Congratulations America! Now What Do I Do?

Wow! After eight long years, the reign of the neo-cons is finally ending! And with a college vote of over 2:1, a popular margin of 6 points, and more total votes than any other Presidential candidate in US history(!), it may even be emphatic enough for the Republicans to re-think their position, and get rid of the religious right and neo-conservative cancers upon their party. Sadly however, I doubt it—early signs are that they may go even further to the right. If they do, I can only imagine they will lose by an even bigger margin the next time around, and maybe that will do it. We can only hope. :-)

Although Obama’s victory speech was quite impressive, I was if anything even more impressed with John McCain’s very gracious concession speech. It’s almost as if he secretly wanted Obama to win—perhaps after butting heads with the religious right throughout his campaign, he really did think it would be for the best! I now understand why he didn’t try to use Pastor Wright in his Obama smear campaign (which surprised me): it seems he really is sincerely anti-racist, unlike much of his party.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to come up with an appropriate way to celebrate the win, and I’ve also been wondering what I can bitch about now that the neo-cons are gone. ;-) Actually, not really—I still have plenty of things I want to write about! But I thought some funny and creative answers to these two questions would make for a good, fun competition for my readers and fans, so I’ve decided to do the following: whoever can come up with best answer to one or both of these questions wins a kiss from me! That’s right—I will do a video where I blow a kiss to you with your name on it, which I will publish here. And if you’re a member of my main web site, I will do an adult version for you as well!

The rules of the competition are pretty simple—just post your response to either the question “what should I do to celebrate the US election result?” or “what can I write about now that the neo-cons have been voted out?” (or both!) below. I’m not really after serious answers—what I actually want is something funny and/or creative. The person who posts the funniest and/or most creative answer(s) as judged by me will be the winner. I will make my choice on Christmas day, and we will then try to post your video(s) on new year’s day. Anyone is welcome to enter, although you will have to already be a member of my main web site as of Christmas day to be eligible for the personalised adult video.

So what will I do in the video apart from blowing you a kiss? That’s pretty much up to you. I can do, say and wear whatever you want, as long as it isn’t X-rated (and the video for this blog will have to be non-nude, although obviously the one for my main site can be nude), it isn’t too dangerous or difficult (or illegal), and the type of clothing you want is something I have (or is worth my while to acquire). I must also be able to do it within 5 minutes. Apart from that, pretty much anything goes, although I reserve the right to add a disclaimer if you want me to say something I don’t believe in. :-)

So post your wittiest response below, so you can receive a very special Christmas present from me! (If you’re hoping to buy something new from me for Christmas, please hold on for a few more days!)

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well, sachiko, if mccain really wanted obama to win- i guess that’s why he picked palin :) the knives are coming out on fox news and endless streams of anecdotes about her lack of knowledge of the basic running of governmental systems and even north american geography- well, let’s just say the american people weren’t fooled by the propaganda that claimed she was smart. here’s to hopin’ she stays in alaska and that it eventually does succeed in seceding.

  
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As a 34 year old African American, I never thought I would see this happen in my life time. The moment that CNN announced that Barack Obama was going to be our 44th President I cried with joy and if I ever get married and have children during his Presidency I can say to them that they can become President regardless of nationality, race, gender and religion. I wish my Grandfather was alive to see this and I’m so proud of myself that I gave up a full-time $8.50 job at Lowes because I wanted to help the Obama campaign and regester votes to elect Barack Obama as President of the United States. If I should pass one day, I will look back to this moment and say that I was part of history.

  
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Congratulations Alistair! I can only imagine what a wonderful moment this must be for you. Obama’s victory is truly a victory for the common people, and African Americans in particular. I hope that now Obama has won this election, more ordinary Americans will feel their vote counts, and they will keep on voting. This will help to curb the religious and right wing extremists, who have wielded too much power in American politics for far too long now.

  
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With the republicans officially on the way out, I think its time to “Make love, not war”, which is to say I’m eagerly awaiting more stuff on your main site ;)
As for this blog, I’d like to have some more positive discussions about not being ashamed of our bodies, the positive aspects of athieism and that sort of thing. The blasphemy challenge, unexpected joys of athiesm, those were great, especially if we can keep them on the positive side and not give in to anger about these issues. I’ve always been impressed by your ability to put a positive spin on these issues.
Not that I don’t understand why people (including myself) get angry about religion/”morality” but I’ve spent the last 8 years being angry at social conservatives. I’m ready to celebrate!

  
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I am very happy that Obama was elected. This, I hope, is a new begining for this country in so many different ways. This country has been run into the ground by a president and administration that has trampled on the rights of all people. I know we shanll never see any of them impeached, but I have a feeling we will be learning about how crooked they were for many years to come. With the election of Obama and Biden I think this coutry has new hope and a new direction than the path we have been taken down the last 8 years.

