You are viewing kaltrosomos

21 January 2009 @ 03:47 pm
It really is painful to feel like the worthless garbage of society.  Not having anything to do, or at any rate nothing of value to do, is a curse.  I get it hammered into me again and again how I need a job and need to be a part of society.  But I just can't seem to have much luck on that front.  A job eludes me.  What I find purposeful does not as yet provide an income.  I'm under constant pressure from my parents to get a conventional job even though I think my chances are so slim as to be the same as none.  They don't seem to understand my view.  They seem to refuse the idea that, given my background and the current economic situation, it is impossible for me to find employment.  The job market is cuthroat right now, and my resume doesn't help me stand out from the crowd.  Even if my resume did get me an interview, I am a terrible interviewer.  Just about every interview I have had has gone badly.  I hate interviews. 

The only time I have gotten a job after an interview was back in 2007, but I think that was because my interviewer had a number of issues himself.  This guy was, I thought, borderline crazy.  Since this is an anonymous mention of him I don't think he'll mind.  But to me that says a lot that the only guy who wanted to hire me was someone with his own issues.  And I didn't even get a real job!  The most hours I got for a week was about twenty or thirty.  But then my hours started becoming less, and less, and less, until I was just getting the bare minimum.  Towards the end he had me working a measly six hours a week.  Two days with a single three-hour shift on each day.  

Even that sort of job I found hellish.  Working at a fast food restaurant puts me on edge and turns me into a nervous wreck given enough pressure.  I'm not suited to the 'fast' in fast food.  I take my time.  It's not that I'm lazy.  I just seem to work at a different wavelength than most everybody else.  

That job--if you can call it that-- was two years ago now, back in 2007.  I haven't been able to get a new job since.  And the worse the economy gets, the worse it looks for me.  The job I did get was something that I got after turning in dozens of previous applications and having half a dozen other interviews that came to nothing.  If I had that much struggle back in 2007, why should I think I have any chance at all now that the financial crisis is in full swing?  My resume doesn't look any better.  I don't have any new work history to add.  I do not have any measurably improved interview skills.  I also have a heck of a lot more competition for the same jobs as before.  What the hell am I supposed to do?  I can't top somebody who's had half a dozen or more jobs already and is a competent interviewer.  I stand no chance against the average Joe because the average Joe is a master speaker with a brimming resume compared to me.  

So much for the traditional job route.  I guess my main chance now is to find something I can do which will earn me money another way.  I don't know what that is.  I have no clue what that is.  
 
 
08 January 2009 @ 08:50 pm
I'm growing increasingly wary of what the future holds.  The mainstream media continues to downplay if not outright cover up discussion about Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency.  According to some sources, such as World Net Daily, major news channels are refusing to sell air time to people who wish to air ads questioning Obama's eligibility.

And why, I'm wondering, is the MSM refusing to let Obama be put under scrutiny?  If there is nothing to hide, Obama should have nothing to fear from public questioning about his eligibility.  Personally, I have many doubts concerning whether or not he is constitutionally eligible for the office of president.  Until he releases his birth certificate and other information, it seems fairly likely that he was not, in fact, born in Hawaii and that he is not a Natural Born Citizen.

Thus, Obama is not legally able to be president according to the constitution.  But apparently that document is being made optional for our modern society.  The MSM seems determined to usher Obama into the White House by any means.  Obama himself has almost zero excuse for not knowing that he is doing something questionable, since he taught constitutional law in the past.  Obama ought to know that there are questions surrounding his eligibility, and he also ought to know that his refusal to release his birth certificate only makes it look more like he is hiding something.  So I'm forced to conclude one of two things.  either 1) Obama has deluded himself into thinking he qualifies as a Natural Born Citizen, or 2) he knows he is not eligible for the presidency but figured he could muscle his way in anyway.  And so far the media and most of the government has been proving him right.  I suspect that #2 is the more likely, since Obama refuses to release his birth certificate.  If Obama sincerely believed he qualified for the presidency, he would see no reason to hold back any pertinent documents, I think.  His refusal to release the certificate tells me that he knows something about it will raise suspicion--perhaps the fact that there is no Hawaii birth certificate in the first place.  

