Monday, June 30, 2008

Is Obama's Pandering Starting to Skew Right?

I find it quite promising that the deification of Barack Obama is staring to wear off and that we can start to look at him as a presidential candidate and not as a political messiah. Don’t get me wrong, I’m for the man all the way, but I’ve got no affinity for spiked Kool-Aid. And two developments over the last few days—one of pandering, the other of a certain gutlessness—have made it easier to avoid gulping that nasty brew.

Obama’s repudiation of MoveOn.org—specifically their “General Betray-us” ad from last year—in a speech about patriotism this past weekend, is not sitting well with me right now. Not because I’m such a champion of the powerful, left-leaning, grass-roots-mobilizing political organization—they are one of many necessary, and efficient tools in the toolbox—but because Petraeus has been indeed a political shill for this administration, and they had the guts to say it and bring out into the open. And secondly, because of how vigorously and generously MoveOn.org has laid out their support for Sen. Obama. So he throws them under the bus, for what? To court potential conservative and so-called independent votes in his favor? Does anybody REALLY think this is going to win him votes? Please. People in this country have already decided who they are voting for—polls aside, who exactly that is we’ll find out on Nov 4th—and barring a decisive scandal to weigh down either campaign, or a terrorist attack, no one’s changing their minds. So the pandering is futile and fruitless. Period.

Now, this is the one that really irks me:

When (ret.) Gen. Wesley Clark stated on the Sunday talk shows that as honorable as John McCain’s military service was, it did not make him automatically qualified to be president, what part of that was erroneous, a smear, or a fabrication? And why did Obama feel the need to change the subject by having his aide Bill Burton affirm that Obama “honors and respects Senator McCain’s service, and of course he rejects yesterday’s statement by General Clark.”
Wait—why is respecting the man's sacrifice and questioning his capabilities as President based on that sacrifice, mutually exclusive? Especially if the candidate himself is relying on this part of his narrative to prop up his chances of winning the White House.

Listen, even I respect McCain’s ordeal as a POW, but why would ANYONE rationally believe that being shot down over enemy territory and being subsequently tortured is an immediate qualification for being president of the United States?! It isn’t necessarily so. And any person with a sliver of common sense knows that. So why the gutless move, Sen. Obama? Why throw Gen. Clark, the man who could make the argument without the never-served-in-uniform fallout, under the bus? To gain votes you’ll never get?

Gutless, pure and simple.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oil Barons Deserve Music Biz Fate

Rampant, widespread music piracy/theft—also known as “file sharing”, how cute—has reduced considerably the revenue streams of the major record companies (Sony, WEA, EMI, Universal) and placed their future in a perilous predicament. But if there is any other industry that deserves this or a worse fate, it’s the oil companies with their voracious greed and complete disregard for fair business practices. But what were we to expect during an administration headed by two former oilmen, one of whom we can’t even subpoena to get the minutes of his closed door energy policy meetings. (We could if the Democrats in Congress had any kind of spine.) But that’s OK. They’ll get theirs sooner than later.

In the meantime, we can dream of a
water-fuelled car decimating the fortunes of the oil companies. Far-fetched? Not so much, as it turns out; the Japanese have just invented such a thing: “an electric-powered and environmentally friendly car that…runs solely on water…” 2 pints of which can power this vehicle for “an hour at a speed of 50 mph.” Can you imagine? To quote the Beach Boys, wouldn’t it be nice? Oh, yes indeed. Let’s see if it makes it to the production stage in Japan, first, and then take it from there. Undoubtedly, this would be a beautiful thing. Of course, I realize these are baby steps—and that the evil bastards at the oil companies will spare no expense; leave no morally flexible politician unbribed; try every possible scam to fight this—but I really believe something of this nature is could come to us on a mainstream level, sooner than we think.

Oh, and speaking of oil: with our gas prices having skyrocketed, and Iraq producing 2.5 million barrels a day, why can’t we get any relief over here?

Question of the Day

When is Bob Barr kicking off his campaign as presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Coming Soon: NYC = Dubai

I've been telling anyone that'll listen that our native New York City is perilously inching towards becoming Dubai: one of those places where poor people can't afford to live, just come into work and then head on back out to the hinterlands at the end of the day. (And it's not just Manhattan; I doubt the outer boroughs are going to be much relief. Well, maybe Staten Island, but...you know.) And forget about them opening their own little businesses: As I understand it, not only are commercial rents here exempt from any kind of regulation but landlords are not required to pay taxes on unoccupied commercial properties. This would explain why they can wait to rent the space to the “right” tenant. If this is truly the case, perhaps commercial rents would be less exorbitant if landlords were shelling out cash from their own pockets while their properties were vacant.

