.

When the Republicans scream about the evils of socialism, they are lying. They are every bit as much “wealth redistributors” as the Democrats. They just want to “share the wealth” in a different direction.

Posted in Barack Obama, Election 08, News & Analysis, Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Is Barack Obama a socialist?

Posted by Bill Nance on October 20, 2008

Let’s ask Barack:

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Senator McCain.

Posted in Barack Obama, Election 08, John McCain, Politics | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »