September 11th, 2008

ashes and snow - wings

Good Morning!

It is September 11th.  For each of us this date will always ring with pain, and so today, feels like a day to pause and remember how quickly life can change, and how important it is that we appreciate those around us and cultivate quality and care in each moment of our day. 

September 21 is the International Day of Peace.  There are groups, whom starting today until the 21st,  are planning to pray, chant, or pause for peace.  The world is too small and connected to waste energy and resources on war.  No nation or people can afford injuries,  physical, mental, and spiritual. May we each, in our own way, find ways to bring peace to our days, and in that, to the earth and sky.

As Gandhi said,  "Be the change you want to see in the world."


ayer's rock -

Liberty -

Eric Dondero Rittberg and I have been having a back and forth on the subject of the Libertarian party and who they support in this election.  I see that the Libertarian party is divided at this point, so some support McCain, some Obama, and, then, there is Ron Paul.  I like this motto from his website, "Don't steal.  The government hates competition."   Pretty funny.

I actually think government programs can work.  My father died in an accident when I was nineteen, and social security provided money to my mother, and I would receive money if I was in school until I was 23.   When my mother turned sixty-five, social security very generously sent her a check each month.  Of course, we probably all put way more in the pot than she got out, but it is a pool, a pool I support and I think social security works and is worth supporting.  

Bush wanted to privatize social security.   I think what is happening with Fannie Mae stocks makes us all grateful that did not happen.  There is no security in the stock market.   We all learned that in high school.  

I think we are at a place in history where medical care is so exorbitantly expensive, that we have to combine resources to ensure that everyone in this country has access to medical care.  It is the humane thing to do.

What I find curious about someone being a Libertarian who could support McPain is this.  They are for defense, defense internally and externally.   This is the motto of the website of Eric.

Libertarian Republican

Fiscally Conservative, Socially Tolerant, and Strong on Defense. From Barry Goldwater, to PJ O'Rourke, To Dennis Miller, Boortz & The Nuge. Libertarians who believe Liberty should be defended against attackers at home and abroad. Eric Dondero - Publisher/Editor

It might be hard to argue with that, except for this.  Defense means having a well-educated, healthy populace with jobs, jobs that produce something.   We have lost that in the last eight years.  We are in debt.  A country in debt is not strong.   When the Russia-Georgia problem came up, we had nothing with which to defend ourselves.  Everyone in the world knows our troops are depleted and we are in debt and at the mercy of the Chinese.   How have these last eight years helped us to be strong or to defend ourselves?  I do not understand the disconnect that says someone who cares about defense could vote for McPain who will continue what has gone on for the last eight years.

McPain decided to use the word change because it worked for Obama.  Now Obama  has to find a new word and the McPain people haven't a clue what change means.  McCain voted with Bush 90 to 95% of the time.  I see both statistics.   Palin is not experienced, and is now being examined and is found to be flawed and not the effective leader, accomplisher and reformer she proclaims.  

Freedom is in a strong people.  We have been weakened under the Bush administration.  I know people who have seen secure stocks become worthless.    People who have worked hard all their lives are finding it is time to retire and their supposedly safe and secure investments are worth nothing.  There is not one thing I see right now that one can invest in that is secure and that is from my financial advisor.   How is that defense?

One can have their guns and I am not against the right to bear arms, but when the water is polluted and the bears are extinct, there won't be much to defend or eat, and liberty will not fill the stomach or fill the brains of our children with complex thought when our nation is reduced to sound bites and people who cannot read or think.

Book Cover

Oh, my!!

Joan posted this, this morning and it is beautiful as can be.

There is an native American proverb, "The Soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears." Watch this and see rainbows flow.

alan's marigolds

Soundbites -

Children are taught to tests now.  It is all about knowing a few memorized answers rather than learning how to question or think, which leads to the sudden cramming of Sarah Palin so she can answer some questions that will give the illusion that she has the ability to govern this country.

Leadership is about more than showmanship and soundbites.  It is about integrity, compromise, and depth.

If we test our children with multiple choice, then, we tell them answers are black or white, right or wrong.

