Why McCain Should Pick a Woman for VP

In this waiting time between the end of the spring primary season and the startup of party conventions in late summer and early fall, the presumptive candidates, Obama and McCain, are doing what they can for the American people to maintain interest in their respective campaigns. One might even call it is “silly season”, when one considers some of the topics they are battling over. Still, the polls seem to be trending slowly but steadily toward a slight but increasing lead by Obama among likely voters.

Ultra-conservatives are in a quandary about McCain, because they perceive him as too liberal for their tastes. But they will either vote for him anyway, or in rare cases vote for the libertarian candidate Bob Barr, or they’ll simply stay home.

More moderate and traditional conservatives and independents are seemingly the groups that McCain is having some trouble with, albeit for different reasons. The true conservatives see McCain as more of that same GOP that has abandoned traditional republican goals of smaller government and states rights. Independents, while sharing the same concerns as the traditional conservatives, see McCain as another Bush, and as someone who they are unsure of regarding where he stands on issues, since McCain’s stand on issues seems to tilt slightly toward the audience he addressing at the moment.

One might say that McCain is suffering from overexposure of his little-understood, often conflicting philosophies, or perhaps his unexciting way of talking to people and the press. Which tends to occur with 71-year-old people. He could probably benefit from a little pizzazz in his campaign to shake things up. Additionally, to distance himself a bit further from GW Bush could only help him, since Bush’s average approval ratings of the five most recent national polls give him an approval rating of 27.6%. You can read the polls HERE.

The solution for McCain is simple: Select a woman as your vice-presidential running mate! And make the selection before Obama announces his!

The benefits of this strategy are enormous. First, it would shock everyone, forcing them to take a new look at McCain. Second, it would demonstrate that he really does want change in the GOP as well as the nation. Third, it would get everyone’s eyes off Cindy McCain whenever she accompanies her husband on a campaign trip.

Depending upon whom he selects, other benefits come on line as well. Here are some suggestions and their associated perks:

1. Laura Ingram: McCain would have a built-in lawyer in Laura, and as a radio and TV talk show host, she can tell him what to say and how to say it, and when. Plus, she’s attractive to look at, and thus she would improve the visual when McCain is present. She also flew in a Navy jet once, so she and McCain can talk avionics. Read about her HERE.

2. Phyllis Schlafly: Very conservative author and anti-feminist, she opposed the Equal Rights amendment in the 1970’s. Her membership in the John Birch Society will warm the hearts of the most extreme right-winger out there. Because she is 84 years old, she will make McCain look like a spring chicken. More about her HERE.

3. Ann Coulter: A very attractive woman who will enhance McCain’s stature, and get everyone’s eye off of Cindy. Ann is a near-fascist-sounding conservative author, lecturer, and commentator with anyone who will give her the microphone. She has made a fortune warning America of the evils of all democrats. Known for her quick wit and scathing commentary, she is also a huge Grateful Dead fan. Couple that with McCain’s love for ABBA’s song “Take a Chance on Me!”, and folks will be happily humming all the way to the voting booth. Read more about Ann HERE.

Of course, the one woman who could provide the most benefit to McCain’s campaign has yet to be mentioned:

Hillary Clinton.

Hillary would provide experience, power, knowledge, and give McCain the opportunity to prove that he truly is for change and for working with people from the other political party. He has already worked with Hillary in the senate, so he knows her capabilities. It would be the perfect marriage of republican and democrat, conservative (sort of) and liberal (sort of), and at the age of 60, she still looks good enough to enhance the visual when Cindy is not around.

But best of all would be when Hillary declines the offer. McCain can then say, “Hey, look, I offered, right?”

Not only that, but the Obama camp would then have a clear reason not to offer the same thing to Clinton. After all, didn’t she just show the world that she’s not interested in the vice-presidency? Why would they ask someone who has already declined?

Hillary’s supporters would then flock to McCain since he offered and Obama didn’t.

See? The perfect strategy for McCain’s lackluster campaign.

Sometimes the perfect solution is just waiting for someone to spit it into the sunshine. 🙂

Dedicated to George Carlin

Oil Drilling is Good For You – According to GW Bush

If someone came to you today and told you the gas station on the corner was selling regular gas for US$3.29 gallon, wouldn’t you consider that a bargain?  Just a bit over two months ago, We the PEOPLE!! lamented the fact that regular gas had reached $3.29 a gallon.  You can read that article HERE.

With the price of regular gas in the USA at now at $4.10 a gallon and still rising, people are realizing the  truth of real economic trouble.  After all, it is gas (or diesel for trucks, or a kerosene derivative for jet aircraft) that fuels commerce in this country and the rest of the world.  With the price of transport and heating/cooling going up, inflation is already with us and has every opportunity to get worse. 

This situation is strangely reminiscent of the 1973-1974 Arab oil embargo which shook the western world and made a fragile economy suffering from the remnants of the Vietnam War endure double-digit inflation.  Those who lived through it remember the gas lines and sporadic wildcat gas rationing by gas station owners.  The price of a gallon doubled in a year, and the US government, first under Nixon and then under Ford promised to make the USA safe from any future control by a foreign entity where our energy needs were concerned.  In other words, the USA was going to be energy independent.

