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October 30, 2008

The Flutter Effect

I have been working, for the last month, on a new online writing project to be split from the one you're currently reading. I've named it The Flutter Effect. A journal for daily social commentary and political critique, it's my experiment in how we effect one another online and how quickly news stories spread from person to person.

I'll continue to post personal observation, fiction, lyrics, and tales from the road here, but I invite to you come on over and visit The Flutter Effect for my take on news, politics, media, and social construction.

Posted by bethamsel at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Living Through History

There was a beautiful Op-Ed piece by Susan Straight in yesterday's Los Angeles Times that I wanted to share with you just in case you missed it. I feel so lucky to be alive during such a time in American history.

-General's Orders

Posted by bethamsel at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2008

My New Favorite Website

After performing yesterday at Unity Church during their two morning services, Jim and I hauled ass up to Fort Collins in the hope that we would be able to get in to see Barack Obama speak at CSU. You can imagine, after getting up at 6 in the morning to ensure we got down the mountain in time for the Unity gig, by noon I was in less than great shape, but I am so glad we made the trek. The entire experience was INCREDIBLE, from trading stories with other voters in the two and a half mile long line to Obama's powerful and inspiring stump speech. The entire afternoon was full of hope, inclusion, fine spirit, camaraderie, and (best of all) the most positive message I could have imagined. I'll write about it another time after I have the chance to let the experience percolate. I am just so pleased that we got to be a teeny, tiny part of history yesterday, just two people in the crowd of 50,000.

After the recent barrage of politically related posts, it's with great pleasure that I sit down to write about something other than She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. This morning, in my quest to turn away from election news, I came across The Daily Coyote, a website chronicling one Wyoming woman's experience raising a coyote pup who would have otherwise met a terrible fate. The photography is exceptional and the story absolutely fascinating. I started from the beginning of the posts and the next thing I knew it was an hour later and I was still reading. As we live in the thick of coyote country and have a neighborhood male who likes to walk right down the middle of our road in the winter, I was completely taken in by Shreve Stockton's story. I am betting you will be too!

-The Daily Coyote

Posted by bethamsel at 7:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 21, 2008

Beth "The Singer-Songwriter" is "Pro-American" and Living in "Real America" (Apparently)

Joe The Plumber sure has proved to be a useful hack for the GOP. This evening, during one of the weakest interviews ever aired on CNN, She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was asked whether she thought Barack Obama was a socialist. Her reply? That she, herself, wouldn't call Obama a socialist, but that Joe, The Plumber, sure thinks he is and he represents the American people.

I have to admit now that this election has turned me into somewhat of a ranting madwoman, obsessed with political hypocrisy and the hate filled propaganda machine. I bet you've noticed. I am not sure how to climb back off the ruined ledge of big business democracy and at the risk of sounding like the dude on the corner holding the cardboard sign and screaming about black helicopters, I can't help but feel that the process is slowly killing the animal.

The good news, of course, is that with the advent of the interweb, its series of tubes, and (most importantly) YouTube, we can now all educate ourselves by going right to the horse's mouth (so to speak). Certain politicians have not yet caught onto the fact that EVERY SINGLE WORD that comes out of their mouths in public, is being caught on tape and will be distributed to the masses within moments. The days of plausibly deniability are over. You say it, you own it.

Such is the lesson to be learned this week by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC). Ms. Bachmann was actually being interviewed on Hardball at the time of her astounding call for the media to launch a "penetrating expose" on the American legislature and who is pro-American and who is anti-American. She can spin it ten ways from Sunday, but her call for the second coming of the House Un-American Activities Committee is on video. She may have thought she would be embraced by She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named for trumpeting her call to class warfare, but I am thinking she will, instead, be thrown under the political bus.

Then there is Mr. Hayes, who opened a McCain/Palin rally by saying:

Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God."

This came just after the congressman said that he wanted to "make sure we don't say something stupid, make sure we don't say something we don't mean." I guess you only mean it if you're not caught on tape saying it.

