Wednesday, September 10, 2008

La Ley de Herodes, o te chingas o te jodes

Ok, I haven't posted in a couple days even though many things have been going on.
Right now I have a lot going on work wise. There is a lot going on in Monterrey and in Mexico that deserves attention. Corruption charges against Madero's government, our dismal fiscal system which is makng us lose our (nonexistent) edge among other countries, the kidnappers being part of the anti-kidnapping unit, etc.

Also, I don't know if anyone is actually reading right now. Democrats and Republicans are slinging it out, but are the independent and swing voters listening? Will celebrity endorsements convince them? Swing voters aren't really swing voters, they're just unwilling to admit they have made up their minds, for whatever reason.

This race has gone on long enough for people to have a general idea of what each candidate wants to do, how he will do it and if he's capable of acheiving those goals. McCain has shown that he is willing to sell his soul to the devil (aka Karl Rove) and the christian right in order to get elected. He is willing to lie, cheat and Palin his way to the White House.

Obama has shown himself unwilling to fight dirty so far. That's not always a good thing, though I'm aware that the Republicans have defined him (he allowed that to happen) and now it's a case of dammned if you do, dammned if you don't.

If the American public is willing to believe the republicans' lies, well, I give up. I know there are many people out there that don't swallow this shit, not even for a minute. And many people are indifferent (I don't see how they can be, but they are).

But if there are enough people in the United States of America that vote for McCain-Palin whether on faith or because of corporate interests or just out of habit, I think the U.S. will have reached a tipping point, and things can only go downhill from there. To get back up, will take a dozen years and enormoous effort.

There are just so many things that are almost unbelievable, like people praying for McCain to die so the righteous Palin can take his place.

Sounds kooky? Chez Pazienza posted this on his blog today ==> Theocrats to Pray for McCain's Death

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cuidando el Voto

==>Voter Registration by Students Raises Cloud of Consequences - NYTimes. com

The practice of students registering to vote at their college address has set off a fracas in Virginia, after a local registrar incorrectly suggested dire consequences for students who register at college.

Huh. This could very well be a crucial issue down the line, since Obama has the college students' vote (as far as we know).

The Democrats aren't crying foul, not yet. A spokesperson for the Obama camp in Virginia said it appears to be a good-faith effort to convey state guidelines, not a politically motivated effort to stop voting by students.

But I'm thinking that behind the scenes they're scrambling to fix this. Or the should be.

Friday, September 05, 2008

you know, thank god for jon stewart. I love me some john stewart.

I knew I wanted to watch the daily show today for his take on palin's speech. Yet I was dreading watching palin and her snark again. I usually love snark, but not on her. Not when they're soiling one of the few good things to come out of U.S. politics in recent times. Obama's not perfect and there will probably be a time when he disappoints as president, but he's just so un-republican, so un-stupid, he's just uplifting. Because he's articulate. Because he's smart, because he has risen above the mudslinging, for the most part.

Anyway, Stewart did not disappoint, as always. I laughed and cried along with him. Colbert, not so good today. Huckabee was on, and he surprised me with how not stupid he came off. I wasn't expecting that.

A Democratic win is not only necessary and possible, but also likely. The info and informal polls I've been able to get to show people in states like Indiana, Michigan and Arizona voting Democrat. Middle aged women are not impressed with Palin, thank God. Men, ehhh, they think she's hot. But so far she's impressed some (ok, a lot) of the Republicans, who were voting McCain anyway. Oh, and traitorous little Rusty.

****I've been reading Chez Pazienza's blog often again . Absolutely brill. I missed a post in the evening and ended up commenting on a newer one, kind of saying the same thing he said on the previous post, only not as sharp or creative. Anyway, read it.*****

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Not so long ago, everyone was going on about how the U.S. was (is) on the wrong track, and the rest of the world no longer looks up to them, and how they've been surpassed by Europe and China. Tourists are viewed as Ugly Americans. Fareed Zakaria published The Post-American world and said it was a good thing, other people clutched at their heads and bemoaned the state of the union, etc.

I think a big part of that has to do with the way Republicans subverted Americana. Middle America used to mean simple, hardworking folks. You know, the whole Norman Rockwell thing, small towns, etc. They didn't resent city slickers. They didn't begrudge them their "success". The past eight or twelve years, Karl Rove and his friends have poisoned many American's ideas about themselves.

