Sarah Palin; Science or Survival of the Fittest



Brutal

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund asks each of us to consider our values and the ethics of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.  Environmental experts also join these protectors of the natural world when they inquire, would we rather have science survive or the ideology of a singular prominent person, Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin.  A woman who could potentially be a heartbeat away from the presidency holds dear a practice that might cause some to cry or cry out.  Governor Palin, as an elected official, a churchgoer, and as a citizen promotes her personal fondness for aerial wolf and bear hunts.  

Sweet Sarah Palin savors such savagery.  For this public leader, it matters not that conservationists, scientists, and many hunters condemned the “custom.”  She is sure that this “tradition” is best.

Governor Palin encourages hunters to shoot wolves and bears from the air.  Humans, in automated flying machines, which can run for hundreds of miles, hover over the heads of helpless furry creatures.  Man chases the beautiful “beasts” to exhaustion.  Once collapsed, or trapped, unable to hide in the stark terrain, the “sportsman” lands the aircraft.  Then, the huntsman shoots his or her fellow (four-legged) mammal point blank.  

The animals, blasted with a short-range smoothbore gun, usually die a painful death.  The hunters involved in the program keep and sell the animals’ pelts.  The killers do this with Governor Sarah Palin’s blessings.  The pleasant Palin, a hunter herself, has ensured brutal practices such as these are sustained.  Sarah Palin is a friend to sportsman and those who profit from the execution of animals.

“Sarah Palin’s anti-conservation position is so extreme that she condones shooting wolves and bears from airplanes or using airplanes to chase them to exhaustion and then shoot them point blank.  Most Americans find this practice barbaric, but it’s routine in Alaska under Palin’s leadership,” said Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund president Rodger Schlickeisen.

Sarah Palin has supported aerial hunting since taking office despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, the American Society of Mammalogists, and more than 120 other scientists have called for a halt to the program, citing its lack of scientific justification and despite opposition from many hunters who see it as violating the sportsmen’s ethic of fair chase.  

Palin in 2007 even proposed offering a bounty of $150 per wolf, as long as the hunter provided the wolf’s foreleg as proof of the kill.  And just earlier this year, she introduced legislation to expand the program and derail a scheduled August 2008 citizens’ vote on the issue.  The bounty was determined to violate the state’s constitution and her legislation failed.

Constitutional considerations have no affect on the woman who wants to believe in the adage survival of the fittest.  For Sarah Palin, a person with a gun and aircraft is certainly the more fit than a mere mammal in the wild.  However, she is sensitive to the needs of some who are weak, at least Palin pretends to be.  A perusal of the record gives reason for doubt.

Sarah Palin hopes to provide for people who are less able.  Governor Palin proclaims the wolves and bears impinge on the needs of the poor.  She claims to work as an advocate for subsistence hunters.  The compassionate Chief Executive publicly states her concern for Alaska’s hunters.  She fears that those who feed off the land will be “locked in perennial competition with the canine carnivores for the state’s prodigious ungulate population.”

Hunter Palin vehemently argued with opponents of aerial wolf hunting.  The sportswoman has the support of the Alaska Outdoor Council. The association is looked upon as an influential advocacy and lobbying organization for hunting, fishing and recreation groups.  Urban hunters, who shoot moose mostly for fun, are members of this powerful guild.  The Governor and the Council do not share an inconvenient truth.  “Subsistence hunters rely on an occasional moose to make ends meet.”  Contrary to the claim of Sarah Palin, the wolves and bears do not steal food from the tables of the impoverished.

“Palin acts like she has never met an animal she didn’t want shot,” says Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, based in Connecticut.

The controversy over Palin’s promotion of predator control goes beyond animal rights activists recoiling at the thought of picking off wolves from airplanes.  A raft of scientists has argued that Palin has provided little evidence that the current program of systematically killing wolves, estimated at a population of 7,000 to 11,000, will result in more moose for hunters.  State estimates of moose populations have come under scrutiny.  Some wildlife biologists say predator control advocates don’t even understand what wolves eat.

Empathy for the environment or for those creatures who share the planet with Sarah Palin and her friends the “sportsmen” is not evident in the Governor’s positions.  Wolves may bay.  Bears might growl.  Sarah Palin does not grovel.  She stands her ground.  Preservationist, Ecologists, Conservationists who may question the strident Sarah Palin may weep.  Nonetheless, the Alaskan Governor remains adamant.

In an attempt to lessen the pain that a Palin Vice Presidency and possible rise to Commander-In-Chief status, many Americans choose to laugh.  Persons who know not what else they might do post spoofs throughout the Internet.  Sarah Palin and her love of the kill is the source of many a parody.  “Bullwinkle the moose is assassinated.  Alaskan vacation turns deadly.  Shot by Alaskan Governor.”  

Some may smile.  Others relent.  No one can deny Sarah Palin is fit.  She survives.  Actually, this woman thrives.  Possibly, she loves the chase or believes wolves and bears do.

Reuters news service states, the prominent moose hunter Palin is being hunted by those that wish to bring her and her brutal practices down, not only for the approval of this barbaric behavior, but also for her position on other issues.

(I)t is not hard to find Alaskans who say Palin’s enthusiasm for predator control fits a broader narrative of how she edits science to suit her personal views.  She endorses the teaching of creationism in public schools and has questioned whether humans are responsible for global warming.

Many Alaskan residents observe that the new Governor is as cold as the territory in which she lives.  The hunt and ultimate kill, for Palin, is the priority.  Sarah Palin knows how to get what she wants.  The former broadcaster can preach and she knows how to teach.

In 2007, she (Sarah Palin) approved $400,000 to educate the public about the ecological success of shooting wolves and bears from the air.  Some of the money went to create a pamphlet distributed in local newspapers, three weeks before the public was to vote on an initiative that would have curtailed aerial killing of wolves by private citizens.  “The timing of the state’s propaganda on wolf control was terrible,” wrote the Anchorage Daily News on its editorial page.

Perchance, the literature was not presented in time to turn minds of many against mammals.  Surely, the scientists were not impressed by the Governors gross declarations.  Indeed, many experts and environmental enthusiasts defended the wildlife.

“Across the board, Sarah Palin puts on a masquerade, claiming she is using sound management and science,” says Nick Jans, an Alaskan writer who co-sponsored the initiative.  “In reality she uses ideology and ignores science when it is in her way.”  The initiative was defeated last month.

Gordon Haber is a wildlife scientist who has studied wolves in Alaska for 43 years.  “On wildlife-related issues, whether it is polar bears or predator controls, she has shown no inclination to be objective,” he says of Palin.  “I cannot find credible scientific data to support their arguments,” he adds about the state’s rationale for gunning down wolves.  “In most cases, there is evidence to the contrary.”

Last year, 172 scientists signed a letter to Palin, expressing concern about the lack of science behind the state’s wolf-killing operation.  According to the scientists, state officials set population objectives for moose and caribou based on “unattainable, unsustainable historically high populations.”  As a result, the “inadequately designed predator control programs” threatened the long-term health of both the ungulate and wolf populations.  The scientists concluded with a plea to Palin to consider the conservation of wolves and bears “on an equal basis with the goal of producing more ungulates for hunters.”

However, Sarah Plain is not deterred.  Indeed, she is perhaps more determined.  Earlier this year the Alaskan Governor introduced State legislation that would place the predator-control program under the authority of Alaska’s Board of Game.  An Alaskan hunter, Sarah Palin, appointed each of the members in this department.

Again, in a Palin Administration personal philosophy takes precedence and determines policy.  Science is set aside.  Previously, the state’s Department of Fish and Game enforced guidelines.  For those in this branch of the government, the study of the physical world was of greater concern.  Recreation was a secondary consideration.  With the Palin Administration in charge, what was once truth may be no more.  People are left to ponder who is the fittest, and what might survive.

The legislation would give Palin’s board “more leeway without any scientific input to do whatever the hell they basically wanted,” Mark Richards, co-chair of Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, wrote in an e-mail.  The legislation is currently stalled in the Alaska state Senate.

Predator control in Alaska dates back to the 1920s and 1930s. Even then, wildlife biologists insisted that wolves were important to the area’s natural ecology and not responsible for inordinate deaths of sheep, caribou, or moose. Yet, the scientists fought a losing battle against ranchers, hunters and government officials, who backed the extermination of tens of thousands of wolves. Aerial hunting began in earnest in the 1940s and continued through the 1960s after Alaska had earned statehood.

Scientists insist that the Palin administration is systematically killing wolves with an inadequate understanding of the relationship between the carnivore and hoofed animals.

Yet, once more Sarah Palin and her personal appointees disagree.  Sadly, those in the wild, the wolves, bears, and moose have no vote in Governor Palin’s adopted homeland.  Perhaps, all that might save our fellow furry mammals is a cast ballot from millions throughout this country.  Possibly, all the attention given to an American presidency or vice presidency will put values in the forefront.  

United States citizens may help save the Alaskan animals who cannot save themselves.  The constituency may even be able to salvage a sense of humanity for more than a northern region.  If we, the people of this country vote our conscious and cast a ballot in favor of ethics, it may be possible to preserve the Alaskan habitat and that in the mainland.  Might it not be wondrous if those who judge at the barrel of a gun did not determine fitness and the will to survive, in the wild, or in the White House.

Sources of Sorrow and Sarah Palin . . .

The Change Candidates



Temple

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat the cry is the same, “We want change!”  For well over a year Americans have heard the words.  Barack Obama is “The change we can believe in.”  Currently, the cry is McCain is the change candidate, and certainly, he is.  This Presidential aspirant, a celebrated “maverick,” has altered the conversation and transformed his candidacy.  More than once, the media counted the former prisoner of war, John McCain, down and out; yet, the Arizona Senator rose as a Phoenix from the flames.  Many Americans trust that the formidable fellow who fought for his country with blood, sweat, and tears is the best person to serve as President of the United States.

Rock star that the media says he may be, Senator Obama does not excite the masses, at least not here in America.  Oh, he has his loyal followers.  Delusional is how opponents define them.  However, ask some of the electorate: committed Hillary Clinton supporters, Independents, and those within the Grand Old Party whether they trust that Barack Obama can or will transform the country, in a manner that is consistent with these voters views, and the answer will be a unqualified “No!”  

Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman may have said it best for the persons who think Barack Obama is but an empty suit, “Sen. Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead.  But eloquence is no substitute for a record — not in these tough times.”

The American people, anxious for a new American Revolution, do not want Barack Obama to lead them.  Near fifty percent of the population does not trust the junior Senator from Illinois.  Nor do they have faith in what they tout is a Washington insider, the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Joseph Biden.

Some say Obama is inexperienced, elite, out of touch, or they resent that he is too even tempered.  John McCain seizes on the theme of ‘change.’  These individuals trust, the independent-thinker, the Senator from Arizona was and will be the candidate who can transform America.  After all, those who are Right recall that Senator McCain decried partisan rancor in Washington. He reached over the aisle in the past.  People who call themselves Conservatives trust that McCain will be a consensus builder when he needs to be.  Yet, he will remain as philosophically independent as is his nature.  John McCain stood up to his Party, and President in the past.  He will do so again, The soon-to-be Commander-In-Chief vows change is coming.  The Wall Street Journal avows John McCain is “The Change.”?

John McCain reminds citizens of this country, Democrats “tax and spend.”  He, a Republican is different.  Senator McCain says, “If you believe you should pay more taxes, then I am the wrong candidate for you.”  The man of the people, who made a good life for himself understands the  outrage.  John McCain states, the electorate only need look at the tax plans each of the candidates propose.

