Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Fourth Estate

This year following the debates I noticed for the first time fact checking. Maybe they’ve always done this but I sure don’t remember it. What a welcome change.

Candidates would make outrageous accusations and the moderators would always seem to let them slide.

Dick Cheney has proven that if you repeat a lie often enough it will be accepted as fact. He still insists Saddam had something to do with 911.

I’ve never had any respect for the voting public. It’s always been maddening how easily we’re manipulated.

Republicans have made “The Press” as ugly a term as “Liberal”.

The McCain people were making the press out as bullies in anticipation of Palin’s stupid remarks. Katie Couric’s credibility actually shot up because of her interview with her. It’s hard to see Couric as a bully.

We need a press that can hold these people’s feet to the fire. The press isn’t only disliked by the right. A lot of us on the left see them as cowards or at least held hostage by their employers.

When I hear the expression “Liberal Media” I wonder who they’re talking about. There’s nothing Liberal on the radio. T.V. is certainly too lame to count as anything. The internet is so rife with misinformation you have to do so much homework your head spins.

It’s always amusing to me when a story conservatives don’t like needs an opposing point of view. Not every story has 2 sides. Sometimes stupid is just stupid.

There is nothing as import as the press for good government. Hopefully several sources so we can triangulate the truth.

If you think we shouldn’t have the press you’re looking for dictatorship.  Although I have said in the past we need a benevolent dictatorship because people are too ignorant to have an opinion about anything. Of course some idiot kid would inherit the kingdom and mess it all up.

What can you do?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Science

I can’t remember an American president with as much disdain for science as Bush. He has a reputation for picking advisors that tell him what he wants to hear. He finally acquiesced that global warming might be influenced by humans. It must have sunk in that he would go down in history as a complete idiot with his head in the sand.

He has such a reputation that even the Smithsonian Institute toned down an exhibit on the arctic for fear of funding reprisals.

His assaults on science are so numerous I couldn’t even scratch the surface in my short blog.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a group commissioned by the ACLU, issued a report in 2004 called “Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policymaking.” It has been signed by over 6,000 American scientists, including 48 Nobel laureates, 62 National Medal of Science recipients, and 135 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Parts of it cover political interference in science.

In the past month, the United States has been in a science war. The nation's scientific community is at war with the administration. Led by twenty Nobel laureates, the scientists say Bush's government has systematically distorted and undermined scientific information in pursuit of political objectives. Examples include the suppression and censorship of reports on subjects like climate change and mercury pollution, the stacking of scientific advisory panels, and the suspicious removal of scientific information from government Web sites.

Obama, on the other hand, is picking John P. Holdren as his science advisor, Jane Lubchenco as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu to head the Department of Energy. These are all respected scientist that won’t be afraid to tell the truth. We will probably hear things we don’t want to know. Who knows, maybe it will save our asses!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Culture of Corruption

Something smells fishy to me with the Blagojevich scandal. This whole story seems tailored for the American voting public, the same thoughtful crowd that voted for Bush twice. It seems too blatant.

How could a man, knowing his staff was already under surveillance, and under suspicion himself, say the things he did on the phone?

My 14 year old son summed it up perfectly. He said, basically Blagojevich is part of a very large culture of corruption. He must not have played by the rules so they took him down. I’m very proud of his cynicism.

This man shook down a children’s hospital! Crooked politicians are supposed to donate turkeys and make sure the photographers are around to shoot it.

I’ve already heard the predictable opinions of local radio personalities. “You can connect the dots to Obama!” These kind of people are still in court trying to prove Barack isn’t a legal U.S. citizen.

I used to think only republicans were corrupt. After all, their philosophy is based on money. Then they find $90,000 in democratic congressman Bill Jefferson’s freezer. I used to hide my drugs there!

Blagojevich’s exposure is so sudden and so damning, it seems obvious there’s something much larger were not privy to.