Obama is, though, just denying the inevitable.  Nearly half the country didn't vote for him and is going to be watching him very closely.  What's more than that, as the Obama Haze starts to wear off this issue will probably come up in the future, along with many more.  People will question is eligibility, his honesty, his integrity, and everything else in greater measure. 

What really worries me though is if the debate over Obama and his eligibility gets heated enough to stir violence.  Other claims aside, America pretty clearly is becoming polarized into two different countries.  One America is solidly blue, solidly progressive, and dependably liberal and secular.  The other America is mostly red, conservative, more religious and diametrically opposed to the sort of America Obama represents. 

So the question is: is America divided enough along Red and Blue lines that a major difference of opinion about Obama's candidacy could cause a second civil war?  This would be rife with ironies, not least that the second civil war would center around a black man running for president, while the first civil war began because of the issue of slavery. 

I can easily see how large segments of the public would be furious if they learned that Obama and his campaign had tricked them from the start.  The Far Left is already close to mutiny due to Obama's sprint towards the center ever since the democratic primaries.  

Hopefully this will not end as badly as my cynical streak suggests.  But it is a possibility, which worries me.  I guess until more things start occurring I won't worry about it so much.
 
 
21 December 2008 @ 03:26 pm
http://insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5116&Itemid=100

The topic of this post will be the article in the above link, written by the staff of InsideCatholic, a Catholic website.  Its purpose is answering 12 modern myths often bandied about.  But even though I agree that some of these are myths, I disagree with the conclusions Catholics draw from that fact.  More on specifics as I cover the points. 

1.  They first tackle the claim that there is no absolute truth.  They point out that if the statement is correct it is itself an absolute truth, and thus refutes itself.  This myth shouldn't require much more discussion than that.

But the InsideCatholic staff take it further.  They say that left unchanged, this statement leads to a philosophy of "might is right".  In other words, if something is true for one person but false for another, the only thing upholding any person's security is superior strength and/or abilities.  Otherwise one person could think it true that he can murder whoever he wants, and the only thing that would stop him would be someone stronger or smarter than he is. 

Thus people amend it to read: "What's true for you maybe isn't true for me.  Let's just allow different strokes for different folks so long as nobody gets hurt.  Do what you want and think what you want as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else."

the staff of InsideCatholic then questions where the basis for this amendment comes from.  They suggest that 'do no harm' bases itself in the idea of a basic human dignity.  And if humans have dignity, they wonder, where does this dignity come from?  Clearly, they write, it points towards some greater authority than arbitrary human opinion.

But these Catholics are being too simplistic.  They assume there is only one explanation for the desire to do no harm, I.E.-- a divine Creator who defines morality.

Another possible answer is the natural one.  Human social instinct can be explained as an evolutionary response to the need for social cohesion within the group.  Humans are social, group animals.  We have created all our civilizations because we have lived and worked together.  Were we solitary we would have remained brutes.  The long arm of evolution certainly does seem godlike to us.  We think and live in terms of decades but evolution works in terms of milleniums.  We were not made to comprehend that expanse of time and so we have tended to craft tiny little anthropomorphic gods to fit our likes.  Like all fiction it is made to suit our needs.  The truth is much more mysterious, glorious, and ultimately awe-inspiring.  Religion began as a tribal affair and only grew to cosmic pretentions due to the constant prodding of scientific inquiry.  The gods have visibly grown through the centuries as the knowledge of their human creators has grown also.  Many gods, unable to contain the flood, have fallen.  They shall not rise again, and lie forgotten amid their million brothers and sisters.

The world does point to something greater than human opinion, but it need not be a person.  It could just as well be the vast, impersonal universe.  


2.  They make two claims in this point.  The first myth they tackle is: "Christianity is no better than other religions", which I agree with for the most part.  The next is "All religions lead to God."  I too think this second part is false.  Religions like Buddhism, for instance, have no personal deity.

However, in trying to refute these points they claim that Christianity is unique among religions because it claims that Jesus is the son of God sent to save us, and that he died for our sins and was resurrected.  Except this ressurection story is as old as the hills.  If we read history we see it repeated again and again.  There are so many saviors in the history books that one should laugh at how pitiful mankind is to require so many.  We have Odin, hung on a tree until he died and then resurrected greater than before.   Osiris in ancient Egyptian mythology would rise from the dead and faithful egyptians would, through faith in Osiris, rise with him in the afterlife.

