Monday, December 31, 2007

Sitting On the Fence Is Creasing My Activist Butt

The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as the Independent Bloggers Alliance, the Peace Tree, Wild Wild Left and Worldwide Sawdust.

Warning, this is a long post. It’s long because supporting a presidential candidate for me is deeply personal. It’s not simply deciding which candidate I will pull the lever for in the privacy of a voting booth. Rather I approach the decision as an activist and ask myself: after weighing all the virtues and flaws of the declared candidates on whose behalf am I willing to devote my free time?

In my darker moments I’ll ask myself, “Do any of these lying corporatist whores deserve my support? Why bother with any of them?” The ship has long sailed on my days of being a "true believer."

Ultimately, in spite of my disenchantment, I believe in the power of the vote. Even with the sordid history of stolen elections and broken promises, I remain convinced the best way to change the system is through participation in the political process. And the best vehicle for progressive reform is by leveraging the Democratic Party – flawed as it is. Which means I have to finally stop creasing my butt, get off the fence and choose a candidate.

Picking a candidate this primary season has been especially agonizing. My top choices were former Vice President Al Gore and Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. I would’ve volunteered for either in a heartbeat. When both opted not to run I was left cold and preferred to wait until the race sorted itself out.

Meanwhile, this past year I amused myself reading blog postings on Daily Kos and elsewhere expressing certitude about the virtues of particular candidates while trashing rival campaigns. The theme was usually along the lines of “only my candidate is the true progressive with a chance to win while so and so is simply an enabler of the corporate pro-war plutocracy who will destroy the Democratic Party and eat your children.”

The only certitude I felt was disenchantment with Hillary Clinton whom I believe would govern entirely from weakness and be an agent of the status quo. Furthermore, I never bought into the Clinton rationale about “experience” because of her tenure as First Lady. For what it’s worth, as a New Yorker, I believe Clinton’s done an admirable job of constituent service in the senate. But on the broader issues of war and peace, bridging the gap between rich and poor and being a progressive advocate, Clinton’s record is under-whelming at best.

Otherwise the remaining field left me uncommitted. Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Barack Obama are all compelling figures with many virtues as well as flawed agents of a corrupt political system. And yes that includes Edwards who despite his populist message is also not a white knight. None of them are.

I appreciate much of what Dennis Kucinich has to say, resent how he was denied access to a recent debate but never seriously considered supporting him. As a protest candidate Kucinich has contributed and I respect his supporters. But he was a failure as Mayor of Cleveland and would have as much chance winning a national election as I do of dating Scarlet Johansen.

If I were twenty again, I might find stuffing envelopes, canvassing and phone banking on Kucinich’s behalf the right way to go. But that doesn’t feel right this time. Rather I believe it imperative Democrats avoid the calamity of nominating Hillary Clinton and supporting a protest candidate won’t get that done.

Clinton’s original support of the Iraq war was a callous and cowardly act of political expediency. Her tepid ‘if I knew now what I knew then’ explanation regarding Iraq is neither believable nor acceptable. War and peace requires a different standard of leadership. Not calculating cynicism resulting in needless bloodshed.

In 2007, Clinton’s vote labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization for example was irresponsible at best. One can presume that as president the political fifty-yard line will be looked upon as the Holy Grail and doing right a secondary consideration. Senator Clinton has managed to achieve a rare political feat: she is both a polarizing figure and without a principled core.

As long as Clinton is regarded as a polarizing figure anyway, it boggles the mind why she refused to stand for something as senator. Clinton's had six years to put her prestige on the line for the working poor, human rights and a judicious foreign policy. Instead she only enabled the neo-cons and is now regarded favorably by the drug and pharmaceutical companies.

Whereas Bobby Kennedy became a tribune to the underclass as senator, Hillary Clinton positioned herself as a reassuring figure for corporate special interests. Tell me Senator Clinton has scheming to achieve centrist nirvana taken the edge off your polarization in any way? Clintonism undermines the progressive cause just when the center of political gravity is in our favor. Conservatism is sucking wind and we can’t allow this moment in history to be squandered by nominating another Clinton.

Edwards and Obama are the only Democratic candidates who have any chance of defeating Senator Clinton and prevailing in November. Hence, supporting any of the other candidates, regardless of their principles, personal virtues and credentials is a waste. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. I wish it were otherwise because the field beyond Clinton, Edwards and Obama is far more accomplished in my opinion. Unfortunately, our political system rewards style over substance. If I didn’t feel it so imperative to stop Hillary Clinton from getting the nomination I’d likely support Chris Dodd. But under the circumstances I’m left to choose between Obama and Edwards. There are positives in the biographies of both men.

Obama could have pursued a career as a corporate lawyer after Harvard Law School and dedicated himself to making money. Many in his position would’ve done exactly that. Instead he chose community activism. That impresses me.

As an Illinois state legislator, Obama skillfully navigated the complex web of race, entrenched power and ego that comprise Chicago politics to be an agent of pragmatic reform. It was there that Obama’s political persona was defined: he fights fire with water. That has translated into a presidential campaign of progressive advocacy with the soft rhetoric of unity.

In my blog writing I’ve occasionally referred to Obama as a “platitude machine” in frustration at his reluctance to forcefully indict the agents of corporatism and militarism that have plagued our country. Too often this year Obama appeared content to utter polite words about bringing everyone to the table under the mystical aura of bipartisanship.

Yet Obama has shown remarkable growth in recent weeks and found his voice. I am impressed at how he’s drawn distinctions without coming off as shrill. The fist in the velvet glove is a rare gift in politics and Obama seems to have it. He’s been especially effective at contrasting himself with Clinton’s institutional/machine oriented politics of restoration entitlement.

I also note that among Obama’s foreign policy advisors is former Bill Clinton National Security Advisor Tony Lake. Unlike other members of the Clinton Administration currently advising Senator Clinton, Lake opposed the war with Iraq from the beginning. And of course so did Obama himself.

For a time I was ready to jump on Obama’s bandwagon, excited at the prospect of his potential for knocking off Hillary Clinton. Also, symbolism does indeed matter in politics and statecraft. A dark skinned president named Barack Hussein Obama, with part of his childhood spent in Indonesia and possessing Kenyan ancestry is powerful. Domestically the very idea of a President Obama is unifying for a nation sundered by race and baby boomer culture wars. Moreover, Obama’s international profile offers the promise of helping America return to the community of civilized nations. The temptation to support him is almost irresistible and I was nearly seduced by it.

America however needs far more than what Obama offers. Class warfare waged from the top has metastasized under the Bush Administration and must be forcefully reversed. Yes, water is usually the best antidote for fire. But this moment in history requires someone willing to make an omelet by breaking some eggs.

Politics is a fight and the quest for fairness in our current gilded age won’t be accomplished without a determined struggle. Edwards as we all know rose from humble beginnings to take on predatory corporations in the courtroom and he won big. Whenever Republicans talk about tort reform its code to prevent advocates such as John Edwards from helping regular folks against entrenched corporate power. The fact Edwards earned a fortune at the expense of predatory corporations only angers the predatory conservative establishment even more. Remember the plutocracy considered FDR a traitor to his class too.

As previously noted, Edwards is not a white knight. For much of 2007 I leaned toward Edwards but his original support of the Iraq War and dabbling in hedge funds bothered me. Was his apology for originally supporting it genuine or merely politically expedient? How can any of us really know? Politicians have a nasty habit of being chameleons as it suits them.

