Monday, July 28, 2008

Republican Congressional Candidate Voices Support For Obama

In Oregon's 1st Congressional District, the Republican candidate who won his party's nomination with 70% of the vote in the May primary has voiced support for Senator Barack Obama for president. And the latest Rasmussen poll finds that as high as 18% of registered Republicans could vote for Senator Barack Obama in the November election as well.

Joel Haugen, who is the Republican Party nominee in Oregon's 1st Congressional District has faced some serious problems with the statewide Republican Party for his support of Obama, and even considered running as an independent for a time because of the lack of support that he has gotten since his support for Obama became public. Yet Haugen's support for Obama is yet another sign that John McCain hasn't sealed down his own party support with many voters wary that he will only continue more of the failed Bush Administration policies in too many areas.

U.S. Senator Gordon Smith has run some remarkable ads recently as well, voicing support for his bipartisan work with Obama on legislation to raise fleet fuel economy averages for automobiles. Even though Smith supports John McCain, Smith still recognizes that Obama may sweep Oregon by a wide majority in November and realizes that Obama is widely popular in the state.

It cannot possibly be good news for the McCain campaign when so many little cracks are appearing in what is normally a more solid Republican effort to back their nominee. It is also a good sign for the Obama organization that he benefits from such a positive view by many Republicans that he may be able to count on enough goodwill from many Republicans to rule the nation with a decent degree of bipartisan support. This may allow Obama to achieve great results as president and become one of the most effective U.S. presidents in some years.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

John McCain's High Risk Foreign Policy

While Senator Barack Obama flawlessly wrapped up a highly successful tour of the Mideast and Europe last week and helped to raise up respect for the United States after the frictional foreign policy of George Bush with many states in Europe, John McCain managed to make two very bad decisions on foreign policy matters on Friday that should alarm every American.

John McCain announced that he intended to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in Israel if elected. This is explosively dangerous and could trigger a huge conflict with Israel in the Mideast and tear apart any peace efforts by Israel and the Palestinians.

While it is certainly historically correct that Jerusalem was always the genuine and true capital of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Judea and Samaria and that the Palestinians really have no legitimate historic role as claiming this city as their own, still the effect would be so explosive to establish Jerusalem as the capital city, that it would only explode the Mideast. In ancient times, the Jewish states of Judea and Samaria were overrun by Babylon and the Romans as well as other invaders. Yet historically, the Jewish people may be correct in many wanting to confer a capital status on Jerusalem, but for political reasons, the far less politically controversial city of Tel Aviv is instead used. Jerusalem features the vital al-Asqa Mosque, central to the Muslim faith, which holds a special connection to Muhammad himself. John McCain would only throw a match into an explosion of Muslim anger if he would choose to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the U.S. would lose all clout among all Muslims worldwide and the level of anger this could generate could be incredible. If McCain claims to be a wise or experienced leader, then this certainly proves the opposite to be true. McCain was attempting to pander for the votes of a few very orthodox Jews who want to make Jerusalem the capital city of their state, regardless of the serious political risks of this, and if the U.S. moves it's embassy, then it would only help to fuel this capital shift which will almost certainly create a worldwide Muslim conflict with Israel. Nothing could be more dangerous than this. McCain just doesn't understand this issue at all.

Earlier Friday, McCain also met with the Dalai Lama. Again this sends another foreign policy signal that is not very helpful either. As important as the support for religious freedom is, and expressing support for all religious leaders, McCain simply cannot lose sight that the cooperation of the U.S. and China is so vital in the talks to disarm North Korea as well as to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and many other issues. China is far more cooperative with the U.S. than Russia, largely due to so much trade between the two nations. And with the 2008 Summer Olympic Games only a few days away, McCain sends a signal that could only encourage disruptive protests and other problems that could damage or overshadow these games or the ability of China to control violence or terrorism during the games. McCain sends a signal not helpful to maintaining good public order at this critical time with so many important security arrangement related to the games.

While critics of China's policy towards Tibet may think that using the Olympics to make their case for Tibet is their best bet. In some ways it is. But in many other ways, the U.S. can better continue to constructively engage China on this issue while working hard to keep Chinese cooperation on so many other important matters. But McCain sent another confusing signal about foreign policy, if he is elected, and with so many of his "Cold Warrior" leanings, one cannot but be alarmed that McCain just might be willing to sacrifice good relations with China for side issues such as Tibet. This presents a serious danger if it's so.

And McCain is certainly known to be more pro war with Iran, taking a much tougher stand than even Bush on this serious foreign policy situation. This should in itself be alarming enough to keep McCain out of the White House, as McCain could very easily make Iran the next big war. a vote for McCain could literally be a vote in favor of a new and big war with Iran. Iran has already proven that it would sponsor terrorism to kill American civilians right here at home in response to any such war with their nation, which raises very serious stakes for any such war with Iran. A cycle of violence over in Iran, and against Americans here in this country similar to 9/11, would only feed on itself with deadly results.

Last week, Obama proved that he could work well with foreign leaders, and favors a return to a more centrist foreign policy compared to the hard right turn under Bush that has only resulted in political isolation for the U.S., few major foreign policy results, and the major mistake of Iraq, as well as political conditions to set into motion the largest worldwide inflation in oil prices ever witnessed. Obama looks to be able to bring American foreign policy back towards both reasonableness and moderation.

Some say that pilots often make very poor presidential candidates. They are used to flying alone and don't always work very well with others, instead usually only trusting in their own judgements. George McGovern and John McCain are both living proof of that as both of these pilots have made plenty of bad political decisions for their disastrous campaigns, and Friday was yet another bad day in the McCain campaign, with two serious examples of how the John McCain Administration's foreign policy could actually be far worse than the awful George Bush Administration's foreign policy. McCain certainly didn't display either the judgement or wisdom to be president this past Friday. Some in the public simply need to get way past the heroic life story of John McCain being shot down in a plane as a pilot and being captured as a POW, and realize that this simply does not make McCain any sort of foreign policy expert or the very best man for the presidency. You can admire the life story of John McCain. But that simply doesn't mean that he has the best judgement to understand many vital issues. There was plenty to alarm anyone in what John McCain did this last Friday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Very Tragic Personal Annivesary

Today is a deeply sad and tragic anniversary for me. It was one year ago on this date that I went to buy some gas for my new motor scooter and was going to go to DMV at Lloyd Center to replace my temporary trip permit with a regular license plate for my bike. I stopped home for a few minutes to check on my parents to see if either of them needed anything before I intended to leave for about an hour to get the license plate, but my mother alarmed me that my father was having some sudden serious health problems. You could see that his mouth trembling and he could not speak. He was having a massive stroke. And then suddenly his heart must have stopped. There was nothing that could be done to revive him while we waited for the Portland Fire Department to assist, but it was too late even for their efforts as well. My father, who was 78, was dead.

My father had been suffering from bad health for a few months, and was in the hospital twice in the month before all of this. I had become the full time care giver to two ailing parents, who were mostly bedridden for the most part, although my mother was able to sometimes go to the store or doctor with me, but needed the support of a shopping cart or wheelchair to get about.

What was so deeply sad about the death of my father was that it only seemed to create deep distress for my mother's fragile health and by late October, only just over 90 days later, she died as well. A little dachshund, named Samuel Fudge, was their constant companion and stayed right by their bedside during all their final days. This little angel gave them both comfort and joy as well as additional company whenever I wasn't attending to them and feeding them or providing something for them. This beloved little dog companion died of heart failure only three days after my mother died, on Halloween day. That was a real tough week, losing my mother on Monday and the family dog on Thursday. It suddenly was only me and some cats at the house. My life was suddenly very empty, and many bad events followed as I struggled through a long period of probate and burned up most of my available liquid cash to pay bills not covered by the estate. There were also tough problems with renters taking advantage of my parents death, and they either stopped paying the rent or in one case did $70,000 damage to a rental home, leaving me with some real problems to deal with that were both expensive and troublesome. Life became very tough after the death of both parents for me to hold things together for their behalf as I knew they would have wanted me to. In the cold of Winter, the roof at one home collapsed from old age and dry rot during a heavy rainstorm, leaving me with a bill for $44,000 for a complete roof rebuild. Serious problems after my parents death just never seemed to take a day's rest it seemed.

