Bush wants history to see him as a liberator of millions

"George W. Bush hopes history will see him as a president who liberated millions of Iraqis and Afghans, who worked towards peace and who never sold his soul for political ends."
No Dubya, history won't see you as someone who sold his soul for political ends.  

You are not clever enough to be a proper politician. 

They will see you as someone who sold his soul so his buddies could redistribute billions and billions of taxpayer dollars into their own pockets.  You will probably have oil tankers and tasers named in your honor.


You would think that those in charge are in charge precisely because they know what they are doing.  Well....no.  Not really. Any wonder that society falls apart when we insist on electing incompetents for various offices?

Lack of updates

Sorry about the lack of updates.  I've been working very late these past weeks.

A look back.

I'd be interested in seeing a followup on this clip.  Has the press picked it up yet?

Having played around a bit with what you might call complex financial products, I know a little bit about not fully understanding exactly what factors might have huge impact on your investment.  I was lucky.  I made more than I lost and I got out when things started happening around the world that didn't look like "business as usual" to me.  I got out, not because I knew what I was doing, but because I realized that I didn't.

A lot of people got greedy, they listened to bad financial advisors and bet their savings and lost. (Rule #1: never invest more than you can afford to lose).

If the subprime crisis demonstrated one thing it is that the financial world is complex and that very few people actually understand it very well.  In fact, as the first stages of the subprime crisis unfolded, most of the people in the financial industry were embarrassingly noncommital when it came to predicting the consequences.  That, or they downplayed it in the hopes that the inevitable could be postponed.  Basically most had no idea.  They had no idea of whom was exposed to what risk where.

And I don't blame them.  Most third-year economy students wouldn't understand the risk structure of investments banks were offering left and right.  Let alone the murky trade in crap loans between international banks.

It is important to keep this in mind.   

These people are good at working the system.  But the vast majority of them do not understand it to a degree where they can see trouble coming, and once the system starts breaking down, the rules change and all of a sudden they have no ground to stand on.  One does not need to understand what they do not to infer this.

Be careful who you listen to and try to remember who is full of shit the next time around.

Orson Scott Card; author and intolerant jerk.

I stumbled across this link about Orson Scott Card's views on gay marriage today.  It saddens me deeply that someone who has written at least one book I really admired has such a myopic view of the world.   It is one thing that he has an opinion.  He is free to think whatever he likes and shout it at the top of his lungs. 

What I don't like is that he thinks forcing his opinion on others is acceptable -- by force of law. He thinks the government should deny some people the sort of rights that are deemed essential to those who conform to his idea of humanity.

What if the majority's view of humanity differed?

What if the majority ruled that writers with a rotund head and a receding hairline should not be allowed to teach english?  Or should be deemed second class citizens with diminished rights?  Yes, it would seem unfair.  It would seem unfair to have rights denied you for something you are.  An aspect of who you are you yourself did not choose.  How if society deemed you an outcast. Unwanted.  A person so low they would strip you of rights you take for granted.  Rights you should take for granted and which no government should be allowed to take away from you.

It is not OK, Orson.  Not even remotely so.  Not everyone shares your medieval, intolerant view of those who are not exactly like you.  Not everyone believes that the tyranny of the masses should be allowed to terrorize the few.  

Does this idea ring a bell?

Perhaps you have forgotten that many of the people originally populating North America fled europe -- to get away from people just like you.  To get away from the tyranny of the masses and political leaders that did not approve of their faith. Was your education so shallow, so narrow,  so inadequate, so utterly worthless that you do not understand even the most fundamental ideas of equality on which the nation you live in was founded?  

No amount of admiration for your books can rid you of the repugnant stench of intolerance your vile words leave behind.  May you never have the misfortune of falling victim to the whims of your kind.

This blog.

When I started this blog the intent was to blog about things that annoy me.  To say things that I felt needed saying while not taking things too seriously.  The blog name was supposed to reflect this. One does not choose a self-deprecative name for one's blog and then expect everyone to take what you say completely seriously.

That I started blogging exclusively on the election was not something I planned for.  It just happened to find myself following the election closely and naturally I ended up blogging whenever I was annoyed with what I saw.

I got a lot of feedback on it during the election.  Mostly via email.  Most of the feedback was encouraging -- some of it wasn't.   Don't get me wrong:  the fact that people disagree with what I express does not bother me.  Debate is important. I would much rather have a heated debate with someone fiercely disagreeing with my views rather than having feebleminded, dogmatic morons agree with me.  

What bothered me was the dogmatic, un-thinking respondents.  Those incapable of independent observation, analysis, and conclusion.

Now that the election is over there is a number of things I might want to blog about.  For one, I will be keeping a close eye on what the upcoming Obama administration is going to do.  Early indicators suggest that Obama will innovate in the way he is going to communicate with the people and that his government may be a more open and transparent one than we have seen before.  And when I say "before" I am not just referring to the last 8 years, but in all of american history.  I hope I am right.

There are other things I would like to explore a bit more in this blog.  I have an interest in religion and how religion seems to have made a comeback as a threat to civilization.  Be it radicalized islam or fundamentalist christianity.  The flavor doesn't really matter all that much when the intensity of emotions in extremists so effectively occlude avenues for rational thought.  I think we need to start re-thinking how society needs to deal with the current crop of religions (including those that are religions only in name).  It is by no means a new idea as the explosive nature of religion has been a problem we've needed to deal with throughout history. 

Religion has become a global risk factor and we need to think about its place.

I could blog on energy efficiency, the environment and related themes that occupy my mind, but I feel I am slightly out of touch with these themes since I haven't kept up to date with relevant data for about a year.  I am sort of the odd one out on this issue since my main concern is that "the environment" is being used as a punch-line for all sorts of ignorant, grandstanding idiots. We are wasting a lot of money, time and resources on taking the wrong people seriously.  Most of them politicians that want to score cheap points in taking popular, yet uninformed positions. This does little to reduce our impact on the environment.

We'll see.   In all likelihood this blog is probably not going to stick to just one theme.  And expect there to be sarcasm, irony and the occasional dose of humor.


I can't say I envy Obama the job of getting the US back on its feet. 

In any case, congratulations Obama!

A president for conflict.

McCain likes to throw his military credentials around.  The problem is that, as a soldier, he wasn't really all that good.  In fact, we have a very relevant, measurable datapoint that places him at the very bottom of the barrel.  Let me repeat that:  McCain is judged by the military to be a third rate soldier.

But he happened to be a third rate soldier with powerful friends.

He tries to impress by saying that he was there during the Cuban missile crisis.  What he forgets to mention is that he there as a pilot.  Not a decision maker.  The guy calling the shots was Kennedy and any credit that is due for resolving that situation is due to Kennedy and his administration.  McCain had no impact whatsoever on the Cuban missile crisis.  None.  Zero.

In fact, the last person on earth you want as your commander in chief during a conflict is McCain. You do not want someone known to have a short fuse.  You do not want someone who has demonstrated that he can't handle pressure and will act erratically.  You do not want someone who calls for time out and then runs off when the going gets tough.

McCain is the wrong guy to handle conflict.  He can only create and escalate conflict.

And indeed, McCain is the preferred choice of Americas enemies -- exactly because they depend on a commander in chief that will escalate and act erratically to achieve their goals for them.

Where your tax-money is going.

Palin has previously expressed that she has no qualms about bending and breaking the rules and that it would be up to the judicial system to determine what she can and cannot do.  Act first, then let the courts mop up the mess.  Unless challenged, she will exploit her position for her own personal benefit and do so unashamedly.

It is therefore no surprise when story after story surfaces in which she is wasting taxpayer money to live the good life.

Also, it must be every woman's dream to have $150.000 thrown at her by the RNC for lipstick and clothing.  Especially in these times of people slipping into foreclosure.  Good thing that Sarah Palin is well fed, well housed, elegantly clad and painted to perfection while the rest of the people have to grapple with more mundane problems.

I guess not even applying $150.000 worth of lipstick is going to make this candidacy more palatable.

United States of Dumb

Give the people bread and circus, and they will be happy to ignore that their very existence is founded on unsustainability.  The way we reward people for what they do reflects our priorities and our priorities, in the long run, translate to what tomorrow will be like.

And people wonder why the United States is circling the drain.  People wonder why the United States can be at war with Afghanistan and Iraq, yet a preposterously large portion of the people fervently supportive of waging wars abroad cannot even point out the countries the US is at war with on a map.


Rules are for everyone else.

McCain is feeling the pain of DMCA with regard to "fair use".  Apparently some of the mashups that the campaign posted on Youtube were taken down due to alleged copyright infringement. He had access to the same process of getting them back up again as everyone else -- yet he asked for special treatment because clearly, the process is too time-consuming.

Now a reasonable reaction would be to address the issue of how the DMCA is applied frivolously by political means;  call for fixing the laws and to ensure that "fair use" is indeed protected under the law to allow "quoting" the works of others.  After all,  those elected to an office are there to act in our best interest -- not their own.

This is a chance for McCain to highlight a wrong and work to set it right.  This is a chance for McCain to show that he is prepared to fix laws that are applied in an unreasonable manner.  But what does he do?  He thinks he is entitled to special treatment.  He underlines the fact that he thinks that he is better than you, more important than you.  Rules should not apply to him.

Once the election is over, he will go back to not caring.  To catering to special interests.

Perhaps it is not too unexpected.  We're talking about a guy who had it easy most of his life.  He never had to perform well to get what he wanted.  He led a privileged life of mediocrity (well, below mediocre if we take his school record into account, finishing at the very bottom of his class).  We're talking about a guy that has more houses, more cars, more employees and servants than he is able to keep track of -- and then he wants us to think that "That One" is the elitist snob.

McCain, you are an elitist scumbag.  If you can't even deal with the DMCA without expecting special treatment, what sort of leader are you going to be?  It is clear that you think your rights are more important than those of the people you wish to represent. 

I find it a bit offensive that you campaign under the slogan "country first" when obviously all your acts project a "McCain first" mentality.

Tax plans drawn to scale.

Much has been said about tax cuts and of increasing taxes.

What I do not understand is that people who are not themselves in the upper tax brackets would be so upset about the topmost percentage being taxed heavier.

Perhaps it is because they aspire to find themselves at the top one day.  The vast majority never will no matter what they do.  The reality is that most of you will never be rich.  Most of you will never even get close to the upper tax brackets.  And should you be so lucky to get there, would it be so bad if you have to pay a little bit more?  Is it really that big a burden if you have to give a little bit more back to society?  The society that allowed you to be successful in the first place? 

Which is more patriotic?  Contributing to your country by shouldering a bit more of the tax-burden or letting those less fortunate shoulder the burden? If you are making hundreds of thousands of dollars, does a few thousand dollars really matter that much to you?

Health first, prosperity follows.

Hans Rosling visualizes data with Gapminder helping us see the correlation between various parameters.  One of his conclusions is that the rate of change in prosperity depends on the availability of healthcare. 

This begs the question: if healthcare is so important for our prosperity, why is it that in the United States the general opinion seems to be that it should not be a priority for government? Why do we fear socialized healthcare?

What if the US collapses.

Slides and notes on the collapse of the Soviet Union and how it might differ from a collapse of the United States.  Scary stuff, but there are some points that do make you think.  Also note the date on the slides.

McCain on the Late Show.

Colin Powell endorses Obama

Ignorant and proud of it.

Mark stein.  Ignorant and proud of it.

Warts and all.

