Setting the Record Straight

June 9, 2008

Random Musings

Some Random Musings from Veritas
        Some news report mentioned recently that we have 150,000 troops in Iraq. Think of that for a moment. The only things we see on television are small patrols kicking down doors and such. What are 150,000 troops doing? Think of the cities in your state of that size, just to get an idea of the immensity of our military presence in devastated Iraq.
        Every drummer in America seems to have a job. I am talking about the fact nearly every television advertisement, and some of the shows, feature insistent drumming. Consider the “theme” music for CNN’s newscasts: a rhytmic drumbeat with orchestral background in an increasingly frantic theme. Some rock bands may be missing their drummers.
        The Democratic Party is sure to have a debate over its proportional granting of delegates from primaries. Hillary Clinton said that if there were not the proportion system, she would have won the nomination long ago. Winner-takes-all seems a good idea for some things, like tennis matches, but across the nation for choosing pledged delegates to a convention, the proportional system seems fair. Or does it?
        Speaking of tennis, what about the shriek? Some of the best players in modern tennis–Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters come immediately to mind–have adopted a shriek. For a while, opponents objected, but to no avail. The shrieks are of a wondrous variety: Sharapova’s a high-pitched scream of seeming agony; the Williamses’ full-throated roars punctuating every shot; the yell of Dementieva coming close to “Yuh-HOO.” This all started, I theorize, with the little squeak of Chrissie Evert. It grew from there. But Bill Tilden did not need to shriek; Althea Gibson never roared; Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver played without yelling. What changed?
        Some cliches we can do without: Somebody said that at one point in the campaign, Clinton led “in all the important metrics.” “Metrics”? My dictionary does not list “metric” as a noun. But it is a usage popular on Capitol Hill with speakers who forget there is “measure” or “measurement” or “criterion” or “element” or any number of correct words in place of “metric.”
        And while we are being once again a schoolmarm, why does everything have to be “great”? A restaurant tells us on television that it has “great food at great prices.” That may mean just affordable hamburgers. The amusement park promises “a great time with great bargains,” which may mean just affordable fun. By me, “great” should be reserved for really historic items or events. Otherwise we have to look for the next superlative.




June 8, 2008

Anti-Obama Clinton Voters: Are You Nuts?

Would someone please explain?

(updated as: Still Crazy After All These Weeks?)

          In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s announcement she would suspend her campaign and support Barack Obama all the way, came a spate of bitter pronouncements by alleged Clinton supporters they would vote for John McCain and not Obama.

          The voters who gave Clinton just short of half the delegates to the late-August Democratic Convention in Denver typically did not have a $2 million estate. They were not sexist, they did not benefit greatly from the Bush tax cut, they are beginning to suffer greatly from eight years of lax federal regulation, their health care in getting more expensive and harder to come by, it is getting harder to send their kids to college, their homes are not worth what they used to be, their sons and daughters are more likely to be serving, and dying, in vain in Iraq while neighbors in the ritzier suburb next door send their kids to binge-drink at a fraternity or sorority somewhere.

          Every American’s future rides on decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the freedoms being taken away in the guise of fighting terrorism, a woman’s right to choose what happens inside her own body, the ability of the poor to get some help from the government when they need it, and the nation’s overwhelming problem of dealing with all of the ramifications of allowing widespread poverty to continue.

          All of those examples happen to be major differences between the leadership provided by Democrats and Republicans. Voters need to understand that Republicans vote for members of their party primarily to protect their money.

          In other words, any person who can identify with one of the above examples, and thus cast a vote for Clinton, would be voting against his or her own self-interest by voting for a Republican. Republicans have been doing this for four decades now, but why would a Democrat, much less a Clinton supporter?

          Racists who cannot bring themselves to vote for Obama because of his race never belonged in the Democratic Party in the first place.

          So what about the Clinton supporters who are not racist? What is their excuse?



June 3, 2008

Why the HillaryHate?

 This is a Family Value?

          Barack Obama will be just beginning to suffer the kind of hate-filled attacks that have beleagured Hillary Clinton for the past 16 years.
          Racism and sexism have been with us since the dawn of man, but one could more easily understand racism because it stems from xenophobia and almost always is directed at the local minority, whether it is African-Americans in the South, native-Americans in Minnesota or Mexican immigrants in the Southwest. Sexism is harder to understand since its roots cannot be traced to xenophobia.
          Stranger still is the hatred directed specifically at Clinton. It became vehement when she led the doomed fight to create national health insurance, a logical goal for the only country in the developed world without such a policy. But it has dogged her since and grew back to a vehement level in the current campaign, a vehemence that goes beyond the right-wing hatred of both Clintons. 
          We saw the ultimate use of this hatred of the Clinton family in the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, but it continues in the hate e-mail flying around and blogs posted here and there without anyone stepping in to set the record straight.
          Early on, e-mails and blogs lifted selective quotes, labeled as “Marxist,” that she cited in speeches and writings. They are simply presented out of context to make it look as though they expressed her beliefs. Fortunately there is
Snopes and let us plug ourselves, StraightRecord.

