McCain wins Missouri!

Yeay!  Who cares?

Fox news ran this story constantly today.   Why?

And that blonde girl Natalie Holloway story is back.  I feel for the girls family but why is this national news.  A rich girl went to Aruba and was murdered because she couldn’t get enough of the bad boys who in this case kinda look like violent nerds from the black trench coat Columbine generation.

If this were an Asian chic who was barely making ends meet and got herself killed, would FOX run the story non-stop.  I don’t think so.

The real news is the economy.  But even there they go on and on and on.  Droning until you can’t take it anymore.  GM, Chrysler and Ford.  I own stock in Ford and I think that they will make it through all of this.  But if they can’t survive without a bail out, they should not survive.  Let them die.  They’ve refused to come to terms with the new world.  If they can’t do so, they deserve to die.  I’ve read that Ford is releasing a hybrid in Europe.  Why not release it in America?  Lots of people in America who are now hybrid friendly.  They should all three be jumping on the hydrogen bandwagon before they get left behind there as well.  I don’t know if the Unions should be busted or not.  But the Unions need to get out of the way of progress and let these companies adapt.  No one deserves a free ride.

Obama is saying the right things right now.  I’m on a wait and see pattern with Obama.  I don’t know if I can compare the guy to Lincoln or FDR just yet.  He’s done nothing.  But neither had LIncoln when he came to the the White House.

We’ll see.

I’m not committed to the Christian agenda.  So I am not as adamantly against him.  The gay agenda is silly to me.  But I have no dog in that fight.  Parents raise your children and give them your example to follow.  They’ll do the right thing.  Hedging your bets by railing against others isn’t going to keep your child from being gay.  I don’t know what will keep them from being gay but I’m certain that the gay marriage issue is not the thing that will prevent it.  Marriage is a joke approximately 50% of the time anyway.  Marriage protection act.  Sure.  I’m not buying it.  It’s the “Christian Abomination Act.”  Christians pushing their agenda one way and homosexuals pushing in the opposite direction.  Get out of each others way and live your lives as you see fit.  I’m tired of hearing both sides of this idiotic argument.

Don’t even get me started on abortion.

Make your own choices and live with them.  If you can’t live with them, stay home.

Allahu Akhbar!!!

America elects first Minority Head of State

America elected her first minority Head of State.

Are you listening?

Europe?  China?  Asia?  Africa?  Russia?  Australia?  South Africa?

Not too many other nations of the world have elected a minority to lead their Nation in a free and inclusive election.  Key words here being elected and inclusive.

I’ve sat and listened to people from Southeast Asia and Europe tell me how Barack Obama cannot win because America is too racist.  They’ve been proven wrong.  Again.   Without the White Vote, Barack Obama would not be President.

Does racism still exist in America?  Sure.

But it is just as pervasive in the rest of the world as it is in America.  My opinion.  It’s more pervasive in places like Europe and China and Africa and Asia.  Otherwise skin whitening solutions wouldn’t be flying off the shelves in Thailand and Cambodia and China.

The rest of the world and it’s judgmental hypocrites should stand up and take notice as America leads the way once more.

It is a great day in America.  A shining moment as America once again transcends.  America stands alone in this.

God Bless our President.  May providence grant and guide President-elect Obama the wisdom to steer America to the correct course.   Long may our flag wave and shine as a beacon for the oppressed masses of the world.

As an aside, Senator McCains concession speech was magnificent.  All the right things were said.  It’s a new day.

Let’s get this right America.

Sarah Palin (Alaska Governor) selected as McCains VP.

https://i1.wp.com/www.newsday.com/media/photo/2008-08/41940673.jpg

Will Palin Stand Up to Scrutiny?

August 29, 2008 11:33 AM ET | John Aloysius Farrell | Permanent Link

DENVER—James Carville told reporters last week that his advice for potential presidents is to pick a vice presidential candidate who will make the opposition strategists retch with worry. Well, he said it more pungently than that, but you get the idea.

Sarah Palin fulfills that criterion. The poor Obama folk—they had about 12 hours to enjoy and rest, after putting on a successful and historic convention, and they get up this morning to this stomach-churning bit of news.