Judging by what I have read, the Abraham Lincoln quote that he wished to be painted "warts and all" was probably wrongly attributed to him.  Likewise it is assumed that when Walpole wrote that Cromwell insisted that Sir Peter Lely represent reality when painting him ("I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it''), that was probably a not an entirely accurate quote either.

Nevertheless, it is an interesting contrast that Fox seem to have gotten their panties in a twist over an un-retouched photograph of Sarah Palin on the cover of Newsweek.   How dare they reproduce the portrait of the Alaskan governor just as she is, without the interpretive aid of a Photoshop-wielding artist.

Since it is Fox that are outraged we can put aside any reservations about the Lincoln and Cromwell quotes being fabrications and just pretend them to be historically accurate.  I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to come up with a witticism on how Palin is being un-vice-presidential for having Fox obsess over her imperfect looks on her behalf.

Rolling Stone on McCain.

Rolling Stone magazine has an article about John McCain.  One would expect Rolling Stone to have a democrat bias so keep that in mind when reading or watching the video.  Some of the things said seem to have been confirmed -- others sound plausible, but I your guess is as good as mine.

Undignified McCain

Take a close look at McCain now, after the VP debate.  Does this petty individual seem presidential to you?  He knows Palin might have fooled Joe-Drunk-The-Sixpack and possibly appealed to the odd stereotypical hockey-mom -- but even he knows that she failed to live up to even the lowest benchmark of VPdom:  Dan Quayle.

So McCain does what his nature dictates.   He starts acting like a childish bully. Afraid that his status will drop through the floor if he doesn't punch the "uppity" smart kid on the nose.   

Over the next days or weeks he will try to sling as much mud has he possibly can -- in the hope that some of it will stick.  I hope Obama won't take the bait.  I hope he will not feed the juvenile bullying of McCain by spending any significant time on talking back to him.  And I sure as hell don't hope Obama will stoop to McCain's level and respond with the same sort of unworthy ads and non-rethoric.

Political debate, Fox style.

This is the level at which political debate takes place in the US.  This is the sort of raw sewage the public is fed without any warnings along the lines of  "Warning: may cause political blindness".

VP Debate

Managed to see just the start of the Debate on YouTube.com.  First impression of the first part: as predicted: all form and very little substance from Palin.  She plays the hockey-mom card and tries to turn her inexperience and lack of knowledge into a positive.   Very obvious that she was mostly regurgitating talking points given to her.

But to her credit:  there was a fluidity to her delivery.  Most voters have no real idea about the issues so they judge by the delivery.  They look at the packaging, not the contents.

Biden seemed more pleasant and toned down than on the campaign trail.

Who broke the economy?

factcheck.org has an article that attempts to shed some light on who broke the economy.  The last comment is a good summary:
The U.S. economy is enormously complicated. Screwing it up takes a great deal of cooperation. Claiming that a single piece of legislation was responsible for (or could have averted) is just political grandstanding. We have no advice to offer on how best to solve the financial crisis. But these sorts of partisan caricatures can only make the task more difficult.
The rest of the article can be found here.

The VP Debate

This is probably going to be a fairly weird debate.  On one hand you have Biden, with considerable political experience.  On the other hand you have Palin, with close to no grasp even on what the campaign she represents stands for.  It is going to be a substance versus form debate and the ground rules have already been set:  this is going to be a strictly no-contact fight.  (A deal that was struck for McCain to agree on turning up for his debate at all).

Right now, Palin is in hiding from the press, cramming for the debate.  Nose deep in the McCain Big Book Of One-Liners.  They must be pretty desperate at this point trying to make sure that at the very least she knows what positions she is supposed to take on various issues. 

I'm not sure what Biden will be doing to prepare.  In this debate, facts and figures won't matter as much as demeanor and folksiness.   It will be hard for Biden to figure out how to approach this. If he comes off as condescending or too aggressive, he will lose the debate in popular opinion.  And it will be exceedingly hard to not come off as condescending when debating The Master of the Non-Answer from Alaska.

Palin has given some terrible interviews of late where one of her answers was even repeated almost verbatim in a SNL skit with Tina Fey playing Palin.  No need to even bother writing gibberish lines when Palin is so capable of producing lines that can just be recycled for comic effect.  But it would be dangerous for Biden to under-estimate Palin's ability to charm her way out of a tight spot.

In the end, I think the voters are the big losers.  Presidential candidates and VP candidates in an american election are more afraid of actual face to face debate than a murder suspect is of taking the stand on his or her own trial.  Their marketing dollar can't help them there -- and the marketing dollar is what decides a presidential campaign.  Selling the voters a president or a VP is no different from selling consumers corbonated sugary water.  Same basic principles.  It is first and foremost a branding exercise.

Badly understood consequences.

People are celebrating that the bailout didn't get voted through.  Which is a bit odd since no bailout is actually costing considerably more than a bailout would.  

$700bn to stabilize a failing economy is, to be quite frank, a bargain.  This is a case of people kissing large chunks of their savings, investments and pensions goodbye to save a few bucks on taxes.  In fact, about one trillion just evaporated from the market yesterday.  Within that trillion are financial instruments owned by regular people.  The middle class.  This affects everyone. 

And look around you.  The Chinese, who have up until now been so keen to lend the US money to keep the wheels of the economy well-oiled (so they can sell you the consumer crap you love so much), are retreating in fear.   This will only get worse. 

The real tragedy here is that many of those who wanted to vote for the "bailout" didn't dare to do so for fear of losing their seat.  Staying in office is actually more important to them than stabilizing the economy.

No doubt McCain will take credit for the failed attempt to stabilize the economy. The idiot voters will see him as a hero, and by the time the american people have figured out that it would have been considerably cheaper to stabilize the markets, they are stuck another 4 years with a bumbling idiot for president. Not to mention an unqualified religious nutcase for VP that even most republicans find an embarassment.

These are dangerous times.  The recession just got a lot worse.  More banks will fail and the US took another step towards idiocracy.

Not fit for consumption.