More than half the population has no faith in the “elitist” candidate, Barack Obama. They trust as the McCain commercials avow.  Barack Obama will raise taxes.  The evidence, as calculated by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, affirms he will.  Presidential hopeful will increase the levies charged to citizens whose income ranks among the rafters.  Persons who earn $227,000 [two-hundred and twenty seven thousand dollars] upwards to $603,000 [six hundred and three thousand dollars] will realize a $12.00 average duty swell.  



McCain Obama
Income Average Tax Bill Average Tax Bill
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
$603K – $2.9M -$45,361 +$115,974
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892
Under $19K -$19 -$567

Source: The Tax Policy Center



The Obama plan would reduce taxes for low- and moderate-income families, but raise them significantly for high-bracket taxpayers (see Figure 2). By 2012, middle-income taxpayers would see their after-tax income rise by about 5 percent, or nearly $2,200 annually.  Those in the top 1 percent would face a $19,000 average tax increase-a 1.5 percent reduction in after-tax income.

McCain would lift after-tax incomes an average of about 3 percent, or $1,400 annually, for middle-income taxpayers by 2012. But, in sharp contrast to Obama, he would cut taxes for those in the top 1% by more than $125,000, raising their after-tax income an average 9.5 percent.

~ An Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Tax Plans

Executive Summary of the August 15, 2008 analysis

By Roberton Williams and Howard Gleckman

Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

Potential President John McCain concurs; his opponents tax plan is disgraceful and despicable.  Barack Obama has the audacity to raise taxes an additional twelve dollars a year to those who already pay too much.  That is not hope.  A person who earns two hundred and twenty seven thousand up to six hundred and three thousand dollars works very hard for the income they take home.  Certainly, these individuals cannot afford to bestow twelve dollars more to a do-nothing government. Those who toil for the wages they merit need relief.  The government takes too much, far more than is reasonable.  These persons have every right to retain the income they earned.   The seven thousand eight hundred and seventy-one dollars John McCain’s plan would provide are but a mere pittance in comparison to what these individuals deserve.

The people who pound the pavement for a meager million dollars salary cannot contribute one dime more to the community budget that pays for police and fire services.  The additional dollars needed to maintain the roads that rot beneath our feet must not come from small business owners.  Bridges built or repaired must be funded by bonds, foreign investors, or on credit as they are now.  Surely, with all the duties the government already collects, there are adequate resources.  “I will not donate one more dollar to the Feds,” say the rich, or Republicans who feel overly burdened.

Potential President John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin do not worry of the debt the Bush Administration brought upon itself.  The nonconformist from America’s western State, Arizona, mused aloud as he stood in a sea of Republican Convention goers, “I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party.  We (the Republican Party) were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us.”  The reluctant rebel expressed his regret for what but a few from the Grand Old Party did.  “We lost — we lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption.”  The senior Senator assured the throng of supporters that would not happen again, at least John McCain would not succumb to special interests, that is, except for the few Very Important Persons.  John McCain is the change and he cannot be influenced by dollars.

The power brokers from the McCain campaign lavished attention on Mr. Johnson (Robert Wood Johnson IV, the billionaire heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune and owner of the New York Jets) and others like him – his itinerary was a parade of exclusive receptions for V.I.P. donors. Before the convention ramped up Tuesday evening, Mr. Johnson, 61, was among a cluster of McCain campaign officials and supporters hovering outside a suite guarded by an aide. As Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard and senior McCain adviser, chatted in one small circle, Mr. Johnson, 61, was at the center of another next to her, before he disappeared inside the suite with Mr. Davis.

Mr. Johnson has long been a player in Republican politics – he was a Bush Ranger in 2000 and 2004, raising more than $200,000 in each election. He has personally given more than $1 million to Republican candidates and committees over the years.

But this year, he emerged as perhaps the party’s most coveted donor. In May, after turning his office into a war room for more than a month and making sometimes 50 calls a day, he orchestrated a fund-raiser in New York City that brought in $7 million in a single evening for Mr. McCain, by far the largest amount collected up to that point by a campaign that had been struggling to raise money.

More recently, Mr. Johnson rode to the rescue of the Minneapolis-St. Paul convention host committee, helping it close a more than $10 million budget shortfall in a matter of weeks by writing a sizable check himself, getting his mother, who hails from Minneapolis, to do so as well, but also soliciting numerous large contributions from his circle of wealthy friends. . . .

“I’m not a real believer in limits,” Mr. Johnson said.

Mr. Johnson rarely speaks at length with reporters. But in a series of conversations, he said he was motivated by a belief in Mr. McCain . . .

Millions of Americans believe in John McCain.  He is the candidate of change!  They trust, as President, John McCain will face the national debt with his signature relentless dynamism.  Republican Party loyalists do not fear the possibility; John McCain will become another George W. Bush.  This soldier is above reproach.  He has a proven record.  The concerns of lobbyist would not influence John McCain.  He learned his lesson after the Keating debacle.  John McCain was devastated when a “favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended his political career.”  Times have changed for John McCain and now he is ready to change times for the nation.

John McCain will not do as his predecessor has done.  An endless conflict will not drain the budget of trillions of dollars as it did during the Bush Administration.  John McCain, a prisoner of war knew how to win this one, the battle in Iraq, or that one, the fight in Afghanistan.  John McCain is not a hothead.  He will be more cautious before he places troops into battle.

Surely, one needs only consider the surge strategy.  It is obvious; John McCain has demonstrated Democrats are definitely not the cure for what ails this country.  If the policies proposed by the “inexperienced” Barack Obama are to stand, to be sure, internationally, internally, and especially economically, the nation will fall.  More would be placed on the proverbial credit card.

Governor Sarah Palin has the experience needed to create smaller government.  She will help ensure that the McCain Administration reduces the financial burden on the average American. Sarah Palin is an asset to the McCain campaign’s efforts to diminish waste and eliminate levies.  The public trough is too large; it must be obliterated. People can pull themselves up, by the bootstraps.  That, after all is the American Dream so many have achieved.  

As many resources reference, The Wasilla Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2003, within the body of Table 1, reveals total government expenditures increased 63 percent when Mayor Palin was in charge.  In fiscal 2003, the last year in which this superior executive approved the budget, the sum costs the City of Wasilla incurred, with the exclusion of capital outlays, were $7,046,325.  In fiscal 1996, the year prior to a Palin Administration, budget expenditures were $4,317,947.  The municipality doled out a mere sixty-three (63) percent more than they had before this fiscally responsible financier entered into office.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years, according to a newly updated analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Neither candidate’s plan would significantly increase economic growth unless offset by spending cuts or tax increases that the campaigns have not specified.

Compared to current law, TPC estimates the Obama plan would cut taxes by $2.9 trillion over the 2009-2018 period. McCain would reduce taxes by nearly $4.2 trillion (see Summary Revenue Table and Tables R1 and R2). These projections assume the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire in 2010 and that the Alternative Minimum Tax is fully effective with 2008 exemptions.

Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin would be better than Barack Obama at the helm.  Her “Barracuda” ways would lead American out of a fiscal slump.  The former Mayor of Wasilla has shown us all, she knows how to organize a community and balance the books.  One only needs to look at her record, or the ledger submitted to the State of Alaska, to know that even as a young city executive, this woman could create a budget.  She could change the dynamics.  Indeed, Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin, showed herself to be the candidate of change.  Sarah Palin proposed and built a Multiple-use Sports complex for but $14.7 million dollars.  A bond paid for the construction of the facility.

Sarah Palin transformed a balanced budget into a serious debt or so it would seem, near nineteen million dollars.  However, she had reasons.  The Hockey Mom thought it essential to provide ice time for the hundreds of youngsters who needed a place to practice. Mayor Palin invested in the local infrastructure. The stories of sons and daughters desperate for a rink were many.

Rebecca Dargis, who lives near Wasilla, says her two home-school sons struggle to find ice time for their competitive hockey team. They often have to play games without practicing, or if they do find ice time, it’s at odd hours like during church on Sundays or late on weeknights, she said. . . .

Even the Valley’s four high school hockey teams, which get priority at the rink, have to trade off practicing at 5:30 in the morning because it’s one of the few times available, Colony High School hockey coach Eric Troisi said . . .

A sports complex has been talked about for some time. Several years ago, Valley voters turned down a state grant to build a sports center, said Curt Menard Sr., who served on a nine-member steering committee Palin created to look at options for building a sports center.

The state grant required the borough pick up the tab for operating the center, Menard said.

Wasilla city residents would also have to pick up the tab for operating this center, but Blair said it eventually will pay for itself.

His company estimated the facility will cost about $600,000 a year to operate and will generate about $550,000 in user fees in its first year. After that, it should break even, he said. . . .

Borough land manager Ron Swanson said officials were concerned the center would not pay for itself.

Swanson said the borough-operated Brett arena, opened in 1983, has yet to break even. But it came close last year, generating about $350,000 of the $380,000 it cost to operate.

Nonetheless, as an agent of change, and a maverick much like John McCain, Sarah Palin helped to persuade her constituents the could have their Multi-use Sports Complex, pay an additional tax, and play on the ice too.  Mayor Palin had the power to plead her case as few did.  This sensational political aspirant can and did sway many to do as she thought fit.  Hence, money was spent, but only to serve the community.  Service to the community is change we can believe in.

As many resources reference, The Wasilla Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2003, within the body of Table 1, reveals total government expenditures increased 63 percent when Mayor Palin was in charge.  In fiscal 2003, the last year in which this superior executive approved the budget, the sum costs the City of Wasilla incurred, with the exclusion of capital outlays, were $7,046,325.  In fiscal 1996, the year prior to a Palin Administration, budget expenditures were $4,317,947.  The municipality doled out a mere sixty-three (63) percent more than they had before this fiscally responsible financier entered into office.

While Sarah Palin can spend, it matters not for she knows how to garner funds.  As Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin embraced earmarks.  As a small-town Chief Executive and later as a Governor Palin did not hesitate to seek spectacular sources for greater income.  According to a Washington Post article by Paul Kane, Mayor Palin secured almost $27 million in projects for her tiny hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.  

Had he known, and the assumption is he did not, the honorable John McCain would have been chagrined by the prospect that, the Alaskan politician employed a lobbying firm to help provide the six thousand seven hundred (6,700) residents of Wasilla with multiple millions in attractive Federal allocations.

John McCain was familiar with the fact. Perhaps his refrain would be. Of course, some are concerned with her past practices.  Americans must remember, while Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin was young.  She was new to her position. Perchance political realities had overwhelmed her.  Granted, more recently, as Governor of the State, Sarah Palin again sought and found abundant funds.  She needed to.  While it is true, under her leadership, the state of Alaska requested 31 earmarks, more per person than any other State had.  The total worth of this requested treasure chest is $197.8 million.  The money will be made available in next year’s federal budget, according to the website of Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  That does not mean that she is a spendthrift.  Sarah Palin simply knows how to work within the system.

Earmarks are close to sacrosanct in Alaska, which routinely reaps more money per resident for such projects than any other state because of the seniority and aggressiveness of Mr. Stevens and Mr. Young (both now mired in unrelated corruption inquiries.)

Perchance, the possibility of a Vice Presidential nomination gave Sarah Palin reason for change, or the conceivable indictment of Senator Stevens caused the Governor concern.  Sarah Palin has changed.  The Vice Presidential nominee has been publicly critical of requests she, Senator Stevens, and others made for $223 million in federal funds.  

The dollars meant to build a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska, to Gravina Island, became a source of contention once detractors labeled the project, “the Bridge to Nowhere.”  Governor Palin understood her earlier error.  

