Monday, November 10, 2008

Sarah Palin in her own words ... lest we forget

Put some rhythm in your step and a add a melody to your memory as you think about what might have been and vow not to allow it ever to be.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In politics, as in life ...

Love conquers.

But, love didn't conquer all today.

My heart goes out to my friends in the GLBT community who learned again today that too many Americans continue to practice the politics of exclusion denying them full equality and writing their second class citizenship into state constitutions.

Tears of sadness commingled freely with tears of joy tonight.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Will "Love" Triumph?

I have a theory about "love" and "hate" on the campaign trail that will be tested today.

Four years ago, Democrats grudgingly chose John Kerry, a candidate that they "thought" could win, to vie against George W. Bush, a "hated" rival, who was then, and to some extent remains even now, fiercely "loved" by the base voters of his party. Regardless of whether you believe, as I do, that "hate" is too strong a label for partisan differences, the lesson of 2004 was two fold:

"Hate" as a political driver ultimately was ennervating for "thoughtful" Kerry forces, leaving husks behind, unable to sustain the emotional energy through the election. Hating Bush ultimately just wasn't enough to drive them to deliver victory to a candidate with whom they simply were not smitten.

At the same time, "love" grew in power, building through election day, sustaining the Bush forces in Ohio and elsewhere until the last poll was closed.

Now, four years later, it is the Republicans who chose "thoughtfully," turning grudgingly to someone with whom many in the base still are not comfortable, while Democrats turned away from the "she can win" analytical choice to embrace a candidate who touched their hearts and inspired passion in their souls.

And, while Democratic hearts went "all in" for Obama this year, the "thoughtful" McCain forces, in sorry repetition of Kerry four years ago, tried mightily to drive their base with hate and fear of their opposition, even while they tried pitifully to inspire some "love" for Palin as the capacitor that could spark the campaign with new energy.

So, the election today is the test for my "love"/"hate" theory.

Tonight we get the answer to the question whether love, in politics as in life, conquers all.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Manchurian Candidate 2008 Remake

There is mounting evidence that John Sidney McCain is a real life "Manchurian Candidate" brainwashed by the Chinese controlled North Vietnamese during his captivity in Viet Nam and carefully prepared to turn over the United States to China after his election as President of the United States.

Let's start with the fact that McCain refers to his time in prison as his stay at the Hanoi Hilton. Pretty flattering description of what was supposed to be a time of deprivation and torture. And, he looks pretty comfortable in this picture from his time at the Hilton, doesn't he?

And, while the available evidence appears to support the claim that McCain did endure great hardship while a prisoner of war, there is no question that he broke under torture and signed a war crimes confession 10 months after his capture. Nonetheless, he was held for years after that, refusing early release supposedly because he didn't want to be part of North Vietnamese propaganda. But, there could be another explanation for this extended stay. It could be that he stayed as a part of a continuing indoctrination program that was preparing him for his future as a "Manchurian Candidate" under the control of the Chinese.

How else can you explain McCain's embrace of his former captors?

How else to explain the disdain that McCain has demonstrated towards POW/MIA families as documented by a 1992 article in the US Veteran Dispatch?

How else to explain why, as the junior Senator from Arizona, one of his first legislative initiatives was to lead "a legislative effort to force the Administration to open a lower-level American post in Vietnam, which could be preliminary to more formal relations?" (New York Times, June 1,1988)

How else to explain why McCain has been preaching about teaching soldiers in survival training about the need to forgive their enemies and captors since he wrote his thesis for the National War College in 1974?

And, then there was the accident that injured his first wife and opened the door for Cindy McCain to assume the Angela Lansbury/Meryl Streep role as McCain's handler. Although not a sitting Senator nor his mother as in the fictional book and movies, Cindy McCain clearly is a woman of great influence over McCain who could be holding his queen of diamonds trigger.

Shouldn't we be asking questions about just what the continuing effects of McCain's long term brainwashing and torture might be?

And, just what explains McCain's support from groups like Asian Americans for McCain that include very active Vietnamese volunteers?

What do these groups know that we should know?

Update: And, now the clincher ... John McCain owns a condo in Arlington ... "communist country" according to his brother.

