SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON FACES TYPICAL DOUBLE STANDARD IN SOUTH KOREA QUESTIONS

Deciding that matters of state are less important than Hillary Clinton’s views on love, the South Korean press corps perpetuated the alive-and-well attitude that women just don’t deserve the same respect as men when it comes to their roles in high government positions.

Clinton has been traveling abroad this past week, and, of course, has faced the requisite press corps’ questioning rituals.  But, hold the phone, stop the presses, among the questions asked of the Secretary of State during press coverage in South Korea was a completely-less-than-serious question about her thoughts on the “nature of love.” You’ve got to be kidding!  The question came from a “giggly” college student, but drew a tremendous amount of press attention.

In the history of our country, we have had 67 secretaries of state – 3 of whom have been women.  Does anyone honestly believe that this type of question would have been asked of the likes of Colin Powell, Warren Christopher, Alexander Haig, George Schultz, or any of the other 60 male secretaries of state?  Of course not!

And, Hillary, ever gracious, gave her thoughts on the world-shattering issue of the “nature of love” by discussing her relationship with her husband, former President Bill Clinton – which, frankly I suspect was the underlying reason for the question in the first place.  Nary a day passes without some smart-ass comment, cartoon, or slam about his “sexual proclivities” even though the scandals have long passed.

Clinton joked at the start of her response that “I feel like more of an advice columnist than a Secretary of State today.”  Come on people, shame on you, and, if it was a woman reporter who carried the news forward – double shame on you for trivializing the position that Hillary Clinton holds.  It’s time to get serious when women hold positions of power.

Photo Credit: CBS News – Political Hotsheet

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The shifting of the issues from a focus on our global economic mess and the deteriorating state of foreign affairs to a flippant and intrusive question about the nature of love is downright demeaning.  Clinton is an excellent secretary of state who is knowledgeable, intelligent, and energetic when it comes to foreign relations.   To twirl off into the ethereal world of the nature of love has nothing to do with foreign affairs, but it sure has everything to do with the double standard applied to women in positions of authority.

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WHERE DID PALIN GET HER GLASSES? WHO CARES?

In the latest round of nonsensical twaddle in this year’s presidential election, voters are more focused on Sarah Palin’s glasses than on answers to real issues. One headline shouts, “Sarah Palin’s Much-in-demand Glasses Bring Sexy Back.” Wow, way to demean women. Palin becomes a talking bobble head with a pair of glasses.

Voters – and I would assume most of the vision-struck are women – seem to be more interested in Palin’s glasses then her anti-choice and anti Roe v. Wade, anti-ANWR, anti-global warming, pro-book banning, pro-creationism in schools positions, just to name a few.

Photo Credit: The Stump

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But, if you want a pair, they come from a Japanese designer. The frame is from Kazuo Kawasaki’s 704 series, in grey, made from titanium and mounted via a screwless tension system. The price starts at $375 for the frame and can go up to $700, depending on the lens. Guess that puts them out of my range. I paid just under a hundred dollars for both lens and frame at J.C. Penney. And, even then, I was looking for something less expensive. I hadn’t needed glasses for over 30 years, so it was quite a shock.

What is it with media and voters? When it comes to women candidates, their accessories trump their intelligence, values, positions, and ability to lead. Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits provided fodder for the media and voters on a daily basis as they tried to guess what color she would wear. She was labeled “dowdy” and “chunky.” Never mind her accomplishments throughout her life and her current position as a well-liked and respected senator. Never mind that she put up one hell of a fight for the opportunity to represent the Democratic party in this November’s election.

When Katie Couric stepped into the CBS nightly news slot as the anchor woman, the media went into a frenzy about what she would wear. Would it be a pantsuit? Would it be a dress? What colors would she wear? How many in the media and viewers care about what Bob Schieffer, Charlie Gibson, or George Stephanopoulus wear when they appear on their programs?

When focus is turned to such meaningless issues as clothing and accessories, the media and male political establishment have effectively diminished the ability of women to be taken seriously. Now, back to Palin’s glasses – they are simply glasses. Are they really so important that voters – in particular Republican women voters – cannot tear themselves away from looking at them? Are they really so mesmerizing that women will ooh and ah and become brain dead on issues?

