Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ACORN and voter fraud

There is virtually no evidence of actual voter fraud anywhere in the United States. The notion that people who are ineligible to vote are actually making it to the polls and illegally casting votes... it's completely made up.

But don't take my word for it. Do some research. And by that, I don't mean reading the headlines on Drudge or the New York Post. Look up David Iglesias, for instance. He is one of 9 U.S. Attorneys that was fired by the Bush Administration (read 'Karl Rove') for refusing to prosecute these bogus 'voter fraud' cases. Look up the recent Supreme Court decision in Indiana upholding that state's voter ID requirement, supposedly designed to prevent rampant voter fraud. Then try to find any record of actual voter fraud in the state of Indiana. You can't. It doesn't exist.

So then, what is all this noise about ACORN and thousands of bogus voter registrations? Why have ACORN volunteers allegedly registered everyone from Mickey Mouse to Mickey Mantle to Mick Jagger? Because they're all Democrats? Look, if Mickey Mouse is a Democrat, who cares? Elmer Fudd is almost certainly a Republican. You can just tell these things.

But my point is this. Huge numbers of new voters registered to vote in this year's presidential election. Everybody knows that the clear majority of these new voters are Obama supporters. People on both sides are increasingly certain that Obama is going to win big on November 4. So Republicans are making their quadrennial push to manufacture a big stink about voter fraud, but this time with a vengeance and some extra help from street-level operatives who are planning to claim Obama's probable victory as illegitimate.

What do I mean? Answer this question: Why would a Democratic partisan (if as Republicans are claiming, ACORN is a partisan organization supporting Obama) submit a false registration under the name "Mickey Mouse"? My answer is, he would not. A desperate McCain supporter hoping to de-legitimize the operation and cast doubt upon the outcome of the election would do that.

So that's my theory. Republicans see a huge defeat coming and are preparing to claim that they were victims of a massive scheme by domestic terrorists, led by Mickey Mouse, seeking to cheat all "good Americans" out of real leadership. Agghp. I just threw up in my mouth.

As U.S. Attorney David Iglesias said, "this voter fraud thing is the bogeyman. It doesn't exist."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gourmet Cheeseburger in Paradise

In 2006 if you had asked me who Warren Buffett is, I might have told you he's a folk rock singer that didn't much appeal to me. Today, two years and one small child later, I can tell you that he's the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. In 1962, he started buying into a small textile company at under $8 a share and has grown it into a vast holding company with a market capitalization of over $181 billion. A single Class A share of Berkshire Hathaway now trades at about $117,000. Okay, I had to look up the wonky details, but Warren Buffett is the world's most successful investor and the second richest man in the world. And he's a famously nice guy.

As a politician who wants to raise taxes considerably on the wealthiest Americans, you would not expect Barack Obama to receive this particular nice guy's support. After all, Warren Buffett answers to his shareholders, and steering a ship carrying gazillions of other people's dollars, you could say there's a lot riding on his judgment. With an average annual return to those shareholders of 21%, you could also say expectations are high. But Buffett has publicly endorsed Barack Obama. I want to quote a passage from the book "The Audacity of Hope", in which Buffett replies to the question of how many of his fellow billionaires share his views on taxation:

"I'll tell you, not very many. They have this idea that it's 'their money' and they deserve to keep every penny of it. What they don't factor in is all the public investment that lets us live the way we do. Take me as an example. I happen to have a talent for allocating capital. But my ability to use that talent is completely dependent on the society I was born into. If I'd been born into a tribe of hunters, this talent of mine would be pretty worthless. I can't run very fast. I'm not particularly strong. I'd probably end up as some wild animal's dinner.

"But I was lucky enough to be born in a time and place where society values my talent, and gave me a good education to develop that talent, and set up the laws and the financial system to let me do what I love doing -- and make a lot of money doing it. The least I can do is help pay for all that."

