Friday, October 31, 2008

Fmr Reagan Chief of Staff Endorses Obama

I wonder how someone like John McCain, who has called himself "a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution" takes the news of a former high-ranking advisor to the 40th president--chief of staff Ken Duberstein--endorsing his Democratic opponent for president?

"I think Colin Powell's decision is in fact the good housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama," Dubersein told CNN.

Wow...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

C'mon, You Knew It Was Coming...

Conservative PAC to Run Anti-Rev. Wright Ads Nationwide from Now til Election Day

Everything is Bigger in Texas (even ignorance)

According to a recent University of Texas poll, 23% of Texans polled believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, as opposed to 5-10% of responders to the same question nationwide.

A Sea Change in South Florida Politics?

Miami New Times:

End of the Diaz-Balart Dynasty
The Republican brothers are headed for defeat, and Cuban-American politics will change forever.

By Francisco Alvarado

In less than two weeks, a South Florida political dynasty will almost certainly disappear. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, fierce anti-Communists who are indeed [Fidel] Castro’s nephews by a failed first marriage, will likely lose — victims of the anti-Republican discontent sweeping America. They are scions of a family that has dominated politics in both Havana and Washington for more than a half-century.

Until now, the Diaz-Balarts have skated through elections. But two Democratic challengers seem to have their number. Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez and onetime Cuban American National Foundation chief Joe Garcia have raised more than $2 million. Recently released polls by Telemundo 51 and the Rothenberg Report show the Republican siblings trailing the Dems or locked in a dead heat. The November 4 election will tip their way if Obama voters show in force, which is likely.

That result will forever alter U.S. policy toward Cuba. And it might signal a shift of the Republican party’s staunchest South Florida allies — Cuban-Americans.

All Kindsa Stupid

Dennis "Equality Is Not An American Value" Prager:



Someone needs a refresher on the US Constitution. Or maybe he wants us to adhere to the 'black man is only 3/5 of a man' part. Idiot.


Brad "Defeating Gay Marriage Is Like Defeating Hitler" Dacus:



I'm more in favor of civil unions myself, but this is insane.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fox Regrets Booking Hannity Guest; Host Keeps Mum

According to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, Fox News regrets booking Andy Martin--who's famously made inflammatory anti-semitic and racially charged comments--on Hannity's America, but the host of the show, Sean Hannity, not only has avoided apologizing for the booking, but openly defended Martin's appearance on his show, when recently confronted by Obama spokesperson Robert Gibbs.

Are you surprised? Nothing about this scumbag surprises me.

A Perfect Storm of Ignorance, Hypocrisy and Desperation

So, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher aka "Joe the Plumber" can't define socialism when asked by Alan Colmes on the Hannity & Colmes show a while back, but he can assure us that Sen. Barack Obama is indeed a socialist. Various Republicans have joined the fray, among them Rep. Todd Akin, from Missouri: “This campaign in the next couple of weeks is about one thing. It’s a referendum on socialism.” Sen. George Voinovich, of Ohio: “With all due respect, the man is a socialist.”

And Gov. Barbie Doll has chimed in with such nuggets as “Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism.”

Yup. The same lady who presides over the welfare state that is Alaska, where each and every one of its inhabitants is given a oil company-derived subsidy. The one who's on the record as saying this:

"And Alaska - we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs."

But Barack Obama is a socialist, you see.


This is the new GOP meme, of course: Barack Obama is a socialist. Don't bother actually finding out what the the term means, just know that it's bad for you.

Oh, it’s a sight to behold when hypocrisy and contempt for the American people and their intelligence, along with the tacit complicity of the media, come together like this.

The Rebuttal

Republican congressman Steve King from Iowa, at a rally for Gov. Sarah Palin this past weekend:

"When you take a lurch to the left you end up in a totalitarian dictatorship.”

"There is no freedom to the left. It's always to our side of the aisle.”

"We choose freedom and liberty.”

Keith Olbermann
, of MSNBC's Countdown responds:

Presumably that's why the Congressman's party was good enough to torture prisoners, eavesdrop on Americans, suspend Habeas Corpus, demonize dissent, pay news organizations to run favorable stories, and generally come as close to a totalitarian dictatorship as any American president ever has.

Palin Water Carriers Give Up on Her

Looks like the bucket has sprung a leak. Or quite a few, actually: Some of Sen. John McCain's top aides have been stealthily referring to the GOP’s VP candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin as a “diva”, “lightweight” and a “whack job”; admitting the lower half of the ticket was quite ignorant about matters both national and international; accusing her of going off message for her own future political gain (a 2012 run for the presidency); the ping-ponging of blame for Palin’s $150,000 shopping spree, etc. etc. etc.

It’s quite evident many key players in the McCain campaign are ready to assign a culpability sash to Gov. Palin if the very likely defeat of Sen. McCain turns out to be the case on Nov. 4th. Hey, these guys need jobs after that, right? But the guilty party here is the man who so cynically and desperately chose her in the first place.

Friday, October 24, 2008

NYT Endorses Obama

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.

Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.

Read the New York Times' full endorsement here.

...and so does Scott McClellan

According to the Associated Press, President George W. Bush's former Press Secretary Scott McClellan endorsed Barack Obama during the taping of comedian D.L. Hughley's new show on CNN.

McClellan is the second former Bush administration official to endorse the Illinois senator. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell gave Obama the nod this past weekend.

