Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The First Debate

Last night I watched the first debate of the race to the finish by America's two main candidates for president. You all know that I am an Obama supporter so my impressions will certainly be colored by that fact.
I felt disappointed.
Why? Because I felt that Obama was pulling his punches the very same way that John Kerry pulled his punches back in 2004. Obama was trying not to come across as an attack dog. He was trying to be civil and respectful. McCain, on the other hand, showed no respect at all for his opponent. The moderator, Jim Lehrer from Public Television's News Hour, tried right from the start to get the two candidates to face each other and direct their replies to one another. Obama did that throughout the debate, but he was met by McCain's stubborn refusal to turn and speak to Obama. McCain came across as a snob whose hatred for Obama was so strong that he couldn't even look the man in the eye.
It wasn't that McCain didn't leave the door wide open for Obama to criticize, it's that Obama missed virtually every opportunity he had to point out the open hypocrisy of the McCain campaign - McCain's choice of the earmark queen of the world as his running mate, McCain's inside meddling with the nation of Georgia organized by the lobbyist for Georgia's high level connection to the McCain campaign and leading to the Russian invasion, and McCain's contradictory lobbyist connection to Freddie Mac even when McCain used these issues to attack Obama. In my mind there's simply no excuse for him not pointing out that McCain's positions are hypocritical considering the people he has chosen to be at his side in this campaign.
It seems clear to me that Obama has made a conscious choice not to bring these things up, probably hoping that the Pandora's Box of anti-Obama lies the Republicans are throwing around wouldn't be opened by McCain. Maybe that's good strategy and maybe it isn't. Maybe those outrageous lies need to be exposed for what they are. Maybe Obama can't win this thing if he hides from these lies.
But it was clear to me that Obama was shying away from pointing out McCain's weaknesses last night when he should have been presenting a forceful image of himself as a leader and as a commander. Strike one against Omaba.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bailing Out the Boat

My days of boat bailing go way back. In the 50s and 60s when I was growing up and Wilson Pond was my playground, my dad had a little business going on the side to supplement his meager government retirement as well as to share his love for Wilson Pond. He ran a little boat landing on Wilson Pond where people could come for a day or a weekend or even a week and put their boat in, maybe dock it overnight, maybe even camp out. In those days ten bucks went a long long ways. He also rented three or four old flat-bottomed wooden boats. Every time it rained, someone in our family, often me, would go to the landing and bail out those boats using old one-gallon oil cans with their tops removed and their rims bent into a V. If it had rained hard enough, we might bring a larger bucket.
This proposed government bailout of Wall Street has absolutely no similarities to bailing out those boats. Yes some would have you think that Wall Street is just about to sink into the Atlantic unless we begin bailing like madmen. I tend to think that's not the case. The Dow is still hovering around 11,000. It's still inflated by all the easy money of the Clinton and Bush years. And then there's all that money that the Bush tax cuts put in the hands of the wealthiest Americans. There's a lot of money still out there. Real estate prices are still well up there in the housing bubble range. They haven't dropped to pre-bubble levels. Gold is up. Energy is up. New car lots are full of gas-guzzlers still. Our highways are clogged with SUVs and full-sized pickups. There's no panic for lack of money.
No, this bailout isn't because Wall Street is going under. It's not.
This bailout is the golden parachute for the outgoing Bush team.
Bush is asking Congress to hurry up and pass legislation that puts $700 billion borrowed dollars, borrowed from God knows whom, into the hands of the Bush team as a blank check with no oversight and no legal recourse in case of abuse. It's the biggest bank heist in the history of the world if Congress goes ahead with Bush's demands.
Why does that come as no surprise to me. Bush is on his way out of Washington. Why shouldn't I expect him to suck the treasury dry on his way out the door? It's become the American way.