Nixon made everyone in the USA crawl along the superhighways at 55 miles per hour and Ford pushed through legislation granting minor tax credits for people who bought heat pumps, insulation, and alternate energy producers, such as they existed in 1974 and 1975.  People abandoned their large gas-guzzling American cars for foreign sub-compact automobiles just large enough to seat four people, a box lunch, and a citizens band radio.

And both the government and private industry promised advances in alternate energy that would guarantee energy independence for the USA.

Fast-forward to 2008:  Thirty-four years later, Bush and his syndicate of oil-company- friendly administration officials are at the end of a long line of administrations, two of which were democratic and five of which were republican, that failed to deliver on the alternate energy promise. 

Certainly, technical advances have occurred with ethanol, solar and wind power, fuel cells and hydrogen, but not one of them has translated into a solution against the huge importation of foreign oil that occurs daily in the USA.

Instead of pushing the envelope on alternate energy, the Bush administration continues to push the envelope on increased oil drilling in places on the continental shelf and in the Alaska National Wildlife Preserve (ANWP) that have been off-limits to the oil companies for many years because of environmental concerns.  Bush claims that allowing his buddies to drill for oil there will “bring enormous benefits to the American People”.

This, of course, is spoken by a man who distinguished himself as the owner of an oil company whose sole accomplishment was digging dry holes into the earth.  Bush’s own Department of Energy refutes his claim, stating that drilling in Alaska would do little to reduce the price of oil.  Furthermore, drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) would have no impact on the price of oil before the year 2025, fully sixteen years from now.  Even then, it might just shave $2.25 off a barrel of oil which stands at $140 today.  The effect on the price of gas would be minimal.  You can read more about it HERE

But the worst part of all of this is that the oil companies already own leases on an enormous amount of federal land and offshore areas that are not being developed by the oil companies.  Of the over 90 million acres of federal land and off-shore areas leased by the oil companies, fully 68 million acres is not being developed by them for energy production.  Put another way, over 75% of the land and off-shore areas leased by oil companies is undeveloped.  And yet, they want more land and off-shore areas while their friend Bush is still in office (which mercifully ends in seven months).  You can read more HERE.

And even if the oil companies could somehow explore, drill, refine and distribute more domestic oil, they would only be prolonging their ability to rake in the enormous profits they are making at the expense of research and development into the alternate energy sources this country and the rest of the world desperately need as soon as possible.  Brazil, considered by some to be an inferior country to the USA, realized this in the 1970’s when it decided to do something as a nation about foreign oil dependence:  It developed ethanol as its primary transportation fuel, and grew both sugar cane and infrastructure.  Today, Brazil in energy independent, and all of its cars can run on ethanol.  And it exports excess energy!

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy made a USA commitment to send men to the moon and return them safely to Earth before the end of the 1960’s.  Merely eight years later, humans walked on the moon and returned safely home.  They derived their energy from fuel cells, which combine hydrogen and oxygen to make water.  They did this almost 40 years ago!!  With 1960’s technology!! 

So… how come we still don’t have mass-produced fuel cells powering our vehicles and warming/cooling our homes and factories?  How come we don’t have wind-turbines and solar panels on every home in America?

Most importantly, how come the oil companies want more acreage when they’re not developing three quarters of what they already have?

Because guys like Bush (and now McCain) believe that drilling is good for us.  Kind of like when he was a Texas oil company owner drilling dry holes in the ground.  It was good for him.  It set him up to be president of the USA…the worst in history.

The Politics of the Religion of Politics

One of the mantas purported to have been heard leading up to the famous historical Boston Tea Party of 1773 was “No Taxation Without Representation!”  This basic premise defines the barest of rights under democracy, i.e., that in order for a government to operate in a proper manner, it must have the consent of the governed, particularly in the case of taking money from the governed for whatever purpose.

Conversely, an entity operating a business under this “no taxation without representation” premise may, under certain not-for-profit conditions, be relieved from paying taxes.  This applies even though the entity may benefit from some of the programs that taxes are paying for.  And, of course, anytime one entity does not pay its fair share of taxes, someone else must pay more to pick up the slack.

Most citizens who pay taxes would agree that these not-for-profit non-taxpaying entities are acceptable in that they operate essentially unheard and unobtrusive in the modern environment.  The Red Cross is an organization which comes to mind under these criteria.

But what about organizations that seem to be making profits by, for instance, owning large mansions which are rented out for large social gatherings or that are holders of   obscenely expensive real estate which continuously increases in value and yet they pay no property taxes. 

What about organizations which, perhaps in addition to the above, engage in the political process by endorsing one candidate over another, or preaching against one political party over another, or direct people to vote in certain ways?  Shouldn’t political influence peddling be a pay-as-you-go activity?

Both republicans and democrats have had to deal with certain religious leaders whom just can’t stay out of the political arena.  These religious folks just have to get involved in the political process of selecting and electing our representatives.  And if one believes in the first amendment, one would have to agree that these religious leaders, as embarrassing as they might be to the political candidates they claim to support, have the right to express their views.

