Saturday, January 5, 2008

PBS Gets Cozy With Mike Huckabee

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

Below is a transcript provided by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) of Judy Woodruff's interview with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Or you can listen to the audio by clicking here. This interview illustrates why bloggers like myself have utter contempt for the corporatist media. And yes that now apparently includes PBS which is supposed to be a cut above and serve only the public. In a disgraceful display of inept journalism, Woodruff asks one horse race question after the other.

This man may become the Republican nominee and perhaps our next president. I don't think he will but it's not impossible. So why not ask him questions of substance? They're plenty to chose from.

Why not ask Huckabee about the Bush Administration's policy of supporting Musharaf in Pakistan? Or how long the United States should maintain an occupying force in Iraq? Does Huckabee agree with his new best friend John McCain that it's acceptable if we remain in Iraq for another 100 years? For that matter, how the hell does Woodruff not ask Huckabee a single question about Iraq or Afghanistan where American forces are currently fighting, killing and being killed themselves? What does Huckabee intend to do about facilitating peace between the Israelis and Palestinians?

There are plenty of domestic policy questions to ask Huckabee as well. Such as why he doesn't believe in evolution and whether he supports science education. Also, given Huckabee's penchant for granting pardons as governor and his disillusionment with the justice system, does Huckabee intend to tackle the prison industrial complex should he become president? How much government intervention in economic policy does Huckabee support given his adversarial relationship with conservative stalwarts such as the Club For Growth, National Review and Rush Limbaugh? Since Huckabee has expressed sympathy for citizens earning $50,000 per year or less, would he support revoking the bankruptcy law passed by congress in 2005 and signed into law by President Bush?

These are just a few examples of questions Woodruff could've asked. Many of you reading this post no doubt have better questions. I would be just as angry if Woodruff asked fluffy questions of Democrats, including my preferred candidate John Edwards. Woodruff approached this interview as if she were questioning a football coach about how his season was going. For damn sure I know I could ask far better questions of a presidential candidate than this. So could many citizens. Anyway, read the transcript below and judge for yourselves. If you share my disenchantment with this interview, let PBS know by clicking here. It's only the presidency at stake.


JIM LEHRER: Judy Woodruff was on the flight with Huckabee to New Hampshire this morning and spoke with him again early this afternoon.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Governor Huckabee, congratulations.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), Presidential Candidate: Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The first question, is you had a lot less money.


JUDY WOODRUFF: You had a much smaller organization.


JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you think you did it in Iowa?

MIKE HUCKABEE: I think we did it because we had a message that people resonated with.

And they wanted to believe that there was still a place in American politics for a person who didn't come at them with a lot of money and razzle and dazzle, but came at them with an authenticity that they felt like was about them, not about the campaign, but about the people, who are supposed to be the very recipients of all this message we create.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think that what happened in Iowa translates to the state of New Hampshire, where we are right now, a very different state...


JUDY WOODRUFF: ... everybody has started to point out?

MIKE HUCKABEE: Americans different in some maybe thoughts or emphasis still have the same ideas. They want a government that lets them be free, that leaves them alone, that doesn't interrupt and interfere with every aspect of their life, that lets them go to work and keep more of what they've worked hard to have.

Those are principles that I think are valid anywhere. Now, there may not be as much focus, for example, in New Hampshire on the sanctity of life or maybe even traditional marriage, as you would see in Iowa. But on issues like lower taxes, less government, and then a more efficient government, that'll be a focus here in New Hampshire that I think is universal anywhere.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Why do you think there's less focus on those issues here?

MIKE HUCKABEE: It's probably just because of the demographics of the state.

There are a lot of conservative people on social issues -- values voters I think is now the vogue term -- a lot of them here in New Hampshire. But this state has a long history, dating all the way back to the fact that it was the state that declared independence six months before the rest of the country did.

It's an independent state. Their motto, live free or die, and they mean it up here.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, you're coming in here competing in a place where the polls are already showing Governor Romney and Senator McCain neck and neck. You're way back. Are you going to compete all the way here?

MIKE HUCKABEE: We'll compete. Whether or not we can win New Hampshire, that's never been something that we said we had to do. We knew that we needed to do well in Iowa. We didn't think we had to win there to stay on our feet.

But we're running first place in South Carolina, first place in Florida and in Texas and a lot of other states. And, so, what we want to do is to still be one of those people that are competing in these early states, and then start winning in places like South Carolina and Florida.


MIKE HUCKABEE: In essence, we ended up doing better than we thought in Iowa, better than we should have done, by anybody's conventional standards of how politics is supposed to play. We might even surprise some people in New Hampshire.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Governor Romney, among other things, this morning, he complimented you on your win, but he went on to say that you were helped, in his words -- and he used the word unusual several times -- unusual strengths. And he mentioned the fact you're a pastor.

Your base, something like 80 percent, or maybe even more, of the vote that you received in Iowa was from Christian conservatives. And they are saying you don't have that situation in New Hampshire. You don't have it in a lot of other states.

