Sunday, August 31, 2008

How the Democrats Almost Blew It

McCain's selection of Governor Palin was a calculated move to deflect attention from the Democratic convention and Senator Obama's soaring acceptance speech. The Democrats, as did many others, reacted with astonishment to McCain's preposterous selection of a vice president. That reaction was what the McCain campaign and other Republicans were counting on. Because the Republican comeback, which was well-prepared and well rehearsed, was that Governor Palin has more experience and credentials to be president than Senator Obama. As Democrats ranted and raved about this ludicrous statement, the Republicans repeated their mantra about Governor Palin's executive experience and leadership qualities. This led to more outraged reactions which was just what the Republicans needed to deflect attention from McCain's poor judgment and lack of true leadership.

Only Senator Obama reacted calmly and said nothing negative about Governor Palin. If the Democrats had all done the same thing and basically yawned about Governor Palin's nomination, the significance of this event would have disappeared in a puff of smoke. While it's true that Governor Palin is the first woman to be nominated as vice president by the Republicans, the Democrats had previously nominated a woman to be vice president. So what's the big deal? There wasn't any big deal unless the Democrats and other people made one. Governor Palin will bring over a few discontented Hillary supporters, but more importantly she has impressed the Republican right with her gun toting, antiabortion, drill the hell out public land approach. That real significance is within the Republican Party to shore up support among the right-wingers.

In the debates and discussions ahead the Republicans will continue to repeat their mantra that Governor Palin is more qualified than Senator Obama. This will be disputed and argued by the Democrats as it should be. But the only substantive issue is whether Senator Obama or Senator McCain would make a better president. Of course, Governor Palin's incredible lack of experience, the Alaskan legislature meets only 90 days a year, is of significance because Senator McCain is 72 years old and has had cancer for times. That too will be debated. But the Democrats shouldn't blow a gasket over it. Obama shrewdly summed up the Republicans on 60 minutes tonight when he said they're not very good governing but very good at running elections.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin: "I'm Just Your Average Hockey Mom in Alaska

John McCain surprised everyone, including himself, in his selection of his vice presidential candidate. If Senator McCain becomes the next president, Governor Palin who described herself as, "Just your average hockey Mom" will be a heartbeat away from the most powerful office on the planet. And McCain was questioning Obama's qualifications? Governor Palin needs to be told that if something happens to President McCain she won't be playing hockey or watching her kids play hockey.

Senator McCain has made one of most ludicrous decisions in the history of the United States. This is a woman he met with once who is currently under investigation in the State of Alaska for using improper interference in getting her sister-in-law's ex-husband fired. Is that what she's going to be doing as vice president? One cringes at the thought of what she might do as president.

On the Larry King show tonight James Carville and McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer argued Governor Palin’s credentials to be vice president. Ms. Pfotenhauer had a continuous disingenuous smile as she blathered absolute nonsense about Governor Palin's qualifications. Ms. Pfotenhauer appeared to be a windup McCain cheerleader who lost all contact with common sense when she said that Governor pale was more qualified than Senator Obama. As a matter of fact, commonsense did not appear to be an objective of hers. She was on television to repeat rote remarks and accomplish the Republican mission of electing Senator McCain. It is likely the Republicans would continue their mantras about Senator McCain even if he was frozen in ice. The last part would be an apt description of Ms. Pfotenhauer’s smile.

McCain Health Care Policy: Use the Emergency Room

According to an article in the Dallas morning news 15.5% of all Americans have no health insurance. The article went on to quote John Goodman, who helped craft Senator McCain's health care policy, who stated that the numbers are misleading. The article quotes Mr. Goodman " anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

It is almost unbelievable that Mr. Goodman would make such a statement. It shows a callous disregard for the people of this country and a total misunderstanding of the best way to provide health care services. It also comes right out of Senator Obama's acceptance speech where he condemned Republicans for telling Americans "do it on your own." Clearly Mr. Goodman has health care insurance, and as long as he does what happens to everybody else is likely to be unimportant to him.

Mr. Goodman, having put one foot in his mouth, is not content to leave the other one on the ground. He is further quoted by the same article as saying, "So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care."

What an ingenious solution. I wonder why Senator Obama didn't think of it

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

McCain Will Tax Your Health Care Benefits

An article in the New York Time stated that, "Mr. McCain proposes to eliminate the exclusion of health benefits from taxable income." That's right, the Republican presidential nominee will add a significant tax burden to the middle class. McCain's overall plan is quite complicated and the, "Devil is in the details." Unfortunately, all the details of this plan have not been worked out.

