2010 August

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, my mother and father were just settling into their new roles as husband and wife. Candles flickered on the table set for their second anniversary dinner, but not to set a romantic mood. They lived in San Francisco and all California coastal cities observed periods of mandatory blackouts. The radio was on, but not to entertain the young couple. Instead they listened intently for news updates and air raid instructions.

The term ‘household budget’ took on a new meaning with the advent of food and gasoline rationing. They hauled big pieces of furniture down to the basement to make room for extra beds, cots and chairs to accomodate displaced friends. A few months later my brother was born. Then my dad got his orders and was shipped off to parts unknown.

Neighbours were missing. Folks my mom would say hello to on the street or in the shops were suddenly not around. Bus drivers and mailmen all had different faces. The local cleaners was closed, as was a favoured restaurant. Some people left to stay with relatives further inland. Some, like my dad, had been called to active duty in the military.

Others had been discretely carted off to temporary internment camps in places like Los Angeles where authorities would sift through a mountain of paperwork and personal identification records to determine which U.S. citizen might also be a Japanese spy. It was not a good time to be of Asian descent in America.

Twenty-five years later my mother was preparing for the arrival of her first grandchild when news of the Watts riot flashed across the television screens. Over the next three years the racial unrest spread across the country like a brush fire that quickly devours an entire hillside before stopping, only to flare up again in another spot, predictably unpredictable.

It didn’t matter where you lived, really. It didn’t matter how long you’d been neighbours or friends with a person. If one of you was black and the other white, your relationship was fodder for the firestorm.

People died. Good people. Good Americans. And at the end of the day we all stood up and said no more. Black, white, brown, red, pink – we all stood up and cried out – no more.

In the summer of 2001 my mother was celebrating being a great grandmother. On 9/11 we spoke on the phone and cried together, her on one continent and me on another. But my mother wasn’t just sad for the horrifying, senseless deaths that occurred on that day. My mother was sad for what was to come. The inevitable choking fear that would cause otherwise rational people to become an enraged mob, taking their frustration out on a peaceul people. Unless we as a nation had grown up in the last fifty years, she knew the Muslims would become the next scapegoats of bigotry.

And we almost showed that as a nation we had matured. What little public hostility had been directed towards Muslims in the wake of 9/11 was truly fading and people of all nationalities and religions were coming together in harmony. We almost showed we learned tolerance.

[enter] Sarah Palin…

We’re all different. It is our differences that make us each unique. That’s the backbone of being an American and the first thing that brings us all together. We’re all different. In that we’re all the same.

A Muslim American is no more an enemy of the state than a Black American, a Japanese American, an Italian American or an Irish American. The radical groups in control of the news cycles today are working hard to divide our great nation into groups so small we will all but disappear.

Sarah Palin is a walking hate crime and there’s a prayer center in downtown Manhattan to prove it.

Email or write your local newspaper, television station and congressman and ask why Sarah Palin is not being investigated for treason. She is openly hostile to our elected President. She openly advocates the taking over of government by persons of her choosing. She openly incites and encourages racial and domestic violence. She is openly intolerant and critical of any religious or scientific belief not her own.

Anyone else would be in jail by now. Why isn’t she?

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “Anyone Else Would Be in Jail By Now” and click on the word comment just beneath.  Thanks, OzMud

I wonder how many Mohawk, Iroquois and Algonquin sacred burial grounds lay beneath the business centers, shopping malls, apartment buildings and suburban houses in New York State and how come Sarah Palin and the gang at Fox News aren’t up in arms about that?

But let’s suppose, for a minute, that building a mosque in downtown Manhattan is somehow different and that it would somehow be harmful to New Yorkers. Let’s do a bit of research shall we?

[Click image to enlarge]
Hmm. Seems (prior to 2005), the biggest mosque in all of Europe was built way back in 1913  in… Russia! It’s called (get ready for the irony) St. Petersburg Mosque. Beautiful, eh? And in almost one hundred years it’s faithful congregation has never once risen to overthrow the Russian government. Not when Russia was a communist nation and not since it’s become a democracy. Hmm. So much for Muslims being a violent people.