What does it tell you when a VP candidate is so out of touch that the campaign cannot risk having the VP candidate talk to the press?  What does it tell you when the campaign has to rig debates in order to turn up at all?

Why do they even bother having Palin turn up for a mockery of a debate?  Why not just issue a press release and not insult the voter further.  It was bad enough that McCain showed a complete lack of judgement in picking her.

The kind of judgement the GOP thinks is "good enough" for you.  The voter.

Sarah Palin makes George Bush look like a fucking bookworm.

I think it is time we showed Palin the respect she deserves.  Which is to say, we should not be afraid to state outright that this woman is an idiot.  The really fun part here is that McCain's choice of Palin shows us what he thinks of the voters:  he thinks you are idiots too.

Here's why McCain doesn't want Palin to talk to the press anymore:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
Absolute gibberish.  How on earth can a grown person make such nonsensical statements on national TV?   I mean, she is not even good at pretending she knows what she is talking about.

Sarah Palin makes George Bush look like a fucking bookworm.  

Offshore drilling is completely irrelevant.

The thing about offshore drilling is that it will be too little too late.  At the pump it would not even mean fractional cents to the dollar.  To the consumer, it makes absolutely no difference.

So why is this even a big issue during the election?  Why is McCain making such a big fuss about this?  The numbers are pretty clear:  it isn't important at all.  In fact, it is so unimportant it is remarkable that it would even come up in discussion during an election where time and bandwith is at a premium.

McCain is spending 90% of his time talking about less than 1% of the budget.

You keep hearing a lot about pork barrel spending or earmarks.  And you'd be inclined to think that this is something quite significant given that McCain and Palin keep harping on about it.

In fact "earmarks" make up less than half a percent of the budget.  Which means that McCain is spending 90% of his time talking about less than 1% of the budget

Deja vu

You have seen this before, right. Of course you have. For reference I'll provide the video here:

Of course, with some prepping, even the dumbest of the dumb can form coherent sentences:

The economy ate my homework.

It is indeed never too late to react impulsively and childishly to something that happened over a week ago.  Like a kid trying to wriggle his way out of taking an important test, John McCain all of a sudden found that he was urgently needed in Washington.  As if the republicans had somehow shone a huge skylight with the silouette of an elephant on it at the sky to summon him.

After spending the last six months out of circulation on the Doubletalk Express, serving up lame jokes and political one-liners, there was no time to lose:  he had to get back to Washington ASAP. 

No time for trivial stuff such as, oh, I don't know, participating in The Debate and such.

The TV pundits seem to be very obsessed with blinking.  Apparently McCain blinked and Obama didn't.  Seems the dumb kid in class will have to turn up for his test after all.  Prepared or not.

McCain is too frail for the job.

It is frightening that McCain wants to skip the debate because of the financial crisis.  The election is about the next four years.  That's a long time.  We need to understand which candidate is best equipped to handle the challenges.  These are not times where you vote for a person -- these are times where you vote for reason.

The financial crisis is best handled by those who have not been galavanting around the country, spewing forth one-liners meant to elicit applause from audiences that don't know they are being short-changed in the election process.

Political debate is a prerequisite for democracy.  If candidates do not confront each other in debate, we cannot possibly have any basis for comparison.  Democracy just becomes a show-piece.  Something we talk a lot about, but which we don't actually implement.

Besides, this is the ultimate test.  This is our chance to see the candidates under pressure. And already McCain wants to throw in the towel.  This emphasizes our greatest fear:  John McCain is too frail to become president.  He can't handle the pressure.  And we really, really do not want that religious nutjob hockey-mom running the place.  Think radical moslems are bad?  How about radical christians with nukes and a firm belief that we live in the endtimes.

Executive Summary (no pun intended)

I watched the long, tedious marketing speech made by George Bush to sell the bailout.  Let me condense his message down to one sentence:
"Give me $700.000.000.0000 and don't ask any questions"
There, now you can go back to your apathy -- assured that you have not missed anything.

An uneven fight.

In Russia, the ruthless yet cunning man ended up on top by elbowing everyone else in the face -- in the US an assortment of lawyers made sure the idiot son of a plutocrat one-term president was handed the top job. 

Not that it was all that challenging given that half the american population will happily saw off the branch they are sitting on whilst clutching their bibles and their guns; seriously believing it is the will of God.

It is said that we get the leaders we deserve.   One wonders what collective sin would warrant punishment as severe as this: ending up with this fool, not one term, but two.  Perhaps for the sin of being embarrasingly ignorant and backward?

There are people who believe that dinosaur and man co-existed only a few thousand years ago. Who believe in witches and that God wants them to go bomb the shit out of brown people half way around the world.  People who hold important positions in government.  State and federal.  I shit you not.  The US has one foot in the dark, deep, middle ages.

Perhaps what  this situation needs is a complete financial collapse.  Perhaps people will see more clearly when the US becomes a former superpower.  Perhaps, when it is too late for any form of recovery, will the people see that we are way beyond the point where we can have the luxury of choosing a president based on issues like stance on abortion.

Abortions become a completely academic issue when you have no place to live, nothing to eat and no means for sending your kids off to college.  It becomes an academic issue when countries like India start outsourcing their menial jobs to the US.

Yes, the debate on abortion is a serious one, but it is not as serious as the collapse of the entire economic system.  But by all means, if you want the US to become the third world country it is so eagerly trying to become, do carry on.

Imagine the glee with which Osama bin Laden, if he is even alive, observes.  Having scared the ignorant masses of the US into a huddle and made them select Bush -- who then has run the US aground and is about to turn the US into the Soviet Union.  Food for thought: after the bailout, the US will have more government ownership of businesses than is the case in Russia.  

The most destructive power in any war is a terrible leader.  Bush is a terrible leader.  McCain is just more of the same.

Meanwhile the world is looking to the EU, and to Russia, and to China, and to Brazil.