The likes of Barnes and Noble and Virgin Megastores closing outlets not because they're insolvent, but because their respective landlords have greed-soaked dreams of a once-in-a-lifetime payday...is insane! But that doesn't help those of us trying to keep our apartments and not fall victims to this rampant, massive price gouging going on in this city. Last week, the NYC Rent Guidelines Board gave landlords of rent-stabilized properties a significant rent increase. Meanwhile, the housing market in all its manifestations is tanking in the rest of the country, and we're getting rent increases, with median apartment prices above the $1 million mark. Just lovely.


And what’s with all these luxury buildings/towers popping up all over the place—are people becoming newly rich by the minute? Are we actually going to make the Bloomberg administration accountable for all of this unchecked, out of control construction of garish symbols of opulence, that have already cost the lives of workers and citizens with its faulty safety precautions? Damn it—something’s gotta give! Not even the tragedy and economic downturn exacerbated by the World Trade Center attack—the economy was already in bad shape—could level the real estate/rental market. Can we do anything about this? Is it too late? Or is it gonna take another Black Friday on Wall Street to bring this situation down to earth. If that’s what it comes down to, I just hope the hard-working and truly desrving people in this city can survive it. Otherwise...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kristol: Bush to Bomb Iran if Obama Wins

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, neo-con pundit and NY Times columnist William Kristol said he believed President Bush would be more than likely inclined to use military force against Iran before his presidency concludes. Especially if the next president to be is not John McCain.
“...if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out...I do wonder with Senator Obama, if President Bush thinks Senator Obama’s going to win, does he somehow think — does he worry that Obama won’t follow through on that policy...I mean, what is, what signal goes to Ahmadinejad if Obama wins on a platform of unconditional negotiations and with an obvious reluctance to even talk about using military force.

Of course, this is pure speculation but observing the recurring patterns of this administration and the neo-con ideology that fuels them, we would not be at all surprised to learn of a Bush plan in this regard. Obviously putting this sort of propaganda out there is yet another attempt to discredit Barack Obama as a forceful leader both at home and on the international stage, as well as to make Israel nervous. But, it reinforces the widely-held assumption that McCain's platform is closely tied to the current administration and will in effect provide us with a third Bush term and all the accompanying negative aspects of such a presidency.

Way to go, guys: fear and warmongering in one fell swoop. Priceless.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The 'Liberal' Media

One of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated by the conservative talking heads and pundits is the widespread existence of a so-called "liberal" media. They've been milking this one for a whole generation with much success, if not substance. Much has been written to plainly debunk this nonsense, with much more wit, eloquence and factual evidence than I could muster here. But suffice to say, the oppression of the masses by the lead-soled boot of the liberal media is the favorite and most successful of the "cry-wolf" stances of the morally bankrupt and opportunistic conservative charlatans. That's not to say there isn't a liberal presence in the media. Absolutely. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is a shinning example among the ones with a liberal bent. But the bogey man of an alleged liberal media has given the blowhards on the right an excuse to form their little separatist media empire. I mean, c'mon: the one-sided nature of talk radio prompted the creation of Air America, not the other way around.

Yet, you won't hear cries of "Damn that liberal media!" when ABC's George Stephanopolous literally takes notes for a nationally televised Democratic debate from a discredited fear mongering, smear merchant like Sean Hannity; or when that same network's John Gibson decries Sen. John McCain's inability to match Sen. Barack Obama in the fundraising department. Especially when the
average contribution by an Obama donor is less than $100 and McCain is counting on his lobbyist-fat cats to fuel the, ahem, Straight Talk Express. Nor do they express displeasure when lazy moderators/hosts let their right-wing foot soldiers misrepresent candidates and/or positions on any of the major networks. Liberal media, my ass.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quote of the Day

"...if by ...'liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people --their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties-- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a 'liberal,' then I'm proud to say I'm a 'liberal.'"
- JFK, September 14, 1960

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Limbaugh: Iowa Flood Victims Better than Katrina Victims

This what I love about--as Keith Olbermann calls him--comedian Rush Limbaugh: his racism isn't subtle, coded or concealed. No, it's out in the open, clear as day, and there for all to see.
"I want to know. I look at Iowa, I look at Illinois—I want to see the murders. I want to see the looting. I want to see all the stuff that happened in New Orleans. I see devastation in Iowa and Illinois that dwarfs what happened in New Orleans. I see people working together. I see people trying to save their property…I don’t see a bunch of people running around waving guns at helicopters, I don’t see a bunch of people running shooting cops. I don’t see a bunch of people raping people on the street. I don’t see a bunch of people doing everything they can…whining and moaning—where’s FEMA, where’s BUSH. I see the heartland of America. When I look at Iowa and when I look at Illinois, I see the backbone of America."
Silly black people, with no common sense or decency. Right, Rush? Asshole.