I think what ever the current flavor, right or left, opportunists will belong to that party. Power corrupts and corruption will seek out power.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Proposition 8 in California

Last week 70% of black voters in California voted for Proposition 8. Gay marriage is illegal in California again. I heard an interview with a black lesbian who said she was torn between 2 loyalties. She blamed white gays for not courting the black vote. Their vote was taken for granted because white gays thought it was a civil rights issue. The woman was making the case that to black people in California it wasn’t a civil rights issue but a religious and moral one.

I’m incredibly frustrated with this narrow minded view. What this means to me is the majority of black voters in California want to legislate religion. Put their morality views into law. This is not only illegal but immoral.

If you want to live by a certain ethical code that’s fine, but I might happen to disagree with it. That’s why religion is kept out of government in our country.

For me this is personally frustrating because I see religion as superstition. If you don’t follow God’s laws and don’t believe, you’ll be condemned to eternal hellfire and damnation because of HIS infinite love and compassion. It makes heaven sound like Hell to me.

Could God be vengeful? Does God have self worth issues?

The only people more hated and feared in our country than gays are atheists.

Gay marriage is a civil rights issue and the black voters of California should be ashamed of themselves for not seeing it. The people they voted against were on their side during the civil rights movement. We all want justice!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Truck Sales in America

I heard on NPR the other day that with falling gas prices that small trucks are America’s biggest sellers again. If the economy ever recovers gas prices will shoot right back up. China and India alone will force prices up and everyone knows it. I wish I understood America’s attention span.

Cooper has made a Mini that gets 100 miles on a charge. The Tesla gets more than that and it uses cell phone batteries that recharge in a few hours.

Why are we bailing out the big 3 when they can only come up with the Volt? It gets 40 miles on a charge and they’re saying the battery technology isn’t quite there yet.

This money should go into R&D to bring prices down to a consumer level for companies that really work.

The big 3 will eat the money up, we’ll be broke and things will go right back to the way things were.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Have To Wonder

When I hear anyone talk about legislating family values or their belief in a strong military I have to wonder. These are the same folks that talk about small government and low taxes.

What is it that motivates people to be reckless about military spending but want Uncle Sam’s nose out of their personal business? It seems obvious to me these people have been motivated by fear, greed, or any base instinct that will gain support.

First of all, if we want infrastructure (roads, cops, education, parks, HEALTH CARE) we have to pay taxes. The trick is to be smart about how we use the money and not impose too much burden on citizens.

We humans are a weak species. Our intellect made it clear our survival depended on our banding together. Loners starved or were picked off by stronger predators. Just like dogs. Of course there will always be the irrational element so we have to make rules or laws.

This brings me to corporate deregulation. There are those in government that tell us we should leave the corporations alone. They’re feeding the rest of us.

If you believe in corporate deregulation you must also believe we don’t need laws. We should understand an entity whose sole purpose is the acquisition of wealth and power is looking out for our best interests.

When folks get angry with bleeding heart liberals who want to help parasitic, unemployed single moms they have to realize it’s a symptom of the socialization of our species. It’s necessary for our survival as a whole. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Religion

I can't understand why people have to force their views on each other. Why does gay marriage scare so many people. How does it affect their own marriages anyway? 
At its heart their objection must be what they perceive as a religious issue. If this is why then it's a clear violation of the separation of church and state and unconstitutional. Of course these people are willing to rewrite the constitution if it fits their idea of justice.
Keep your damn nose out of other people's lives! Judge not lest ye be judged. Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Naive?

I just had a weird flash of optimism. In my lifetime I've seen a man on the moon, the end of Apartheid, the fall of the Berlin Wall, peace in Northern Ireland, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the election of a black U.S. president.
Could xenophobia end just as abruptly?
Probably not. I suspect it's part of some human survival mechanism.

Skepticism

Why aren’t we automatically skeptical when a proposition appears on the ballots? Valerie was an election judge this year. She had to vote early so she would be available all day to help voters. Now she wishes she had learned a little more about the issues.