The real question that the press should have been asking over this past month is – why did Sarah jump onto the down-with-the-mosque bandwagon in the first place? It’s only replacing an existing mosque/rec center, enlarging it’s facilities to provide more community services for all Manhattan citizens. It isn’t even Muslim exclusive.

Would it surprise you to know that this whole down-with-the-mosque at ground zero debacle wasn’t even Sarah’s idea? No, it really wasn’t.

Associated Press aired the story in early May. It reflected the different views of  New yorkers and brought forth two very important statements from Manhattan residents.

From Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam who runs the current community center and mosque near ground zero:

“Terrorism or extremism  does not distinguish between muslim or non-muslim, black or white, it, it uh victimizes everybody.”

And from Anita Lafond Koronsky who lost her sister to the attack on 9/11:

“There was a group of these people for whatever reason… that hated America so much… they felt they had to attack the world Trade Center and my sister and 3,000 other people are dead.

“It’s impossible to understand that… but… I can’t turn around and hate all the other people involved in this religion because I would then become no better than these people who killed my sister who supposedly were doing it because – they hated too.”

The AP story was reposted to youtube on 07 May 2010. Other groups picked it up and made their own versions to post on youtube.

One month later,  jihadwatch.org   posted this video on youtube in a flammatory protest against the construction.

Not a lot of initial interest. But then…

The Republican Propaganda Machine (lending a whole new meaning to the acronym RPM) created their own video protesting the building of the mosque. They produced it with lots of bells and whistles, lights and sirens, fiery rhetoric and Omenish music and quite proudly posted it here for all their Republican followers to see.  Oh and to donate! Let’s not forget the PAC donation button and pledge to make even more donations later on.

Then, still patting themselves on the backs for a job well done they took it to the television stations. But the news producers at each stop took one look and said ‘Nup. Nuh-uh. No way are we airing that. Go away.’ Not even Fox News took the bait.

So the clip was posted on youtube along with all the amateur, homemade protest videos that only received a few hundred hits each. And in the background, the legal preparations to build the new community center were going full-steam ahead. A few days go by. Then a week. Then two. If only the overly-paid PR guys could get the clip to go viral. A viral clip would get it on the air, right? But how?!?!?!

Enter Sarah [stage right] with her now infamous, heart-stabbing, garment-rending, inflammatory Tweet. Right from the start her Tweets were considered a joke  but that didn’t stop the RPM from using Sarah’s face to advance their own agenda. Needless to say, a few stirred up tea baggers, partiers later and all the youtube clips were going viral.

But… about the protest: It wasn’t even her idea. It wasn’t her passion. It wasn’t her fight. The story of the proposed construction broke early in 2010. The Associated Press reported on public reaction to the proposed plans in early May 2010. Far-right wing groups caught up with and aired their own takes on the story in early June 2010. The GOP Trust (a Republican PAC) picked it up in late June, early July.

Sarah had been completely unaware of this construction. She never said a word when the construction plans were made public sometime in late January. She never said a word when the AP broke with their story in early May. She never uttered a tweet (sorry) after the GOP Trust made their TV ad in late june. Then on 18 July she frantically starts tweeting about it with all the urgency of having discovered a five-alarm fire!

I for one am not buying it. Her passionate tweets were not her idea. But I am guessing she’s being well paid for them. 

 [click image to enlarge]
This is the only frame anyone ever needs to see of the Republican-made video. This is the money behind and the people controlling the protest of the building of a multi-cultural center in Manhatten, America’s largest multi-cultural melting pot in the country.

Should it not be up to the citizens of New York to say what gets built in New York city? Imagine how vehemently any of us would oppose a bunch of New Yorkers coming to any one of our cities and dictating what we can or cannot build where we live.

At the end of the day, when these stories break and Sarah toots on her revolutionary horn, we all need to step back and remember, always remember, that Sarah’s just not that into us. If she truly meant what she preaches, she’d be working really hard to make life better for indigenous Alaskans, or donate her time to fundraise for Down Syndrom research.

But alas in over a year she’s done neither.