Check this out:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gore Endorses Obama

Now he does it? Who else was he going to endorse, at this stage of the game? And where was he, 3 months ago? It's not like he was avoiding disappointing the Clintons...Jeez...I guess what this really means is he himself won't throw his hat in the ring at the last minute.

Addressing the Olbermann Backlash

It turns out that ever since CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric was awarded the gold on Keith Olbermann’s nightly “Worst Persons in the World” segment, this past Wednesday night, there’s been an outbreak of indiscriminate bashing against the host of MSNBC’s Countdown. Olbermann took offense at Couric quoting out of context his colleague Lee Cowan’s reporting on the Obama campaign as proof that Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic Party’s candidacy was fallen by sexism, which earned her the top spot in the popular portion of the broadcast.

The following day, numerous media outlets—among them The Huffington Post, and The LA Times—went medieval on Olbermann for his critique of Couric, but suspiciously NONE OF THEM addressed whether he was right or not. No, their concern was poor little Katie being picked on by Olbermann, not for the laziness at best, or at worst, the disingenuousness of misquoting a fellow journalist. But then again, these are the same people who lambasted Olbermann for his Special Comment on Sen. Clinton’s incredibly callous and inappropriate remarks about the livelihood of her campaign, with a hey-anything-can-happen stance which she justified by recalling that RFK was assassinated in the midst of his. That wasn’t so bad, but Olbermann harshly chastising her for saying it—and for her lack of an apology to Sen. Obama—now, that was catastrophic. Please, spare me.

Listen, I’ll fess up: I’m a fan of the man. I believe him to be the ONLY newsperson on TV with the cojones to ask the tough questions and put the Bush Administration and its ilk’s feet to the fire. No, he’s not as impartial as the late Tim Russert was, but he’s not the wuss that the rest of the mainstream media—you know, the people that dropped the ball and let this president lie us into war unchallenged—are. With the spineless, weathervanes at CNN on one side and the talking points-spewing, GOP attack dogs at Fox News on the other side, Olbermann is the best option of the three: unlike the cowards at Ted Turner’s old joint, with their desperate attempts at showing they too can carry right-wing propaganda, you know where Olbermann stands and why. And he’ll ALWAYS have a much fairer and objective analysis than the news fabricators at Murdoch’s Death Star.

Perhaps people like his colleague Tom Brokaw are not enamored with his style. In an Olbermann hatchet job, um, piece in the current New Yorker magazine, Brokaw is quoted as disappointingly characterizing Olbermann’s recent Special Comment, in which he asked President Bush to “shut the hell up”—Shrub insinuated that electing a Democrat in November would be carte blanche for terrorists to attack us; that he’d made a great sacrifice by given up golf for the troops (!!!) AND on top of it, lied about when he actually did it—as taking “it to another level.” Yes, he is, Mr. Brokaw. Unfortunately, your meek, pompous, truth-will-find-its-way-eventually approach gets ridiculed, mocked, slaughtered, and ultimately left for dead every minute of the broadcast day, either actively by Fox Nuisance and their kind; or passively by those afraid to stand up for the truth and/or unwilling to lose their insider access.


Time for a new quarterback, Jack.

McCain: The O.F.F. (Original Flip-Flopper) part 2

Crooks and Liars:
In his eternal quest for the Republican presidential nomination, the
supposed maverick John McCain has repeatedly reversed long-held positions and compromised purportedly core principles. From the Bush tax cuts, the religious right and immigration reform to overturning Roe v. Wade, proclaiming Samuel Alito a model Supreme Court Justice and bashing France (just to name a few), McCain changed sides as changing political conditions dictated. But over the past two weeks, McCain’s rapid fire, acrobatic flip-flops have produced whiplash, at least for voters. 10 times since the beginning of June, McCain has retreated from, upended or just forgotten positions he once claimed as his own. On Social Security, balancing the budget, defense spending, domestic surveillance and a host of other issues so far this month, McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” did a U-turn on the road to the White House.