While I don’t particularly care what Republican women do, I do care how women of all races, parties, and ages are perceived. The fixation on Palin’s glasses does a tremendous disservice to women in both political parties. So now you know where she got them. And, I still say who cares?

OBAMA AND THE PREACHER PROBLEM

Ah, the newest in a string of unfortunate Obama preacher associations has stepped to the forefront of the national scene. This time it is a Catholic priest, the Reverend Michael Phleger, who decided it was time to step up to the plate and put on a truly disgusting display for all the cheering, hooting religious zealots at the Trinity United Church of Christ – Obama’s church of 20 plus years.

Phleger resigned about two weeks ago from an unpaid position on the Obama campaign’s Catholic advisory council. Is it just coincidence that Obama’s affiliations include these “preachers” who spew such hate and vindictiveness? Is it really possible that Obama didn’t have any idea that these two men of God were so steeped in hatred and vindictiveness? The one was his minister of over 20 years and the other was on a council advising his campaign.

The YouTube clip is incredible. Here we have a grown Catholic priest – a man of the cloth acting like a child. And, the church members hooting, shouting, and cheering his tirade.

And if you are naive enough to think that the African-American community doesn’t condone this outrageous conduct, then just look at the grown adults behind the priest jumping up and down with glee. Too often this election has focused on what has been perceived as racism from the white community, yet watching this tirade, it is quite obvious that the African-American community is replete with racism and sexism as well.

Is it any more excusable than white racism or sexism? Absolutely not. These two ministers should be ashamed of themselves for setting such a hypocritical example for their followers. And Obama needs to explain how it is that he is such a poor judge of people that he has tied himself to these individuals who see hatred as a way of life. Incidents like these only drive wedges between the two camps and will make it all the more difficult to pull together to reach a common goal.

MEDIA DUMPS ON HILLARY INSTEAD OF OBAMA AND McCAIN

A new Gallup poll conducted between May 19th and May 21st verifies what many of us Hillary supporters have said all along – the media has been harsher on Hillary than it has been on Obama and McCain. While the poll found overall that media coverage of all three candidates has been “about right”, those polled were inclined to side with the view that the media has treated Hillary more harshly than the male candidates.

The poll is below:

The poll is only one indicator of the difference in treatment between Hillary and the men. Early on, a nutcracker in the likeness of Hillary Clinton complete with stainless steel thighs made its rounds – and is still making its rounds. Those who hate Hillary laughed and chuckled and thought it was such a “cute” idea. The nutcracker is still available on the internet and is still sold in a number of locations.

If something of the same nature would have been done with an Obama figure who was, say, eating watermelon or picking cotton, the nation would have been in an uproar and the outrage would have probably led to pulling the items. Or, how about a McCain figure in a prisoner of war cage? Citizens would have been outraged.

Of course, there will be those who argue that to do a parody on slavery or sacrifice during war would be sacreligious. But degradation is degradation is degradation. Where is the line to be drawn?

Perhaps the notion that a woman can be tough and smart and ambitious strikes fear into those men – and women – who have low self-esteem. And there must be plenty of them gaging by the comments that have been made about Hillary and her “man crushing” powers.

The nutcracker is but a reflection of how, in reality, we have changed very little as a nation. While we pass laws to ensure equality, and we work hard to put on the face of acceptance, the truth is we still have a long way to go.

THE REAL POWER PRIZE FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT – SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENTS

As we wind down the Democratic primary race for the presidency, we are left with a sense of tension and division. It has been a long road with attacks from both parties against each other and a split among the various demographic groups comprising our voting base.

I have accepted at this point that I will not see my dream of a woman president in my lifetime. Just as African-Americans have flocked to Barack Obama in droves that reflect their desire to see one of their own succeed, women, too, have voted for Hillary Clinton to witness the ultimate “glass” ceiling shattered.