Each day when I have time with young Zach, I see how malleable our minds, how creative, how fluid.  He views problems and solutions in his own way.  I am reminded now of Neil Postman who said "Children enter school as question marks and come out as periods."

Education expert and creativity guru Sir Ken Robinson believes "we are educating people out of their creativity."

The essay tests are what allow the grays, comparisons, and digging for examples and results, the individual mind diligently at work to view material new.  I used to do great on essay tests and poorly on multiple choice, as usually I was able to make an argument in my head for more than one answer, to see more than one point-of-view.   This interest in dissection is what we are not seeing in McPain.  They are managed like Bush and we see where that got us.  If they win, it will show us how completely our educational system has failed, or it may show us the advancement in changing computer results, and or how to make it difficult for Democrats in certain areas to vote.

I believe we must unite this country in more expansive ways.  The world is not black and white.   It is multi-colored as we see when we look around and see richness of color and diversity of plant and animal life.   Of course, some do not support that richness of diversity.  They are happy to let the polar bear go.   What does the polar bear really do for us anyway?

Well, maybe it does this.  Maybe it is an example of another upcoming extinction.  The polar bear hair or fur is not white.  It is clear, transparent.   It would appear that the loss of the bear is the tip of the iceberg, as to the loss of clarity and transparency.

barack obama

Republicans and fear -

It sounds like the Republicans are afraid of more than terrorists.  Surely they don't have to protect their candidate who complained about Hillary whining and not being able to take the heat.  She said she could take the heat, so why isn't she?     She is, so far,  simply a publicity stunt.


In Search of Gov. Palin

Published: September 10, 2008

It is well past time for Sarah Palin, Republican running mate, governor of Alaska and self-proclaimed reformer, to fill in for the voting public the gaping blanks about her record and qualifications to be vice president.

The best way to do that would be exactly what the campaign of John McCain is avoiding — an honest news conference. Instead, she has been the bell-jar candidate, barnstorming safe crowds with socko punch lines and plans for a single interview on ABC News built around a visit to Fairbanks, Alaska, and her hometown of Wasilla.

Just in time for that appearance, Ms. Palin, who was proclaiming her family’s privacy a week ago, will make a political event out of her son’s deployment to Iraq. But as for talking to reporters in general, the McCain campaign sniffishly says they must first show “some level of respect and deference.”

That is a peculiar response for someone who is campaigning as one tough, transparent politician who can take the heat. Why not some detailed questioning? With deference, we believe many questions will arise about this largely unknown politician as reporters properly search beyond the wholesome anecdotes.

Ms. Palin is positioning herself as the kind of politician who knows how to manage the people’s money. She got a big cheer from the Republican convention when Mr. McCain said she had put the Alaska governor’s private plane on eBay.

The running mates both failed to mention that it did not sell on eBay and that she unloaded it later to a businessman for a $600,000 loss. The Chicago Tribune reported that the majority of the plane’s time was used to transport prisoners from Alaska’s crowded jails to Arizona, a job now done by federal marshals.

All of which made it vexing to read the disclosure by The Washington Post that Governor Palin billed Alaska taxpayers for more than 300 nights that she spent at home in her first 18 months in office. The campaign claims the $60-a-day allowance is proper, and various states do have differing per-diem approaches. But voters ought to hear the candidate answering such questions, not for purposes of petty quibbling, but to help fill out their skimpy sense of who Ms. Palin actually is.

She could explain, as well, why she was for the Bridge to Nowhere when it was first proposed and reversed field once it became a symbol of legislative abuse. Even then, the governor helped cycle the $223 million in federal pork to other state needs.

Voters have a right to hear Ms. Palin explain in detail her qualifications to be standby president with no national or foreign policy experience. More is required of any serious candidate for such a high office than one interview with questions put by one selected source.

barack obama

Power based on love -

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.

— Mahatma Gandhi

barack obama

just when you think it can't get any worst on Palin -

Imagine being raped which I'm now understand seems to happen quite  often in Alaska.

Then imagine paying for your own rape test to the tune of between $300 and $1200 apiece.  Let's make that clear.  Alaska has no bulk rate on tests which is unfortunate since it sounds like you might need more than one if you live there.    This is for each test.