MIKE HUCKABEE: You know, there's this sort of myth that Christian conservatives only care about God and gays. Well, you know what? Christian conservatives care about their families eating. They're concerned about energy independence. They're concerned about functional government.

And so the fact that they're Christians, there may be a lot of them in Iowa, doesn't mean they're not also fiscal conservatives, doesn't mean they also want a strong national defense and they want a strong position on terror. Those are issues that are also important to them.

So, I think it's the same mind-set that said all along when you say, the commentators say that this is why it was, these are the same commentators that said, if I didn't have $100 million by the end of the year, I wouldn't make it. Well, I made it, so they were wrong. And I'm still here.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Governor Romney also ran some pretty tough ads.


JUDY WOODRUFF: He might say they're not so tough. He would say just that he's pointing out the facts...


JUDY WOODRUFF: ... about your record, being lenient with illegal immigrants in the state of Arkansas.

Do you expect that kind of a campaign here over the next few days? And, if so, are you going to run ads that are critical? You ended up pulling one back in Iowa.


You know, I felt that the positive approach worked better for us there. And people appreciated it. His ads hurt us, there's no doubt about it, because he attacked me. He ran over 14,000 ads in Iowa -- that's a lot of ads -- many of them targeted toward me.

In addition, Washington special interest groups, like Club For Growth, hammered me with over half-a-million dollars of negative, nasty television ads.

But I think, at the end of the day, a lot of people in Iowa just said, you know, this political dumpster-diving has got to stop. It demeans all of us and the system. And no matter what they said, people just got to the point they said, I'm not believing this stuff.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And does that mean you're not going to be criticizing him? I mean, what exactly does that mean in this campaign?

MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, I certainly reserve the right to defend my record. I reserve the right to point out where he's been completely inaccurate when he's portrayed things on my record, which he has on many occasions.

Senator McCain's doing a pretty good job of taking him on here in New Hampshire, because he did the same thing to Senator McCain here that he tried to do to me in Iowa, and that's just act like, "Well, we're both good men, but" -- and then relentlessly hammer away and make up things about our records, which I found very offensive.

It's one thing to say something about my record that I have to say, hmm, boy, he got me on that one. I really did it.

But when he said things like that I had cut the sentences for methamphetamine dealers, when, in fact, I had doubled the sentences, and they were four times harsher than his in Massachusetts, meth labs went down 48 percent in my state during the time I was governor, when he said that I increased spending, and The New York Times called him out on that, and pointed out that his figures were totally made up, and that, in fact, my expenditure increases during the 10-and-a-half-year tenure was pretty much in line with what he had done in his four years in Massachusetts.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned John McCain. The two of you are saying pretty nice things about each other. Some people are wondering if you have reached some kind of a pact, where you're not going to -- where you're basically going to let each other alone.

MIKE HUCKABEE: It's not about a pact. I think it's about the fact that both of us believe that the discourse of politics ought to be more civil.

We both believe that we have unique positions that we ought to stand for. We're not so weak in our own positions that we have to attack somebody else as to kind of do the political sleight of hand, so, watch this hand, so you don't see what I'm doing with this one.

I think both of us have records that we can proudly stand on and defend. So, I don't have to attack John McCain. John McCain doesn't have to attack me.

Besides that, I do -- I like the guy. I think he's an honorable guy, and I've said that publicly. I've said it in debates. I will say it to you. I will say it to anybody.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you going so far as to say as you would cede New Hampshire to him, that you wouldn't compete as much here?

MIKE HUCKABEE: Oh, I don't know about ceding anything. I think he's in a very strong position. He's a well-known commodity here. I'm not that well-known here.

He's spent a lot of time, has deep relationships here. He'd be the favorite to win it. But five days is a long time in New Hampshire. I'm not giving up yet.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, the turnout in Iowa last night, big turnout -- bigger turnout on the Republican side...


JUDY WOODRUFF: ... much bigger on the Democratic side. In fact, the turnout in the Democratic, almost twice what it was among Republicans, even though the voter registration is about even.

Does that say something nationally that should be a cause for concern for Republicans?

MIKE HUCKABEE: Not yet. No, I don't think so.

We had a much bigger turnout than was predicted. Some people thought that the turnout would be as low as 80,000. It was clearly over that. We saw that. We went to Waterloo, almost couldn't get in, got stuck in traffic, didn't think I'd get in or get out and get back to Des Moines.

In fact, when I got back to Des Moines, I landed, my BlackBerry was lighting up like crazy when we got to turn it on. Turned out, while we were gone, flying around, trying to get back there, I'd won the doggone Iowa caucuses.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Governor Huckabee, thank you very much, and congratulations, again.

MIKE HUCKABEE: Thank you, Judy.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Will black voters switch their allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, now that he has won Iowa?

Hillary and Bill Clinton have used black voters.

Yes you heard me! Hillary and Bill Clinton have used Black Voters Long Enough!

I'm no Fox News Fan or a huge fan of Juan Williams for that matter, but Juan Williams gets it right many times, and is right when he said, Blacks Support Clinton Because Of “Patronage Politics.”