1. Social Security Privatization.
John McCain has apparently learned the lesson that the more President Bush spoke about his
Social Security privatization scheme, the less popular it became. On Friday, Mr. Straight Talk proclaimed at a New Hampshire event, “I’m not for, quote, privatizing Social Security. I never have been. I never will be.” Sadly, McCain and his advisers like ousted HP CEO Carly Fiorina are on record declaring fidelity to the idea of diverting Social Security dollars into private accounts. On November 18, 2004, for example, McCain announced, “Without privatization, I don’t see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits.” And in March 2003, McCain backed his President, declaring, “As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it - along the lines that President Bush proposed.” As they say, let’s go to the videotape.

2. Raising - and Slashing - Defense Spending.
As
Steve Benen noted Friday, John McCain was also for boosting American defense spending before he was against it. In the November 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, McCain argued “we can also afford to spend more on national defense, which currently consumes less than four cents of every dollar that our economy generates - far less than what we spent during the Cold War.” But facing the $2 trillion budgetary hole the McCain tax plan is forecast to produce (a sea of red ink even the Wall Street Journal noticed), Team McCain changed its tune. As Forbes scoffed in amazement: “McCain’s top economic adviser, Doug Holtz-Eakin, blithely supposes that cuts in defense spending could make up for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and the subsequent shrinkage in federal revenues. Get that? The national security candidate wants to cut spending on our national security. Wait until the generals and the admirals hear that.”

3. First Term Balanced Budget Pledge.
With its on-again/off-again/on-again
promise to balance the budget by January 2013, the McCain campaign executed that rarest of political maneuvers, the 360. During a February 15th rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, “McCain promised he’d offer a balanced budget by the end of his first term.” But just days later, McCain’s senior economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin announced a deficit-ending target of 2017. In mid-April, Holtz-Eakin proclaimed, “I would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction.” McCain, too, signaled the retreat from his first-term balance budget commitment, explaining to Chris Matthews on April 15th that “economic conditions are reversed.” Apparently economic conditions have improved dramatically since then. On June 6, Holtz-Eakin squared the circle, announcing, “That plan, when appropriately phased in, as it has always been intended to be, will bring the budget to balance by the end of his first term.”

4. The Media’s Treatment of Hillary Clinton.
No doubt, John McCain suffers from recurring bouts of selective amnesia. And some episodes take only days to manifest themselves. During his disastrous “
green screen” speech on June 3, McCain reached out to Hillary Clinton’s supporters by proclaiming, “The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received.” But by June 7, McCain denied to Newsweek that his media critique never passed his lips, “I did not–that was in prepared remarks, and I did not–I’m not in the business of commenting on the press and their coverage or not coverage.”

5. The Estate Tax.
Just days before his contortionist act on Social Security, John McCain reversed course on the
estate tax as well. On June 8, 2006, McCain on the Senate floor expressed his agreement with Teddy Roosevelt that “most great civilized countries have an income tax and an inheritance tax” and “in my judgment both should be part of our system of federal taxation.” But after years of battling Republican colleagues dead-set on dismantling the so-called “death tax” and instead promoting a $5 million trigger, on Tuesday John McCain sounded the retreat. Now, he insists, “the estate tax is one of the most unfair tax laws on the books.”

6. FISA, Domestic Surveillance and Telecom Immunity.
When it comes to the Bush administration’s program of domestic spying on Americans, McCain has performed similar logical gymnastics. On
December 20, 2007, McCain suggested to the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Charles Savage that President Bush had clearly crossed the line. As Wired’s Ryan Singel noted: “I think that presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is,” McCain said. The Globe’s Charlie Savage pushed further, asking , “So is that a no, in other words, federal statute trumps inherent power in that case, warrantless surveillance?” To which McCain answered, “I don’t think the president has the right to disobey any law.” But on June 2, McCain adviser Holtz-Eakin put that notion to rest, telling the National Review: “[N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001.” Pressed to explain the glaring inconsistencies, John McCain on June 6 played dumb, deciding that cowardice is the better part of valor. As the New York Times reported, McCain now believes the legality of Bush’s regime of NSA domestic surveillance is unclear and, in any event, is old news: “It’s ambiguous as to whether the president acted within his authority or not,” he said, saying courts had ruled different ways on the matter. “I’m not interested in going back. I’m interested in addressing the challenge we face to day of trying to do everything we can to counter organizations and individuals that want to destroy this country. So there’s ambiguity about it. Let’s move forward.” As for immunity for the telecommunications firms cooperating with the White House in what before August 2007 was doubtless illegal surveillance, there too McCain’s position has evolved. On May 23, campaign surrogate Chuck Fish announced that McCain would not back retroactive immunity “unless there were revealing Congressional hearings and heartfelt repentance from those telephone and internet companies.” Subsequently, the McCain campaign swiftly backtracked, claiming its man supports immunity unconditionally.