I called Congressman Hayes campaign office directly and I spoke with the assistant to the Communications Director (I am getting to know quite a few of those GOP CDs these days). I told him that I wanted to get confirmation of his statements directly from his office instead of relying on the filter of the "mainstream media". He was saddened by the affair but admitted that he had, indeed, made that statement. He testified to the Congressman's character and that he was not just a decent man, but a great man. It was an interesting exchange and I gave his campaign points for not trying to force the cat back into the bag, as so many politicans attempt to do, even in the face of an audio archive.

Which brings me back to that queen of manipulation, She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. She has the nerve to imply that she isn't calling Barack Obama a socialist, but that Real Americans™ think that's exactly what he is and she is just real concerned, y'all. It's too late in the evening to collect all of her speeches this week. If you google Obama, socialist, and GOP, there are more examples of deft mob manipulation that you'll care to see. That's the thing about the internet. It's just so much easier to discover which politicians are balls out, shameless liars.

As an addendum, the Vice President is not "in charge" of the US Senate and has no constitutional authority to "make a lot of good policy changes." Regardless of Dick Cheney and his questionable extra-branch activities, the office of VP is not actually described in the Constitution as "flexible". You want to be veep so gosh darn bad? How about you sit down on that plane of yours and read the United States Constitution. If you can't read theWHOLE thing (I know, I know, it's looooong), how about just Article 1, Section 3, which states:

The Vice President of the United States shall be president of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

Or how about Article 2, Section 1. Or how about the 20th Amendment? Or the 25th Amendment?

Call me an elitist, but I want the people sitting in the Executive Branch to not only be smarter than I am, more educated than I am, more articulate than I am, and more experienced than I am, but I demand they be more familiar with the Constitution than I am. You want to effect policy change and speak for the Real Americans™ who live in Pro-American pockets of Real America? Then run for Congress as Alaska's single Representative At Large. You can talk until your blue in the face about the reg'lar Americans you directly serve. Vice President, on the other hand, is not an office for which you are qualified.

Posted by bethamsel at 10:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

According To The GOP, Women Are Petty, Jealous, and Self Loathing.

According to Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, liberal feminists dislike She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named because she is “very attractive,” “very competent,” and “very happy”. I shit you not. So basically, liberal feminists are catty, petty, jealous, and inherently unhappy. Wow. I do not even have something snappy to say in response. Now I know for certain that the GOP really does think women are dumb as posts. It's as if the Republican party really does want to see the country split in two and watch it burn through the next decade.

You can hear it for yourself:

Posted by bethamsel at 2:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 18, 2008

Still Think She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named Isn't Pandering To The Least Educated and Most Easily Manipulated?

At first I thought this was actually a satirical video. I wish I had been right:

How in god's name are we going to heal this nation? Any ideas?

Posted by bethamsel at 1:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2008

Violence Against Press Pool On The Rise at Palin Rallies

After having been on the receiving end of some of the most vile hatred I have ever witnessed for simply and silently holding up a pro-Obama/anti-Palin sign and after two weeks of deft mob manipulation and fear mongering at McCain/Palin events, you would think we would all be prepared for the culture war to simmer over to a boil. Perhaps because my sense of human decency is surprisingly still intact, I feel overwhelmingly depressed by the show of violence directed at the press pool recently reported from a Palin rally at Elon University outside of Greensboro, NC. Journalist and blogger Joe Killian was attacked by a McCain/Palin supporter as he attempted to interview a group of Obama supporters who had gained entry into the event.

The man began to say something about how of course I was interviewing the Obama people when suddenly, from behind us, the sound of a pro-Obama rap song came blaring out of the windows of a dorm building. We all turned our heads to see Obama signs in the windows. This was met with curses, screams and chants of “U.S.A” by McCain-Palin folks who crowded under the windows trying to drown it out and yell at the person playing the stereo. It was a moment of levity in an otherwise very tense situation and so I let out a gentle chuckle and shook my head. “Oh, you think that’s funny?!” the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. “Yeah, that’s real funny…” he said. And then he kicked the back of my leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.