I, for one, wish there were a few more billionaires who were like Warren Buffett in this regard. For every Warren Buffett, there are probably about 10 Carl Icahns who have a very different opinion about taxes and social policy. I guess it's obvious that I don't agree with them, and reading my partisan rants, you'd think that I completely deny any validity in their arguments. I wish it was that simple. Strangely, it seems there are quite a few on the other side who, at least in some ways are intelligent, reasonable, even compassionate people. Take Larry Hunter for instance. His support of Obama aside (a subject for another day), here's a guy to whom a progressive tax code, universal health care, and even market-based regulatory controls like cap and trade are anathema, yet when you look at him and listen to him speak, you intuitively sense that he's not out to exploit the working class, send sickly seniors out onto the streets to die, and pollute our planet into oblivion. Just like his liberal counterpart, say a Paul Krugman, he's guided by a moral compass. Even though their respective approaches to our problems are often polar opposites, these two men share a common set of underlying values.

Like any parent, I want my kid to be healthy, have the advantage of a good education, and enjoy all the best things in life. I want to work hard to make that happen, and I'm willing to fight anybody who would stand in the way of that. I certainly don't want to stand in anybody else's way. I don't want a free ride, nor do I want to give anybody else a free ride. And at the end of the day, I hope to leave the world in better shape than when I found it. In other words, I'm just like everybody else. Not too particular, not too precise. You'd think all of us getting along would be easy as pie. Or a cheeseburger in paradise.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


You know, actually, I kinda wish that Congress would suspend the federal gas tax. Then everybody could see firsthand how much of that 18.4 cents per gallon would end up not in their pockets but in the pockets of the oil companies. Apparently this is still a wildly popular idea, with even Carly Fiorina touting the proposal. So Pelosi and Reid should do the only thing that can be done. Prove them wrong.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Latest Media Blind Spot: Viewing All Criticism of Obama Through a Right/Left Prism


Where are the examples of issues on which Obama has begun to disagree with himself? I have begun reading "The Audacity of Hope", and in the first 100 pages, I have found evidence that his "tacking to the center" (I welcome him here) actually occurred sometime before he wrote that book in 2006 -- not in the last month as many on both ends of the political spectrum have claimed.

The one true reversal, as far as I can tell, is his position on campaign finance. Had he not switched his strategy, I would have decided that indeed, he was much too naive to be president.

However smart, he is a politician after all and he is not infallible. I would have preferred if he had just come out to tell us that it'd be stupid to build the best fund-raising apparatus ever and then not use it. I would have preferred that he not suddenly switch his pronouns from "I" to "we" when discussing the folly of talking about an "undivided Jerusalem" at the AIPAC convention. I think he should have better qualified his criticism of NAFTA during the primary run. But I also think that those who claim he is shifting in the name of political expedience had misconceptions about who he is and has been from the start. I agree with Gail Collins when she wrote in her NY Times piece "The Audacity of Listening":

"You liked Barack because you thought he could get us past the old brain-dead politics, right? He talked -- and talked and talked -- about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats.

Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?
When an extremely intelligent politician tells you over and over and over that he is tired of the take-no-prisoners politics of the last several decades, that he is going to get things done and build a 'new consensus,' he is trying to explain that he is all about compromise."

Read the Article I'm responding to at HuffingtonPost

Kool-Aid, Whack-a-Mole, and... Viagra!

If what follows is what right-wingers call "Kool-Aid", then I have only two words: "OHHH YEAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!"

Obama's remarks on Iraq and Afghanistan

The surge worked! The surge worked! ....Isn't that right, Mr. Hegseth? Well, keep drinking THAT kool-aid while the game of Whack-a-mole goes on.

What nobody seems willing to say is that while a troop surge is a small factor in the reduction of violence in Iraq, experts agree that the far more influential factors in the outcome include the strenthening of the Iraqi army, Al Qaeda's alienation of Iraqi's Sunni population (they indiscriminately terrorize 'infidels' and Islamic moderates alike), and Muqtada al Sadr's cease-fire order to his militia.

Obama will never say this, of course, because it would be seen as a denial of recognition of the efforts of US troops. But it is the undeniable if impolitic truth.