  
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You can bitch about California Prop 8, Florida Amendment 2, Arizona Prop 102, and Arkansas Initiative 1. I’m excited we have a black president, but bigotry is still alive and well in the United States.

  
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Originally Posted By Craig
As for this blog, I’d like to have some more positive discussions about not being ashamed of our bodies, the positive aspects of athieism and that sort of thing. The blasphemy challenge, unexpected joys of athiesm, those were great, especially if we can keep them on the positive side and not give in to anger about these issues. I’ve always been impressed by your ability to put a positive spin on these issues.

Thanks Craig – I am intending to do exactly that!

Originally Posted By Dave
You can bitch about California Prop 8, Florida Amendment 2, Arizona Prop 102, and Arkansas Initiative 1. I’m excited we have a black president, but bigotry is still alive and well in the United States.

Yes, this is true: there surely is still plenty of bitchin’ to be done about the present state of the USA. There’s a couple of things I could bitch about down here too (the ridiculous complexity of Australia’s tax system, and defficiencies of our education system), but I think they’d be pretty boring posts. ;-)

  
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news (actually, I relish it!), but Obama isn’t “black” so much as he’s “multi-ethnic.” The fact that people call him “black” actually reinforces such racists beliefs as 1/8 blood quanta for deciding the race of a minority.

Oh, and Alistair, not to be persnickety… but you can’t be any nationality. A US President must be born a US citizen. So… their nationality must always be American! :)

When I submitted my ballot three weeks ago, I voted for McCain, as I always have said I would, but I crossed out Sarah Palin’s name and wrote “Caribou Queen” instead. One day, I heard Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen” and was inspired to write a song.

So, in honor of Senator Obama’s newly announced title of “President-Elect,” I present you with “Caribou Queen.”

Caribou Queen

She bust on the scene, with shotgun in tow.
Got everyone askin’, “What the heck is Juneau?”
The media asked “How will _she_ help McCain?”
And all she could say was “I have a name.”

Chorus:

Caribou Queen
I guess we’re now on the same team.
But our minds can’t think as one.
This campaign won’t be fun.

The media chuckles when she steps in the room.
She looks so excited that she shot a moose.
International policy, that you can’t ignore.
She knows about Canada, Russia, and more.

They were in search of a woman,
A part of their game.
The economy was furthest,
Furthest from her mind.

Chorus (x3)

The new conservatism is not dead in the world. However, hopefully, the stupidity of the ignorant is. I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Aloha from Hawaii.

  
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Not to throw water on our celebration, but the neo-cons have not gone away, as House Republican leader’s John Boehner’s comments on Obama selecting Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff amply demonstrate. The fact that the Republicans are forcing Roy Blount out of his position as Minority Whip to replace him with another far right yahoo shows that the politics of wedge issues and culture wars is alive and well and dominant in the Republican Party. It also shows that the Republicans just don’t get it. Because they abandoned the political center for the extreme right wing, moderate voters abandoned them last Tuesday and will continue to do so as long as the Republicans hang a sign around their necks that says: “No moderates allowed!”

  
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Originally Posted By Dane
I hate to be the bearer of bad news (actually, I relish it!), but Obama isn’t “black” so much as he’s “multi-ethnic.” The fact that people call him “black” actually reinforces such racists beliefs as 1/8 blood quanta for deciding the race of a minority.

I think the fact that Obama is even half black is significant enough – he’s black enough for the white supremicists to want to kill him, after all (something I desperately hope does not come to fruition).

When I submitted my ballot three weeks ago, I voted for McCain, as I always have said I would, but I crossed out Sarah Palin’s name and wrote “Caribou Queen” instead. One day, I heard Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen” and was inspired to write a song.

Thanks Dane, that’s definitely the most creative response so far. Come on democrats – don’t let me have to kiss a republican! :-) Actually, as this isn’t really an answer to my one of my two questions above, I guess I won’t really have to kiss Dane. ;-)

  
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Originally Posted By Firefly
Not to throw water on our celebration, but the neo-cons have not gone away, as House Republican leader’s John Boehner’s comments on Obama selecting Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff amply demonstrate. The fact that the Republicans are forcing Roy Blount out of his position as Minority Whip to replace him with another far right yahoo shows that the politics of wedge issues and culture wars is alive and well and dominant in the Republican Party. It also shows that the Republicans just don’t get it. Because they abandoned the political center for the extreme right wing, moderate voters abandoned them last Tuesday and will continue to do so as long as the Republicans hang a sign around their necks that says: “No moderates allowed!”