It may have been a deeply challenging of a task for me having to care for two ailing and elderly parents, where I had to bring both to a doctor's office in two wheelchairs taking one upstairs, and then going back to get the other. But compared to losing both of them, I'd rather have to care for both parents for years and years.

All I have left to remember my parents by is the folded flag from my father's military service in Korea in 1950, and a cross from my father's casket as well as one from my mother's casket.

My father was a cook at prisoner of war camp in Pusan, Korea. He appreciated this instead of having to kill or be killed on some frontline where it was not only really cold, but bayonet charges were common place by throngs of Chinese Communist soldiers. My father was pleased that at least these Chinese prisoners would someday be able to return home to their families when the war ended and would be well fed and treated by their American captors. Life as a POW for these Chines prisoners were probably far better than their life ever was as a Communist soldier.

My father also had no objections working in an army kitchen with African American soldiers as his fellow workers and always got along very well with these coworkers, back in an era where few Whites in the military had evolved beyond an early 50's viewpoint founded in segregation or racism. My father was always very respectful of the Korean people and treated them as an equal as well. My father was very disappointed at any American soldier who didn't respect the Korean people as a full equal to them. My father had no use for racism. It also disappointed my father so much when some American soldiers chose to use some young Korean women as a prostitute, offering them just a dollar for sex. My father was disgusted with all of this, and considered many Americans failed to honor their country by their horrible conduct in Korea. The Korean people who my father knew were deeply sad when left Korea and his service was up because he was so beloved by so many of them.

My father wanted the soldiers on the base to have a good Christmas, so he asked some officer if he could dye an extra cook's uniform red and create a Santa suit and give out small gifts to both the American soldiers and Koreans as well, When one officer saw what a wonderful thing this proved to be, he was deeply jealous of all of this and wished that he could have been in charge of this. Both the American soldiers as well as Koreans thought that this was wonderful. In fact, the Koreans thought that this was a wonderful Christian tradition, and today Christian churches are very common in South Korea as many of the Korean people saw enough positive in some Christian American servicemen that they began to accept the Christian religious faith as a positive for their own lives.

My father was a decent and honorable man, and I'm very proud to display his folded flag from his military service in Korea. His role was what you would hope that all American soldiers would display compared to some of the awful conduct at places like Abu Ghraib, which sickened my father. And completely offended his values on the proper conduct of soldiers. My father always believed that you were an ambassador of the U.S., and should always even treat an enemy POW with respect and human dignity. They are indeed another creation of God as well.

My father was an entirely honorable soldier. He was also a wonderful dad. And in his late years when I had to take care of him and mother, he always appreciated anything I did to help and only became more difficult to deal with in his final days when his his health was very bad. God bless you dad. I miss you so much.

Obama Excites Huge Audience Of 200,000 In Berlin, While McCain Complains At German Restaurant In Columbus, Ohio

While young Senator Barack Obama delivered a speech to a far larger than expected crowd in Berlin of 200,000, that sometimes excited and stirred the audience to think, John McCain's campaign organized a small low budget event for John McCain at Schmitt's German Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, in which McCain seemed to be mostly petty and nasty in tone. More and more, John McCain is coming across as someone like the Mr. Wilson in the Dennis The Menace cartoons; an old man who complains about everything, and is simply a miserable man to be around.

Obama proved the greatest popularity of any American leader overseas since Bill Clinton. By comparison, George Bush has only helped to spur widespread protests and sometimes violence when he would visit overseas. Apparently, Obama has a positive enough image that so many in Europe are willing to give the United States a second look, and take a more positive view of the United States.

The Unites States has suffered from a bad image problem overseas during much of the Bush Administration years, that the U.S. has lost so much support from Europe that is vital on so many foreign affairs and international issues. If anything, Obama has proven how much he could improve that view of the United States and help with the relative political isolation of the U.S. by some European states on some issues.

Part of the hope of Barack Obama is not only to lift up hope in the United States, but also to raise up a good image of the United States abroad not seen since the days of John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton. And that's a very good thing.

Iraqi Athletes Banned From Beijing Olympics

A sad situation has developed for the five athletes of Iraq who hoped to participate in next month's Olympic games in Beijing as the International Olympic Committee has voted to ban all athletes from Iraq because the government of Iraq missed an important deadline to address issues of governmental interference in what was supposed to be an Olympic effort independent of any official Iraqi government interference. It is just another sign that life is not normal in Iraq, and the Shiite dominated government of Iraq continues to operate in a ruthless sectarian manner that has failed to be fully inclusive of the Sunni minority.

In May, the Iraqi government dissolved what was supposed to be Iraq's independent Olympic organization. Many claim this may because the Shiite religious dominated government tends to side with the Iraqi Sports And Youth Committee opposing the Sunni members who are still left over from the old Odai Hussein dominated, Saddam-era Iraqi Olympic Committee. Further complicating matters is the fact that four key members of the Iraqi Olympic Committee have been kidnapped and never found.

John McCain and his followers continue to whitewash all the continued problems in Iraq and continue to proclaim premature success there only because the "Surge" reduced American combat deaths from previously very high levels. But a normal country doesn't have four members of their Olympic Committee kidnapped without a trace of what happened to them or use religious sectarian issues to prevent their athletes from participation in the Olympic Games. This only illustrates what a troubled nation Iraq continues to be and how much the war in that country has harmed the peace in that nation. It is a shame that the athletes of Iraq will have to pay the price for all of this. But the Iraq War has left more 1.2 million Iraqis dead, and another 2 million as refugees in the Mideast region, and the Olympic problems are only yet another problem for this very troubled nation which is very far from being at peace.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Future Oil Wars

More and more the main world rivals of the United States are forming dangerous military alliances against the U.S. What these main rivals all have in common is a strong connection to oil. Erratic Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday sought to form a new military alliance with Russia, while Russia stopped a little short of the full wishes of Chavez, the two rivals of the U.S. did pledge a strong economic alliance, but you know that a steady pipeline of military hardware will also follow and back this up. Having oil and immense oil wealth is no good unless you can protect yourself from any American threat, real or imagined. And billions of dollars in oil income will also buy plenty of arms such as combat aircraft, missiles and submarines.

Another main rival power of the U.S. is Iran, which has used the U.S. invasion of Iraq to help to justify their drive to develop nuclear weapons to deter any U.S. invasion like what happened in Iraq. But Iran, like both Russia and Venezuela have all made handsome profits by the type of military activity of the U.S. in Iraq and the resulting insurgent war that has only driven up oil prices to record levels and created a whole new class of Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan oil billionaires.

Increasingly, these world power rivals of the U.S., all united by oil will draw in other antiU.S. states and create a dangerous axis of antiAmerican oil powers and states that hate the U.S. And as oil prices still hover near record levels, the amount of vast income generated will only help to fuel the purchase or building of new and more dangerous military hardware by these antiAmerican oil states.

There is a long history of both American and British involvement in oil rich nations to justify in the minds of these antiAmerican nations their right to build up a huge defensive miltary force to deter the U.S. from attack.

In 1916, the French and British wrote up a secret agreement known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement which would allow for their occupation of parts of the Turkish Ottoman Empire after their defeat in WWI. By 1920, the League Of Nations gave their blessing to a British occupation of land in the Mideast that included huge undiscovered oil reserves. This artificial British oil occupation state which included rival Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish religious sects with nothing in common became known as the state of "Iraq". While France maintained control of some parts of Northern Iraq, Britain controlled the main oil producing portion of Iraq in the Southern part of the country. But antiBritish violence soon spiraled out of control and Britain sided with Sunni elements in an effort to divide and conquer and control the violence among the Shiite sects. Britain used to mustard gas or use mechanized warfare to destroy entire Shiite villages in an attempt to control the oil wealth of Iraq. But with the growth of Arab Socialism in the Mideast and the rise of the Baathist movement in the 1950's such as that could be found in Egypt with Gamal Nasser or in Syria, rebellion in Iraq against the British oil occupation only grew, and by 1958 Britain left Iraq after the rebellion reached new violence levels there. Before that, the 1956 Suez Canal crisis with Egypt really helped to cement an antiWestern alliance of Arab states and really helped to spell the end to any French or British oil occupations in the region. The United States was politically unable to offer aid the British, French or Israeli forces after Nasser declared the Suez Canal as nationalized, because the Americans were attempting to stand in political opposition to any Soviet crackdown on the Hungarian uprising of 1956, leaving the weaker British, French and Israeli elements to fend off Arab nationalist elements armed with weapons purchased from Warsaw bloc states. At this same time, Nasser also helped to arm his Baathist supporters in Syria and Jordan as well with Warsaw bloc weapons to resist Western occupation in the region.