Yet even as politicians pander to win over a public more interested in Hollywood scandal then global warming, it is possible to identify a core in some of these people. Al Gore for example, was a tactile politician who could shift with the prevailing winds but believed and worked for reversing global warming before it was popular. And John Edwards has spent much of his adult life standing up for ordinary people against predatory corporate power. This is a man who remembers where he came from.

Some consider the John Edwards message one of anger and prefer the soothing rhetoric of Obama. I find the Edwards message empowering. As Paul Krugman wrote in today’s New York Times,

“There’s a fantasy, widely held inside the Beltway that men and women of good will from both parties can be brought together to hammer out bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems.”

As we saw six years ago, even with no mandate, predatory conservatives had no interest in sensible bipartisan solutions. Instead they shamelessly exploited the symbols of patriotism and war to finance crony capitalism at the expense of consumers, small business owners and the very old and young. One can’t negotiate power with these people. Power must be taken from them. For the first time in a generation we have a window to facilitate a true progressive reformation if we’re willing to fight for it. We negotiate when we’re cutting our losses. We fight when we have hope. This blogger is opting for the audacity of hope and supporting John Edwards.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Neo-Con Virgin Birth and how John Edwards will save us all.

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Some things are just too horrible to contemplate. This is one of those things.

As with all Christmas family gatherings, sometime, somewhere, the conversation always turns to politics. It can't be helped.

This year, the conversation was not whether Bush was a good or bad President, or if the Iraq war was necessary, but the table chat was about which Democratic candidate would make the best President. That and just how much of a total fucking loon Huckabee is.

If my family's table chat is any indication, John Edwards is the choice of the people. Some were grudging supporters while some were fanatical John freaks, but in the end, Obama seemed to be the choice for VP and Hillary would remain the Senator from New York. Frankly, the only other thing everyone agreed on was their mutual distaste for Hillary Clinton as a President.

Is 2008 the Year Democrats Finally Realize Iraq Is An Occupation?

Photobucket The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as the Independent Bloggers Alliance, the Peace Tree, the Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus, the Wild Wild Left and Worldwide Sawdust.

In 2007, the Democratic Party was a self-gelding machine of ineptitude. Activists such as myself worked feverishly in 2006 to retake congress and end America’s occupation of Iraq. Instead the Bush Administration implemented a “surge” as Democrats retreated from flexing their constitutional muscle. They continued to fund military operations, never invoked the War Powers Act and impeachment was taken off the table.

Remarkable considering how unpopular both the Iraq occupation and President Bush had become. Cracks even appeared in the façade of GOP unity as their Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell warned the Bush Administration that congressional Republicans would not allow Iraq to harm their electoral prospects in 2008. Indeed, on June 26th the Washington Post quoted McConnell as saying,

“I anticipate that we'll probably be going in a different direction in some way in Iraq. And it'll be interesting to see what the administration chooses to do."

McConell was anticipating the September testimony of Army General David H. Petraues. Yet as 2007 ends there is no denying that the unpopular Bush Administration successfully thwarted both the Democratic majority and the will of the people. How did this happen?

One can offer all sorts of explanations. Among them is that sixty-votes are required in the Senate and a thin Democratic majority had no real shot of making a difference. Others may prefer to scapegoat for their controversial “Betray Us” advertisement prior to the testimony of the highly decorated General Petraeus. Finally, some may simply contend that the surge worked and the rationale for withdrawal no longer applies.

Personally, I believe Democrats never truly wanted to end our occupation in Iraq. Iraq had sapped Bush’s popularity into oblivion, debased the Republican brand and helped fill Democratic coffers. Hence, both Reid and Pelosi were content to pursue the politics of symbolism without truly forcing the Administration’s hand.

Casting symbolic votes about timetables appeared safe and had the added advantage of keeping congressional Republicans on the defensive for supporting an unpopular war. It seemed a sure way to enhance their congressional majority as well as retake the White House but changed nothing on the ground. As a result, 2007 ends with congressional Democrats appearing impotent and unprincipled. Is it any wonder their poll ratings are so low?

Tragically, Democrats failed to realize that the American public opposed the war because we were perceived as losing rather than believing toppling Saddam’s government was wrong. Furthermore, even Americans who opposed the war from the beginning are instinctively repulsed at the notion of “losing” a war. Culturally, Americans don’t accept losing a war gracefully. Most countries don’t. For example, the Vietnam War was unpopular at the end yet liberals were easily stigmatized as weak defeatists for opposing it. Hence, once the so-called surge helped establish superficial conditions of stability, casting symbolic votes about withdrawal deadlines ceased to be effective.

It is therefore imperative that in 2008 Democrats stop referring to Iraq as a war but an occupation instead. The war in Iraq was both ill conceived and immoral. Many citizens including myself took to the streets and protested in 2002-2003. We didn’t protest because we feared losing. Rather we didn’t accept the rationale for the war and feared the occupation to follow.

The war as we all know ended when President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished.” Saddam’s regime was easily toppled and weapons of mass destruction were never found. The military did its job. The war was wrong but it happened and we won. We have been sustaining a brutal occupation since its conclusion. Occupations typically result in the wholesale deaths and torture of civilians. Maintaining an occupation is corrupting to the “victor.” Numerous people including bloggers and thinkers far more intelligent and eloquent than myself already reached that conclusion and the folly of buying into Bush’s framing the Iraq debate as a “war.”

As George Lakoff wrote on July 5, 2006,

“In an occupation, there are pragmatic issues: Are we welcome? Are we doing the Iraqis more harm than good? How badly are we being hurt? The question is not whether to withdraw, but when and how? What to say? You might prefer ‘End the occupation now’ or ‘End the occupation by the end of the year’ or ‘End the occupation within a year,’ but certainly Congress and most Americans should be able to agree on ‘End the occupation soon.’ In an occupation, not a war, should the president still have war powers? How, if at all, is the Supreme Court decision on military tribunals at Guantanamo affected if we are in an occupation, not a war? What high-handed actions by the President, if any, are ruled out if we are no longer at war?”

If Democrats at long last get their heads out of their ass the “surge” can be looked upon in its appropriate context. Yes, the surge reduced deaths of American GIs. Tactically it’s been a success. To deny that is to ignore reality. Even more significant are the Iraqi Sunnis resisting al Quaeda themselves. But what does any of that have to do with ending America’s immoral occupation, facilitating a political settlement inside Iraq and earning a measure of diplomatic good will in the Muslim world? As long as this occupation has a white Christian face we’ve condemned ourselves to walking on a toxic treadmill. The occupation is not beneficial to America or Iraq.

On December 4th, I interviewed talk radio’s Thom Hartmann, about his new book Cracking The Code: How To Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision. Hartmann eloquently echoes Lakoff about framing Iraq as an occupation instead of a war in his book. He noted during our interview that immediately after he and Lakoff suggested the “occupation” frame in 2006, Democrats took their advice. But they soon reverted to talking about Iraq as a war. Hartmann further observed that the corporatist media finds the war frame too profitable. Writing and broadcasting about an “occupation” doesn’t sell as well or profit companies such as General Electric who have a financial stake in the media as well as military operations. The media is not going to describe Iraq as an occupation any time soon.

So it’s up to the reality based community of citizen journalists, bloggers, activists and just plain regular people to set the record straight. Many progressive bloggers reading this thread properly realized this long ago. But as we head into 2008 a reminder is in order. I for one plead guilty of too often playing into the hands of predatory conservatives and describing Iraq as a war.