[click to enlarge] Please look carefully at the differences proffered in these two pictures. On the left is the image Republican figureheads are passing off as what will appear on the NY skyline, overlooking ground zero, should the proposed community center be allowed. On the right is the actual proposed mosque/community center, as illustrated by the actual mosque architects. This is the building Sarah Palin and the GOP Trust would like us to believe is a ‘stab in the heart’

The next time the quitter-twit tweets, I’m going to pay less attention to the puppet herself and more to whoever is filling her pockets and pulling her strings.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “Twits, Tweets and A Lot Of String” and click on the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

During this past month I’ve come to realize that I personally know six people on the mainland who believe – genuinely believe – that President Barack Obama:

…is not a U.S. citizen and has never produced a US birth certificate.
…is a fanatic Muslim intent on destroying Christianity.
…is owned by big corporations who line their pockets at the expense of ours.
…hates America.

Six people. That’s six votes to my one.

All six are over the age of 50.
Four are women.
Three are widows.
One is self-employed.
Two are retired.
One served in the military.
All have a high school education.
Five attended at least one year of college.
Three hold college degrees.
Five are parents.
Three are grandparents.
Three are currently employed.
One held the same job, in the same building for 40 years.
Five were employed prior to the Bush Administration.
Two collect Social Security.
Five were born and educated in California.
Six were homeowners prior to the Bush Administration.
Three are homeowners now.
All were baptized and raised in Christian faiths.
Four baptized their own children.
None currently attend church.
Five blame Pres. Obama personally for the current state of the economy.
Three believe the new healthcare plan will destroy their current coverage.
*Four own handguns.
Two are Registered Republicans.
Two follow the Fox News Channel.
Two refuse political discussion claiming all politics is garbage.
One believes whatever her son tells her to believe.
One believes Sarah Palin makes a lot of sense.
Four view Sarah Palin as a victim of ratings-driven journalism.
Three believe Sarah Palin’s ‘wild ride’ was created by the media.
Six believe Sarah Palin to be Trig Palin’s natural birth mother.
Two believe Sarah Palin is a political drama queen but would vote for her over Pres. Obama anyway.

*Of the four gun owners, three honestly believe  Armageddon is upon us and they will need their firearms to protect their homes and families from Muslim invaders.

What struck me the most about my supposedly educated, well-rounded friends was not that we share such different core beliefs, (because I have a lot of friends and usually enjoy the diversity) but that each of their current political leanings appear to be driven by abject fear. All six believe the Obama Administration is now and will continue to plummet America into the worst economical depression ever recorded by man, and because of our foreign debts, we will one day be owned by the Muslims who will impose Islamic Law, having us bowing to the east or be shot on our doorsteps.

Oh yes. There’s one more thing my friends listed above all have in common:

Not one of them knows about my blog.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “Smear Campaigns: Do they Work? You Betcha!” and click on the word comments just beneath.  Thanks, OzMud

My most <smirk> humble apologies to the French for #12 and to the Alaskans for #27…my favourite is #36 – and I might pinch #29 for an email signature 🙂

1. A bicycle cannot stand alone; it is two tired. 

2. A will is a dead giveaway. 

3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. 

4. A backward poet writes inverse. 

5. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes. 

6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion. 

7. If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed. 

8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress. 

9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner. 

10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds. 

11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered. 

12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France and resulted in Linoleum Blownapart. 

13. You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it. 

14. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under. 

15. A calendar’s days are numbered. 

16. A boiled egg is hard to beat. 

17. He had a photographic memory which was never developed. 

18. The short fortune teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large. 

19. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

20. When you’ve seen one shopping centre you’ve seen a mall. 

21 If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine . 

22. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye. 

23. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis. 

24. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses. 

25. Acupuncture: a jab well done. 

26. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

27. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian . 

28. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still. 

29. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption. 

30. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery. 

31. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering. 

32. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie. 

33. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it. 

34. Atheism is a non-prophet organization. 

35. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, “You stay here I’ll go on a head.” 

36. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me. 

37. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’ 

38. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran. 

39. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion. 

40. Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “The Original Word Salad” and click on the word comments just beneath.  Thanks, OzMud

This is one of those ‘hot pen’ posts where careful outlining is replaced by random doodling. And since I don’t doodle in public very often, I’ll ask that you not look too closely 🙂

The private lives of teenagers Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are not, in my opinion, fair game for the media. We should all be butting out and let them work out how to grow up on their own. That said, it’s hard to butt out of something that keeps being shoved under your nose. So like it or not, appropriate or not, here’s my opinion of the ongoing Palin-Johnston Little Theatre, Season Two.

Not that long ago, Bristol set down roots in a condo in Anchorage, Alaska for herself and son Tripp. She presented herself to the world as an ordinary, single mom who worked a nine to five job in a doctor’s office, raising her son alone with little to no help from her son’s father. These were her credentials. They provided the foundation for her to continue her role as poster girl for the Candies Foundation Abstinence Only campaign.

Bristol had barely unpacked when the magazine offers came pouring in for paid interviews. Mom’s ever-diligent attorney set Bristol up as the CEO of an LLC, a convenient, grown-up method of collecting her monies without having to be completely transparent about her earnings. And while she was still riding high on the media coverage, she seized the moment to follow in her mother’s footsteps and register with a speaker’s bureau as a keynote speaker for Abstinence Only. After all, she was an ordinary, single, hard-working mom with a message: Keep your legs closed or this could happen to you.

The problem:  Bristol isn’t believable.  Her peers don’t buy her story. Her mother is a millionaire. Bristol drives a brand new car. She flies around the country in comfortable jets and rests in luxurious hotels. She doesn’t ever seem to need to find a babysitter. For someone who holds down a nine to five job in a doctor’s office, she certainly gets a lot of time off to jet to New York to appear on the Today Show.

When asked (in the many televised interviews) who cared for Tripp while she worked, Bristol gave a few explanations. One was that she had a roommate. Another was she had a live-in babysitter. Or was that live-in help. Maybe it was her relatives upon whom she could always count. And when her answers piqued curiosity enough, people tracked down her condo in Anchorage only to discover her ‘roomie’ was in fact a live-in boyfriend.

So we’re to think that this kind young man graciously cared for baby Tripp while Bristol worked her nine to five job, traversed the country preaching Abstinence Only and that they engaged in a completely plutonic relationship. Oh, and he never contributed to the rent or electricity bills or groceries because Bristol was emphatic about how she’d paid her own way and took help from no one. That she, at age 19, also claimed to have purchased the condo on her own seems to have not troubled a single reporter.

When I said her peers didn’t believe her, I was being kind.

No matter how much money one spends on a production, if the actress isn’t believable, no one’s going to buy it. Bristol Palin once looked directly into a camera and said something on the order of “Abstinence doesn’t work. It’s not a practical solution for teens.” So when Bristol Palin talks about abstinence being the only solution for teens, people remember, and nobody buys it.

Her Candies Ambassadorship flopped out of sight. The speaking engagements that were to fill the LLC coffers never came to pass. The paid interviews slowly dwindled down to none. My best guess is that by mid July the kids –  all of them – were running out of money.

If only they had a unique story to sell…

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “Bristol Palin: Average 19 yr old? Or Like Mother Like Daughter” and click on the word comments just beneath.  Thanks, OzMud

Sarah Palin wants to be President of the United States and has a bit over two million Facebook fans to prove it.

On the other hand, President Barack Obama already IS President of the United States, has over 11.6 million fans on Facebook and doesn’t have to prove a thing. Unlike Sarah’s Facebook page which is  a steady stream of whining rants proffering lots of criticism and few solutions, President Obama’s page is filled with optimism for the country’s future and gives a positive take on life inside the White House.

President Obama’s Facebook page is well structured, gives lots of daily and weekly updates on his schedule, positions, goals, obstacles, etc.  There are heaps of short videos to view, helpful government links to services and this week, there’s the special bonus of an announcement from Michelle Obama, encouraging everyone to sign a birthday card for the President. He will turn 49 on 4 August 2010 and she provides this link to a very thoughtful birthday message.

You do need a USA zip code to sign. (Shh dont tell anyone but I used my daughters!)