Actually, as I say in my post, the early signs are that they are drifting even further to the right. But one can only hope that this will put them even further out into the electoral wilderness after the next election, after which they should finally learn their lesson – or (hopefully) remain forever unelectable.

  
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The neo-cons may not be completely gone, but at least they will soon be out of the White House. I’ve gotten tired of the “you’re either with us or against us” attitude of the Bush administration and look forward to an Obama administration that listens to our allies and will work with them to resolve our many global problems.

I too was impressed with McCain’s concession speech. That speech sounded like the John McCain before 2005 when he was a true Republican maverick. Too bad he decided to move to the right to get his party’s nomination. Trust me, Colin Powell isn’t the only moderate Republican who decided to vote Democrat this year.

By the way Sachicko, I’m sure that if a beautiful sexy Australian princess such as youself were to kiss an ugly Republican elephant, he will magically turn into a handsome Democratic donkey. Or maybe not……..

  
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Neo-cons, as others here have noted, are definitely NOT out of the picture, and won’t go away easily. Mr. Obama has already “picked out” some official staff members that include some known neo-cons. I have heard, also, that Mr. Obama has been in some way (directly or indirectly) compelled retain some high-level advisors (other than Cabinet) that are not American citizens, and really shouldn’t be expected to function with the best interests of the American (or world) working class at heart. Google the name “George Soros” and see what you get, especially concerning Mr. Obama… there will be a mix of supportive and non-supportive commentary, of course… And I can win no prizes with this, but would just ask that daily prayers of protection be sent out in behalf of Mr. Obama and his family. And I would hope to see Sachiko and others keep on writing and asking new questions about our world’s political landscape.

  
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Originally Posted By alcove6409
And I would hope to see Sachiko and others keep on writing and asking new questions about our world’s political landscape.

You can be sure I will!

  
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I just read this great article about Obama’s expected treatment of Israel:

Will Obama Be a True Friend of Israel?

I remain of the opinion that a fair treatment of Israel (as opposed to the blatantly pro-Israel bias of the Bush administration) and its conflicts with its Muslim neighbours is the key to world peace, and will do far more to reduce terrorism than all of Bush’s so-called “war on terror” initiatives combined.

  
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Also, I notice that Otis has been very quiet recently – I just can’t resist quoting his comment here:

Originally Posted By Otis R. Needleman
Sachiko wonders about the election. Well, wonder no more. Americans will NOT vote for ANY Presidential candidate who appears soft on fighting terror. The USA isn’t Spain, where a cowed electorate gave terrorists what they wanted after an attack. No, expect John McCain and Sarah Palin to be elected. And for what it’s worth, one of Sarah Palin’s sons is in the Army and left today for Iraq. One of John McCain’s sons, a Marine, has already served in Iraq.

I guess he didn’t know who would win the election after all. ;-)

  
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Here is a presentation that makes several references to the “offshore” financial oligarchs that are intent on disrupting the true and ideal mission of the new president-elect of the USA. George Soros is named… Obama seems to have taken his money at some points (there might not have been a choice) and now can’t get rid of him. So, this is not a sychophantic anti-Bush sentiment or under-researched paranoic fantasy on my part. You would eventually find commentary from other sources on Soros and named associates which points in the same direction as this:

http://www.larouchepac.com/news/2008/11/07/larouche-demands-no-job-soros-and-malloch-brown-agent-samant.html

Now, saying that, I will look into Sachiko’s reference to Israeli matters…

  
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I also highly recommend this article from the same site as the one I mention above:

America the Illiterate

  
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Originally Posted By CraigWith the republicans officially on the way out, I think its time to “Make love, not war”, which is to say I’m eagerly awaiting more stuff on your main site ;)
As for this blog, I’d like to have some more positive discussions about not being ashamed of our bodies, the positive aspects of athieism and that sort of thing. The blasphemy challenge, unexpected joys of athiesm, those were great, especially if we can keep them on the positive side and not give in to anger about these issues. I’ve always been impressed by your ability to put a positive spin on these issues.
Not that I don’t understand why people (including myself) get angry about religion/”morality” but I’ve spent the last 8 years being angry at social conservatives. I’m ready to celebrate!

Well she said to keep it non x-rated so that is not the best idea for the video but I, too, agree, that the video should be a celebration one.

For non-nude, this works for me
http://www.stockingstore.com/fence-net-pantyhose-p/c9905.htm
These are special hose and do not need a top to be warn with them.

And since it will be farther along in the news items, you can speak of the cabinet choice as they are announced or as they are conjectured.

You wanna talk oil policy? People speak of green or renewable energy.
I notice 1st run olive oil is rather green, so that could be your second skin.
You discuss your new politics while you apply liberal ie non neo-oil to your whole body. Over the fence nets and all.