And now, let's cleanse the palate with some lighter fare:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Taxes on small business owners

FACTCHECK.ORG debunks McCain's claim that Obama's tax proposal would raise taxes on 23 million small business owners

This is of particular interest to me since I am a small business owner -- though I don't have any employees and don't have immediate plans to hire anybody. So I guess I won't be helping to lift us out of this mental recession.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Open letter to The New Yorker

Dear Editor:

Congratulations. The caricatures of Michelle and Barack Obama on the cover of your magazine have certainly drawn plenty of attention. Of the tens of millions of Obama supporters across the country, many are well educated, socially conscious citizens -- exactly the type of people who may well be inclined to subscribe to The New Yorker. I can personally guarantee that having seen this cover, I will never subscribe. If I had been a subscriber, I would have cancelled before even reading the headline. This is the kind of messaging we've come to expect from Fox News, and I would never have imagined that The New Yorker would lower itself to compete on that plane. The sad irony here is that most of the people who will be impacted by an image of the candidate and his wife burning an American flag in the Oval Office will never get past the front cover. Many of them don't even know the meaning of the word 'satire'. And you know as well as I do that they won't need to get anywhere near a copy of this publication. This abominable denigration of two of the most important public figures in our lifetime will be cheerfully paraded about by every second-rate media outlet around the world. You've led the pack.

Both campaigns have indicated that they view this as tasteless and offensive. I agree, and I'm sure the vast majority of Obama supporters do as well. Maybe you were hoping to deliver a damaging blow to the Obama campaign. Maybe you simply hoped to increase your circulation. In either case, I suspect you'll be unpleasantly surprised. Need I remind you that Barack Obama has inspired the most potently activated Democratic base the party has seen in over 40 years?


Dorian Cheah

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blue Plate Specials!

Well I did it again. I participated in WaPo's "Gene Pool Forum". The first time I identified Fox News Headquarters as the "Armpit of America" (see below). Political soapboxing was not what Gene had in mind, of course, but apparently I wasn't the only one up to the task. This time, the host of the forum challenged us to politicize our favorite dish or kind of food. Hah! Here goes:


I love Blue-Plate Specials. I go to Fromin's which is an elderly hangout. As a young taxpaying worker, I love to watch the beneficiaries of Social Security spend my hard-earned cash on matzo ball soup and beef stroganoff.

I know, John McCain is looking out for me and wants to end this disgraceful practice of actually funding Social Security. Thank god somebody finally got to the bottom of how this Social Security thing actually works.

"Paging Dr. Kevorkian...paging Dr. Kevorkian...we need to end the mental recession in John McCain's head."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Armpit of America

I just participated in the Washington Post "Gene Pool" forum. The host invited readers to nominate a place to win the title of "Armpit of America".

I nominated Fox News.

The site of the Fox News broadcast is most certainly the most vile, putrid, and rotten place in the country, if not the world. It is the place where the most toxic elements of American ignorance congregate and fester. Remember BAN Deodorant? We need a BAN on Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Karl Rove and the rest of those stinkoids. We need to give them the AXE. Their rancid diarrhea-of-the-mouth spewage needs to be kept a SECRET. Raise your hand if you're SURE.

...Okay I feel better now :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The Republican Party is a dead rotting carcass with a few decrepit old leaders stumbling around like zombies in a horror version of 'Weekend With Bernie,' handcuffed to a corpse."

- Larry Hunter, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Innovation, Chief Economist for the Free Enterprise Fund, hardcore supply-sider... HA!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Zakaria on the war in Iraq

I just had to post an excerpt from Zakaria's Newsweek piece on what he thinks Obama needs to say about Iraq. Need anybody say more:

The war has resulted in over 4,000 U.S. combat deaths, four times as many grievously wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths. Over 2 million Iraqis have fled the country and 2 million more have been displaced within the country. The price tag in dollars has also been staggering. In the last five years, the United States has spent close to $1 trillion on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. That is enough money to rebuild every school, bridge and road in America, create universal health care and fund several Manhattan Projects in alternative energy. Whatever benefits the invasion of Iraq might produce, it cannot justify these expenditures in lives and treasure.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama, pop culture, and the 1st amendment


Mr. Obama speaks out against "filth" on the airwaves. I find it interesting to see somebody on the left come out repeatedly and unabashedly with strong religious beliefs. Many liberals criticize him for it, but they should remember that there is a difference between a public figure expressing an opinion and a policymaker trying to infringe upon our first amendment rights. Mr. Obama is clearly well aware of this difference and perhaps as importantly, of the fact that for decades the GOP has seemingly held a monopoly on "family values". I am not a Christian and I may or may not agree with Barack Obama's definition of filth, but I applaud him for promoting his ideals and reclaiming morality from the thugs on the right who have long exploited the concept for political gain.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oil Drilling on the Outer Contintental Shelf and in ANWR

