If this was a Republican candidate doing this, or encouraging or supporting this sort of thing, the leftists would be up in arms, as would the mass media.  They’d all be screaming “fascism” and “censorship,” and “violations of first amendment right.”  Can you imagine the outcry?

But this isn’t a Republican doing this.  It’s Barack Obama’s campaign, and his well placed supporters.  Essentially, this boils down to threatening anyone who criticizes Obama in a TV, Radio, or print ad with criminal charges.  Can you say voter intimidation?  Can you say violation of free speach?  Ahhh, but according to those behind this assault, it’s all about “truth.” 

That’s the linguistic game being played.  It’s a double standard, all in how you spin it.  If a Republican does something like this, it’s all about “censorship” and “fascism.”  When a democrat does it, it’s about “promoting truth,” and “honesty.”  Bah.   It’s the same action, just spun differently.

And people honestly think that Obama is some sort of “new and fresh poltician.”  Nope, he’s an old school Chicago politician, in the best Richard Daly traditions.  Heck, his campaign staff are probably rumaging through cemetaries for additional voters.


Scoring the Debate

Well, it was an interesting debate on Friday. 

I must admit that I didn’t watch all of it.  I kept switching back and forth with the Red Sox game.  Probably should have stuck with just the debate.

Even so, I watched the majority of it.  It was intriguing to watch.  Two very different styles and tacts at play on a national stage.  On the whole, I call it a draw.  Neither candidate landed a “knock out blow,” or really grabbed the lead.  In part this may have been due to the moderator.

Let me take a moment to praise Jim Lehrer.  He is perhaps the last true jouranlist in mass media.  He played no favorites, and did his utmost best to keep the candidates on topic, and on time.  He even went so far as to “forcefully” cut off the candidates when they started into lengthy off topic expositions.  This was a very refreshing change from previous debates where various moderators would favor one candidate, or just allow them to ramble on and on. 

The back and forth between McCain and Obama was for the most part solid.  There were a few instances where Obama became petulant, and McCain got testy, but those were exceptions.  Even so, nothing new was forthcoming out of this debate.  In general it was the same old rhetoric, though McCain did float the concept of a spending freeze on the Federal Budget.  There was nothing new from Obama.

Stylistically, neither candidate got on a roll.  Obama was hurt by the time limits, and Lehrer’s strict adherence to them.  So he never got a rhythm going.  What works for rallies and stump speaches doesn’t work in a debate format.  In addition, Obama never got his thoughts together fast enough to really make a point.  Too many hems and haws and pregnant pauses.  So while he looked good on stage, he never quite got to conveying his positions.

McCain suffered from being unable to keep consistent in his style.  He avered between speaking to the audience (and the TV audience at large), and schooling Obama.  Responding to one question he would speak to America, laying out his positions, and in the next he would be scolding Obama like a teacher to an inattentive student. 

This debate as not going to sway anyone one way or another.  People will take away what they want to from this.  Obama followers will cro about how wonderful Obama looked and how he was smooth on stage.  McCain supporters will state that Obama showed his naivetee and inexperience, and just threw out buzz words with no substance.  Independents and undecideds will still be so.

Palin for VP

It’s been official for several hours now.  Sarah Palin (Governor Alaska) has been tapped to be John McCain’s VP candidate.  I like the choice.  She’s got the right credentials, is young and energetic.  She was in my top 5 possibilities for the slot, and I see few downsides to her being on the ticket. 


Here’s the email release from the McCain campaign:

My Friends, I am honored to announce that I have chosen Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as my choice for the Republican nominee for Vice President. As a father with three daughters, I can’t express how proud I am to choose the first female Republican Vice-Presidential nominee.

Sarah Palin is a trailblazer and a reformer. As the first female governor of Alaska, she challenged a corrupt system and has been a tireless advocate for reform – passing a landmark bill on ethics reform. She has taken on the old politics in Alaska and reformed the state’s energy industry. She rejects wasteful pork barrel spending. She’s fearless – exactly the type of leader I want at my side and the type of leadership we will bring to Washington.