7. Restoring the Everglades.
On
June 5, John McCain traveled to the Everglades to win over Floridians and environmentally-minded voters. There he proclaimed, “I am in favor of doing whatever’s necessary to save the Everglades.” Sadly, as ThinkProgress documented, McCain not only opposed $2 billion in funding for the restoration of the Everglades national park, he backed President Bush’s veto of the legislation in 2007. “I believe,” he said, “that we should be passing a bill that will authorize legitimate, needed projects without sacrificing fiscal responsibility.”

8. Divestment from South Africa.
During his
June 2 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), John McCain called for the international community to target Iran for the kind of worldwide sanctions regime applied to apartheid-era South Africa. Unfortunately, McCain’s lobbyist-advisers Charlie Black and Rick Davis each represented firms doing business with Tehran. Even more unfortunate, John McCain was frequently not among those offering “moral clarity and conviction” in backing “a divestment campaign against South Africa, helping to rid that nation of the evil of apartheid.” As ThinkProgress detailed: Despite voting to override President Reagan’s veto of a bill imposing economic sanctions against South Africa in 1986, McCain voted against sanctions on at least six other occasions.

9. Fighting Job Losses in Michigan.
During the run-up to the Michigan primary, John McCain cautioned workers there
in January that he didn’t want to raise “false hopes that somehow we can bring back lost jobs,” adding that it” wasn’t government’s job to protect buggy factories and haberdashers when cars replaced carriages and men stopped wearing hats.” But after getting trounced in Michigan by Mitt Romney and watching the economy deteriorate further, McCain has had a change of heart. As Bloomberg noted on June 5: Nowadays, the party’s presumptive nominee is singing a different tune, striking a populist pose and saying “new jobs are coming”… …Over the past few months, however, McCain has taken a lesson from Romney, acknowledging recently that “Americans are hurting.” Returning to Michigan last month, the Arizona senator told a local television station that he would fight for new jobs and the state wouldn’t “be left behind.” Perhaps the good people of Michigan, as John McCain suggested to a Kentucky audience in April, can make a living on eBay.

10. Opposing Hurricane Katrina Investigations.
During a
June 4th town hall meeting in Baton Rouge, John McCain answered a reporter’s question regarding Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the New Orleans levees by announcing: “I’ve supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy. I’ve been here to New Orleans. I’ve met with people on the ground.” As it turns out, not so much. McCain’s revisionist history neglects to mention that in 2005 and 2006 he twice voted against a commission to study the government’s response to Katrina. He also opposed three separate emergency funding measures providing relief to Katrina victims, including the extension of five months of Medicaid benefits. And as ThinkProgress pointed out, “until traveling there one month ago, McCain had made just one public tour of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina touched down in August 2005.”

And so it goes. As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west each day, so too will John McCain change positions. (Like that other law of nature, McCain’s flip-flops are literally becoming a daily occurrence. Since this piece was originally drafted on Saturday, McCain added two new policy turnabouts - on phasing out rather than repealing the
Alternative Minimum Tax and on requiring a litmus test for his judicial appointees - to his litany of reversals.) As the Pew Research Center recently found, the word Americans now most frequently use to describe John McCain is not “maverick,” but “old.” Given the dizzying pace of his reversals, “opportunist” may soon top that list.

...And Justice for Some

The angry reaction to R&B star R. Kelly's acquittal on child porn charges this past week reminded me of a similar reaction to OJ Simpson's not guilty verdict over a decade ago. 'How could he get off with all that evidence?' Well, once the young girl who was purportedly in the blurry sex video with Kelly denied it was her, it was pretty much over. And those who decry the justice system's faults and shortcomings in their disappointment over Kelly's acquittal, I agree with. Except I blame the prosecution. Not only in this case, but in general.

Yeah, I feel prosecutors should know better. I mean, were they surprised/caught off-guard by the alleged victim's denial? Didn't they take into consideration that this could come up? Aren't they aware by now of what it takes to win a high-profile case with a celebrity who has the resources to put together a tough defense? Shouldn't they wait until they have all their 'ducks in a row' before appearing in court? Or is it a case of "Hey, we're flimsy in our prosecution over here but maybe we'll get lucky. Plus, people will see we're doing SOMETHING, right?"