The polls indicate that both Obama supporters and Clinton supporters may desert the Democratic party to vote for John McCain. This is a betrayal which cannot be justified. We are Democrats first; then we pick our candidates to support.

But overshadowing our current divisions is the specter that no one seems to be discussing. That is the ability the next president will have to appoint at least one justice and perhaps more. We cannot let that individual be John McCain.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Justice John Paul Stevens recently turned 88 and has been on the Court since December 1975. Although he was appointed by Ford, he is rumored by court watchers to be delaying his exit until the “right” individual takes office. At close to 90 years old, odds are he will exit during the next president’s term.

Four other justices are either now in their 70s or within a few months of being so. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75 and survived a bout with colo-rectal cancer in 1999. Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia were born within a few months of each other in 1936 making them 72 years old. Stephan Breyer rounds out the septuagenarians, turning 70 this summer. David Souter is 68 while Clarence Thomas will turn 60 this summer – a George H.W. Bush appointment in 1991. The two youngest, Samuel Alito and John Roberts are 58 and 53 respectively.

Supreme Court justices serve for life once confirmed. They are selected for their ideological and philosophical views – views that closely match the president responsible for their selection. While a president serves for eight years at the most, Supreme Court justices impact our society and its laws for 20 to 30 years.

Long after the next president is gone, his appointments will be sitting on the bench, making decisions that impact our rights and liberties. Those justices will reflect the views of the next president, and that person cannot be John McCain.

So while I work through my disappointment, I will not lose sight of the fact that I am a Democrat first. And my obligation is to work as hard as possible to ensure that our next president is a Democrat who will appoint justices holding our Democratic values and beliefs.

OBAMA – NO DEBATE STANCE SHOULD CONCERN HOOSIER VOTERS

After the Pennsylvania debate, who could blame Obama for shying away from another head-to-head debate with Clinton? He was not at his usual peak performance in Pennsylvania because his method of operating is presenting lofty speeches to audiences. These speeches – which I have to admit are good – divert attention from his lack of solid and reasoned answers to questions asked in a one-on-one environment.

His ability to use this “slight-of-hand” has served him well since the beginning of his presidential run. However, since the race has been narrowed down to two people, he is struggling to find his niche when the spotlight shines solely on him in a two-person debate.

The nation-wide viewing audience was not well-served by the two hosts who preferred to dwell – and did so for 40 minutes – on issues other than those impacting American families and the economy. When the hosts finally managed to turn their attention to real-life issues, it became apparent that Obama was not as well-versed in specific topics as his supporters would have hoped.

On several occasions he appeared to be searching for words to answer the hosts’ questions. He not only had to search for words but also appeared to not understand the topic of some of the hosts’ questions, in particular, the issue of the capital gains tax. This gave the the appearance both of a lack of knowledge about the relevant topic and of a degree of uncertainty not visible when he is plying an audience with his oratory.

I would imagine his answer – the one he used to decline to debate Clinton – had to trigger quizzical looks. He indicated that they – Clinton and Obama – had already had 21 debates. I tried to think of the 21 times they had debated, and I came to the conclusion he was counting some or all of the the debates held over the past number of months which included anywhere from three to eight candidates.

A debate format involving multiple candidates does very little to give the viewers a sense of each candidate due to time constraints. But when those seven or eight are winnowed down to the final two as is the present case, then one-on-one debates can be crucial. This environment provides not only a view of positions but also how well a candidate has mastered topics through solid experience and the ability to articulate these positions to the viewing audience.

It is no wonder Obama has declined to give Indiana viewers a well-deserved debate. He knows he cannot afford a repeat of his Pennsylvania debate performance. His refusal to debate for Hoosier voters is unacceptable since Hoosier voters are entitled to just as much information and presentation one-on-one as the Pennsylvania voters received.

Obama has debated one-on-one before other “important” primaries. We have heard consistently over the past couple of weeks that Indiana is the make or break state in this race. So, if we are so important, why won’t Obama agree to debate?