So this is what we have become. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have yet to see an Obama supporter attack a McCain protester or a reporter covering the campaign. John McCain may like to say that these are simply fringe individuals and how dare the media criticize the Veterans' Wives For McCain with their "you, know, little hats" who make up the bulk of his supporters. Well, John, I have news for you. I AM a veteran's wife and I know bullshit when I hear it.

All of this makes for some interesting political theatre, but the implications are grim for our nation's collective future. Americans may love to chant "U.S.A! U.S.A!", but that aggressive nationalism appears to undercut the reality of America's true diversity. With a large voting block now on an IV drip of unprecedented belligerent propaganda,
we are beginning to see the first stirrings of true violence. One American turned against another American, not in civil disagreement, but mano a mano.

Certainly, the Colorado Women Against Palin protest scheduled for the upcoming Palin rally in Loveland on Monday should be interesting. I was planning on getting a ticket and bringing our video camera, but perhaps, for fear of my own safety, I will instead document the proceedings from outside the Events Center. What shame.

Posted by bethamsel at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2008

Colorado Women Against Palin Gets Some Press in Huff Po

I could not be more pleased to discover that the peaceful protest Colorado Women Against Palin staged the day Sarah Palin appeared in Centennial two weeks ago merited a piece in the Huffington Post! Mayhill Fowler wrote a very nice report on our gathering and captured the spirit of our endeavor (and a few pictures to boot). Even with my nose running and having to evade water bottles hurled out of pick up truck windows, it was incredibly empowering to be part of the process. Democracy in action!

Protesting Palin Down the Road in Swing State Colorado - Mayhill Fowler

Posted by bethamsel at 9:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Republican Party Doesn't Want To Talk With Me.

It is now considered de rigeur for American political candidates to engage in heavy handed negative campaign tactics aimed at the outraged emotional heart of the lowest common human denominator. George Bush I had the infamous and tasteless Willie Horton ad. George Bush II had the carpet bombing "McCain has an illegitimate black baby" calls in South Carolina. Now we have the McCain campaign's unrelenting drive for the American people to see Barack Obama as a black, Muslim terrorist who doesn't "see America as you and I see America." Wink. Wink.

We have already endured ten days of She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, the presumed GOP VP, race baiting and hate mongering at rallies all over the country. Apparently inciting fear based violence against one's political opponent is now considered acceptable behavior from a major party candidate, regardless of the damage it inflicts on the health of the nation.

On October 12th, Time magazine ran an article by Karen Tumulty on the a new campaign tactic adopted by Virginia state GOP Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick:

With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he said. "That is scary." It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama's controversial association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked. "And he won't salute the flag," one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born."

According to the McCain campaign itself, in order to shore up his flagging Virginia polling numbers, Senator John McCain is scheduled attend a GOP rally this Saturday in Woodbridge, VA. With Jeffrey Fredrick. Such an appearance does not give the impression of a tacit endorsement of Fredrick's campaign strategy. It actually is a flat out endorsement. Considering McCain was practically foaming at last night's debate over what he perceives as Obama's negative campaigning, one would think McCain would want his own campaign to stick to the facts. Well, McCain's very actions prove otherwise.

Today, while perusing the news, I came a cross a startling article in the San Francisco Chronicle which further illuminates the lows to which the GOP has sunk in order to get its man into the White House.

Violent anti-Barack Obama rhetoric - such as "Waterboard Barack Obama" - and images linking the Democratic presidential candidate to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden appeared this week on the official Web site of the Sacramento County Republican Party, the latest in a series of increasingly graphic attacks nationwide on the Illinois senator that seek to cast him as a terrorist sympathizer.

As if Fredrick's campaign approach wasn't horrifying enough, now we have a GOP office with "Waterbaord Obama" on it's official page. I decided to call the office directly to find out what the hell they were thinking. I found their telephone number on their website, and gave them a ring. The brief conversation went as follows:

"Good afternoon, Sacramento County Republican Headquarters."
"Hi! I am a registered independent voter and the wife of a Navy veteran in a swing state and I am wondering if the news reports are true that you posted on your official website 'Waterbaord Obama!'"
"You're going to have to call our Communications Director Hector Barajas."
"You can't just tell me what was on your website?"
"You have to call our Communications Director Hector Barajas."
"What is your name, please?"
"I am not going to tell you that."