My friends, together Sarah Palin and I make the strongest presidential ticket and I know that she joins me in asking for your support as we head into our Convention week in Minnesota. We’re shaking things up in this campaign – and Governor Palin and I are ready to bring real reform to Washington.

The polls indicate this will be a tight race as we head into the fall campaign against Senators Obama and Biden. I expect the polls to remain close all the way up to Election Day and that is why any help you can give today will go a long way to make history on November 4th.

You may already know that I have decided to accept federal matching funds for the final months of this campaign- keeping a campaign promise I made. But that means that August 31st marks the last day I can accept your primary contribution. Will you make an immediate donation of whatever you can give- whether it’s $50 or $500 to ensure Governor Palin and I win in November?

You can be assured that as President and Vice President, Governor Palin and I will always put country before all else. We are ready to lead and I ask that you join our campaign today. Your support is deeply appreciated.


John McCain

P.S. I have chosen Governor Sarah Palin as my running mate and today we will hold a joint campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio. Please tune in to any of the cable news stations to watch this rally at noon eastern time. After watching the rally, I hope you’ll visit my website to financially support our ticket as we head into next week’s Republican Convention. Thank you.


Putin’s Paranoia

So, you think foreign personages and governments aren’t trying to infuence the US Presidential election?

Just look at the latest exposition from Soviet Russian leader Vladimir Putin.  According to Putin, the US orchestrated the conflict in Georgia.  To what end?  Why to give a Presidential candidate a “talking point” of course.  It was all done to take a slap at the Russians, and to give McCain a boost.  Uh-huh.  I think Vlad needs to stop reading every day.

This is patently ridiculous.  Only the Russians stood to gain anything from the conflict over South Ossetia.  The impact on the US election will be minimal, if any at all.  But the Russians stood to regain dominance in the region.  They stood to gain effective control over Georgia by splitting it in two, controlling the main road and rail ways across the country.  The Russians stood to gain effective control over the oil pipe lines running through Georgia. 

No, this has little, if anything to do with US politics.  This is all about classic Russian ambitions.  The dreams of empire, which did not die with the USSR, are still alive and well.  And with an ex-KGB thug like Putin in charge, the Russian’s have been rather active in re-establishing their control and dominance over the former Republics.  Georgia is not alone, just that they’ve been the ones to get the Poland-Czechoslovakia treatment so far.

The Russians have been pushing hard on many of the former Soviet Republics.  The Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania have all received heavy political and economic pressure from Moscow.  The Ukraine and Belarus have received more “active” pressures.  The Central Asian republics (Tajikistan, Khazhakistan, etc) have all been pressured by Moscow.  Their independence, their soveriegnty is irrelevant ot Moscow.  as far as the Kremlin nudniks are concerned, they’re all Russian possessions, they just don’t know it yet.

This policy is nothing new.  It’s old.  It goes all the way back to the time before there was a Russia, just warring Duchies and smaller kingdoms.  It begins with the ambitions of Novgorod and the Duchy of Moscow, and who would be the inheritors of the Byzantine Empire (setting aside Greece and Trabizond).  From then on, it has been about Empire, and expanding the empire.  Even under the defunct USSR, this was the policy, though expansion was often referred to as “buffer zones.” 

And this doesn’t even bring up the hypocrisy of Moscow as regards South Ossetia.  Compare what happened in South Ossetia with what happened in Chechnya.  Same thing, only the sides were drawn differently.  What Chechnya did was “illegal,” and “needed to be repressed.”  But the South Ossetians were “justified,” and “needed to be protected.”  So, aspirations of Chechnyians was not OK, but the aspirations of South Ossetians is OK.  The difference?  The Russians stood to gain from South Ossetia, and lose in Chechnya.

It should be noted that the EU, and its composite nations, have had a more active response to the Georgian crisis than has the USA.  They have taken a rather active stance in opposition to the Russian moves.  Well, except for the “old left” on the continent.  But this is only natural, as the EU borders Russia, and has some many deals in teh works with the Russsians.  In addition, the former Warsaw Pact nations, notably Poland, Hungary, and Romania, are all looking at the Russians anew in old ways.