The New York Times article goes on to state:

"In exchange, he would provide refundable tax credits of $2,500 to single people and of $5,000 to families, with the goal of stoking competition in the individual insurance market. The elimination of the exclusion would generate $3.6 trillion over 10 years, according to the McCain campaign, and that money would pay for the tax credits.

While the change would primarily affect those with gold-plated insurance policies, health analysts point out that middle-income workers with conventional coverage could conceivably pay more in regions where insurance costs are high. Over time, that might depend on how the tax credits are adjusted for inflation, a detail Mr. McCain has not discussed."
Although the McCain campaign has gone on at great lengths to explain the benefits of their new health-care plan it is filled with uncertainties. But any way you slice it or dice it, if you make health care benefits subject to taxation, that's a tax increase. The Times article quoted Jonathan B. Oberlander, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “You can argue with lots of merit that it’s a responsible increase, that it takes away an inequitable exclusion, but it’s still a tax increase.”

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Liberal Democrats Successfully Electing another Republican

The Liberal Democrats who have given the American people Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, and John Kerry have given us their latest victim, Barack Obama. Instead of searching for Democratic candidate who can win the presidency these people are wedded to the idea that they need to nominate someone who embodies all of their ideals. Unfortunately, these ideals are not shared by the majority of American people outside of the East Coast, California, and Oregon. In fact, it appears the vast majority of working people are unable to identify with Senator Obama.

The South appears to be lost, with only Florida and possibly Virginia in play. What's fascinating about this is that John McCain polls 25 percentage points better than Obama among the working people of the South. It's fascinating because if these people sat down and thought about how they've fared under Republican administrations they would see that they have been ripped off year after year after year. Universal health care is no longer being discussed and the working people of the South are among those with the lowest percentage of people covered by health care plans. They have also been victimized by Republican tax cuts serving the interests of the affluent and very wealthy.

It seems almost inconceivable that a Democratic candidate could lose when the most unpopular president in recent memory sits in office. The Republican candidate cannot remember how many homes he has, whether Iraq borders Pakistan, and other minor details. I live in South Carolina where the Republican ads tell me that the government is broken and John McCain is the man to fix it. How can he conceivably fix policies that were implemented by President Bush which he plans to continue? The Republican attack machine has successfully chipped away at a very bright and capable ideologue who is still trying to explain who he is to the American people after a year of constant campaigning. Perhaps in another year or two he might be successful.

People like Maureen Dowd, who despises Hillary Clinton to a degree that is probably pathological, will surely be delighted when John McCain takes the oath of office. Four years from now Arianna Huffington will be able to advise the next Liberal Democratic candidate on how to be true to his liberal ideals while he goes down in flames.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ignores the Evidence

Despite being presented with a variety of documentation that clearly evidences fraud on the part of the Chinese government, the IOC chose to accept Chinese passports as final documentation of the ages of the Chinese gymnasts. This was not an unsurprising result, but a gutless one. Despite the clear documentation that He Kexin is only 14 years old, the IOC decided to duck controversy and not embarrass the Chinese government. The Chinese government statement questioning the veracity of documentation on the Internet was disingenuity at its best. I suppose the purported outrage of the families of these young children was yet one more part of the sham that has been perpetrated by the Chinese government. We all know that governments lie to achieve political and other objectives. We have been subjected to a five-year war in Iraq that was based on misrepresentation of evidence to the people of this country and the world.

There has been the more documentation of He Kexin’s age on the web site of the Internet security specialist who helped bring the fraudulent documentation to worldwide attention. "What you're seeing above is a document which was removed from the Chinese government server, listing He Kexin's birthday as 1994-1-1, saved in The Internet Archive (last link). The Internet Archive is a U.S. based non-profit organization which collaborates with the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress in its mission to perform historical web document preservation. This is just one more document source to pile on top of Google, and Baidu. Take a look at the Google Translated version of the Internet Archive's copy of this document, and try to look up He Kexin's age."

What was noteworthy for me was the worldwide attention to my last two posts. People from a dozen different countries read these posts, even two from China. The issue is settled and nothing will be done. Cheating at the Olympics is far from new, and far from over. Multiple gold winner at the Sydney Olympics, Marion Jones is now serving time in a federal penitentiary for lying about her use of illegal substances. Shot-putters at recent Olympics cannot come close to matching throws from the 1970s when steroid use was rampant. On to other topics.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chinese Women's Gymnastic Fraud Exposed

For some time allegations have been made that several of the Chinese female gymnasts have been under the required age of 16. Evidence of this was documented several weeks ago. However, the international Olympic Committee (IOC) chose to turn a blind eye and not "ruin" China's coming-out party. However, recent evidence discovered on the Internet has made it all but impossible to pretend that it never happened. An Internet security specialist found information regarding He Kexin’s age and published it on his site which in turn was widely disseminated on Digg and elsewhere on the Internet. If you go to the link you will see copies of the documents which were subsequently erased.