Last chance, America.  Last chance.  In a bit over 40 days you decide if America survives or becomes irrelevant.

An appeal: Get a fucking grip, Obama.

I've started to follow various fact-checking websites -- among them factcheck.org.  Some with a clear political agenda and some which I hope are as non-partisan and independent as they advertise.  It worries me that Obama seems to engage in much the same tactics of half-truths and distortions in his ads as the McCain campaign.  Admittedly these distortions are not (yet) of the same magnitude as the outright lies that McCain tries to propagate, but nonetheless, they are distorions and inaccuracies.

Obama, what are you doing?  What the hell is wrong with you? 

I understand that winning the election is important.  The US and the world cannot take four more years of the sort of inept leadership we've seen the past 8 years.  That much is clear to everyone.  

Every reasonably intelligent person who bothers to read up on voting records, recent history and can judge for themselves understand that McCain and Palin are The Wrong Stuff.  They understand how McCain is flip-flopping too fast for cameras to catch and that he is too old and too ignorant. They understand that Palin is a religious nut who believes she is on a mission from God and can't wait for the end of the world to come about. 

By stooping to the levels of the McCain/Palin you are risking too much.

Have some respect for the voter.  Keep this campaign about the issues.  Make sure everything your ads say is the truth.  Sort of the truth does not cut it.

Out of touch

There has been much talk about no child being left behind.  Perhaps we need to institute a program where politicians need to pass a test before they are able to run for office.  If they fail, they have to attend one year of school before the are eligible again.

Perhaps then we would not have to endure the embarassment of having a presidential candidate who does not know where Spain is.  Or who is head of state in Spain.  Or whether Spain is an enemy of the United States of America or not.

Knowing these things tends to matter when you are responsible for tens of thousands of nuclear warheads and the largest stockpile of biological and chemical weapons in the world.

Can we risk a US president who does not know whether to nuke or to embrace Spain?

Fundamentally dishonest.

If by "the fundamentals of the US economy" we mean the workforce, and if said workforce is the best and most productive in the world, how come so many jobs are outsourced either directly or indirectly to places like China?  

Why is it that everything, including the lapel pins of the republicans, is made in China?

I call bullshit.  McCain is a bumbling idiot who has no idea why the economy has tanked, has no idea how it can be fixed and is now lying to the american to cover up his embarrassing lack of knowledge.

McCain's computer illiteracy.

McCain has had to endure much ridicule for his computer illiteracy.  The official line is that using a keyboard is difficult for him due to injuries sustained during the vietnam war.  The consistency with which his problems have been reported  over the years makes it seem implausible that this is just a lie.  He is reported to have difficulties tying his shoelaces and combing his hair for the same reason.  Let's just assume it is true.

On one hand, it is tempting to chastise the Obama campaign for making a point of McCain's computer illiteracy.  Indeed, hey should not make fun of McCain's handicaps.

On the other hand, I know people with physical handicaps far more severe than those of McCain who are not only computer literate, but work with computers on a daily basis.  These handicaps range from being paralyzed from the neck down, having severe arthritis (from a relatively young age) and blindness.  Yes, I know a blind programmer and I have encountered several over the Internet over the last decade.  Blindness and paralysis are not reasons for not using a computer.

If McCain has the strength to shake the hands of thousands of people every day, he has the strength to operate one of the gazillion input devices available on the market today for those with special needs.

This guy isn't severely physically handicapped. 

McCain is computer illiterate because he can't be bothered to learn.  Being privileged he has never had to learn either.  If anything, this is an illustration of what sort of people we elect to be our leaders:  people who are so far removed from the rest of us that even the most mundane things are completely alien to them.

Given that computers, the internet and technology in general is aggressively transforming society, the way we interact, and the rate at which new memes are generated, we cannot risk electing someone who does not live in that world.


This is the first ad I have seen during this election that actually doesn't try to appeal to our pettiness and obsession with stupid mudslinging.

Thanks, Obama.

Voter suppression. The under-reported story.

I think the US election needs more foreign observers to ensure that this election proceeds without the sort of anti-democratic tactics we usually associate with countries like Zimbabwe and dictatorships that hold mock elections.  

The voter "caging" efforts have been severely under-reported by the press in the US, so one cannot rely on the press to properly ensure that proper democratic process may take place.

However, CNN did run this piece about the Obama team filing a suit over alleged voter suppression plan.

If we had an adequate presence of international observers, the violations of voter rights may get a lot of coverage in the foreign media.  And one would hope that some of this reporting trickled back into the domestic media coverage.

It's the issues, stupid.

As this election moves forward, I have yet to see proper debate.  Rather than the candidates burning through obscene amounts of money touring the country and slinging mud at each other, I would really have liked the whole run-up to the election to be a series of debates.  I would have liked to see the candidates battle it out verbally in debates where they are forced to keep it about the issues.

In these times where many are struggling to keep the roof over their head;  because of storms sweeping the coasts or the storms on Wall Street; I think it is obscene that the candidates spend their time making speeches and slinging mud at each other.  Rather than giving the voters a chance to understand what the candidates plan to do, if elected, the voters are subject to marketing.

The most important presidency in the world is decided by how successful the respective candidates marketing campaigns are.

The CIA World Factbook states that the United States have a "strong democratic tradition". How can thee be democracy when there is no debate?  How can there be democracy when the voters are not invited to understand the issues and the proposed solutions?

Fiscal conservative

If you wrestle a pig, lipstick or no lipstick, you both get dirty. But the pig might like it.

If you wrestle a pig, lipstick or no lipstick, you both get dirty.  But the pig might like it.

Barack Obama needs to stop playing into the hands of the McCain campaign.  Every moment spent commenting on the childish antics of McCain, and his loose cannon running mate, Palin, is a moment that the press will seize upon and use to define the "debate".  