Unfortunately, Ellen at News Hounds just does not get it. As she reported on the blog News Hounds, During special coverage of the Iowa caucuses on FOX News last night (1/3/08), African American Juan Williams, a FOX News contributor, spoke stirringly about what a historic night it had been for America that a predominantly white state had selected a black man as its leading candidate for a presidential nomination.

Ellen goes on to report that a few moments later, "he (Juan Williams) smeared his own race with the dubious claim that the reason blacks love the Clintons is because of “patronage politics” that delivered money and other favors for their community."

Ellen, I say, "wake up and smell the bacon, the Clintons have been doing exactly that for years. mainly for alleged "black leaders" for many special pork barrel projects that never impacted in a positive way in African American communities."

Will blacks switch their allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama , now that he has won Iowa? I'm in agreement with Juan Williams when he responded, “It’s gotta introduce the idea that people saying, ‘Wait a minute. I can be a part of history, something very special going on here' and it introduces also identity politics to a new level, that you just take pride in the accomplishments of this incredible young man. But on the other hand, the reason that the numbers were reflective of a Clinton win so far among African Americans, is because Bill Clinton had practiced what I would call ‘patronage politics’ for so long. People had gotten money, they’d gotten paid, they knew exactly that they could rely on Clinton as a pipeline for support in the black community, in the black churches, all the way down to the community centers. They knew how that worked. They don’t know Barack Obama. They don’t know that they can trust him to deliver. They don’t know if he’s got to make a show of favoring whites or suburbanites in order to prove his bona fides with that part of the electorate."

Ellen writes that Williams’ comments were nasty and cynical assessment of Clinton’s popularity with blacks. WTF!

Check this out, she even goes into Williams did not take into account many other factors, such as his (Bill Clinton's) personal knack for relating to African Americans. Double WTF! And get this, she says that he relates so much to black people that Toni Morrison was moved to call him the “first black president.”

AAPP: Wholly Sh**! Not the First Black President Bull sh** again.

Here is the real facts, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have been willing to throw black poor under the train with a Welfare Reform program that did not work, NAFTA that took millions of jobs from blacks and placed into the hands of China, Japan, Vietnam and other countries, while throwing Sistah Souljah under the bus as part of the process.

So, Ms. Ellen, your post was well intended, but your facts were wrong. The fact of the matter is Bill and Hillary Clinton may really like black people, (I have my doubts) yet, they more importantly want to get elected and they know the importance of the black vote in order to get elected, and they are willing to use a new Southern Strategy to make it happen. Now the big question is... Will Blacks switch their allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, now that he has won in Iowa? Or Could Black Voters Trip Up Obama?

The Daily Pulse

Second day back, and I'm remembering why I took a year off. But hey, it's primary season, it's getting real again, let's see what is in the air.

The Daily Pulse is a regular survey of editorial content around the country and around the world. Methodology- I pick a group of editorial pages, for example American papers A-G (like today), H-M, etc., or Asian papers, or European, or Middle Eastern, or college, etc., then randomly it editorial pages within that group. Without any additional selection process, I take any editorial with political content of national interest, make a comment or two, boil it down for fair use, and voila!, The Daily Pulse.

Also, if anybody is interested in helping let me know.

Note- You won't find a lot here about last night's caucus. Editorial pages tend to run a day behind the news pages. Look this weekend for a round-up of caucus content.

The Gainesville Sun

Down in Gainesville most of the news is still mourning for the Gator's loss to Michigan and wondering whether the defense will look any better in '08. Fortunately, the editorial page seems to have recovered and is starting to look at a few other issues. Voter ID laws exist to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. Find me a similar law passed in a State run by Democrats and I will rethink it. Until then, that will be my operating assumption.

A bad voter ID law

Election fraud is bad, but the disenfranchisement of citizens is worse. That is the essence of a federal judge's 27-page order Dec. 18 to suspend a Florida voter registration law. The statute denies voter registration to applicants whose names or identification numbers do not match official records.

Continue to 2nd paragraph The problem is the law does not allow for the likelihood of common administrative errors, such as misspelled names, transposed numbers and other data entry mistakes.

Florida's secretary of state, Kurt Browning, has filed an appeal, but we think Judge Stephan Mickle is right.


Verification issues remain unsettled in the courts. But the Legislature would be wise to repair the Florida statute to make it both fair and effective.

Tuscon Citizen

In Arizona, Governor Napolitano (GREAT! VP candidate, by the way) is asking for domestic partner benefits. What a wild thought- treating people like equals. Whodathunkit?

Expansion of benefits would make UA more competitive

Arizona is considering a proposal by the administration of Gov. Janet Napolitano to extend domestic partner benefits to state government employees and retirees.

We favor the expansion, and not just because it's the right and fair thing to do, although it is.

Extending benefits is a sound business decision that will make the state's universities more competitive in their attempts to attract and retain top-flight academicians.


We would rather that government not "encourage," "discourage" or in any way "define" marriage or any other social institution. Social engineering isn't the province of government. Stay out.