So no matter what presidential candidate you’re supporting in 2008, please let their campaigns know you want Iraqi policy referred to as an “occupation” and be assertive about it. Please telephone and write your representatives in congress as well (click here and here ). And on your blogs refer to Iraq as an occupation every time you post about it. Any street protests should also reinforce the message that we're opposing an occupation. Our 2008 New Years resolution should be to once and for all shift the terms of debate about Iraq from being a “war” to an “occupation.” At stake is the blood of our GIs, innocent Iraqi civilians and ending America’s estrangement from the civilized world.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pastafarians, Wiccans, Others Banned from Green Bay Pack

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

Pastafarians may not participate in a holiday display in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mayor Jim Schmitt described the proposal as "silly." He declared a moratorium on additional displays after a Wiccan wreath displayed with the nativity scene was vandalized.

After police announced Monday someone stole and damaged a Wiccan display overnight that had been placed on the roof Friday, Schmitt ordered that it wouldn't be replaced and that no other displays would be permitted until the City Council debates the issue tonight.

Schmitt's declaration means that the nativity scene, placed by Council President Chad Fradette last Tuesday, is the only holiday display over City Hall's northwest entrance.

Schmitt said he and City Attorney Allison Swanson developed proposed guidelines governing the size and style of future religious displays. His list limits such displays to December and attempts to limit such displays to legitimate religious symbolism.

In fairness, the mayor may be well within his rights to put a stopper on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Seinfeldian Festivus (for the rest of us). But there are serious constitutional questions when the only remaining display is a Christian one.

"Who is to say what is a legitimate religious institution?" said Maureen Manion, a retired St. Norbert College professor of political science, with a specialty in constitutional law. "Is there a check-off list? That's shaky constitutional ground, as far as I'm concerned."

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is purposely ambiguous in that it tries to protect religious practices without establishing a religion, and "the courts have always bent over backward to not define religions," Manion said. "I think that's what the framers (of the constitution) were trying to protect — not having a sanctioned church.

. . .

Limiting displays to December is clearly an attempt to put Christian ideals first, which ignores minority religions that may have important holidays at different times of the year, said Terri Johnson, a professor of American government and politics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

"The Bill of Rights was about protecting minority rights," she said. "Freedom of speech, of religion, all of those weren't to protect the majority, they were to protect the minority."

Faced with a law suit, after its Tuesday night vote to restrict the display, the city is scrambling to cover its bases.

Schmitt on Wednesday directed city maintenance workers to move a Christmas tree and wire reindeer next to the nativity display.

True, the christmas tree is one of the many vestigial pagan symbols that remain in the Christmas tradition. I doubt that it sufficiently replaces the damaged pentacle.

Schmitt said Monday he didn't realize until that day that the wreath and pentacle involved witchcraft. Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons, but Schmitt said he believed it was wrong to allow a Wiccan display next to the nativity scene.

"Wrong" to allow a Wiccan symbol near a Christian one... Well then, I guess we can be pretty sure that no bias went into his decision to restrict all but the nativity scene.

Not a fan of nativity scenes, myself. Although every year I play with the idea of putting up a display of the newborn Mithras in his cave, surrounded by the magi and shepherds, just to see if anyone notices the difference. I doubt Mayor Schmitt would catch on. After listening to this interview on NPR, I'm not sure he's ever heard of any religions other than Christianity. Certainly, he has never been touched by the noodly appendage. For my part:

I Want To Believe

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Iowa - Smells Like Edwards Country

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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I have always considered Iowa as being volatile when it comes to elections. When Dean charged through the state in 2004, Iowans turned to a war hero and picked John Kerry. I doubt they knew he would take abuse laying down.

So as we inch closer to the election we begin to see the volatility all over again. This time it is springing up in the InsiderAdvantage poll:

John Edwards has leapfrogged over his rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and leads the Democratic field in Iowa, according to the latest InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion poll. In the Republican caucus race, Mike Huckabee continues to hold a narrow lead over Mitt Romney.

The race among the three top Democrats is extremely close, with the potential for any of them to finish first – or third.

Edwards leads with 30 percent in a poll of Democratic voters who said they intend to participate in the Jan. 3 presidential caucuses, followed by Clinton with 26 percent and Obama with 24 percent. When the sample was narrowed to the most likely caucus-goers, based on several questions, Obama leads Edwards by less than a percentage point with 27 percent, with Clinton in third place at 24 percent.

I bet Huma is on bartender duty today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Rich on O'Donnell on Mormonism

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

I love the smell of a Lawrence O'Donnell meltdown in the morning. He goes off the rails better than any talking head in memory. Last Sunday may have been his best tirade ever; if for no other reason, the fact that he did not later retract it. If you're not a fan of The McLaughlin Group, you might have missed it.

I grew up on John McLaughlin and it's something of a tradition in my house. Every Sunday my husband and I drink our morning coffee to the mingled sounds Pat Buchanan's bloviating and my daughter's complaints of boredom. She sounds just like I did way back when my grandmother sat on her perch in front of the kitchen black and white. There are so few constants in the world of mass media. The McLaughlin Group is one to savor. At least once during every show, my husband or I will proclaim, on cue, "Wraaaahhhnng! I had oatmeal and banahnaaaaahs." It's kind of like "Hi Bob," only without the booze.

After last Sunday's McLaughlin offering, I searched the tv line-up for another airing. It was too good not to watch at least twice. YouTube to the rescue. (see above)

Here's what Frank Rich had to say, yesterday, about O'Donnell's anti-Mormon rant.

THIS campaign season has been in desperate need of its own reincarnation of Howard Beale from “Network”: a TV talking head who would get mad as hell and not take it anymore. Last weekend that prayer was answered when Lawrence O’Donnell, an excitable Democratic analyst, seized a YouTube moment while appearing on one of the Beltway’s more repellent Sunday bloviathons, “The McLaughlin Group.”

Pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America,” Mr. O’Donnell branded the speech “the worst” of his lifetime. Then he went on a rampage about Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion, shouting (among other things) that until 1978 it was “an officially racist faith.”

That claim just happens to be true. As the jaws of his scandalized co-stars dropped around him, Mr. O’Donnell then raised the rude question that almost no one in Washington asks aloud: Why didn’t Mr. Romney publicly renounce his church’s discriminatory practices before they were revoked? As the scion of one of America’s most prominent Mormon families, he might have made a difference. It’s not as if he was a toddler. By 1978 — the same year his contemporary, Bill Clinton, was elected governor in Arkansas — Mr. Romney had entered his 30s.

O'Donnell, for his part, followed his shocking television appearance with a more moderated, but still scathing write-up on Romney's Mormonism.

Romney felt politically forced to give the speech specifically because evangelical Christians seem to know a little too much about the faith of his fathers. Many evangelicals believe and have said publicly that Mormonism--contrary to Romney's assertions--is not a Christian religion but an abomination of Christianity. Here's a sampling of why: Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri; that Jews were the first people in America; that Indians descended from Jews and are a lost tribe of Israel; that Jesus came to America; that after the next coming of Christ (which will be the second or third, depending on how you count his trip to America), the world will be ruled for a thousand years from Jerusalem and Missouri; and to answer Mike Huckabee's now famous question, yes, they believe "Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, in the sense of both being spiritually begotten by the Father."