When Palin was mayor, women in Wasilla were forced to pay for their own forensic rape tests.  Now, I'm guessing many women could not afford to pay, which means what.  There are probably many more rapes in Wasilla than are reported.   Quality of life anyone.   No wonder people are afraid to speak out against her.  

There is a lump of a statue in front of the Bank of American building in SF that some people call The Banker's Heart.  I think that heart of stone is starting to look softer than butter on a hot day compared to Ms. Palin.

I must say this takes the cake.

Ex-Gov. Knowles, Ketchikan mayor say Palin misleads

'MYTHBUSTERS': Wasilla rape tests, backing for bridges discussed in call.

Two state leaders lashed out at the public record of Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday as witnesses in a new "Alaska Mythbusters" forum coordinated by supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.


Speaking to a teleconference audience of reporters around the nation, former Gov. Tony Knowles and current Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein -- both Democrats -- accused Palin of misleading the public in her new role as the vice presidential running mate of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

While some of their complaints have already been aired, Knowles broke new ground while answering a reporter's question on whether Wasilla forced rape victims to pay for their own forensic tests when Palin was mayor.

True, Knowles said.

Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill -- signed into law by Knowles -- that banned the practice statewide.

"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.

"(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported.

It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.

"In the past we've charged the cost of exams to the victims' insurance company when possible," Fannon told the newspaper. "I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer."

An effort to reach Fannon by phone Wednesday was not successful.

Knowles and Weinstein also went after the Republican ticket on several statements now airing in campaign ads around the nation, including Palin's claim that she opposed federal money for the "bridge to nowhere."

The governor has refused to acknowledge her explicit support for the $230 million Gravina Island Access Project in her effort to sound more like an anti-earmark reformer to a national audience, Weinstein said.

And she still supports spending $400 million to $600 million on "the other Bridge to Nowhere," the Knik Arm Crossing, which would provide residents in Palin's hometown of Wasilla faster access to Anchorage, Knowles added.

"That project is moving right ahead," said Knowles, who served as governor of Alaska from 1994 to 2002. "The money for that project was not diverted anywhere else. ... So (for her) to say she said, 'Thanks, but no thanks....' I would say she said, 'Thanks!'"

A phone call to Meg Stapleton, a spokeswoman for the Alaska office of the McCain-Palin campaign, was not returned Wednesday.

However, the Republican side lost little time in organizing a national truth squad of its own to battle what it considers "smears" of Palin by Democrats. A list of the names of more than 50 members of a Palin truth team, posted Monday on the Atlantic Monthly magazine Web site, included three Alaskans: Stapleton (a former Palin aide); Kristan Cole, a longtime friend; and Republican Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

As a former governor, Knowles said, he's reluctant to criticize an active governor. But he decided to make an exception with Palin.

"In this situation it's not just a sitting governor," he said. "Our current governor is a candidate for the vice presidency and a heartbeat away from the presidency."

barack obama

Ignorance -

Palin thinks she can deal with Russia because she can see it. She sees no problem with a war with Russia. She is happy to defend Georgia though they may actually have started the problems with Russia. With what does she think we are going to wage war? Does she know about the deficit? She didn't know about the Bush Doctrine. She tosses out phrases she has been given but she has absolutely no background for this job. It is insanity.

I continue to be astonished that we are told people support her even when she has nothing to say, and thinks being vice-president is such an easy job she didn't hesitate to accept even though she has four children at home. Usually adults pause to think about what they do. I am completely unclear how with a deficit like we have, she thinks we can continue to wage war, and she waves that word around like the flag.

Oddly, it seems this group is happy about what is going on with Fannie and Freddie, even though Palin hasn't a clue about it.

How could anyone see this as a good thing? Well, read this. Who benefits again? The wealthy. It just keeps happening. Wake up, people. So, the McCain people are happy about the bailout and they didn't even bother to go to the meeting. We have known it has been weird with Bush and it keeps getting weirder and it is hard to know what to do.
barack obama

Sarah Palin's office for 11 years.

