Posted by: yasuro | September 9, 2008

palin is a stalking horse

it seems to me that palin is, intentionally or not, an attempt to distract the american people from the issues.  i suspect that she was picked just because she is controversial.  it makes the election about personalities and biography rather than of issues.

it seems the obama campaign isn’t spending a lot of time being distracted.  they are still on message.

so in the end, was it worth it for the republicans?  they’ve energized their evangelical base and re-ignited the culture wars.  but have they alienated the swing voters?

Posted by: yasuro | September 5, 2008

andrew sullivan sums it up

what can i say, sullivan sums it up beautifully.  

i’m posting from columbia, and i’d almost prefer it here to what is going on back home.

with mccain’s pandering to the evangelical “base” of the republican party, it has become clear that this election is about a choice between the darkness of superstition and fundamentalism and the light of rationalism and modernity.

the religious/superstitious mind is, through training and repetition, ripe for credulity around the most ridiculous things.  even things that are patently untrue.  how else to explain mccain’s constant repetition of lies about obama’s plans?  

it’s obvious that the choice of a christian fundamentalist to be 1 heartbeat away from the presidency says volumes about the republican party.  it went from being the party of lincoln, to the party of thinly-veiled racism, war-mongering, and utter delusion.  

the traditional conservative ideals of small government and low deficits has gone out the window.  republicans are no longer conservatives, they are just fear-mongering religionists who seem to want to promote war to bring about armageddon because, like most delusional cultists, god told them they are right and they won’t let facts or reality get in the way.

so for those that vote:  vote for mccain/palin if you want to turn the u.s. into a theocracy (the worst kind of tyranny).  vote for obama/biden if you realize that rational thought is something that should be foremost in government.

Posted by: yasuro | September 3, 2008

palin and christian conservatives

steven waldman, founder of beliefnet, brings up some salient points about palin’s elevation to the national stage and to the risks that christian conservatives face with that choice.

he quotes mark de moss, former chief of staff for falwell:

“Too many evangelicals and religious conservative are too preoccupied with values and faith and pay no attention to competence. We don’t apply this approach to anything else in life, including choosing a pastor.” Imagine, he said, if a church was searching for a pastor and the leadership was brought a candidate with great values but little experience. “They’ve been a pastor for two years at a church with 150 people but he shares our values, so we hired him to be pastor of our 5,000 person church? It wouldn’t happen! We don’t say, ‘He shares our values, so let’s hire him.’ That’s absurd. Yet we apply that to choosing presidents. It blows my mind.”

he goes on further:

To be clear, DeMoss isn’t saying Palin is unqualified. “The reality is, we don’t know – and neither does McCain if he only met her once.” The other Christian leaders who rallied around her didn’t know much either. “I’m not hinting something’s amiss but we don’t know her and the people who gave her glowing response Friday didn’t know. The euphoric rush to anoint without knowing — it’s a dangerous thing.”

it’s interesting to note that there are clear headed christian conservatives that aren’t going to rush to annointment without at least taking stock in considering the risks.

Posted by: yasuro | September 2, 2008

in bogota and medellin

in bogota a couple of days this week then medellin on business.

some observations after 1 day in bogota:

– kool cigarettes are everywhere

– $27 USD for dinner in a hotel.

– coffee is very good, not surprisingly.

– ladies in bogota are very good looking, on the whole.  mostly because they know how to dress.

– should remember to bring more ties, business dress if very formal.

Posted by: yasuro | August 29, 2008


what i’m wondering is how does mccain attack obama about obama’s lack of experience when he’s picked someone who’s a 1st year governor of a state with the same population as washington d.c. with no experience on national issues?  i mean a relative neophyte a heartbeat away from the presidency?

i know he’s pandering to the hillary voters because, so far, his campaign is all about pandering and answering every question with, “but but but i was a POW!”.

i think his campaign felt he needed to gather up hillary voters because, realistically, there is some danger of him losing to obama for the votes of reagan democrats.

the way i see it, i think that obama will offset the evangelical vote with the black vote.  he may gather up more than 50% of the female vote, including soccer moms.  hardcore democrats/liberals offset the hardcore conservative/republicans.

so the election may come down to obamaicans and reagan democrats to break the stalemate.  palin is a good choice to offer some insurance and perhaps get some of the hillary vote.