The problem with the justice system is that it isn't fair: regardless of R. Kelly being guilty or not, he got acquitted because he could best prove his side of the story. Period. If he'd been broke-ass Joe Schmo with an over-worked lawyer with no time/funds to mount a solid defense, he'd be going up the river. So, basically it doesn't matter whether someone committed a crime or not, it's all about who can best prove their argument. And that should be unacceptable. All things being equal, the righteous should prevail whether they are represented by a $1000/hr hotshot or a legal aid attorney. And the guilty should be convicted regardless of who's on their legal team. But for that to happen the prosecution has to be completely on the up and up. That means having their shit together, not looking weak and amateurish when they face a celebrity with a legal 'dream team'; or conversely, running over the defendant who can barely afford to go to court. Until that day...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wanted: Dead or Alive (redux)

Despite his post-Sept. 11th promise of capturing Osama Bin Laden, dead or alive, George W. Bush ultimately did not make good on this. (Big surprise.) Worse yet, when tempers later cooled off a bit, he stated he didn't think about bin Laden much. Now, I didn't lose anyone on Sept 11th, but I was incensed by this seemingly callous remark on the part of the President. I can only imagine what it must of felt like to those who did.

With his presidency winding down in shambles, and his legacy being reduced to being mostly remembered as that of the worst--and least popular--US president of the modern era, and after bin Laden has successfully escaped US capture or death all these years, Shrub has decided to go after Osama, but for reals now. [Emphasis mine.]

The London Sunday Times
:

President George W Bush has enlisted British special forces in a final attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden before he leaves the White House.

As Mr Bush arrived in Britain today on the final leg of his eight-day farewell tour of Europe, defence and intelligence sources in Washington and London confirmed that a renewed hunt was on for the leader of the September 11 attacks. “If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” said a US intelligence source.

The Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in the US-led operations to capture Bin Laden in the wild frontier region of northern Pakistan. It is the first time they have operated across the Afghan border on a regular basis.

The hunt was “completely sanctioned” by the Pakistani government, according to a UK special forces source. It involves the use of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with Hellfire missiles that can be used to take out specific terrorist targets.

A lame, last-ditch attempt fueled not by a sense of justice, but vanity. How pathetic.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Conan O'Brien Tribute to Tim Russert

Yesterday's passing of the political commentator/NBC News Washington bureau chief/host of Meet the Press was met with many moving recollections of the man and his work. ("We lost the quarterback," said colleague Chris Matthews.) But the one that stuck with me was Conan O'Brien's simple but heartfelt tribute on his Late Night show Friday night:



Tim Russert (1950-2008), RIP

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fox News: Michelle is Obama's 'Baby Mama'

Yes, they stooped that low:

Wow. Not surprised, though. Especially with that hack Michelle Malkin (left) lurking about. This is just plain vulgar.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Impeachment Of George W. Bush

Once again, a noble effort by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) but too little, too late, in my opinion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Five Words

Now that Sen. Barack Obama is the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee—at least until HRC and/or her followers pull an “October Surprise” at the party’s convention in Denver —there’s been a lot of talk about who’ll be his VP.


First things, first: let’s get the HRC question out of the way, shall we?


Obama would surely prefer to ingest car battery acid-flavored, bio-toxic waste, than to put her on the ticket. (I’m exaggerating but not by much.) Not only that, but as the VP candidate’s spouse Bill’s got questionable skeletons in his closet that would not pass legal vetting muster. (There’s a reason he’s not agreed to disclose the list of donors to his presidential library.) And if they were to win the election together, President Obama would possibly find himself hampered by what former Carter administration National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recently called, “a government in exile”, referring to the close proximity of both Bill and HRC waiting their turn. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. You see, aside from the feasibility of a black man/white woman ticket—more on that later—all the nasty comments, attacks and slime that HRC flung Obama’s way are already being recycled and used in GOP attack ads. So, yeah, that’s really gonna bolster the “Hillary as VP” argument. And lest we forget, Obama has billed himself as the “change” candidate. With all the discontent over a perceived Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton dynastic lock on the presidency, putting HRC on the ticket would practically nullify that stance.