Whatever your message is, people will watch.
For the group here, you can stand with hair strategically placed, and for your site, you can squat on a table outdoors with your hair blowing in the breeze out behind you.

Yeah, multi-ethnic. In california it flys, there are many multi-ethnic people here, you have to ask what natioanlity or race they subscribe to, but even here, most times you don’t because you don’t care. Progress has been made since the 1960′s. We read a book in school about some guy that used skin toner and darken himself up, he was portugese decent and he went to the deep south and passed himself off as black. It was called “Black Like Me” And then he journalled his behavier and treatment as the black wore off as the weeks went by and then he sometimes said he was black and sometimes said he was white. Intriguing book.

I do not propose mixing black shoe polish with all that beautiful oil you are wearing with those fishnet hose, but perhaps you could finish up by removing the hose and with 2 or 3 liters of Hershy’s finest chocolate syrup, emulate the Black Like Sachiko theme and cover your self, your whole body, with the chocolate syrup!!

sigh

I hope my vote wins. I have propose a difficult yardstick by wich to measure up to.

Michael Wheeler

  
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US politics is one issue. The Neocons are far from gone, they’ll sure be back; and more damage is being done through the lame duck lapse.

There being a good double-digit amount of days left before president-elect becomes president, we all who have focused on this ought to zoom out and start taking in the rest of the world, again. And life is not only about politics.

‘Love not War’ and its implications certainly isn’t a bad idea. In addition I’d suggest a glimpse around one’s own horizon. Now that some politics are improving, how about the possibly sorry state of our own vicinity? While improving the world online, how at peace are we with those around us? Chatting around the globe is great; though if life was only happening on blogs then we’d be better off with a wheelchair and a feeding tube.

Being new to this blog, please let me state my admiration at the variety of themes you address as well as the way you handle it.

Now, how about cutting back from the abstract to the tangible, and talk about it?

Regards,
Robin Berger

PS I just read in the Washington Post that US Treasury no longer plans to buy troubled assets from financial firms, but instead will ‘offer aid to banks and other firms that issue student, auto and credit card loans.’ Now I’m flabbergasted!

This makes me come back on my decision to leave America undiscussed for some time. What they do will be imitated in Europe and around the world, bad example!

Already, once the bailout idea got circulated, there’s a plethora of companies of all boards and colors volunteering for a shot of it at taxpayer’s expense. That’s what I call a thorough backfiring.

Treasury Secretary Paulson should now say “Thanks, but no thanks” and leave the dough untouched. It should instead be distributed equally among all Americans, one part per head.

This would, firstly, prevent that large amount of money from being stolen by anyone, since it would mean some of the taxpayer’s money is being returned to its owner. Secondly, wealth could (again) trickle upwards from the base: the boost for economy would be immediate and guaranteed. (Thanks to my friend VIS for suggesting the idea!)

Please note I’m not being a wee bit cynical in writing this.

  
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I can think of two things that you could write about and maybe make a difference. One, is the complete and blatant racism demonstrated by the Sapulpa Daily Herarld, Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The publisher did not even mention in the 5 Nov edition that Barack Obama had won the presidential election. The paper did however, mention that McCain had won locally. If you want a neo-conservative cause to attack, well take aim and attack. Below is the link to the CNN report on the incident.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2008/11/10/dnt.ok.no.obama.newspaper.kjrh

I know you have met thousands of people over the years, but if by chance you remember me, as a radical atheist, I have some very strong views on religion being forced upon me and other like minded people. Although I would love to see a godless america that is very large battle. Perhaps though, you could take on the issue of getting religion out of the military. While the military is yet another group I have some issues with, I believe that introduction of religion into its very foundation is the catalyst for some the broader issues with the military. I am a supporter of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about.html. I became aware of them after spending sometime in Okinawa, Japan and watching the american channels. The airwaves were filled with military advertisements, which were rather neo-con in themselves, but they were filled with religious comments and connotations. One brainwashing piece dealt with the articles of the u.s. military code of honor. It was bad enough having to be exposed to this form of military neo-conservative, patriotic, babble, but when they talked to article VI: “ I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America,” I was upset. Why is god even being mentioned? Is god going to help you if you are in trouble? The ads even spoke to the virtues of the military oath of enlistment, “I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. This to fired me up and so I did some research and learned that, as would expect, there has been some controversy about whether the phrase “So help me God” is mandatory. Some officers have been permitted to omit these words, if they choose, according to their religious preference and beliefs. However, federal law does not appear to make any part of the oath optional. See 10 United States Code, Section 502. Sackiko, maybe with your help, as a small step forward, we can get these references to a god removed from at least these code and oath. If successful, then we can go after the pledge of allegiance and god removed there as well. In the meantime, I will continue my own mini-religious/god war and keep crossing our god on my money.