Another feature I especially like  is a series of weekly video clips called West Wing Week. They are a change of pace from the heavy, critical reports we get on the President from the maintream media. It’s a pleasure to watch him in action and reinforces why we voted for him.  

This week’s chapter is titled Men in Blue Jumpsuits:

With all the bad press he gets, it’s nice to see our President’s  accomplishments emphasized and watch a running record of how many campaign promises he actually keeps. Compared to Sarah’s page of gloom and doom messages, President Obama’s Facebook page is a breath of fresh air.

And in a world filled with pollution, we need all the fresh air we can get 🙂

========== UPDATE ==========

Organizing For America (OFA) have sent follow up letters to those who signed President Obama’s birthday card. Volunteers across the nation are organizing events from now until November to encourage voters to get out and vote. These birthday parties are one such type of event.

An interactive map [click here] shows where the parties will be held. Enter a zip code, city or state and the user is directed to the nearest planned party(s).

From the site: 
Volunteers nationwide will hold birthday parties and use the occasion to recruit new OFA volunteers. Each new volunteer will help get more first-time 2008 voters back to the polls in November. And with so much more on our agenda, and tight races from Florida to Alaska, we don’t have a moment to lose.

What a neat gizmo! I plugged in cities for all my rellies and friends. Yes, even the Republican ones! Ok they probably won’t attend but it was still quite fun to see all the places that popped up. (There’s one just a mile from my oldest daughter on Saturday the 7th put on by a chapter of YES WE CANvass… They look very organized.)

Speaking for myself, I get bogged down in all the whining put out by Sarah, the Tea Partiers and new Republicans. So much discontent and fear in their speeches and messages. Finding my way to sites filled with workable solutions instead of finger-pointing has been encouraging. There are – in fact – more people out there who see through Sarah and her cohorts than follow her blindly.

The trick is, to get them all to the polls because the only way to guarantee Sarah Palin never wins another election is to put some old-fashioned elbow grease into it and work to see that everybody votes. So even from my perch in Australia, I will be doing my part. Please use the OFA link above to find out how you can do yours 🙂

There’s just too much to lose to do nothing…

========== UPDATE 2 ==========

Writers at the Washington Post are critical of the Obama birthday card, making the claim that it’s just a ruse for fundraising. The reasoning comes from noting that a person’s 49th birthday is insignificant (the writer backs this arguement at length by presenting former presidents who have turned 50 while in office and the huge bashes that marked the occasion while none publicized their 49th birthdays) and that the site sports a donation button for 2010 campaign contributions along with a call for volunteers to help get people to the polls.

To be honest, while visiting the Organizing For Obama website I hadn’t really paid attention to the donation button. Why would I? Donation buttons are everywhere. And it’s a bit like the pot calling the kettle black for a Republican to cry foul when SarahPAC, Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, RNC websites, other Republican PACs all and each have the same donation button on every one of their sites as well.

As far as the complaint that using President Obama’s 49th birthday as a cover for gathering supporters is (1) inappropriate and (2) has more to do with gathering votes for the president’s re-election in 2012 than campaigning for Democrats in 2010 is just well, sour grapes.

There’s no rule of etiquette preventing any birthday year from being a huge bash. That number is irrelevant. The number of people wanting in on the celebration is more to the point. And when you read the article you’ll begin to get a sense of how many hundreds of backyard bbq’s, potluck suppers, picnics and block parties have been carefully planned and advertised via this one, simple bithday tradition of signing a card. It’s brilliant in its simplicity.

And if these nationwide birthday parties prove successful and help the Democrats create a venue for future vote-gathering on top of garnering votes for Democrats in 2010 so what? Republicans have their political strategies and we Democrats have ours. And while I hesitate to gloat… our strategies have put Barack Obama in The white House. Republicans have – who, again?

We The People have endured the media’s reporting of Republican opinion as if it were fact and the overly-televised nationalization of phoney, mismanaged, disorganized Tea Parties for more than a year now. It’s all a bit stale. We can do with a little cake and coffee 🙂

Please read the full WaPo article here.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “Sign The President’s Birthday Card…” and click on the word comments just beneath.  Thanks, OzMud