The Times on line picked up this story and printed the following "An IOC official told The Times that because of "discrepancies" that have come to light about the age of He Kexin, the host nation’s darling who won gold in both team and individual events, an official inquiry has been launched that could result in the gymnast being stripped of her medals." The IOC had no choice but to act because by now copies of the documents in question have spread throughout the Internet all around the world. The only question that remains to be answered is whether the IOC will have the courage to act in the appropriate manner.

The issue is not with the Chinese people, but rather with the government that does as it pleases without regard to the rules. Dictatorships are always above rules. It's amazing that the governmental officials were so ill-informed about the nature of what can be found out on the Internet. If they had, maybe they would have taken the trouble of seeing to it that young ladies who were 16 years of age were on their women's gymnastic team, not girls of 12 or 13. If justice is truly served then He’s medals will be taken away from her, and the team stripped of its gold medal because of her participation. The Chinese government brought to shame on themselves.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chinese Olympic Fools Gold

As this post is being written, the Chinese divers have won all seven of the gold medals at stake in Olympic diving. They have also won all but one of the gold medals available for men's gymnastics. None of this is by accident because China has turned itself into a nation where over one billion people are part of an huge athletic factory. It is certain that the Chinese will win the most gold medals at this Olympics, although the United States may end up with the most medals. Of what importance is this? To the Chinese government it is of great importance. So important that they use 13 and 14 year old girls for their gymnastic team and supply documents indicating the girls are the required 16 years of age.

The extent of the intensity of the Chinese government's athletic training program is described in an article in Time. "Across the nation, nearly 400,000 young hopefuls in 3,000 sports schools toil to bring glory to their motherland. Most are plucked from elementary school and sent to train at these state-run sports academies before the age of nine regardless of their interest in athletics." Children much younger than the age of nine are taken from their homes with the permission of the parents who are given inducements by the central government. These children remain the "property" of the state and are discouraged from coming home by their own parents who have adopted the national motto, "Failure is not an option."

The extent of the fanaticism of this training is illustrated in another excerpt from the article in Time.

"One by one, the little girls walk to the wooden blocks and extend their legs into the splits, one callused foot balancing on each block, their straining bodies hovering just above the ground. Coach Yang Yaojun, his sweatpants hiked high over his belly, ambles over to the girls, smiles and hands the nearest one a stopwatch. The girls, who are six and seven years old, do not smile back. Teetering on the blocks, they wait as Yang straddles each leg in turn, resting his 70-kg frame on their outstretched limbs. No matter how tough the girls are, no matter how much resolve they have mustered, the tears come within seconds. They do not cry out, though. They just well up soundlessly and stare at the seconds ticking down on the stopwatch. After half a minute, Yang stands up and lifts the girls off the blocks. They stagger with the first step, their oversized thigh muscles visibly twitching. By the second or third step, the tremors and the tears are gone."
One shudders to think about what we will see 4, 8, or 12 years from now. An army of Chinese athletes indifferent to pain and willing to do anything to their country requires may eventually sweep all the medals in all the sports in the Olympics. It is impossible to calculate the course to the people of that country to achieve this rather dubious goal.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Russia Wins Gold in Georgia

After disappointments in the men's and women's gymnastics, the Russians went for gold in Georgia. The Russian army synchronized tank units blazed across the Georgian border in perfectly symmetrical fashion scoring tens on all Russian judges’ cards and winning the first ever Olympic gold medal for crushing a neighboring free country. Complaints by the government of Georgia that the tank divisions had no business being in their territory were met with the usual deaf ears of Czar Vladimir Putin.

In individual events, the Russian army also won gold medals for destruction of infrastructure, terrorizing unarmed civilians, and crushing a weaker, almost insignificant enemy army. Celebrations were held in Red Square where Russian generals talked about repeating the performance in other former Soviet provinces. President Bush was visibly annoyed because the American tank divisions had no opportunity to show their precision movements against the Russian tank divisions. He was seen talking sternly to his friend Vlady Putin at the other Olympics in Beijing China.

