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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


October 3, 2008

Itís All Male Bovine Dung

John W. Ashbury

            This political season has given new meaning to the term used in the headline above. Both presidential camps have stooped to new lows with their ads, intentionally misrepresenting their opponent’s positions. Unfortunately, all too many American swallow the messages and believe one or the other.

 

            An online dictionary defines the term thus: “A statement made without regard for its truth, accuracy, or veracity. A (male bovine dung) statement is distinguished from a lie because a lie is a knowing falsehood, while (male bovine dung) simply does not care whether it is true or false.”

 

            As you may know, there is a much more popular colloquium for male bovine dung which can’t be used in a family publication.

 

            Close attention to what is being said rarely gives the hearer a clear picture. There are several online sites which attempt to clarify what is true or false about what the candidates are saying, the most prominent and popular is www.factcheck.org. There you will find expert analysis of claims made by Republican Candidate John McCain and Democratic Candidate Barack Obama.

 

            In a recent posting, FactCheck.org listed the “Whoppers” so far in the campaign. Neither candidate comes out smelling like a rose. As a matter of fact, both arrive smelling like male bovine dung.

 

            First up was a claim by Senator McCain that if elected president Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I suppose that depends on how much money you make. Citing his voting record in Illinois’ state legislature, and during his nearly four years in the U. S. Senate, has little meaning to the general public.

 

            But what FactCheck.org doesn’t say is that income taxes will go up under Senator Obama’s proposal for everyone making more than $250,000 a year. That would include businesses owned as sole proprietorship and single owner Limited Liability Corporations.

 

            Taxes will likely go up substantially for everyone if a financial bail-out isn’t passed by Congress. How else will the government avert a depression rather than force us through a mild recession.

 

            The big question for a lot of people is their retirement plans, including 401 (k)’s and stock portfolios. Senator Obama has said he wants the capital gains tax raised to 28 percent. He is being naïve if he is unaware that 100 million Americans – even as individuals – will be adversely affected by that increase.

 

            Also, according to FactCheck.org, Senator Obama claims that Senator McCain will cut Social Security payments to retirees. True to a point, but mostly false. Everyone getting a check now would still get the same benefits. Under Senator McCain’s plan everyone born before 1950 would see no change in their Social Security benefits. Senator Obama’s claim here is designed to scare older voters – because they vote.

 

            President George W. Bush did propose a program where people would be allowed to invest some of their money in their Social Security account outside the system. Senator McCain supported that idea in the upper house of Congress. But it never became law. And part of that law would have prevented those born before 1950 from participating.

 

            Both candidates have made false claims about the other’s energy policies. What neither of them seems to understand is that everything must be done to address our current and future energy requirements.

 

            Drill where the oil is. Expanded research and development of alternatives to our unquenchable thirst for oil is mandatory. Clean coal, scrubbed smoke stacks for “dirty” coal, nuclear power, creating less costly means of extracting the 800 billion barrels of oil in the shale in our western states, and wind power and solar must be expanded to generate the electricity we need at our ever expanding demand.

 

            All of this must be done, but neither candidate seems willing to embrace all the alternatives – just some which play well with their supporters – and to hell with the rest of those who live in these United States.

 

            The false claims go on and on. We can’t seem to get a truthful answer from either one of them. And both obfuscate, always seeking a way around answering the question put directly to them.

 

            And the news media generally fails to call them on the carpet for it with the same vitriol with which they condemn those who complain about their presentation of the news “facts.”

 

            And the network and cable "analysis” shows have descended into bitter bickering between supporters of both candidates. The anchors bring on an Obama campaign worker to present a clear picture of what he stands for and, in a split screen, there sits a McCain supporter grimacing until given the chance to rebut what was said.

 

            Too often the “discussion” descends to a shouting match. This does little to inform the voter. It serves only to anger some of them to the point they consider not voting at all.

 

            As headlined above, it is all male bovine dung. There are all too many voters across the nation who are simply fed up with it. They want quiet, intelligent discussion of the issues, even if it isn’t the candidates doing it themselves.

 

            There are a few people out there who do exactly that without partisanship complimenting their comments. Larry J. Sabato, of the University of Virginia, posts his unbiased comments on his Crystal Ball website (http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/2008/president/) without the male bovine dung. Check it out sometime.

 

            We will all be making our final decision on just which one of the national candidates will garner our vote. And it is unlikely that very many will change their minds because of an ad on radio or television, which seems to be a great waste of time and money – money that could be used to solve a few pressing problems – like finding a way for all to obtain health care without taxpayer funding.

 

            However, campaign contributions are money given to the candidates or their surrogates with the expectation of some influence in the next administration. Check out the individuals and groups who have contributed to both campaigns.

 

            We’re not talking about the “little guy” who gives a few dollars to a candidate. We’re talking about the big money boys and girls who always seem to find a way around campaign finance laws.

 

            Just be wary. And when sitting at home in your easy chair enjoying a favorite television show, just keep the remote handy so you can switch channels when the political ads appear…

 

            …Or just watch a cable movie. That way you’ll avoid most of the male bovine dung.

 



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