When Matt Lauer asked Romney the Huckabee question about Jesus and the devil being brothers, Romney refused to answer and handed the question off to the Church of Latter Day Saints. The Church issued a deceptively worded statement that most reporters incorrectly read as a denial of the brotherhood of Jesus and Satan. In fact, the Church could not and did not deny it. The Church did correctly point out that attackers (meaning critics) of Mormonism often use the brother bit. Critics also use the Church's 70 year delight in polygamy and sex with very young girls, which also happens to be true. Critics of Mormonism have plenty to work with without inventing anything.

The pundits had no idea how deliberately misleading Romney's speech was. They loved the bit about Romney's father marching with Martin Luther King. None of them knew that if at the end of the march with George Romney, Martin Luther King was so taken with Mormonism that he wanted to convert and become a Mormon priest, George Romney would have had to tell him that they don't allow black priests. George Romney might also have had to explain to the Reverend King that Mormons believe black people have black skin because they turned away from God.

I find it disturbing that this is a conversation we even need to have. I agree with Eleanor Clift that all religions have some kooky notions; especially before they've had millenium or two to mature. But Romney opened the door with his passionate defense of his religion. I would have a far higher comfort level with Romney's Mormonism if he had forcefully stood up for separation between church and state, in his speech. He failed to meet that bar, saying instead:

Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom ... Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

He put his religion in play. We all have a right to know exactly what he believes, as it seems he doesn't know how to separate those beliefs from his governance. Lawrence O'Donnell had the balls to call him on his duplicity. That's exactly the kind of righteous indignation we need.

Ron Paul, more of an anti-war leader than Pelosi!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Ron Paul is the new Six Million Dollar Man:

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, raised an astounding $6 million and change Sunday, his campaign said, almost certainly guaranteeing he'll outraise his rivals for the Republican nomination in the fourth quarter and likely will be able to fund a presence in many of the states that vote Feb. 5.

Paul's campaign spokesman late Sunday announced the campaign had eclipsed the $5.7 million that John Kerry raised the day after he locked up the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination – arguably the largest single-day fundraising haul in U.S. political history.

Paul's single driving position behind the fundraising, including the November 5th, $4.2 million haul is his stance on the Iraq war and his rallying against the Bush civil liberty destruction machine. His supporters see themselves as true patriots and many of them are. Paul has the highest number of active military as donors than any other candidate. Go figure. Should we be surprised others in the GOP are fed up with BushCo and the war?

For instance, he said 24,940 new donors contributed during the Dec. 16 haul.

It was timed for the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, a day meant to resonant with the Libertarian sensibilities of his supporters.

What is terminally sad is he is doing more to get us out of Iraq than Nancy Pelosi. The mind boggles.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Al Gore is the Kwisatz Haderach

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Frequent readers of TCD will know I have made a few references to Frank Herbert's Dune series - maybe some of the best science fiction ever written.

What I can't escape is the close allegories between Dune and the current political climate. It is fun to play at placing the characters around the story. Is Karl Rove part of the Spacing Guild or House Harkonnen - maybe a mentat? Rice has to be a Bene Gesserit. I shudder to think of the role of Barbara Bush in all of this.

Taking this game to the logical conclusion, Al Gore is the Madhi, the off-world prophet that will lead the Fremen and the world of Arrakis to a paradise of green and lush ecology. But there is a price and that price is a loss of spice that the Empire needs in great abundance to continue its reign of power.

That of course makes all of the Gore supporters, Fremen.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hey Mitt, thanks for the warning!!!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone... - Mitt Romney

Let me get this straight, cause you know, we Neo-Pagan Slacker Buddhists, are slow on the uptake sometimes. Our current President is supported by the most fervent religious group in America, the Fundamentalist Christians, and we have seen the GREATEST EROSION of civil liberties and freedoms since the founding of the nation. But somehow, we cannot have freedom unless we have religion? If we converted all those fundies to tree-hugging Wiccans, the nation would probably be better off. At least then we could say "good-bye" to the Fred Phelps of the world.

Ya know Mitt, there are first-world countries out there that have a LOT MORE freedom, than the citizens of the United States, who do not have forced or coerced religion or 24/7 Bible-thumping. How can that be? As one of the officials in the Church of England recently commented, many parts of England have gone completely Pagan. England seems to be free. Germany has a great number of Atheists and they too are on the freedom train.

The truth, Mitt, is this - religion doesn't have jack-shit to do with freedom, in fact, religion has been one of the leading cause of oppression in world history. Many of your positions are religiously based (on your narrow belief structure). You want to have legislative control of my wife's uterus - YOU want to tell her what she can and cannot do with you own reproductive organs. I really wish you would put my wife's vagina out of your mind. Please.

Then there is the issue of Gay marriage. You somehow believe two girls kissing is the end of Western Civilization. I would give anything to have a Lesbian couple move in next door instead of the toothless redneck that lives there now.

A special note to my toothless neighbor and his infant, Baby Toothless, please stay off my lawn and for crying out loud, stop coming over and asking to borrow stuff. NO, you cannot borrow my tools... or gasoline and for God's sake, I really don't even want to know what you were doing when you come over a asked to borrow some butter and rope!

Add Storm Bear as a MySpace friend!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Throw Out The Hyenas of the Ruling Class

Is there anyone out there who still harbors the delusion that George Bush or most of his administration possesses the slightest shred of human integrity or the tiniest morsel of respect for the truth, for law, for the people of this country or any other?

Sorry, the question was rhetorical and asked out of personal frustration with the evil festering stew of lies, theft, brutality and domestic and international piracy that this administration has created in the place of what was once the USA.

No, I'm not naive enough to believe that we were ever a perfect country, free of guilt from participation in many and various Machiavellian schemes and plots over the last two centuries, the influence of the power lusts of private wealth have always had far too much influence in our public affairs to allow us to avoid responsibility for the results of our contributions to the general level of human misery. We have committed serious crimes against people in places as varied as Vietnam and Chile, and as far apart in space and time as Nicaragua and Iran.

In the generally business driven efforts to support the interests of entities such as United Fruit, Chiquita Banana, Anaconda, various oil giants, mining companies, and financial institutions we have gone to bat for tin horn dictators in Iran, Cuba, Chile, Cambodia and in other places to numerous to name here. Even the Mafia found support in the efforts to prop up the fascist pig Batista against communist pig Castro.

Much of our record has not been pretty and, in general, has usually favored and supported wealth and property over humanity and justice.

Revelations last week of more administration lies in the widening "Waterboardgate" scandal came as no surprise to most people and, although many expressed shock and dismay in public, the expressions of astonishment seemed to be presented for dramatic effect rather than as spontaneous displays of true emotion. When it comes to the current administration I don't believe that there are many rose colored glasses left among the body politic, experience having taught us to assume the worst.

Even the families of the long suffering military who have borne the brunt of the aspirations to Empire of America's transparently criminal ruling class over the last seven years are now beginning to break ranks with the "commander" who has squandered the lives of their loved ones treated them with such contempt.

I suppose that what depresses me and, in truth, causes me the greatest fear is the fact that the oligarchic forces of fascistic wealth have effectively bought out the opposition which showed it's true face last month with the passage of the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act," one of the most frightening pieces of legislation since the "Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798."

This legislative abomination, added to the so called "Patriot Act," and last year's "Military Commissions Act" helped to spell the end of any pretense to adherence to constitutional principle and democratic rule in this country.