They also note Jesus' claim to the highest truth, in his statement "I am the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me."  They think that only Jesus made this outlandish claim to complete truth.  But nearly every religion has claimed to be the one truth faith, the one true revelation from God.  This is no more unique than the resurrection myth.  


3.  Their next myth is that the Old and New Testaments contradict one another.  I will not address their attempts to rationalize their belief in the unity of the Bible because that would be too great an undertaking for this post.  Others have done it, and perhaps someday I will do it in another post.  But not this one.  Suffice it to say that it is curious that the Jews of the Old Testament had no clear conception of the afterlife while Jesus spends much of his time preaching on Heaven and Hell.  

4.  They next think it a myth when people claim they don't need to go to church to be good people.  What follows is a Catholic plug for the consecrated bread and wine which they believes becomes the body and blood of Christ.  They think that, in some magical way, people become suddenly better by eating the flesh of their God.  I myself do not see much difference between this and old cannibalistic beliefs that you could absorb an enemy's strengths by eating his corpse.  The difference is not in the underlying logic but in the application.  Catholics only eat bread and drink wine rather than bodies and blood.  But the disturbing part is that they believe they ARE eating a body and drinking blood. 

5. Next they tackle the 'myth' that says: You don't need to confess to a priest to have your sins forgiven.  Just speak directly do God.  

The interesting thing about this justification of the confessional is that it lays bare the social basis and uses of religion.  Religion is a tool for social cohesion.  It is not so much concerned with the truth as with getting people to get along in a group.  Confession fosters that social instinct, as do the other aspects of Catholicism. 

It seems to me that possibly the reason confession direct to God isn't as satisfying as confession to a priest is that the priest exists while God does not.  People who talk only to God are, in a real sense, talking only to themselves. 

6.  This objection concerns the material holdings of the Church and how that conflicts with Jesus message of charity and poverty.  This doesn't interest me so I'll pass on.

7. This is an argument for conformity to Church orthodoxy.  They argue that the Church has been around long enough to sift through most of the ideas possible to man, and that she has collected all the good ideas and rejected the bad.  Thus, it is safer to conform to the orthodox view, not to mention healthier, than to go without her leadership.   Perhaps there is some wisdom in the idea of trusting past thinkers, but one shouldn't totally reject everything that seems new.  There can be genuine and new good ideas that will pop up.  We'll never know if we reject everything without inspection. 

8. This is a defense of the anti-homosexual-union stance of the Church.  It is based too much on a harsh and totally arbitrary understanding of human sexuality.  They see it as centered primarily around procreation.  But even though our sex drives have evolved to promote making children, that doesn't mean we are violating some divine law by using sex for other uses at some times.  They claim homosexuality is 'unnatural'.  But what do they mean by unnatural?  Homosexuality clearly exists in nature, and it is in that regard natural.  I think they would be more accurate if they said:  "Homosexuality is shocking to my personal sensibilities."

9.   This is another apology for Church hierarchy and conformance to orthodoxy.  The conscience of the Church is made more binding thant individual conscience. 

10.  This addresses Natural Family Planning.  I won't go into this, as it seems a purely Catholic issue whether or not NFP is another form of birth control or not.

11.  This is a defense of the Catholic opposition to all contraception and abortion.  While I oppose abortion I think contraception should be allowed for those who want it.  Of course, Catholics apparently be Catholics if they support either contraception or abortion. 

12.  Bizarrely, this is a refutation of reincarnation.  I guess such beliefs are becoming fairly common if they felt a need to address this.  I myself am agnostic on the matter and content to form an opinion after I die.  
 
 
06 November 2008 @ 11:50 am
I've just been reading an article on the same topic as the title of this entry, "Are Witches Real?".  The article was written by a Catholic priest, Fr. Dwight Longenecker. 

read the article here:  http://catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0116.htm

To be brief, Fr. Longenecker answers 'yes' to the question.  He doesn't think witches have green skin and pointed hats, and I guess he doesn't believe they fly around on brooms either.  But he does think demonic possession is possible. 