With that, I was given Mr. Barajas's telephone number and hung up on. I called Mr. Barajas. According to his out going message, he is actually the California State Republican Party's Communications Director. So I was shuttled up the chain of command because, apparently, the Sacramento County Republican Headquarters was no longer permitted to speak on its own behalf. They were permitted to put hate speech on their website to rally their base, but because they were caught by the media, they have had their reins pulled up.

I left a message with Mr. Barajas asking for an explanation, but as just another voting citizen, I don't truly expect to receive one. I decide to again call the Sacramento office to give Ms. Anonymous GOP staffer another shot at explaining their campaign approach.

"Good afternoon, Sacramento County Republican Headquarters."
"Hi, I called earlier about your website. I called Mr. Barajas and left him a message, but I thought I would call you back one more time just to ask if you could confirm that you had posted 'Waterboard Obama' on your website."
"You really have to speak with Hector Barajas."
"Yes, you told me that once already, but I am an independent voter in a swing state and I am trying to get a clear picture of how John McCain is running his campaign for President, so I am hoping you can just tell me a little bit about the way in which the Sacramento County Republicans are campaigning for John McCain."
"Listen, you are going to have to call Hector Barajas. He is much more knowledgeable about this subject than me (sic). I can not comment on this matter. He is the man you should speak with."
"So you are not going to tell me anything about your official website."
"I told you no."
"OK, then. That's all I need to know."

And, really, that is all I need to know. The individual GOP campaign headquarters are now approaching this campaign in the most undignified manner possible in the hope that there are enough uninformed Americans who will vote from a place of ignorant terror. This has nothing to do with the economy, or the failing wars on two fronts, or the fact that the bill for said wars has never actually been included in the national budget. This has nothing to do with the personal debt crisis looming on the horizon like a darkened iceberg, or how you and I will pay for health insurance as we age, or tax cuts or tax increases. This has nothing to do with eight years of unprecedented deficit spending, or the failing national infrastructure, or the fact that buying canned beer gives you a better return on your investment than most financial stocks. The McCain campaign is now about portraying Barack Obama in the most negative light possible, regardless of truth or reality, in the hope that the American public is as easily manipulated as they believe. Well, I choose hope over fear because I think we can do better and that we deserve better, regardless of how little John McCain actually thinks of the American people.

I leave you with a little food for thought, straight from the horse's mouth in 2000:

The California State Republican Party's Communications Director Hector Barajas did, indeed, call me back. He left a message and we are now playing phone tag. I will keep you posted.

Posted by bethamsel at 3:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 9, 2008

Are We going to Pay For This As Well? WTF, Wachovia?!?

According to a piece on Daily Kos this evening, Wachovia Bank, the very bank that is on the brink of utter and total collapse, the very bank whose solvency is so questionable that CitiCorp and Wells Fargo are picking over its desiccated bones, has just offered up an emergency $8,000,000 (yup, that's 8 million) cash loan to the Republican National Congressional Committee to help out in getting those GOP candidates into the House. A bank that is so ruinous it would need to be NATIONALIZED were it not for Wells Fargo's interest is handing over 8 million bucks to the RNCC. That stinks like something dead in the sun.

On the other hand, at least this wasn't a post about She Who Shall Not Be Named!

Posted by bethamsel at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All Pretense of Impartiality Goes Out That Window

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Last Saturday, when I was pulling the Egg into a parking space at the Centennial Airport, having arrived to join other Colorado Women Against Palin in peaceful protest, I noticed a older man getting out of a pick up truck covered in McCain stickers a few spaces behind me. I had no more opened my door before he yelled at me, "I guess you don't read, do ya." Oh, jesus, here we go. I donned the most beatific smile my jaw could hold and with every fiber of patient kindness I could muster, I turned toward him and asked, in my most calm, first grade teacher voice (yeah, uh-huh, it sounded just as condescending as I am describing), "Now, what would make you say a silly thing like that?" And thus began twenty minutes of patiently cornering and twisting off every single crazy, bullshit argument against Obama this bigoted, xenophobic, sexist, dumb shit American could throw my way.