The forces which have so cynically manipulated public opinion to bring about the death of democracy have always been with us and have, at various times, risen and ebbed as evil tides, of "red scares," "commie menaces," of "outside agitators," and the currently in vogue "Islamofascism," a term popularized by some Goebbelian marketing wonk in the bowels of Dick Cheney's office and pressed forward by money driven waves of irrational fear, and the malignant energy of powerful and pathologically dishonest men.

With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, caused in large measure by the abdication of reason by rank and file Democrats, the racist and anti-democratic march to plutocracy, halted and long delayed since the thirties by the common blessings of FDR's "New Deal," was born again, hidden behind thinly disguised code words like "silent majority," "hard hats," or "family values."

The incubation of this poisonous philosophical monstrosity did not begin to reach it's full virulence until large measures of neo-conservative and rabid theocratic ingredients stirred into the mix at the millennium, at which point those who most despised the Constitution and the rule of law were then able, due to a perfect storm of world events, a combination of public dread and apathy, congressional and judicial meekness, and the complete corporate takeover of the fourth estate, to seize control of the very government they long held in such contempt and begin it's thorough looting, dismantlement and replacement with corporate rule.

Now we have a Department of Agriculture run by agribusiness, the Mine Safety and Health Administration run by corporate mining interests, a Department of Energy thoroughly in the control of multinational oil and gas and coal conglomerates, a health care system run by the insurance and drug industries and on and disgustingly on through every federal department and agency.

The takeover has been so complete and the parties involved so incredibly powerful that the Congress and the courts have, in large measure, knelt in fear and supplication before them as evidenced by the aforementioned "legislation" that would have been laughed out of the halls of congress four decades ago.

But as cowardly as the courts, the congress and the media have become, their cowardice is overshadowed by their addiction to the corporate feed bags of their campaign contributors and advertisers. The lure of hundreds of millions of dollars draws them to the putrid feast like hyenas to the sun ripened carcass of a wildebeest and in their lust to feed at the feet of the ruling class they have lost all sense of shame, all sense of the wretched aroma of their own corruption.

On the horizon looms an election, now entering it's second painful year, in which nearly two dozen of our most respected flimflams have pandered to the National Association of Manufacturers, the health lobby, the defense lobby, the insurance and energy lobbies along with anyone else who will pay them to turn a trick.

By the time the general election is held just under a year from now the various moneyed interests will have spent nearly a billion dollars to place their man or woman on the puppet throne of public policy and the big dance will go on, the music, the lyrics and the tempo unchanged no matter which "party" is elected to represent their masters in industry.

Looking for solutions? So am I. Finding any? I know of only one.

Write, call, speak out, raise bloody hell, make noise and lots of it. The people who rule will never willingly give up control, they will always strive for more, for absolute control, it is their nature as a class. They will never willingly remove the economic and political shackles they have devoted so much effort to place on the "lesser" classes, they will be satisfied with nothing but total slavery, the complete exploitation of the world's working people, it is the nature of their class. The people must seize power using many of the same methods employed in shedding the British yoke at the end of the eighteenth century.

In the short term, I will vote for any Democrat over any Republican, even if I have to hold my nose, and when we elect them we must hold their feet to the fire constantly, without letup, to insure a return to open and honest democratic government.

In the longer term we have to insist on the immediate passage of public campaign financing, we must place severe limits on the the ability of corporations to stand above the law and avoid responsibility for their crimes and get rid of the revolving door between elected office and the lobbying industry, and the corporate boardroom. We must enact extremely tough ethics rules for elected and appointed public officials and include within them mandatory jail time commensurate with the seriousness of the crime, in other words, treat violations of the public trust as the treasonous acts that they are.

Along the way we have to seriously revise or reverse much of the misguided and flat out dangerous legislation of this dark era of the neo conservative robber barons and build a new era of progressive populism in which the people truly rule, unencumbered by the tyranny of a cynical and self serving ruling class.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

Lying Down with Hyenas

What’s the worst thing Dick Cheney could say?

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Welcome to the first appearance of Dick Cheney in Town Called Dobson!

It has taken me FOREVER to draw Cheney's character. I had him as Darth Vader - that was too easy, not creative at all. Satan is nicer than Cheney so that didn't work out.

Borg? No.

Nixon's ghost? Too reaching.

How about REDACTED? Yeah, redacted it is!

There is something very symbolic about having Cheney's face redacted from the strip - it represents all the lies, secrets and abuses of power very well.

Say "hello" to Dick "Redacted" Cheney!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The True Statements of George W. Bush

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Any credibility left for Bush?

The intelligence community released the NIE on Iran to avoid the cherry picking that went on for the Iraq war. In other words, they didn't want anyone lying about it. A long sorry line of evidence exists showing BushCo has lied to the American people, our allies and the world constantly since he was appointed President. Just look at the whole debacle of the illegal wire-taps. At first, Bush claimed there were no wire-tapping going on, then we discovered an enormous amount of it. Then Bush claimed it was only for "terrorists" only later do we find the wire-tapping was for everyone - every man, woman and child. BushCo had initiated a huge vacuum cleaning operation to grab all digital communication traffic in the US. Remember when Bush claimed the wire-taps were in response to a "post 9-11 world?" Now it turns out the illegal wire-taps started BEFORE 9-11-2001.





Every word from the Bush Administration concerning wire-tapping has been a lie, including the explanations.

But illegal wire-tapping is not the only thing BushCo has lied about. The Bush lies include EVERYTHING dealing with Iraq. He lied about 9-11. He lied about the economy. He told whoppers about outed CIA agent Valarie Plame. Essentially he has lied about everything and I find it impossible to list it all. So I thought I would start with listing the things Bush has told the truth about. Here it is, in it's entirety...

1. "My name is George W. Bush."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

White House threatens budget veto

(Cross posted at Rants 'n Reviews)

White House threatens budget veto

"The White House on Saturday threatened to veto a massive spending bill being assembled by congressional Democrats, saying it's unacceptable to add billions of dollars to domestic programs."
But it's okay to add trillions (yes, trillions) of dollars to foreign programs. For a guy not into nation building, I guess one could say he's into nation destruction: Our own as well as Iraq's.

Merry Christmas!

Military Families Turn On Bush Republicans

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

"The man went into Iraq without justification, without a plan; he just decided to go in there and win, and he had no idea what was going to happen. There have been terrible deaths on our side, and it's even worse for the Iraqi population. It's another Vietnam."

-- Mary MacNeely, Mother of Air Force Reservist

Vietnam, which ruptured this country in incalculable ways. Among them, a right/left split that moved most military and military families to kneejerk Republican allegiance. Speaking as a member of one of those few left-leaning military families, let me say that I have seen this this coming; this Republican loss of its reliable military voter base.

Families with ties to the military, long a reliable source of support for wartime presidents, disapprove of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, with a majority concluding the invasion was not worth it, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
Candle with USA Flag Behind
The views of the military community, which includes active-duty service members, veterans and their family members, mirror those of the overall adult population, a sign that the strong military endorsement that the administration often pointed to has dwindled in the war's fifth year.

The Bush Administration's obsessive pursuit of "victory" in Iraq has not only managed to destroy its own support from military culture, but that of its party.

When military families were asked which party could be trusted to do a better job of handling issues related to them, respondents divided almost evenly: 39% said Democrats and 35% chose Republicans. The general population feels similarly: 39% for Democrats and 31% for Republicans.