I sometimes take my son Dylan down to the beach. Pretty soon, he will be old enough to swim in the ocean. I do not look forward to the day when I will have to tell him that he cannot swim in that water because it is too polluted. When he points at the dolphins and asks me why they can swim in the water, I'll have to tell him that those dolphins are getting sick and dying because our politicians did not do enough to protect our environment.

If the folks at the American Petroleum Institute are not overly optimistic when they say that if we begin drilling in our coastal waters and in ANWR, in five years we will be pumping an additional 1 or even 2 million barrels a day, and if we were to wrongly assume that we would keep it all for our own consumption, that would still leave our country's daily oil habit 90 to 95 percent unsatisfied. Do you honestly believe the temporary and negligible gains from such a venture would be worth the price our children and grandchildren will pay? According to some estimates, federal subsidies to the oil industry total $15 to $35 billion annually. Over the next 5 years, that is up to $175 billion. That would be a good start toward funding the research and development of new technology that would forever eliminate our need for oil. You may scoff at the idea, but before the Apollo space program, many people scoffed at the idea of a man walking on the moon.

When I hear people advocating for oil exploration in ANWR and our coastal waters, I can't help but think that they imagine the human race will not survive long enough to regret those decisions.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Free For All! - A Must-See Election Film

I have had the privilege of working on an important documentary about our electoral process. The title of the film is "Free For All!". In it, we learn the ways in which our election system has been and continues to be vulnerable to fraud and deeply unfair tactics. It is absolutely imperative that the public awareness is raised on this issue so that we can fight to make sure that our voices are truly heard this November.

In a country that has been dominated for decades by an extreme-right agenda that creates severe social inequality and economic growth that benefits only the wealthiest 1% of Americans, we must look at the tools being used by the GOP to create popular support for their policies: the exploitation of racial and religious divisions, and the disenfranchisement of lower-income and minority voters.

Free For All! examines the intricacies of disenfranchisement, covering topics such as unnecessary and harmful voter ID requirements, voter caging, suspect electronic voting machines, misinformation and straight-up bamboozlement, and many more. Told from the perspective of a regular guy hoping to preserve our democracy and filled with deeply troubling information about the dangers we face if we are not vigilant, this film is simultaneously enjoyable, informative, unsettling, and provocative. Please allow yourself to be inspired to take action. Watch this film, and make sure all your friends do, too.

Free For All!, written, produced, and directed by John Wellington Ennis (and music composed by me), will be released on July 4. Watch the trailer here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

JFK speech

What follows is a commencement speech given by Kennedy on June 10, 1963 at the American University. I am posting it because I think it reminds us of certain principles that give Americans real reasons to be proud of our country. It also reminds us that we have strayed so far from some of these principles. If enough people take the time to read this speech and understand the timeliness (and timelessness) of it, there is HOPE.

Thanks for checking it out.


President Anderson, members of the faculty, Board of Trustees, distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am earning mine in the next 30 minutes, ladies and gentlemen:

It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop Hurst's enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a city devoted to the making of history and to the conduct of the public's business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who wish to learn whatever their color or their creed, the Methodists of this area and the nation deserve the nation's thanks, and I commend all those who are today graduating.

Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support.

"There are few earthly things more beautiful than a University," wrote John Masefield, in his tribute to the English Universities - - and his words are equally true here. He did not refer to spires and towers, to campus greens and ivied walls. He admired the splendid beauty of the University, he said, because it was " a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see."

I have, therefore, chose this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is to rarely perceived - - yet it is the most important topic on earth : world peace.

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace - - the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living -- the kind that enables man and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children - - not merely peace for Americans by peace for all men and women - - not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by the wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles - - which can only destroy and never create - - is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war - - and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament - - and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must re-examine our own attitude - as individuals and as a Nation - - for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward - - by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the Cold War and toward freedom and peace here at home.