He writes:
"Is it possible for modern people to summon up the ancient gods and goddesses and offer themselves to be infested by such spirits? Of course it is."

Among the other curious things he writes, Fr. Longenecker suggests that witches and other pagans, due to their 'evil' religions, were often possessed by demons.  Thus, their conversion to Christ required long periods of catechesis and multiple exorcisms.   I guess Fr. Longenecker is, for some reason, ignoring the biblical passage that says "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live" (Exodus 22:18)

This sort of selective scriptural memory is something that bothers me about Christianity, as about most organized religion.  Here, Fr. Longenecker suggests prayer and fasting as a way to help those who are 'possessed'.  He offers no objective reason for why he thinks demons exist, or why these neo-Pagans and others are possessed by evil.  All he can offer is a long tradition of mistrust built on the scriptures and prejudices of the ancient Jews and Christians. 

More important, why doesn't he mention the passage from Exodus?  It is a famous passage.  It has been used to justify the burning of witches throughout history.  Why doesn't he mention it?  I don't know.  I doubt that he's unaware of it.  Perhaps he didn't want to complicate the matter.  

I'm reminded again of the relativity of human judgments.  The priests and Christian laymen think witchcraft and ritual evil, while their own rituals are spotless and holy.  Witches and other Pagans think the dogmatic certainty of the priests and other devout Christians is just as evil as any demonic cult.   Which is right?  Both can't be right.  Are both wrong?  Perhaps.  Every vice was once a virtue, and every virtue is probably doomed over the course of time to become a vice.  

What a lot we humans are.  Funny, grotesque, foolish, enlightened, smart, stupid, questing, despondent...  Man is like a square circle, apparently contradictory in many ways, and yet he gets on all the same. 
 
 
04 November 2008 @ 05:33 pm
So here I am, writing a journal while an election is being decided. 

I have no idea whether McCain will win or whether Obama will.  Some people are sure Obama will win, and most of the media takes that tack as well.  But there are a few who think McCain can pull out a victory from the jaws of defeat. 

The race is still tight at this hour.  Obama has apparently picked up some of the blue northeastern states.  Not too surprising there.  But the battleground states are still looking pretty tight. 

Whatever happens, I have a feeling this will be a long night for the country.  This race feels close enough that we'll have to wait to call it until most, if not all of the votes are counted. 

And then, again, whoever wins, the next president will have a mess on his hands.  The country seems to be getting increasingly divided.  That's not going to change no matter who is president. 

Some of the news stations seem to be putting Texas in contention at this hour.  Now how is that for unexpected?  But I think it has more to do with how many of the votes have actually been counted.  There hasn't been enough time to adequately count all of the votes yet, and so we get wacky numbers like Obama leading in Texas.  Can Obama take Texas?  I don't know.  I guess we'll find out sometime tonight.  

I'm still watching this race closely.  Still have no idea who will win.  At this moment Obama has the lead, but McCain is creeping up there.
 
 
14 October 2008 @ 10:47 pm
I think the greatest comedians ever are time and history.

Why do I say this?

Because I am considering voting for McCain/Palin this election year.  AFTER I was long firmly for Obama, and had even donated to his campaign. 

Isn't it strange how time turns us all into the opposites of our former selves, to one degree or another?  How we vow in childhood never to become like our parents and then one day look in the mirror and see a distinct resemblance?

Studying history also provides a great deal of comedy.  Someone once said that we learn from history that nobody ever learns anything from history.  Another said that there is nothing new under the sun.  Things recur.  Patterns emerge.  Ironies abound. 

I find it amusing, to say the least, that in the culture of ancient Egypt there were many similarities to our own day.  They had a complex tax system.  There were complicated systems of credit worked out, even though they traded in commodities rather than coinage.  They had a system of justice which was impartial to all.  At least in theory.  The similarities were interesting because they seemed fairly modern, and yet this was taking place in Ancient Egypt, thousands of years before Christ. 

History has countless examples of these shifts, turnarounds, and reversals.  History has a superb sense of irony, it seems. 

I'm not entirely sure who I'll vote for this November, but now I'm not sure anymore. 
 
