mercredi 10 septembre 2008

Sound familiar?

Sisyphus goes political

I'll get back to the garden, bear with me.

You've heard the joke: What's the difference between Palin and Bush?


Where's Palin?

Another writes in today to the listservs to share this:

"Not sure where I heard it today [here, a Daily Kos post that cites a Juneau Empire article reporting the buttons, but the joke's everywhere] - but Palin was MIA so much that people in Alaska were wearing yellow buttons that [said] "Where's Sarah? Like Bush at the Crawford ranch - she vacations a lot. Where can we get those buttons. We['ll] need them while she is back in Alaska.

It's Sarah that's the Bush. It's bait and switch."

Now, how many times have I read that in the last 48 hours!

Read the comment concerning Abramoff under the Kos piece.

From the Juneau paper, reprinted in the Kos post:

Palin has spent little time in Juneau, rarely coming to the state capital except when the Legislature was in session, and sometimes not even then.

During a recent special session called by Palin herself, she faced criticism from several legislators for not showing up personally to push for her agenda.

Someone at the Capitol even printed up buttons asking "Where's Sarah?"

Rep. Andrea Doll, D-Juneau, called it a telling question.

"At a time when her leadership was truly needed, we didn't know where she was," Doll said.


Palin's high-handed attitude

Here's my personal favorite part from the Juneau Empire article, skipping over the "inexperienced governor", who failed to give guidance to the legislators on spending priorities and then "surprised them" by vetoing "many of their priority projects" -- that's pretty good, true, but I love the "an adult in the house" part! Try that at work tomorrow, and then let me how it goes over.

As an inexperienced governor, Palin has had a sometimes rocky relationship with the Legislature, but also has had success in pushing her legislative agenda, including a bigger share of the state's phenomenal oil wealth and getting the state on the road to a natural gas pipeline.

Those rough relations weren't helped in Palin's first legislative session as governor, when legislators said they didn't get guidance from her on spending priorities and were then surprised when Palin vetoed many of their priority projects.

Compounding what was seen as a high-handed attitude was her statement at the time that there needed to be an "adult in the house."

Among those irked by that was House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez, an experienced legislator who had dealt with budgets for years.

When asked about her qualifications by the Anchorage Daily News, he said, "She's old enough. She's a U.S. citizen."

She's surely had plenty of opportunity in recent months to improve her attitude and figure out how to work with the legislators, right? That will help for all that reaching out across the aisles and executive management she's hoping to do on Alaska's behalf in bad, bad Washington. Yeah?

And, here's the best thing of all about her being picked, as Republican junior U.S. senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, said, "praising the selection of Palin":

"'I think it puts Alaska on the map, and that's great news for the state,' Murkowski said. "

And that's exactly why the Founding Fathers in their great wisdom provided for a vice-president, to get those far-flung future states on the map! Like every school kid can't find Alaska, up there by Russia.

Dynastic American ruling power

Now, this name might sound familiar to those who have been catching up with several chapters in contemporary Alaskan state government history since the GOP surprise (we should all perhaps be ashamed not to have seen it coming) Palin pick. Lisa Murkowski -- far better educated than her governor, and probably better qualified to be the chief executive of Alaska than Palin, by the way -- is of course the daughter of Frank Murkowski, that governor of Alaska, right before Palin took his office.

No, no, please, it was too easy. You know, "Murkowski" and "Murkowski". I can only take credit for thinking to Google it and going to no better a source than Wikipedia. I didn't even have to cross the room. Just open a new window and keep typing.

Better still, read for yourselves:

"Murkowski, while a member of the state House, was appointed by her father, Governor Frank Murkowski, to his own unexpired senate seat in December 2002, which he had vacated after being elected governor. She was subsequently elected to a full six-year term against former Governor Tony Knowles in the 2004 election, after winning a primary challenge by a large margin."

But this isn't about Senator Lisa Murkowski. Just how dynastic Alaskan politics seems to be. Palin must really be something of a Moose in the capitol to join the Maverick in Washington.

My husband gets crazy about this dynastic tendency in US politics. He just cannot understand how the world's greatest democracy can stand to have these ruling families, and that from a man whose paternal ancestors watched their heads roll under the guillotine. He can even get worked up about my holy of holies, the Kennedy family (don't touch that!).

He also gets crazy about the fact that we persist in maintaining states. It just seems wrong to him that there can be such vast disparities from one to another in a single federal republic.

"Oooh, don't go there," I tell him, "Even California wants to split into two, but that would be really hard because we'd have to find a place for a 51st star on the flag."

"Pff," he aspirates (remember, he's French), and starts talking about the foolishness of the Basques and the Bretons, the Corse and the Catalans (Spain).He gets indignant and says that to be effective, we must submit to the discipline of recognizing that we are one America, all of us together, not Mississippi and Alaska, Massachusetts and Nevada.

Hunh. Sounds like Barack.

The myth of equality in America

Do not ever believe, and tell your children never to believe, the myth taught in American schools that France and the United States shared this great dream of democracy and the equality of man, inspired in Paris by the great Enlightenment philosophers, Voltaire, Montaigne and Rousseau. It's not quite that simple, and it has been the basis for our willingness to sacrifice our own best interests because America is great and good, and everyone else doesn't count. Move here to France, stay awhile and watch republican democracy function French-style, and the differences become apparent.