There is one important caveat: Palin is an unknown. In 1988, for many of the same reasons that Palin looks good now, Dan Quayle was the surprise veep pick who came bounding across the stage to George H. W. Bush like a big Labrador puppy on the eve of the GOP convention. He was almost immediately revealed as a shallow and disastrous choice.

So, Palin has to survive the vetting she’ll be getting from the national media and all those nasty liberal bloggers. She’d better not have a tangled financial history, or a spouse with questionable investments, like Geraldine Ferraro had in 1984.

And the Ferraro example gives us one more little splash of cold water: Even a historic vice presidential choice won’t help you much if, like Walter Mondale, you’re losing the argument with the other presidential candidate.

That said, Palin is a brilliant choice.

First and foremost, she does well what other alternatives did not—reinforce McCain’s claim to be a maverick, while not upsetting the conservative base. You can’t say too much about this. It is what choosing her says about McCain that is important.

Though I believe it is vastly overrated, Palin can tap what resentment there is among middle-aged women over Hillary Clinton’s loss. The GOP presidential field looked like a lot of aging white guys. Here’s a sign that the Republicans actually do have a future in our diverse democracy.

And though she comes from far-off Alaska, she will help—big time—in Montana, Colorado, and other western states that McCain has to lock up quickly. She can talk guns, and energy, and wildlife, and make conservative dogma sound reasonable.

So, a tip of the hat to John McCain. And can someone get a trash can, quick, for David Axelrod?

From what I’ve read, Governor Palin is an excellent choice for McCain.  She’s cleaned up Alaska Republican politics.  She seems to live the values that Republicans espouse as opposed to those who give lip service to those values.  She’s anti-abortion.  She’s just as maverick as he as she has taken on the old school GOP powers in the state.  She sounds like a strong candidate for VP despite her relative inexperience.

But,  Mr. Farrell says it better than I.  So I’ll leave it at that.

Congratulations Governor Palin.  Do us proud.

Hopefully, she’ll do well enough to be the first female VP and go on to become the first female President in her own right.

https://i0.wp.com/www.vicepresidents.com/files/u41/palin.jpghttp://livingalaska.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/sarah_palin2.jpg

A fairly comprehensive article on the Bloomberg website.

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Sarah Palin from a Femiinists point of view.

Against the darkness, we fight…

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

While Obama thinks that we shouldn’t fight against evil in this world because it’s Gods job.  I disagree.  We must do that job ourselves.  While Obama will talk and talk as they use his naivite to their advantage, real leadership must plan to thwart the plans of the masters of terror and the enemies of peace.  The Wahhabis, the Russians, Communists, despots of every stripe, Fatah, Hamas, the PLA, the deceitful Lords of Qom and all  of the rest wish for nothing more than an Obama Presidency.  Michelle Obama thinks that the real enemy is America itself.  Obama seems to agree with his numerous comments on the subject.

Obama suits the terror lords and the despots and dictators.  They know that he will talk and talk and do little else.  Much like Carter and Clinton before him.  Should Obama become President, America will be rudderless.  The evil in the world relishes the opportunities that will be the Presidency of cowardice, empty talk and Inaction that an Obama White House promises.

They fear real leadership in the West.  Real leadership that will keep the wolves at bay.

Senator Obama off kilter without teleprompter.

Cartoons By Michael Ramirez

No Contest

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, August 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Election ’08: Last weekend’s McCain-Obama protodebate made it clear why Obama won’t keep his promise to debate McCain “anywhere, anytime.” McCain, with a robust resume and details at his fingertips, won big.


Read More: Election 2008 | Religion


It was only in May that Sen. Barack Obama cockily proclaimed he would debate Sen. John McCain “anywhere, anytime.” But in June, Obama said no to McCain’s challenge to have 10 one-on-one town hall meetings.

After what happened at Lake Forest, Calif.’s evangelical Saddleback megachurch Saturday evening, we may have found that debating is Obama’s Achilles’ heel. Whether or not you like the idea of such events being held in religious venues, the plain-and-simple method of questioning used by Saddleback pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren revealed fundamental differences between these two men.

