Saturday, May 24, 2008

Don't Play With History Without The Bomb Squad

So.

On Thursday, Sen Clinton's campaign was spreading a false-leak driven story to put Clinton in the number two spot. How Obama felt about it was unimportant. The exit was nigh, but the Senator from New York wanted to stay in somehow, someway.

Friday, Clinton keeps up the pressure and uses historical comparison to rationalize her continued campaign, citing Bill Clinton's run in 1992 and then the horrific campaign in '68. That summer when it all went to hell and back.

1968 is a big deal to Americans Of A Certain Age. For damn good reason. Playing with it's memory is like blithely cutting the green wire because that's what they do in all the movies.

It's clear that the Senator intended to mean that the convention is 3 months away, and a lot could happen in 3 months in politics. In three months something could happen to make Sen. Clinton a better or the only candidate.

Hell, the man could get shot or something.

Oops.

In January, I and a few others watched Obama's victory speech in Des Moines after the Caucuses with trepidation. We knew history was being made, irregardless of Obama's victory in November. Such things attract the worst in some people. Some people want to vote with their guns. In the middle of that convention hall, with what appeared to be little security, the man looked like he was 40 feet tall and vulnerable as hell even while that crowd made him the strongest man on earth.

We all court danger with this man making these comparisons to a Kennedy or even to King or Malcolm. For one thing, reality rarely lives up to our dreamy expectations.

But our dreams also contain our nightmares. And only the most craven of us seeks to profit from a nightmare.

Boom.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

All Of This Has Happened Before. All Of It Will Happen Again.

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72, pg 260-1:

But first, a few realities: (1) George McGovern is so close to a first-ballot nomination in Miami that everybody except Hubert Humphrey, Gene McCarthy, Shirley Chisholm, and Ed Muskie seems ready to accept it as a foregone conclusion . . . (2) The national Democratic Party is no longer controlled by the Old Guard, Boss-style hacks like George Meany and Mayor Daley —or even by the Old Guard liberal-manque types like Larry O'Brien, who thought they had things firmly under control as recently as six months ago ... (3) McGovern has made it pain­fully clear that he wants more than just the nomination; he has every intention of tearing the
Democratic Party completely apart and re-building it according to his own blueprint ... (4) If McGovern beats Nixon in November he will be in a position to do anything he wants either to or with the party structure . . . (5) But if McGovern loses in November, control of the Demo­cratic Party will instantly revert to the Ole Boys, and McGovern himself will be labeled "another Goldwater" and stripped of any power in the party.

The pattern is already there, from 1964, when the Nixon/ Mitchell brain-trust—already laying plans for 1968—sat back and let the GOP machinery fall into the hands of the Birchers and the right-wing crazies for a few months . . . and when Gold-water got stomped, the Nixon/Mitchell crowd moved in and took over the party with no argument from anybody . . . and four years later Nixon moved into the White House.

There have already been a few rumblings and muted threats along these lines from the Daley/Meany faction. Daley has privately threatened to dump Illinois to Nixon in November if McGovern persists in challenging Daley's eighty-five-man slave delegation to the convention in Miami . . . and Meany is prone to muttering out loud from time to time that maybe Organized Labor would be better off in the long run by enduring another four yea under Nixon, rather than running the risk of whatever radical madness he fears McGovern might bring down on him.

The only other person who has said anything about taking a dive for Nixon in November is Hubert Humphrey, who has al­ready threatened in public—at the party's Credentials Committee hearings in Washington last week—to let his friend Joe Aliolo, the Mayor of San Francisco, throw the whole state of California to Nixon unless the party gives Hubert 151 California delegates— on the basis of his losing show of strength in that state's winner-take-all primary.

Hubert understood all along that California was all or nothing. He continually referred to it as "The Big One," and "The Super Bowl of the Primaries" ... but he changed his mind when he lost. One of the finest flashes of TV journalism in many months appeared on the CBS evening news the same day Humphrey formally filed his claim to almost half the California delegation. It was a Walter Cronkite interview with Hubert in California, a week or so prior to election day. Cronkite asked him if he had any ob­jections to the winner-take-all aspect of the California primary, and Humphrey replied that he thought it was absolutely wonderful.

"So even if you lose out here—if you lose all 271 delegates— you wouldn't challenge the winner-take-all rule?" Cronkite asked.
"Oh, my goodness, no," Hubert said. "That would make me sort of a spoilsport, wouldn't it?"