  
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From what I can remember, I’ve never heard you bitch about anything here or on your main site. Bitching is what most people do who can’t intelligently construct a simple sentence to convey their thoughts without resorting to ranting and raving like a deranged crazy person. You on the other hand are one of the very few people who can have high-spirited, stimulating, intellectual dialogues/conversations with people and stay focused on very important issues and topics. So no, you weren’t bitching.

As for future topics of discussion, that could be a pretty long list. You mentioned the tax and education system in Australia, well, we have the same problem here and quite a few others. Religion and politics will always be good topics. Here’s a short list to start with:

- Environmental Issues
- Natural Resources
- Development of Second and Third World Countries
- Responsibility of First World Counties
- Teenage Pregnancy
- Drug Abuse
- Alcohol Abuse

I think that’s enough suggestions from me, so I’ll let others join in.

As for what I would like to see in the “Kisses” contest, I’ve always been pretty fond of Julie Andrews in the movie “The Sound of Music” and I think the song “Climb Every Mountain” fits the current mood in America and around the world with the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States because he did some serious mountain climbing, plus that song is pretty inspirational for me, especially on a stairmaster :) So a nude striptease to “Climb Every Mountain” performance dressed in a traditional German beermaiden costume like the St. Pauli Girl for the mainsite and you dressed the same for this site singing the same song.

Hopefully my submission meets the requirements of tastefull, not X-rated or illegal, funny, creative, under five minutes, and not too serious. Plus with your beautiful singing voice and body, I cannot think of anyone else better suited for the job.

  
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Originally Posted By Robin Berger
Being new to this blog, please let me state my admiration at the variety of themes you address as well as the way you handle it.

Now, how about cutting back from the abstract to the tangible, and talk about it?

Thanks Robin, and sorry for my tardy response (we’ve been busy finishing my new store!). Anyway, I do agree we all have to look at ourselves as well, but I’m not sure it makes good blog material. :-)

Treasury Secretary Paulson should now say “Thanks, but no thanks” and leave the dough untouched. It should instead be distributed equally among all Americans, one part per head.

This would, firstly, prevent that large amount of money from being stolen by anyone, since it would mean some of the taxpayer’s money is being returned to its owner. Secondly, wealth could (again) trickle upwards from the base: the boost for economy would be immediate and guaranteed. (Thanks to my friend VIS for suggesting the idea!)

That’s a very interesting idea! I wonder if it would work better?

  
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Originally Posted By don
I can think of two things that you could write about and maybe make a difference. One, is the complete and blatant racism demonstrated by the Sapulpa Daily Herarld, Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The publisher did not even mention in the 5 Nov edition that Barack Obama had won the presidential election. The paper did however, mention that McCain had won locally. If you want a neo-conservative cause to attack, well take aim and attack. Below is the link to the CNN report on the incident.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2008/11/10/dnt.ok.no.obama.newspaper.kjrh

I know you have met thousands of people over the years, but if by chance you remember me, as a radical atheist, I have some very strong views on religion being forced upon me and other like minded people.

Hi Don: once again, sorry for my tardy response! I do remember your name, although I can’t remember exactly where from – I take it you’ve posted in my Yahoo group or MySpace page?

Anyway, the outrageous bias displayed by the conservative media in the US is absolutely mind blowing to the rest of the free world – this kind of thing just doesn’t happen in other western countries. Ideally, we need to find a way of bringing this media under control, but I don’t know how.

I also agree we have to get religion out of the military. Otherwise, we are encouraging the old Christian vs. Muslim war that’s been waging for centuries. So much to write about, so little time! :-(

  
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Originally Posted By JohnFourtyTwo
From what I can remember, I’ve never heard you bitch about anything here or on your main site. Bitching is what most people do who can’t intelligently construct a simple sentence to convey their thoughts without resorting to ranting and raving like a deranged crazy person. You on the other hand are one of the very few people who can have high-spirited, stimulating, intellectual dialogues/conversations with people and stay focused on very important issues and topics. So no, you weren’t bitching.

Thanks John! I was of course being light-hearted with my wording, in keeping with my competition. :-)

As for future topics of discussion, that could be a pretty long list. You mentioned the tax and education system in Australia, well, we have the same problem here and quite a few others. Religion and politics will always be good topics. Here’s a short list to start with:

- Environmental Issues
- Natural Resources
- Development of Second and Third World Countries
- Responsibility of First World Counties
- Teenage Pregnancy
- Drug Abuse
- Alcohol Abuse

I think that’s enough suggestions from me, so I’ll let others join in.