Asheville Citizen Times

Our primary/caucus system is utterly inane. That was driven home to me last night watching Obama give a speech trumpeting that "America" has made a new decision. "America"? 200,000 of the whitest people in one of the smallest whitest States is not "America." Yet by the time much of America gets to vote, it will be all over. That, whoever you may prefer, is utterly absurd.

Time to level the playing field on these primaries

In the wake of all the attention focused on about 200,000 Iowa voters’ choices Thursday for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, it’s worth pondering whether North Carolinians are being shortchanged.

Our voters won’t have an opportunity to make their preferences known until May 6. By then, it’s a very good bet the nominees will be all but anointed, though that won’t happen formally until the party conventions in August for the Democrats and September for the Republicans.


How did two states with small, unrepresentative populations end up with so much clout?


In 1920, New Hampshire began its still unbroken tradition of holding the nation’s first primary — a tradition that required some jockeying this year. For 30 years, New Hampshire almost always elected slates of unpledged delegates. It was not until 1952 that it played a major role in the parties’ nominations. ...

It’s time for another commission, like the one chaired by McGovern, to create a fairer and more representative system of rotating primaries so that diverse groups and states have an opportunity to be heard early in the process.

The Dalles Chronicle

Apparently, North Carolina is not the only State noting the absurdity of the Iowa caucuses. Here is another editorial headlined, simply, "Iowa, Schmiowa."

Iowa, Schmiowa


OK, Iowans are nice, if a bit stubborn sometimes. Why do they exert such an influence in presidential elections?

Here are some reasons why they shouldn’t have that kind of political muscle.

1. Iowa isn’t representative of the nation.


2. Candidates devote a disproportionate amount of time catering to Iowa concerns.


3. It isn’t a perfect indicator. Candidates who win Iowa caucuses don’t always win their party’s nomination.


4. Sometimes a win in Iowa isn’t even considered a win in Iowa.


But there are some strong pluses for the Iowa caucuses as well.
It can anoint an unknown and give them vital momentum.


Montgomery Advertiser

And finally, a wing-nut LTE, just because it is at the same time so wonderfully entertaining yet terrifying. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how some minds work. Do with it what you will.

Executions not inconsistent with respect for life


Two men are sailing uncharted waters. As they approach an unknown island, they can make out the silhouette of a gallows against the sky.

One says, "Well, we don't know anything about the people who inhabit this island except it is obvious that they respect life."

How do we balance a murder, the ending of someone's life? With imprisonment? I don't think so. Any culture which respects life must kill those who do not. It is only fair, and a necessity.

Well, you say, what about errors and injustice in the system? Yes, but would you abolish appendectomies because of their 5 percent fatality rate?

Religious Right: Jesus has abandoned us!

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

click to enlarge

Yesterday I made some bold predictions. Let's see how I measured up...

Prediction: Hillary - losses big.
Reality: Right on target.

Prediction: Obama - Finally learns that having a FIRM STANCE on issues is really audacious.
Reality: I thought he would come in second, beating Hillary, but he did much better once he went FIRM STANCE in the month before the election.

Prediction: Edwards - wins by a small margin and that changes the face of the campaign for New Hampshire.
Reality: Beat Hillary by a small margin, but the message of change is the meme now for all candidates.

Prediction: Thompson - who?
Reality: Fourth place, I was frankly surprised.

Prediction: Romney - does well and find himself with an unlikely competitor.
Reality: Romney can't buy his way out of a paper bag. He may actually be slugging it out in New Hampshire as Ron Paul's populism eats more of his expensive lunch.

Prediction: Ron Paul - finally shocks the shit out of Sean Hannity with a good solid turnout, competing now with Romney.
Reality: Paul didn't do as well as I expected, but Romney would have loved to have had his votes.

Prediction: Rudy - gets issued a one-way train ticket back to New York.
Reality: Right on target.

Prediction: Huckabee - warmly embraced by every crazy, screaming Christian Fascist in Iowa - all of them swinging plastic baby fetuses nailed to a cross.
Reality: Right on target.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Daily Pulse- Iowa Edition

Some of you might remember The Daily Pulse. I used to do it, well, daily. I've been on hiatus since the '06 elections, but I think it is time to dust it off and see what "the people" are thinking. The methodology is pretty simple- I select my target of editorial pages, a state, a region, an international region, or even certain types of papers (college, GLBT, religious, etc.), then take the first few editorials of a political ilk with national interest. I cut them down to fair use, throw in some comments, and there you have it, The Daily Pulse.

What did I learn from today's Pulse? Dodd might have more support out there than we suspect, a lot of people LOVE Obama for his rhetoric and bipartisanship (reasons, as I opine below, that are poor bases to elect a President today), and Iowa takes this stuff pretty seriously. Also, we are being sprayed with poison chemtrails by the same traitors covering up government involvement in 9/11.

Tell me if you like it, or think it useful.

Cross posted at The Daily Pulse, Daily Kos, and Independent Bloggers' Alliance.

Quad City Times

Barack talks to the paper, and has some pretty good things to say. His "first five phone calls" is interesting, and nothing with which I could argue. I personally have some serious doubts that the world will look at America differently the day he is elected, at least in any way monumentally different than the election of ANY of the Democratic candidates.