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Want

• Guaranteed access to affordable healthcare
• A fair tax code
• Clean air, clean water, a healthy planet and a reversal of global warming
• Clean renewable energy sources
• Healthy parks and open spaces
• A dependable and reliable infrastructure
• Guaranteed, free, high quality education – through college
• An economy that works for the workers
• Enforceable equality for all people
• A foreign policy that is based on peace
• An open and transparent government
• A VA that takes care of our veterans
• A government free of moneyed interests
• Confidence that my family will be cared for upon my death
• Confidence that my family will be cared for upon my husbands death
• An ability to pay our bills on time
• The ability to take a vacation every now and again
• All of our Bill of Rights fully restored
• A complete return to The Rule of Law in the United States of America
• Government agencies run by qualified employees not partisan hacks
• A return to actual science
• A government that stays out of my bedroom and my uterus [if I still had one; so let’s say – all bedrooms and all uteruses.]
• A government that stays out of end of life decisions
• A unified Democratic Party that ends the era of the neoconservative

My list is larger and greater but I am sure that the gist of my wants is understood.

The only way that we stand a chance of any of this occurring is if we stop this arguing bullshit and remember that we are fighting for the Country and our principles and the candidate is not as important as getting the republicans out of office.

I am afraid. I am afraid of our Party being split beyond repair and I am afraid that the myths being perpetuated by the media and half of our Party are designed to keep us split. If the myths are designed to perpetuate the split, then WTF is the real motive? It does not seem to me that the real motive is to achieve any of the items on my list.

It is going to take a really long time to fix the disaster that we are being left with. Things will not change immediately. A lot of people will be disappointed when the election occurs and the Dems win and we miraculously do not have Universal Healthcare the next day and the entire troops home by the next week.

Months will go by before anyone is sworn in. Months will go by before a new administration is established. And months or years will go by before legislation is passed and implemented. Things will not change right away and we are running out of time. We absolutely must win this election…we do not have any more time to wait.

This bickering has to end. Now. We have to come together and stop wasting our money and time on the primary fight and beat the crap out of the Republican Party. We must win every single election possible from President to Dog Catcher.

I sure hope that people wake up before it is too late and my list of wants changes to 1. A little food 2. A place to sleep.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Inflammable

I think I figured out another aspect of what bothers me about the current primary battle. In real life, I'm not a terribly confrontational person . . I am either blessed with seeing my confronter's viewpoint at least in part, or cursed by the same. I usually react coolly to screaming and anger.

Unfortunately, I am blessed with an ex- with a personality disorder and child custody issues. In DSM-IV terms, applied as a layman, she exhibits narcissism with sociopathic tendencies. Which makes confrontations with her, both peaceful and turbulent, like walking footsteps in the Word of God.

When the ex- is not misbehaving, she can actually deal honestly. But since its the ex- . . . the other people in my life have a great deal of difficulty in taking her statements without doubt and mistrust. Sometimes I feel like I lack the switch that in human nature dictates the Other Must Always Be Wrong. I can loath Pat Buchanan most of the time, but when his clock is between 12:25-12:30, sometimes he has it right.

I get these same feelings watching the fracticide between the two Democratic camps.

At some point, after the Left Coaster decided to back Clinton, Turkana and Eriposte changed the rules of discussion on the candidates to the rules of rhetoric wherein almost anything goes and you rarely admit defeat. And anyone in a contentious custody issue certainly knows this environment. 2 minutes late turns into, "Can't place himself behind his children's needs". Forgetting to pack clothing for the weekend turns into, "Can't bother herself with the necessity of preparing the child."

The TLC authors and the Pissy Dems for Clinton Club want abject apology and obsequity from Obama's team. They demand inclusion. They demand consessions. They demand weeks and months of deferment in repayment for the other's errors. And isn't it just too bad if those demands would turn Obama's slow win-in-progress into Clinton's come-from-behind nomination? That just proves he couldn't win in November.

Turkana's post tonight, on the Kentucky primary, is one more piece of evidence, that some camps have not only Eriposte's Clinton Derangement Syndrome, but that ODS - Obama Derangement Syndrome - is just as rife and ugly. Both sides can't seem to judge opposing candidate or their campaigns fairly. And both sides seem to have problems with this whole Reality Based thing. You member the whole 'Realty Based Community' thing, right?

Richard Cohen is probably right - this is no longer about 2008, it's about 2012 or 2016. This is about going down as a last-woman-to-the-draw fighter. So when you think of Sen. Hillary Clinton in the future, you think of a never-say-die politician, not the ambitious spouse of Bill Clinton. I question this image narrative considering how much the press has slimed her image in the past, but . . I'm not on the campaign.

The latest insider knife fight has the Clinton team finally playing ball. After months of speculation agreeing that an Obama-Clinton ticket would be a Democratic dream team, high Clinton staffers are agreeing to maybe accepting the VP position. If it was offered. And then tons of Obama political supporters downplaying it. That's politics, as normal.

So's the rest of this malarky. Bloggers, partisans - heal thyselves of thy Derangement. It's about time someone reminded you its a fucking act and that it's high damn time for you to drop it or to decide to crucify John Bush McCain instead. If I want to listen to screaming distortions, I'll call my ex-, and demand that she owes me the tax rebate she got for our son.

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Back to Nature

Take a long, deep breath. Relax. It's all good.
video

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Holeeeee . . .




I've been to national peace marches with fewer people.

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Another Visit to the V.A. Hospital

I definitely feel a need to help disabled Veterans... I started yesterday.