P.S. Before you all hyperventilate, and, although I shouldn't have to tell you this, this is clearly satire provoked by the number of stupid conspiracy theory/inflammatory and worse emails I get implying that Barack Obama is a "domestic" or Muslim terrorist. Both of the candidates are fine men. McCain, Palin, their campaigns and friends should stick to the important issues of the day and distance themselves from the sleazy mud slinging from which McCain suffered in 2000 and from which he then distanced himself.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin ... to reform means to "re-form"

For short time Governor Sarah Palin being a "reformer" simply means that she's a "re-former." Someone who "re-forms" or remakes her political positions to fit the politics of the moment and audience.

First, Palin was for the so-called "bridge to nowhere" when she was running for governor, and, then, she was against it after she was elected and it became a political liability on the national stage on which she longed to play. And, even when she announced she was cutting the state funding for the project, she said it was because of "inaccurate portrayals" of Alaska bridge projects.

And, for Palin "thanks but no thanks" means "we'll take the money thank you, but no thanks to the purpose for which it was appropriated. We'll just spend it the way we want to" ... like on the road that's designed to link up to ... you guessed it ... the "bridge to nowhere."

Read the complete story here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Governor of Alaska ... 'nuff said

"I know Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in a phone interview with NBC.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

perhaps there is hope for the Virginia legislature

Perhaps the parties to the legislative impasse should try to be more like the cat the rat and the dog ....

Friday, June 27, 2008

On Guns --- Welcome to the Land Of Common Sense

Yesterday's gun ruling by the United States Supreme Court may be the first to interpret the Second Amendment but calling it historic may be histrionic.

The First Amendment and the Second Amendment are part of the bill of rights and define the limits of government relative to the citizens. Neither confers an absolute affirmative right on individuals.

The government cannot ban speech under the First; the government cannot ban guns under the Second.

The government can establish reasonable time, place and manner rules for the exercise of free speech; the government can establish reasonable time, place and manner rules for the use of guns.

The government can require a permit for use of free speech in a parade; the government can require a permit for use of a gun.

The government can set rules on where speech can occur (on the sidewalk, not in the Capitol); the government can set rules on where you can carry/use a gun.

Just as all speech isn't entitled to protection (obscenity, yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, slander or libel); the right to possess/use all guns/ammo (assault weapons, armor piercing ammo) isn't entitled to protection.

And, finally, just as the First Amendment doesn't constrain the right of any private person or organization (including colleges and universities) to set whatever rules they want on speech; the Second Amendment doesn't constrain the right of any private person or organization (including restaurants, colleges, concert venues, apartment complexes) to set whatever rules they want on guns.

May common sense rule.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Year in Hate -- New Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center

Not surprisingly, the Southern Poverty Law Center's annual report on hate in America documents that anti-immigrant rhetoric is fueling an increase in reported hate crimes and a resurgence in hate groups.

Also not surprising is that a leading immigration reduction advocacy organization has made the list of "hate groups" for the first time ...

The most prominent of the organizations newly added to the list, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, vehemently rejected the "hate group" label, and questioned the law center's motives. FAIR said the center was using smear tactics to boost donations and stifle legitimate debate on immigration.

"Their banner may be 'Stop the hate' but it's really 'Stop the debate,"' said FAIR's president, Dan Stein. "Apparently you can't even articulate an argument for immigration reform without being smeared."

The law center's report contends there is a link between anti-immigrant activism and the significant rise in hate crimes against Latinos in recent years. According to the latest FBI statistics, 819 people were victimized by anti-Latino hate crimes in 2006, compared with 595 in 2003.

Find the report online here.
See the map of hate groups in Virginia, here.

It may be debatable whether any group should properly be classified as a "hate group."

What is not debatable is that here in Virginia there is growing hostility to language minorities and people of color that is fueled by the anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric.

Anger, hostility, hate ... no matter where directed simply can't be neatly contained so that injury falls only on intended targets. There is already much collateral damage in this war of words, including kindergarteners who arrive home from tears seeking explanation for why their classmates are hurling the word "illegal" at them at school in tones disturbingly reminiscent of the pejorative use of the "n" word.

I hold leaders accountable for the effects of their rhetoric as well as their intent. It is time for conversation among all parties about finding solutions to quality of life issues such as overcrowding and for collaborative approaches to building inclusive communities.