Sen. Barack Obama: More than hope

(part of a series. See also Sen. Hillary Clinton: Ready for work, Chris Dodd: A legislative technician who aspires to lead, and Bill Richardson can't wait to be president, and more.)

It’s good to be Barack Obama.


Obama believes America — and the world — is ready for him.

“I think the day I’m inaugurated the world looks at America differently, and I can speak to the world with an authority and a voice that is unmatched by the other candidates, partly because of biography and experience and the fact I have ties to countries beyond our shores.”


Methods, not details, elevate his own health care plan over rivals’, Obama said.

Obama vows a painstakingly open process with hearings and forums. “This will all be on C-SPAN. Nobody may watch it, it may not get high ratings, but it will be an open, transparent process.”


The leading candidate who most ardently opposed war in Iraq believes a slow — he says “measured” — withdrawal is best, by 2010 at the earliest.


Community editorial board member John Wetzel asked Obama the first two work-related calls he would make after winning the presidency. Obama didn’t stop at two.

“The first is to Joint Chiefs of Staff to call them in to provide them a new mission, which is the phased withdrawal (from Iraq) that I discussed.

“The second call is to my ... attorney general nominee to review every executive order that has been issued ...”

“Third call is to my secretary of health and human services to get that roundtable discussion to get health care going.

“Fourth call is to my secretary of energy to get moving on a cap and trade system to deal with greenhouse gases ...”

“The fifth call is to my secretary of state to ... convene a meeting with Muslim leaders in a Muslim country that I will attend and in which I will speak directly with the Muslim world to how they need to align themselves with the West against terrorism and we, in turn, need to shift our rhetoric so we’re not creating a clash of civilizations.

“... And then I’ll call my wife and find out what we’re doing for dinner.”

Here is a Letter to the Editor from the same paper, extolling the virtues of Edwards:

Edwards will fight for women's rights

Every woman in this country has the right to feel safe — at work or at home. ...

John Edwards has shown true leadership on this issue. He has offered his full support to funding the Violence Against Women Act so that every woman has a resource to turn to in a time of need.


The Des Moines Register endorses McCain and Clinton, but you already knew that:

The Des Moines Register's editorial board has endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

The Register, Iowa's statewide newspaper, calls McCain and Clinton the candidates it believes are most competent and ready to lead. ...

"The times call for competence. Americans want their government to work again.

The times call for readiness to lead. Americans want their country to do great things again. They'll regain trust in their government when they see a president make that happen."

In endorsing McCain, who was tied for fifth in the Register's November Iowa Poll of likely caucus-goers, the newspaper's editorial board wrote:

"Time after time, McCain has stuck to his beliefs in the face of opposition from other elected leaders and the public. He has criticized crop and ethanol subsidies during two presidential campaigns in Iowa. He bucked his party and president by opposing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. A year ago, in the face of growing criticism, he staunchly supported President Bush’s decision to increase troop strength in Iraq.


The Register's endorsement of Clinton comes at a time when polls show she has slipped behind Sen. Barack Obama in Iowa.

"Readiness to lead sets her apart from a constellation of possible stars in her party, particularly Barack Obama, who also demonstrates the potential to be a fine president," the newspaper’s endorsement editorial concludes. "When Obama speaks before a crowd, he can be more inspirational than Clinton. Yet, with his relative inexperience, it's hard to feel as confident he could accomplish the daunting agenda that lies ahead."


Here is a Letter to the Editor from a serviceman cut by "don't ask, don't tell," and I don't think he's a Hillary fan:

As a 16-year Army veteran who is currently barred from serving in the military because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I've been keenly interested in the various candidates' positions on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. ...

A studious reading of her purposefully worded response shows us she intends to do just the opposite. Notice that her response focuses on two major issues: the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the behavior of the individual servicemember. ...

Is there hidden support for Dodd? This Letter to the Editor shows at least one ardent supporter:

Thank you, Chris Dodd, for standing up and defending the Constitution and the rule of law when the Senate was debating the FISA bill and was set to pass it with a provision that would have granted retroactive immunity to the giant telecommunication companies for illegally handing the telephone files of American citizens over to the government for the last six years. ...

Dodd canceled all his campaign events so that he could be on the floor of the Senate. To me, the leadership, integrity and convictions of Dodd showed loud and clear. We need this man to be our next president.

How about a few LTEs from the Souix City Journal? I like LTEs. They tell us what the people are thinking, not just the pundits.

Get behind a winner - John Edwards

A John Edwards fan likes his humble beginnings and the fact that he is not a career politician. I'm not so sure. Yes, we all think "career politician" is an epithet, but why not hire a professional to do one of the most important jobs in the world?

Four more years of Republican disasters may forever cripple our nation. ...

Democrats need to pick a winner -- a candidate who hasn't spent decades in Washington. Someone who is not owned by huge corporations and their paid lobbyists; who has not accepted PAC money from those same few rich. We need a candidate who can campaign in every region of the U.S. to help in state elections. Congress is stalemated. A Democratic president will need a true working majority, especially in the Senate, to enact reform.


John Edwards.