As a candidate for Governor in 2006, Sarah Palin supported the bridge and the use of Federal funds to construct it.  After she became the Chief Executive in Alaska, Governor Palin was happy to take the dollars initially intended for the structure.  Sarah Palin stopped the bridge to nowhere!  This Governor knows what it means to build a bridge without the help of big government dollars.  

She said she would use federal funds for other purposes.  Tis true, she changed; and yet, perhaps not as much or as quickly as the soon-to-be President John McCain would have preferred.  Still, Republicans take heart.  Sarah Palin is not at the top of the ticket.  That honor is reserved for Senator McCain.

Still, she is a superior choice for Vice President.  The earmark story shows she can be transformed in a moment.  More importantly, she can transform an assembly of Convention goers and a television audience of millions.  Sarah Palin is the change Republicans can believe in!  She spoke of how Barack Obama had written two memoirs and had not yet authored a governmental Bill.  That statement was powerful.  

The people in the audience at the Republican Convention, as well as television viewers throughout the nation, responded very well to the words of Governor Palin.  Her delivery is what America needs in a President.  This bit bull who wears lipstick can and does perform.  Thankfully, she is no Barack Obama.  Sarah Palin has executive experience.  Barack Obama has only a speech or two to tout, and zero legislation.  That is, unless you consider the reforms that directly address the dreaded earmarks Sarah Palin is so famous for, or the love for lobbyists Sarah Palin and John McCain have each grappled with.  Senator Obama is personally responsible for a litany of laws that might threaten the mavericks who are certainly the candidates of change.

Ethics and Lobbying Reform legislation.

Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has fought for open and honest government.  As an Illinois State Senator, he helped pass the state’s first major ethics reform bill in 25 years.  And as a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of numerous scandals.

In the first two weeks of the 110th Congress, Senator Obama helped lead the Senate to pass the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act, a comprehensive ethics and lobbying reform bill, by a 96-2 vote. This landmark bill was signed into law by the President in September 2007 . . .

Most importantly, the final reform bill contained a provision pushed by Senator Obama to require the disclosure of contributions that registered lobbyists “bundle” – that is, collect or arrange – for candidates, leadership PACs, and party committees.  The New York Times called this provision “the most sweeping” in the bill, and the Washington Post said: “No single change would add more to public understanding of how money really operates in Washington.”

In January 2006, Senator Obama laid the groundwork for the reform package that the Senate eventually adopted a year later.  He started building a coalition for reform by helping to author the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act introduced with 41 Democratic sponsors. The bill proposed lengthening the cooling off period to two years for lawmakers who seek to become lobbyists and requiring immediate disclosure as soon as public servants initiate any job negotiations to become lobbyists . . . In addition, Senator Obama sponsored three other ethics-related bills in the 109th Congress that went even further on ethics, earmarks, and legislative transparency . . .

Then there was the The Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission Act.  This bill was widely endorsed by reform groups.  Common Cause: stated, “[T]his legislation would do more to reform ethics and lobbying than any other piece of legislation introduced thus far because it goes to the heart of the problem: enforcement.” Public Citizen extolled Senator Obama “for having the courage to challenge the business-as-usual environment on Capitol Hill and introduce far-reaching legislation.” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington offered commendation. “This is the first bill that deals seriously with the lack of oversight and enforcement in the existing congressional ethics process. . . . This bill will help restore Americans’ confidence in the integrity of Congress.

Senator Barack Obama originated The Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act and The Curtailing Lobbyist Effectiveness through Advance Notification, Updates, and Posting Act (The CLEAN UP Act).

Perchance, there are Bills Barack Obama authored.  Apparently, the Illinois Senator wrote legislation that passed in his home State, and also in the United States Senate.  Nonetheless, Senator Obama lacks the qualifications John McCain and Sarah Palin have.  The change he claims is not as the nimble moves of two rebels might be.  Senator Obama does not know how to tell his tale in a manner that obfuscates truth.  He is not practiced in propaganda.  Nor does he pander as skillfully as the Grand Old Party dissenters do.  

Senator Obama has not divorced himself from his Party, as Sarah Palin and John McCain have.  Barack Obama is not talented in the art of treachery.  On the other hand, his Republican opponents have mastered the craft of change rhetoric.  The McCain Palin twosome can successfully run as Party loyalists, while they claim to be outsiders.  All are in awe, as Americans suspend belief.  Indeed, this pair has changed the election.  Ultimately, the partnership will fix Washington.

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama does not compare.  He does not steal slogans or secure multi-million, billion dollar endorsements as well as John McCain and Sarah Palin do.  Barack Obama works to serve the poor, the underclass, and the community.  What can these little people do for him?  Nothing!

Senator Obama is not as slick in the art of deceit and deception.  It is dubious that he can change what he does not understand.  Politics is a game.  People are but pawns.  Perhaps, Joseph Lieberman was correct.  “Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead.  But eloquence is no substitute for a record — not in these tough times.”  

Republicans have faith, Barack Obama needs further training.  It will be a time before he knows how to present the status quo as though it is a true transformation.  The record speaks volumes.  American voters might wish to assess, what sort of change this country can believe in, the illusionary image created with smoke and mirrors or the authentic alteration that comes from within a community well-organized!

The Source of Change . . .

Lady Clinton

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Throughout the ages, life has been but an allegory for the Shakespearean drama Macbeth.  When people observe the strength of a wedded woman, they wonder.  Might she be the spouse behind the man?  Couples whose passion for power burns brightly may be reminiscent of those who perform in the tragedy played out on many a theatre stage.  A pair, married partners, in the present, may be as characters in a revival of the this best-known of William Shakespeare’s tragic productions.  The tale, written in centuries long past, often evokes reverie of today’s truths.  Only the characters differ.  

If this dramatic piece, were to be performed today, possibly, Hillary and Bill Clinton would be cast as the main characters.  The two are slightly more modern, and a bit less morose than the actors in years gone by.  

Pray tell or protest; Hillary Clinton and husband Bill have captivated an audience.  Spectators ruminate on what is no longer a rumor.  The Clinton family, who may have temporarily surrendered or suspended a campaign for the White House, will stand center-stage throughout the Democratic Convention.  Indeed, Barack Obama, the man many believed was cast in most powerful role in this play, may have learned what others never doubted, the mesmeric Clintons never go away.  

This couple can coerce concessions and compel compromise.  The two can kill with kindness or cause carnage with finesse.  History harkens back.  Bill and Hill have slain mighty dragons.  They also enthusiastically destroyed darlings.  It seems the desire for absolute power invites this prominent pair to act with intent.

About a decade ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton persuaded the American public of her purity when she stood by her man.  Not long after, she charmed citizens of New York State.  Lady Clinton convinced her constituency she was not a carpetbagger.  As she planned for a Presidential campaign, the supposed fragile female showed a hesitant public, she, Hillary could stand strong with the soldiers.  Now, several say the New York Senator has served admirably on the Hill.  

Some may ask, what of Bill.  Did the former President not bring us peace and prosperity, supporters inquire?  In her stump speeches, Lady Clinton avows, indeed he did, she did.  They did it together.  The duo, brought this country back from debt and a deficit too great to fathom.  Surely, this couple is not corrupt, or coercive.  They have given the audience, Americans a reason to believe that they are altruistic.

Softly swayed by seemingly selfless actions, those charmed by the Clinton charisma do not recall that the Clintons helped to create the financial debacle the electorate now experiences.  An audience content with celebrity, dazzled by a drama, and grateful for fiscal favors sees no reason to reflect upon what might have been had the Clintons not repealed the Glass-Steagall and Bank Holding Company Acts.

Today, there is no time to ponder in retrospect.  The play, even a revival is new.  The time is now.  Hence, observers only wish to move on.  Those who watch this most recent reenactment of Macbeth might muse; just as the beloved monarch King Duncan was murdered, metaphorically, Barack Obama has been essentially eliminated.  What was to be his climatic performance, will be but a whisper in the wind as Lady Clinton, her husband Bill, and child Chelsea deliver their lines.  Truly, what is scheduled to occur could be classified as theatre of the absurd.

Granted, the Presidential hopeful may naively believe he chose to do as he did,  However, those who have been victim to the marvels of a magnificent manipulator and her husband know, the presumptive nominee has been played for the fool.  Senator Obama was deceived into thinking he prevailed.  In truth, Barack Obama is victorious in name only.  

We know not how long his triumph will last.  Lest the audience forget.  This theatrical production is as it has been since the primaries began.  It is a tragedy.  Barack Obama is but a pawn in this drama.  Lady Clinton was and is confident; the Illinois Senator can be moved and maneuvered!

The wondrous woman from New York understood this from the first.  She did her research.  Hillary Rodham read Barack Obama’s most recent book, the Audacity of Hope. .  As she perused page after page, the studied First Lady Clinton could not contain her excitement..  Senator Clinton saw more than she could wish for.  Her rival, the man who could deprive her of her dreams admired her husband.  Even more helpful, Senator Barack Obama genuinely thought well of her.  

In his prose, Barack Obama often spoke highly of the pair.  When Mister Obama spoke of either of the Clintons, he was complimentary.  Indeed, Lady Macbeth, or the former First Lady Clinton had the presumptive nominee in her clutches before she even began to coddle a relationship.  Hillary recognized, she could use his adulation of her, and her husband, to her advantage, and so she has.

The woman, who on rare occasions was “too full of the milk of kindness” knew that in her fervor for supremacy, she could call for dark forces to “unsex” her and fill her with “direst cruelty.”  Hillary Clinton acknowledged that if she felt it necessary to gain control, she could.  She would do whatever needed to be done.  The former First Lady could be wily, clever, and keenly manipulative.  Barack Obama, she grasped before the Presidential campaign began, would be putty in her hands.  It was there, in print, as if etched in blood.  Deeply felt veneration cannot be easily washed away.  This benevolent soul, Senator Obama, would not be a brutal opponent.  He could not crush the Clintons.  Barack Obama had too much respect for the twosome.

Hillary Clinton understood long before the final days of her Presidential bid.  What most thought a loss for the Clintons, was in some regards, a gain.  Indeed, as Hillary Rodham would reflect further, she determined, her defeat might be a gift.  The public and Presidential hopeful Barack Obama might feel great compassion for the woman who almost won.  

In fact, during a debate Barack Obama smiled and said he expected Hillary Clinton would be among his advisors.  Some thought he had her in his grips.  However, it was then Hillary knew, with greater certainty; the Illinois Senator could be played like a violin, or a harp cradled gently between her thighs.  

The former First Lady saw his weaknesses, and she, as a master at manipulation,  could and would use the vulnerabilities Senator Obama exposed over and over again..

She did so, even on that night.  The American audience may remember.  It was Scene One, Act Two, when Lady Clinton responded to the remark that she might serve as his counsel.  Seemingly stunned, Hillary smiled.  She laughed with a lilt in her voice.  Her face may not have revealed the joy in her revelation.  Hillary Clinton knew, she could, and would conquer.  She, with the help of Bill could reduce her rival to tears, or destroy his will to dominate.  In her heart, Hillary Rodham was sure she would survive, and perchance be President.  Pooh-pooh the naysayer.  The Clintons would prevail, of this the Lady was convinced.

When Bill expressed his distress, and asked what if they did not succeed in their attempts to demoralize and destroy the opposition, Obama, the former First spouse reassured her husband.  She said, to his inquiry of what if were to fail, “We fail!  But screw your courage to the sticking-place, ?And we’ll not fail . . . What cannot you and I perform upon the unguarded Duncan or Obama?”  A man unaware is always defenseless.