          So what is behind this hate spread by people who identify with the party of “family values” and others?
          One explanation could be that both Clintons are highly intelligent and well-read people, whether you agree with their opinions or not. The anti-Hillary e-mails and blogs that go round and round with little correction are spread by far less-learned people and perhaps that is why they generally support someone of the opposite mien, i.e., the current President Bush.
          Even though women appear to be as well-represented among the Hillaryhaters as men, it could be they view a woman who appears to have a real shot at the presidency as “uppity,” that her place is in the kitchen. And many of the Hillaryhaters appear to harbor racist ideas as well, meaning that here in the 21st century they have not evolved along with most of the rest of the country.
          Or their problem could be something else entirely. It is a puzzle. Until they are able to explain it themselves in a literate manner and without relying on cliches, Fox-channel screaming and other unresearched statements passed around, how can we know.
          People of this persuasion form the basis of the idea Clinton is a divisive candidate and might be least likely among the Democratic candi- dates to draw the votes of the undecided needed to win the election, a feeling that probably ended up denying her the nomination.
          Clinton is vulnerable for her stances on many issues, to a lesser extent because of her iceberg personality and lack of hands-on experience, but she should not be vulnerable to attacks based solely on deep-seated hatred practiced by these strange and miserable people.


May 29, 2008

Questions for the Confident Decider

 Straightrecord’s Veritas Has Some Questions for Bush

          I no longer cover any event at the White House, but if I did and were at a news conference, I would ask these questions:
President Bush, early in your term you were asked if you had made any mistakes, and your reply was that you could not think of any.
Are you proud, sir, of taking on a budget surplus and turning it into record deficits and record debt?
Are you pleased that you worked out tax breaks for the richest among us, widening the earnings gap between poor and rich?
Do you sleep better at night, knowing you led the nation into a war that has killed more than 4,000 Americans and countless foreigners?
Are you content that this war has no end in sight?
Does it please you that, in contrast to the day you took office, a large part of the world now hates America?
Do you reflect with pride on the fact that your approval ratings are lower than the average serial murderer’s?
Do you smile at the fact that, under your leadership, your own political party is in tatters?
so, now, do you think you have made any mistakes?”



May 25, 2008

Blow Up Your TV


     OK, the time has come. For the sake of the future of American politics, the people of this country need to blow up their TVs and get some source of legitimate and relevant news.

     Tabloid-cable has taken over so much of the public discourse with its in-your-face shouting back and forth that even the legitimate print media seems to believe it has to respond and report the same things.

     This foolishness about Hillary Clinton mentioning a couple of politics-shaking events in June as an explanation for not quitting a presidential race this soon is just the latest in a string of gotcha moments that have cluttered tabloid-cable (is there any other kind of cable news anymore?).

     A few days later the tabloid-cable character assassination squad turned its guns on Barack Obama because he said his great-uncle had helped liberate the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, when it actually was at Buchenwald. That was an error that needed to be corrected, but it was not intentional nor devious and did not deserve to be blown out of proportion since the error did not change the point of his story.

     This character assassination by lifting statements out of context and misinterpreting intentions is not new. Look at Mitt Romney’s father who, as one wire service reported, misspoke by saying he was “brainwashed” by military leaders on a fact-finding trip to Vietnam when he meant he had received a “whitewash” presentation. That wire service led its George Romney story something more newsworthy. The competing wire service led with the “brainwash” statement without explanation and Romney was done for.

     But that incident was memorable because it was unique for the time. Now we are getting this type of trash reporting shoved in our faces every day. Is it harmful? You bet.

     Bubbas and sycophants have dominated this exceedingly long political season since day one. In addition to Bubbaism on tabloid cable, we had Barack Obama first gaining legitimacy because a bunch of Iowa sycophants saw him linked with TV star Oprah Winfrey.

     Candidates superior to the two eventual contestants for the Democratic nomination had to drop out before a single vote was cast in any state that came even close to reflecting the nation.

     Is any of this any way to elect a president? No wonder we got the Gingrich-Bush era and its trashing of America.

     If you want to see just how idiotic tabloid-cable is in its handling of the political contests, tune into the Jon Stewart show on Comedy Central. It’s daily montage of the screaming meemies of tabloid-cable exposes these fools for the fools they be.

     But they are allowed to keep their spot on the boob tube because fellow boobs are tuning in. Tune out and the advertisers will want someone else. Better yet, after you watch Jon Stewart, blow up your TV (with apologies to John Prine and his “Spanish Pipedream”).



May 16, 2008

Can Obama Overcome Racism?