Imagine, if you will, an old black and white movie. A 1930's type atmosphere, a little girl with a dirty and tear streaked face shrieking, "I may not have much, like y'all rich and fancy folks! I didn't go to fancy schools and I don't eat arugula, but I sure do know what decent is! And you ain't decent! You're bastards, the whole lot of you!"That's how I picture it, somehow.

It may not be true, but perception is reality. If you constantly tell people that they live in fly over states, that the other side thinks they're morons, they start to believe it. And the Democrats certainly haven't helped.

Mr. Bristol Palin's Baby's Daddy said he's a "fucking redneck". Provincial and proud of it. But it didn't use to mean bitter.

It's not just Rove and Rush Limbaugh who did this, mind you. It has to do with the fact that the so-called American Dream is not so easy to acheive these days. Many people are disillusioned that hard work by itself won't get you many places.

I've written before about this phenomenom in Mexico. The lower, middle and higher classes resent each other and it manifested itself in the 2006 elections with pro-AMLos and anti-AMLOs. Because in Mexico, even more than in the U.S., it's not what you know, it's who you know. It's extremely hard to jump the gap from poor to middle class. Lots of people emigrate (legally or illegaly) to the States or elsewhere, and 'strike it rich' through hard work and persistence. They don't lack the smarts or the ambition. But bureaucracy, cronyism and a lack of community spirit are mighty barriers down here, sometimes insurmountable.

I think this is happening in the States. It may be happenind in other places too, I don't know. Yes, I know entrepreneurship is alive and healthy, and there are more millionaires than ever. But the gap between haves and the have nots is growing, and it's harder to overcome it, below a certain level.

My marketer friends and I are fond of saying that you can badmouth the upper classes in a Mexican political election and win, but it doesn't work that well North of the Rio Bravo, since Americans all believe they can strike it rich someday. But maybe that is no longer true, at least in some circles.

I mean, what the fuck happened that "elite" is now a dirty word? Cosmopolitan is an insult? Obama is a fancy city boy who doesn't understand hard work? His mother sometimes went on food stamps! He was raised by his grandmother! The Obama's has massive student loans! Why can't people enjoy their success if they worked hard for it?

Palin's speech is the Republican party up to it's old antics, praising small mindedness. Proud of their ignorance. If this kind of thinking wins, frankly, the rest of us just might give up the U.S.

Palin Power

Fuck. Be afraid.
Palin gave a very good speech last night, and it's time we stopped underestimating her.

Sure, it was mocking, condescending and misleading. I didn't hear what she plans to do about health care, the economy or the environment. It was totally fucking shameless. But it's right back to the culture wars with this, and this kind of bullshit can have broad appeal in swing states and with rural and blue collar voters.

Let's take a step back and think. It's unlikely the christian right will vote for the Democrats, so they need to focus on some 15 keys states. They need to keep those from McCain-Palin.

I think they won't be fooled, but the next two months are going to be tough. Palin will go after Obama's strengths and potray them as morally undesirable. They will play this as a narrative, and everyone loves a story. Here's an example:

“I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town,” Palin said.

“Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess, I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Jesus Christ, burn!!! Did Obama mock McCain that way, or her? Did Biden? No, but this is obviously Karl Rove's game now. 'Cause that speech sounds a lot like George W. Bush.

"I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these last few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone,” she said. “But … here’s a little news flash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion — I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”

That was Goober's platform.

I think it would be a mistake to cross off Palin as another untraveled, science doubting moron who thinks "Jesus Christ our Lord" has a personal interest in Republican political issues. She is that of course, but that doesn't mean she can't convince enough people to vote her.

Months ago there were some conspiracy theories afloat on the blogosphere that McCain was going to drop out during the GOP convention. Amid all the chaos and confusion a fresh face would emerge, someone public could identify with, someone they didn't know about and therefore would give the benefit of the doubt on their faults and pecadilloes. Eight weeks later, bam! the Democrats don't know what hit them.

Guess what? This is it.

Faux News rejoiced in Palins vitriol. Their headline today is ==> Newcomer Palin fights critics, mocks Obama.

Sarah Palin thrashed Barack Obama Wednesday as an empty suit whose campaign themes of “hope” and “change” are better fit to describe her Republican running mate, John McCain, a man she said has spent a career in service to his country.