Dubya Endorses Palin/McCain

NYC Abolishes Term Limits (sort of)

I have an ambivalent relationship with term limits for public office: while on the national stage I don't have a problem endorsing it on a case-by-case scenario (I would've seen nothing wrong with a third Clinton term in the White House, for instance) I'm definitely not crazy about it when it comes to our native New York City.

Our friends at Gotham Notes explain why:

We never had Term Limits in NYC before. We had a Democratic machine. Whatever job you got, it was pretty much for life, until a job above you opened up, and they moved you into that one.

The upside was you had a great many years logged in doing this stuff, so you got the hang of it, and usually became pretty good at it. Things ran pretty well since there were nearly no learning curves to deal with, or re-inventing of any wheels. You could get things done pretty well and quickly. Everyone knew the ground rules, and who to call to get something done.

The downside was, it was almost impossible to break into that system from the outside. You came up through the inside and earned your stripes. It was NY's answer to a gated community. For you techies out there, think AOL in the early days of the Web.

So, whose idea was Term Limits? Three guesses...

Rudy Giuliani.

Ironically, after Sept 11th, the man who so vigorously fought for term limits thought it would be a good idea for us to let him stay on for another term more or less. I mean, how were we ever going to survive the aftermath of that awful tragedy without him? Well, we did. And we all felt better for not letting a self-deified mayor change the rules and self-servingly stay on board for another term.

Fast forward 7 years and another crisis for the city; this one of a financial nature. So what does two-term CEO mayor Mike Bloomberg want to take off the table? Yup, you guessed right. Which is why I called bullshit when I first heard the rumblings over a plan to introduce the abolition of term limits. After all, the people of NYC have voted twice in the last 15 years to keep them in place. But nooo.

So, what deal did the Mayor and the City Council agree to? From now on, 3 terms instead of 2 will be the rule. "Oh, and it was too late and would've been too expensive to have the people vote on it so we went ahead and did it anyway," or words to that effect, muttered Hizzoner late Thursday night.

Beautiful.

By the way, for those keeping score NO LOCAL REPUBLICAN VOTED IN FAVOR OF THIS MEASURE. So it's all on the Democrats who licked Mike Bloomberg's boots. All 29 of them.

I'm Sorry. I Tried.

Last year, I was involved in a political discussion with a fellow NYer who pledged never to support a Republican no matter how seemingly open-minded they may come across. Her argument was based on the fact that these people pander to us while in our midst, only to turn their backs on their positions as soon as they need to cozy up on a national level to the extremists of their party's base. At the time I sounded a call for tolerance but after witnessing the antics in recent times of the likes of Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney--the former, especially--I find myself conceding her point.

So, you win this time, crazy, curly-haried, redheaded woman. Ha!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Finally: The Truth is Revealed

Some have described the recent denunciations of a lack of patriotism from liberals and/or blue states; and of the existence of pro and anti-American towns, cities and states, as just inflammatory right-wing rhetoric from GOP partisans in a seemingly losing election. Red meat for their masses at a time of desperation.

Two words: Fuck no.

They believe this shit. This is how they really feel about liberals and blue states. This is the preferred topic of conversation for these folks when the "liberal media elite" is not in attendance. Seriously.

Last week GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin told a crowd in North Carolina that she loved to visit the “pro-America areas of this great nation” implying there were parts of the country that were anti-America.



Minnesota's Rep. Michelle Bachmann then ran with the ball and made similar accusations on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. When pressed by Matthews if there were any anti-Americans in Congress she could mention by name, she responded that “…the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.



Back in North Carolina—a state the GOP thought they had in the bag and have now been forced to fight for it—Rep. Robin Hayes accused Obama of inciting class warfare and referred to liberals as people who “hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God.”
Listen for yourself:



Don’t believe their bullshit backtracking stories for one minute—Hayes’ people denied he ever made the remarks until the audio proof popped up—these assholes actually think they have a lock on patriotism and country, yet don’t have the balls to stand up to the scrutiny that comes with making these kinds of pronouncements. Cowards.

And the divide widens.

Limbaugh: The Sports Analogy

Commenting on wingnut spew-monster Rush Limbaugh's unrepentant stance on his racist remarks about Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama, Crooks and Liars' David Neiwert draws a fitting analogy.

Limbaugh is the guy at the sports bar who carefully tabulates the racial composition of every team on the screen and roots accordingly. If a team has a black quarterback, he predicts they're going to lose. Heaven forfend that any black player demonstrate too much enthusiasm over a touchdown or a dunk or a home run, or that any black linebacker should level a white quarterback, because then the "thug" and "jungle" references come out. He hates Tiger Woods with an inexplicable venom (mostly because he's too uppity "full of himself").

We all know that guy. (Some of them are in our families.) And anyone who's even moderately serious about sports, and moderately knowledgeable about them, knows that that guy is completely and hopelessly full of shit.

The GOP's Civil War

The traditional Republican platform, that of true conservatism, proposes a limited government with no involvement in the personal lives of its citizenry; a minimum of taxation; free markets; and the flow of intellectual discourse, among others. It's really hard to recognize the last one in the folks that have been in charge over the last 8 years, but this virulent strain of anti-intellectualism--which seems to go as far back as the Nixon administration, but has taken hold of the party ever since Ronald Reagan became president in 1980--is now threatening to tear the party apart. Especially if John McCain loses this election.