Yep, there certainly is still plenty to write about – sadly… :-(

As for what I would like to see in the “Kisses” contest, I’ve always been pretty fond of Julie Andrews in the movie “The Sound of Music” and I think the song “Climb Every Mountain” fits the current mood in America and around the world with the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States because he did some serious mountain climbing, plus that song is pretty inspirational for me, especially on a stairmaster :) So a nude striptease to “Climb Every Mountain” performance dressed in a traditional German beermaiden costume like the St. Pauli Girl for the mainsite and you dressed the same for this site singing the same song.

Hopefully my submission meets the requirements of tastefull, not X-rated or illegal, funny, creative, under five minutes, and not too serious. Plus with your beautiful singing voice and body, I cannot think of anyone else better suited for the job.

Well John, you’re the winner by default so far! I’ve had a few people email me to let me know they’re trying to think of something good, but you’re the first person to actually post something! To all who are reading this, you can enter multiple times, so it doesn’t matter if your first go isn’t a winner. :-)

  
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Thanks, Sachiko! It was an honour to see myself at the top of your blogroll! I also liked the posting you had earlier about debt and deficits under Republicans vs. Democrats. I was looking at stats on http://www.kowaldesign.com/budget/ and they seem to indicate that the highest deficit/GDP ratios in history were under Reagan and Bush. You can see public debt rising steadily under Reagan & Bush Sr., levelling off under Clinton, then rising sharply again under Bush Jr. Here is what the most recent Nobel Laureate in Economics, Paul Krugman , said about the Bush tax cuts in 2003:

The latest official projections acknowledge (if you read them carefully) that the long-term finances of the U.S. government are in much worse shape than the administration admitted a year ago. But many commentators are reluctant to blame George W. Bush for that grim outlook, preferring instead to say something like this: ”Sure, you can criticize those tax cuts, but the real problem is the long-run deficits of Social Security and Medicare, and the unwillingness of either party to reform those programs.”

Why is this line appealing? It seems more reasonable to blame longstanding problems for our fiscal troubles than to attribute them to just two years of bad policy decisions. Also, many pundits like to sound ”balanced,” pronouncing a plague on both parties’ houses. To accuse the current administration of wrecking the federal budget sounds, well, shrill — and we don’t want to sound shrill, do we?

There’s only one problem with this reasonable, balanced, non-shrill position: it’s completely wrong. The Bush tax cuts, not the retirement programs, are the main reason why our fiscal future suddenly looks so bleak.

I base that statement on a new study that compares the size of the Bush tax cuts with that of the prospective deficits of Social Security and Medicare. The results are startling.

Accountants estimate the ”actuarial balance” of Social Security and Medicare the same way a private insurance company would: they calculate the present value of projected revenues and outlays, and find the difference. (The present value of a future expense is the amount you would have to invest today to have the money when the bill comes due. For example, if $1 invested in U.S. government bonds would be worth $2 by the year 2020, then the present value of $2 in 2020 is $1 today.) And both programs face shortfalls: the estimated actuarial deficit of Social Security over the next 75 years is $3.5 trillion, and that of Medicare is $6.2 trillion.

But how do these shortfalls compare with the fiscal effects of recent and probable future tax cuts?

The new study, carried out by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, estimates the present value of the revenue that will be lost because of the Bush tax cuts — those that have already taken place, together with those that have been proposed — using the same economic assumptions that underlie those Medicare and Social Security projections. The total comes to $12 trillion to $14 trillion — more than the Social Security and Medicare shortfalls combined. What this means is that the revenue that will be sacrificed because of those tax cuts is not a minor concern. On the contrary, that revenue would have been more than enough to ”top up” Social Security and Medicare, allowing them to operate without benefit cuts for the next 75 years.

The administration has tried to deny this conclusion, inventing strange new principles of accounting in the process. But the simple truth is that the Bush tax cuts have utterly transformed our fiscal outlook, for the worse. Without those tax cuts, the problems of an aging population might well have been manageable; with them, nothing short of an economic miracle can save us from a fiscal crisis.

And there’s a lesson here that goes beyond fiscal policies. On almost every front the outlook for the United States now seems far bleaker than it did two years ago. Has everything gone wrong because of evildoers and external forces? In the case of the budget — and the economy and, yes, foreign policy — the answer is no. The world has turned out to be a tougher place than we thought a few years ago, but things didn’t have to be nearly this bad.

(See article “Who Lost the US budget?” at http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9805E6DA1131F932A15750C0A9659C8B63)

  
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Originally Posted By Mark
Thanks, Sachiko! It was an honour to see myself at the top of your blogroll! I also liked the posting you had earlier about debt and deficits under Republicans vs. Democrats.