Does this seem like absolute bullshit? Maybe to you or me, but some people eat this shit up with a spoon. And they love it.

I don't remember if it was tha National Review or the NRC website, but there was this comment about how brilliant he lipstick joke was.

“What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick,” said Palin, pointing to her mouth. Um, right.

Fighting the campaign on the Republican's turf, on their terms, is a losing battle. Let's not make this about culture wars and keep it about the issues. Let National Enquirer write report on The Baby Daddy and Jamie Lynn's gift to Bristol Palin.

I would love, love, love it if soeone cornered Palin about abortion rights and she would say she's not totally against it, since that would let down her christian right base. But that needs to be handled with the utmost care, lest it explodes in Biden's (or whoever would run that) face.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And the hits just keep on coming...

Levi Johnston to join Palin family at convention

Other blogs have also picked this up,
==> ,
== >@huffpo Levi Johnston's Mom on Bristol Palin pregnancy: This is just a bonus
==> @ althouse

yesyesyes this is exactly what Rove wants, for us to focus on the cultural aspect of it, to ignore the issues (apparently when Palin was mayor she left Wasilla $20 million dollars in debt). And that way Democrats will seem a whiny elitist bunch out of touch with reality etc etc etc. I will post on the issues in a while. It's just too much fun! As we say in spanish, "se ponen de pechito"

Update: Now I see what Rove is after.... He's going after the cougar vote! and the Jamie lynn Spears vote!

New York Magazine admits what the rest of us won't:
==> We're Sorry, but Palin Baby Daddy Levi is Sex on Skates

Ya'know, What Would Karl Rove Do is not fun anymore. It used to be a favorite game with Rusty and me. But now it's like a) no fuckin' way he planned this or b) what if he did, 'cause he's just smarter than us?

McC's vetting process

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Empire strikes back

The WSJ graciously allowed Nancy Pfotenhauer, national spokesperson for the McC campaign, to write up a glowing review of Palin, filled with little white lies that never hurt anybody. Possible even worse than their profile on Cindy McCain back in april (see my review here) this is just priceless. Below, the first few paragraphs. My comments are in light blue.

In Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain has found a fellow maverick to be his running mate -- one who can help bring the right kind of reform to Washington. Ms. Palin, like Mr. McCain, has a strong record of battling the status quo, restoring accountability and effectiveness to government, and working to secure energy independence, root out corruption and curb wasteful spending. (I'm not even touching this one since it's only the inital salvo, a summary, if you will, of the following crock.)

As the chief executive of the nation's largest state, (Largest in area, fifth smallest populationwise.) Ms. Palin oversees some of the country's largest energy reserves.(Alaska does have the some of the largest reserves in US but the largest is in North Dakota and part of Montana. So?) She came into office at a critical time in Alaska politics, facing a system plagued by corruption. Her response was to immediately begin cleaning it up. (the governor is currently under an ethics investigation by the Alaska state legislature ==> Palin Staff Pushed to have trooper fired) The results of her leadership today speak for themselves: Ms. Palin's approval ratings top 80% -- more than 60% higher than that of the Democratic Congress. (Correction, her approval ratings have fallen to 65%. Congress inherited its rating from the last 6 years)

Ms. Palin has a tangible, impressive record of achievement and executive experience. (¿? Palin's experience is couple of years as governor and six years as mayor of her hometown, with a population of 6, 500.) She is head of the Alaska National Guard (and tell us, Nancy, which crisis exactly did she use her chief executive skills?) and the chairman of two multistate agencies that make energy decisions that affect all Americans.
(Ted Anthony over at huffpo notes:

Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin “extremely responsive and smart” and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder.

But, in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, he said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.)

While Barack Obama spent almost all of the past two years running for president, Ms. Palin has been running a state. (Sorry to repeat this. A conservative, red states, fifth smallest in population. Plagued with corruption. Where it seemed she was different, but Troopergate and the flipflopping on the bridge suggest more of the same. )

It's telling that Sen. Obama chose to give a negative, partisan speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Whenever Obama dares criticize, he is painted as being negative. (Doesn't this strike you as racist? He's jiving, and they'll dismiss him are puerile or pollyana-like. But he points out the bad stuff, and suddenly he's the angry black man, and nooooo, we don't want that.) He envisions a Democratic monolith in Washington that will solve all of our problems.(Huh? If anything, he's the community organizer guy, the one who tells everyone to work towards a common goal instead of just expecting a handout. )

Look, it goes on and on, and the full text can be found here: Ignore the Chauvinists, Palin has real experience Although judging from the comments, a lot of which say pretty much what I'm commenting on, readers aren't impressed. WSJ readers. Huh.