Virginia Sen. Jim Webb is my first choice for Obama’s running mate. Very respected, stand up guy, military background, with a son who may still be serving in Iraq. But he's not very immigration-friendly and has had image problems regarding his supposed views on women and the Confederacy in the past. Gen. Wesley Clark is my other choice, and quite possibly the best one: like Sen. Webb he is well-respected, and has the military background, plus he’s a former HRC surrogate/supporter, which could very well help mend fences. But the General comes across rather wimpy sometimes which is very puzzling, considering this was a man whose job title was once NATO Supreme Allied Commander. Hmmm…


As a way to look good with the party’s women folk, Obama could pick Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sibelius, who has a great resume and having to govern her state with a GOP legislature, knows a thing or two about getting things done. But let’s be realistic: you can't do black and female—or black and brown (ex: New Mexico’s Gov. Bill Richardson) for that matter—right now. That Obama is a man of color is a big enough obstacle to overcome in terms of combating racial prejudice and ignorance, even among certain Democrats, let alone the country at large. It's just too much for one election to have a mixed gender/minority race ticket. Maybe soon. But not now.


And as for Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware and former Sen. John Edwards, I predict both will be in the cabinet if Obama wins. (Perhaps Secretary of State and Attorney General, respectively?)


Speaking of Edwards, what is up with his wife Elizabeth? Is she the embodiment of the party's 50+ year old women who feel personally wronged by HRC's defeat? Wake up, people. If you thought 8 yrs of George W. Bush was rough, John "100 Years in Iraq" McCain represents 4 more of Shrub. Or worse. So if these women want the Dems to lose this election out of spite, then to quote the Spin Doctors, just go ahead now. See what happens. Despite McSame being an average candidate at best (the GOP’s John Kerry), with serious antagonists disgruntled with his candidacy within his own ranks, and representing a party and the policies of a supremely failed administration, he’s neck and neck with Obama in current polls. He’s also been lucky enough to run against a black man—thereby getting a potential boost from those prejudiced or flat out racist—so if you gals wanna make it even easier for him to beat Obama go right ahead. But remember this: if Obama loses this election HRC will ALWAYS be blamed for poisoning the well and dividing the party and quite possibly will never be a presidential candidate again. So choose your actions wisely, is all I have to say.


And while on the topic of female candidates, if McCain picks Sarah Palin for VP, Obama might not be down for the count but it could be a serious blow with women, especially the ones truly willing to defect from the Democratic Party. However, the hugely popular—and hot—Alaskan governor recently gave birth to a child with Down Syndrome which could preclude her from hitting the campaign trail just yet. From what I can tell, that lady, comes off as a rebel and individualist, allegedly taking on her party’s ethically-challenged power structure in her state and driving them out of office in the process. Which reminds me, WHEN WILL THE MEDIA FINALLY STOP CALLING McSAME A MAVERICK?!!! He’s been towing the Bush/Cheney line for the longest and disgustingly so, especially in light of the Bush 2000 campaign’s smear attack organized against him in South Carolina by none other than Karl Rove…who is now an advisor to the McSame campaign. I know politics is dirty but c'mon! I used to respect the Arizona senator. I just can’t anymore.

And the Grandpa Simpson-with-his-finger-on-the-button scenario is just too scary.


One recent development I’ve noticed that pleases me is Obama being a bit ballsier in his approach: pulling Sen. Joe Lieberman aside and chastising him for his “personal attacks and his half-hearted denials of the false rumors that Obama is a Muslim”; stating that to compare McSame’s tax plan to that of Shrub’s is actually unfair to Shrub for it is worse than the current administration’s (heh, heh). Sweet. More of that, sir. Yes, indeed.


Finally, and regrettably, I’ve also discovered that according to the always fair and balanced Fox 'News' brain trust, I am a terrorist, as I frequently utilize the fist bump, or “pound” in greeting or in celebration with friends. Well, at least with Obama and his wife Michelle being practitioners of this terrorist code message as well, I’m in good company.


Now, for those five words:

Fired up. Ready to go.

Monday, June 9, 2008

McCain: The O.F.F. (Original Flip-flopper)

According to various reports I've read, the foreword to an edition of David Halberstam's account of JFK's foreign policies--specifically how the Vietnam War came about--The Best and the Brightest (1972) reads thus:

"It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn’t support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay. No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war. If the nation and the government lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone."


You know who wrote that? John "100 Years in Iraq" McCain, that's who. Will the press ask him about it? Maybe. But not before Sen. Obama gets another dozen questions about Rev. Wright first.