Prop A was the first issue on the ballot. As far as anyone knew it was a way to stick it to the casinos for taxes that would go directly to our schools.

I worked as a computer tech for Harrah’s for 3 years. They used to round us up every time an issue came up that required our vote. This was a big one for them.

When I worked there we prayed they’d take away the loss limit in Missouri. It made up about 85% of our computer problems. We had a whole police department on site for the Gaming Commission to make sure loss limit rules were observed. There were several ways around it though.

I personally think we have to deal with our own demons. The loss limit isn’t what bothers me.

This issue is being pushed as a school issue. My mother and Valerie both figured why not so they voted for it. There will be no new taxes for us and the kids will benefit from the sin tax.

I drive for a living right now. At the more trafficked voting places you would see young people in matching T-shirts holding “Yes on A” placards.  At Clayton and Skinker there must have been 10 to 12 of them. I almost yelled, ”which casino do you work for?” out my window.

The hypocrisy wasn’t lost on me when the Missouri casinos accused the Illinois casinos of trying to create an unfair playing field when they threw money behind the “Vote No” campaign. They said Illinois didn’t want the competition it would create.

Illinois casinos put up $150,000. Missouri casinos put up $15,000,000. A bit of an advantage I’d say.

What’s getting in under the radar is that they added a limit to how many casinos are already in Missouri. “We don’t need any more casinos!” you might say. All the casinos in Missouri are owned by 2 Nevada based companies.

To generate the amount of money for our schools they’re talking about people would have to lose billions of dollars that would all go to Nevada.

The city of St. Louis won’t see any of this anyway. Only 9 or 10 schools will be affected.

When the casinos first appeared on the scene they promised money for our schools. Everyone was surprised to learn the money actually went into the general fund. This new money only goes straight to the schools.

Think about it. If you’re a small municipality and you’re used to getting a certain amount of school revenue from casino taxes you’re going to put the rest of your money somewhere else.

I don’t blame the casinos for being greedy. Money is the issue with them. Imagine the money that would be funneled back into the Missouri economy if Missouri businesses owned casinos.

I guess my real issue is the reason people vote. We rarely research the issues. We even admit openly that we don’t care about the issue when we vote for our representatives. We care more about their character. This is maddening to me. The issues represent their real character for us as a whole. Who cares who they sleep with?

My dream is to erase the stigma of non-voting. If you’re not informed don’t vote. I’ll still let you bitch. You don’t have to make a choice about everything that’s on the ballot. If you don’t know don’t vote. The internet is a good place to research the issues. The mainstream media are all owned by one or two people. Ignore them.

 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Philosophy

It’s obvious to me that the reason people hold different political points of view comes down to personal philosophy. I have friends on the right that tell me my opinion that Republicans are the party of greed and intolerance is too simplistic. They don’t really disagree with me though.

This post came to me because of an incident I experienced in the county a few years ago. We were taking our kids trick or treating and passed a house with a Democrat yard sign. One of the dads muttered, “Asshole.” I said I had always thought of the Republicans as the party of greed, sexism, and racism. His response was, “So?!!”

I hear them say they’re the party of Lincoln. The Republican Party in those days was the party of the left. Social and economic conservatives would never have done away with slavery and they know it. They never would have rebelled against King George either.

I love to hear social conservatives talk about how religious our founding fathers were and what their intention for our government was. Franklin was atheist and a lot of the others were deists.

A deist is someone who believes in God but believes God already has it all mapped out. There is no petitioning through prayer. They were against churches. This was the “Age of Enlightenment” a time for reason.

I don’t believe social conservatives are aware the line “Under God” in our pledge of allegiance was added during the “Red Scare” McCarthy era in the 50s.

I was listening to NPR (lefty that I am) the other day. They had the Saturday Night Live writer that wrote most of the Palin skits. When Palin actually showed up he was asked if it was hard to clear his material with her handlers.

He said the Republicans always gave them free reign with their jokes but the Democrats scrutinized every word.