I am balls out tired of holding in my elitist nature, damn it. I AM educated! I DO cherish critical thought. I DO read newspapers, even the ones I don't agree with (what better way to craft a tight argument?). I had a father who dragged his life out of a one room tenement with no electricity or toilet, who worked through middle school, high school, college and medical school so that he could provide for his children a better, safer childhood than he had. In my household, education WAS religion and every day were expected to worship the twin gods of vocabulary and science. I will be damned if I will sit back and watch an entire political party say on one hand they want to fund education and then on the other, dish this "reg'lar American" bullshit to the smallest minded, the least informed, and the most easily manipulated, winking while reminding Joe Six Pack to fear those more educated than himself.

In the last four days we have seen racism and fear intentionally and proudly injected into the Republican's campaign strategy as a way to "rally their troops" or, in my opinion, whip up the most noxious mob frenzy since the end of the Wiemer Republic (their economy was in a panicked crisis as well). I recognize deft mob manipulation when I see it. It was this very kind of hate mongering that the Nazis effectively employed in Germany in the 1930's to sell their brand of fascism to "the people." It was this kind of pandering to the lowest common human denominator, the rawest form of emotional and visceral hatred, that allowed half of my family to be decimated in Europe.

Take the following, for example:
“The inheritance which has fallen to us is a terrible one. The task with which we are faced is the hardest which has fallen to American statesmen within the memory of man. But we are all filled with unbounded confidence for we believe in our people and their imperishable virtues. Every class and every individual must help us to found the new America.

The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.

Now, people of America, give us four years and then pass judgment upon us. May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for America.”

It sure sounds like Palin's recent speeches, doesn't it? What with the "difficult road ahead" and how she and McCain aren't running for themselves but for America. Country First! It speaks to a great deal of what normal American life should look like, moral and Christian (as opposed to "that one" who sees "palls around with terrorists"). All that talk of "unity" and "mavericky bipartisanship".

Exchange every "America" with Germany and you get my point. The above excerpt is taken from a speech Adolf Hitler gave to the German people on February 1, 1933 one week after being named German Chancellor by German President Hindenburg. Call it hyperbole, but I see no difference in Sarah Palin's dangerous political grandstanding. When the Vice-Presidential nominee doesn't see fit to stop her speech to quell the chants of "terrorist!" or "kill him!" or "treason!" then not only is she encouraging this outrageous behavior, but she is not fit to govern this nation. I hate to pull out the Jew card (after all, I only get a couple of them upon birth), but we have been down this race baiting, hate-mongering road before and it doesn't end well.

In the end, the hate spewing McCain supporter and I agreed to disagree. I couldn't convince him that Obama was the better man to lead this country (and that he isn't a terrorist) or that McCain's voting record regarding veterans' issues is miserable and he couldn't convince me that Obama's tax increases were going to kill my family and leave us starved to death. With a rictus grin plastered to my face and a relieved laugh, we said our goodbyes. A half hour later, he drove past me standing on the sidewalk and gave me the finger. Lovely.

Be careful the seeds you sow, for ignorance can breed a mighty beast:

I promise, from here on out, unless Sarah Palin pulls out a shotgun and starts firing off shells into the air at her rallies, there will be no more mention of That Woman. She is, from here on out, persona non grata and, like Voldemort, She Who Will Not Be Named. Because I believe in HOPE and, quite honestly, we as a species can be better than this.

Posted by bethamsel at 4:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 8, 2008

Like My Mamma Always Says, People in Glass Houses...

The level to which the current presidential campaign has descended should surprise no one. After all, we are a nation that incubated two of the greatest manipulative, mean spirited, hate-mongers in contemporary history, Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. These two men innately understood the power in tweaking bigotry, xenophobia, and visceral fear. Lee Atwater himself acknowledged that the more uneducated the target audience, the easier it was to incite anger and moral outrage. Atwater may have renounced his life's actions on his deathbed, but he had already opened Pandora's Box for a new generation of political strategists. Interesting, then, that the only value to remain within said box was hope.