First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many of us think it is unreal. But that is dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable - - that mankind is doomed - - that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade - - therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable - - and we believe they can do it again.

I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the values of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace - - based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions - -on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace - - no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process - - a way of solving problems.

With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor - - it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.

So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable - - and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly - - by making it seem more manageable and less remote - - we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.

Second: Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims - - such as the allegation that " American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of wars…that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union…(and that) the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries…(and) to achieve world domination.

Truly, as it was written long ago: "The wicked flee when no man pursueth." Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements - - to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning - - a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodations as impossible and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.

No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements - - in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage.

Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique, among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation's territory, including nearly two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland - - a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.

Today, should total war ever break out again - - no matter how - - our two countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironical but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the Cold War, which brings burdens and dangers to so many countries, including this Nation's closest allies - - our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counter-weapons.

In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours -- and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.

So, let us not be blind to our differences - - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.

Third: Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Cold War, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had history of the last eighteen years been different.

We must, therefore, preserve in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists' interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our vital interest, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy - - or of a collective death-wish for the world.

To secure these ends, America's weapons are non-provocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplines in self-restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.

For we can seek a relaxation of tensions without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people - - but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument of peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system - - a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished.

At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends, are divided over issues which weaken western unity, which invite communist intervention or which threaten to erupt into war. Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East and in the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides. We have also tried to set an example for others - - by seeking to adjust small but significant differences with our own closest neighbors in Mexico and in Canada.

Speaking of other nations, I wish to make one point clear. We are bound to many nations by alliances. These alliances exist because our concern and theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin for example, stands undiminished because of the identity of our vital interests. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples, not merely because they are our partners, but also because their interests and ours converge.

Our interests converge, however not only in defending the frontiers of freedom, but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope - - and the purpose of Allied policies - - to convince the Soviet Union that she, too, should let each nation choose its own future, so long as that choice does not interfere with the choices of others. The communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, then peace would be much more assured.

This will require a new effort to achieve world law - - a new context for world discussions. It will require increased understanding between the Soviets and ourselves. And increased understanding will require increased contact and communications. One step in this direction is the proposed arrangement for a direct line between Moscow and Washington, to avoid on each side the dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of the other's actions which might occur at a time of crisis.

We have also been talking in Geneva about other first-step measures of arms control, designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and to reduce the risks of accidental war. Our primary long-range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament - - designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. The pursuit of disarmament has been an effort of this Government since the 1920's. It has been urgently sought by the past three Administrations. And however dim the prospects may be today, we intend to continue this effort - - to continue it in order that all countries, including our own, can better grasp what the problems and possibilities of disarmament are.

The one major area of these negotiations where the end is in sight- - yet where a fresh start is badly needed - - is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. The conclusion of such a treaty - - so near and yet so far - - would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. IT would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security - - it would decrease the prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the whole effort nor the temptation to give up our insistence on vital and responsible safeguards.

I am taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important decisions in this regard.

First: Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history - - but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.

Second: To make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on the matter, I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal binding treaty - - but I hope it will help us achieve one. Nor would such a treaty be a substitute for disarmament - - but I hope it will help us achieve it.

Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our won society must justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication of our own lives - - as many of you who are graduation today will have a unique opportunity to do, by serving without pay in the Peace Corps abroad or in the proposed National Service Corps here at home.

But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our duties today, the peace is not secure because freedom is incomplete.

It is the responsibility of the Executive Branch at all levels of government - - local, state and national - - to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority. It is the responsibility of the Legislative Branch at all levels, wherever that authority is not now adequate, to make it adequate. And it is the responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.

All this is not unrelated to world peace. "When a man's ways please the Lord," the Scriptures tell us, "he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter human rights - - the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation - - the right to breathe air as nature provided it - - the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly in the interest of both. No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can - - if it is sufficiently effective in its enforcement and if it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers - - offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough - - more than enough - - of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on - - not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Counting Grizzly Bears

You may have heard Senator McCain talk about the $3 million grizzly bear DNA project, and how it was a waste of taxpayer dollars. After all, he's for cutting spending, like any good Republican, right?