As early as 1901, William Knox D'Arcy, who formed what would eventually become the British Petroleum Company had a special agreement with the Shah of Iran to pursue oil discovery in Iran. In fact, BP was actually known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and then the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, before it eventually settled on the modern BP name. The last Shah of Iran, before the 1979 Islamic revolution was actually placed in power by allied interests during WWII in 1941. In 1952-53, the American CIA worked with the British to bring down the Prime Minister of Iran after the oil industry was nationalized and the forerunner of BP, The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was concerned about loss of oil income to Britain. Oil economics always played a major role for American and British meddling in Iran's internal politics.

Even the modern Iraq War was little more than some cover for an American and British oil occupation of this state to develop more oil assets as Iraq is thought to have the world's biggest supply of undiscovered oil assets of any nation in the world. With up to 225 billion barrels of undiscovered oil expected to exist in Iraq, this is equal to a 98 year supply of oil for the U.S. While the British owned BP and Shell were able to conduct some secret talks with Saddam Hussein over oil control in Iraq, American oil companies such as Exxon and Chevron were banking on the American government to use some sort of military action to remove Saddam Hussein so that they could gain control of Iraqi oil which is both cheaper and easier to obtain than oil in many other parts of the world. In fact, even in Saudi Arabia millions of barrels of sea water must be pumped in each day in order to raise the level of the oil to the surface for capture that equals just pre1977 levels. Oil is getting harder and more expensive to capture, where increasingly water, air or gas injection is used to raise the levels up for capture after the peak oil level was hit in about 1977 and oil became harder to capture to match previous output levels.

When the Bush Administration came into power in January 2001, 43 members of this Administration had oil industry ties, and 33 members were connected to defense contractors. In fact, the first Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force under Bush were all representatives of military contractors as well for the first time in American history. This Administration was absolutely built on finding any premise whatsoever to go to war in Iraq and to control the oil assets there in a manner not unlike the many years of British colonial rule in the region.

The modern problem for the United States is that some rival oil states such as Russia, Venezuela, Mexico and Iran have more recently emerged as some of the world's most powerful oil interests compared to the past power of Exxon and Chevron or the British BP or Shell. And these oil rivals of the U.S. are also forming military alliances as well. The next big war will likely be over oil. If some hawkish president like a John McCain would attack Iran over it's nuclear program, Russia may have to side with Iran in such a conflict creating a wider and more dangerous war. The fact of the matter is that Russia, Venezuela and Iran do not need to sell their oil to the U.S. or Britain, so a war for world oil control with these countries does not really matter to them. There are rapidly emerging oil markets to be tapped in China and India, as well as growth in Asia and elsewhere. In fact a badly nuclear damaged United States with millions killed and most industry destroyed would probably only benefit these oil rival nations as long as most of their oil supplies remained undamaged and selling at even higher prices worldwide to a post WWIII world. The past principles of nuclear deterrence may not prevent these new oil rivals from going to war if they believe that enough of their oil industry can survive a conflict to corner the market after a war. In Russia, Mexico, Iran and Venezuela only a small oligarchy of persons control much of the oil wealth in these nations, so as long as they survive and most of their oil assets do, than war is no real deterrence to their ambitions.

The colonial wars to control oil assets of the past are only a preview of some possible shocking future wars for world oil control with states with nuclear weapons using any force they deem necessary to protect their oil wealth and markets. It is indeed a grave new world out there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cuban Nuclear Crisis II

The shared Cold War mentality of both Bush and McCain to support the building of a tiny $3.5 billion dollar antimissile defense shield program in Poland and the Czech Republic could result in Russia staging strategic nuclear bombers in Cuba, only 90 miles from the American East Coast. There is absolutely no parity between the placing of just 10 interceptor rockets in Poland or an antimissile radar system in the Czech Republic, neither of which would have any offensive threat capability against a combined Russian nuclear force of 1136 launchers and 5518 nuclear warheads, yet feelings in Russia are running so strongly against this small U.S. military program, with the claimed intent of preventing rogue states like Iran or North Korea from missile launches, that the U.S. could only invite a new nuclear crisis with Russia using Cuba if they proceed with this small antimissile military project.

Any staging of Russian nuclear bombers in Cuba would send a dangerous New Cold War signal and could certainly lead to a dangerous new military escalation by the U.S. against Russia by the placement of new nuclear offensive weapons near their borders. Such a climate could only feed on itself and create a very dangerous environment by the world's two main nuclear powers.

Russia is already involved in a dangerous campaign of deploying strategic nuclear bombers in the arctic to "defend" what it views as oil interests that it believes belong to it. As late as June 24, a high ranking Russian military official used these ominous words,"Russia must be ready to fight wars in the arctic to protect it's national interests in a region that contains large and untapped deposits of natural resources". So oil is already providing a dangerous friction point between the U.S. and Russia, yet the U.S. may up the ante by the deployment of the small antimissile shield which isn't anywhere near enough adequate to provide any military cover from any massive Russian nuclear force threat, and is not aimed at countering any existing rogue state threat either. The program only provides more dangerous friction between Russia and the U.S.

The U.S. certainly has enough space based satellites as well as submarines to detect any launches of missiles from rogue states such as Iran or North Korea, so any U.S. efforts to build this small program can only be seen as a boondoggle effort by a few Republican members of Congress who are looking to bring some war contract money to their home states, although they are causing great harm to U.S.-Russian relations with this small antimissile project.

Another main problem is that Iran doesn't even have any nuclear missiles, and their own version of the North Korean designed No Dong 1 missile, named the Shahab-3 has a range no better than 900 miles, enough to hit Israel, but certainly not Poland or the Czech Republic. The U.S. would be far better off to rely on submarine or satellite based defenses to stop any such Iranian threat if it even existed in the first place. And North Korea is currently getting rid of their nuclear threat as a result of the six party talks in the region, and their missiles certainly have no range to strike at either Poland or the Czech Republic, all of which begs the question why both Bush and McCain support this foreign policy doctrine that only drives Russia with a huge developing oil based economy to threaten to place offensive nuclear forces only a few miles from the American East Coast.

This is yet another dangerous area where the Cold War mentality of both Bush and McCain present a grave threat to world peace and security. Russia may often be a difficult state to deal with, and the new president of this Russia has only proven that he might be willing to step things up a notch and place nuclear bombers in Cuba as a sign of how much Russia opposes any placement of weapons, although merely defensive in Eastern Europe. The relationship with Russia is too important to splinter them off over such a small issue as this, as Russian cooperation on many matters such as preventing Iran from actually acquiring nuclear weapons should be a more important goal.

Mr. McCain keeps telling the American voting public that he has great "experience". Well, it's certainly time for Mr. McCain to prove that he has some depth of knowledge of international relations and realize how dangerous this small weapons shield program in Eastern Europe is to relations between the U.S. and Russia. Unfortunately both Mr. Bush and McCain seem only too willing to push both the U.S. and Russia closer to the brink of a nuclear war with their support for such foolish things as this. If anything is a sign that Mr. McCain is too militaristic and arrogant to understand the larger importance of international cooperation it is an issue such as this. You only know that Mr. Obama would view this situation with far more logic and reason by comparison and work to preserve the important cooperative relations with Russia that are vital to solving many world situations and challenges.