You see, while publicly the neocon-theocratic-grass roots alliance has been routinely attacking the so-called liberal and/or cultural elites, the same has been happening within the party, as we've witnessed the vitriol unleashed towards the various conservative pundits who have denounced McCain's campaign and/or the specific choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

In his New York magazine piece, "The Right's Class War," John Heilemann includes a quote by one Victor Davis Hanson, a National Review contributor and Palin supporter, who had this to say about his intellectually-inclined GOPers:

They … believe as intellectuals that the similarly astute Obamians may on occasion inspire, or admire them as the like-minded who cultivate the life of the mind—in contrast to the ‘cancer’ Sarah Palin, who, with her husband Todd, could hardly discuss Proust with them or could offer little if any sophisticated table talk other than the proper chokes on shotguns or optimum RPMs on snow-machines.”

Isn't this the kind of thing they're used to lobbing at Democrats and assorted liberals? Looks like it's gonna rain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama Temporarily Suspends Campaign to Visit Ailing Grandmother

CNN.com:

Barack Obama will take a break from campaigning later this week to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii, an Obama spokesman said Monday. Obama's team made the announcement after a day of trading jabs with Sen. John McCain, who painted Obama as unready to handle a crisis. The Illinois senator earlier said he wouldn't be distracted by "outrageous comments" from his rivals.

Mrs. Madeleine Dunham, Obama's maternal grandmother has been reported as being "seriously ill."

More details here.

Yes! Let's Hear it for the Boys!


[Tampa Bay Rays' Willy Aybar (right) high-fives teammates after his 7th inning solo home run against the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS. Photo courtesy of Reuters.]

It took 7 games and got pretty scary at times, but that last one was everything it was supposed to be: a tight contest with each team sending an elite power pitcher to the mound, concluding with a classic underdog story: the Tampa Bay Rays beating the defending world champion Boston Red Sox 3-1 and winning their first American League pennant. From worst to first. Yes, indeed. That's what baseball's all about.
Congratulations to the young Floridian team and best of luck in the World Series.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Obama; GOP Flacks Cite Race as Motivation

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State under George W. Bush has endorsed Barack Obama for president of the United States. The Democratic senator for Illinois, acknowledged the endorsement at a North Carolina rally on Sunday.

"With so many brave men and women from Fayetteville serving in our military, this is a city and a state that knows something about great soldiers. And this morning, a great soldier, a great statesman, and a great American has endorsed our campaign to change America. I have been honored to have the benefit of his wisdom and counsel from time to time over the last few years, but today, I am beyond honored and deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell."

Meanwhile, the reaction to the most popular cabinet member to serve in the current and deeply unpopular administration endorsing his rival party's candidate for president has brought out cries of indignation from GOPers and their surrogates--from George Will to Rush Limbaugh and everyone in between--accusing Powell of basing his decision solely on race.

So, here's my simplistic retort to this simplistic statement: does Powell's dissing of John McCain by crossing party lines to endorse Obama make Joe Lieberman a racist too, for his endorsement of McCain over Obama? Of course not. Neither one was a racist move. Please. But these surrogates can't bring themselves to admit Powell's decision may have to do with wanting to distance himself from the failed administration in which he served, McCain's troubling campaign decisions and Obama being the better candidate. Nor the fact that other prominent conservatives, such as Michael Smerconish, Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Buckley, and even the Chicago Tribune have given Obama their support. Nope. Not when there's mud to be slung in a losing campaign.

And speaking of racism, Gen. Powell struck another blow to the GOP smear tactics of this campaign, particularly their equating Muslims across the board with terrorism.

"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that [Obama] is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards - Purple Heart, Bronze Star - showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn't have a Christian cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.

And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life."

This is the photo that inspired his above comments:



I wonder what that lady at the McCain rally would say about that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

UPDATE: WaPo, ChiTrib, Smerconish Endorse Obama

And the endorsements keep rollin' in: The Washington Post very politely gives the Illinois senator the nod; the Chicago Tribune--which has not an endorsed a Democrat for president in its 165 year existence!--has joined the ranks of Obama endorsers; as well as conservative Philadelphia radio host, newspaper columnist and MSNBC pundit Michael Smerconish, who announced today on his radio show he has also crossed ideological lines and given his support to the Democratic candidate. (Smerconish was a Bush 41 apointee and master of ceremonies for Bush 43 in 2004.) Get ready for the backlash, Mr. S. Just ask Christopher Buckley.

[Thanks to The Divine Ms. M for the Smerconish heads up.]

The Luck of the Irish?

So sure they are of Obama’s win in the US presidential elections next month, Paddy Power PLC, Ireland’s top bookmaker, has decided to pay off all bets that were backing the Illinois senator's bid for the White House. They coughed up $1.3 million.

I just hope they don’t jinx it.


[h/t The Divine Miss M.]

Kathleen Parker and the $64,000* Question

The conservative journalist who was thrashed for her pointed criticsm on the merits of Gov. Sarah Palin being nominated as the GOP's vice-presidential candidate, muses about her friend and colleague Christopher Buckley's similar treatment for endorsing Sen. Barack Obama, and asks the big question no one had yet asked the Republicans during this race:

What does it mean that the right cannot politely entertain dissenting opinions within its ranks?

Yikes. She gets further into it in today's WaPo. I'd look over my shoulder, if I were you, Ms. Parker. Those wing-nuts can be pretty dangerous.

[* When is this going to be adjusted for inflation?]