Sarah Palin is not a bad parent...

because her teenage daughter is pregnant. Say what you will. Does that mean the thousands of teenagers with unplanned pregnancies have bad parents? You can be a great parent, but you are not with your child 24/7. Sometimes you just have to hope for the best. People make mistakes, you know.

That's not to say there aren't other reasons she may be accused of bad parenting. Using her children and their circumstances for political gain. Allowing, probably pushing her daughter to marry at 17. There are a host of reasons, although if Sarah Palin was a man we wouldn't be half as harsh, admittedly.

Accepting the VP nomination already knowing her daughter was pregnant is suspicious. She knew all the scrutiny her child would have to endure. I don't think she knew. If she did know, and it's all done in the name of electoral votes, ugh. Or because it's God's will and they are strong enough to stand it and teach everyone else a lesson and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, again, ugh.

It's all fishy, and my inner conspiracy theorist doesn't think the younger Palin is five months pregnant. And that nine hour flight just doesn't seem legit. Something's afoot.

Many unwed teenagers get pregnant every year. It's actually not the end of the world. Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans. Sure, I say this from a very comfortable perspective, a 25 year old Mexican middle class viewpoint where families pitch in not just with money but with their love and their time. And it didn't happen to me. But the things is, life, happiness and success come in many forms.

I once knew a woman who had married very young, and had children almost right away. She told me that almost no one will ever confess to regretting that kind of choice since it would mean you regret your kids, and our society places a high value on offspring and advancing the family name.

However, she said, she could tell me as a single person in her twenties, that given then chance she wouldn't do it again since she missed out on a lot of things. I thought, wow, here's someone who's brutally honest. But does did it make her any happier? Was this regret actually a refusal or inhability to adapt?

This post, as usual, started being about one thing and meandered over to a whole other territory. My apologies, dear reader.

I am pro choice, because I believe it is a woman's right to choose. While I deplore the act of abortion itself, I know it isn't a decision anyone comes to easily. I have not walked in their shoes. I did not raise them, nor am I raising their child. I would rather they had received sexual education, I would rather they would try to find other solutions. But I cannot deny them their right to choose. As they shouldn't deny me my choices.

One of my main arguments against people who want to keep abortion illegal is that they're not solving anything with denying women access to healthcare. The rich get their abortions in San Antonio or Houston, the middle class goes to clandestine (professional looking though, but no guarantees) clinics in the city, and the poor resort to herbs, dubious pills and coat hangers. A lot of anti choice people I know are all about not murdering an unborn child, but they're not very interested in discussing what happens once the kid is born.

But maybe we should restate the problem in order to find a solution. Somehow teenage pregnancy rates remain on the rise, if we trust statistics. I'm not so sure it's not just a case of selective attention, or the fact that we have better data now. In ancient history, about fifty years ago, young people were expected to keep it in their pants. Yet teenage pregnancy still happened. It was all hush hush then, so maybe social stigma did work to keep the rates down, but not completely.

If we worked on getting everyone on contraception, we could work on getting us to respect our bodies and ourselves and getting rid of our hang ups about sex, and other higher and nobler purposes. But it's kinda hard to do that when all this procreation and all the emotional upheaval in entails keeps distorting the issue.

Monday, September 01, 2008

either you do or you don't

"Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said."

From the Reuters article. Of course this wasn't even a question, once the news leaked at least. Nobody believes for even a second that there was no coercion or at least pressure.

But I find it annoying that the pro-lifers (anti-choice is more apt) are stressing the fact that she chose to keep it. Now back the fuck up. You are trying to take away women's right to choose. Why are you congratulating yourselves on choosing then?

I know that they are implying the choice between keeping it and giving it up for adoption. Puh-leeze. It was the younger Palin's choice. Right.