Why? From a working class, mill worker family, he rose through his own intelligence and hard work. As a lawyer, he fought to protect average people from injustice. He's got ideas and ideals to solve the dilemma of two Americas: the huge split between the very rich few and the increasingly debt-ridden many.


John McCain - Honesty and Integrity

The title might have pretended to make sense eight years ago, but the day McCain hugged the man behind the "illegitimate black baby" slander he lost any credibility.

Iowans have an opportunity/responsibility to hand the country and the world our educated decision on who best defines honesty and integrity. It’s clear where our own legendary Col Bud Day stands. He spent more than five years in a POW camp with fellow-pilot John McCain and proudly says, “Without reservation, I know Johnny is the best candidate and most prepared to be our next president and commander in chief.”


Mike Huckabee - 'A True Statesman'

This is the only title in quotes. Do you think the editor is having a little fun with this little bit of absurdity? No, Huckabee doesn't make his decisions "based on the political whims." Instead, he bases them on a 2,000 year old fairy tale. That, and whatever will line his pockets.


Any Republican candidate would make a good president. One candidate stands out as a true statesman who does not make his decisions based on the political whims, but on the deep personal convictions that every person has been created equal. The government's role should not be to pick winners and losers, but rather create an environment that all Americans can succeed and live the American dream that he has been fortunate to live himself.

Than man is Gov. Mike Huckabee, and I am proud to support his candidacy for president. Governor Huckabee is a humble person that has won the respect of liberals, moderates and conservatives while not compromising his conservative values that life begins at conception and marriage is between a man and woman. The tax code shouldn't be tinkered with, but abolished and replaced with the Fair Tax. ...

Ron Paul: 'He's right for the country'

Hey, more quotes. Okay, this is a perfect example of the utter insanity, and inanity, that is the Ron Paul phenomenon. Really. Read this one. "Ron Paul" sounds a lot like "John Paul," so does that mean he was sent by God?


Also, it's ironic and thought-provoking that there is Ron Paul and John Paul, the late pope. Two great men, perhaps? There's the leadership ability factor, both as lovers and defenders of human life, from the moment of conception. They fearlessly speak the truth. Humble men and lovers of their homeland who use power to serve God and man.

Do you suppose there's an ethereal nudge or tip about this particular presidential candidate?


The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier has at least one columnist quite enamored of Obama. I hate his questions, because I think picking a President based upon what mythical beings from fairy tales past might do is beyond absurd, and reaching into evil, based upon how other fantasy answers to the WWJD question have worked out. Also, it seems the questions are not honest, but formed to force the conclusion. But hey, that's just one guy's opinion.

3 questions for Iowans caucusing


As we gather and choose, we would do well to ask ourselves three questions: (1) Who is viscerally hated nationally and therefore likely to continue our country's corrosive polarization? (2) For whom would Jesus (or Buddha, or Mohammed) caucus? And (3) Who is most likely to lead us out of our current international quagmires?


(1) Visceral hatred seems to swirl around some leaders more than others.


As goes Bill, so goes Hillary, or Billary as pundits now call him/her. If she manages to gather enough support and overcome that corrosive hatred enough to get elected, she will polarize the country for years.

(2) Which candidate is the most spiritual?


Democrats have to beat the Bible because their candidates fear losing the right-wing religious vote. They're not as obvious about it as Huckabee and Romney, but I don't buy any of them as genuine spiritual leaders. They wear piety like a costume, and Jesus would drive them out of the temple.

(3) Which candidate seems likely to lead us out of our current wilderness? Most candidates offer more of the same: White guys insisting they know what's best for the rest of us. Hillary at least offers women a chance to elect a female president. And Obama offers America and the world a chance at actually recognizing our diversity.


So I'll be pulling for Obama (from out of state, unfortunately) next Thursday. He's the least viscerally hated of the leading Democrats and most likely to accomplish positive changes worldwide. Besides, he opposed that damnable Iraq war before anyone else, and many Republicans admit they could vote for him.

That means he could actually become not only our first black president, but this century's first good president.

Here is an interesting anti-Huckabee column from the paper's Republican columnist. Toward the end (click the link to read the whole thing) he theorizes the Huckabee phenomenon is part of a liberal media conspiracy to prop up the weakest Republican. If only it were true. Imagine running against Tommy Thompson.

Huckabee fails test to be next leader:

Given the poor record of our current government, I believe I could support almost any of the Republican candidates who are currently running on the grounds that they would be an improvement over what we currently have --- except one. I cannot support Mike Huckabee in the primary season.


If you are in a room and hear a person say "yes," and you read in the paper the next day that the person said "no," then you know that the paper's writer is either uninformed and sloppy, or is a purposeful liar.

Unfortunately, I have had a similar experience with Huckabee.


Huckabee said last Sunday on the CBS's "Face the Nation" that he was running to be president of the entire United States, not just the Christian community.


Is this why his ads in Iowa emphasized that Huckabee was the "Christian" leader, especially when the candidate ahead in the polls at the time was what? Not a Christian?


There is another problem.