Observers of the Russian tank divisions’ performance said it hearkened back to their fabulous work in crushing the rebellion in Hungary in 1956. A heartening development was the vigorous protest by the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, who told the Russians to pull back their tanks or face annihilation by French croissant missiles. This apparently had the effect of moving the Russians back a step or two while they awaited the bake-off in France

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

McCain Leads Obama by 25 Points in Two Polls

Both the Snookered and Travesty Polls latest data show Senator McCain with a 25 point lead over Senator Obama. Major strutting was going on in the McCain camp as a result of these findings. Senator McCain was unavailable for comment, but one unnamed aide said, "We told those suckers who Obama really is." It was difficult to get comments from other McCain aides because most of them were chugging champagne bottles and blowing New Year's Eve party favors. When my roving reporter, Nikolai Stanislav O'Leary suggested that such rejoicing might be a little too early he was called a "Party Pooper."

There was a general feeling of vindication that the McCain attack strategy which had been criticized by many had been massively successful so quickly. Another unnamed McCain source said, "We showed America what a snob that Yalie is." When the aide was informed that all Obama went to Harvard not Yale, she brushed it off by saying, "Don't be a yutz and bother me with details." Two huge posters of Obama were broken out as part of the celebration. One was used as a giant dart board and the other was used as a body twist puzzle. All in all, everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.

Since no American election has ever been decided by early August, McCain supporters would be advised to keep up their efforts until election day. While a 25 point turnaround seems very difficult, the two polls cited have never been used before in predicting election. As a matter of fact, no one is quite sure who conducted these polls and under what circumstances. Efforts are underway to find out more details about the nature of these polls and their bearing on the election.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Death Row Prisoner Says He's Too Fat to Execute

A story in the Canadian press about an Ohio prison inmate states that, "A death row inmate scheduled for execution says he's too fat to be put to death, claiming executioners would have trouble finding his veins and that his weight could diminish the effectiveness of one of the lethal injection drugs." The death penalty is no laughing matter, but if death row inmate, Richard Cooey is able to "escape" execution because of his obesity it opens the possibility that every prisoner sentenced to death by lethal injection will gorge himself or herself to the point that they could make the same plea. Prisoners who are scheduled to be electrocuted would have no such recourse. (This is not a picture of the prisoner).

Richard's weight problem should have never gotten into court in the first place. Wouldn't it make sense for the prison officials to put Richard on a strict diet until his weight was such that he could be "terminated" without any undue problems. The bureaucracy as usual gets caught up in itself and can find a simple solution. Maybe Richard would be a good candidate for the "Biggest Loser" next year. He would be in a real Catch-22 because if he lost the most weight he would certainly be executed. The real question is whether America would be rooting for him to lose the weight so he could be executed or because they fell for his sad story. Read on before you start to feel sorry for poor Richard.

No small detail is the fact that Cooey, 41, is sentenced to die for raping and murdering two young women in 1986. It is now 2008, more than 22 years since he was sentenced to die. This is one of the inherent problems with the death penalty. If it must be done, then it should be done quickly. No doubt Richard is a nasty piece of work who deserves dire consequences for what he did. I'm not a big fan of the death penalty, mainly because too many innocent people have found their way to death row. My idea of just retribution would be to take old Richard out into the Mojave Desert and walk him until he fell flat on his face every day. But that's cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by our Constitution. So it's better for him to wait 22 years on death row?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Slate Magazine - Turn 0bama Into Tom Dewey

Republicans may be stupid about many things, but one thing they know how to do is turn the Democratic candidate into something he is not. Obama into Dewey? This is been going on for months and will and intensify as the campaign nears election. McCain is the son of an admiral who was the son of an admiral. Obama didn't have any silver spoons in his mouth. He earned everything he received. McCain was reportedly the recepient of more than one favor, owing to his father's status during his career in the Navy.

read more digg story

Saturday, August 2, 2008

If Obama Is Moses, McCain Is the Pharaoh

I would never say or intimate that Obama is Moses, but John McCain did. Imagine that! A McCain attack ad sarcastically calling Obama "the one" and then showing a picture of Charlton Heston splitting the Red Sea. Everyone knows what happened when the Pharaoh refused to let "My people go." God sent down 10 plagues on the people of Egypt until the Pharaoh relented and let the Israelites go. When will McCain and his followers get the message and let Americans go free. Do they need 10 plagues? Maybe so, because McCain's learning curve doesn't seem to be any better then Bush's.

Hopefully McCain and his crew remember what the 10th plague was. If they don't, maybe they should rent a copy of the "Ten Commandments." While they're at it, they might actually read the 10 Commandments, the ninth of which says "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness." Attack ads and misrepresentations of what Obama says and does are the order of the day for the McCain campaign. It has gone negative, negative, negative untill the whole campaign needs to be put in a dark room.

Notice the very negative guy (Edward G. Robinson). Does he remind you of someone?