The frailty of faith found in the exaltation expressed by Barack Obama whenever he spoke of the Clintons helped Hillary to  achieve her success, or at least hold the possibility in her hand.  Today, former First Lady Clinton is assured her name will be placed in nomination on the floor at the Democratic Convention.  Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton may secure the votes necessary to anoint her as the Democratic Party’s nominee.

For years, the talk has been telling.  “She is stronger, more ruthless, and more ambitious than her husband.  Women, the play implies, can be as ambitious, and cruel as men.  Yet, social constraints deny the feminine among us the means to pursue aspirations on their own.  Perchance that is why initially Hillary Clinton called upon her husband to help her campaign.  She needed Bill, or thought she did.  Then, in New Hampshire, she found her voice.  Once the New York Senator found herself, and realized her strength, she was able to do what Lady Macbeth could not.  Hillary Rodham could do away with her challenger and leave no trail of blood,.

Barack Obama maybe cast as the Democratic contender.  The Illinois Senator may presume that he won his Party’s nomination.  He could and would be prominent at the August Convention.  However, if this is his belief, he is mistaken.  Perchance, he has not had the opportunity to read the full script.  Senator Obama may not realize that he is but one in a cast of characters in a Clinton drama.

The Presidential hopeful could not have known how cryptic the character who appeared so genteel could be.  Nor did he have reason to realize how persistently tenacious the former President Bill Clinton was in actuality.  Prior to the primaries, Senator Obama may not have fully grasped, the change we can believe in occurred in 1992.  Nor could he have known the Clintonistas would contain any threat to their supremacy.  

Presumptive nominee Obama did not fully understand, once the Clintons took the stage, transformation, as authored by Bill and Hill would become a constant.  It continues, even on into Denver.  Ultimately, it seems Barry had to bow to the truth he referenced in his most recent book.  Hope was first born in a small town in Arkansas.  Its name was Bill.  Bill brought along Hill.  Each gave birth to Chelsea.  The Clintons, now a complete set of auteur, will author any change we can believe in.

Barack Obama was not the one who had the courage to make dreams come true.  Hillary Clinton with the help of Bill holds the honor.

The Clintons would have it no other way.  In the past, the former President has proven himself formidable.  His First Lady fearless.  Neither will accept no for an answer.  They never said die before, that is unless the death of others, even children, would benefit them.  Nor would the two, or  three, think to go away quietly now.  The theme adopted by this dynamic duo has always been “Yes; we, he, or she can!”  Inevitably, they do.  Today, once again, the masterful directors of this delicate drama, Hillary and Bill showed us all, they believe, and they achieve.  

A presumed loss in the Democratic primaries does not deter her or his confidence.  They are the Clintons, passionate and powerful.

Each trusts the climatic conclusion in this comic tragedy remains hidden.  The audience does not suspect; indeed, they love the suspense.  Hillary has yet to deliver the monologue penned in the final manuscript.  When Lady Clinton is ready, she will reveal what she knows to be real.  The catharsis will be realized when the crafty  Hillary Clinton stands alone as the hero.  The speech will not be as the one she delivered when she mocked her rival Barack Obama.

Let’s just get everybody together. Let’s get unified.'” . . .

“The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.” . . .

Her words will be beautiful and brilliant.  For Hillary has “lived a little long[er]” than Senator Obama.   She has “no illusions about how hard this is going to be” to realize her dream of dominance. “You are not going to wave a magic wand to make special interests disappear,” she told a crowd of delighted supporters  months earlier.  Hillary has no desire to have those who funded her campaigns  vanish.  She can control the Capitalists, just as she directs the Democrats. Even the esteemed Barack Obama, who some say is now the Democratic Party leader, can be brought under her spell.

After all, this drama has been carefully staged, produced, and directed by the sly Hillary Rodham Clinton.  This clever Lady can tame the shrewd, or symbolically slay a mild-mannered man name Barack Obama.  She has clout and ultimately, in this performance she will retain the crown.  She has her wily ways to convince the people of what she wishes them to believe.  Please review the research.  Pew.  For the People and the Press.

If Hillary wanted her name placed into nomination, it would be done.  If the Presidential aspirant yearned for a delegate vote count, so be it.  Keynote speeches from her husband, daughter, and herself, in primetime, of course.  The Clintons came.  They dominated. They conquered just as they always have.

Since Bill and Hill first stormed onto the Washington scene, there has been one drama after another.  With the Clintons in the White House, in the Senate, or in the political theater, Democrats have been mired in melodrama.  No one, not Barack Obama, least of all Barack Obama, can escape Clinton escapades.  The presumptive nominee is now the focus.  Hillary and Bill envision Senator Obama as the flawed hero.  The Illinois Senator must fall.

Infidelity, imprudence, impeachment, and improbabilities, all the stuff of dramas.  Bill and Hillary have realized all.  Implausibility  and improbability; these are the Clinton signatures.  

Today, it was announced. The next step in the comic tragedy would occur. The expected Obama coronation would be canceled.  Hillary, Bill, and daughter Chelsea would appear at center stage.   The Clintons could be expected to perform as no one in history has.

The former Presidential candidate, her husband, and daughter would be allowed to perform at the Democratic Convention.  Each was offered a prominent place on the playbill.  The three would deliver keynote speeches; regardless of the fact that none were the presumptive Democratic nominee.  Once again, Bill, Hilary, and Chelsea are the main characters on stage.

As the Denver Democratic convention approaches Americans are again in awe of what the Clintons create, chaos!

For days we, the people have heard Clinton campaigners clamor.  Her name must be placed on the short list.  She must be on the speakers’ panel.  Finally, those who love Hillary insisted, the candidate’s name must be placed into nomination.  Hillary has to be honored; the Denver Group demanded.  After all, the New York Senator did receive eighteen [18] million votes, regardless, of the veracity of intent.

The Presidential aspirant, Lady Clinton, said, a catharsis is necessary.  A week ago, the female Clinton told a small gathering that she is in negotiations. This sharp-witted Senator would not be stymied.  Nor would her devotees be dissuaded.  Democrats for Hillary would be able to vote for the candidate of their choice at the Denver convention.

“It’s as old as, you know, Greek drama,” she said. “There is a catharsis. I mean everybody comes and they want to yell and scream and have their opportunity, and I think that’s all to the good.”

For Hillary, and husband Bill it is.  Good is realized when history does not hearken.  When mesmerized by memories of times gone by the public does not question what was in the past.  Good, is when Lady Clinton and President Bill can call upon friends who benefited from bank laws rescinded to create a fervor.   Good is when the presumptive winner of a nomination loves your legacy more than he wishes to create his own.  Good is the greatest drama revived.  It is all good when Lady Clinton is in the limelight.

Clinton and Lady Clinton References Revisited . . .

Understanding the machine

As Americans await the action in Denver, as the people look forward to the Democratic Convention, citizens are reminded of what was once thought inevitable.  Hillary Clinton will be on center stage.  The “juggernaut’s” name will be placed into nomination.  Barack Obama continues to run.

copyright © 2007.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

Originally Published October 15, 2007




To view the original art, please travel to Understanding the machine

I ran into one of my co-workers in the break room at The Wenatchee World today, shortly after my latest cartoon came off the press.

“I don’t understand your cartoon today,” he said.

I asked him what he didn’t understand. He wanted to know if I was trying to say Hillary is cold and emotionless – almost robotic – in her pursuit of the presidency, or was it that the Clinton campaign was an unstoppable juggernaut racing toward the nomination.

“Yes,” I said.

“The Clinton Machine” has been a marvel to behold this primary season. And my co-worker understood this cartoon just fine.

What do you think?

Clinton Calculations; The New Math and The Popular Candidate



Hillary Clinton Wins Puerto Rico

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dearest Senator Clinton . . .

As much as I would wish to congratulate you on your win in Puerto Rico, I cannot.  I offer my condolences.  I trust that you hoped for a substantial victory.  I have faith that you yearned to, as they say, “seal the deal.”  However, you Senator Clinton did not receive the delegates necessary to cinch the nomination.  Nor did you bring a divided nation together.  Indeed, Senator Clinton, the results of this most recent race in Puerto Rico give credence to the argument that you, dear First Lady, are a divider, not a uniter.

Oh Hillary, I, as you, saw the tally.  Tis true; on June 1, 2008, sixty eight (68) percent of Puerto Rican primary election voters, cast a ballot in favor of your candidacy.  Yet, I observed as you might have, voter turnout was extremely low.  

Reports reveal that perhaps, twenty percent (20%), only one-fourth of those who characteristically participate in the colony’s elections, bothered to vote in this recent Puerto Rican primary.  It seems, residents are well aware that in the November presidential election, they do not count.  You know this Senator Clinton.  You spoke to this truth but a week ago.

I heard the assurances you dear Hillary, and your husband offered.  Each of you promised the citizens of Puerto Rico that if they helped you reach the pinnacle, if they endorsed your rise to the presidency, you would secure their fragile future as Americans.

Hillary, I heard you and Bill appeal to the cardinal senses of Puerto Rican citizens.  You and your spouse presented pledges as you never did.  Full voting rights would be secured if only those who could cast a ballot did so, for you.  Senator Clinton, I recall your sincere expression.  Your commitment to the people of Puerto Rico was clear.  You said, “I believe you should have a vote in picking the president.”

Oh, dear Hillary, your earnest testimonial rings in my head and resonates in my heart; “My commitment to Puerto Rico did not start last month or last year.  It stretches back more than a decade.”  Yet, First Lady Clinton, I must inquire as a substantial number of Puerto Ricans did during the current and critical campaign.  Where were you when those on the tiny island needed your support? Senator Clinton, as you remind us, you sat in the Oval Office for two terms.

I must ask as those who did not go to the polls on Sunday did.  Why did you not use your ample influence while in the White House long ago?  I wonder as do the eighty percent who did not submit support for your candidacy did.  How can those in Puerto Rico trust your proclamation now?  

Senator Clinton, I as millions, witnessed your work in the Senate.  Near a decade has passed, and you dear Senator had yet to raise the issue of statehood for settlements such as Puerto Rico on the chamber floor.  You only voiced your concern now when you need the people of Puerto Rico most.

For a presidential aspirant to propose Constitutional amendments a few days before constituents in American commonwealths affected by such measures travel to the polls is disingenuous, deceitful, dare I say despicable.  Perhaps such a posture, a pander, is acceptable once.  An utterance in desperation at a single setting may be forgivable.  However, this is not the first time you Senator Clinton have spoken in duress.

There were words uttered in Guam.  The initial invective came one day before the Guam caucus.  Then, you Senator Clinton in an interview submitted while you campaigned in Guam, you fervently declared >Guam citizens should be able to vote in presidential elections.  Somber as you reflected on what is, and blissful as you considered what might be if only you could convince the citizens of Guam that you dear Senator had their best interests at heart you stated with conviction . . .

“It seems to me that it is long past time that we remedy this inequity. It doesn’t reflect American values; it is out of step with the move toward equality and full citizenship rights, and I will do everything I can to make sure the people of Guam’s votes are counted. It seems to me that it is long past time that we remedy this inequity. It doesn’t reflect American values; it is out of step with the move towards equality and full citizenship rights, and I will do everything I can to make sure the people of Guam’s vote are counted.”

Yet, dear Senator, you know as do I, Congress cannot simply grant territories the right to vote in presidential election.  Nor can a Presidential hopeful magically move measures through and thus ensure the people of Guam, or Puerto Rico, are counted in a manner that serves them.  I am confused.  I no longer recall which is the priority you, or the public.