Letterman Welcomes Back McCain; Asks About Liddy

So, after not letting up on John McCain's last minute cancellation of a few weeks ago, Late Show host David Letterman gave the Arizona senator a chance to explain himself ("I screwed up") and, despite a promise to put recent differences behind, came at him with hard questions.

But the one question that NO ONE in the political media had asked McCain was finally proffered by the comedic late-night icon: if Obama's relationship with a terrorist (William Ayers) is questionable, what about McCain's relationship with a terrorist of his own? In this case, he was referring to G. Gordon Liddy.

"Did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?"

"I know Gordon Liddy. He paid his debt, he went to prison ... I'm not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy."

"You understand the same case could be made of your relationship with him as is being made with William Ayers?"



No, Dave: Ayers was a leftie. Everything and anyone are all good and justifiable when they're right-wing nuts. Even a convicted criminal, Hitler aopologist, who has advocated for the shooting of federal law enforcement agents, and equates environmentalists with Osama Bin Laden, like G. Gordon Liddy. Such a bullshit double standard.

Here's a comparison between Ayers and Liddy.

McClelan Compares his W to Oliver Stone's

George W. Bush's former White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, gives his take on Oliver Stone's new movie about McClellan's old boss, which opens in theatres today. Interesting.

Buffet: Buy American. I Am

After the scary financial rollercoaster of the last few weeks, top investor Warren Buffett encourages belief in the market in his recent NY Times Op-Ed piece.

The Real Debate?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama vs McCain (round 3)

Once again, no knockout; Sen. Obama wins by points but no big whoop.

The debate was a bit more pointed and the candidates were a tad more aggressive, but the third time was not the charm, in this case. Did we learn anything new? Were there revelations of any kind? Seriously, there should be 2 presidential debates, tops.

Having said that, Obama's 'McCain = Bush' mantra was perfectly and succinctly driven home here (with a jab at Fox News, to boot):



And it's always fun to watch Sen. McCain's contempt of Obama manifest itself in different ways. (McCain's transformation into Bob Dole is now complete.) This time, eye rolling was involved:

The (reverse) Bradley Effect

With Sen. Barack Obama's accentuated lead in the polls, more and more time has been dedicated to discussing the dreaded "Bradley effect." But here's the thing:

Appearing Oct. 8th, on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Gov. Mike Easley (D-North Carolina) talked about the very real possibility of a "reverse Bradley effect".

"...I think you're going to see--now, this is coming from my barber, so this is good stuff I'm going to tell you. My barber tells me--and this is a guy who can put a razor--legally put a razor to your throat and ask you a question. So that's a good focus group he's getting all day long.

He says we're going to see a reverse Bradley effect, that there a lot of people that have been saying all along they would never vote for Barack Obama, but they are going to go in the voting booth and they're going to do it because it's in their economic interest.

I saw a pick up truck Monday, a guy riding in it with a shotgun in the back. And he had a camo hat and two Obama stickers. And I think the message there is, "I like McCain, but I love my job." And that's what people are looking at now."

While that may actually come to pass, there's a more plausible scenario. While at an Obama fundraising event, earlier this week, I brought up Gov. Easley's Maddow appearace and his above comments. One person agreed with the Gov's take but used his Oklahoma-residing parents, as a prime example of the theory, but with a twist: they are quite firm Obama supporters who make sure this information is unknown to the public at large for fear of retribution from intolerant neighbors or fellow townsfolk. No lawn signs, no stickers, no t-shirts endorsing their candidate. But they've made a clear choice and are unwavering in their decision. Hmmm...stealthy. I like it.

Campbell Brown Asks the Underlying Question

We've all cringed at the erroneous and mean-spirited assumption by those wanting create dissention and stir racist/xenophobic feelings that Sen. Barack Obama is an Arab or of Muslim faith. But what does that say about the general perception of Arabs and Muslims in our country? Kudos to CNN's Campbell Brown who broached the subject on the air earlier this week.

"When did Arab and Muslim being dirty words, the equivalent of dishonorable or radical?

Whenever this gets raised, the implication is that there's something wrong with being an Arab-American or a Muslim. And the media is complicit here, too. We have been all way too quick to accept the idea that calling someone Muslim is a slur.

I feel like I'm stating the obvious here, but, apparently, it needs to be said. There is a difference between radical Muslims who support jihad against America and Muslims who want to practice their religion freely and have normal lives, like everybody else.

There are more than 1.2 million Arab-Americans and about 7 million Muslim Americans, former Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, successful business people, normal, average Americans from all walks of life. These are the people that are being maligned here every time this happens. And we can only imagine how this conversation plays out in the Muslim world.

We can't tolerate this ignorance, not in the media, not on the campaign trail. Of course he's not an Arab. Of course he's not a Muslim, but, honestly, it shouldn't matter."

Northern Pride (takes a southern turn)


[photo by Getty Images North America]

As a native of one of the original 13 states and fan of the baseball team that calls The Bronx home, I am both a yankee and a Yankees supporter. So, despite that, it gives me great joy to see the scrappy upstarts known as the Tampa Bay Rays trounce the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Politically speaking, the positions and loyalties of the people from Beantown--and Massachussets itself--are for the most part unimpeachable, but when it comes to the American pastime I draw the line. I sincerely wish--for reasons both petty and noble--the young Floridians not only beat the Red Sox but take home the title in this year's fall classic, as well.