And, I'm sure it doesn't help when chicken-hawks like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell belittle the sacrifice of our all-volunteer military.

Unfortunately, most of our friends on the other isle are having a hard time admitting things are getting better; some days I almost think the critics of this war don't want us to win. Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers.

How much is wrong with that statement? For one thing... Democrats live on a island? Shouldn't that be "other side of the aisle?" Perhaps it was a transcription error and I should point the finger at the Grayson County News-Gazette. Or perhaps McConnell really does strand the Democrats of his imagination at sea, with Gilligan and the Skipper, too. It would not surprise me. The man is apparently so out of touch with reality that he has no awareness that we are losing members from every branch of the military, not just the army (soldiers), and that many of those currently risking life and limb are not full-time military professionals, but reservists who are, on top of other indignities, losing the income of their regular salaries to collect, in many cases, significantly lower military wages.

Mitch McConnell, a shining example of Republican military advocacy; lionizing our "brave troops" one minute, and displaying his near total ignorance of the realities of military life the next.

"I don't see gains for the people of Iraq . . . and, oh, my God, so many wonderful young people, and these are the ones who felt they were really doing something, that's why they signed up. I pray to God that they did not die in vain, but I don't think our president is even sensitive at all to what it's like to have a child serving over there."

-- Sue Datta, Mother of Army Staff Sergeant

Being in an active duty military family creates a certain isolation and a sense of internal community. We are, in many ways, cut off from the sense of geographical community that many Americans define by. We move a lot, so it is the military bases, commissaries, and the surround of other military families that is the most reliable constant. The result is, among, other things a conformity of viewpoint within that community. Particularly because he is an officer, my husband has long dealt with the "presumption of Republicanism." You are assumed to be Republican and conservative unless you openly state otherwise. That's been the case throughout my husband's military career, but it may not be so for much longer.

From the beginning of this push to go into Iraq, there were rumblings. I was somewhat surprised to learn that I was not the only military spouse who was pissed as hell at the idea of my husband deploying for a war that made no fucking sense. One of my husband's Marines officially changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent the day he got his orders. And, when I went to protests in my largely military town, Marines were seen walking by giving the thumbs up to the protesters. This war has never been as popular with military culture as Bush's staged photo-ops, with their props in uniform, would have you think.

Five years later, what we are seeing is a sea change. Military families are becoming fed up with a President and a political party that does not serve their interests.

Asked about the Bush administration's handling of the needs of active-duty troops, military families and veterans, 57% of the general public disapprove. That number falls only slightly among military families -- 53% give a thumbs-down.

And most military families and others surveyed took no exception to retired officers publicly criticizing the Bush administration's execution of the war. More than half of the respondents in both groups -- 58% -- say such candor is appropriate. Families with someone who had served in the war are about equally supportive at 55%.

The Bush Administration will not be able to hide behind the military for much longer, and defend his misguided policies as supporting troops who want "to get the job done." Not when 60% of military families say "the Iraq war is not worth the cost," and 58% want the within a year.

"We support the troops; we don't support Bush. These boys have paid a terrible, terrible price."

-- Linda Ramirez, Mother of US Marine

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wichita Police Taser deaf man who could not hear verbal commands

Wichita NAACP Holding Wichita Police Department Accountable

WPD Officer uses a Taser gun on a deaf man who could not hear verbal commands

On November 20th, a man by the name of Donnell Williams, 39, was at home alone . Mr. Williams is hearing impaired, has a glass eye, and walks with a slight limp. He was taking a shower when 4 officers responding to a call of 'shots fired' knocked on his door. Mr. Williams did not (and could not) hear them and he continued to shower.

When he exited the shower, he walked into his living room, dressed only in a towel to find 4 Wichita Police Officers, one of which was carrying a bullet proof shield. Mr. Williams saw the officers gesturing to him, but could not hear what they were saying so he motioned towards his hearing aid which was sitting on his dining room table.

When Mr. Williams turned to get his hearing aid from the table, he was shot with a taser gun by one of the officers. (remember; he was wearing only a towel, and motioning towards his hearing aid which was sitting on the table) more HERE and HERE - Hearing Impaired Man Tased by Police more HERE

These types of activities are being tracked on the blog Tasered While Black

Romney’s Secret Weapon Against Huckabee

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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If somehow Mitt Romney can overcome Rudy's mistress/police scandal and Huckabee's religious fueled surge in the polls, he may have one thing that can help him in the general election - a lack of serious religious fundamentalism in his past.

Yeah, I know, he is not my candidate either and I abhor his policies. I know he wants to crawl up into my wife's uterus and legislate what she does with her ova and I understand he is a nutcase when it comes to foreign policy and economics. All of that aside, he doesn't hold a candle to Huckabee. Huckabee IS A ORDAINED SOUTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER!!! You can't get more cranky than that unless you are wearing a Klan hood.

Most of my issues surrounding Christianity stems from the Southern Baptists - they deny science, they generally believe the Bible is the literal word of God and are some of the most bigoted people I know. I actually know Southern Baptists who voted for Bush and STILL support him because he is God's instrument for bringing about the Rapture.

Understand I am also not a Mormon, but you must admit, they do not have THAT track record. They have had their own problems (Blacks being not fully human, etc.) but they have made great strides in correcting those problems. Kinda like when Bill Gates realized the Internet WAS going to be important after all and moved the whole of Microsoft in that direction overnight. The likes of Jim Jeffords I do not associate with the Latter Day Saints whatsoever.

To all of us secularists, Romney is much more digestible than Huckabee. He is not weighed down by that cross Huckabee drags around everywhere he goes.

As a meth addict once told me, "come down off that cross, someone else needs the wood."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Natalie Maines: Free the West Memphis Three

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

The most fascinating thing about Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines's newest cause is Fox News's spin on the story. Here's their lede:

The Dixie Chicks have a new controversy on their hands. Lead singer Natalie Maines is urging people to contribute money to a defense fund for three Arkansas men that she (and many others) believe were wrongly convicted of killing three children in 1993.

Oh that Natalie, with her outré political notions. She's so controversial. Is it time for another Dixie Chicks cd burning?

The only thing controversial about the cause Maines's has taken on is the prosecution that landed three innocent boys in jail thirteen years ago. And as the article goes on to point out, the conviction of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley has inspired outrage and activism all across America. It has been a cause célèbre for years.

Maines writes her plea on the Dixie Chicks Web site, which has already been answered by several celebrities including, I am told, Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Eddie Vedder, Jack Black and Henry Rollins.

Henry Rollins? You mean the former Black Flag front man who put out an album called Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three five years ago? That Henry Rollins?

The story of the West Memphis Three came into broad public awareness when HBO aired a documentary on the case; Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. Its film makers became interested in the sensational story of what was reported to be a Satanic ritual murder, carried out by 3 teenage boys. Instead their cameras exposed a town in the grip of "Satanic panic" and the prosecution/perseuction of three boys for wearing black, reading about Wicca, and listening to Metallica. Their follow up documentary Paradise Lost: Revelations focused largely on the burgeoning movement to "Free the West Memphis Three." Thirteen years after their conviction, they remain in prison; Damien Echols on death row. They were convicted with absolutely no physical evidence, and on the basis of hearsay, a prison informant of questionable character, and the coerced confession of the mentally retarded Jessie Misskelley. This, even though he recanted the same evening, his confession was riddled with inconsistencies, and he did not testify in court.