 
23 September 2008 @ 12:40 am

I was just watching the latest series of interviews that Senators Obama and McCain did for the TV show 60 Minutes. 

Overall it is an informative series of videos, and you can watch them on the web here:

60minutes.yahoo.com/segment/193/obama_mccain

Something I found very curious were the last sections where the candidates were given the opportunity to make a case for why they would be a good president. 

Obama talked about how he wanted to maintain the hopefulness of the american dream which had allowed his parents and grandparents to achieve some level of success and security even though they came from humble beginnings.  He thought that the possibility of claiming a place in that American Dream was starting to disappear for some Americans today.   

McCain, on the other hand, started out quoting his own campaign slogan: "Reform.  Prosperity.  Peace."    He gave his usual stumps about being a maverick and wanting to shake things up in Washington, as well as bring prosperity, though he was a bit vague on those two.  His covering of the last bit, 'Peace', was some mixture of perverse and inspired. 

Sen. McCain reached into his jacket pocket and took out a letter, explaining that it was one he'd received from a grieving mother who'd lost her son, Patrick, to war.  McCain opened up the letter, and brought out a dogtag with a picture of Patrick on it.   

"I hate war," McCain said, brandishing the dogtag.  He went on to say he didn't want there to be any more Patricks.   But I can't help feeling like there is a mixed message there.  One of McCain's slogans is "Peace".  But he has staked a large part of his campaign on the idea that he is more experienced, and that part of his experience comes from the sacrifices made during his military service.

Part of his campaign slogan is "Peace", but he has been constantly using his war experiences to promote his candidacy.   What is that about?  Does he not see an irony in that, using the trappings of war to claim he is for peace?  I mean, seriously.  What gives?   

Other aspects of the McCain campaign seem almost too much to be true.  For instance, how do you like the sound of domating to McCain's  "Compliance Fund" ?  That's right.  Compliance Fund.  Just go to McCain's website and see for yourself if you don't believe me.  That's actually what they call it.  It seems like a poor word choice for a maverick and a reformer to me.  But maybe that's just me. 

Another part of McCain's slogan is "Country First".   Taken with the "Compliance Fund", I have to wonder if I'm seeing shades of 1984.    I mean, is McCain's campaign really so tone-deaf that they think donating to a "Compliance Fund" is encouraging?  It's not cute.  It's not catchy.  It's not persuasive.  It's creepy.   
 
 
21 September 2008 @ 04:40 pm


Political humor is usually fun.  It's even better when it's unintentional. 

I ran across this latest bit looking at Oregon Republican Gordon Smith's website.   Smith is an incumbent senator for Oregon, though he is also a Republican trying to pretend he isn't a Republican.  This leads to issues.  

Looking at his website, I'm wondering if he's starting to suffer some sort of nervous breakdown.  He has been in a close race with challenger Jeff Merkley.  Smith's position is still vulnerable.  I'm tempted to say that it leans towards Merkley. 

On Smith's website there is a square with cycling advertisements just under the row of tabs near the top, on the right side.  One box says "Smithroots: The Foundation for Victory". 

Now I've heard of Grassroots, and Netroots.  But SMITHroots?  I didn't know politicians got their own personal roots.  This just makes me think Smith thinks quite highly of himself.  He wasn't content to use the term 'grassroots' or the other term, 'netroots'.  He had to make his own term named after himself.   What Hog Are You On, Smith?  If you start wearing shades, Mr. Smith, and talking about a Mr. Anderson, I'm going to run the other direction and never look back.   I'm already tempted to as it is. 

I won't comment much about the quality of Smith's ad campaign, except to say that it's typically Republican.

 
 
11 September 2008 @ 01:54 am

Discovered an article by one Michael Novak, titled "Conversations with the New Atheists IV" : www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0263.htm

Novak has taken some objections to Christian and other forms of belief made by Christopher Hitchens in a debate with Dinesh D'Souza.   Novak explains that Hitchens' objections are useful to him in sorting out his own ideas.

He quotes a number of the objections and comments, as follows:

"

The burden of proof is heavier on believers who claim to know that God exists, who in fact know what God wants, and who are friends with the Guy.
 

Sorry, Christopher, the burden of discovering the truth about who we are falls equally on all human beings. No one escapes responsibility for deciding about that, and then living accordingly."