Interestingly, if the Rays win, they will face a team from another northeastern city from the original 13 colonies with a rich historical tradition: the Philiadelphia Phillies. But only in this narrow case--and only under these particular circumstances--you'll hear me say I'm hoping the South will rise again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No Blood for Oil? Think Again

from the UK's Guardian:

The biggest ever sale of oil assets will take place today, when the Iraqi government puts 40bn barrels of recoverable reserves up for offer in London.

Access is being given to eight fields, representing about 40% of the Middle Eastern nation's reserves, at a time when the country remains under occupation by US and British forces.

Two smaller agreements have already been signed with Shell and the China National Petroleum Corporation, but today's sale will ignite arguments over whether the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a "war for oil" that is now to be consummated by western multinationals seizing control of strategic Iraqi reserves.

And there you have it.

Coming...to a Network Near You


Saturday, October 11, 2008

'...call off the dogs, pit bulls and otherwise'

In his Oct. 11 NY Times Op-Ed piece, Frank Rich calls the McCain campaign to task for crossing "the line between tough negative campaigning and inciting vigilantism" and highlights a disappointing, yet expected double standard surrounding this election I've been harping on about for a while now:

From the start, there have always been two separate but equal questions about race in this election. Is there still enough racism in America to prevent a black man from being elected president no matter what? And, will Republicans play the race card? The jury is out on the first question until Nov. 4. But we now have the unambiguous answer to the second: Yes.

McCain, who is no racist, turned to this desperate strategy only as Obama started to pull ahead. The tone was set at the Republican convention, with Rudy Giuliani’s mocking dismissal of Obama as an “only in America” affirmative-action baby. We also learned then that the McCain campaign had recruited as a Palin handler none other than Tucker Eskew, the South Carolina consultant who had worked for George W. Bush in the notorious 2000 G.O.P. primary battle where the McCains and their adopted Bangladeshi daughter were slimed by vicious racist rumors.

No less disconcerting was a still-unexplained passage of Palin’s convention speech: Her use of an unattributed quote praising small-town America (as opposed to, say, Chicago and its community organizers) from Westbrook Pegler, the mid-century Hearst columnist famous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetorical excess. After an assassin tried to kill F.D.R. at a Florida rally and murdered Chicago’s mayor instead in 1933, Pegler wrote that it was “regrettable that Giuseppe Zangara shot the wrong man.” In the ’60s, Pegler had a wish for Bobby Kennedy: “Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow falls.”

This is the writer who found his way into a speech by a potential vice president at a national political convention. It’s astonishing there’s been no demand for a public accounting from the McCain campaign. Imagine if Obama had quoted a Black Panther or Louis Farrakhan — or William Ayers — in Denver.

What If?

Syndicated cartoonist Keith Knight's take on how the right-wing media would portray Gov. Sarah Palin if she were a Democrat or a black Democrat.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Daddy Yankee to Moderate PR Gov. Debate

Not happy with the performance of Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill, or Tom Brokaw? Well, it could've been worse: Daddy Yankee will be one of three moderators of the Puerto Rico gubenatorial debate, this coming Tuesday.

Yes, really.


The 31 year-old reggaeton star--whose real name is Ramon Ayala--is being seen as bait to lure younger voters into the political process. Daddy Yankee has stated that despite having recently endorsed Sen. John McCain for president, he is not partial to any of the four candidates participating in the debate he'll help moderate, including the incumbent Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila.

[Kudos to Carolina Gonzalez for the heads up.]

'The Red Meat of Hate'

McCain Attacks Fuel Dangerous Hatred

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.

Shame!

John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever.

We will hold you responsible.


Frank Schaeffer is the author of "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back."

McCain Booed by Anti-Obama Crowd

See, this is what you get Senator McCain (Gov. Palin, meanwhile, STILL doesn't think there's anything wrong with the slander and race-baiting): the business end of your own angry mob you when you make an attempt at saying something objective about your opponent, after feeding them poisonous 'red meat' for a while. Unbelievable.

Latinos Con Obama


Among all the nastiness of the last few weeks, here's a bit of levity and good news: according to Politico my fellow brown peeps are supporting Sen. Obama in a higher percentage than any Democratic in a decade. (About 70% to McCain's 26%) Sweet.

Buckley Endorses Obama

In a post titled "Sorry Dad, I'm voting for Obama", on The Daily Beast, journalist/author Christopher Buckley, son of leading conservative thinker, the late William F. Buckley, has announced his plans to vote for Sen. Barack Obama.

John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises...the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless.

And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking? All this is genuinely saddening, and for the country is perhaps even tragic, for America ought, really, to be governed by men like John McCain—who have spent their entire lives in its service, even willing to give the last full measure of their devotion to it. If he goes out losing ugly, it will be beyond tragic, graffiti on a marble bust.

That last line--that's the money quote.

2004 Déja Vu All Over Again

John McCain and his surrogates have jumped into the deep, murky waters of the 'Obama is a terrorist-by-association' refrain, creating a climate of hate not seen in a long time. But more ominously, the subtext to the nonsense the GOP propaganda machine is spewing is this: 'that Muslim terrorrist/Manchurian candidate (Obama) enabled the collapse of the economy by forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give mortgages to poor minorities (aka black and brown people). And now you, hard working white person, will have to pay for it. Imagine what he'll do once Barack Hussein Obama is in the White House?'

And the Obama campaign's response? Grandpa Simpson is "erratic". Yup, that's it. An honest, decent, qualified man is being swift-boated in a most despicable manner and his handlers are channeling the 2004 Kerry campaign. Meanwhile, the mainstream press won't even say a peep about the racist, anti-Semitic, treasonous, potentially terrorist ties of the McCain/Palin ticket. (Except Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow at MSNBC.)