Thanks for your comments Mark – you’re lucky your blog’s name starts with a “B”. ;-)

@betmo – I am terribly sorry betmo, I just realised after I added Mark’s blog to my blogroll that I’d neglected to add your’s! Anyway, it’s there now – better late than never I guess. :-)

  
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Actually, after looking at John’s entry (and the lack of other entries so far!), I think I should perhaps clarify the rules of the competition. Basically, you have to make a humorous or creative suggestion about what I should do to celebrate the voting out of the neo-cons, or what I should write about now that I can’t discuss voting them out any more. John has focused on what he would like to see me do if he wins the competition, which is fine, but that isn’t necessarily what I’m after – you can tell me what you want me to do after you’ve won the competition, but the competition itself is about what I should do myself. These can be the same thing of course (as per John’s entry), but they don’t have to be; indeed, you will probably be able to come up with something better if you keep them separate!

  
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Having given myself some time to contemplate the matter of the United States having selected the younger version of John McCain (I don’t really mind Obama as much as others suspect I do), I have decided upon things that you could do to celebrate the swinging of the pendulum back toward the left in the United States…

Da Da Da Da DA!

You can become a paleo-liberal! Yes, readers of SachikoSpace, you too can join the cause of helping out the America’s unemployed masses by providing jobs for former members of Congress who rallied neo-conservatism.

After all, if the neo-conservatives go extinct, there will be another pendulum shift to the right. So, help out your fellow liberal members of the media, and provide jobs for neo-conservatives. Otherwise, who will Bill Mahrer and Jon Stewart be able to make fun of? Semi-moderate Joseph Lieberman?

Other options that one could consider whilst contemplating retirement from the political scene:

Open up a car wash.
Coordinate a Girl Scout troop.
Focus on teaching your students that conservatives aren’t evil people, they’re simply misguided or ignorant.
Or… combine all of these elements, and recruit girl scouts to run a fully robotic car wash, which offers discounts to those vehicles hosting “Conservatives aren’t evil. They’re simply misguided.” bumper stickers!

On a more serious note, there are two issues that I believe you should try to rally support against:

1) GM’s bail-out by the US government. GM has put together a website entirely dedicated to confusing (bordering on outright deceiving) the American people about what would happen should US auto fail. They’ve gone so far as to imply that if GM goes bankrupt, there will be a national security breach. Pay no mind that if GM went bankrupt, someone else would purchase the manufacturing facilities and continue to produce cars, but at a more affordable pricing scale.

http://www.gmfactsandfiction.com/

2) Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State. Having Hillary in the Cabinet is more concessionary than anything, and I really don’t think Obama should do that. Although many subscribe to the “keep your friends close, enemies closer” dynamic, I don’t think it is beneficial to give someone completely subversive to you, that much power. As Secretary of State, Hillary will invariably seek power for herself on the international front, possibly seeking office against the incumbent in 2012. Altogether bad news, I say.

As for a celebration…

You could do the ultimate tribute and sing Maddy Wyatt’s _Man For Me_. Of all the Obama songs, I definitely think that is the most fun! Ask her for permission and demo it on your site. That would be a most excellent celebration.

  
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Thanks Dane, that’s exactly the kind of thing I was looking for! It looks like I might have to kiss a republican after all. ;-)

And to everyone else reading this, please put in your entries, and make me laugh! That’s what this competition is all about. :-)

  
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I dont think much will change. Both US parties arent so much different.
For Germany Republicans were always better…bought more from us…and McCain is a very liberal American…maybe even more than Obama.

Obama will have much problems to help the people and most he cant help. US made a lot wrong and at the moment they need to pay for it.
Sad is only that nearly the hole world did nothing against it in the past or thought they could get money, too.

So i can say Congratulation to America if they learn and change their lifestyle.
Stop doing stupid wars they cant win and maybe see..that they arent the worldpower…this times are over…
Today Europa, China und Russia are the big players and America should try to live and work with us…not so command.

  
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It is certainly true that the unilateralism of the neo-cons has been shown not to work at all: the only way forward for the US is to co-operate with the rest of the world, and Obama is on the path to that.

  
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looks like Gates will stay in the Pentagon…so not really much will change how the USA act with their military
but maybe thats even better for us than we here in Germany use our armed forces^^
we cant even catch pirates
(or we need german police and judge on our ships)

we should all find a middle course between do nothing and border other countries

  
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I must say I was quite surprised to hear that Robert Gates would be staying on. Is this for the best?

  
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In all honesty, Robert Michael Gates is a good Secretary of Defense. Remember, Bush (who all of you hate) had his first choice as Rumsfeld. The majority of the mishaps in the US military were carryover from decisions rendered under Secretary Rumsfeld.