Meanwhile, military suicides are at an all-time high; 20% of the soldiers out in the field are on anti-depressants; and many others are going as far as having themselves and/or others hurt and maim them here, so they don't have to go back to Iraq. (Now, it's one thing if the latter are soldiers going on a second tour, but when it's their 5th, 6th, etc...)

Is this how the GOPers/neo-cons support the troops? Wow, then how do they hate?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wow...

[Things are] "moving so fast in race relations a Negro could be president in 40 years. There's no question about it. In the next 40 years a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has...[regarding race relations and prejudice]...we have tried to make progress and we are making progress. We are not going to accept the status quo."


- Robert F. Kennedy, 1968.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Holding Out for Hope

Crooks and Liars:

A few more events like this one and we’ll all feel better

by: Steve Benen


It’s possible that Minnesotans are just nicer and more gracious than folks in other parts of the country, but the MinnPost had an interesting report on the Obama rally at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, and the kind of treatment Hillary Clinton’s supporters found when they got there.

Specifically, the head of Clinton ’s Minnesota campaign attended the Obama event, as did a few Clinton-supporting superdelegates, Minnesota ’s Secretary of State, Minneapolis City Council President, and the mayor of St. Paul , all of whom also backed Clinton . Some were reluctant to go, but showed up in the interests of “political healing.”

And they were pleasantly surprised. In fact, both Barack and Michelle Obama met privately with 25 prominent Clinton supporters after the speech.

“He shook my hand and said, ‘Thank you for being here; I’m sure it’s not easy,’ ” said Stevenson of her meeting with Obama. “I thanked him and said that everyone involved in his campaign had been so gracious. I didn’t know what to say, so I mentioned that my daughter works for a federal health clinic. And he knew right away which program I was talking about. He said, ‘Oh that’s wonderful.’ ”

[DFL activist Jackie Stevenson], a feminist and Clinton supporter, had to admit this: “He’s very impressive.”


The report added that Stevenson had arrived at the event with another Clinton backer, and “as they were taken to their seats, people kept stopping to hug them and thank them for being there…. All of the other Clinton supporters received similar treatment.”

The St. Paul mayor added, “I think especially for women of my mother’s generation, it’s going to be very hard. They had waited so long for this (a woman in the White House). But I’ve spoken with a number of women like that in the last day. I think they’ll come around. You don’t spend your life fighting for women’s rights and then vote for Sen. McCain.”

GET THE F@*#& OUT!!!

That's it, I'm done. I’m just sick AND fucking tired of this bullshit.


All these supporters of Sen. Clinton who threaten to vote for John McCain if their candidate is not the nominee can GO FUCK THEMSELVES. Yes, you read right. Let me repeat it so there's no confusion: THEY CAN GO FUCK THEMSELVES. If you truly would vote for McCain over Sen. Obama, knowing well what each represents, then go right ahead. But please, do us all a favor and LEAVE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOW. We have no use for divisive, pig-headed, intolerant racists such as yourselves. As I told a good friend the other day, having honest ideological and political differences with Obama is one thing, but rejecting him solely for the color of his skin, or because of blind intolerance and stupidity, as seen and heard when some Clinton supporters in West Virginia openly told the press, "he's a Muslim", or the latest shenanigans at the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee hearing, is another thing altogether. Yes, I’m talking to you, Harriett Christian.


I’m the furthest thing from a racist,” says this crazy bat. NO, YOU ARE NOT. As a matter of fact, she’s the WORST kind of racist: the one who thinks and acts like a racist but somehow thinks they’re not. (Is this the kind of person that many denounce as being worse than all-out racists? That at least with Nazis, white supremacists and KKKers one has no doubt where they stand and as such, can react to them accordingly.) Well, ENOUGH ALREADY. This is what Sen. Clinton has sown with her race-baiting and fear-mongering, fuelled by a twisted sense of entitlement. And now we reap the dirty, polluted harvest.


I don’t care what anybody says, Father Pflegel nailed it when he mocked Sen. Clinton for being pissed off at losing the nomination when, in her mind, this was hers for the taking. Especially, as an acquaintance mentioned recently, an election that by all accounts should be a shoo-in for the Democrats. Well, if anyone was wondering if it was possible for the Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after the most ruinous presidency in modern times, now more than ever there’s a good chance Harriett Christian and her ilk will make it likely. Fine, we’ll get John W. McCain in November. But I want these petty, egotistical, self-centered crybabies OUT OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. I don’t care if it cracks the party in two. It’ll be worth it if only to rebuild and redefine the party’s mission and message. And to air out the big tent: it has obviously gotten too big.