Sen. McCain, in your blind quest for power you have lost whatever shred of true respectability you may have had. You are no better than scum like Sean Hannity. If there is a god you believe in, pray that the poison you have doused a segment of your ignorant followers with, does not come back to haunt you and stain your hands red. You are a sad, poor excuse of a man, sir.

Miers vs Palin

My response to the question "Why is Sarah Palin ok, but Harriet Meyers was an idiotic choice?" asked of me on my boy Ope's Unconquerable Gladness blog:

I believe both Harriett Miers and Sarah Palin were horrible choices. However, the former was a one dimensional affair: despite the politicking, it was largely about her competence regarding the position she was to be nominated for: Supreme Court justice, which is still a big deal, and requires a level of intellect and knowledge of the law Miers does not possess. (One may disagree w/the opinions and/or politics of the justices, but it’s pretty much accepted there are no dummies on that bench.) While the leaders were not having it, her party’s base—and, actually, most of the public—showed little interest in her nomination to the Court, and arguably, much less was at stake with her choice. So it died.

The latter was a political move designed to rally the support of a sector of the party largely indifferent to John McCain—if you recall, during the 10-candidate primary, 60% of the GOP base did not like ANY of the aspiring candidates—particularly the Christian Right, to which Palin belongs. (Think about it: if McCain were to die in office we’d have an unqualified, born-again zealot leading the nation. But more importantly to the Christian Right, one of THEIR own. Again. Of course they’re psyched.) And, let’s not forget, the possibility of wooing disgruntled HRC supporters was also on the list.

So while on a governing level they are both deplorable choices, the Palin selection was beneficial to McCain on a political level. It wasn’t his choice for VP—he wanted Joe Lieberman—but it was a savvy political move, nonetheless. It also summarily trounces the “Country First” meme, but why let truth and accuracy get in the way of winning a campaign for the presidency?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

RFK Jr. Wants to Know: MSM, Why Not Talk About Palin and Alaskan Secessionists?

Like me--and hopefully many, many others--environmental activist/former NYC assistant DA, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wants to know why the media continues to entertain the Republican swiftboating of Barack Obama with these tired, disingenuous links to William Ayers, but fails to mention A WORD of Todd and Sarah Palin's treasonous ties to the secessionist Alaska Independence Party.

WHY?!
WHY?!!
WHY??!!

Somebody? Anybody?

Is it that we live among hordes of anti-American secessionists that would not be swayed by this argument? Does the Obama campaign think that instead of patriotic indignation these people would probably greet the Palin's former party's platform with a resounding "Hell, yeah!" to punctuate their approval? Then, I've gotta ask, what kind of country is this? And why would anyone want to run for its offices if not to plunder is coffers, if it's that soulless?

I am dumbfounded...

Sowing the Seeds of Ignorance, Reaping the Fruits of Hate

This is what the McCain campaign is working towards: below is video from a McCain/Palin rally in Ohio--kudos to Blogger Interrupted--in which quite a few participants acknowledge their belief in Sen. Barack Obama being a terrorist. With little or nothing to substantiate it, but they believe it, nonetheless. Incredible.

In terms of an end political result it doesn't really matter what these folks think: true undecideds and independents are not going to be swayed by bullshit innuendo. They've increasingly shown in the polls a strong desire to know what the candidates are actually going to do to fix this mess we find our country in, and are not falling for the vague, empty promises John McCain has been doling out. But this video is a stark reminder of the level of manipulation the GOP traffics in, knowingly exploiting fears and prejudices, racial and otherwise. Let's cross our fingers it doesn't get past this.


Oh, and there's now a special place in hell for you, too, Sen. McCain.

Our Endorsement

Not this one:



That one:



Like you had a doubt. [wink]

Speaking of Endorsements...

Just so we're clear, I'm NOT down with confederate flags. And for those of you that defend it claiming it's a symbol of "Southern pride", I will change my tune when proud, black Southerners start waving it. Meanwhile...

Hopefully, They'll Be Too Drunk to Vote

More About McCain's Liasions and Hypocritical Guilt by Association Tactics

Keith Olbermann breaks it down. Why does no one else? WHY?!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hannity Gets Taste of Own Medicine

Tired of this William Ayers-guilt-by-association nonsense, last night post-debate, Obama spokesperson Robert Gibbs tore into GOP/Fox News puppet, Sean Hannity, by bringing up his relationship with noted hate-mongering, anti-Semite Andy Martin.

"Are you an anti-Semite?," inquired Gibbs of Hannity before the gloves came off and the so-called journalist tried to bark his way out of an argument he clearly lost. Watch:




Kudos to Ope at Unconquerable Gladness for the heads up.

And While We're on the Subject of Guilt-by-Association...

Rachel Maddow clears the air on Countdown with Keith Olbermann before last night's debate:

OLBERMANN: What do those associations say? Whether or not the Democrats want to use them, what do they say about McCain and Palin?

MADDOW: Well, there's a charitable way and uncharitable way to look at it.

The charitable way to look at it is to say-well, these guys as white politicians, as Republicans, as conservatives know that their associations will never be used against them because they know who their political opponents are, they know how the game is played, they know that the playing field is not level in this regard. So, they're not careful about who they associate themselves with. That's the charitable way to look at it.

The uncharitable way to look at it is that these guys have not cared in their political careers about associating themselves with extremists and radical groups because they have extremist and radical inclinations.