At the beginning of February I wrote about my visit to the V.A. clinic.

The Waiting Room

Today, I was attending my regular, every 3 month psychiatric appointment. In the waiting room at the Veteran's Administration Clinic was a young man, age 25 - 30. He had an ashen, pale look on his face and was sitting with both his parents. I couldn't help but make eye contact with this young, troubled Veteran. Somehow, his soul seemed fragile, fractured if you will, by the horrors he'd seen. He glanced at me, I looked at him... I could see fear, mistrust, doubt, apprehension, and the dread in his eyes. He looked away and down, as if mortified. Tears were welling up in his eyes. By this time, I was starting to get a big lump in my throat. Remembering the confusion I first felt when I was going through the "VA mental healthcare system". Finally, he glanced back up... I nodded to him... gave him a clenched fist... a subtle, positive sign, as if to say... please, stay strong, hang in there... your not alone. By this time I had tears welling in my eyes. He leaned back and looked up toward the ceiling wiping a tear away.

Introspectively, I was yearning to reach out to him. I wanted to tell him he's in the right place... doing the right thing... well on his way to some sort of recovery. I wish I could have communicated that seeking help is the first, huge, step in getting better. Let him know that his mind will never be 100% or be the person he once was, but it's his heart that matters. Explain to him, he's lucky he has two wonderful parents who love and care for him... something I never appreciated.

My wish was to give him a big bear hug. God, the stories I could tell this young man of my personal battles with the VA. Of course, he certainly didn't need some 50 year old disabled Veteran confessing his plight of chronic back and shoulder pain. In addition to his own light case of PTSD. Actually, I was thinking more of providing my experience to help guide him through the red tape of the VA. And be there for him if he ever needed someone to talk to.
Unfortunately, I was summoned suddenly for my appointment... I bounced up with intensity and a slight smile on my face for being called.

When I left my appointment... driving home... I started to reflect on my start with the "VA mental health system"... my anger grew. I had shed tears exactly like this young man. I remembered the shame I felt... of feeling ashamed. Why the fuck should I be embarrassed about anything... I didn't ask for these emotions! The Army tried its best to desensitized my feelings, dehumanize me. A pure and simple mind fuck. The Army wanted me to feel disgraced... let me carry around the stigma of not being able to handle the sights and sounds of war. I found out, most people can't. I'm not their little automaton, emotionally or physically. I'm on the road to recovering my passion for life... my life. No doubt, it's still a struggle. But I will cherish it with all the gusto I can muster. That's a good thing.

Damn, can I go back and talk to this young, mentally ill Veteran and tell him everything? Perhaps... he saw it in my eyes.

Yesterday, I went back for another appointment. Later in the day, I went to the downtown Carl T. Hayden V.A. Hospital for more follow up appointments. At both the clinic and the hospital it was crowded... like I've never seen it before. And I've been going to the V.A. for over 16 years.

Things were different, the best I can explain it was an overwhelming sense of urgency among the elderly disabled Veterans. Were they feeling like there might not be space available in the future? I know there will be a huge influx of new disabled Veterans coming in but I have never personally considered that I might not get seen. Are their fears warranted?

I had a 2 hour wait for X-rays yesterday. A young female Veteran got up and left, she had her 2 kids in tow. An elderly man limped out, cursing under his breath, not wanting to wait.

A wild eyed woman, came in all upset, ranting how they had lost her medical records and that they had no trace of her being seen at this hospital. She was looking around as if anyone could empathize with her, while continuing to berate the V.A. staff. I intruded and asked her to sit down... I asked if she didn't mind, could she please explain to me what happened. She was more than willing to vent.

She proceeded to explain that she was a former Marine officer, and went into detail about the lack of follow up care, frustration and insult she's been going through after her knee surgeries. Her displeasure with the V.A. was evident after 15 minutes... at the conclusion, I told her how I think things could go better next time. She listened intently... I told her to first go to record keeping, ask if they have her medical records. If they do, sign for a release of those medical records and immediately make copies, in triplicate. I mentioned they had done the same to me at the Denver V.A. Hospital but that I was always able to produce copies. In fact I told her they had lost my medical records 3 times, (or at least the office staff said they had).

I then told her if she wasn't satisfied to see the Patient Advocate. I mentioned they are designed to take complaints from disabled Veterans.

She took my words to heart and headed to the records office. She reappeared about 20 minutes later saying they had found everything and that she was getting copies right then. She was really grateful and had a huge smile on her face. When she left, the hospital staff thanked me as well for calming her down.

Damn it... it shouldn't have to be so difficult for disabled Veterans. You're already baffled dealing with a new governmental bureaucracy. You're hurting and in pain... there should be some simple answers. Instead the V.A. would rather put their heads in the sand and deny a problem exists. Will the problem go away? I think a million returning disabled Veterans will change their minds. If not... I know the million's of disabled Veterans, currently waiting impatiently for care, won't let them!

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