“It’s one of those situations where the devil is in the details,” Obama said at one point. He could have been referring to his own oratorical shortcomings when a teleprompter is unavailable. We learned a lot more about the real Obama at Saddleback than we will next week as he delivers his acceptance speech in Denver before a massive stadium crowd.

The stark differences between the two came through the most on the question of whether there is evil in the world. Obama spoke of evil within America, “in parents who have viciously abused their children.” According to the Democrat, we can’t really erase evil in the world because “that is God’s task.” And we have to “have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil.”

For McCain, with a global war on terror raging, there was no equivocating: We must “defeat” evil. If al-Qaida’s placing of suicide vests on mentally-disabled women and then blowing them up by remote control in a Baghdad market isn’t evil, he asked: “You have to tell me what is.”

Asked to name figures he would rely on for advice, Obama gave the stock answer of family members. McCain pointed to Gen. David Petraeus, Iraq’s scourge of the surge; Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who “had his skull fractured” by white racists while protesting for civil rights in the 60s; plus Internet entrepreneur Meg Whitman, the innovative former CEO of eBay.

When Warren inquired into changes of mind on big issues, Obama fretted about welfare reform; McCain unashamedly said “drilling” — for reasons of national security and economic need.

On taxes, Obama waxed political: “What I’m trying to do is create a sense of balance and fairness in our tax code.” McCain showed an understanding of what drives a free economy: “I don’t want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich. I don’t believe in class warfare or redistribution of the wealth.”

To any honest observer, the differences between John McCain and Barack Obama have been evident all along. What we saw last weekend was Obama’s shallowness juxtaposed with McCain’s depth, the product of his extraordinary life experience.

It may not have been a debate, but it was one of the most lopsided political contests in memory. No wonder Obama wants to keep debate formats boring and predictable.

Cartoons By Michael Ramirez

Cartoons By Michael Ramirez

Cartoons By Michael Ramirez

Lost in the fog of war; A peaceful Vietnam…30 years later

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If we were not in Vietnam, all that part of the world would be enjoying the obscurity it so richly deserves.
John Kenneth Galbraith

 

About a year ago, I found myself in Vietnam. It was a strange feeling to be there. I’m the son of a Vietnam War Veteran. I’ve got at least 5 Uncles who were in Vietnam or Southeast Asia during the war. I served in the Cold War era Army. We were still singing Vietnam era cadences during Drill and Ceremony and Physical Fitness Training. ‘Nam was the enemy back then. And somewhere in the back of my mind, this country still felt somewhat like the enemy. Intellectually, the war was over. Some 30 odd years gone. Emotionally, I still felt a tug somewhere deep in the inner sanctum of my spirit. It still somewhat felt like a place where the enemy still lurked. As I made my journey down the Mekong towards the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, I couldn’t help but recall stories, half memories of things that Vietnam Vets had said in TV interviews, scenes from movies like Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket. In my head, there were “gooks in the wire” and I didn’t quite know what to expect as a lone American trekking through Vietnam.

My worries, such as they were, were all for naught.

I landed at the border control point in a small nameless village off of the Mekong. The border control agensts were worried about three things. Passport. VISA. Border Crossing Tax.

They verify your VISA. Stamp your Passport. You pay the tax. You’re on your way.

The Vietnamese people were fascinated by the American in their midst.

“Where you from?”

America.

“Ah…America GOOD!”

Not what I expected. lol

But a pleasant surprise.

The first stop after the border crossing was a town called Chau Doc.

vietnam_040.jpg

In Chau Doc, I hired a guy to drive me around in a rickshaw. This is an extremely slow way to get around. lol You feel like you could get out and walk faster. Especially since all rickshaw drivers deem it their duty to ask you every question that pops into their head. Your age. Your name. Are you married? Where you’re from? What is Kentucky? Do you have girlfriend? And on and on.