Our founders, you see, were inspired by the same minds, spent time in Paris and steeped themselves in French Age de la Lumière philosophy, but our situations were entirely different; we being colonists since several generations, who no longer felt any ties beyond taxation and repression, certainly not allegiance unless you were a despised royalist, from the English throne, while the French who raided the Bastille and set today's Fifth Republic -- there is talk of a Sixth -- in motion rose up against their own monarchy. 97% of the French population, the Tiers Etat, rose against the ruling 3%, who refused to hear their complaints on May 5, 1789 at the opening of the Etats Généraux at Versailles in la Salle du Jeu de Paume. The subsequent act of the storming of the Bastille, overthrew the absolute power of the monarch. Power would transfer to the Republic, shared equally by its citizens, with a clear separation of powers.

They meant it.

Les citoyens, les citoyennes

They still do. Class is not a taboo subject in France, which empowers the people to continue to take to the street to demand that their government function on their behalf. That's not socialism like (gasp) communism, that's the conviction that government should function to guaranty the basic human needs of its citizens, from the least to the greatest.

That's a somewhat romanticized version. We are all continually furious over here with the employees of the SNCF, who strike for pleasure and guaranty that no one dare touch their absurdly over-generous retirement laws, dating from very different employment circumstances in the 1930's, but that's another story.

What is fact is that the French citizens will not be duped like the knaves who cheer for the Republican politicians, who protect their cronies who are pocketing billions in earnings from private health insurance companies, while they can't cover their spouses and kids, and their aunt has cancer and no coverage at all.


Universal Health Care that works: Single-payer

The lies, the lies, the lies they tell with no shame.

It makes me feel like screaming.

So, I go talk to people over on SiCKO Universal Health Care HR 676 on Join us. Help us. Download from Michael Moore's -- or Rep. John Conyers' -- site and read the incredibly clear 26-page text of HR 676, with lots of spaces and big print, and then sign the petition.

Obama writes to tell those of us who write to him in support of Single-payer to point out that his proposal is going to be as big a failure as the Clintons' and the only way forward is what the rest of the developed world has already put in place and which works, single-payer, that the climate in Washington is not right for it.

I'll tell you when they falsely claim that were would be a "bureaucrat between you and your doctor" that this is a lie to make you afraid.

I'll tell you when they falsely say that bureaucrat will be "telling you what doctor you can see" that there will be no one telling you what doctor you can choose. Here in France, there is total freedom of choice. I know it because my husband is an ob/gyn at a public hospital these last 25 years, who might soon be obligated to cover nights on duty at private clinics because they are not as competent and there are too many accidents -- that's how good public hospitals in a single-payer system are -- has patients who continue to return to see them after moving to the corners of France.

When they falsely tell you the bureaucracy of big government will drown you in red-tape, I'll tell you that when our neighbors' 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia this spring her parents have not had one bill to pay. It is handled for them. They can concentrate on caring for their daughter, their 18 month-old son and taking care of each other. She has nearly finished her chemotherapy treatment in Paris, she is cancer free and has a very good chance of a full recovery.

Sound good? It's called single-payer.

Demand it. Let's change the climate in Washington.

But single-payer or Obama's plan, I'll take his any day over McBush's. Another version of privatized social security retirement. Just say, "No."


More great breaking news for our economy

It's the economy, stupid.

Just in from the New York Times alerting service:

Lehman Sees $3.9 Billion Loss and Plans to Shed Assets

The Wall Street Journal reports the closing of Silver State Bank yesterday, and today the New York Times tells us that Lehman is struggling to stay alive:

"The investment bank said that it was considering 'all strategic alternatives' as it seeks to avoid becoming the biggest casualty of the credit squeeze since the firesale of Bear Stearns in March.

'This is an extraordinary time for our industry, and one of the toughest periods in the firm’s history,' Richard S. Fuld Jr., Lehman’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement."

The article reports that a strategic investment from Korea failed yesterday, setting this off. Korea. We're already largely owned by China and Saudi Arabia.

It's the economy, stupid. You really want to leave it in the hands of the Republicans?

Let's hope Barack can explain to the American people in language they can understand and find compelling why a little "well-applied regulation is good for the market". See his reply to Keith Olbermann on "Countdown" on my previous post "Staying the course to the debates".

Real McCain Truth Squad

And this just in, too, from The Real McCain:

The Real McCain 2 reached an astonishing 4 million views last week, just as the McCain campaign was trotting out lie after lie at the Republican National Convention. Coincidence? We don't think so. To us, this unprecedented number suggests that the public is desperately seeking the truth about John McCain -- a truth the corporate press still isn't providing.

We're hearing reports of a lot of hand-wringing from people who are scared and don't know what to do. So we came up with a way to put that nervous energy to good use! Join the McCain Truth Squad and a couple of times a week we will send you McCain videos for you to forward on with a personal note to your friends, colleagues and family members.

Click here to sign up.

The 5 McCain videos everyone needs to see --

"Imagine how differently people would regard John McCain if they saw all five of these videos and learned the truth. That's why we want you to forward this email to everyone and everyone with a personal note at the top from you [Hi everyone, it's Sisyphus!] Why send these videos individually when you can send them all at once? Also, get them on all the blogs and traditional news sites you can. Make sure you are doing everything you can to educate the public about the Real McCain."
-- Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films

It's beautiful out today. Sam's at code class, and I have to pick him up early because we're taking the bike to Paris to see Coldplay at Bercy. A mother-son outing.

The rear of the house is now completely stripped of its stucco. Things feel like they are moving along on the renovations, and I still haven't started my drawings. What am I waiting for? The work to be done and not at all what I want? That's what might happen if Obama/Biden don't get a huge, clear lead fast!

Please consider making a contribution of how ever much you can spare to the Obama/Biden 08 campaign. Jeanne on the ground in Ohio says they need sign and money. Let's help them do our work for us. Remember, you receive credit for your contribution. Thank you.

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