Unless there is a change from the leadership of Bush and McCain, by 2009 construction could start on the Polish and Czech systems, and the Russians could counter with stronger military relations with Communist Cuba, using the small island as a base to launch nuclear attacks on the U.S. This all makes no sense at all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A New Government Crackdown Of Dish Network Satellite TV Needed

As the February date for all Americans to switch over to some sort of digital-friendly television signal provider system draws near, the satellite TV provider, Dish Network, which has had problems with government regulators before and paid millions in fines in Wisconsin for their conduct, is once again operating in the worst possible anticonsumer mode.

Dish Network is using telephone telemarketing software that masks their call numbers and in some cases uses the consumers own telephone number and identity to call their home phone number with recorded telemarketing calls, often more than one time per day. It is simply outrageous for any telemarketer to use automated dialing software that hijacks the identity of the victim like this, and this comes very close to wire or telecommunications fraud. Also Dish Network has apparently trained their customer service representatives to hang up and ignore any consumer who complains to them by asking to be put on "do not call" list. By law in some states such as Oregon, telemarketers have to honor your request to be placed on "do not call" lists. It is pretty unfair to elderly, handicapped and some other persons with disability or illness to be forced to repeatedly run to answer the phone just so that some sleazy satellite company can try to make a sale for a service not wanted by that consumer.

By some state laws such as in Oregon, telemarketers are supposed to allow consumers some option to be put on a "do not call" list by any telemarketer that they are not interested in calling them. But Dish Network routinely breaks state laws in Oregon and is some other states by not allowing consumers that option. The fact of the matter is that many consumers of other cable TV or satellite providers are perfectly happy with their existing service and have no desire to switch services to Dish Network and do not want to be bothered each and every day, sometimes more than once per day, by repeated Dish Network automated telemarketing calls.

And consumers of Dish Network are also having a few issues with this satellite TV provider based on complaints posted on Internet sites dealing with consumer issues. One complaint was about repeated noninstallation of the hardware after a number of attempts by a consumer. Other complaints deal with service problems once the the hardware has been installed.

Dish Network has also been accused of overcharging consumers in some parts of the U.S. for HD services because of the position of the satellites they use. And organizations within the Gay community have been angry at Dish Network for not carrying some Gay-programming satellite channels such as the Logo Channel and Here!, both of which are carried by DirecTV.

Major cable Tv providers such as Comcast do not use telemarketing harassment of consumers like Dish Network does. And customers of Comcast as well as rival satellite TV provider, DirecTV appear to largely satisfied by these services, although the nondigital basic cable TV service of Comcast does suffer from quality problems, especially during bad weather of some basic network channels, but in most cases a switch to their digital services solves this weather related quality problem. But Dish Network operates in a manner outside of basic decency and against consumers wishes by their abuse of telemarketing principles and state regulations on the use of such repeated phone calls to consumers who are not interested in their calls or products. Since Dish Network refuses to address consumer complaint's to stop the harassing phone calls, then government needs to act and put the brakes on Dish Network's sleazy telemarketing practices.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

John McCain's Moral Crusader Alabama State Chairman Caught In Bed With A Male Staffer

The Republican Attorney General of Alabama, Troy King, best known as an antiGay and moralistic right wing crusader was caught in bed by his wife with a male aide who was a former college homecoming king, now there is pressure for King to resign from office. Troy King was also the Alabama State Chairman for the John McCain campaign. Now the McCain website has quietly taken down the name of King from the campaign website, trying to avoid yet another major staffer resignation scandal. So far the McCain campaign has shown very poor judgement choosing campaign officials and has been rocked by a huge number of major resignations for various reasons. All of this reflects very poorly on the judgement and ability of John McCain to delegate responsibility to campaign staffers who have good judgement. The McCain campaign is just trying to get past the resignation of primary economics advisor, Phil Gramm.

As Attorney General and a practicing Baptist, Troy King was well known for some especially caustic language against the Gay community. King once even proclaimed, "Currently AIDS is the most behavior-oriented disease known to mankind. If this nation's purveyors of perversion would refrain from committing sodomy, they would unquestionably be spared the ravages of the disease". These are especially tough as well as hypocritical words coming from King considering the fact that he likely put the staffer on his Attorney General staff mainly so that he could have homosexual relations with him. There is evidence that King may have had a relationship with staffer that goes back to his college days.

King was also well known for waging a long legal battle with Alabama retailer Sherri Williams who ran some businesses intended for women buyers that sold some sexual novelty toys. Alabama has some tough and draconian laws that prevent women from being able to even purchase such novelty items. In fact, on Friday's 20/20 this legal battle for women in Alabama to be able to legally purchase such novelty items was a featured story. Williams summed up the Troy King scandal with this pensive thought, " my experience, it's the guys that are the guiltiest that prosecute the hardest". Williams has been in Eleventh Circuit Of Alabama three times, the Eleventh Court Of Appeals twice, and before the U.S. Supreme Court once, which declined to hear her case, mostly due to the prosecution actions of Troy King.

What can you say? John McCain sure knows how to pick great campaign staffers. And if his campaign isn't a goofed-up and wholly inept enough mess to convince just about anyone that John McCain has no judgement whatsoever when it comes to delegating responsibility to competent persons, then just think what a Three Stooges type mess McCain would make of the White House. John McCain as president is just one big disaster waiting to happen, just like the idiot who walks into a rake left on the lawn. It just doesn't take an Einstein to reason this one out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gordon Smith's Campaign Falling Into The Same Old Mistakes

Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon is in very lonely company. He is one of only two Republicans who holds a national office in Oregon, the other being Congressman Greg Walden, and Smith is the only elected Republican senator on the entire West Coast. Smith had a decent lead of about 9 points in polls up until only recently by running some positive ads that portrayed himself as willing to work in a bipartisan and cooperative way with Democrats in Congress, and even managed to get the endorsement of a former Democratic Congresswoman, Elizabeth Furse and a longtime African American state senator as well.

But then suddenly Smith's lead was gone in the polls, and Smith has fallen back into his old campaigning habits that have made his races closer and more thrilling than they might have been. Gordon Smith knows full well that when he carpet bombs the airwaves with way too many ads, and especially those that are negative, it tends to backfire on him and actually cost him votes. But here he is again, running way too many ads once again. It was of course way too many ads and way too many negative ads that cost Smith his first race with Senator Ron Wyden. Smith apparently lost control of his own campaign and allowed an juvenile and awful attack ad against Wyden to air, which probably cost him this first election for the senate. Yet the Smith campaign has learned nothing from any of this and is right back again running way too many ads again. This morning alone, I saw so many Smith ads that I'm already sick of them. And the negative message of all the taxes that his opponent, State Senator Jeff Merkley supposedly voted for is probably a little more than a little disingenuous argument, as Smith himself has no doubt voted for some tax increases or to reduce tax breaks during his career in the Oregon legislature or as a senator.

There may be several reasons why Smith has slipped a little behind Merkley in the latest polls and lost his nine point lead, but one of which is that the Democratic Party, not Merkley may have succeeded in convincing voters with a few paced ads that Smith is far less bipartisan than he claims, and actually has a 85% voting record in support of the unpopular Bush Administration. The other problem for Smith may have been that his ads that were built on proving bipartisanship with Barack Obama on a increased fuel mileage bill that may have hurt part of Smith's support among the conservatives of his own Republican Party. Other Oregon voters, may have felt like they were hoodwinked by Smith who portrayed himself as so bipartisan when the Democratic Party ad may have hurt this image. Merkley by comparison has managed to portray himself as something of a political moderate or even tough on crime in some ads that show him as a leader to crack down on Internet predators. Somehow, quietly Merkley has managed to slip past Smith and raise his position against Smith by spending a lot less money.

Once again, the Smith campaign could find itself in a position of adding too much drama to the 2008 election by spending too much money on ads, running ads that turn off voters more than attract them, and running too many negative ads.