After exchanging money, I wanted to get to an internet cafe. It seems that there are internet cafes in even the smallest towns in Asia. I was driven down a series of side streets and alleyways and finally deposited in front of an open faced building with about 20 computers. There were probably 11 or 12 young boys and girls playing online games.

As I walked into the internet cafe, I glanced next door at a group of older gents who were having a drink. I don’t know if this was someones house or a restaurant or…? No clue. I smiled and said hello. All of the men smiled at me and one said something to me in Vietnamese. I turned around to my rickshaw driver who informed me that they would like to have a drink with me. I’m never one to turn down a drink. (it’d be rude) I accepted. One of the guys handed me a shotglass. We toasted to world peace or the beautiful women of Vietnam…something. lol Who knows. I downed the drink as they all stared at me. They smiled when I finished and then downed their drinks as well. Repeat, Rinse, Finish. I drank a couple of shots with them. Some kind of rice whiskey, I’m sure. Pretty strong. I wanted to spit the first drink back out. Like drinking fire. But I learned in Korea not to make the “HOLY SHIT!” face when imbibing in strong drink with Asian men. It’s a machismo thing. Finally, I begged off. Telling them that I needed to contact home.

I sat down to email home and tell everyone that I was safe (if only for now).

No sooner had I sat down than a pretty little Vietnamese school teacher asks me if her young students could practice their English on me. Well, I was a still little high from the liquor. But I’m never one to turn down a pretty gal. So I was suddenly faced with about 15 beautiful little Vietnamese children. Probably aged 6 to 10. They stood in line patiently and orderly in their school uniforms. Each of them walked up to me. Said Hello. Welcome to Vietnam. Told me their name. And wished me a good day. It was the cutest thing in the world.

After the children had finished, the cute teacher thanked me for my patient assistance and I finally was able to check my email.

The next day, I was off to Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon.

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I stayed in Saigon a few days. While there, I took a tour of the Viet Cong tunnels at Cu Chi which is right outside of Saigon. It was an interesting tour. Cu Chi is a sprawling complex of tunnels that runs throughout the country side and at one time supposedly ran all the way back to and through Saigon. I crawled around in some of the tunnels. At some points the tunnels were so small, so tight that I actually got stuck in a few place and had to back out, turn sideways or otherwise contort my body to make it through. I was too big to fit into their entrances and had to go through the ones that had been widened after the war. There was absolutely no way to fit my shoulders through those entrances. I can’t believe that people were/are that thin. lol But I guess if you are subsisting on rice, tapioca and tea for 10 to 25 years with the added stress of combat….thin would be the least of your problems. At least you’re alive. There’s your diet if you want to lose weight. Tea, steamed tapioca, rice and stress so intense that you get post-traumatic stress syndrome. I’ll pass.

Cu Chi was one of the most bombed areas in what was once called South Vietnam. We knew there were tunnels there. We didn’t know the extent. So we bombed the place into a no mans land. Absolutely pummeled it. The craters in this area are immense and numerous. Markers of war’s and America’s brutality. You see signs every so often. US B52 bomb crater. Pictures from the era show a land decimated. Lifeless. Total destruction. Like a moonscape. Nothing but craters and earth torn asunder.

For my part, it was strange touring the tunnels. Everything is from the Vietnamese perspective. The Vietnamese view of how things went down with a healthy does of Uncle Ho philosophy. The tour guides talk of having so many American kills. The Imperialist Americans did this. Blew up this. Bombed that. The picture of the tank that ran over a mine… When I took that photo. The tour guide was saying; “this one got hit so it couldn’t DROS.” DROS is the term used for soldiers who are moving out of theatre to go back to the states from an overseas assignment. All of the representations of the enemy were American soldiers. When I saw people posing on top of that tank for pictures, I felt offended. But even so, I understood. Except the Americans who did so. I couldn’t quite bring myself to pose in such a manner with a symbol of my country and it’s mistaken policy. A symbol of my fallen comrades. Not even after a space of 30 years. It felt like someone pulling at a scab over my heart. There were many mannequins in Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army Uniforms. The tour guide was very proud of his Army’s defeat of the American Imperialist. Very proud of his military. I could identify with that as I’m proud of my comrades in the military–past and present. Each time, he stopped by a group of mannequins posed in various acts, he would say; “Vietnam solder, very beautiful.” It was comical. But awesome to see such pride in the military. And it felt genuine and not arrogant or forced. My tour guide was an ex ARVN soldier. He was very matter of fact about the whole thing. He/They spoke of Americans as we speak of the British at our Rev War battlefield parks. A bit painful to hear my fellow countrymen spoken of in such a fashion. Odd. They didn’t seem to hold a grudge. And they very well could have. A learning experience.