Standing in our corners of the ring, hurling rhetorical punches and epithets across the physical or cyberspace divide is definitely NOT the answer.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The RTD to Unilingualist Fulminators ... Get Over It

Today's Richmond Times Dispatch editorial defends Governor Tim Kaine's use of Spanish in greeting the pro-America president of El Salvador, complimenting his "hospitality" and "graciousness" to a foreign visitor and calling the fulminators on the internet and in the blogosphere who are bloviating about the Governor's bilingual greeting and the Spanish translation of his office's press release (an obvious courtesy to the Salvadoran press covering their leader's visit) "ridiculous."

Thank goodness common sense and common courtesy are still rated as "virtues" by some who revere (and would save) the Old Dominion.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Governor Kaine Addresses Illegal Immigration; Offers Facts; Urges "Balance"

Governor Kaine addressed the issue of illegal immigration in his State of the Commonwealth address. He put some important facts on the table and urged balance in the discussion of the issue during the 2008 legislative session. Here's what he said:

“Securing the Commonwealth’s future also means that we must set aside political rhetoric and carefully address the most complex and challenging issues we face – like illegal immigration.

We are a nation of laws. It is our obligation to enforce those laws, and we should continually assess the consequences of illegal immigration.

It is equally important to recognize the many positive benefits of legal immigration. We cannot afford to let supercharged political rhetoric unfairly paint a picture of Virginians as a people who are hostile to New Americans.

The debate about illegal immigration needs to begin with a recognition of steps we have already taken.

Virginia law already prohibits any person who is not legally in the country from receiving state or locally funded benefits, with only a few exceptions, like education, emergency health care and care for contagious diseases.

When a Virginia State Trooper comes in contact with a person suspected of being in the country illegally, he or she contacts Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Eighty percent of those reports made since March 1st of last year have resulted in ICE beginning deportation proceedings.

The state police also participate in regional task forces that target violent gang activity by illegal immigrants.

The Virginia Department of Corrections notifies ICE of any foreign-born offender who is convicted and placed in state custody. Our Department of Motor Vehicles works hard every day to scrutinize drivers’ license applications to determine whether people are lawfully in the Commonwealth, and our Virginia Guard helps patrol the border between Arizona and Mexico to help federal enforcement agents. Virginia has done much to pick up the slack for broken federal immigration policy.

There will be more proposals on immigration this year, and we should scrutinize them carefully. In doing so, we have to balance the need to enforce our laws with a few important realities.

One in ten Virginians was born outside of the United States, and most of us can trace our ancestors back to another country in only a few generations. The majority of immigrants today are legal and fully contribute, strengthening the social fabric of our communities.

Our Jamestown commemoration recognized the positive and transforming power of immigration—and of those that welcome immigrants. Immigration continues to invigorate our culture, provide new energy to our economy, and expand our view of the world.

Did you know that, in 2007, foreign companies announced over $750 million of investments in Virginia, creating over 2000 new jobs? Many of these jobs were created in parts of our Commonwealth that are hungry for economic development. We are in fierce competition for those jobs, and we cannot afford to give the world the impression that Virginians are not willing to engage with people from other countries in global commerce.

And it’s not just about new business opportunities or foreign investment in our communities. Many long-time Virginia businesses, especially in the agricultural sector that still represents the largest part of our economy, are dependent on immigrant workers. We should not punish law-abiding businesses or hinder their ability to grow and create jobs.

In this critical area, as in all others, we have a responsibility to go beyond sound bites, to take the debate seriously, and to spend the time it will take to craft a balanced response to our challenges.”

Friday, January 04, 2008

Was Mike Henry right after all?

Much was made last spring of a memo written by former Kaine campaign manager, now Clinton campaign official, Mike Henry, advocating that Clinton skip the Iowa caucuses. Mike's key point was that "playing" in Iowa was not strategic -- that Iowa traditionally was Clinton's "weakest state," that winning would require a costly investment with a relatively small return given Iowa's limited number of electoral votes, and that it would be smarter to focus on winning big on super Tuesday.

Mike's analysis was ridiculed on Raising Kaine and elsewhere.

After last night, could be that Clinton supporters might be wishing that the campaign had taken his advice to heart. At least, she might have had her "inevitability" still intact.