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Early on in this long, hard slog of the presidential primaries, it was obvious this one was going to be unique. With nearly a year of campaigning, the Democratic Party’s selection came down to the decision of superdelegates. The jump of superdelegates to Obama’s side, as we said in another post, “Case for a Brokered Convention,” this may not have been a good idea.

          There was widespread fear in the party that dragging out the campaign between Obama and Hillary Clinton would tear the party apart, but nothing could be farther from the truth. John McCain struggled for the past several weeks to get any attention while all the news centered around the Obama-Clinton primary battles. News is just what it says–something that is new or unusual. McCain’s candidacy is neither, while the Democratic drama and the situation that fathered it remain news. Obviously, the latter got the ink.
          Getting this constant attention is good for the Democrats. It is almost like the old saying, allegedly by a bimbo actress: “I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right.” Any publicity is good publicity, and in this situation, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been thoroughly vetted and already have taken far more heat than McCain can dish out, regardless of whether the Republican Party comes up with another Kevin Phillips, Lee Atwater or Karl Rove.
          Yes, Clinton supporters were upset and angry because their candidate did not win. But these two candidates respect each other, agree with each other 99 percent of the time and even like each other. For a long time, there was little doubt either would campaign vigorously for the other in the fall.
          As for Obama’s chances of winning in the fall? Take a look at the Boston Globe’s map of the primaries at the top of this post. That blue line of six states stretching from Louisiana through North Carolina and into the southern half of Virginia,  comprises a big chunk of Obama’s much-touted number of states won. He won those six states because only Democrats were casting the votes in a Democratic primary.

           It is sad to say this in 2008, but racism still exists in this country and racism still prevails in those six states, as it has since before and after the old-line Democrats switched parties in the aftermath of the civil rights victories of the 1960s. Obama’s chances of winning any of those states in a general election where a Republican majority will be casting votes are very slim. That is particularly true if McCain gets a boost from a new Phillips, Atwater or Rove. Perhaps 2012 or 2016 will be better years for Obama to run.
          Who wants to wager the superdelegates will not be considering the impact of an Obama fall campaign on that huge group of Electoral College votes?

          The Democratic Party’s cadre of superdelegates may be the best instrument it has if it wants to win the presidential election this fall. Those delegates would be well-advised to hang on to their convention vote instead of jumping on an Obama bandwagon now or paying off old debts to the Clintons.
          The superdelegates should take control of the party and overrule a highly
flawed primary system if it they consider either candidate unelectable, for whatever reasons.
           The United States has come a long way in giving women and blacks something approaching equality with the ruling white males, but anyone with a realistic bone in his or her body has to acknowledge sexism and racism are still present in our society.
and thus Hillary Clinton as president, may be able to overcome the prejudice against a woman in the White House by their sheer numbers–a slight majority of the U.S. population, a large majority of the voters.
can blacks and a man of their race win a national election today? 
          Remember that map of the United States with states colored blue if they voted Democratic and red if they voted Republican? In 1964, the southern
states would have been painted a solid blue (except Arizona, home state of the GOP candidate). Now the same states are quadrennially painted a solid
red. What happened? Racism.
          That’s right. More than 40 years after the Civil Rights Act that singlehandedly changed the South from a swatch of blue to one of red, racism still
abounds in the country. Racists and people with biases in that direction tend to vote Republican. And southern states vote Republican these days. All of the southern states voted for George W. Bush in the extremely tight 2000 election and have done so since the Democratic party and President Lyndon
Johnson, an ironic Democratic son of the South, engineered the rights act.
          Yes, Obama won in those six southern states. But those were Democrats voting, in Democratic primaries.
Twelve states considered southern or that usually vote with southern states next door, plus Utah, have 171 Electoral College votes. That number is just two-thirds of the 270 total needed to elected a president. In a close race in the fall, automatically losing a third of the majority of electoral votes could be disastrous for the Democrats.
          Yes, many Republican women strangely retain a hatred for Clinton, but since there are far more women voters than men voters in the United
States, that hatred is not likely to be able to swing a sexist bias to an entire state.
          Superdelegates who signed on or consider signing on to an Obama bandwagon before the convention should have second thoughts. Give Obama eight
more years of experience, which he sorely needs, either as a senator or vice president, and the possibility of a black president may be easier for those
American racists still with us in 2016 to swallow. Let us try to break down one barrier at a time.
          (Utah is important in the calculation because while several southern states split away from red to vote for Jimmy Carter of Georgia and/or for Bill Clinton
of Arkansas, Utah has been consistently red. The state is overwhelmingly Mormon, a religion that discriminated officially against blacks until 1978. Many members subscribe to the founders’ strange idea that brother-killer Cain was black, even though, according to the same Bible that discusses the slaying, only two other people existed
on Earth when Cain was born–Adam and Eve.
has become the Camelot candidate for the Democrats, ginning up an excitement that harkens back to the presidency of Jack Kennedy. That may be a good feeling and something to hope for, but Democrats may be better off deferring that hope for a few more years.

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