Novak has sidestepped the entire objection.  Hitchens says that the burden of proof is heavier on believers because they must prove a positive claim--the claim that God (or gods) exist.  Unbelievers need only point out sufficient flaws in the arguments and/or evidence presented.   If there is little or no evidence to offer in the first place, the burden on unbelievers becomes even lighter. 

But Novak doesn't address this.  Instead he points out the banally obvious fact that each person must decide what the truth is for themselves.  He has not really dealt with Hitchens' objection. 

Novak also tries to deal with the other parts of the objection, saying, "knowing what God wants is not too difficult, in a very general sense. The God of Judaism and Christianity asks us to love Him with full integrity: with all one’s heart and mind and soul; and to love all humans, His children, with the same love. He also wants us to keep His Commandments."

If we take Novak literally, you might suppose he means that God told him this when they had some coffee together last week.   Or  that God once held a townhall meeting broadcast to the world in which he laid out his desires.  But no.  That is not how Novak has gotten his information at all.  He either read what God is said to have wanted in a book, such as the bible or other religious text, or heard it from some priest, rabbi, pastor, or layperson.   This makes his claim look a bit suspicious, since in no case has he definitely heard from God personally on what is wanted.  The usual argument is that the bible IS a reliable guide to God's will.  This argument is one from authority, usually with a church holding that authority.  But the church has a vested interest in making just that argument.  It ensures the loyalty of the congregation, and keeps people attending services and making donations and so on.  That does not make me want to trust their authority.  Humans are often deceitful and ready to steal from others.  Fooling other people becomes an artform.   Thus, I am not really willing to accept the divine inspiration of the bible solely on the testimony of church officials.  

Why doesn't God vouch for himself?  Why does he need a church composed of sinful humans to authorize a book written by humans as His will and testament?  I mean, God has not even been known to do any book signings.  Not that he needs any more marketing boost, seeing as how he has been the unacknowledged #1 bestseller for about 2000 years.   If God, after all this years, won a Pulitzer prize, or any other prize, would he attend the ceremonies? 

That is what Hitchens means when he says the burden of proof is heavier on believers.  They have to provide evidence accounting for all these discrepencies between their claims and the reality we experience from day to day.  Issues like why an all-pervading God who cares for all of us so often seems absent in the face of our hardships, and why he designed nature in such a way that most forms of life devour other forms of life in order to survive, and that when humans or any other creature are not eaten by predators, they are destroyed by nature and the elements.   Hurricane Katrina is one great example of this.  Why did God create hurricanes?  Why is God so fond of them that they come our way a lot more often than we'd like?  Why does He allow such gratuitous death and destruction for no apparent purpose?  Humans suffer enough without naturally occuring disasters. 


I have no quarrel with Novak's comments on morality except his ideas on where morality originally comes from.  

Novak then makes a revealing set of statements.  He goes into a minor rapture over the Catholic faith, claiming that all other religions and political or cultural movements are mere "parodies".   This is in line with what I've heard from other Catholic apologists time and again.  They argue that the Catholic faith is responsible for every good in Western society, and that even today people are merely living off the Catholic capital which remains in the wreckage of Christian culture.   But I don't believe this for a number of reasons.   Humans are capable of great cultural achievements no matter what their beliefs.  and the West owes as much, if not more, to the Greeks and Romans than solely to the Catholic faith as such.  Catholics have long taken from other cultures and grafted those things into their own culture.  The faith strikes me as more of a symbiote or parasite than a source of civilization by itself. 

Novak also shows how religions of all kinds must either adapt to new evidence or die out.  For example, towards the end of his article Novak blurs the distinction between body and soul somewhat,  portraying them as being interconnected as such that they really aren't very effective apart.   The body without the soul, or the soul without the body, is not in God's plan apparently. 