McCain vs Obama: Round 2

There's plenty of punditry for you to digest out there, so I'll make it short and sweet:

- Sen. Barack Obama came across more substantive and presidential, defended himself very well, called out Sen. John McCain on his nebulous plans to "fix" things, and even the Fox News panel couldn't bring themselves to give the debate to the GOP candidate.

- Sen. McCain performed well, but needed a knockout; he didn't get it. Tried a bit of the Palin folksiness with mixed results. Referring to Obama at one point as "that one" and refusing to shake his hand after the debate, was just plain petty and disrespectful.

Obama--or "that one," if you will--wins this round.

"That one" remark:



No handshake:



"It's apparent that Senator McCain has some disdain, I think it's fair to say, for Sen. Obama, and...that was very apparent throughout the course of this debate." - CNN's Wolf Blitzer

Ya think, Wolf?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So, THIS is What it Has Come To, huh?

The level of desperation in the McCain camp has sunk the campaign to an all-time—and very dangerous—low: the m.o. now is to imply that Sen. Obama is a terrorist. (A new GOP press release intended for campaigning in Pennsylvania is titled "Obama: A Terrorist's Best Friend".) And anyone that has seen video of recent campaign appearances by McCain and his running mate Gov. Palin can attest to that. More disturbing is the failure of either GOP candidate to chastise those in the crowd who react to the mention of Sen. Obama’s name with cries of “Terrorist!” And more ominously, “Kill him!”. (Unlike those very sweet people at the Palin rally in St. Louis that mocked Sen. Joe Biden when he choked up at last week's vice-presidential debate, while mentioning his deceased wife and daughter.)

I have ALWAYS advocated for negative campaigning, especially if your opponent throws the first punch. However, to create a climate of hatred that has the possibility of unfolding into a tragedy of volcanic proportions, is not only irresponsible for the sake of winning an election, but indeed one of the lowest, most disgusting things I've seen in politics. But McCain doesn't give a fuck. He's got an election to win. Which if he does and then happens to die in office, will leave us with George W. Bush in lipstick: another ignorant, Bible-thumping, neophyte. These are serious times. And they call for serious people. That, John McCain and Sarah Palin, are not.

But forget about the election. Sen. McCain, you better hope and pray that none of those ignorant, reactionary wingnuts, whose hatred and racism you are fuelling, ever makes a tragically stupid mistake against the Illinois senator. For you will have blood on your hands John McCain. Yes, you will.

IAVA: Troop Supporters, Please Stand Up--Not So Fast, John McCain

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have just released their 2008 Congressional Report Card. Guess who got a "D"? That's right, Sen. John 'friend of the troops' McCain. Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden each got a "B" rating.

Stupid Question of the Day

The mainstream media had a field day with Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary sermons and linking Sen. Barack Obama to ‘60s radical William Ayers. The coverage was non-stop—particularly in the case of the Rev. Wright—yet, the McCain/Palin ticket is getting a free ride on the former’s numerous sketchy associations—including sitting on the board of the racist, ultra right-wing U.S. Council for World Freedom—and Gov. and Todd Palin’s close ties to the secessionist Alaska Independence Party. Why?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tom Brokaw's in the Tank for McCain

I've never liked NBC's Tom Brokaw much. I've always found him to be pompous and prone to lecturing people. When a clear McCain bias in his opinions and poll misrepresentations started popping up I really took a distaste to the man. Now, he's got McCain staffers calling him for advice?

Chuck, a very senior Republican was startled the other day when he called me and said, ‘What in the world is going on in Florida? Why are we in trouble there?’

- Brokaw speaking to Chuck Todd, political director of NBC News, on this past Sunday's Meet the Press.

WTF?!

About F*n' Time!

"Overheated rhetoric and personal attacks on our opponents distract from the big differences between John McCain's vision for the future of our nation and the Democrats'.

Throughout his life John McCain has held himself to the highest standards and he will continue to run a respectful campaign based on the issues. We expect that all supporters, surrogates and staff will hold themselves to similarly high standards when they are representing the campaign."

- Rick Davis, McCain campaign manager, March 11, 2008.



Yeah, right. Until their backs are against the wall, that is.


In light of the McCain campaign's gameplan of exchanging substantive discussion of the issues that matter with a full-on embrace of relentless guilt-by-association tactics, the Obama braintrust has decided to fight back and focus on the Arizona senator's involvement in the '80s savings and loan fiasco thru his membership in the infamous "Keating 5". A website has been set up featuring a 13 minute video that makes the case for the origins of the current credit crisis stemming from the culture of deregulation that McCain endorsed and promoted throughout his career in the senate, leading to the "Keating 5" savings and loan crisis and scandal which cost countless retirees their life savings and retirement funds.


Here's a 30-second teaser of the 13-minute doc:



Next up, in our humble estimation, should be shedding light on Gov. Palin's and her husband Todd's membership in the Alaska Independence Party noted for their secessionist platform. Their motto: Alaska First, Alaska Always. Nice.

Here's video of Gov. Palin welcoming those assisting the 2008 AIP convention. (She is said to also have been a member before switching her affiliation to the GOP. Todd Palin changed his political affiliation in 2002. More details here.)



If these people want to bullshit the American people into believing they truly put country first and that Obama is unpatriotic by association, let them convincingly defend themselves against their support of secessionists and the like. And when are McCain's numerous votes against funding for veterans' hospitals and his dismal ratings with veteran groups going to be brought up, front and center?