I was a little surprised by this. He was asked why he thought that was. He said if the Democrats stumbled in any way the Republicans would use it against them mercilessly. If the Republicans did the Democrats would let it slide and the Republicans knew this.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

English

Valerie and I had a spirited conversation about a change to our Missouri constitution. They want to make English the official language of government meetings.
I think the fact that this is even on the ballot is a sign of our xenophobia. Europe has shown multi culturalism can be natural. We need to learn more languages. We need to learn tolerence. Yeah it's a hassel but I think we can deal with it.
This is the land of freedom and justice for all. Of course you want to learn the local language. It makes a big difference to your income among other things. Imagine moving to a new country and not being allowed to participate. The first generation will always have a problem with language.
There were hundreds of languages here before the Europeans moved in.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

3000 for McCain

3000 people showed up at New Town in St. Charles for McCain. If you haven't been there you should drive through. It's a frightening place. Reminiscent of "The Village" in the Prisoner TV series. A self contained surreal community and probably a bastion of republicanism.
Blunt is already saying the 100,000 that showed up for Obama under the Arch was an over estimate.
McCain is still alluding to Obama's link to William Ayers. It blows my mind that he would do this considering his link to Charles Keating where McCain was actually implicated. The republicans have always had balls in this regard. This link is also illuminating when you think about McCain's deregulation and trickle down theories. 
Greed will not police itself! Flood up and trickle down doesn't work for most of us.
I encourage everyone to do their Google homework on McCain's link to Charles Keating.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We Went

Well he was totally inspiring. I just saw Colin Powell endorsing him on Meet the Press.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama's in town

I saw Carter under the Arch in the 70s. Obama will be down there today. This will really be part of history. It looks like he might win. I hope he survives his presidency. I hope he can actually do anything in office. Can we get past cynicism?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Senior Moment

Everyone keeps talking about how disrespectful McCain was when he called Obama "That one" at the debate. I remember getting the same feeling when I watched Regan campaigning. I really think McCain just forgot Obama's name.

I Hope Barack Loses

Reactions to the mud slinging from the McCain camp has gotten out of control. McCain can't even quell the mob mentality of his constituents. At a recent town hall meeting McCain passed his wireless microphone to one woman who said, "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not he's not uh—he's an Arab. He's not—" before McCain retook the microphone and replied:
"No, ma'am," the Arizona senator assured. "He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."
Others yelled "liar," and "terrorist," referring to Obama. The crowd booed McCain each time he tried to cool them down.
His campaign organizers are worried they're going to lose the undecided vote. I think McCain is having doubts about selling his soul to retain his base of xenophobes.
Personnally I think if you've been undecided in this election you don't deserve the vote. It bugs me when people say "if you didn't vote, you don't have the right to bitch." Uninformed voting is destroying us. Democracy is turning into mob rule and not justice for all.
The hate and intolerence of the mob is getting worse every day. They are in no way embarrassed by their actions. These crowds are yelling "kill him, kill him."
Whoever wins this election will be hated in 4 years. They'll inherit an untenible situation and be blamed for it. On top of this if Obama is elected some red neck will kill him.
Could another 4 years of republicans be any worse? Can 4 years of demacrats in this climate do any good?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Detective Work

My friend Sharon has been trying to understand the psychology of republicans. She's been going to republican blogs and posing as one of them so she could have a rational conversation. The polarization of the 2 parties is becoming so strong and defined that I'm not sure there's any way to resolve our differences short of forming 2 separate countries. Check out her comments at this blog. She's Buffalo'd Cody
http://blog.skrappy.org/?p=644

Saturday, September 27, 2008

September 27, 2008

An ad has been running on local radio that kind of makes me cringe. It claims McCain is against stem cell research. The Obama campaign has plenty of ammo against the right’s constant sabotaging of medical and scientific progress. There’s no need to lie. It’s true that Palin holds this position. It’s also true McCain is against women determining their own physical rights.