The media has been generally silent about Huckabee's background and stands on issues when he was governor of the great state of Arkansas.


I have personal experience with both bigotry and propaganda. Huckabee doesn't pass the test.

Iowa City Press Citizen

Another Dodd supporter writes a letter. Hey, maybe he has more support out there than we think. Remember, letter-writers are the type of people that show up at caucuses:

Look beyond speeches to Dodd's substance


And then there's the criminally ignored Sen. Chris Dodd, who I'm caucusing for because he's clearly the most experienced, charming and electable candidate in the field. ...

The "Children's Senator," Dodd wrote the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is generally seen as one of Bill Clinton's signature accomplishments. Whatever the issue, has produced tangible, meaningful results that even the most disingenuous Republican can't deny. And so on Thursday night, while Iowans debate which Democrat gives the best speech, we should remember that the Democrat who gives us the best chance to win next November may well be right under our noses.

How about a few LTEs from The Hawkeye?

Good judgment

The central meme around Obama seems to be that he is the most likely to create successful bipartisanship. I genuinely do not understand that. He has no Washington experience, no chits to cash with members across the aisle, no relationships to fall back upon, just rhetoric. I wish somebody would tell exactly HOW Barack Obama will lead us back to bipartisanship, which Republicans in their leadership have indicated any willingness to participate in such an exercise, and why Democrats should welcome compromise when we are finally on the cusp of victory.

Our Congressman, Dave Loebsack, has endorsed Barack Obama for president. I imagine the courage it took him to do so. He has risked the ire of the Clinton money and influence machine. ...

Unlike Sens. Clinton and Edwards, Barack Obama and Sen. Tom Harkin had the judgment and wisdom to oppose the rush to war based on lies. Experts now estimate the cost of the Iraq war, including treatment for the injured, will exceed 1.5 trillion dollars and the loss of more than 4,000 brave American military personnel.


Our country must stop the dislike that political parties have for each other and work together with a President both parties admire and trust. Hillary Clinton will only continue the divisiveness of the 1990's while Barack Obama will be far less polarizing and able to work with Republicans. He is the best hope for meaningful change in America and is the best candidate the Democratic party has produced for service to America since Franklin Roosevelt. I urge all to join us in truly changing America and the world for the better by supporting Barack Obama at the caucus Jan. 3.

We must win

If Republicans want Hillary then we don't. At least, that's this guy's theory, and who knows if he's right?

My fellow Democrats, our presidential nominee must win in November. ... Ms. Clinton is a good choice and she is vetted, but it scares the heck out of me that she's the Republicans' choice to run against in November. ... We must win.

Okay, if Hillary can't win, who can? This letter-writer thinks she has the answer, in Edwards can win:


There are a lot of great candidates running, but for any of their voices to be heard, we need to win the White House. John Edwards has the ideas and the ability to beat the Republicans head to head, and make sure that all the smart people we have in the Democratic Party can make themselves heard.

From the Muscatine Journal, some LTEs:

Obama represents real change

The fun part here isn't the LTE, but the comment to it. Follow the link to read about chemtrails and global criminals.

On 1-3-08 I will be supporting Barack Obama in the Iowa Caucus. Barack is the candidate that represents real change. He has shown the ability to bring people together to find solutions that will benefit all Americans. ...

Dodd might be ’08 political surprise

If LTEs are any indication this guy just might be right. BTW, another fun comment from the same guy as noted above.

It is entertaining to follow the political pundits as they offer predictions about the outcome of the Iowa caucus. Every four years, we hear the national media tell us what we are thinking and who we will support during the caucuses. But they are always wrong, and I believe we will prove them wrong again this year when support for Sen. Chris Dodd produces this year’s political surprise.


...Chris Dodd has made our communities safer through his support for first responders.

For seven years, Chris Dodd worked on the Family and Medical Leave Act. ...

Winning the Iowa caucus won’t be easy either. But it is the right thing to do to support Chris Dodd because of what he has meant to our families and communities.

Obama gives Americans hope

Part of the reason I do this is because it helps ME decide who I want to support. I continue to have trouble with Obama, because even his most ardent supporters only note rhetoric. Compare this to the Dodd letter above.

I BELIEVE that our country’s future will finally have a chance to be what it used to be. That I can feel how I did when John F. Kennedy was our president. ...

Barack Obama has the wisdom, passion for a better future and common sense experience to lift us up. Personally, I am very tired of the Washington D.C. “old school.” The politicians who work the system with pay backs and their self interests to obtain an office position. Obama hasn’t needed that and he certainly doesn’t rely on an ex-president to have credibility.


An LTE writer to The Sun is having trouble choosing between Obama and Ron Paul. Okay, that's just weird. Again, the reason for Obama is "bipartisanship," but no reason beyond his rhetoric to support the conclusions. Is it enough to simply be inspiring? As we look to undo Bush's damage, do we need inspiration or professionalism? Do we have to choose between the two? Does Obama offer both? Perhaps. Does Edwards? Also perhaps.

Despite ‘muddled’ politics, Obama is the choice

My political philosophy would really seem like a muddled mess to anyone else (it does to me sometimes, to be honest), so describing it here in only a few words would do no good. ...