To say nothing of the following recent assertion by Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who researched John McCain thoroughly for a book he wrote on the GOP presidential candidate:

"...John McCain sat on the board of a very right-wing organization, it was the U.S. Council for World Freedom, it was chaired by a guy named John Singlaub, who wound up involved in the Iran contra scandal. It was an ultra conservative, right-wing group. The Anti-Defamation League, in 1981 when McCain was on the board, said this about this organization. It was affiliated with the World Anti-Communist League--the parent organization--which ADL said 'has increasingly become a gathering place, a forum, a point of contact for extremists, racists and anti-Semites.'"

If this is true, then McCain's opposition to the Martin Luther King holiday--which he has since has regretted and apologized for--can perhaps be seen in quite a different light.

These people are counting on the Obama campaign to not have the balls to take the gloves off and hit back as hard. They have the lack of pursuit of justice on the part of
congressional Democrats in the numerous instances of high crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated by the Bush administration as their inspiration. Prove them wrong, I say.

Three Words: Tina Fey Rocks!

She nails it, once again. By the way, all hail the Queen!

W (extended trailer)

I've always been quite fond of the Talking Heads classic "Once in a Lifetime". When I realized it was about the passage of time and one day asking yourself "well, how did I get here?" it became a bittersweet love.

The extended trailer (see below) for W, Oliver Stone's upcoming biopic of the current president Bush, utilizes the song in this particular context to great effect.

W
opens nationwide on Oct. 17th.
Can't wait.

Friday, October 3, 2008

NYC Term Limits: 3 Is (not) a Magic Number

In my fair city, the term limits laws keep the elected officials to 2 terms in office. That's how the people of New York City want it and have voted twice in favor of keeping it that way (1993, 1996). Now, under the guise of saving the city from a potentially dangerous economic downturn, with Mayor Mike Bloomberg as the messiah, a chorus of both Bloomberg supporters and term limits opponents has been selfishly leading the charge against the will of the people and granting Hizzoner eligibility for a third term. Of course, the desire to remain as incumbents is a large factor in all this for members of the City Council, while the possible economic fallout serves as political cover.

You know what? We heard this nonsense regarding Rudy Giuliani in the aftermath of the Sept. 11th tragedy. (By the way, Guiliani was the main instigator for term limits...until HE became an incumbent. Figures.) And guess what? Bloomberg came in, got the job done, and was a MUCH BETTER mayor than Capt. Comb-over ever was. So, this time I say, let's respect the will of the people, bring in somebody new and give them a chance to lead the way, with new ideas and policies. Isn't that what democracy is all about?

Three of the major local newspapers--NY Times, Daily News and Post; the top Spanish-language daily, El Diario, is against it, I believe--are in favor of barring term limits, so it looks like the people will have to stand up for themselves and let their displeasure with this proposal be heard. Again.

How She Did It

The Great Schlep

Were not fans of actress/comedienne Sarah Silverman, but she makes a good--and humorous--case for getting young jews to visit their grandparents in Florida in order to convince them to vote for Sen. Barack Obama, in this video for The Great Schlep website.



[Thanks to
Gotham Notes for the heads up.]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Random Notes on the Vice-Presidential Debate

- Much livelier than the first presidential debate. There was a spark that had been missing from that previous debate, which I personally ascribe to both Sen. Obama's generally cool demeanor and Sen. McCain's percieved sense of annoyance. (It was as if he just was dying to blurt out "Why am I here? Don't you people know I'm the only real choice here?" Or something to that effect.)

- Gwen Ifill was very good in her role as moderator. Her tone, approach, and demeanor were just right. She is undoubtedly a pro.

- Sen. Biden was a bit restrained but made his points clearly and effectively. Brilliant on foreign policy; steadfastly made his case for a John McCain administration to be the continuation of George W. Bush's across the board; attacked with might but not excess (directly questioning the 'maverick' tag and getting a few good zingers in there throughout the debate); and showed a very human side when he touched on the death of his wife and daughter and subsequently raising his sons as a single parent. Unfortunately, I was once again wondering--as I did during the presidential debate--why Sen. McCain's 'friend of the troops' claims were not countered by the Arizona senator's dismal record voting against veterans' hospital budgets and his standing with veterans' groups. (There's a reason why the troops are contributing cash to the Obama campaign by a margain of 6 to 1 over the McCain campaign.) But Biden rocked. More importantly, and in direct contrast to his opponent of the evening, he looked--dare I say it--presidential. And consequently, deeply reassuring if the unspeakable were to happen to a President Obama.

- Gov. Sarah Palin was not the train wreck she was in her dealings with ABC's Charlie Gibson and CBS' Katie Couric, and kept gaffes at a minimum in comparison to her past dealings on the national stage. If folksy charm is what is going to decide the outcome of the election, then she undoubtedly made a big push for it this evening. However, she clarified very little regarding her ticket's positions; was frequently disingenuous and made little sense at times; and her constant repetition of GOP talking points that had no real bearing on whatever question she was being asked at that moment, revealed both a defense mechanism designed to keep her from putting her foot in her mouth, and how out of her league she actually was. But, she was admittedly confident and assured--if a bit tense--in her demeanor, holding her own. In essence, what she takes from this debate, after all her blunders post-convention and pre-debate, is that she managed to live another day. Of course, with that she helps the Sarah Palin cause more than she does the ticket. Hopefully, it won't be enough to help them become victorous on Nov. 4th.