Gordon Smith has always been very honest, forthright and very easy for Oregon voters to access. Smith actually takes the time to write back a personal reply to everyone who writes him. And he managed to create a winning moderate conservative image similar to that of Oregon's legendary Mark Hatfield. In a great many ways, Smith created enough achievements and enough bipartisanship that probably a majority of Oregon voters would re-elect him. But his campaign could get in the way once again.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Peace And Tranquility Still Elusive In Iraq

The American news media has certainly focused far less on Iraq news coverage since "the surge" has resulted in far less deaths of American service persons. Unfortunately viewing this war in a prism of how it impacts only the U.S., ignores how this war continues to impact the lives of those in Iraq. JustForeignPolicy.Org estimates the number of Iraqis killed as a result of the 2003 American/British invasion of Iraq at 1,236,604 persons, many of which were merely innocent civilians and not some sort of a combatant of any sort. Al Qaeda in Iraq only was estimated to comprise just 5,000 members or so at it's peak strength in Iraq.

Some look to elections in Iraq as some sign of democracy in the nation. However, with more than 2 million refugees from the war in Iraq, much of it due to sectarian violence by the Shiite and Sunni community against each other, many potential voters simply felt too threatened to stay in Iraq and have flooded into nations like Syria and Jordan and have overwhelmed local charity and support services in those nations.

Even candidates for office in Iraq face serious intimidation. One candidate was murdered on videotape and the video distributed to intimidate other voters. Many potential voters in Iraq do not vote because they are warned with threats that "voting is cooperating with the enemy". Some Iraqi's have had their homes burned or a child kidnapped to prevent them from voting.

Unfortunately, many Americans have only gotten the message that American combat deaths are down in Iraq, which sends the wrong message that all is now well in that nation. But that is hardly the case. Iranians have strong influence in the nation, and are also likely to be a major force pressuring the Shiite dominated government to set up a timetable for the withdrawal of all Americans from Iraq so that Iran may extend more influence in Iraq. The U.S. hasn't really achieved a great deal in Iraq if it spent massive amounts of money, lost many American lives, or created a war resulting in the deaths of 1.2 million in Iraq, just so that Iran could gain more influence in the region and drastically alter the regional balance of power.

In 2006, the Iraq War was a potent issue helping to fuel the Democratic shift in Congress. Now a new Rasmussen Poll, puts the public more in support of the Republican position in Iraq because many Americans have been taken in by improved numbers of less deaths for Americans, not looking at all the other ongoing problems in Iraq or the resulting increased influence of Iran.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, there was a misguided American foreign policy that helped to prop up Saddam Hussein and build-up a huge military to counter the power of Iran in the region. Ronald Reagan used a covert funding scheme that used Department Of Agriculture CCC Funds, meant only for disaster relief in poor nations to allow Saddam Hussein to buy billions of dollars in arms from countries such as France and Brazil, all of which only helped to fuel the 1990 invasion of Iraq into Kuwait and the bloody 1991 Gulf War. The Islamic revolution in Iran was a direct result of an angry reaction by Iranians against the long running U.S. policy that put the Shah of Iran into power during WWII to act as an agent for U.S. supported goals in the region including opposition to Communism during the Cold War era. The U.S. knew that the Shah was a hated figure in Iran, who only continued his rule through terror and torture, yet sided with him until the end, only creating generations of antiAmerican hatred in Iran among much of the public.

In 1922, after WWI, and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, first in war and then in a political upheaval in Turkey, Britain first invaded the area that became known as Iraq after Prime Minister Winston Churchill was informed that the region had huge undiscovered oil assets thought to be the greatest in the world. At that time, Britain sided with the Sunni community because of the political importance of relations with the Sunni community of Saudi Arabia. The problem Britain faced in the area known as Iraq was that three ethnic religious groups with nothing in common were thrown together into a British occupation state, that only really served as a British excuse for oil exploration. Britain faced such serious insurgent violence from the Shiite community that Britain had to mustard gas entire Shiite villages and used mechanized warfare to attempt to crush the ongoing opposition to the British occupation. By 1958, the violence in Iraq had grown so out of control, and the rise of late 1950's Arab Socialism, such as the Baathist movement in both Egypt and Syria helped to end the British role in Iraq.

John McCain and his supporters continue to look for some sort of "blue sky" to paint over all this history of blood, occupation and meddling in the region by the United States and Britain. It is deeply sad if many Americans are now somehow taken in by all of this and think that this represents America or Britain at their very best, or the long chain of violence in the region only so that both the U.S. and Britain could harness oil exports for use in both nations. Neither the U.S. or Britain were self-sufficient nations to fuel their own industrial revolutions entirely by their own means, so both nations needed to have influence in poor nations such as Iraq to secure a flow of oil to maintain their own wealth and industrial progress as a society, while people in the MidEast paid a heavy price in blood. And nations like France long tolerated both child slavery and abuse in Africa, because it needed a flow of Cocoa for chocolate products.

The major industrialized nations of the world have long manipulated both Iraq and Iran, and have only created a long history of bloody problems in both nations. Now Iran is in a dangerous position to project itself as an agent creating proxy wars in the region to further tie down the U.S., Britain and Israel, or to even eventually further alter the MidEast balance of power if they should develop nuclear weapons. If the U.S. and Britain ever wanted involvement in the region, then they are now promised years and years of involvement in the region whether or not they want it as the bitter fruit of so many years of MidEast meddling.

John McCain and his supporters should really have a very difficult time putting a positive spin on all of this. But you know they will. Thank goodness for them that most Americans really know very little about MidEast history.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jesse Jackson Has A Personal Axe To Grind With Obama

One important fact that got lost the other day when Jesse Jackson made his crude attack on Senator Barack Obama was that it was Jackson himself who is one of those dads who fathered a child as a result of an affair. For Jackson, Obama's calls for men to take more responsibility may have hit a little too close to home.

According to CNN, in 2001 an affair by Jackson with a staffer, Karin Stanford, who worked at Jackson's Rainbow Coalition headquarters resulted in the birth of a daughter named Ashley. Jackson who has been married since 1962, withdrew from public activism for a while after the scandal broke and continues to pay a $3,000 a month payment for child support each month.

Another personal reason that Jackson may have some problems with Obama is that Obama has emerged as a candidate with wide support in the White community and acceptance as a mainstream candidate, while Jackson never really emerged much farther than a fringe candidate whose best showing in 1998 was against Gov. Michael Dukakis in the Democratic primaries in which many voters had doubts about the ability of Dukakis and Jackson was the only other name on the ballot. That is hardly any reason for Jackson to claim a major breakthrough as a mainstream candidate.

Jesse Jackson has of course had many great achievements in his life which should not be diminished by some of his shortcomings. However, it may be a serious case of "sour grapes" that fueled Jackson to project his feelings about Obama, which has already achieved far more electoral success than Jackson ever did, despite a long life of activism. Jackson should be careful not to further damage his place in history as an important figure in civil rights or as someone who helps to cause the first African American from becoming president. That would be a serious problem for the legacy of Jackson to ever live down.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Texas Oilman, T. Boone Pickens, Advances Plan To Break Foreign Oil Dependence

Normally reliable conservative Texas oilman, T. Boone Pickens, is advancing a progressive and bold, entirely realistic new plan to make the United States energy independent that is drawing praise from environmentalist organizations such as the Sierra Club. The core of the plan involves switching over the production of electricity from natural gas to production by wind farms, and then using this freed up natural gas to power automobiles. Not only is this plan entirely possible to achieve, but it offers significant air quality improvements for the U.S., as well as works towards the vital goal of stemming the flow of so much American cash overseas. Right now, $700 billion American dollars are flowing out of the country each year overseas, just to pay for oil. Oil imports now comprise 70% of the oil used in the U.S. In 1970, only 24% of the oil used in the U.S. was imported by comparison.

Right now, the U.S. is spending four times as much per year to purchase oil imports as it spends on the war in Iraq. Both events are draining the American economy, creating huge national debt and trade deficit issues, and amount to the greatest transfer of wealth from a nation in the history of mankind. Not only are the issues of the oil security of the United States at stake, but so also is the future economic survival of the U.S. as well. Right now, most of world's new billionaires are mostly from oil, and most have been from either Russia or Iran in more recent years. In fact, Donald Trump, is building a huge new 62 story condominium structure in Dubai, and nearly all of the reservations have been by the new Russian or Iranian oil billionaires.