At the end of the tour, there was a firing range. You had a choice between an M60, AK47, M16, .50 Cal of some sort and an M14. I blew off a few rounds on the AK47. You paid about .50 cents a bullet. Locked and Loaded and fired away. Then handed your weapon back to the range dude. Great to be able to shoot a weapon and then just walk away. Not worry about cleaning it and passing weapons inspection as in the old Army days

I can’t help to think as I am walking around that these people went through 25 years of hell and all they wanted was to be left alone. China, France and us.

A few days later, I flew to Hanoi. Walking around Hanoi and visiting their museums, I caught myself thinking about the war. Looking around, wondering how many of those who were walking by me would be combatants. How many would be dead if we were still bombing Hanoi. I met some really nice people up in Hanoi. Yet, I used to think of the Vietnamese as inhuman when I was a young boy and a young soldier.

Everyone in Vietnam was open and welcoming. I was treated warmly everywhere. I had no bad encounters. They seem to harbor no grudge over the events of 30 years ago. Even the old soldiers who will sometimes walk up and tell you that they fought in the war. But not as if bragging, just a matter of fact statement. And then they will say; “America GOOD!” Smile and go about their business. That was amazing to me. It’s the universal saying over here. “America Good!” (While back home, it seems that the press is always telling us “America bad…”)

As in Beijing with Mao, I went to the Ho Chi Minh Mausaleum and saw Uncle Ho in Hanoi. Something disconcerting seeing a petrified Human. They worship Uncle Ho. Especially in the North. You don’t hear much criticism of him. And rightly so, I suppose. He was already a God-like figure prior to the end of World War II. Then he led them out of Colonialism in defeating the French. Threw off “American Imperialism” when we decided to make the mistake of following the French into Indochina. (How we did not figure out that following the French anywhere was a bad idea, I will never know. That should have been intuitive.) The more I know about history and such, the more I wonder about decisions of American Presidents in the post WWII era.

More on Hanoi later…

These are photos from the Cu Chi tunnel complex.

viet-minh-booby-traps.jpg One of the traps employed by the Viet Cong to take U.S. Soldiers out of action during the war.

tunnel-rat-cu-chi-tunnels-near-saigon.jpg Emerging from a tunnel. A couple of women freaked out down here. I got stuck in some places. Lots of crawling sideways. These tunnels were definite not designed for those of Europ descent.

us-tank-that-hit-a-mine-in-1970-no-dros-as-the-tour-guide-said.jpg A group of tourist pose atop a US Tank. This was a meloncholy moment for me. A Vietnamese War Tropy, A sign of failed American policy, Fallen Comrades.

door-spike-trap.jpg Another gruesome trap from the jungles of Vietnam.

 

These photos are from Hanoi.

 

ho-chi-minh-mausaleum-hanoi.jpg Uncle Ho’s Mausaleum. Walk through a long line. View Uncle Ho. The guy is revered throughout Vietnam.

war-museum-hanoi-1.jpg war-museum-hanoi-2.jpg This is a pretty famous photo from the War Era. It’s blown up to lifesize and placed in front of a pile of wreckage and unexploded ordnance from the War era.

uncle-ho.jpg Statue of Ho Chi Minh in the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

hanoi-hilton.jpg A photo of the old Hanoi Hilton complex. This was originally a French prison. The French Colonial government imprisoned political prisoners here prior to their ignominious defeat and retreat from Indochina. The North Vietnamese turned it into a POW prison for high value prisoners such as pilots and officers. John McCain was imprisoned here as a POW.