Even as President, Senator Clinton, you cannot supersede the principles outlined in the Constitution.  Hence, Hillary I must ponder; if you knew the truth, that as President you could not do as you proposed, why might you pledge what you could not deliver?

Oh dear Hillary, you are a brilliant person, a Legislator of great esteem.  I cannot imagine that you of all people do not fully grasp the law.  Surely, you understand such a change occurs incrementally.  A necessary Constitutional amendment is implemented over time.  There are proper procedures.  Voting rights are not granted at will.  Statehood is the culmination of a process.

Perchance, therein lies the problem.  Senator Clinton, it seems in your world, rules and regulations are not meant for you.  Your faith tells you that G-d is on your side.  You need only believe and oh, you do.  Swilling back a brew, with those who were worked into a frenzied ‘state of enthusiasm by an hour of singing and dancing to rock and salsa-flavored hymns before her arrival’, Senator Clinton you spoke of what sustains you.  You, Hillary urged a congregation of evangelists, not to be “deterred by the setbacks that often fall into every life.” You preached; “Do not fear to go forward, do not give up.”

“There isn’t anything we can’t do together if we seek God’s blessing and if we stay committed and are not deterred by the setbacks that often fall in every life.  If I had listened to those who have been talking over the last few months, we would not be having this campaign in Puerto Rico today.”

Senator Clinton, no one holds dear any false illusion that you might listen to words that do not deliver your truth.  Americans have come to realize that your rules, your sense of right, guide you.  You will encourage others to adopt your reality, and among the electorate, you have successfully swayed many.  However, masses persuaded do not equate to equality for all.  Nor does an attempt to selectively count the vote.

Oh sweet Senator, I experience that you too wish to ensure the election process is fair and equitable.  That is unless the results do not deliver the reality you prefer.  I heard your pronouncements. “People go through the motions of an election only to have them discarded and disregarded.”  As a resident of Florida, I feel your pain.  Hillary, I too am hurt.  I empathize with your distress.  Yet, I cannot comprehend the comparison.  Senator Clinton you spoke to a crowd of senior citizens in the Sunshine State, where I make my home.  While there, you offered this conclusion.

“We’re seeing that right now in Zimbabwe.”  . . .

“Tragically, an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people.” . . .

“So we can never take for granted our precious right to vote. It is the single most important, privilege and right any of us have, because in that ballot box we are all equal. You’re equal to a billionaire. You’re equal to the president, every single one of us.”

Yet, Senator, you have discounted many of us.  You have not afforded us our equal rights.  From all that you have said and done, it is obvious to me that my vote, in your universe is not of equivalent in worth to yours.  My family, some of whom live in regions where caucus votes are common, are not counted as comparable in the calculations you endorse.  The number of constituents that come out to voice a preference in what is essentially a discussion group cannot be evaluated.

In the estimations you exploit Senator Clinton there is no way to assess the power of name recognition.  Apparently, as reported in an Associated Press article, you are privileged to have been the President, or Bill’s alter-ego.  The past is prominent in the present, at least in Puerto Rico.

A Princeton Survey Research Associates International study established Puerto Rican voters were not classically Clinton enthusiasts.  A startling veracity was revealed, one not referenced in your most recent political advertisement or in your plea to superdelegates.  

Senator Clinton, unlike in the United States mainland primaries, Democratic voters in La Ciudad de las Aguas Puras did harshly condemn nor did they effusively commend one candidate over another.

Fully one-third, or 34 percent, of likely voters said they hadn’t heard enough about Obama to express an opinion about him. Only 16 percent said that about Clinton, the former first lady and current U.S. senator from New York, a state with many Puerto Ricans.

Ah, Hillary, I know you wish to tout the 2 to 1 margin when you speak of your win in the Isle of Enchantment.  I understand the intent to glorify a stunning triumph in commercials and on the campaign stump.  However, it seems there is an illusive and rarely stated reason for this disparity.  Twice as many people on the island are acquainted with the moniker Clinton.  Few are familiar with the surname Obama.  Indeed, as too many of us know, the Illinois Senator’s name reminds some of a family no one would wish to be associated with.  Perhaps, this is an inconvenient truth, or a actuality that works to your benefit.

Hillary, or Bill, Chelsea, and Clinton devotees, might you acknowledge “only 38 percent of registered voters in Puerto Rico said they were following the campaign very closely.”  Less than that were willing to say that they had paid any attention at all. Typically in Puerto Rico, among adults eligible to cast a ballot, turnout is high.  In other election years,  near three quarters of registered voters come to the polls.  Yet, this Sunday, in Puerto Rico there was little interest.  Is that an overwhelming endorsement or is it as you, an experienced politician, spins?

Senator Clinton, your decisive win was as you calculations are, expedient and unequal.  You must appreciate voters when able to identify a candidate, usually cast a ballot for the person they know.  Familiarity may breed contempt.  Nonetheless, for many Americans, acquaintances are the thought to be the lesser of two presumed “evils.”  In the past, too often, the people vote against one candidate rather than for another.  The last few months have prompted many to actually believe change could come, or would if you Senator Clinton  honored that we the people must be served.  Self indulgences does not further our common cause.  

In a nation such as this  ours, where voter apathy springs eternal or did, until Barack Obama became better known, people barely knew who was on a Presidential ticket.

This “truth,” whatever that word has come to mean in Clinton Country, has worked to facilitate your gains Senator.  At least in Florida and Michigan voters were more likely to connect with you than the lesser known man with the funny name.  If Americans reflect, they may remember; before Barack Obama was renowned, revered, or smeared by you Senator Clinton he was an enigma.  The  junior Senator from Illinois was anonymous, or was he the designated “uncommitted candidate .”  

Michigan voters were told that if they wished to show their support for Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, they could mark the ballot in such a manner.  A vote for “uncommitted” was an endorsement for the him,. Thus, was the situation in the Great Lakes State.

In Florida another scenario unfolded, I recall what few mention.  Contrary to the rules, or perhaps in accordance with your conventions, you campaigned in Florida.  Oh no, Senator Clinton, I do not accuse you of a direct violation.  However, as a former supporter and one who has received messages from you for close to a decade, I am well aware of the announcement that frequently flooded my mailbox.

On January 29, 2008, immediately after the polls closed in the Everglade State, you would be here, in Florida, to meet and greet those who supported you.  I received no such notice from Senator’s Obama or any of the other candidates, and yes, I added my name to many a database so that I might have access to information that you do not share.

While in this letter I may work to communicate what you have not. Sadly, I suspect my words will fall on deaf ears. Possibly, the noise within Clinton Country is too great.  You can no longer hear what we the people think or believe.  For you Senator Clinton, the new math is marvelous.  I offer my condolences; However, I trust you will hear these as congratulations.  

On to Denver or the Democratic demise.

The References.  Clinton’s Reality . . . .

June is Busting Out All Over





Clinton Invokes RFK Assassination

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Months ago, it was Springtime.  The Primary Election season was about to come to a close.  In March, talk turned to the month that begins summer.  Senator Clinton was elated, as were we all.  At the time, it seemed soon June would be busting out all over.  The Senator from New York believed she had a chance to secure the Democratic nomination.  The former First Lady spoke of how wondrous the sixth month of the year might be.  When asked of her plans for the rest of the year, Hillary Clinton rejoiced.  She recounted; June 1992 was a euphoric time for the Clinton family.  Perchance, in 2008, she said, the same thirty days might again bring reason for euphoria.  The Senator expressed, the unexpected might occur, just as it did in 1968, when . . . the disturbing, distressing, disquieting, the dire, calamitous catastrophe crippled American citizenry.

Yes, in March, animals still hibernated and perhaps, the American people were a bit sleepy from their long winter nap.  The electorate was focused on Spring fever.  Any reason for jubilance brought joy to those who participated in the political process.  In the third month of the year, not only was nature anxious to awaken from a sleepy season, the people in the United States were eager to be reborn.  

The last seven years were too long.  The storms and strife were too severe.  In America, it was time to turn the page.  The pain inflicted by the Bush Administration was too great.  The people craved peace and prosperity.  They were willing to fight for what they thought best.  Some remembered the 1990s fondly.  Perchance, we could go back to better times.  Certainly, now it seemed anything would be possible.  Women had achieved a victory.  So too had working class, “whites.”  Finally, Clinton and her constituency thought this was true.  The former First Lady, Hillary Clinton had just realized a triumph in the Ohio and Texas primaries.  

Prepared for what many had long said would be a much-deserved coronation, Senator Clinton was elated.  Against all odds, or perhaps, as predicted the elected official from New York proved there was no reason for her to suspend her journey to the White House.  Indeed, she often spoke of how excited she was as she contemplated the time when the moving van would pull up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and she would again hold the keys to the Oval Office.  Hillary Clinton said she was “ready to clean house” at the most prestigious abode in the land.  That was Spring.  That is the time of the year when many think to tidy up.

Yet, while the two wins were glorious, many thought these were not enough.  Journalist believed there were problems for the presumed nominee.  Barack Obama had much support, possibly more than the magnificent Senator from New York.  Thus, in an interview with Time Magazine the Presidential aspirant was asked and answer . . .

One group that probably ultimately wouldn’t want it to go on too long is the Democratic Party itself.  Can you envision a point at which – if the race stays this close – and with the difficulties that everyone has analyzed in accumulating enough delegates to get any distance ahead where party elders would step in and say “Senators Clinton and Obama, this is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall.  We need to figure this out.”

No, I really can’t. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn’t wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual. We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months.

At first blush, people may agree.  Americans may hastily remark, “Tis true. Senator Clinton is correct.”  However, in actually, only a portion of hr statement is valid.   Memories fade quickly.  People recall what they think wise to believe.   Might Bosnia and sniper fire come to mind?  It seemed the esteemed First Lady described a desperate circumstance more than once, although she knew the reverie was not real, or possibly, she forgot.

Then, again, just as now, Americans allowed for the misstatement.  Months elapsed before any one questioned what was said.  Endless excuses could account for what occurred then.  It was cold outside; brains were frozen.  Americans were caught up in the moment.  The candidate mesmerized the masses.  The media did not bother to investigate for they too rejoiced at the idea that a woman might become President, or perhaps, memoirs are meant to be mythical in scope.

Possibly, that is why citizens in the United States accepted an impressive chronicle of thirty-five years of service to the country, eight of which were in the White House.  Few would wish to admit to what was revealed when that recollection proved to be less than what had been presented.

The documents offer no support for her claims, made during the presidential campaign, that she helped to negotiate the Irish peace accords or facilitated the flow of refugees in the Balkans. Neither is there evidence in them to back up her claim that she helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, the first legislation Mr. Clinton signed as president. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, sailed through Congress and landed on Mr. Clinton’s desk 10 days after he was inaugurated. Indeed, on the day Mr. Clinton signed the bill into law, Feb. 5, 1993, there is no indication on that day’s calendar that she attended.

The documents offer no insight into her role in appointments to key administration posts or in courting donors for her or her husband’s political campaigns.

And they do not add to an understanding of how she coped with revelations in 1998 of her husband’s sexual betrayal with a young White House worker, or provide a paper trail of the discussions that led to her declaring her candidacy for the Senate in 1999.

The dry records carry all the emotional punch of a factory worker’s time card, showing where she was for much of her eight years in the White House but telling nothing about what she was saying, thinking or doing.