80 year old oilman, Pickens, advances the fact that the Great Plains hold the real potential to become the "Saudi Arabia" of wind production, yet currently just 1% of the American electricity production is by wind power. Wind power is a clean way to produce electricity, far cleaner than burning coal to produce electricity. And with natural gas freed up from having to produce electricity, automobiles could be powered by this cleaner burning and much cheaper source of power, all domestically produced, reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Natural gas also produces significantly less greenhouse pollution gases. Natural gas produces 23% lower greenhouse emissions than diesel, and 30% less greenhouse emissions than gasoline. And natural gas has long proven itself to be a cleaner burning source of power for automobiles that provides good performance for decades now. A friend of mine switched his truck over to natural gas in 1980, and it provided reliable and safe service with top performance. Unfortunately, of the more than 7 million natural gas powered vehicles currently in use around the world, only around 150,000 are in use in the United States.

Natural gas would only cost less than $1 dollar a gallon compared to the current price of over $4 a gallon for gasoline. This is a significant cost savings for motorists. And while 98% of the natural gas in use in the U.S. comes from North America, 70% of the oil in use currently is imported by comparison.

The Pickens Plan may not be the only path to American oil independence. But it's certainly a nationalistic plan with many advantages and a path to a better future of less dependence on foreign oil and a cleaner environment. It achieves so many worthy goals, that this politically conservative Texas oilman is drawing praise and support from persons all over the American political spectrum. The PickensPlan at least deserves a serious look. There have been serious membrane problems with cold weather related damage to experimental hydrogen powered fuel cell automobiles as well as cost problems. Current technology would put the price of a fuel cell powered car at around $70,000 each right now. But natural gas powered cars exist right now, with very few problems and moderate cost that is affordable. And existing vehicles could even be switched over to run on natural gas. This is simply too attractive of a solution to the current energy and environmental crisis to ignore.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Outrageous NEW YORKER Cover Could Have Devastating Impact On Obama Campaign

Some cartoonist at the NEW YORKER magazine thought that it would be both satirical and funny to make up a cover based on some of the absurd far right caricatures, outright lies, loose right wing radio talk and unchecked spam Email attacks on presidential candidate Barack Obama, portraying Obama and his wife as Muslim terrorists. As absurd as this cover actually is, it could well have a devastating impact on the Obama campaign that it may never recover from. While most educated voters certainly understand what the satire that the NEW YORKER is attempting to convey here, somehow the lasting false image of someone not interested in the best interests of the nation unfortunately lingers on. This might be unfortunately cement a negative image just the opposite of what was the real intent of the NEW YORKER. The Obama campaign is absolutely right to be outraged.

There is no good rational reason to question the patriotism of Senator Obama or for some detractors to believe that he will be anything less than tough in defending the nation if elected president. Yet the NEW YORKER cover unfairly and unfortunately only leaves a terrible lasting image in the subconscious of voters that may be almost impossible for the Obama campaign to ever recover from in minds of enough voters to swing the November election. If the image of Obama in full Muslim dress with a portrait of Osama Bin Laden in the background wasn't nearly offensive enough, then the even worst caricature of Obama's wife is disgustingly portrayed armed with an assault rifle like some terrorist. This is absolutely the worst false image of Obama that could ever be portrayed, and certainly can result in some lasting harm. It conjures up the worst possible mental image of any candidate running for president ever. It's the worst.

I'm a major defender of a free press and freedom of speech. I'm one of the strongest 1st Amendment champions there is. But the NEW YORKER just didn't think this one through. You just don't portray a major candidate for president in such a tasteless manner as this. Freedom of speech may allow presidential candidates to be portrayed in any comic manner possible in this nation, unlike in some closed systems where you cannot even be critical of the government. The NEW YORKER may have intended to parody the hate speech from some irresponsible sources aimed at Senator Obama, however you can't really parody something so far out as hate speech without some unintended consequences. Some speech is so irresponsible and awful that it just can't be glorified even with damnation. The NEW YORKER cover really crossed the line this time. The normally classy publication with fine journalism may have done some serious damage to the Obama campaign even while supposedly attempting to ridicule the wave of false attacks aimed at him.

Will this awful cover be nothing more than a footnote to the election, Hopefully so. About the only positive is that the NEW YORKER's circulation and distribution is low enough that this awful cover will not be seen by many voters. But certainly it will hang around in medical and dental waiting rooms and many other places for months to come, and the damage could repeat itself over and over again. No candidate for president should ever be treated this way.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

McCain's Schizophrenic Election Year Balanced Budget Proposal

Sometimes John McCain the politician who desperately wants to be president has a little problem squaring up himself with the John McCain who sometimes championed antiwaste measures in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, there isn't hardly enough of the old John McCain in his latest election year federal balanced budget proposal, which boldly claims to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term while extending the Bush tax cuts and offering huge new big corporate tax breaks, even to the oil companies. McCain's election year balanced budget proposal is just some political stunt, with a schizophrenic mix of proposals significantly reducing federal revenue while claiming the ability to balance the budget in just four years. It's wacky election year political pandering at it's very worst. It's almost as if the "Straight Talk Express" has finally reached the end of the line and now intends to permanently park for the rest of the election at the station, where now the foolish hype and silly nonproposals will dominate.

It was only recently that John McCain claimed that he was no economic details guy. And his new balanced budget proposal sure proves that point very well. Serious economists argue that the McCain proposal is only likely to drive up the deficit with big proposed tax breaks to corporate America. And very few Americans probably think that the big oil companies really deserve big tax breaks right now with their record profits and sky high prices. You have to only wonder what McCain is thinking, unless he's simply pandering to some big corporate donors because his own presidential campaign is so badly managed and has real money problems itself.

With all of the economic uncertainty of the current economic problems facing the country, it is certainly more than wishful thinking for McCain to even claim that he can balance the federal budget in the next four years. The Obama campaign is not so foolish to make such a bold claim. And a large part of the McCain hope relies on the politically impossible feat of making huge cuts into entitlement programs or privatizing Social Security. But strong lobby organizations such as the AARP, public concerns, especially among retirement age persons as well as a Democratic controlled congress would certainly stand against any such changes to Social Security.

McCain is also more of a war hawk than even George Bush. Rather than scale back military spending and war involvement, he could well involve the United States into a dangerous huge costly war with Iran that would make Iraq look like some old time ice cream social by comparison. This would certainly be a budget buster for sure and could drive oil prices off the map. Serious economist already claim that oil could hit $7 a gallon by 2010 even without a war with Iran. And you know that a Republican like McCain won't just talk about war with Iran forever. They will actually do it at some point, no matter what a bad idea it is and how it will backfire and harm the U.S. more than anything. It would make the Iraq mistake look petty by comparison.

I know that there's an election looming. But John McCain betrays his own "Straight Talk Express" ethics when he proposes some federal balanced budget plan that he knows that he cannot achieve in just four years simply because it sounds real good to some voters. And of course the real devil is in the details, as serious economists don't really find much in this proposal that can really be achieved. The huge tax cuts will only boost the federal budget deficit and any spending cuts such as those to entitlements are highly unlikely to pass congress at any meaningful levels.

McCain also seems to ignore how much impact the lingering economic downturn in the country will have as well. If the current huge downturn in American business such as real estate continues on for some time, and energy prices are not meaningfully rolled back to some more acceptable levels, then huge inflation of food products and other goods will only hurt consumer spending as much of the consumer income goes into paying for sky high gasoline or heating bills. McCain has no real answer for this either.

John McCain's balanced budget proposal just doesn't seem to want to work in any one single direction at a time. It wants to cut government tax revenues, especially from corporations, which means that government will have less income, yet proposes to close the deficit with less revenue. And political reality dictates that the sort of entitlement cuts that McCain would like to see are not politically possible. It's simply not a serious proposal ready for prime time. It's mere election year hype and fluff. Like the old ad used to say, "Where's the beef?".