This is where she comes from, and let's not forget that she can see Russia from where she lives so she has foreign policy experience. I can see the ocean, so I am an oceanographer. I see a mountain, so I am a geologist. I see the sky. I can be an astronaut. Who needs training and experience? It's so simple, isn't it? I don't even blink when something drops from the sky.

I like how Republican is misspelled in this. Maybe the word was embarrassed and one of the letters ran off to hide.
barack obama

It's getting worst!

As I watch McCain, Palin, and Cindy McCain blunder and say absolutely nothing on different segments of youtube, I come to the same conclusion as Paul Krugman.  If they are elected, it will be even worst than the last eight years have been.  They make no pretense of honesty or sense, and yet, we continue to be told they are supported.   Is the media so manipulated now, so owned?

Op-Ed Columnist

Blizzard of Lies

Published: September 11, 2008

Did you hear about how Barack Obama wants to have sex education in kindergarten, and called Sarah Palin a pig? Did you hear about how Ms. Palin told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks” when it wanted to buy Alaska a Bridge to Nowhere?

These stories have two things in common: they’re all claims recently made by the McCain campaign — and they’re all out-and-out lies.

Dishonesty is nothing new in politics. I spent much of 2000 — my first year at The Times — trying to alert readers to the blatant dishonesty of the Bush campaign’s claims about taxes, spending and Social Security.

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

Take the case of the Bridge to Nowhere, which supposedly gives Ms. Palin credentials as a reformer. Well, when campaigning for governor, Ms. Palin didn’t say “no thanks” — she was all for the bridge, even though it had already become a national scandal, insisting that she would “not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative.”

Oh, and when she finally did decide to cancel the project, she didn’t righteously reject a handout from Washington: she accepted the handout, but spent it on something else. You see, long before she decided to cancel the bridge, Congress had told Alaska that it could keep the federal money originally earmarked for that project and use it elsewhere.

So the whole story of Ms. Palin’s alleged heroic stand against wasteful spending is fiction.

Or take the story of Mr. Obama’s alleged advocacy of kindergarten sex-ed. In reality, he supported legislation calling for “age and developmentally appropriate education”; in the case of young children, that would have meant guidance to help them avoid sexual predators.

And then there’s the claim that Mr. Obama’s use of the ordinary metaphor “putting lipstick on a pig” was a sexist smear, and on and on.

Why do the McCain people think they can get away with this stuff? Well, they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being “balanced” at all costs. You know how it goes: If a politician says that black is white, the news report doesn’t say that he’s wrong, it reports that “some Democrats say” that he’s wrong. Or a grotesque lie from one side is paired with a trivial misstatement from the other, conveying the impression that both sides are equally dirty.

They’re probably also counting on the prevalence of horse-race reporting, so that instead of the story being “McCain campaign lies,” it becomes “Obama on defensive in face of attacks.”

Still, how upset should we be about the McCain campaign’s lies? I mean, politics ain’t beanbag, and all that.

One answer is that the muck being hurled by the McCain campaign is preventing a debate on real issues — on whether the country really wants, for example, to continue the economic policies of the last eight years.

But there’s another answer, which may be even more important: how a politician campaigns tells you a lot about how he or she would govern.

I’m not talking about the theory, often advanced as a defense of horse-race political reporting, that the skills needed to run a winning campaign are the same as those needed to run the country. The contrast between the Bush political team’s ruthless effectiveness and the heckuva job done by the Bush administration is living, breathing, bumbling, and, in the case of the emerging Interior Department scandal, coke-snorting and bed-hopping proof to the contrary.

I’m talking, instead, about the relationship between the character of a campaign and that of the administration that follows. Thus, the deceptive and dishonest 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign provided an all-too-revealing preview of things to come. In fact, my early suspicion that we were being misled about the threat from Iraq came from the way the political tactics being used to sell the war resembled the tactics that had earlier been used to sell the Bush tax cuts.

And now the team that hopes to form the next administration is running a campaign that makes Bush-Cheney 2000 look like something out of a civics class. What does that say about how that team would run the country?

What it says, I’d argue, is that the Obama campaign is wrong to suggest that a McCain-Palin administration would just be a continuation of Bush-Cheney. If the way John McCain and Sarah Palin are campaigning is any indication, it would be much, much worse.