This is a clear attempt to sidestep the mounting possibility that there is no soul at all.  All the wonderful things usually attributed to the soul could merely be properties arising from the body.  Novak must sometimes suspect this or something like it, or else he wouldn't make a point of arguing the fusion of soul and body.  If the two are mixed and indistinct, it is not so easy to seperate the one from the other and thus not so easy to detect the soul experimentally, or point out that a soul is lacking when such experiments turn up nothing.  Or, more important, when changes to the body result in changes to things normally associated with the soul.  This includes things like intelligence, wit, humor,  and all other forms of thought and feeling.   Making the line between body and soul indistinct allows believers to shrug off the implications of changes in the body bringing changes to personality.  At least for now.  How long they can keep up the act is uncertain.  Maybe they can keep splitting hairs forever.  Or maybe at some point the evidence will weigh so heavy on them that they can't ignore it, shrug it off, or downplay it any longer. 

 
 
10 September 2008 @ 12:24 pm

There's been a lot of buzz concerning Obama and his remarks about "lipstick on a pig" recently.  Republicans and other conservatives are jumping on this and saying Obama was referring to Palin.   They think Obama was trying to echo Palin's earlier remark about pitbulls and lipstick. 

But if Obama was trying to echo Palin, why wouldn't he have said "pitbull" rather than "pig"?  "Lipstick on a pig," is a fairly common phrase.  If he was really trying to attack Palin, he would have used her word.  What's more, what he said before making the remark makes it pretty clear he was referring to policy, not persons.  You also see this in his use of the word "it" when referencing the pig, rather than "he" or "she".   He had in mind something that was gender-neutral when he said the pig comments--that is, he was thinking of policies. 

There are a number of videos about this on Youtube.  Just type in "lipstick on a pig", and they pop right up.  Here is a video of the remark and what Obama said before:  www.youtube.com/watch

The "lipstick on a pig" remark has a venerable history in American politics.   Dick Cheney used it concerning Kerry in '04: www.youtube.com/watch 

Sen. McCain used it when referring to Hillary Clinton.    Maybe Cheney meant John Kerry was a pig, and maybe McCain meant Hillary Clinton was a pig.   But I doubt it.  

Which brings us back to the Obama remark.  I do not think it was meant in the way many conservatives and Republicans are taking it.    They have, literally overnight, taken to calling this the death of Obama's campaign.  I keep hearing them say "It's over."    I thought, when I first heard this remarks, that there would be video evidence of Obama losing his cool, shaking his fists and denouncing McCain and Palin directly as pigs in lipstick and stinky fish.  When I investigated I found things very different. 

Those opposed to Obama seem extraordinarily eager to throw him into an early grave, politically speaking.   They want him beaten and out of the race.   They are willing to exaggerate Obama's statements and see implications that aren't there in order to discount Obama. 

This, to me, betrays an irrational hatred or fear of the Democratic candidate.  For some conservatives this election has become an excuse to bash the Left.   The Left is showered with insulting labels like being termed "Enemies of the Normal," , a "Freak Show," and the "Evil Party", among others.  

The more these conservatives and other members of the Right continue to smear Obama and the Left in general, the more I think they are becoming desperate.  A good sign of desperation is when your opponents, instead of confronting your arguments or making arguments of their own, start attacking you personally.   When your opponent has nothing good to argue for, they start flinging mud.   I think Republicans are running scared.  They're trying to use Karl Rove-style politics yet again to demonize Obama.   "He called Palin a pig!"  they shout, trying to stir up anger in the masses.   

This is why I think it's over for the Republicans.  They are running a crappy, muddy campaign based more on smears and anger than on actual policy, and they know it.  If they were to actually engage Democrats on policy issues alone, they would be trounced.   As it is, they don't want to lose, so they are trying to determine just how impressionable and gullible the American public is.  They hope that emotional force can carry them to the White House when clear and responsible policy won't.  

The difference in this election is that the Republicans are at something of a record low when it comes to public approval.  The public is not quite so ready to accept Republican pleading this time around.  We have had them for eight years, and I think Americans, in general, are tired of them.   

Thus my prediction that the Republicans have lost this election, barring a true blunder on Obama's part.  It's possible.  We will have to see.  For right now though, I am betting that we will see an Obama Administration in the near future.  When Republicans have to resort to their same tired smear tactics, you know they're running scared and trying to induce a mass mania where persuasion hasn't worked.  They can't win this election using issues, so they have to try and win by using personality. 

Too bad for them that Obama, besides having better answers to the issues, also has the better personality.