Posted by: yasuro | July 10, 2008

2008 presidential election – ideology

i’m not a fan of rigid ideology.  if you can’t take into account new information and adjust your world view, you’ve strayed into the arena of religious dogma.

this washington post article on obama’s position reminds me of that.

obama is viewed as liberal from the right and centrist from the left.  he’s modified his positions to reflect the political reality of the moment.  is this flip-flopping?  it’s certainly very different from the current administrations view that if “you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality.  obama promises more transparent government, which is a bit like watching sausage get made.  it’s ugly, but you may be better off knowing the process.

i think that this election marks the first time that both major party candidates are viewed with distrust by the extremes of both parties.  but i think both candidates may have a pragmatic streak that makes it hard to reduce their policy stance as “liberal” or “conservative”.  sure mccain is more conservative, but he’s running on a maverick platform.  and obama has done much to move to the center these past couple of weeks.

i think that mccain’s rejection by christian conservatives and jesse jackson’s unfortunate comments highlight the changing landscape of american politics over the last 8 years.  it may be a glacial change, but it’s there nonetheless.

on the democratic side, we see the generational differences in the black vote regarding obama.  he’s supported by the younger black generation who see themselves as the agent of change in the black community.  older black leader, who were involved with the civil right movement, see their power base slipping away.  a good thing, in my opinion.  i believe that the black community has been overly hampered by the jacksons and sharptons who believe government is the answer.  you can’t legislate a change in culture.

on the republican side we see a lessening of christian conservative influence that was so important for bush.  again, it seems to be generational.  older christians see a very polarized world that demands to be met head on.  youger evangelicals see a world that requires more harmony and social justice.

this election will be very interesting from an ideological point of view.  will the old guard continue to be successful at using prejudice and conflict to stay in power?  will the younger generation be able to promote a more pragmatic approach?

Posted by: yasuro | July 9, 2008

ad campaign for the veil

andrew sullivan point this ad out.

this idea of sexual purity is ridiculous.  it smacks of treating women like property.  basically, in the islamic world, women exist as mere walking uterus’ to produce children.

also, as is pointed out, is there no sense of responsibility for men?  do islamic men consider themselves raving animals that will rape and pillage any woman not in a burkha and escorted by a male relative?

what the hell is wrong with that place?

and the one, presumably, female islamic comment.  i didn’t realize veils had tinfoil linings.

as i’ve pointed out in other posts, the conflict between the middle east and the west is not about religion.  it’s about modernity vs. howling barbarism.

Posted by: yasuro | July 9, 2008

social security benefits

so the social security act allowed for payments to occur when you reached 65 years of age.  if you were born in 1900 you could expect to live until age 47.  hmmm.

if you were born in 1950, you could expect to live to the age of 68.

not much for social security to payout.  granted if you were a rail worker, you could get payouts sooner.

what if we had indexed social security payments to age?  we’d be paying out much less than we do today.  if you were born in 1970, you could expect to live to age 70.  so collecting benefits for only 5 years (8 years with the reduction of benefits at 62).

basically, we’ve lowered the bar for benefits while the population lives longer.  of course it’ll cost more than it did in the beginning.

a good solution, though politically unfeasible, is to raise the benefits age to 68, which is the average life expectancy of someone born in 1950.  we should then increase the benefits age every 10 years (much like the census).


Posted by: yasuro | July 9, 2008

an update at long last

i haven’t updated this blog in a long time.  i’d like to say it was because i was out leading an interesting life.

unfortunately, the answer is that i got a little burned out.  it happens.  i’m not a professional blogger or writer, so the habit of writing daily is something i never got into.

also, i think i’ve gone through some philosophical changes over the past year.  i’m still fairly libertarian.  i’m also still a goldwater conservative.

however, i think i’m starting to add a bit of pragmatic rationalism in my thinking.

for instance, would we be served living in a purely capitalistic society?  probably not, yet it is the logical conclusion to that particular view.  government shouldn’t be involved in trade, according to those pure free market thinkers, but what happens when you go too far?  yes it is a reductio ad absurdum argument.  bad on me.  but i think it gets the point across.

so anyway, hopefully i’ll update more often, and don’t be surprised if my thoughts have a shade of a different flavor.  we all change and adapt as we age, well at least i hope we all do.

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