I have been working for two days on a separate post regarding Sarah Palin's recent injection of racism and hate-mongering into the campaign (including her apparent glee in inciting an audience member at a recent campaign stop to cheer "Kill Him!" in regards to Obama). In the meantime, I thought I would post a recently aired "Special Comment" from MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

As my nutty mother loves to say, "Those in glass houses should not throw stones!" Someone should mention to Ms. Palin, that when she skillfully nudges her audiences to chant "terrorist" in response to Obama and demands "truthfulness" from her opponent, she is throwing open her own closet doors and inviting the bright light of inquiry. Or perhaps Ms. Palin thinks that as long as she refuses to give a press conference, she is above public reproach. That must be it.

Posted by bethamsel at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)

October 7, 2008

God, Country, and Marriage, Oh My!

Recently on Facebook, a polite debate took place regarding the definition of marriage, which quickly progressed into a discussion of God and "his" place at the American political table. While I have little interest in what the founding fathers whispered before bed and whether or not those intimate principles should define this nation, I do feel it's important to question the relevance of "god" in regards to marriage, which is a civil filing with your resident state. My husband and I were married at city hall. Never once while we were signing the paperwork was the word "god" uttered, nor is it mentioned in our contract with the State of Colorado (aka: our marriage license). I have not found in the federal Constitution justification for the accouterment that accompany religion holding dominion over a civil, legal procedure.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), by Barry A. Kosmin, Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (2001), the religious demographic within this country includes, along with mainstream Christian denominations, the following: Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist, Pagan, Wiccan, Spiritualist, Native American, Baha'I, New Age, Sikh, Scientologist, Taoist, Deity, Druid, Eckankar, Santaria, Rastafarian. Also represented are self described agnostics, atheists, and those who stated “no religion what so ever”.

Regardless what the Evangelical community cries about the true Christian nature of America, regardless that Bill Gothard and his evangelical Institute in Basic Life Principles would love to fundamentally change this country one town at a time, and regardless of the Pledge of Allegience (written, btw, in 1892 not during the Revolution), we are not actually One Nation Under One God. We are a nation of many gods and none at all. That's the beauty of it.

Posted by bethamsel at 8:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 4, 2008

Do Unto Others...

Morning is not electric for me. I do best with about ten hours in bed and need an hour or two before I morph back into some semblance of human right around noon. How I got my ass up and out of the house this morning at 7am is beyond me, as I didn't really catch up with the world till I was halfway to Denver (so strange to snap to it when you're behind the wheel, zipping along an interstate at 75). Nothing could have possibly enticed me, after a week of struggling with this autumn cold, other than the thrill of protesting Sarah Palin's appearance in Centennial. Colorado Women Against Palin organized the peaceful protest and it was both exhilarating and enlightening. I am too tired to go into details this evening, but let me give you just a few choice names I was called from the passenger window of passing pick up trucks: bitch, fucking bitch, stupid fucking bitch, asshole, stupid asshole, stupid fucking asshole. And then there came the addition of the imperative verbs: Die bitch; Die, you stupid bitch; Die, you stupid fucking bitch. And so on. Old men gave me the finger. Bleach blond, permed mothers sporting curled bangs screamed at me to fuck off over their children in the passenger seat. Anyone who doesn't think this country is bitterly divided along political and ideological lines has not recently stood at a ten lane intersection with a political sign. Yesiree. I saw a good deal of hate today, raw and furious, and heard a great deal of inaccurate ignorance. Luckily, there was a great deal of support to temper the impact. I'll write more tomorrow after a full night's sleep, but I will leave you with this David Letterman clip form last night. Enjoy!

Posted by bethamsel at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 3, 2008

Liar, Liar, Pants, er, Skirt On Fire.

