Thursday, January 03, 2008

Comes Now the Deluge

LA Times carried a story on Tuesday that described what follows the initial round of voting in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. Candidates not garnering 15 percent of more of the vote are not viable, their supporters free to do as they please. Naturally, the front runners are looking at scavenging those votes. All very natural, and not surprising to anyone familiar with caucus procedures. The whole idea is a group coming together to reach a consensus.

Washington parties caucus on February 9. My precinct caucus site is literally right down the block. I’ll go as a Kucinich supporter and a vote in favor of a resolution demanding that Congress impeach and remove CheneyBush from both offices. The impeachment resolution is my opportunity to call this rouge administration to account. Supportingr Kuncinich at the caucus probably won’t make any difference since Washington also has a presidential primary on February 19. However it works, the caucus and primary election will make for some interesting times. Washington sent Kucinich delegates to the 2004 Democratic convention so he’s likely to have some support here. The campaign also gives me the opportunity to meet more people, always a plus when you’re new in town.

But a time will come that Dennis Kucinich will no longer be “viable” in any place other than wishful fantasy. Then, I must choose what I will do as a citizen in this election year. One choice is to opt out of the entire affair and become a Happy Idiot, centered on the god of consumption and my own little world. Not a likely choice for a number of reasons, most of them admirable. That leaves me with choosing among the remaining candidates. My second choice, Bill Richardson, is only slightly more viable than Kucinich, although Richardson is sometimes said to be a good shot at vice-president.

Clinton, Edwards and Obama are pretty much a wash in my mind. All have strengths and weaknesses, possibilities and limits. None really offer much real change despite their lofty rhetoric. Edwards may have the best “message” in his recognition of the Two Americas but I don’t see that he would be any better or worse than Obama or Clinton in offering real solutions rather than token efforts at the margins. I’m definitely conflicted about Clinton. She’s every bit as qualilfied as any candidate running for president, she’s tough as nails and could easily be a formidable leader like Golda Mier, Indira Ghandi or Margaret Thatcher. Obama seems the weakest of the to me–four years in the Senate and community organizing doesn’t look like strong experience. He’s more of a motivational speaker and inspiration than than a man with the experience and judgement to lead the United States. But then, Edwards only has six years in the Senate, so he’s pretty light on experience too. Clinton’s time in elected office is also limited but she’s had 16 years national experience and before that was involved with public affairs.

Strengths and weaknesses. Possibilities and limits. But each Democrat is far and away better than any likely Republican presidential candidate. A three way tie in Iowa that left the whole affair in doubt would be fine with me. Same for the Republican side, although a big showing by Ron Paul would be fun to see. More chaos and uncertainty might just change something.

And something's going on in New Hampshire, too, I hear.

Regardless of what happens today, I’ll go a-caucusing in February.


Michael Moore has some thoughts on the candidates.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

We Withdraw Our Earlier Warning

Please disregard the previous post about veterans' benefits. I have it on good authority that the warning is a rehash of a five year old deadline, which now that I recall, I remember. I did, in fact, sign up just ahead of that 2003 deadline. This time around I thought another deadline for yet another screw job was in the works.

Since the rumor lived and died during a holiday weekend, I doubt if too many people acted on it. I apologize for any inconvenience, such as it may have been.

(h/t to Jim at Mockingbird's Medley.)


Monday, December 31, 2007

31 December 2007

The New Year fireworks are starting. Sporadic but noticeable. 2008 is already 15 hours old but Olympia and the west coast are still have four hours to go, so greater mischief will be afoot later. I may be pretty inert by that time, so mischief will carry on with others.

This time of transition usually compels the talking heads and officials to offer (usually more of an attempt at offering) profound insights. You won't get any of that here. The most profound thing you'll get from me this night is "Embrace silliness and possibility. Giggle, dream and share. Always."

Best wishes for 2008. I sincerely hope the coming year will be much better for everyone, everywhere, than 2007.



Tell Every Veteran You Know

I'm passing this along in its entirety. It's something each of us can do to actually support the troops.

If you are a veteran or you know one, please read and pass this along. I'm
sending this to my whole address book because I've seen the main stream
press ignoring this since it passed in 2003 and the Democrats seem to be
also ignoring it until it's too late. I hope you will join me in spreading
the word so all of our veteran friends and loved ones are covered as

Veterans Need to Enroll in VA Healthcare Before January 17

As another brilliant example of the Bush Administration supporting our
troops, hidden in one of the many bills passed during the
Republican-controlled Congress was a little-noticed provision to cut off VA
Health Care for millions of veterans from all our wars of aggression.

Under this provision, any veteran who is 0% service-connected (not disabled
by being wounded or otherwise injured during their service) will be unable
to enroll in VA Health Care after January 17, 2008. This ends a promise made
to vets that has stood since WWII, that their health care needs would be
taken care of in perpetuity.

ALL VETERANS: Take a copy of your DD214 and RUN do not walk to your nearest
VA Clinic and enroll in VA Health Care - even if you don't need it right
now! If you lose your civilian health insurance and need to fall back on VA
Health Care - you will not be able to unless you enroll now.

IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WAR VETS: This applies to you as well - only the news
is actually worse. In the last military appropriation bill, your "free"
health care was extended from two years to five. Yes, you heard right - you
are currently only entitled to two years of free health care - even if you
have seen combat. After Bush vetoed the military spending bill, which
contained another three years, you are back to TWO WHOLE YEARS!

EVERYONE: Write to your Congresscritters and protest this asinine policy. I
am a veteran - who never saw combat during the Vietnam era. I am enrolled,
and as such, am entitled to whatever healthcare I need for the rest of my
life. I have no other health insurance (due to pre-existing conditions and
past medical problems) so the VA system is my lifeline. But why in the world
are the combat veterans of our latest idiotic wars being told they can only
have TWO YEARS? Some ailments do not become apparent until much later. For
instance - Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange develop diabetes at a rate
that has resulted in an automatic assignment to a special group for care.
However, this diabetes does not develop in some cases for 10-20 years later.
Another example - Gulf War vets from the first time who suffer from Gulf War
Syndrome develop strange cancers and other problems - but much later than
two years after the fact - and many are still fighting to get their
diagnoses confirmed.

This is totally nuts - and is yet another example of the Bush
Administration's support of the valiant fighting men and women - NOT!

So...if you are a vet - or you know one - urge them all to go sign up. Even
if they don't need it. Right now. Even if they have heard horror stories.
Even if they never use it. Sign up anyway. We need to send a message that VA
Health Care is a right for ALL VETERANS as compensation for their service.
(The pay certainly isn't much!)