The press only cares about eyeballs.  The only real numbers they are interested in are not the ones that decide whether people will be warm and fed 8 years from now, but the ones that will decide where their next handful of silver coins will come from.  The press is not going to protect the democracy,  Mr Obama.  Stop expecting them to grow a spine and act responsibly;  they won't.

Stop lending credibility to McCain by even commenting on his contemptous lies.  Focus on the issues.  Explain in detail how your tax plan would work.  Explain why the United States holds the same position in people's minds around the world as did the Soviet Union two decades ago. Explain to people, using small words, why it really, really matters to have the respect of your peers -- whether you are a superpower or a regular joe.

Dumb things down.  Be concrete.  Explain.

And ignore McCain.  Even his conservative brethren are about ready to smack him over the head with a shovel for making such an ass of himself.

Now even Karl Rove is tired of McCain's lying.

I thought it would be a cold day in hell before I'd hear Karl Rove criticize McCain for campaign ads that contain downright lies.  But now it has happened:  Karl Rove says McCain is going too far by perpetuating outright lies in campaign ads.

And Karl Rove knows a thing or two about dishonest political advertising.

It's a major wake-up call for McCain when a hardcore neocon like Karl Rove thinks you are going to far.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a Youtube clip that showed him saying that in proper context.  I could only find crapped-on clips that had been over-edited.  I guess you can find the soundbite yourself.

Government 101 or Advanced Bullshitting? You choose.

While watching Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin it struck me that most voters would probably think that the interview went rather well.  Because Sarah Palin is very good at talking, or to not put too fine a point of it, she is very good at bullshitting.

Some people just have a natural talent for bullshitting and Sarah Palin is one of those people. Give her a tough question and she will, right there and then, find some way to wriggle herself out of it. 

This is why she is the governor of Alaska and you are not.

But is the ability to bullshit really a quality we look for in a leader?  Do we want someone who can bluff their way out of a tight spot more than we want someone who knows what they are talking about?

Let me give you an example.  When Charlie Gibson asked Sarah Palin if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine, it was quite clear that she had no idea what the Bush Doctrine is.  For a moment she seemed completely stunned by the question.  An american governor. Running for vice president.  And she had no idea of what is meant by The Bush Doctrine -- the single most important principle by which the current administration is governing.

Her first attempt to bluff was a feeble one.  She asked for clarification on what Charlie Gibson meant.  Anyone who has had any experience interviewing people or who has given an oral exam will tell you that asking for clarification is just about the first and most important trick in the book to bullshit yourself out of this situation.  

In the end, Charlie Gibson had to explain to Sarah Palin what the Bush Doctrine is.  An embarrassing moment of the interview for all concerned.

Before we go on, let's have a look at the video:

After the interview several pundits said that she did well.

Did well at what?

The average american voter knows little or nothing about the Bush Doctrine.  Like Sarah Palin, most people probably have a general impression of what the governing principles of the current administration are -- but they are not able to express precisely what the Bush Doctrine is.

But Sarah Palin is not average people.  Or at least she is not supposed to have just an average understanding of how the country is run.  She is a governor and she is a vice presidential candidate.  It is her job to know these things.  

She is running on a ticket that is supposedly for change -- but she has no real understanding of exactly what the status quo is.  Then how can she truly have any understanding of what change is needed?

You may admire her for her ability to bullshit her way out of a question that she should have known the answer to.  But wouldn't you rather have a leaders that actually know?  Leaders who are actually qualified for their jobs so they don't have to lie on their resumes?

Wouldn't you rather havet leaders that understand "Government 101" rather than just "Advanced Bullshitting"?

We might end up with secterian nutcases controlling weapons of mass destruction.

Sarah Palin's Churches and The Third Wave from Bruce Wilson on Vimeo.

You tell me:  does this look like the sort of people you would want to put in charge of the US stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction?  The US has tens of thousands of nuclear warheads -- in addition to the decommissioned ones, which is just politician-speak for "nukes we presently do not count", but which are nonetheless available and can be re-activated on short notice.  

The US also has the largest stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons.

Now most other nuclear stockpiles are under the control of regimes that are, at least not overtly, influenced by crazy-ass secterian nutcases.  It is somewhat embarrassing that the US sees religious zealotry combined with access to weapons of mass destruction as the biggest threat against global security -- yet the US is seriously considering putting a certifiable nutcase one heartbeat away from the controlling the launch codes.

We're piss-scared of a bunch of people living in caves getting their hands on a suitcase bomb or two.  We'er so piss-scared of it our whole way of life has changed.

And then we respond by putting a person with craziness of equal magnitude in the White House and give her the launch codes the day McCain kicks the bucket (which is a very real possibility given McCain's long smorgasbord of health problems).

Is that rational behavior?

McCain's questionable health.

Given the uncertainties of McCain's health status, the nation needs to view Sarah Palin becoming president, or the acting president, a very real possibility.  This is a very frightening possibility given that she is so inexperienced she didn't even know what the "Bush Doctrine" was when asked about it in an interview.  Unfortunately for the ill informed masses, neither do they.  And unfortunately for the voters, Palin was able to bluff her way out of that question.  After a few seconds of looking like a deer staring into the headlights.

Anti-Palin rally biggest political rally in Alaska ever?

It would appear so.  According to this blog post an estimated 1400 people turned up to rally against Sarah Palin in Alaska.  The blogger claims that this is the biggest political rally ever in the state of Alaska -- which sounds a bit incredible, but I guess someone else could verify this for us.

McCain's submissive body-language.

It would be interesting to see an analysis of McCain's mannerisms and behaviors in full.

Notice his nervous laugh whenever he delivers a punch-line that is either a misrepresentation or a downright lie.   He starts laughing before the audience.  His laugh forced and you can see that odd motion of his lower jaw. He projects submissiveness and insecurity in a way that is strikingly similar to how bonobos and chimps display submissiveness.