Gates’ decision to maintain a presence in Iraq is a result of the power vacuum that we created there. Lee Hamilton, a longstanding member of the Democratic Party, was not opposed to the appointment of Secretary Gates, and I believe that was enough for President-Elect Obama to accept a continued appointment. After all, the last thing that he needs (in light of the economic crisis) is military instability.

Without being partisan to the issue, I believe that offering the post to Secretary Gates is a very good decision by President-Elect Obama. Hamilton would also have made for a good choice. I suspect that once economic stability has been restored, President-Elect Obama may offer the post to Hamilton.

  
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It is true that this mess was created under Rumsfeld, and that Gates hasn’t made things any worse.

  
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Sachiko… you could celebrate by seeking an audience with the new President-Elect; I think he would be very interested in your views on politics and life / world issues, not to mention you could entertain him with your singing. :)

I think you should write about continuing to fight small-minded and conservative views in society; for example, why is sex often considered taboo in western societies such as Australia and the US?

  
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Hi Michael,

Originally Posted By Michael
Sachiko… you could celebrate by seeking an audience with the new President-Elect; I think he would be very interested in your views on politics and life / world issues, not to mention you could entertain him with your singing. :)

Sounds like a good idea. ;-)

I think you should write about continuing to fight small-minded and conservative views in society; for example, why is sex often considered taboo in western societies such as Australia and the US?

Yep, I certainly will be writing about that!

  
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What should I do to celebrate the US election result?

Sachiko … on January 20, 2009, blow up 3 balloons; paste pics of Bush, Cheney, and Rice on them; hold a pinprick to each one with a delightful look of anticipation; announce: “bye, Bush-san!” – prick!; “bye, Cheney-san!” – prick!; “bye, Rice-san!” – prick! Have a cheering section, too!

Loverboy

  
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Thanks Loverboy! I think this is my favourite suggestion so far – so simple, yet so effective! :-D

  
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“what can I write about now that the neo-cons have been voted out?”

You can write about where to put them! Darfur would be a good place for them to teach starving penniless refugees about the value of thrift, hard work, free enterprise and self-reliance (and low taxes). The Congolese jungle would be a good place for them to practise the survival of the fittest. It’s been a long time since the Moon has had a Real Man in it, and if we are still looking for life on Mars, neo-cons could be the answer.

Then there is Australia and Canada, where the neo-cons are still in power. Perhaps they could be put in an outback aboriginal community for some cultural sensitivity training, or an Arctic igloo for a first-hand examination of the effects of global warming!

Then when you make your video, you can prick a couple more balloons.

  
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That’s a few great suggestions too! We already voted the conservatives out “down under” last year (yay!) – I wonder when Canada will vote them out too?

  
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Dane said:

“2) Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State. Having Hillary in the Cabinet is more concessionary than anything, and I really don’t think Obama should do that. Although many subscribe to the “keep your friends close, enemies closer” dynamic, I don’t think it is beneficial to give someone completely subversive to you, that much power. As Secretary of State, Hillary will invariably seek power for herself on the international front, possibly seeking office against the incumbent in 2012. Altogether bad news, I say.”

Hillary will win with the international vote when we give the rest of the world suffrage. Since we don’t allow someone such as the California Governor the right to even run for president, it is not likely that we will allow people still affliated with offshore interests to vote.

And why should we? Most of them can’t even vote in thier own countries and participate fairly in thier own governments.

Our Arnie here is actually pretty good, kind of quiet, keeps to himself, does not cause a lot of mischief, etc. You see him on the local news now and then and he does not disrupt things. I have not thought a whole lot of how he would do on the natioanal scene, but as Govenor he is ok.

Michael Wheeler

  
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Sachiko, in response to your “What should I do to celebrate the US election result?” question, here are some suggestions:

- Attach a picture of “GW” and/or Cheney to your dart board and do a little dance each time a dart sticks in their forehead
- Do a video of you singing Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show with several republicans in drag in a chorus line doing the “cancan”
- Do a nude ballet in a field of wild flowers (I felt like dancing after the election!)
- When your book is published come to the U.S. for a book signing tour so your fans here can meet you

As for topics for your blog:

- The need to develop alternative energy
- Why will some people let their kids watch “slasher” movies but nudity is the work of the devil
- What do we do with the conservatives who lost their election campaigns? Some suggestions include; crash test dummy, Fox News anchor, street cleaner, morning radio talk show host, the person who holds up the stop sign for road construction, Viagra spokesman, circus clown (makes for a scary clown) or an extra in a movie titled “The Rise and Fall of the American Empire”. Anyone else have suggestions?

  
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Thanks Kevin! There’s a lot of great suggestions there too – the competition is definitely hotting up! :-)

  
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