The end of this nightmare may now be in sight. New evidence and advances in DNA technology go a long way to clearing these three boys. Some months ago, it was reported that no DNA found at the murder scene belongs to Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, or Jessie Misskelley. There is DNA that does not exclude the step-father of one of the murdered children, Terry Hobbs, and an associate of his, however. While that evidence would probably not be enough to bring new charges, it most certainly makes the two far more credible as suspects than the three young men currently sitting in prison. More disturbing, Hobbs's ex-wife, Pamela, has come forward with more evidence implicating him. A knife belonging to her late son, and missing since the murders, was found amongst her ex-husband's effects.

What follows is video of the recent press conference of with the West Memphis Three defense attorneys and forensics experts. I watched both sequences last night, in their entirety. They are poorly shot and recorded, but I couldn't peel myself away.

All information in this diary comes from repeated viewing of "Paradise Lost," parts I&II, and from the website dedicated to release of the wrongly convicted Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Also of interest, read Natalie Maines's statement regarding her interest in the West Memphis Three here or here.

John McCain, Name That Tune!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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The only other "opps" that has been bigger than the recent NIE for Iran was going to war with Iraq for no damn reason. That was the Mack Daddy of "oppses."

On some fronts, (the fronts here in the US) the backpedaling and massaging of previous statements is in high gear. On other fronts, especially those of Conservative bent, have themselves gone ballistic. Morning Joe Scarborough and even one of the few remaining Nixon tools, Pat Buchanan, have actually stood up, donned their best Thomas Jefferson costume and called bullshit on the Bush Administration. Hell, now even Pat Buchanan is waving around the Downing Street Memo for crying out loud. PAT!

The alleged Liberal MSM has been going round the clock on this story with an eye-opener approach. Most shocking to me was Chris Matthews last night who damn near knocked the NeoCon poser silly.

When we as a nation screw-up our foreign policy so bad that is makes the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look like King of Morality, it shows our government is truly adrift.

I swear to God, if Joe starts using The Dixie Chicks as bumper music on his show, it could signal the death rattle of the Neo Conservative movement.

The real question is what will be the next song John McCain starts singing now that "Bomb Iran" is out of vogue? The Yellowcake of Texas?


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is Hillary Clinton digging her own grave or somebody else's?

(Cross posted at Rants 'n Reviews, my blog)

Hillary Clinton has taken off the gloves, calling Barack Obama naive, inexperienced, and striving for the Presidency since birth (her campaign sleuths have dug up a paper from Obama's long-ago past: An essay little Barack wrote in kindergarten entitled "I Want to Be President").

Silly former First Lady.

The question I have is how does Hillary say with a straight face that she's experienced? Number one, how is she materially more experienced than John Edwards or Barack Obama? She's been a Senator, what, 7 years? Obama 4? Big difference. Woopty-doo.

Name an accomplishment she's made while Senator from New York...any of her bills signed into law, any leadership positions of committees where something -- hell, anything -- substantial has arisen?

And what did she do in the White House? Stand by her man? Try to socialize health care and failing miserably so?

Let's get one thing straight: Intellectually, I am sure she's smarter than the average bear, even smarter than really smart bears. She can probably go toe-to-toe with her genius husband, Bill. I'd love to sit in on some of their conversations. I'd probably have to just sit there and act like I got it when I clearly didn't get it.

Her new strategy of attacking her opponents, coupled with her old strategy of fabricating her credentials, is going to backfire on her.

When is somebody going to ask her the simple question: What makes you more qualified than anybody else?

Additionally, she's going to have to choose -- most likely -- one of her opponents that she's beat up as her running mate if she wins the Dem's nomination.

Are we then to forget how stupid and inexperienced they are?

Will Clinton's Obama Attacks Backfire? - TIME
Hillary Attacks

Does Larry Craig have a problem with skin chafing?

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Seriously, with all the tail Larry Craig is getting, ya gotta wonder how he controls the chafing?

Tis the season for Gay revelations it seems. With the months being named by Wonkette, Cocktober eased into Blowvember (that sounded bad) and now we have kicked off Dickcember with the new Larry Craig Gay sex allegations.

From ABC News:

Craig's list of accusers is getting longer.

Two men, including a former male escort, have confirmed to ABC News the allegations that they've had sexual encounters with Idaho's embattled Sen. Larry Craig.

Mike Jones, 50, told ABC News that Craig paid him $200 for sex during the winter of 2004-2005.

A second man, a 50-year old former Army captain, also told ABC News that Craig made sexual advances toward him in the men's room of a Republican gathering in Washington state in 1981.

The men were two of eight new people who claimed encounters with Craig in an article published Sunday by the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

Eight more guys and one of them is a former officer in the US Army? Does Idaho have an out-of-control public bathhouse in Larry's basement?

Oh, and the Idaho Statesman has AUDIO TAPES!

With this trend in place, I can pretty much predict we will NEVER hear of Larry Craig having an illegitimate child... you need to have sex with a woman for one of those.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It is Happy Surge Day!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Every so often, as appropriate, we list the recent fallen American soldiers that have died in Bush's war. From the list, we can see the surge didn't work.

Sgt. 1st Class John J. Tobiason, 42, of Bloomington, Minn., died Nov. 28 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered from an incident that is currently under investigation. He was assigned to the 847th Adjutant General Battalion, 89th Regional Readiness Command, Wichita, Kan.

Cpl. Allen C. Roberts, 21, of Arcola, Ill., died Nov. 28 from a vehicle accident near Al Asad, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 214, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

Pvt. Isaac T. Cortes, 26, of Bronx, N.Y. died Nov. 27 in Amerli, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Spc. Benjamin J. Garrison, 25, of Houston, Texas. died Nov. 27 in Amerli, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Staff Sgt. Jonathon L. Martin, 33, of Bellevue, Ohio, died Nov. 22 in Regensburg, Germany, of wounds suffered on Nov. 9 in Jisr Naft, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Spc. Melvin L. Henley Jr., 26, of Jackson, Miss., died at Camp Striker in Baghdad on Nov. 21 of injuries suffered from non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Sgt. Alfred G. Paredez Jr., 32, of Las Vegas, Nev., died Nov. 20 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Marius L. Ferrero, 23, of Miami, Fla. died Nov. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during a mounted patrol in Baquabah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Cpl. Jason T. Lee, 26, of Fruitport, Mich. died Nov. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during a mounted patrol in Baquabah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson, 22, Rochester, Wash. died Nov. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during a mounted patrol in Baquabah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

An Interview With Talk Radio's Code Breaker Thom Hartmann

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as The Wild Wild Left, Independent Bloggers Alliance, the Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.

From 1968 to 2004, conservatives utilized the art of communication to persuade voters into supporting policies against the interests of peace and their personal prosperity. While liberals advocated obscure abstractions and responded with cerebral nuance, conservatives prevailed by hitting people in their gut. Law and order, welfare Cadillac Queens, Willie Horton, death tax, permissiveness, the flag and God were all exploited to define liberals as weak elitist traitors and conservatives as upstanding guardians of American values.

Even the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did little to prevent the center of political gravity from shifting to the right. Consequently, a corporate plutocracy plundered the American economy at the expense of working people and small business owners, our civil liberties were systematically eroded and the neo-conservative empire culture shamefully eroded America’s moral authority and geopolitical position.