It's the middle of the night, but unfortunately, I am jacked on Sudafed. I watched the debate and I have to say, outright, I am now officially in love with Joe Biden. Who knew? He was dignified, knowledgeable, visibly experienced, articulate, succinct, and (as my 80 year old mother would say) a man of class. He spoke to all of the issues I care about and proved himself to be an effective leader and impressive proxy. I will waste no energy on Sarah Palin as she, obviously, wasted no energy on correct grammar construction or educating herself beyond route, empty talking points (so that's what Americans get after five days of debate camp).

Instead I will lead you to one of my favorite blogs, deusexmalcontent. Chez, as enlightening as always, has a much better take on the Governor than I can muster at this late hour.

For those interested in playing the home version of Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, check out Factcheck.org, a non-partisan website that take candidates to task for their whoppers. Ah! Truthiness!

Posted by bethamsel at 1:33 AM | Comments (1)

October 2, 2008

McCain Kinda, Sorta Supports Veterans. Actually? Not So Much.

OK, I know it seems as if my writing has been consumed by the election as of late. I guess that's what happens when a political junkie finds herself suddenly, unexpectedly in a swing state. Colorado is currently being inundated by political ads, campaign stops, candidate appearances, pollsters and I find the process fascinating. Maybe it's because I feel that we finally, as a nation, have the opportunity to rise above the level to which we've descended over the last seven years. I feel so hopeful these days.

Well, today I feel less exhilarated and more sniffly. Quarantined in bed, as I have been for the last four days, has given me ample time to read on line and watch cable news programs (jesus, I had no idea the crap that passes for news on tv these days). Yes, I even read newspapers! All of 'em, any of 'em that, um, have been in front of me. The New York Times and the Boulder Weekly, just to name two.

My apologies to those of you who are sick of politics, sick of the news, sick of current events (as they were called in grade school), but this is the gear I seem to be grinding. It's better than smoking crack in a dimly lit stall of a gas station bathroom, that's for damn sure.

With that said, shall we move on to McCain? With the amount of tissues I am destroying and the red, raw look I am sporting, I have to cancel my jaunt this afternoon down to Denver to participate in John and Cindy's town hall meeting. I'll just have to rely on his Senate voting record to make an informed opinion about him.

Which leads me to today's episode of Liar, Liar Pants on Fire! If you watched the Presidential debates last week, you heard John McCain, just after reminding us of his POW experience (although, truthfully, it sounded as if he was just in prison), say the following:

"I know the veterans, I know them well, and I know that they know that I'll take care of them, and I have been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans, and I love them, and I'll take care of them, and they know that I'll take care of them."

My husband is a Navy veteran. He served his country proudly and honorably and I admire the experience for which he volunteered during the first Gulf War. I would never presume to speak for him, but when McCain uttered the above words, my beautiful husband actually snorted and then laughed. Loudly. He continue to laugh as he muttered, "Bullshit!" and walked out of the room. Baby, when you've got veterans laughing, the very people you're pimping in your campaign, you've got a problem. So, I did a little digging.

Via Crooks and Liars, one of my favorite fact check websites, I found a GREAT web resource outlining exactly how McCain has voted on veteran and troop issues over the years. Vetvoice.com is a diary compendium edited by Army veteran Brandon Friedman that focuses on veteran and troop issues. The posts written by enlisted men are an incredible read and offer a perspective rarely heard in the mainstream media.

Friedman wrote an incredibly detailed post regarding McCain's voting record. This is not conjecture, opinion, or partisan politics. McCain's voting history is public record. It's fact. If you're voting for McCain based on the notion that he cares deeply for the American veteran, please read Friedman's post. It is an education regarding how McCain has truly treated our vets. McCain states that the vets know that he will take care of them. Based on what exactly?

For a detailed description of all the bills mentioned in the VetVoice's piece, or for any public record information regarding political officials' bios, party affiliation, speeches, issue positions, interest group ratings, committees, sponsorships, votes, and campaign finances, please visit Project Smart Vote. There you can search for your representatives and view their actual records. A little information is a powerful thing.