Could it be that reveries do not expose as persons would wish to believe.  Hence, people choose to forget.   More than a decade has past and that may have an effect on reminiscences.  Documentation shows President Bill Clinton was the Party choice long before June.  In April 1992, while there were lingering questions as to his character, contrary to what Senator Clinton thrice stated recently, her  husband was able to cinch the nomination before the last primary.  Confident words came from then “Progressive” leaders.

Ronald H. Brown, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said tonight, “I cannot imagine a set of circumstances that would keep Bill Clinton from having a majority of the delegates by the end of the primary season, based on his performance today.” Mr. Brown added that he had long hoped for an early nominee “so we can focus our time and attention on George Bush.”

Ah, perhaps Senator Clinton asks America to forget.  Hillary Rodham may revel rather than muse, “memories are short.”  Anecdotes, ancient accounts make clear, even when Bill Clinton sought the Democratic nomination, the Party hoped for time to concentrate and converge.  Yet, if Senator Clinton were to admit this, June would be her bust.  The Presidential hopeful may state . . .

At Sunshine Foods here, Mrs. Clinton said the following:

“Earlier today I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged in California in June, in 1992 and 1968. And I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June. That’s a historic fact.

“The Kennedy’s have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy. And I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to. I am honored to hold Senator Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate, from the state of New York, and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family. Thank you.”

While the Senator may offer her gratitude for the sympathy she endeared to evoke the former First Lady does not apologize for the use of a statement once, twice, or perhaps three times.  Forgetfulness reigns, for in March there was no causal relationship.  The latest assertion only applies to what today, most appreciate may be callous.  Where were Americans in the Spring?

Perchance, Senator Clinton, then and now has no empathy for what is, and what was.  Nonetheless, few citizens can forget what this present election brings out, bigotry.  Rampant racism in the age of enlightenment has a hold on this country.  Intolerance has benefited the Clinton campaign and at times, almost crushed Barack Obama’s and the nations dream.  What Americans would wish to forget is how divided our homeland is, and how this effects the security of a candidate. Barack Obama may not mention the possibility of political bloodshed as Senator Clinton did; however . . .

Mr. Obama learned about Mrs. Clinton’s remarks as he rode in his motorcade from Miami to Sunrise, Fla., on Friday. He and his aides discussed the matter, but decided he would not address the comment when he arrived at an afternoon rally.

Instead, to an audience of 16,000 people who filled the Bank Atlantic Center arena, Mr. Obama praised the candidacy of Mrs. Clinton and assured Democrats that their party would be united after the long primary campaign ended.

Privately, aides to Mr. Obama were furious at the remark, particularly because his safety is a particularly sensitive issue. He was the first presidential candidate to receive Secret Service protection more than a year ago because of specific threats, none of which were disclosed.

In an interview earlier this year, Mr. Obama said he was aware of the threats, but felt safe because of the Secret Service protection, which he pointed out was given to presidential candidates because of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

“It’s not something that I’m spending time thinking about day-to-day,” Mr. Obama told The New York Times in February. “I made a decision to get into this race. I think anybody who decides to run for president recognizes that there are some risks involved, just like there are risks in anything.”

Barack Obama is likely not as sleepy as the electorate can be.  The Presidential hopeful may not be captivated by the Clinton charisma.  Nor does he probably forget as easily as the rest of population does when Senator Clinton slips.  Barack Obama was not cocooned in the winter or spring.  He was aware; and chose to forgive what is challenging to forget.



Olbermann – Special Comment on Clinton Using RFK Killing

Reveries, References . . .

The Most Important Issue? Really?




To view the original art, please travel to The Most Important Issue? Really?

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

And the fate of our nation hangs on . . . a lapel pin?

Sigh.

Check out my latest, “Obama’s Latest Supporter”  [Archive Nos. 0819b and 0819a].

Back in seven,

Andrew

This Protracted Primary




To view the original art, please travel to Back to the art board

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

As promised, I’m back at it with a new toon this week, “This Protracted Primary.”  I’ve still got one more grad-school final to go, so I’ll keep this post short.  Next new toon is seven.

Hillary Clinton; The Campaign Crisis and Elizabeth Edwards’ Choice



Elizabeth Edwards – Morning Joe – Full Interview 4/2/08

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Democrats are divided.  Progressives once certain that they would support the Party nominee, are now, no longer sure that they can.  People on the Left for the first time in their lives are looking to the “Right.”  Staunch Liberals state they will vote Republican in 2008 if the candidate of their choice is not the Party’s nominee.  Many Democrats say they will not vote at all.  Much damage has been done.  The political process has become a play for power or an attempt to create chaos.

Persons devout to the Grand Old Party purposely become “Democrats for a Day” just to alter the outcome in primary elections.  Some individuals wear elephant and flag pins on their lapel; yet, they cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.  These Conservatives think if the Senator from New York is selected to represent the Progressives in the general election, Republicans will be assured a win.

Prior to the primaries, Hillary Clinton was defined as polarizing.  However, the former First Lady felt certain she could and had changed her image.  Perhaps, for a time, this was thought to be true.  Senator Clinton showed herself strong.  She was a formidable force in Congress.  Military leaders learned to trust that she could indeed be a hawk.  

Women were elated.  The thought that they might be able to elect someone they relate to, suited those who frequently felt oppressed in a male dominated culture just fine.

Persons of color, grateful for what seemed to be a more secure life, when husband Bill was President turned to candidate Hillary Clinton for reassurance.  People, early on, believed the former First Lady was their last and best hope.  As the Presidential aspirant often mused, “It did take a Clinton to clean (up) after the first Bush, and I think it might take a second one to clean up after the second Bush.”  In January 2008, the Editors from the esteemed New York Times offered their endorsements.  The prominent periodical proposed the Primary Choice: [was] Hillary Clinton

Yet, more recently, after weeks and weeks, months and months of mean and malicious statements from the candidate, her husband, and the entire Clinton Clan, some within the Progressive Party no longer think Senator Clinton sincere or suitable.  Indeed, some say she would not be a superb Commander-In-Chief.  Hillary may be too intent on conquest.

Many, among those who lean left, look, and see what they think wrong.  This week, a top House Democrat denounced Clinton campaign tactics.

House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, of South Carolina and the highest ranking black in Congress, also said he has heard speculation that Clinton is staying in the race only to try to derail Obama and pave the way for her to make another White House run in 2012.

“I heard something, the first time yesterday (in South Carolina), and I heard it on the (House) floor today, which is telling me there are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this.  But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win” in November, Clyburn told Reuters in an interview.

Race is not the only issue that separates, or segregates supporters.  Patriotism, patronage, and parishes are also seen as partitions.  In this recent round of debates, candidate[s] and correspondents made it known if a flag pin was not worn on a man’s lapel, the gentleman would be classified as un-American.  This standard apparently, does not apply to women who condemn the chaps.  Guilt by association was also a reason to denounce and divide the electorate.  Political advertisements delivered in Pennsylvania were full of venom directed at victims of circumstance.  Any person who was casually, or closely connected to one candidate, was castigated, as though they were the Presidential hopeful, himself.  The electorate was encouraged to take sides.  

Americans witnessed what one woman and her advocates will do for a win.  The stakes are high; the slams and damnation higher.  Condemnation for the smallest slight caused a “bitter” feud.  One candidate was intentionally crippled.  Barack Obama was forced to defend a concept.  Even a quote from the scriptures could not save a man who is not only of the Christian faith, but Christian in his actions.

The man of faith spoke of how the sacred passages in the Bible speak of the need to “cling” to what is good.  Yet, in a climate of constant criticism from the Clinton Camp, Democrats seem to only cling to a fight.

Such brutal battles have spurred the Editors of The New York Times to question their own earlier call.  The current stance of those in charge of the illustrious publication is New York Senator Clinton is not a superior choice for President.  She has adopted The Low Road to Victory.  Those charged to inform the broader community write . . .

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work.  It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party, and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self-interest should push her in that direction.  Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race.  . . .

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11.  A Clinton television ad – torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook – evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden.  “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy, and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning.  She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

The Washington Post also asked readers to call into question the posture of the Presidential candidate.  Former contributors to the Clinton campaign offered testimonials and expressed trepidation for what Hillary Clinton and husband Bill think best.

More than 70 top Clinton donors wrote their first checks to Obama in March, campaign records show.  Clinton’s lead among superdelegates, a collection of almost 800 party leaders and elected officials, has slipped from 106 in December to 23 now, according to an Associated Press tally. . . .

Campaign finance records released this week show that a growing number of Clinton’s early supporters migrated to Obama in March, after he achieved 11 straight victories.  Of those who had previously made maximum contributions to Clinton, 73 wrote their first checks to Obama in March.  The reverse was not true: Of those who had made large contributions to Obama last year, none wrote checks to Clinton in March.

“I think she is destroying the Democratic Party,” said New York lawyer Daniel Berger, who had backed Clinton with the maximum allowable donation of $2,300.  “That there’s no way for her to win this election except by destroying [Obama], I just don’t like it.  So in my own little way, I’m trying to send her a message.”

The message came in the form of a $2,300 contribution to Obama.

Donors are not the only ones who have made the leap.  Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón served as an ambassador to Chile during Bill Clinton’s presidency, considered himself a close friend of Sen. Clinton, and became a “Hill-raiser” by bringing in about $500,000 for her presidential bid.

Yet, while many express distress and a desire to distance themselves from the Clinton Camp, a few think Hillary or her Health Care plan makes her the best choice.  For months now, Americans have anxiously awaited word of an endorsement from the popular, populace, and once Presidential candidate, John Edwards and his beloved wife, Elizabeth.  In interviews, Elizabeth Edwards expresses the Clinton Health Care Plan is her preferred “Choice.”  Once heard, I personally felt a need to pen a letter to the lovely Elizabeth Edwards, a person I sincerely hold in high esteem.

Dear Reader, I invite your review, reflections, and perchance you may wish to write a correspondence of your own.  Your communiqué may be to me, to Senator Clinton, to the Edwards family, I know not.  I only trust that whatever we wish to say, it is vital we honor the words of a great philosopher.

Be Kind.

For everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.


~ Plato


I desire to write with reverence.  My wish is that my words will be received as intended.  Benevolence, I believe is beautiful.  Empathy, I think, essential if we are ever to be universally insured or ensure that we care for our fellow man, woman, and child.

Dearest Elizabeth Edwards . . .

I hope you, your children, and John, are well.  I know all too well how cancer can devastate a family.  Weeks ago, I heard you speak of how the financial strain on a family without adequate medical coverage can lead to bankruptcy and death.  Sadly, for too many, the lack of a comprehensive health care plan is the cause of economic, emotional, and perhaps physical heartbreak.  Your words prompt me to write.

Now, as the nation turns to you and your neighborhood, as the primary in North Carolina approaches, I feel a need to share my distress.  

Last August, in 2007, I attended the breakout session your husband John held at the Yearly Kos Convention.  While I was fortunate to speak with him for a moment as he exited the room, I was among those who did not have an opportunity to offer a formal question.  As John proposed, I submitted my query in electronic mail.  The issue on my mind, then and now is the same subject you discussed, Health Care.

Elizabeth, I recall when you spoke of how Hillary Clinton’s plan was as John’s.  At the time, you expressed much angst that the New York Senator delayed to present a proposal and then copied John’s program.  While I have no argument with those contentions; nor do I quarrel with the notion that Barack Obama’s plan is deficient, I think an endorsement of Senator Clinton’s her Health Care Choice program is troublesome.  I recall the words of your husband John.  In November 2007, as a Presidential challenger john Edwards declared . . .