John McCain may be a very nice man at times. He is also sometimes funny. And he has a great life story, having survived captivity in Vietnam. But he's simply wrong on the issues as his economic nonplan really well betrays. McCain's balanced budget proposal is just more of same old tired Republican economic policies that brought the U.S. into the sky high oil prices and severe economic downturn that we're in now. Who in the their right mind would even think that more of the same is the right solution. Change is what's needed.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

McDonald's vs. Donald Wildmon

McDonald's Corporation is currently taking a bold stand in favor of cultural diversity while fending off attacks from radical right wing cultural extremist Donald Wildmon of the Tupuelo, Mississippi based American Family Association. The feud between McDonald's and Wildmon reached a new peak last week when Wildmon's extremist organization declared some sort of a boycott against McDonald's for claimed support of the "homosexual agenda".

McDonald's corporation responded to a May 22, letter from Wildmon in part with this statement, "We treat our employees and customers with respect and dignity, regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other factors. We support our employees' personal involvement in organizations of their choice". And McDonald's also reaffirmed the belief of founder Ray Croc that, "None of us is as good as all of us". By contrast, Wildmon's organization pathetically attempts to justify their boycott of McDonald's with the the sorry claims that," This boycott is not about hiring homosexuals. It is not about homosexuals eating at McDonald's. It is not about how homosexual employees are treated". Yet every indication of the right wing AFA agenda is to promote second class citizenship and discrimination for any member of the Gay community.

The fireworks behind Donald Wildmon and McDonald's are typical of the type of extortion and blackmail schemes that AFA deals in. They threaten a business to do something they want, or else they picket or boycott the business and attempt to cause it economic harm. They're like two-bit terrorists. And there isn't much difference between these extremists and another right wing group that sells bumper stickers that proclaim, "Don't Buy From Jews". Wildmon once proudly proclaimed to the Anti-Defamation League that, "We just won't support Israel anymore". Wildmon also claims that "Jews support homosexual rights more than other Americans" or often will find some way to tie Jewish Americans to something in some warped negative political way.

Wildmon is so far out that in 2001 he even issued this wacky threat to the Bush Administration, "Now that the Bush Administration is opening it's arms to homosexual activists who have been working diligently to overthrow the traditional views of Western Civilization regarding human sexuality, marriage and family...AFA would never support the policies of a political party which embraced the homosexual movement. Period".

McDonald's corporation is right to stand up to this little weasel who acts like a little gangster threatening businesses with economic damage anytime they don't cower to his bigoted demands. For all his threats and boycotts, most businesses targeted by Wildmon have not seen any real difference in sales. On the other hand, it is the power of environmentalists, civil rights groups and some Gay community organizations which have helped to drive some real changes in some corporate policies. When Denny's Restaurants were accused of a pattern of discrimination against African American customers by major civil rights organizations, it prompted changes of corporate policy. Other organizations have become more environmentally friendly or have become more friendly to Gay employment or have sought advertising aimed at Gay community customers. By contrast, Wildmon always claims to have up to 2 million members of his far out organization, yet an independent watchdog organization like People For The American Way doesn't find anywhere near that number according to data on their website, although Wildmon's organization claims over $14 million in donor income for 2004. One video rental business that was threatened by Wildmon even considered a civil racketeering suit against his organization for using extortion against them to force some film titles off the shelf.

In 1955, early civil rights leaders used the Montgomery bus boycott to put an end to segregation and to second class citizenship for African Americans. By contrast, Wildmon uses the boycott weapon to hold American society back both culturally and to further the discrimination of entire groups of citizens. There is no moral comparison between the two. AFA even proudly claims that scientific evidence fails to hold up some of their views, and some of their information falsely linking some types of controversial entertainment to crime is "largely anecdotal, but then common sense doesn't require authentication". That's how these self-righteous jerks operate. Whatever they believe to be true is, regardless of any science, official FBI crime statistics, or any hard facts. And whatever leader Donald Wildmon believes is what his followers better believe as well. The AFA is no democracy.

I may be a devoted vegan. But when a company like McDonald's makes a stand against a real bastard like Wildmon, then it's almost enough for me to start eating hamburgers. God bless McDonald's. The company gives large donations to charity such as the Ronald McDonald House they run, while the little weasel Wildmon only lines his own pockets from the millions of dollars from his donors and issues threats when people don't live up to his own twisted morality. The little two-bit punk.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Obama Captures Important AFL-CIO Endorsement, Campaign Workers & Donations

The AFL-CIO officially endorsed Senator Barack of Illinois for president after representatives of the 56 member unions representing 10.5 million members voted on the General Board. During the primary process, these 56 member unions were split among support for Obama, Clinton or Edwards, so no candidate was able to muster the required 2/3 support required for an official endorsement by the AFL-CIO. Like the Democratic Party primary and caucus voters, unions members had their favorite candidates, with no one single candidate the clear favorite, although Obama managed to capture some important endorsements from Plumbers and Fitters, Boilermakers, International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the American Federation of Government Employees unions during the primary season.

With the very weak record of John McCain on issues dealing with working people and just a 16%(COPE) voting record, Obama was an easy choice for the AFL-CIO to back. Obama's strong support on issues such as health care reforms as well as fair trade, certainly made the choice to endorse Obama an easy call for the AFL-CIO.

Obama will pick up important cash donations and election worker support from this new AFL-CIO endorsement. AFSCME(American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) which represents 1.4 million members, intends to mobilize as many as 40,000 workers for the Obama campaign and spend as much as $50 million dollars in efforts to boost the senator. John McCain will be hard pressed to match strong efforts such as this mobilizing of thousands of campaign workers or raising so much money so easily. The McCain campaign continues to lag along with internal campaign organizational problems, slow donations, and a general feeling of voter apathy towards the candidate. By contrast, the Obama campaign is buoyed by more excitement about the candidate. Much of McCain's support only comes from lukewarm sources such as voters not really happy about Obama for various reasons. According to a new Rasmussen Poll, 27% of voters are very favorable to Obama, compared to just 17% for McCain. And Obama has a larger base of favorable support than McCain as well, although the public certainly holds respectful views of both candidates and they both remain popular with many voters so far.

The AFL-CIO is also launching a new website to introduce it's membership into reasons why Obama should be elected president located at to help to answer any questions from primary voters from Clinton or Edwards who still have lagging questions about the young senator from Illinois.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Lost Footage From Fritz Lang's 1927 Masterpiece METROPOLIS Found

25 minutes of long lost footage to the 1927 Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang's science fiction masterpiece, Metropolis have been found in Argentina. In 1927 dollars, this scifi classic cost over $200 million dollars to make, making it the most expensive silent movie at that time ever produced. Most persons have seen a 90 minute edit of the original film, although there is now over three hours of footage known to exist with the new find of the long lost footage.

Lang's masterpiece deals with the futuristic social conflict between workers and business management in a conflict about capitalism set against some of the most awesome sets ever conceived by a filmmaker of the 1920's. Lang's Film must be considered as one of the must see scifi films of all time. It is a pure masterpiece in every regard, an incredible filmmaking achievement. There will certainly be a great deal of fan pressure for the release of an extended version offering all of the lost footage to be released on DVD. This will no doubt surface sometime in the future.

It is certainly a major cultural find when lost footage from such a great film surfaces like this. The value of such lost footage is like buried treasure. A survey of film critics on the Rotten Tomatoes Website give Metropolis a 99% rating, one of the highest scores ever for any film ever rated putting this film in a small but elite group of the greatest films of all time.

Stupid Bigot, Jesse Helms Dead At 86

Certainly all right thinking persons regret the death of anyone. And best wishes to anyone in the Helms family need to extended at this sorrowful time for them. However as a lawmaker, Helms was one of the very worst of any legislator ever. No bigger tool for the tobacco industry probably ever lived. And it didn't take much effort to pull some racist reaction out of this guy. If any legislation was socially backward and regressive, then you could trust that Helms was behind it.

Helms shouldn't really be labeled as a conservative. There are a great many respectable conservatives. Helms was just a cheap bigot and a social regressive self-parody. Even fellow Republican Robert Dole, called Helms "Senator No" because he was so difficult to deal with. Yet he was elected and re-elected to the Senate for many years for some unknown reason.