Obama was supposed to take the high road in this campaign. I’d hate to see him turn into as big a sell out as McCain. Why isn’t anyone using the term flip flopper this election cycle. McCain has changed his opinion on almost every point that disagrees with his base.

Anyway, enough of that. I’ve decided to post random points as they occur to me:

There is no such agenda as "pro abortion"

Comprehensive sex education includes abstinence. It just doesn't exclude everything else. The "abstinence only" agenda is claiming false information is being spread about the effectiveness of condoms. This kind of garbage undermines a kid’s willingness to even use them. They work and help prevent the spread of STDs. Teaching a child “abstinence only” may work for 1% of kids but reason has nothing to do with the raging hormones of an adolescent. Witness the right's response to questions about Palin's teenage daughter, “You try to control a 17 year old.”

Why is everyone so convinced God is pro life? Every one of us dies.

Why is “single payer” health insurance evil but socialized banking is acceptable?

School vouchers miss the point. Pubic education is important for all Americans. People without kids have to pay for it too. An educated public benefits us all!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My healthcare article

My first political article is about our health care system. If you get a chance check it out at Associated Content. www.associatedcontent.com/user/132055/david_udell.html

Introduction

Bush’s authorization of raids into Pakistan a few months ago and the escalation of anti-American sentiment there prompted me to start a political blog. I swore I never would. The nuances of society living make it almost impossible to have any real social convictions. Almost any belief or argument can be countered by an opposing view, personal background or even plain simple personal chemistry.

I welcome anyone to change my mind about anything I say. I respond best to reason and not dogma.

First let me point out that I hate both republicans and democrats. I remember an interview with George Carlin explaining why he wouldn’t vote. Corporate interests run both parties. He added that, that being said, the republicans were the party of property and the democrats were the party of people. I would be inclined to agree with him that voting was useless except we all know we wouldn’t be at war right now if Al Gore had won.

I’ve said a million times that we get what we deserve. When anyone tells me Al Gore really won the popular vote I can only think if people really cared he would have won with an unquestionable majority. It was a constant slap in the face when Bush kept calling his 51% victory a mandate. He had political capital and he was going to spend it. Man, he sure ran through that quick!

Another thing that really pisses me off is congress's low ratings. It’s even lower than Bush’s. If the voting public would have really wanted change they would have voted the 60% needed to pass anything.

In my personal blog I stated that I hate people as a group. It’s mob mentality. I do love people individually so maybe there’s hope.

I see Bush as a perfect analogy of the American voting public--- Ignorant, arrogant, and incompetent.

Republicans have got the press running scared instead of holding politicians feet to the fire like they’re supposed to. McCain made damn sure the press couldn’t ask any hard hitting questions of Palin. It really amazes me that women who were for Clinton would vote for her. What kind of childish shit is that? Her daughter is off limits even though she's very outspoken about abstinence only sex education in our schools. I guess that works! The United States is a world leader in teen pregnancy and this view is ridiculous. The real elephant in the room is world over-population. Unfortunately there are a lot of folks that believe unfettered breeding is a god given right.

She’s also a creationist. I love it when people say evolution is only a theory. As if a theory is some random thought you pull out of your ass.

I respect people’s beliefs just don’t push them into my laws.

I’ve actually had friends ask me why I can’t just be patriotic. Citizenship is a responsibility, not blind obedience to authority. If there’s one thing I’ve observed, it’s that power corrupts.

Anyway this long winded rant is really just leading up to what I really wanted to say. It’s about foreign policy. Bush was voted in the second time because Americans trusted his foreign policy views. He was the strong leader we needed to see us through these turbulent times. What!!?? He got us into this mess. Now they’re saying the same thing about McCain.

This childish world posturing is designed to impress through fear. Fear breeds anger that leads to hatred. Respect fosters change and improvement. We must be an example to the world, not a bully. When I was a kid our definition of bully was asshole. Unfortunately assholes think reason is weakness.

I’ll have more rants. I didn’t want to infect my personal blog with this stuff. Comments, angry barbs and revelations are welcome.