Hillary was ready to debate in Indiana; Obama was not. Could it be he sees the writing on the wall and would rather not open himself up to another dismal performance such as the one in Pennsylvania? His lack of topic mastery was painfully displayed at the Pennsylvania debate. Obama’s refusal to debate for Hoosier voters should cause not just consternation but concern about his reasons for ducking the opportunity to debate for us.

A dismal performance in Indiana might very well seal his fate – a loss to Clinton – in Indiana and, ultimately, his fate with the remaining uncommitted superdelegates – a possibility that surely has not gone unnoticed by the Obama strategists.

GREEN FROG HOSTS “CHEERS” BARTENDER TED DANSON

Ted Danson stopped by one of Fort Wayne’s home town bars today to campaign for Hillary Clinton. The smaller Green Frog was the site of a late afternoon visit by Danson, who is a family friend of the Clintons. While Danson encouraged voters to learn about candidates in order to make an informed choice, he emphatically stated that his choice has been made and that choice is Hillary Clinton.

The Green Frog was full of excited onlookers as Danson spoke about his support of Clinton. As Danson finished, he offered to answer questions. One male made poor use of the opportunity by asking if Hillary would ever “wear a skirt.” Without missing a beat, Danson responded by saying that she possibly would if Obama would wear a kilt. Ah, good old sexism is still alive!

Mr. Danson was readily available to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Although many individuals were having their picture taken with Mr. Danson, I opted to shake his hand and thank him for campaigning for Hillary. I figure stars are no different than anyone else – they have opinions about politics and whom they choose to support.

We may have to wait years again before we get the opportunity to be visited by stars at local bars! So Cheers to Ted Danson for visiting our city and one of our local establishments.

OBAMA MISLEADS IN NEW COMMERICAL

While the Obama minions constantly call out Hillary for misleading, Obama has managed to put out a wonderful self-congratulatory commercial touting that he “doesn’t take money from oil companies or PACS.”

He deftly uses the phrase “I don’t take money from oil companies” to convince the listening audience that he, somehow, is different from the other candidates. I guess I am confused – I think there is a difference between “don’t take” and “can’t take”.

The fact is, he doesn’t take money from oil companies because he can’t take money – directly – from corporations. And oil companies are, of course, corporations. Since 1907, candidates have been prohibited from taking such contributions. Federal campaign finance law prohibits that activity as stated in the following excerpt from the Federal Campaign Finance Handbook:

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Prohibited Contributions and Expenditures

The FECA places prohibitions on contributions and expenditures by certain individuals and organizations. The following are prohibited from making contributions or expenditures to influence federal elections:

  • Corporations;
  • Labor organizations;
  • Federal government contractors; and
  • Foreign nationals

Furthermore, with respect to federal elections:

  • No one may make a contribution in another person’s name.
  • No one may make a contribution in cash of more than $100.

In addition to the above prohibitions on contributions and expenditures in federal election campaigns, the FECA also prohibits foreign nationals, national banks and other federally chartered corporations from making contributions or expenditures in connection with state and local elections.

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So his commercial misleads in that all candidates are prohibited from taking money from corporations. Watch the following YouTube clip which includes the misleading statement that has been made by Obama.

Now I am sure many Obama supporters will pooh pooh the notion that the oil company statement is not misleading or a lie, but if Obama and his organization know that campaign finance laws prohibit every candidate from taking oil money, why bother spinning it to look like you don’t take it instead of you can’t take it? Why, to mislead of course!

There’s a world of difference between not taking contributions because you believe it is wrong and not taking contributions because you know you can’t take them anyways. Obama has done a disservice to the voting public by blurring the line in his new commercial.

ELIZABETH EDWARDS BACKS HILLARY’S HEALTHCARE PLAN

Although John and Elizabeth Edwards have not swung their support to either of the remaining candidates, Elizabeth Edwards has let it be known she prefers Hillary’s healthcare plan to Barack Obama’s plan.

Elizabeth Edwards appeared on the Good Morning America show and stated:

“You need that universality in order to get the cost savings,” Edwards said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think they both have the same goal; I just have more confidence in Senator Clinton’s policy than Senator Obama’s on this particular issue.”