And now the UN Security Council is meeting on the Georgian situation.  Not that anything will come out of that.  The Russians do have a veto there.  But it is an indication of what sort of hit the Russians will be taking for this.  It won’t just be the UN, or bad press.

The invasion of Georgia threatens a good deal for the Russians.  The natural gas/petroleum deal with Germany is up in the air.  Poland, which had been backing off the US missile defense plan, now has signed on.  The Baltics are ramping up their push to join NATO.  Georgia was on the verge of membership in NATO, which has also upset the EU.  The relations between Moscow and the former Soviet republics has taken a turn towards the tense.  They’re worried they may be next.  Former Eastern Bloc nations are looking to the EU and the USA to help fend off Russian expansionism.

Almost single handedly, Putin has pushed relations between Moscow and the world back 20 years, to the era before Glasnost and Perestroika.  Then again, you may be able to take the boy out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of the boy.

Obama to choose VP soon

If you haven’t heard this by now, you need to come out from that cave up in the mountains.  The current news cycle is so slow, that everyone is talking about this every 15 minutes on TV and Radio.  Then there are all the articles in print and on the web, and all the blather on talk radio.  When the biggest aspect is not who he’ll chose (that only gets mentioned twoce an hour), but that he’ll be making the first announcement via text message, it shows exactly how slow the news cycle is, and how desperate some outlets are to pump out any “positive” Obama story.

But enough of that.  Here are my top suspects for the #2 slot:

1. Joe Biden (D-DEL).  A veteran Senator, well rounded in the foreign policy arena.  He’ll bring much needed foreign policy experience to the ticket, and give voters a bit of reassurance about Obama’s general lack of experience.  He’s a good debator, and always comes prepared.  Downside is he’s from Delaware, and is not a dynamic campaigner.

2. Evan Bayh (D-IND).  Bayh could help deliver an usually “safe” Republican state.  He’s also young and energetic, which would emphasize the “change” meme.  Main problem here is the lack of a consistent policy between Obama and Bayh.  Bayh supports restrictions on abortion, and supported the War in Iraq. 

3. Wesley Clark (former General). Wes would bring a wealth of foreign policy experience, and an undeniably olid background in military affairs.  He has the name recognition, and “face time” from his stint as an analysist on CNN.  Darwbacks are that Clark has been terribly inconsistent in his views, doesn’t campaign all that well, and doesn’t draw much from centrist Democrats or Indpendents.

4. Tim Kaine (D-VA).  Kaine is similar to Bayh in that he’s “young,” is a Democrat in a typically Republican State, and has executive experience as governor.  problem here is he has no foreign policy experience, and has only been governor for 3 years.

5. Bill Richardson (D-NM).  Bill has a lot going for him.  A former governor, and cabinet secretary, plus has the military background.  Richardson would appeal to centrist Democrats, Independents, and even some Republicans.  Problem here is two fold.  First, he was running against Obama for the Presidential bid, and was a close Clintonista at one time.  Second is policy differences, notably on gun control (Richardson has supported 2nd amendment rights).  The “issue” of having a Black-Latino ticket is not the issue it’s being made out to be.

5A. Sam Nunn (D-GA).  Somehow I forgot that Sam Nunn was in consideration.  Correcting that error now.  Sam is a intersting choice.  He has the chops on foreign policy and defense, and has been out of Washington for a while now.  He’s also a Southerner, which will help Obama in Dixieland.  drawback is that he’s a boring speaker, and doesn’t translate well into the energetic cmpaigner and debator the VP usually needs.

6. Bill Nelson (D-FLA). Another Bayh type, a Democrat in a Republican state.  But his low key style may not translate onto the national stage.  Though he has experience on various Senate committees, it probably won’t be the reassurance about experience voters are looking for.

7. Kathleen Sebilius (D-KA).  an interesting option.  She has good executive eperience, and she’s popular in Kansas.  She’s crossed party lines before, so could help the “not politics as usual” refrain.  Biggets problme would be it would be a direct slap at Hillary Clinton and her supporters. 