But if they use a church pulpit to do so, and particularly if that church owns property and other money-producing holdings, the money of which is supporting the speech-making activity of the pulpit speaker attempting to influence the political process for or against a political candidate, doesn’t that fly in the face of the tax-exempt status of those churches (and any other religious or otherwise tax-protected organizations)?

The answer is yes, it flies in the face of the tax-exempt status.  The Internal Revenue Service has specific regulations about this activity.

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3). In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.  You can read more about it HERE.

Of course, under the Bush administration’s war on science, religious organizations have had free reign to violate these regulations without threat of enforcement action.  This has led to increasing political influence peddling on the part of some religious leaders such as Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Chicago Catholic Priest Father Michael Pfleger. 

This doesn’t even begin to address the massive real estate holdings, and the money coming in as a result, of certain religious entities throughout the USA.  Clergy abuse accusations have been fought for years by high-priced lawyers in high-prices legal venues by certain church organizations, and the awards and settlements have often been paid by the selling of expensive real estate on which no taxes of any kind were paid, including sales tax.

The US Constitution’s Bill of Right Amendment One states, in pertinent part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…  You can read the entire amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights HERE.

There can be no question that everyone in the USA is free to practice the religion of their choice, and every religious leader is free to express their views as they see fit. 

But when those selfsame religious leaders and or organizations cross the line and enter the political arena with their views and influence, the rest of us should not have to take up the financial slack with increased taxes while these “pundits on the pulpit” get a free ride.

What Obama Must Do To Beat McCain

Last night June 3, 2008 Senator Barack Obama made American history by securing enough pledged delegates and super-delegates to achieve the democratic nomination for president of the USA. As a result of this tremendous accomplishment, the National Democratic Convention will formally name him their nominee in August to face republican John McCain in the general election in November.

For her part, Hillary Clinton also made history by becoming to first woman in the USA to make it as far as she did during the primary season. By most counts and criteria she achieved more primary popular votes than anyone in history, including Obama. This is possible because of the weirdly diverse way different American states conduct their primaries or caucuses, or both as in the case of Texas.

The same is true when it comes to votes for president: One can win the popular vote, as Al Gore did in 2000, but lose the election because of the archaic, but still constitutionally mandated Electoral College system utilized in the USA.

Nonetheless, the fact is that both Obama and Clinton each earned approximately 18,000,000 votes each during the primary season. This incredible vote tally broke all previous records for primary election voting in the USA.

Significantly, in varying percentages during exit polling, voters stated that they might not support the candidate they did not vote for, should that opposing candidate become the democratic nominee. In the case of Clinton voters, surprising numbers of voters stated during exit polling in numerous states that they would either vote for McCain or simply stay home if Obama became the party’s nominee. Depending upon the state, the percentage of Clinton supporters who stated they would not support McCain in the general election in November ranged from 30% to in excess of 60%. This was particularly true in states such as West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio and Pennsylvania to a lesser extent.

The reasons for this are varied but are primarily based upon the perception that Obama is more liberal and elitist than Clinton among what used to be called “Reagan democrats”. These are white, blue-collar workers whom generally are not college graduates. This demographic cannot be ignored if a liberal democratic candidate wants to win a swing state that otherwise might go for a more conservative candidate, as these states did in 1980 for Reagan. Ergo the phrase “Reagan democrat”.

There are those who abhor Clinton for a variety of reasons, none of which is the subject of this blog. Those folks claim that other potential vice-presidential candidates, such as state governors who supported Clinton, can achieve the party unity and required Clinton supporter-vote salvaging in these swing states by drawing the Clinton supporters over to Obama. Their thought process is flawed. After all, who would go to a Madonna concert if her cousin was going to replace her in the show?

Thus, their desire to keep Clinton off the ticket at all costs, though, could well cost Obama the election.

The fact is that Hillary Clinton should be on Obama’s ticket as the vice-presidential candidate. Eighteen million people voted for her, and if even 35% of them voted for McCain instead of Obama, or stayed home and didn’t vote, we could be looking at Bush’s third term of criminal abandon of the Constitution, criminal violation of federal law, four more years of a useless war sacrificing our country’s finest soldiers, and incomprehensible incompetence in mishandling the economy.

Those who fear that Clinton would be unmanageable for Obama need to get a grip. The vice-president has very specific (and few) roles to play in the American constitution, and Obama can easily control when and for how long she has his attention. He, and only he, can assign her tasks as he sees fit. And if Bill Clinton is a concern, know that he would probably want to spend his time playing golf, unless he is tapped for a role in Obama’s administration, such as ambassador to Sweden or some such.

But seriously, folks. 🙂

This election is far too important to allow for a personal vendetta to cause the wrong person to be elected. Obama made history last night, and he deserves his time in the sun and to bask in the glory of the moment.

But he has the ability to win over countless voters who did not support him by making even MORE history: Being the first ever African-America presidential nominee teamed with the first ever female presidential candidate to reach almost as far as he did during the primary elections, running as the vice-presidential nominee, together winning office and forever erasing the scourge of the most backward, corrupt, criminal, incompetent, constitution-stomping administration in the history of the USA.

Or we could have four more years of the McSame.