“Senator Clinton’s plan, which came out in September, is very similar to the plan I announced in February.  But I haven’t seen any specifics about how her mandate would work or how she would enforce the mandate.

Time has not helped to enlighten the electorate.  Hillary Clinton is consistently evasive.  The former First Lady, who failed to secure a workable system near two decades ago, walks a fine line, for she has reason to fear if she slips the people may not place her into the Oval Office.

In Health Debate, Clinton Remains Vague on Penalties

By Kevin Sack

New York Times

February 1, 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton inched closer Sunday to explaining how she would enforce her proposal that everyone have health insurance, but declined to specify – as she has throughout the campaign – how she would penalize those who refuse.

Mrs. Clinton, who did not answer Senator Barack Obama’s question on the topic in a debate, last Thursday, was pressed repeatedly to do so Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on the ABC program “This Week.”  When Mr. Stephanopoulos asked a third time whether she would garnish people’s wages, Mrs. Clinton responded, “George, we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it’s that or it’s some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments.”

The former First Lady has shown herself to be extremely disingenuous in the past, and the present.  The future unfolds; and many individuals demonstrate that they do not feel there is reason to believe that her words will be less mendacious.  Stories of how deceitful she can be fill the airwaves and the periodicals.  The press, those who were close political affiliates of the Clinton’s, while polite, hint at how Hillary treats those who go against her.  In very hushed tones, event organizers shared stories with me.  While I was a strong Clinton supporter and active contributor in the 1990s, recent revelations, comments made by the Clinton’s, and the harsh rhetoric Hillary espoused leaves me beyond disillusioned.

The public, I believe has infinite reason to distrust the Presidential aspirant.  I have no faith that she will follow through with worthy programs.  As I assess her record in the Senate, I realize there is reason to doubt.  We need only consider the change in her policy position on Iraq.  When Senator Clinton thought she could safely say she would not commit to exit Iraq until after her first term, that was her stance.  Only the threat that she might lose votes was the catalyst for other considerations.

Elizabeth, I think few, if any, can question the Clinton campaign is divisive.  While some think this strategy is fine, I believe as your husband John voiced.  We must be united and work together as one.

It is apparent to me; Hillary Clinton is flexible only when it suits her needs.  I recall John wrote and spoke of how he hoped his health care proposal would, over time, give way to a Single Payer, Not For Profit Plan.  Barack Obama has expressed a similar sentiment.  Each, your husband, and Presidential hopeful Obama, has addressed the notion that their plans were but starting points.

When I did chat with your husband, I thanked him for his mention of how Hillary Clinton was indebted to Insurers and Pharmaceuticals.  Elizabeth, months ago your husband gave us reason to believe that Hillary Clinton is well connected to those who profit off of our physical and financial loss when we are most in need.  As a professional, well educated, white woman, who learned through experience that many Faculty Lecturer’s, at major Universities, are among the uninsured, I invite you to ponder the veracity, a position does not tell the full tale.  The quality of a candidate is not necessarily evident in a Health Care plan.

Please, please, please consider Barack Obama has a life history of bringing people together for a common cause.  Senator Obama uses his expertise as a community organizer to unite us, citizens of the United States of America.  [You may have read the cover story, A New Hope, in the March 20, 2008, Rolling Stone.]  Presidential aspirant, Obama is eager, and has demonstrated he does care about the American people.  Barack Obama has helped many common folk understand that we the people make a difference.  Change comes when the average American is part of the solution.  

Senator Clinton may believe without Lyndon Johnson the Civil Rights Act 1964 would not have come into being.  I recall those years.  People were out on the streets in protest.  The community concluded it was time for a change.  The President merely signed the papers.  

Personally, I prefer to support a President who believes and acts on the democratic principle that he represents me, and not her personal interests.  

Elizabeth, I hope you and your husband John will be as profoundly reflective as I believe you both to be.  America needs a person in the White House who is truly connected to the American experience.  Barack Obama’s mother, ill with ovarian cancer, feared her financial obligation to pay for health care.  Cancer can be the cause of bankruptcy even when people are insured.  The issue is complex.  A ten-point plan cannot begin to relate to the real life circumstances of millions; nor can a candidate who thinks more of her win than a unified Party.

I invite an endorsement for Barack Obama.  I can only hope you will consider my heartfelt plea.  Please extend this request to your husband John.

I thank you for your time, and for reading this reflection.  Please take good care of you.  I wish you and your family the best.

Sincerely . . .

Betsy L. Angert

References and Remedies . . .

Issue Number One; Economic Insecurity Breeds Bigotry, Bias and Bitterness



Fear Itself

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

He was a beautiful bouncing baby boy.  He was born to two parents that love him dearly.  Even before his birth, indeed, prior to conception, this little fellow was the apple of his parent’s eyes.  His biological beginning was carefully calculated.  As the seeds of life developed into a bright-eyed baby, the people he now knows as Mom and Dad thought of little else but Maxwell.  The soon to be proud Papa and Momma anxiously anticipated the day they could hold this bundle of joy.  Each of his parents was eager to meet and greet the small, sweet face of the guy that they would call Max.  Maximum value, supreme significance, marvelously magnificent, all this was and would be their son.  After Max was delivered and during any political season, such as this, Mom and Dad feel certain Max is issue number one.

The guardians look over their angel.  They plan for his future, and they are apprehensive, just as their parents and grandparents were before them.  For generations the realities of daily life have shaped parental priorities.  First and foremost, families want to survive, to feel safe and secure.  Yet, much that accounts for stability is beyond the control of a parent or any single person.  Moms and Dads agonize, as do all individuals.  Economic, educational, environmental concerns have an effect on caregivers and all citizens.  Military engagements also affect households, even if only one lives within the domicile.  Mothers, fathers, and babies, boys or girls learn to fear.

Ultimately, in the course of a life, each individual will ask, how does any matter affect me, my family, and friends of mine?  Countless citizens sense we have loss the sense that within a society, each individual works for the commonweal.  The words of Thomas Paine On the Origin and Design of Government in General are principles from the past.  In America today, the common folk feel they can no longer trust the government.  In recent years, people profess too many promises were broken; lies were told.  Intelligence was not wise.  Still, Americans sense there is an enemy.

In the minds of most Americans, the foe exists outside self.  Few have fully internalized the truth of the words uttered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  As people do, citizens in this country trust themselves.  People know their faith will guide them.  The Almighty will not disappoint them.  Proud of their personal strength and all they survived throughout the course of their lives, the American public, no matter their economic station believes their family will be fine.  All Americans trust in their ability to fight the opposition.  Residents in the United States are not afraid to take up arms if they need to protect themselves from evil forces.

Nevertheless, Americans are “bitter.”  People in the cities, the suburbs, and in the countryside, resent the precarious position their leaders have placed them in.  In the “Land of the free and home of the brave” the public is “looking for strong leadership from Washington.”  Individuals and communities recognize they cannot go it alone.  Sadly, those previously entrusted with Executive privileges have not served the common folk within the United States well.  Citizens have expressed their ample concern for quite a while and no one seems to hear the cries.  While some of the Presidential aspirants wish to believe Americans are not indignant . . .

Poll: 80% of Americans Dissatisfied

By Associate Press.

Time Magazine

April 4, 2008

(New York) – More than 80 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, the highest such number since the early 1990s, according to a new survey.

The CBS News-New York Times poll released Thursday showed 81 percent of respondents said they believed “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.”  That was up from 69 percent a year ago, and 35 percent in early 2002.

The survey comes as housing turmoil has rocked Wall Street amid an economic downturn.  The economy has surpassed the war in Iraq as the dominating issue of the U.S. presidential race, and there is now nearly a national consensus that the United States faces significant problems, the poll found.

A majority of Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school say the United States is headed in the wrong direction, according to the survey, which was published on The New York Times’ Web site.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was doing better . . .

The poll also found that Americans blame government officials for the housing crisis more than banks or homebuyers and other borrowers. Forty percent of respondents said regulators were mostly to blame, while 28 percent named lenders and 14 percent named borrowers.

Americans favored help for people but not for financial institutions in assessing possible responses to the mortgage crisis.  A clear majority said they did not want the government to lend a hand to banks, even if the measures would help limit the depth of a recession.

Intellectually astute, each individual understands to his or her core, a country must work well as a whole.  If we act independently of others, with little regard for those who reside in our nation, we all will realize a reason to feel insecure.  No family can survive alone. Maxwell’s parents can plan and work to provide, but if the country suffers from a crisis, be it fiscal, a protracted feud, the cost of food, or fuel, the family will also find themselves in situation critical.

In a society, we are our neighbors’ keeper, for what affects those in adjacent abodes will influence us.  If one person is poor, so too is his brother.

The tenet is true in the abstract; it is also viable concretely.  We need only consider what occurs when one domicile on the block is in disrepair or foreclosure flourishes in an enclave.  Property values for all homes in the area plummet.  A family functions best as a unit.  A nation fares well when we are one.

Our most conservative estimates indicate that each conventional foreclosure within an eighth of a mile (essentially a city block) of a single-family home results in a 0.9 percent decline in value.  Cumulatively, this means that, for the entire city of Chicago, the 3,750 foreclosures in 1997 and 1998 are estimated to reduce nearby property values by more than $598 million, for an average cumulative single-family property value effect of $159,000 per foreclosure. This does not include effects on the values of condominiums, larger multifamily rental properties, and commercial buildings.

Less conservative estimates suggest that each conventional foreclosure within an eighth of a mile of a property results in a 1.136 percent decline in that property’s value and that each foreclosure from one-eighth to one-quarter mile away results in a 0.325 percent decline in value.  This less conservative finding corresponds to a city-wide loss in single-family property values of just over $1.39 billion. This corresponds to an average cumulative property value effect of more than $371,000 per foreclosure

In 2008, this consideration consumes millions of persons who thought they were safe and secure.  As the subprime debacle ripples through every community, people realize their very survival is at risk.  Everyone, even some of the elite now experience a profound sense of insecurity.  Again, people ask who or what might they trust.  The average American has faith only in what is familiar.  Max, Mom, and Dad, families turn to what is tried and true.  Whatever has protected them in the past, they hope, will save them from what is an uncertain future.

Certainly, people have no confidence in government.  Many are frustrated.  They resent those who placed them in such a precarious situation.  Mothers, fathers, sons such as Max, and daughters are reminded, without regulations only the few profit.  Dreams die.  Witness the subprime debacle.

Mortgage companies and banks, such as Wells Fargo, have twisted the average prime mortgage loan into something much more incapable of paying by the recipient, but profitable to the company. Subprime loans, as “adjustable rate mortgages,” are packed with deceiving modifications that have low “teaser” rates that expand in interest exponentially after an initial low pay period.  Families that have received Subprime loans have bit into a bitter center of the sugar-coated American dream.

Citizens in this once prosperous country wonder whether they will ever again be able to trust that they can aspire to greater heights.  Homes are no longer worth what they were at the time of purchase.  Payments on adjusted rate mortgages [ARM] are exorbitant and balloon expenditures are now due.  Americans feel pinched.  Businesses are also affected by a slowed economy and bad investments.  Bankruptcy is an option, although brutal.  As the cost of fuel and food rises, financial fears become more real.  Existence takes a toll.  As Americans assess the circumstances within their home region, they realize there is reason to hold on tightly to what they know and love.  