8. Chet Edwards (D-TX).  Nancy Pelosi’s “dark horse.”  A 20 year House veteran is not going to help push the “change” meme.  Conflicting policy differences, such as drilling in the ANWAR, and on foreign policy and defense matters don’t help.  He’d be a symbolic choice only, as his district includes Crawford, Texas, where the Bush ranch is.

9. Hillary Clinton (D-NY).  She still has a shot, but it’s a long one.  Hillary is a good/bad choice.  She’s good in that it brings her, her organization, and supporters over en mass, with very few defections.  The bad is that she’s such a divisive figure on the national stage, and would energize the opposition beyond what anyone else could. 

10. Jack Reed (D-RI).  Has the policy balancing aspects Obama needs in foreign policy and defense.  But he’s from Rhode Island, is little known outside of New England, and doesn’t gnerally campaign well.

It’s not worth mentioning Chuck Hagel (R-OK).  While the possibility makes the talkingheads wag and weave and bob nonstop, it’s just such an extreme long shot as to be all but impossible.  It’s like when McCain’s name was floated as John Kerry’s VP candidate in 2004.  Hagel will not jump ship from the GOP to run with Obama.

Can you tell it’s an election year?

Well, the politial hoopla never seems to end, does it?

On the national scene, we have the NYT showing again how biased it really is, rejecting a counter point Op-Ed by John McCain to one published by the Times from Barack Obama.  It’s not the rejection itself that’s a problem, we should expect this sort of nonsense, but the rationale as to why it was rejected.  “It (McCain’s piece) should ‘mirror’ Barack Obama’s.”  Eh?  “Mirror Barack Obama’s?”  Essentially, what the Times was asking of McCain, was to effectively parrot Obama’s Iraq position, and the position they endorse.  Ideological hegemony, NYT style.

Then there’s Obama’s “Triumph of the Will” speach in Germany.  Does no one else see the similarities between Obama’s speaches and Hitler’s Nuremburg rallies?  No, I’m not comparing Obama to Adolf, that’s just absurd.  But it that sort of personal charisma, and people swooning because he sounds good that should worry people.  There’s sound and fury, but no subatance people.  It scares me to see how eailly swayed and at time guillible the American people are.

In the State of NY, some things just aren’t going away.  Remember Trooper-Gate?  Well, four Spitzer appointees are under charge from the Public Integrity Commission.  Two have already cut deals, while former Pressman Darren Dopp, and former State Police Suprintendent Felton Spencer are fighting the charges (sort of).  It may be a matter of time before criminal charges are filed against Dopp, and possibly others in their role in the use of State Police for political puroses, then leaking confidential information to the press.  Of course, the shiftless Times-Union will not even face a whiff of charges over thier role in this.  Typical.

These charges come on the heels of Joe Bruno’s retirement from the NYS Senate to take a private sector job.  Joe walked away first from re-election, then from the Senate entirely.  The fact was he was burned out from the politics, and the personal vendettas and vitriol thrown at him, compounded by the death of his wife.  But even once he had sailed off inot the sunset, he still can’t escape the Spitzer dirty tricks scandal. 

On an even more local level, Mike Conners (Albany Co. Comptroller), released a scathing report on the financial practices of the Albany County DA’s office.  The focus revolved around the petty cash fund of the DA’s office, and the lax practices involving it.  Naturally David Soares (Albany County DA) was upset at some of the accustaions.  But Soares is already in trouble, from his lack of attention to local criminal investigations, preferring the national spotlight, and his bungling of the Spitzer Trooper-gate scandal.  If an even mediocre challenger to his post arose, he’d be bounced from office.

The Beer Veto

Honestly, if this is the best the other side can crow about, it’s going to be a very long campaign for them.  I have not jumped on Obama for every misstatement, as that happens to everyone everywhere at some point.  I only jumped on him, when he tried to “correct” himself, and again bumbled it (re Auschwitz), and kept changing the story as more and more came out. 

Even so, if such a veto meant the end of Genesee Cream Ale, anything from Miller, all “Lite” Beers, Hamms, Olympia, and Milwaukee’s Best, I might be able to get behind that.