Pro-choice, is precisely that. It's not gung-ho abortion, it's advocating for a woman's right to choose. And part of that means keeping abortion safe and legal. In Mexico's case, making abortion legal for starters. Except in Mexico City, where it already is. (More on that later)

It's the same thing with governor Palin's fifth child, who has Down Syndrome. And she heroically choose to keep it. If she's so pro-life, it wasn't a choice gdamnit! She doesn't accept having a choice! Also, both republicans and democrats are using this as political fodder. Is she a saint for doing it, was it wrong, etc. And I don't see the McCain camp stopping them. As in, back off, this is my child.

The Palins' "ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates." But I haven't seen this about Trig Palin, only with this new development.

Cara Kulwicki, who writes at feministe and also has a blog, had an interesting post last week about this,

It’s almost as though they think that Palin became pregnant and gave birth to a child with Down Syndrome simply to please them. And the thing is that if they really believe their rhetoric, the answer was obvious, so obvious in fact that Palin didn’t really have a “choice” to make. Only now, because it’s convenient, they want to acknowledge that the decision of whether or not to abort after getting news that your child will be born with a disability is a difficult one, simply so that they can point and say “but look at her, she searched her soul and then did the right thing — so should all women!” They don’t want women to have a choice, but then want to praise this particular woman for the choice that she did make.

full text here ==>It's not a choice, it's a child - except when it's beneficial to say it's a choice

Once again, you're either in or out. Not both ways. If there shouldn't be choice, don't congratulate yourself for "choosing right". This willingness to use a very private matter and render it public and political is disgusting and I'm expecting the shit will hit the fan if they continue like this. I hope.

Shameless gossip

==>Sarah Palin hit by Internet rumors over fifth child

Already climbing up the ranks on digg. It seems Palin's fifth pregnancy was suspiciously announced in her seventh month and she hardly ever showed. They're saying it was really her daughter's kid.

True? False? Um, how do I know? Maybe she was keeping it quiet because of the Down Syndrome thing.

The Republican camp seems to be reacting today, by announcing that Palin's 17 year old daughter is pregnant and will marry "her baby's daddy". Reminds me of when Michael Douglas annouced he was a sex addict (and he was covering up something else supposedly, although I never found out what it was).

Poor kid. Now they (we) are going to set her up as an example of her mother's parenting skills, how she's unfit for VP, the American taxpayers' abstinence-only education tax dollars at work, the list goes on.

When I was reading the NY Times story, I found it very odd that Palin boarded a nine hour flight to Alaska when she already had contractions. She already knew her child had Down's Syndrome, and she was going into labor a month early. And she's 44. Miscarriage city? Is that what was really going on?

I've had a post drafted all weekend about the whole nomination, but have been arguing all weekend with Rusty and Ben and everyone about the effect. Rusty thinks Rove is a genius and this will only benefit McCain. They're bidding for the forgotten Hillary supporters, etc.

I think this is only brilliant n the surface and not even the U.S. voters would fall for such obvious pandering. Hillary's holdouts, impressed with a staunch prolifer? Who sued the federal government for placing the polar bear on the endangered species list?

Let's say Clintonites are a stupid bunch and they will go for Palin because she's a woman. That they're rabid manhaters and totally bitter. Ok, let's suspend disbelief for a moment and go ahead and buy this. So they'll vote for a happily married 44 year old with five children? Who is VP under McCain? Naaahh. I don't think so.

Look, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Either the Christian right embraces this move or the Clinton fans. Not both. Possibly neither one.

Right now, conservative christian right folks are relieved about this pick, if the MSM is to be believed. Yet the loony right blogs are eating up this story about Palin having faked her pregnancy.

This is very muddled right now, but I stand by my original reaction. The VP pick was only brilliant on the surface. Even without this prurient gossip, it opens up McCain for a host of criticism. It makes him seem too old. Yes, everyone else says he's too old, but this pick means he agrees with them. Biden complements Obama. But he doesn't fill in gaps in a way that spotlights Obama's failings.

Oh, and wtf with Cindy McCain saying that Palin has foreign policy experience because Alaska is close to Russia? Someone shut her up. And the republicans criticized Clinton when she flashed her ex-First Lady credentials and tried to pass it off as experience!

According to an AP article, Mrs. McCain asked Palin how she was feeling about her son being deployed to Iraq, etc.

“And she looked me square in the eye and she said, ’You know something? I’m a mother. I can do it.’ ”

Ugh. Someone get me a barf bucket.