McCain's Miserable Record of Not Supporting America's Troops and Veterans - VetVoice.com
McCain’s Awful Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues - crooksandliars.com

Posted by bethamsel at 9:47 AM | Comments (0)

October 1, 2008

John McCain's Women's Town Hall Meeting Tomorrow in Denver

My nose is chapped red and running, my body aches as if I got caught up under a bus, and I am a sweaty, sweaty girl, but god damn it, I am going to get up tomorrow morning, take a shower, wash my hair, put clothes on that don't involve a drawstring, and drive myself down to Denver. I am going to John McCain's "Women's Issues" Town Hall Meeting.

Since this cold has settled in like a tick, I moved my office tv into the bedroom for a little bed-bound, non-reading activity. This morning I could not sleep, stuffed as I was, so I flipped it on and caught my very first ever morning news program (I am not a rise and shine person). In between the local weather and a seemingly incongruous puff piece on assembling and baking twenty minute tartlets (I am not a breakfast person, apparently, either), announcements regarding the elections aired and what do you know? John and Cindy McCain are going to be in Denver tomorrow afternoon to have one of their "informal" Town Hall meetings! And the subject? Women's Issues! Oh my god, it felt like my birthday all over again. Unlike Michelle Obama's voter registration rally in Boulder today, which was open to the public and easily accessible for all, the McCain event was a by-ticket-only affair. What are the chances I would be able to get a ticket?!?

It was only 8am and this was the first I had heard of it. I did a little search on line and initially couldn't find info anywhere on the event (nothing on the McCain/Palin website). Eventually, buried deep in the Rocky Mountain News site, I found a listed number to call. A VERY chipper young man, Ron, answered the phone (who the hell is that happy at 8:15 in the morning?) and asked how he could help me.

"I just heard that John McCain is going to be in Denver tomorrow and I would LOVE to get two tickets to the event!"
"That's great! Can I get a little info from you?"
"Um, Ok"

Ron proceeded to ask me for quite a bit of personal information, just short of my birthday, social security number, and bra size. He then asked the same questions regarding my friend Emily, for whom I was procuring a second ticket. He did not, however, ask me for my or Emily's party affiliation. I was surprised about this, as I have been trying to get in to see President Bush speak for eight years and have never been able to get within two miles of him. Seriously.

Ron then asked if I would be coming in to my local McCain headquarters to pick up the tickets and would I be willing to volunteer my time in the crucial coming days. Um, no and no. Luckily, I can simply pick the tickets up at the will-call table at the event. Whew! So, easy as ordering a pizza, I was able to secure two tickets to tomorrow's Town Hall Meeting with the McCains.

I am a registered Independent. Even though I don't get invited to the primary parties here in Colorado, I just can not bring myself to name an allegiance. I am an American and a voter. Beyond that, I expect the the parties to work a little harder, with a little bit more integrity than they have exhibited in recent years to prove that they deserve my registration, my affiliation, or my whole hearted devotion.

Those of you who read my journal regularly know where I stand in this election. I have abandoned the past efforts of 2000 and 2004 to simply encourage people to vote and keep my own political opinions to myself. The stakes are too high at this point in history and I have made my peace with loosing listeners, record buyers, and audience members. I have accepted myself as a political creature at the risk of being rejected by the people who have given me a career over the last decade. I am putting my literal money where my mouth is. Such is life.

That being said, I would be one flaming hypocrite if I stood from the sidelines and condemned a candidate without ever personally attending a rally or at least attempting to ask him/her a question. I want to hear the bullshit right from the source, so to speak. After all, had I never had that ridiculous conversation with Fred Thompson's media manager and aspiring musician grandson, I never could have said with such totally and utter conviction that his campaign was as flimsy as a single ply tissue.

With this in mind, I am going to go down to Denver tomorrow afternoon and give the Senator two hours of my time for his so-called "Women's Issues" town hall meeting. We'll see if I can get a question in. Such as:

Or, more to the point, as my beautiful friend Heidi wrote to me this afternoon, what about simply, "What the fuck, Senator?" Do you think I'll be accused of GOTCHA! journalism?

Posted by bethamsel at 5:04 PM | Comments (0)