These are mixed messages.  This guy is running for the ultimate alpha male job - yet his mannerisms tell us that he sees himself as a loser.  Look at him closely. 

He may tolerate being imprisoned or tortured, but this guy has real problems looking people in the eye while giving answers.   Notice him on "The View"?  Notice how uncomfortable he was?

Iraq schmiraq

Sarah Palin's thoroughly photographed trip to Iraq turns out to be a fake.   She apparently didn't venture into Iraq, but rather dropped by the border crossing at Khabari Alawazem. Funny how I've heard it described as her going into a "battle zone".

This shows us a couple of things:
  1. She is very comfortable with outright lying.  In this election it is important to build an image of a woman that is something besides an anti-choice, hockey-mom, small-town mayor, who clings to her bible and her gun -- and Sarah Palin thinks fabrication of these narratives is an acceptable way to go about it.
  2. It was massively embarassing when she was said to have "foreign policy" credentials due to her state bordering on Russia.  It is becoming even more embarassing that Palin is desperately trying to pad her travel resume to give the impression that she has actually been outside the states on anything other than vacation.

Republicans on republicans.

If it wasn't obvious before that McCain was solidly in the wrong about putting out those attack ads accusing Obama of being sexist,  it ought to be fairly obvious now.  O'Reilly is as republican as they get, and even he, who is not beyond empty, irrelevant bickering and name-calling, thinks McCain is being unreasonable.

Wake-up call for McCain.

From around the web.

From around the web:

McCain on lying in his ads.

Notice how blatantly McCain insists on propagating his lies. He is embarrassed (who wouldn't be) to be called out on the issue, but nevertheless, he insists on spreading falsehoods.

Why do voters put up with this?

Obama on tax.

From what I gather several independent organizations have analyzed Barack Obama's tax plan and stated that the plan is consistent with what Obama is claiming.  In short, we have reason to believe that he is being truthful.

Behold the New World Order!

The 8 years of Bush in office has already done untold damage to the United States.  The economy has tanked, the constitution has been set aside and the world has started turning its back on the americans.  From oil-producing nations moving to the Euro as their currency of choice to travellers deciding that there is nothing to see in the US that is worth the unpleasantness of travelling there.

There is a level of paranoia in the US the likes of which has not been seen since the height of the cold war.  A population living in fear -- gladly trading in all their freedoms for the promise of security.

And fear of what, exactly?  Terrorists?  The end of the American Way?

What is the American Way?  Is it freedom?  If so, the American Way died the day the US Patriot Act was signed into law.  It died the day government was allowed to detain, imprison and hold without charge or trial its own citizens in secret prisons.  It died the day the government became so afraid of its own citizens that everyone is now treated as a suspected terrorist.  It died the day that those enabling the government to commit crimes against its people were given immunity from prosecution.  It died the day government unabashedly started to use propaganda of fear to have us view everyone around us with suspicion and fear.

While one may argue that the political system in the US has nothing in common with communism, it is undeniable that everyday life has taken on a flavor that we traditionally associated with the sort of hard-line communist regimes we were raised to fear during the cold war.  The Soviet was evil because it spied on its citizens.  The Soviet was evil because undesirables would disappear in the night -- to be shipped off to secret gulags.  The Soviet was evil because delivering talking points to the mass media would keep the population ignorant and ill informed.  The Soviet was evil because it fought wars in places like Afghanistan.  The Soviet was evil because it wanted to park weapons of mass destructions right outside the American borders.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

The US is isolating itself behind an iron curtain.  It is becoming the big bully the world saw in the Soviet Union decades ago.

This hockey-mom is about to go nuclear.

It is pant-crappingly scary when some gun-toting, radical christian fundamentalist, former beauty-queen with a dubious political track record and zero foreign policy experience starts to talk about getting into a fight with Russia.

If Vladimir Putin looked into the eyes of George Bush and saw a weak, feckless idiot, what will he see when he looks into the eyes of Palin?  A hockey-mom with launch-codes, no foreign policy experience, fanatical beliefs far more excessive than those of Sayyid Qutb and the hubris that makes her think she is even in Putin's league as a head of state?

Put yourself in Putin's place.  Apply hawkish republican reasoning to the situation from his point of view.  Here you have a foreign super-power talking about armed intervention in your back yard.  Under the command from someone who believes she is talking to God.  Would you show restraint?

How would you feel if a military superpower, like Russia or China, started showing up in South America?  Meddling in conflicts in the back yard of the United States?  How would you feel if you knew this person held religious beliefs that we usually associate with less enlightened times.

You would be very uncomfortable.  Not only with the interventions in your back yard, but with the highly dangerous unpredictability of someone who is out of touch with reality.

The Russians are scary.  But at least they are not threatening with military presence in locations directly on the American mainland borders.  Nor are their leaders afflicted by irrational religious madness.  Nor are they lightweights.  They may lie, deceive and oppress -- but they are competent totalitarians.

McCain's POW years are irrelevant

I wonder why McCain keeps relying on his five years in a Vietnamese shithole as a means to get out of any argument and why nobody has called him on it yet.   That story is getting really old.
Yet he keeps banging on about his stint in jail and his military service.  He even seems proud of the fact that he was among the worst performing officers in his class.

While having to endure 5 years of imprinsonment as a prisoner of war is a terrible personal tragedy, it is not something that qualifies you to become a president.  Or a physics teacher.  Or an auto-mechanic.  

Are we going to make McCain president based on pitying him?  Does he look like he needs pity? This is a man who has all the material wealth he could possibly need available to him.  He is wealthy to the degree where he has no firm grasp on how many houses are at his disposal. Meanwhile large numbers of people in the US have lost their homes.  To foreclosure and to natural disasters.  Meanwhile veterans of war, people who sacrificed their health, their future, their lives, are coming back to the US and finding that Their Guy, McCain, is not taking their side.  Either voting against them or not bothering to turn up to vote at all.