This trend metastasized in 2004 as Republican propagandists profiled John Kerry, a candidate with three purple hearts into a modern day Benedict Arnold and a flip-flopper. Following that election, liberals began absorbing the work of intellectuals such as George Lakoff and Michael Tomasky to better “frame” issues. Progress was made as Democrats captured congress in 2006 and the Republican brand is currently sucking wind.

Yet, it is quite apparent that more work needs to be done to advance the liberal cause. The Democratic congress has struggled to stand up for civil liberties, oppose our disastrous policies in Iraq and even prevent the confirmation of a pro-torture attorney general. Hence, liberals like myself still have much to learn about how to persuade people why progressive policies merit broad support.

Thom Hartmann, the premiere voice for progressive talk radio, breaks down the art and science of communication with his new book, Cracking The Code: How To Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America’s Original Vision (Berrett-Kohler). Drawing on his extensive experience as a psychotherapist, advertising executive, and host of a national talk radio show, Hartmann shares the tools to become conscious about the ways people think, sort and understand the world. More importantly, Hartmann illustrates how to successfully communicate progressive values.

Hartmann’s daily progressive radio talk show, has been going strong for five years and replaced Al Franken on the Air America Radio Network. It is also distributed to radio stations nationwide on the Jones Satellite system, and boasts more live daily listeners than any other progressive talk radio show.

Hartmann agreed to a telephone interview with me about his latest book and the art of political communication. Our conversation is just over forty-four minutes. Please refer to the media player below. This interview can also be accessed for free via the Itunes Store by searching for “Intrepid Liberal Journal.”

This interview is Hartmann’s second appearance on Intrepid Liberal Journal podcasts. Last year he spoke to readers/listeners of the Intrepid Liberal Journal about his book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class.

Can Black Americans Trust Hillary? Or is she just sly as a fox?

Is Hillary Clinton getting shaky, on an issue important to black Americans. has she ever heard of the word - Justice? Is she getting as shaky as she was by supporting bush's war, and refusing to say i was wrong? Is she wrong again? Or is she a skillful politican looking beyond the primaries to the general election?

Are the Republican's ready with Willie Horton Ads against any democratic nominee who supports a federal recommendation for shorter sentences for some people caught and convicted with crack cocaine and a currently serving Federal prison time? Many feel the shorter sentences should be retroactive. Including many black leaders and afrospear members.

The question is, will the Republicans use scare tactics to make the democrats look like they want to provide an early release to over 20,000 people (mostly black and Latino) convicted on drug charges into black and brown communities across America? I think the Republicans would run anyone into the ground who supports that plan. Candidly I have some issues about the plan myself. It should be done on a case by case basis. Maybe get the black and Latino legal community, through their bar associations involved, or black police organizations involved in the review process. Speaking of running, I think the National Republican Party is run by some
Evil GOP Bastards who will now use his support of the program against him in the general election.

I think Hillary Clinton
may be on to something.I wonder if Obama advisors would have been wise to take the same temporary position. Is it not about winning the electon? The old, getting the foot in the white house door, then make policy decisions. Well that's my thoughts. Check out another report on what happened in Iowa below:

Check out what has happened in DES MOINES, Iowa — (Hat Tip Rikyrah at Jack and Jill Politics)

As reported by Politico The Democratic candidates for president were pressed from the left in two events in Iowa Saturday and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton emerged slightly, but noticeably, as the most conservative in the field.

On issues ranging from drug crimes to immigration to relations with Cuba, Clinton took heat from liberal audiences for refusing — on emotionally charged issues — to tell them what they wanted to hear.

Her stances could be read as a mark that she, like her husband, is the centrist of the race; or as an attempt to protect herself from Republican attacks in a general election.

One of the Democrats’ rare moments of policy disagreement came at the beginning of the Black and Brown forum Saturday night, the traditional venue for minority issues in Iowa where only 9 percent of citizens are members of minority groups.

Clinton, who said she supports a federal recommendation for shorter sentences for some people caught with crack cocaine, opposed making those shorter sentences retroactive — which could eventually result in the early release of 20,000 people convicted on drug charges.

“In principle I have problems with retroactivity," she said. "It’s something a lot of communities will be concerned about as well."

In an interview after the debate, Clinton’s pollster, Mark Penn, pointed out that the Republican front-runner has already signaled that he will attack Democrats on releasing people convicted of drug crimes -
More HERE.

AAPP: As I said, I think Hillary Clinton may be on to something.
Rikyrah and a few other commentators see it a little different at Jack and Jill Politics. Rikyrah feels Black Folk are being thrown under the bus. read her comments here.

What do you think?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Latasha Norman

Latasha Norman

AAPP says: I'm pissed! Everything has changed and nothing has changed in black and white communities across America. Black on Black violence is out of control, white media, like the black community consider black life, less important than white life. I must ask the same questions Gina at What about Our Daughters is asking, Why Aren't the Lives of Black Women Treasured? Like many black bloggers, including George Cook at the blog lets talk honestly and other black bloggers, excuse the language, but, - I'm tired of this shit y'all.

Have you been watching the news coverage? The fact of the matter is Latasha Normans disappearance was ignored due to her race Now a white Internet porn star Zoey Zane gets national media coverage over her death, yet the same black woman ignored by the media in her disappearance is ignored again after foul play,. Two people, dead, one black one white , one gets no national coverage. a black woman who was smart and hardworking. While Zoey Zane was leading a double life as a porn star and gets coverage on every national news broadcast. Yes, it's a sad commentary on our media.

Thank God for Afrospear/afrosphere bloggers like
Black and Missing But Not Forgotten, let's Talk Honestly, Three Brothers and a Sister, Living my Life in the Golden, the colored Section, Dallas South and of course What About out Daughters who have been covering the Latasha Norman disappearance and death while few national media outlets including NBC news have refused to even broadcast the loss in their morning news, while the Internet porn star Zoey Zane gets national media coverage over her death on the same NBC.

USA Today has reported on the loss. I'm not sure if they covered it before her untimely death.
The Washington Post has reported on her disappearance for a week, and reported on her death through a basic AP report. As I noted in a previous post, Why is it that when a white college student disappear the white media will go across the globe looking for her. When a black college student disappears. The white media shuts it down. Bridget Johnson at Pajama Media notes "For every Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson, Elizabeth Smart or Natalee Holloway, there are dozens more victims whose cases go ignored by the media." She goes on to ask" if some lives - those of the cute, white, female, wealthy and preferably blond - are worth more than others." More

OK, I'm not going on anymore, Black blogger
thepostgameshow in his Open Letter To My Fellow Brothers has it right when he wrote,

"Dear Bitter, Scorned, Rejected Black men of America, What the hell is wrong with y'all?

First Tynesha Stewart, then Nailah Franklin, now Latasha Norman. I don't get it. You fools DO know that there are 10 women to 1 man in the world nowadays, right? There's no excuse for you to kill these bright and beautiful sisters of ours who deserved much more than to be a missing person case with a sad ending. Yes it hurts and sucks to be turned away by women with so much going on that may not want you anymore. That's life. You move on and say "f*** it, her loss" and find another woman. This "if I can't have you, no one else will" garbage is reprehensible and causing an already ridiculous divide between black men and black women to grow deeper and wider. You know they come out with studies every so often to try and drive black women away from us. More HERE

this is a conversation that needs to be continued. are you a pissed off as I am? Or am I off base?