Clinton is pushing a plan requiring people to obtain insurance with subsidies so everyone can afford coverage, and Obama is focusing more on affordability to achieve universal coverage, arguing that people won’t get insurance unless they can pay for it.

Photo Credit: JohnEdwards.com’

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While neither Edwards may back a candidate, Elizabeth’s confidence in Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan may go a long way to those who were Edwards’ supporters and have not yet made up their minds.

AMERICAN WORKERS – TAKE A BACK SEAT TO DEMOCRACY-BUILDING

The United States spent two years in negotiations with Peru to settle terms of yet another free-trade agreement. These agreements have consistently been pro-corporation and pro-big business and anti-American worker. Yet our government – the President and the Congress – continue to ignore the needs of American workers in search of countries that may be exploited through the use of “Democracy-building” agreements based on our capitalistic economic system.

From the Heritage Foundation (a right-wing Think Tank):

Failure to complete the agreement would empower Latin America’s anti-democratic “21st Century Socialism” movement and strike a blow against pro-market, pro-democracy reformers in Peru and across Latin America. Approving the agreement would protect vital U.S. interests in the region and also send a strong message of hope to the people of Peru as they recover from a devastating mid-August earthquake that killed hundreds and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Peru (along with Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador) already has nearly complete access to the U.S. market under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) legislation. Indeed, over 90 percent of Peru’s exports to the United States currently enter duty-free. With this entrée to the U.S. market, the Peruvian economy has diversified, leading to healthy economic growth and job creation and providing alternatives to coca production and guerrilla activities, which have ravaged Peru in the past.

And the conclusion of the Heritage Foundation article says it all as to their own, warped philosophical bent:

Should Congress fail to approve the agreement as originally negotiated with Peru, the door will be open to Chavez and other populist demagogues as they pursue their damaging and aggressive economic and political assault on the American values that have produced unprecedented prosperity around the world. Failure to approve the agreement would also undercut the courageous pro-free-market leaders in Peru who have made the politically difficult decision to stand with the United States while opposing alternative regional models. Their political weakening would impact other U.S. efforts, including anti-narcotics cooperation.

Twenty-First Century Socialism is the greatest challenge the U.S. has faced in Latin America since the end of the Cold War. Congress must act to protect both the American people and the peoples of the Andean region from this destructive force.

Although this comes from the Heritage Foundation, which we would think would have this viewpoint, apparently our Congressional representatives in the House and the Senate must be buying into this warped philosophy. In the Senate, both Indiana senators, Lugar and Bayh, voted to pass the bill. Twenty-nine senators had the courage to vote against the bill. This didn’t include either one of the two front-running Democratic presidential candidates – Clinton and Obama just didn’t vote.

In the House of Representatives, the Indiana breakdown was two opposing, five in favor, and two no votes. The two courageous Democrats not supporting the agreement were Joe Donnelly and Pete Visclosky. Souder, Burton, and Pence voted in favor, which could be expected. Carson and Buyer did not vote. Of course, this would have been during the final days of Julia Carson’s illness, so we can understand why she didn’t vote. But Ellsworth and Hill – two more newly elected Democrats? Both voted for the Agreement.

All four Democrats capable of voting should have voted against this free trade agreement, but they didn’t. And on December 14, 2007, the United States – Peru Free Trade Agreement was signed into law by the president.

So yet another free-trade agreement comes into existence. Aren’t our elected officials hearing the pain of the American worker? Or is their fear of losing campaign contributions so great that they will ignore their own constituencies in promoting democracy-building throughout the world.

Here is a statement from the Whitehouse in reference to how good this will be for the Peruvian people:

By removing barriers to U.S. services and investment, the agreement will also help create a secure, predictable legal framework that will help attract U.S. investors.

These agreements are bad for the American worker. I say back to protectionism, if that’s what it takes to protect our workers. But that would require giving up many cheaply-priced goods from all corners of the world. Americans, you have to ask yourself whether or not you would support that trade-off. If not, then we are doomed to continue on the road of free-trade agreement, whether in the name of democracy-building or in the pursuit of cheap products.

Photo Credit – Wikipedia