For several weeks now, I've been torn between Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul. I see Obama as the best hope for healing the political rifts caused by the current administration. ...

But Ron Paul…the executive excesses of the past seven years have increasingly convinced me that Thomas Jefferson's belief that “that government is best which governs least” is not old-fashioned, but is instead very, very true.


That being said, I've decided I will caucus for Barack Obama tonight.


[Obama] spoke to me with quiet deliberation, very similar to the way JFK spoke in one-on-one interviews filmed during the 1960 election. At the same time, he has a charisma in his speeches that stirs the soul, never more so when he starts to sound like MLK. It’s the rare combination of intellect and charisma that makes Obama such a refreshing force in American politics. Obama has what it takes to turn the country back onto the right path, and that is the most important thing the next president must do.

The Traer Star Clipper

Biden? He's still in this race? Personally, I will never forgive him for the bankruptcy bill.

Biden is right choice for everyone

The media has decided to direct its main focus on just three of the Democratic candidates who are running for the party’s Presidential nomination on January 3rd. ...

Senator Biden was elected to the Senate 35 years ago when he was only 29 years old. During those years he has worked hard and earned the respect not only of his fellow Democratic Legislators, but from the Republicans as well.


Senator Biden is a true public servant. From issues ranging from social security reform during the Reagan administration, legislation to increase access to college, to the Biden crime bill, Senator Biden has a lengthy record of domestic accomplishments.


John Edwards is also getting letter. This one gets the "Letter of the Day" prize for using the word "leeches" correctly.

Opportunity of a lifetime

Yes Folks; you have an opportunity of a lifetime on Jan. 3, 2008 to help change the direction of “our” country and your and our future from what has been happening to our government and our lives. ... He is unafraid to tackle the lobbyists and the huge Drug and Insurance Corporations’ hold on government. He has taken on these leeches and defeated them in the courtrooms for the rights of middle and lower classes of citizens of our country.

Tasered In Seattle

This Seattle, WA Taser Torture Video is Disgusting!

Cross-posted at the AfroSpear's Francis L. Holland Blog and Political Fleshfeast, with Hat Tip to African American Political Pundit.

The Inquisition

This police behavior is DISGUSTING! A Black man is on the ground, on his hands and knees, immobile, and is shot with a Taser gun from behind by Seattle, WA police officers. Sure the man was initially running away (from about eight police who had him surrounded). But, when he was tasered he was on his hands and knees on the ground.

Deputies investigate New Year's Eve arrest

It is also clear from this video that the police pointed a Taser gun at a Black woman who was holding a cup of coffee in her hand while attempting to observe what police were doing. They continued to point the Taser gun at her until they had backed her up some twenty yards from a man who appears to be a relative of hers. (In this video, it appears that they Taser may have a red light on it, like a gun, that indicates where it is being pointed.)

It really doesn't matter how this incident started. It doesn't matter if the arrested Black man had an arrest or conviction record. It doesn't matter if he cheated at Bingo in second grade. It is simply unnecessary as a matter of police and public safety, and morally wrong, to taser people who are on their hands and knees. This constitutes torture and it has to be stopped.

Effectively, white America has introduced a new word into the modern lexicon of torture techniques, not unlike the rack, except that this tool is highly mobile:

noun: Taser
verb: to taser


Iowa Caucus: Like Passing A Kidney Stone

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

click to enlarge
The day has come and I can't wait for it to be over. I have said this before but I think it needs repeating - Americans are so hungry for change in their government they somewhat embraced a Presidential campaign that started in 2005.

Here are my "official" predictions. Feel free to call me an idiot tomorrow. (Or start early!)

Hillary - losses big. Huma comforts her. Bill comforts the Iowa State Cheerleaders.

Obama - Finally learns that having a FIRM STANCE on issues is really audacious.

Edwards - wins by a small margin and that changes the face of the campaign for New Hampshire.

Thompson - who?

Romney - does well and find himself with an unlikely competitor.

Ron Paul - finally shocks the shit out of Sean Hannity with a good solid turnout, competing now with Romney.

Rudy - gets issued a one-way train ticket back to New York.

Huckabee - warmly embraced by every crazy, screaming Christian Fascist in Iowa - all of them swinging plastic baby fetuses nailed to a cross.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year from Dobson

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

click to enlarge

It is amazing to me that TCD started publication in 2004, it seems just like yesterday but when you realize Bush was reelected in 2004, it seems like forever!

This year we plan two new special series, usually one would be enough, but I am particularly sick of the Bush Administration and there is not much left to say about that bunch unless there is another "wide stance" moment. Look for new characters, new locations and a new look for the website. The layout is going wider, better and SHORTER! God love my blogroll!

Anyway, tomorrow we will be back to the grind of the campaign as Iowa will lay waste to many campaigns and grace the lives of a cherished few. My Iowa picks are John Edwards for the Dems - for the Repubs, I get the feeling Huckabee will eek out a win but barely. If he comes in second, it will be a squeaker.

That is all for today - I am off to nurse my hangover.

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.