Helms was even responsible for adding obscenity offenses onto the list of federal racketeering offenses which was both draconian and made no legal sense at all. How someone like a Helms can equate some comic like a George Carlin who was once arrested on obscenity charges for doing his "Seven Dirty Words" routine with organized crime figures who traffic in drugs, murder for hire or loan sharking makes no sense at all. Under the draconian Helms bill, a person arrested for just two obscenity offenses can be charged under racketeering, which allows for a 20 year sentence as well as the government seizure of any property or proceeds connected with the supposed obscenity "crime". For example, if a record store sells just two copies of some controversial rap albums with explicit lyrics in some conservative community, then the record store owner can be sentenced to 20 years in prison as a racketeer, and his record store, home, car and any bank accounts can be seized by the government as proceeds of racketeer activity. If the Helms notion was to control free speech out of intimidation and fear, then it has only been a partial success. But still for anyone actually charged for such a free speech crime, it is only a tragic life destroying event and a total abuse of the criminal justice system.

It has also been said that Helms once was caught whistling "Dixie' while in a Senate building elevator while he well knew that African American Senator Carol Moseley-Braun was in the car, which was an outrageous racist incident by a very ignorant man. Helms successfully fought off an African American senate challenger, Harvey Gantt, for a senate election with a clearly racist ad where it looked like Blacks were taking away White jobs. It was never below the dignity of Helms to stoop to the lowest possible standards. The man was simply a first class bastard. Helms was almost reason enough for many to become completely angry at all politics and throw away their voting card.

I'd like to be able to say at least one good thing about Helms at this time. But I just can't think of anything good to say about him. He was the absolute worst. The voters of North Carolina were complete fools to ever elect him to any public office. In most U.S. states a guy like this wouldn't be elected dog catcher. Helms was ever so lucky to live in a state where his very limited intellectual and reasoning skills were deemed good enough to help him get elected U.S. senator in the first place.

Right Wing Broadcasters Fear Any Return To The Fairness Doctrine

Right wing broadcasters including those of the Religious Right have been campaigning against any possible return to the Fairness Doctrine which once allowed equal time for opposing views on controversial subjects. Many right wing broadcasters fear that many TV or radio stations will simply choose to drop their programs if the stations are forced to provide free equal time for opposing viewpoints at the expense of the station.

Currently religious broadcaster, Evangelist Rod Parsley is airing a 30 minute special broadcast of his BREAKTHROUGH program attacking any return to the Fairness Doctrine. However, the only problem is that no one in the 110th Congress has even bothered to introduce any legislation to reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine. Like many right wing issues, they create a huge hysteric uproar over some dead issue and invoke fear and raise a lot of donations. Parsley is currently asking for gifts of up to $1,000 from his listeners to fight this piece of legislation which no one has even introduced. And Parsley even claims that the next president could simply order a return to the Fairness Doctrine with a stroke of his pen, yet in all truth and honesty, Parsley has to know that this is not how law making in Washington works. A president is not some king would can issue unlimited executive orders on any issue they favor or support. The role of executive orders is of course very limited.

Parsley is unfortunately much like many right wing broadcasters who have abused the public airwaves by making outrageous attacks on persons in the Gay community, played fast and loose with facts, used the airwaves to raise obscene amounts of money by using outrageous fear tactics, or blatantly misrepresented some controversial issues. It is just this sort of ethics that did influence Congressman Maurice Hinchey in the previous 109th Congress to attempt to revive the Fairness Doctrine, however the legislation went nowhere, largely because of negative Supreme Court decisions regarding the Fairness Doctrine since 1984, and the FCC officially ending any return to the Fairness Doctrine 1n 1987. With the major decisions against the Fairness Doctrine by both the Supreme Court and FCC, it is highly unlikely that it will ever become law ever again. Yet this doesn't prevent some like Parsley trading in fear about the Fairness Doctrine, especially when it makes another good reason to ask donors to send in $1,000.

The right wing is often expert at creating some phony hysteria and then raising a lot of money with some absurd campaign against some phony bogeyman issue. However, it certainly looks like the Fairness Doctrine has actually been dead for quite some long time, and any attempt to revive it doomed to fail. Yet in the right wing world of creating fear and profiting from those fears, campaigning against some long dead issue seems good enough to ask for donations and to rule the airwaves by fear.

Sometimes it seems like outside of ignorance and fear, many right wing broadcasters have very little to offer. But that's hardly any good reason to censor them. In a free society even the very worst of free speech should be able to exist without government controls. Most intelligent persons can see bad speech for the absurd self-parody mess it really is, and in the marketplace of ideas the worst some speech is, the worst it usually sells. This indeed proves that the marketplace seems to work better than government. Yet, you only have to scratch your head when some overweight prescription drug abuser like a Rush Limbaugh is handed a new $400 million dollar radio contract. The wisdom of the marketplace is good at discriminating between the good and the awful, but certainly not perfect at it.

Some of what right wing broadcasters promote is ignorance, and some is just simply lies. And sometimes it would seem very good for some outrageous right wing broadcasters to allow for some equal time responses to some of their nonsense they peddle. Yet it doesn't seem like the American way for government to mandate it. Government's role regulating free speech needs to be as limited as possible. The freedom allowed under the 1st Amendment isn't always attractive, yet to limit free expression is always the worst possible option.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The U.S. Economic Meltdown While McCain Campaigns For Free Trade Abroad

Yesterday's bad news of the huge decline in automobile sales was yet another heartbreaking reminder of how impotent and out of step the Bush White Administration has become with management of the American economy, yet John McCain only seems to want to continue this mismanagement and boasts that "no one is a bigger free trader" than himself. The domestic American economy is in a real tailspin right now with many serious problems only snowballing downhill. This snowball effect of slower sales for business will only translate into increased unemployment for working people. When Wall Street suffers big losses, problems on Main Street always follow.

The huge decline in automobile sales, with Chrysler exceeding a 30% decline could even spell a final economic disaster for this company if this slump is protracted. And even worse would be if the slump would continue for long enough that no American automobile manufacturer would survive. That would be a real disaster for the working people of Detroit and other U.S. states involved in automobile assembly. Yet just like a "Wrongway Feldman", John McCain was incomprehensibly campaigning in Colombia, South America, yesterday to business leaders there for "free trade" legislation. Last week, McCain campaigned in Canada before some Canadian business leaders who stand to profit from "free trade" with the U.S. It is simply unbelievable that as American job losses mount during the Bush recession that John McCain campaigns outside of this nation to foreign business interests who seek to take more American jobs. McCain lacks the backbone to offer American unemployed workers some good explanation for this or some hope for boosting employment in this country.

Last week, Boeing stock lost 10% of it's value in just one day. Yet what would a John McCain do, go to Europe and encourage Airbus to take American jobs? John McCain is supposed to be running for President of this country. Yet with all of his absurd pandering to foreign business interests when American business and American workers are equally suffering, you have to really question his basic economic patriotism and nationalistic spirit.

With so many Americans hurting, and the economic news only growing much worse by the day, especially due to high oil prices, John McCain's foreign "free trade" campaigning only leaves some longtime political observers such as David Gergen puzzled. Gergen has volunteered his services to both Republican as well as Democratic administrations in a bipartisan manner, and certainly has no axe to grind about McCain. But Gergen doesn't understand McCain's foreign exploits. Oil is trading at over $142.00 a barrel today, and some economists expect it to reach $170 or higher within two years and for a gallon of gas to increase to an average of $7 a gallon by then, you only have to wonder why anyone in their right mind would vote for a John McCain who claims to be no expert on the economy and supports every piece of antiAmerican unfair "free trade" legislation. Where's any silver lining of hope in that?

Barack Obama has at least proven himself very good at both delegating responsibility to the right persons and being able to get the job done with his successful campaign to capture the Democratic nomination. And Barack Obama has voiced real concerns at the unfairness of many pieces of "free trade" legislation. Fair trade, not "free trade" would be his priority. And Barack Obama has promised to help American workers and to get the economy back on track with a $1,000 middle class tax cut that the public could spend to boost local business and get Americans back to work. In every economic area, this is so much more in step with what is in the best interests for this country. Meanwhile, you only have to wonder in which foreign country John McCain will be campaigning next, and what he'll promise a handful of special interests there while American business and workers are suffering. It makes no sense at all.