The contrast between what one should reasonably expect from McCain and what he enacts is shocking.  McCain didn't learn anything from the experience and is now abandoning his own, the veterans, while putting even bigger swaths of the population at risk of having their lives destroyed.

By the same logic that makes McCain's imprisonment in Vietnam a qualification for the presidency, should we expect the future leader of Afhanistan, Pakistan or Iraq to come from one of the many military prisons operated by the US?  How would you look upon a candidate that served 5 years in Guantanamo running for president in Afghanistan.  Especially one that was only too ready to let others suffer through the same hardships. 

Would you view years in a rathole like Guantanamo as an experience that in itself qualifies someone for presidency?

Of course not.

Fact of the matter is that McCain's stint in jail is irrelevant.   Fact of the matter is that it didn't even do anything about his character.   McCain emerged from prison, character flaws intact and not having learnt anything.

Not much of a celebrity.

A few weeks back the republicans, feeling unloved by the media, accused Obama of being a celebrity.  Well, how the fuck is being a well known public figure a bad thing when you are running for president?  Especially if you are a politician.  I thought the republicans said that Obama was an "unknown"?  Then they say he is too well known. 

If Obama was such a big celebrity, you'd expect him to do better in interviews.  McCain does a lot better in interviews than Obama.  At least from what I have seen.  Of course, McCain has the advantage of having positions that are one-liners.  Simple shit he made up on the plane on his way to the rally -- and not always cleared with his campaign management. 

Meanwhile, Obama actually tries to formulate meaningful answers, and thus comes across as more hesitant.  In a country where the majority of the population are below most third world countries in education and world knowledge, that is a handicap.

Obama, work on those one-liners.  You are over-estimating your voters.

"May we borrow a Soyuz capsule, please, Mr Putin, Sir?

The sad thing about Bush pissing away trillions of dollars bombing the shit out of brown people on the other side of the globe, is that his successor will have to be really nice to Putin and his buddies to hitch a lift to the ISS on the Soyuz capsule.  Coz' NASA sure as shit ain't getting the budget to pimp the space shuttles or get the new Orion/Ares vehicle on line.

Well, that and the fact that if the shitter breaks again, they'll have to just hold it in until NASA can send up a plumber in 2014.

Republican values

I wonder if Palin practiced safe sex when she fucked Brad Hanson.  Probably not.  After all, she irresponsibly took no precautions not to get knocked up in her old age. 

And her god rewarded her with a retarded offspring.  And a teen pregnancy to boot.

You can keep your republican values, Palin.   I suggest you take your values and go hide out with people who share your values.  Like that spineless Saudi everyone is looking for in caves on the Afghan-Paki border.


Shit, september already?   It was june just a couple of days ago.

How the fuck did that happen?

Shaking things up?

As irrelevant as we would wish people's personal tragedies are, the complete lack of decency of that Palin-woman is something the voters need to consider.  Especially given the overwhelming risk that McCain, although running only for a single term lame-duck presidency, has a significant risk of kicking the bucket early -- thus leaving that crazy woman in charge of the whole operation.

The US could end up with one of the craziest least morally fit presidents ever.

Just look at Palin's family.  This woman is so delusional that she is unable to admit that her family's deep dysfuntion is the result of her twisted morality.  She is:

  • Anti-family planning, even for married couples
  • She despises single mothers and teens who have gotten themselves knocked up
  • She believes in abstinence-only 
  • She does not believe in sexual education
  • She is militantly anti-choice
  • She preaches family values, yet foisted her kids on other members of her family to raise while she was off doing more glamorous things.
  • Irresponsibly got knocked up herself at an advanced age, resulting in an unwanted special needs child.
With republicans being so obsessed with morality and family values, it would seem odd to choose someone to represent them who so clearly illustrates how these positions lead to tragedy.

That Palin-woman is just The Wrong Stuff through and through. 

No, the *other* Palin

Casual conversation at the urinals:

- Palin?  McCain's running mate?  But...he's british!

- No you stupid cunt, the other Palin.  The white trash, hypocrite, Miss Moose from Alaska, Palin.

- Oh.  Oh I see.  Oh, dear, I see...

See good in bad, I do

If McCain wins the presidential election, Michael Stipe will leave the US.

Best reason yet for voting McCain/Palin.

This is going to be a tough one.

Questionable judgement

So McCain has chosen a veep-creep he has met only once before.   Palin is even under investigation for the dubious firing of the alaskan public safety commisioner.  This is getting off to a great start in proper GOP neocon style.

Is McCain high on something or should I attribute this lapse in judgement to his utter lack of intellectual fortitude?

Perhaps their reasoning is that they might snap up some votes from the pissed-off-hausfrau demographic;  those who wanted to see that psychotic Clinton-woman in the Oval office.

Well, at least the former Miss Moose seems to be a qualified spokesmodel.  Only fitting since the current guy is a former cheerleader and McCain is likely to kick the bucket due to old age before the end if a lame-duck, single term presidency -- should he make president.

America is so fucked.

I can has democracy?

Elections make me lose faith in humanity. Not so much because I think the politicians are dumb, but because they are dragged down to the level of the imbecile voters whose brains awake momentarily only when Paris Hilton is on TV.

Paris Hilton. The main character in a porn movie that made sex look awfully dull.

Putting the "mental" in "environmental".

Environmentalists on TV again.  In their designer clothes and with iPhones.  Foaming at the mouth and prattling on about how we need to act responsibly.

Monkey see, monkey do

So the Bushbaby has been bullying the entire world around for 8 years whilst crashing the US economy.  And while Putin is now mainly the puppeteer behind Medvedev, he has observed and learnt:  the world is regressing into fascism, there is no responsible adult at the helm of the sinking ship that is the US and people are now so frightened that they'll accept any infringement on democracy and basic freedoms.

Welcome to the cold war rematch.