Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

David Davis for President

David Davis is a member of Parliament in England who resigned because of the "42" law. PM Gordon Brown wants to pass a law allowing the police to hold someone for up to 42 days before charges must be filed. Now, it is 28 days. The Conservative Party opposes the new law (imagine that!), and David Davis, a prominent Tory, resigned his seat over the issue. He is going to run again (or "stand" as they say over there) for election to the same seat, campaigning solely on the issue of opposition to the 42 law. The Liberal Democratic Party in England will not oppose him in the election, because they agree with him, and the Labour Party isn't going to run anyone against him out of fear of being embarrassed.

Where are the politicians on this side of the Pond with that kind of integrity? Even Barack Obama, who denounced warrantless wiretapping in speeches, especially one in South Carolina during the primary, says he is in favor of the FISA abomination before the Senate now. He will work to remove the retroactive immunity (or so he says) for the major telecoms that broke the law (BEFORE 9/11 by the way) by allowing Bush to use their networks to spy on us--that's right: you and me--without any hint of a warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment.

But Obama says he will vote for the bill that allows future warrantless wiretapping on us, even if he can't (and everyone with a brain knows he can't) remove that provision from it.

I know all the Democrats who support it have been paid handsomely by the telecoms; I wonder how much they have given Obama.

Where are the David Davises over here now that we need them?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On Obama and Public Financing

I have been in favor of public financing of political campaigns for some time. I supported the "Just $6" movement--for just six dollars a voter we could finance all campaigns. Of course, we also need to require TV and radio stations to air political content for free as a requirement for using our free air space.

Having said that, I would also point out that that Barack Obama has gone the public route by a different way. George McGovern tried it in 1972--instead of 25 donors giving a million dollars apiece, he asked for a million voters to give $25 apiece. I was a member of the "McGovern Million Member Club." Now Obama uses the internet to raise money from small contributors and raises unprecedented millions in an incredibly short time. Both were ways to keep the influence of fat cats out of it--fat cats who will later come around asking for favors as a return on their investment.

This request for a return is showing this week as Congress guts the Fourth Amendment to let fatcat telecoms get off scot-free from accountability for their law-breaking in enabling Bush to spy on Americans in violation of every law of God and man.

Back to the subject: Now that Obama has said he won't take public financing with its limits on spending, the Republicans are crying foul, and the media are giving them a loud outlet for their whining. But that same media won't tell you that the Democrats are suing McCain for breaking the law on public financing. He put up public financing as collateral to get loans for his primary campaigns. When he got the money, he declared he wouldn't be taking the public financing, after all. Yet the media are utterly silent on that point.

I'd like to know why.

Of course. The media are McCain sycophants all down the line.

Now, just to point out a couple of things: The general election campaign does not officially start until after the party conventions. So we are still technically in the primary season, so there is no law relevant to the general election in effect yet, anyway.

Just remember.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thoughts on various and divers subjects

I am sick over the stupid Democrats in Congress going further than the Republicans did in giving Bush carte blanche to violate the Fourth Amendment and protect the giant telecoms that broke the law cooperating with him.

I'm also sick that Barack Obama didn't stand up and denounce this unconstitutional move, and furthermore , according to Brother Greenwald, recorded a radio endorsement of one of the Congressmen from southern Georgia that helped make this abomination possible. He was supporting a "Blue Dog" white candidate whose primary opponent is a black woman who is involved in the community in the largely black district. So, I won't be contributing to Obama's campaign, after all.

But with all the anger and disappointment I feel, I still am going to vote for Obama because I want the Democrats--the REAL Democrats to take Congress back over next year. Then we can get some stuff done, pressuring the White House incumbent into doing more to help this country than even he realizes can be done.

Let it be, Lord.

Now, about oil. I'm fortunate that two gas stations near me are competing to have the lowest prices for gas. I have been filling up for at least a nickel a gallon less than the low-price stations where I used to fill up.

Some want to drill in ANWR for more oil (which would lower the price of gas a penny a gallon--ten years from now, if it doesn't all go to Japan the way most Alaskan oil does), but I want to know why they don't go ahead and drill on the land they already have next door to ANWR, which has even more oil under it than ANWR does. And why don't they drill in Wyoming? They have plenty of oil land leased there. In fact, I read on the Huffington Post yesterday that the oil companies have 65 MILLION acres of leased land they are not drilling on. So why do they want to make the entire U. S. coastline look like Galveston?

When those questions are answered, I'll listen to arguments about the drilling they are asking for. Meanwhile, conservation can save more energy than more drilling can provide.

I may have said this before, I haven't looked back lately, but in the '70s when the first gas crises hit there was a lot of research into alternative fuels. When St. Ronald Reagan took over he ended that and got the price of Saudi gas down, making us more dependent than ever on the Arab financiers of 9/11.

Unfortunately, the "Drain America First" approach isn't enough to cover the needs of this petroleum-based economy. We need something else to propel us and provide the plastics that we depend on.

God help us.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On Impeachment

Now that Dennis Kucinich has read his articles of impeachment of George W. Bush into the Congressional Record, he is getting much more coverage from the national media than he ever got for his bill to impeach Dick(head) Cheney.

It's an exercise in futility, for sure, but it is something that needs to be done.

Nancy Pelosi has taken impeachment "off the table" as one of the first statements she made upon becoming Speaker of the House. That doesn't mean Bush/Cheney didn't commit impeachable acts. They committed many crimes, including mass murder. But there aren't enough Democrats with backbone to stand up to them, and there are too many Republicans to get the 2/3 majority needed for conviction. So it isn't a practical pursuit.

STILL: It needs to be discussed. We need to keep the crimes of the Bush "administration" in front of the public. We need to keep on and keep on reminding people that this bunch of incompetent frat boys running the government now does not represent a new American system of government. They are a fluke.

We are still a people under a system of laws, and those laws are not subject to the whims of a mad King George.

Therefore, Kucinich needs to keep pushing on his impeachment proposal, and the rest of us need to keep pressure on our elected officials, so that it will not be forgotten that we are proud, patriotic Americans, not peons subject to the vagaries of Bush and his corporate masters.

Stand up for America!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Now that Obama has it sewn up

I admit Barack Obama was not my first, nor second, choice for Democratic nominee. Still, I can endorse him without hesitation.

I like his vision, and I believe he will have long enough coattails that we in the blogosphere will be able to put the pressure on a majority Democratic Congress to get things done beyond what Obama has proposed, e.g. health care reform beyond the timid steps he proposes.

I also noticed that he did well among working-class whites WEST of the Mississippi, while the punditocracy was talking about how poorly he was doing among working-class whites, but leaving out that the ones they were talking about live EAST of the Mississippi.

I have a feeling Obama can win even without Appalachia.

Of course, since I live in Appalachia, I would like for him to win here, too.