Perchance G-d and country are all citizens can believe in, and maybe there is no longer reason to believe either of these will save them.  Certainly, Administrations in the recent past and present have not protected us well.  After all, our Presidents, Congress, and the Federal Reserve were responsible for the Demise of Glass-Steagall Act.  This law once regulated banks and limited the conflicts of interest created when commercial depositories were permitted to underwrite stocks or bonds.  Without such oversight, Americans lost their security.  Survival no longer seems possible.  The American Dream is a nightmare.

The Next Slum?

By Christopher B. Leinberger

Atlantic Monthly

March 2008

Strange days are upon the residents of many a suburban cul-de-sac. Once-tidy yards have become overgrown, as the houses, they front have gone vacant. Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading.

At Windy Ridge, a recently built starter-home development seven miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 small, vinyl-sided houses were in foreclosure as of late last year. Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in.  In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, “I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville.  I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”

In the Franklin Reserve neighborhood of Elk Grove, California, south of Sacramento, the houses are nicer than those at Windy Ridge-many once sold for well over $500,000-but the phenomenon is the same.  At the height of the boom, 10,000 new homes were built there in just four years. Now many are empty; renters of dubious character occupy others.  Graffiti, broken windows, and other markers of decay have multiplied.  Susan McDonald, president of the local residents’ association and an executive at a local bank, told the Associated Press, “There’s been gang activity.  Things have really been changing, the last few years.”

In the first half of last year, residential burglaries rose by 35 percent and robberies by 58 percent in suburban Lee County, Florida, where one in four houses stands empty. Charlotte’s crime rates have stayed flat overall in recent years-but from 2003 to 2006, in the 10 suburbs of the city that have experienced the highest foreclosure rates, crime rose 33 percent. Civic organizations in some suburbs have begun to mow the lawns around empty houses to keep up the appearance of stability. Police departments are mapping foreclosures in an effort to identify emerging criminal hot spots.

The decline of places like Windy Ridge and Franklin Reserve is usually attributed to the subprime-mortgage crisis, with its wave of foreclosures.  And the crisis has indeed catalyzed or intensified social problems in many communities. But the story of vacant suburban homes and declining suburban neighborhoods did not begin with the crisis, and will not end with it. A structural change is under way in the housing market-a major shift in the way many Americans want to live and work.  It has shaped the current downturn, steering some of the worst problems away from the cities and toward the suburban fringes.  And its effects will be felt more strongly, and more broadly, as the years pass. Its ultimate impact on the suburbs, and the cities, will be profound.

Perchance, more weighty than the influence of a social degradation on a community is the impression such dire circumstances leave on a little lad such as Maxwell. Young Max will learn, just as his parents had.  Likely, he too will come to believe that he can only depend on himself.  An older and wiser Max will not fully grasp how extraordinary he is, or perhaps he will know all to well that no matter how glorious he is, someone might jeopardize his stability.  No matter how well he lives his life, another force, power, person, or authority might cause his dreams to go awry.  

Maxwell sees how hard life is for his parents.  He comes to understand that he too will always and forever, need to prove his worth.  How else might he hold onto his job, his home, his money, or his sense of self?  For Maxwell, as for us, anyone, innocent as they may be, might seem a threat.  His Mom and Dad, fearful that they might lose their livelihood, health care benefits, the family home, and their ability to provide, let alone survive, teach their young son trepidation.

Mom and Dad look around the neighborhood and they see society is shifting.  People of other races, colors, and creeds are destined to overtake the white majority.  This can be nothing but trouble, or so they think.  Maxwell trusts this sentiment to be true.  The parents wonder; might immigration and  Free Trade deprive them of their life style?  In the United States, Anglo Americans react more to what they muse might be so.  However, ample evidence affirms the contrary.  A 2006 study, by the Pew Hispanic Center avows, the sudden rise in the foreign-born population does not negatively effect the employment of native-born workers.

Growth in the Foreign-Born Workforce and Employment of the Native Born

By Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research

Pew Hispanic Center

August 10, 2006

Rapid increases in the foreign-born population at the state level are not associated with negative effects on the employment of native-born workers, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center that examines data during the boom years of the 1990s and the downturn and recovery since 2000.

An analysis of the relationship between growth in the foreign-born population and the employment outcomes of native-born workers revealed wide variations across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. No consistent pattern emerges to show that native-born workers suffered or benefited from increased numbers of foreign-born workers . . .

The size of the foreign-born workforce is also unrelated to the employment prospects for native-born workers.  The relative youth and low levels of education among foreign workers also appear to have no bearing on the employment outcomes of native-born workers of similar schooling and age.

Nevertheless, people continue to fear what is less than familiar.  Maxwell’s mother and father often speak of the immigrants.  The words voiced are unkind.  Assessments often are unrealistic.  In this country, on this globe, our apprehensions, our insecurity, the fear that we might not survive divides us.  Self-surety is issue number one.  

When individuals do not feel as though all is fine, when distressed, emotional reactions may be exaggerated. Many persons prefer to deny that they feel distraught.  The press, the powerful, and persons who wish to be more prominent understand this.  Each is expert in the art of persuasion.  Tell us that we are doing well, that we are strong, that they will help bring certainty, security, and safety to our lives, and to our country, and we will croon along with them.

Anxious Americans, at home and abroad, such as the parents of young Maxwell attack.  Anyone can be considered the enemy.  Bankers, big business, bureaucrats, billionaire oil magnates, migrants, and of course, mutineers of Middle Eastern descent.  Our fellow citizens are easily terrorized, if not by the persons who they think might destroy the neighborhood, or take their job, the people who crashed a plane into the Twin Towers must be a target.  Since September 11, 2001, Maxwell parents have thought it wise to protect United States shores.

Some Americans say we must stay the course in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These persons may fear terrorists from the Persian Gulf.  There is great consternation when people do not think they are physically safe.  

Citizens feel a greater concern when they discover the reasons we went to war are invalid.  Again, the people in this country recognize the adversary is the American Administration.  Lie by lie, the Iraq War Timeline reveals greater reason for antipathy.

Those who cite security and survival as the primary concern proclaim, “It is the economy.”  They say, this is the number one issue Americans must address.  Too many persons, today, cannot even live paycheck to paycheck.  Disposable income, discretionary spending, savings to fall back on are luxuries of the past.  People dream of the cushion they hope to create.  Yet, in the back of their minds, they fear.  Again,  foreclosures are in the forefront in people’s minds.  Many are mired in debt.  In February 2008, another sixty percent (60%) of Americans concluded they could no longer pay the mortgage.  Mortgage Woes Boost Credit Card Debt. Balances on charge cards cannot be reconciled.

Plastic Card Tricks

The New York Times

March 29, 2008

Americans are struggling with a very rocky economy while they are also holding almost $1 trillion in credit card debt. In most cases, those cards provide a little flexibility with the monthly bills. But an increasing number of people are defaulting because of the “tricks and traps” – soaring interest rates and hidden fees – in the credit card business.

Before more Americans get in so deep that they cannot dig out, Washington needs to change the way these companies do business to ensure that consumers are treated fairly.

The stories about deceptive practices are harrowing. At a recent news briefing in Washington, a Chicago man told about what happened when he charged a $12,000 home repair bill in 2000 on a card with an introductory interest rate of 4.25 percent. Despite his steady, on-time payments, the rate is now nearly 25 percent. And despite paying at least $15,360, he said that he had only paid off about $800 of his original debt.

Once more Americans are confronted with what causes great bitterness.  No one, not Congress, the companies that lend citizens cash, the corporate tycoons, or candidates can imagine why Americans might be bitter. None of these entities care enough to help the average Joe, Jane, Maxwell, or his parents.

Why might inhabitants in this Northern continent be cynical, or feel a need to cling to religion, weapons, or hostility.  Perhaps, these sanctuaries feel  more tangible.  Faith, as an arsenal, and anger too, are at least more affordable than other options.

Petroleum prices are also an issue of import.  Citizens cry, I now work for fuel.  Only four short month ago, oil hit $100 a barrel for the first time ever.  The rate charged for petroleum continues to climb.  Now the expense exceeds what was once unimaginable. The cost of crude is the cause.  The effect is, Mommy and Daddy do not drive much anymore.  Each trip is evaluated.  Carpools are common considerations.  Vacations are not thought vital.  Parents who had hoped to show Max the seashore this summer cannot keep the promise they made to themselves and their progeny.  Plans did not prove to be predictions.

In 2008, the inconceivable is classified as inevitable.  Scientists share a stingy assessment.  The environment is no longer stable.  Nor are our lives on the planet Earth.  We, worldwide, have passed the point of no return.  Globally, groups and individuals pooh-pooh this determination.  For them, immediate concerns take precedence over the future.  

The question we all inevitably ask, even if not expressed aloud, is, “Will I continue to exist?”  If so, “Will my family and I be comfortable?”  The answers shade our sense of what is right or wrong.  Maxwell hears his Mom and Dad speak of free trade.  This is another hazard that haunts them.

The link between economic integration and worker insecurity is also an essential element of explanations for patterns of public opposition to policies aimed at further liberalization of international trade, immigration, and foreign direct investment (FDI) in advanced economies. Economic insecurity may contribute to the backlash against globalization in at least two ways.  First is a direct effect in which individuals that perceive globalization to be contributing to their own economic insecurity are much more likely to develop policy attitudes against economic integration.

Second, if globalization limits the capacities of governments to provide social insurance, or is perceived to do so, then individuals may worry further about globalization and this effect is likely to be magnified if labor-market risks are heightened by global integration.

It seems every issue intimidates us.  Each challenges the security we crave.  All beckon us and cause us to question whether we, Maxwell, or his parents will survive.  Our serious fears force us to believe we must separate ourselves from others, from our brothers and sisters.  In an earlier speech, echoing the words of Franklin Roosevelt, the eloquent Barack Obama spoke of this situation and how our own anxiety harms us.[ The Presidential hopeful offered solutions.

[W]e need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all . . .

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.”  We do not need to recite here the history of racial [or economic] injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the [any] community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered  . . .

Legalized discrimination . . . That history helps explain the wealth and income gap  . . . and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity  . . . and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of [all] families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban [and now with “no new taxes” suburban] neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

Potential President Obama understands and hopes to help all American realize that we are one.  While this vocalization was meant to focus on the more obvious rift between the races, the Senator from Illinois, the community organizer, attempted to advance awareness for what troubles Americans as a whole.

In fact, a similar anger exists within [all] segments of the  . . . community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch.  They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor.  They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense . . ..

Americans, no matter the color or circumstances might contemplate that anger is “often proved counterproductive” as are resentments.  These attitudes distract attention and widen any divide.  If Americans are to find a path to understanding, we must accept that our insecurity, our fears need not distract us.  We will survive if we work as one.

This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of [any child] black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem.  The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy . . ..

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics [poor and those the government classifies as affluent] who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life.  This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.  We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

Today, we must be honest with ourselves.  We can admit that we are incensed, irritated, infuriated, and irate.  These feelings do not immobilize us.  Nor do we necessarily need to fight, and be combative.  It is time we teach Maxwell and also Maxine, distress can inspire us to dream the of impossible and make it our truth.  We, Americans can rise above our bitterness and build bridges to a fine future if we unite.

It is not elitist to speak truth.  It is ignorance and obfuscation to deny how we feel and what we fear.  We cannot change what we do not acknowledge.  Elusion will not bring bliss.  We may be insecure; we may question whether we can survive.  Indeed, if we act as we have in the past, if we focus on our faith and antipathy, there will be no reason to hope.  Americans, divisions have distracted us for too long.  To negate our natural response is to restrict our growth.  This time citizens of the United States, let us come together.  Bitterness can become sweet.

Sources of insecurity.  Resources for survival . . .