Well, guess what, my conservative friends? A strong advocate of this program was Conrad Burns, a 3-term Republican senator from Montana. Conrad Burns is now McCain's campaign chairman in Montana.

As it turns out, the project may actually reduce federal spending in the long run. You see, the project was actually about counting bears in the state. And the researchers discovered that there are far more bears than expected. That suggests that three decades of conservation efforts, costing tens of millions of dollars, have paid off. If they become delisted as an endangered species, it would bring an end to decades of federal oversight.

Having learned all of this, I wonder why McCain jokes about it in his stump speeches? Could it be that he's just paying lip service to fiscal conservatives, thinking that nobody will look far enough into the issue? Hmmm... just like that Gas Tax Holiday idea was lip service to those angry about $4 a gallon gasoline?

Am I seeing a pattern here?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gas Tax Holiday? Do the math, Obama's right.

McCain has proposed a "Gas Tax Holiday" to show his concern for the little people this summer. Sen. Clinton has jumped on that bandwagon, too. But not Obama. Here's why:

Okay, so the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.

I don't own a hybrid (damn!)...so based on the amount of city/freeway driving i do, i'm going to estimate my gas mileage at 20 mpg.

I'm going to say I drive an average of 100 miles per week. So between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I'll probably drive about 1300 miles. So let's see:

1300 miles divided by 20 miles per gallon = 65 gallons

I'll be buying 65 gallons of gas over the next 3 months.

At the current national average of 3.60 per gallon, that will cost me $234.00.

Now let's factor in the proposed "Gas Tax Holiday":

65 gallons multiplied by the 18.4 cents per gallon discount.

That brings my total down to $222.04!

WOOHOO!!!! I'm gonna save me $11.96!

But wait a minute. According to economist Jeffrey Perloff of UC-Berkeley, the suspension of the federal 18.4 cent gas tax would likely result in a 9 to 12 cent reduction at the pump. So I may only save $5.85. Well, gee, good lookin' out, guys.

What are you going to do with your savings? You could celebrate Memorial Day with a six-dollar burger at Carl's Jr! As for me, I'm going to donate $15 to the Obama campaign and get myself an Obama '08 car magnet.

Because like he said, the Gas Tax Holiday idea is traditional Washington politics. Let's play little word games, trick people into thinking we're doing something to help them, and come off looking like heroes. Not this time! See, he's not even president yet and Barack Obama is already making things better.

Go Obama!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

McCain in New Orleans

Senator McCain went to New Orleans this week to show support for those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Emphasis on the word "show". Think he'll put his money where his mouth is? Think about this:

...on February 27, John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, endorsed Sen. John McCain for president. Following Hagee's endorsement, McCain said, "All I can tell you is I'm very proud to have pastor Hagee's support."

On the September 18, 2006, edition of National Public Radio's Fresh Air, host Terry Gross said to Hagee, "You said after Hurricane Katrina that it was an act of God, and you said 'when you violate God's will long enough, the judgment of God comes to you. Katrina is an act of God for a society that is becoming Sodom and Gomorrah reborn.' " She then asked, "Do you still think that Katrina is punishment from God for a society that's becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah?" Hagee responded:

HAGEE: All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

Will the "liberal media" be talking about Hagee's hateful philosophy -- apparently shared by McCain -- with the same fervor they had in exposing Obama's supposed "ties" to Louis Farrakhan and William Ayers?

War stories...

a rush of adrenaline immediately following the sniper attack.

I still like Bill Clinton...

...even though his wife irritates the hell outta me. i mean come on. the Obama campaign taking a page out of Karl Rove's playbook? that's the kind of "black is white" argument that only Karl Rove could pull off, Hillary!

But seriously folks, did anybody else realize that Bill was cunning enough a linguist to contribute to a NYT crossword puzzle?

Idiots 'R' Us

The crown jewel of the Republican Party's argument against our next president.

why do i care?

well, after a good 36 years spent in a perpetual state of dim-witted self-absorption,
i think i may finally have reached my saturation point. and it's pretty sad that it's taken this long because to be honest, i'm kinda shallow. therefore, this is the first and last post on this blog that's about me.

the rest of it? anything goes, i guess. as long as it originated somewhere outside of my thick skull, it's fair game.

so, hello.