Friday, January 18, 2008

The Huckabee Wonder Diet: Popcorned Squirrel

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

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Some days, they write themselves. From Raw Story:

After pulling an upset in the Iowa caucus, Mike Huckabee has now placed a respectable third in two northern primaries, New Hampshire and Michigan, but he has hopes of doing much better in South Carolina.

Huckabee spoke to MSNBC's Joe Scarborough from Columbia, SC, saying enthusiastically, "South Carolina's a great place for me. I mean, I know how to eat grits and speak the language. We even know how to talk about eating fried squirrel and stuff like that, so we're on the same wavelength."

"Mika, I bet you never did this," Huckabee went on, addressing Mika Brzezinski. "When I was in college, we used to take a popcorn popper, because that was the only thing they would let us use in the dorm, and we would fry squirrels in a popcorn popper in the dorm room."

When you enter the Hillbilly Triangle (West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky), squirrel is far up the food chain. Who knows how far Huckabee is willing to go to identify with them?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Europe - The New Terror Front? What I said to the BBC.

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

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On occasion, I am a guest on the BBC program World Have Your Say and yesterday the topic was Michael Chertoff's statements about how Europe was the next platform for terrorists. Chertoff wants the EU to adopt America's Patriot Act and other civil right stripping laws and programs.

Suffice it to say, Europe is cheesed-off.

The question put to the guests was "Should Americans be afraid of Europe?"

My response was "no." I think, and most guests agreed, Europe isn't the problem, the Bush Administration is. Chances are I will go my entire life without ever meeting someone from Al Qaeda, however there is a big chance I will be confronted by someone from MS13 - a street gang primarily populated by Hispanics. During the last month in North Carolina there have been four murders by MS13 members for their ritualized initiations. Their modus operandi is to approach an random bystander and ask them for directions, then shoot them in the face.

MS13 is not the only criminal street gang operating in America - we still have the Crips, the Bloods, and the White Aryan Resistance.

Scholars have published study after study pointing to crime being an intersection of poverty and lack of education opportunity. You solve these two things with social programs, not with a War on Drugs or a War on Terror.

MS13, the KKK and Al Qaeda are all progenies of the same problem. However, that problem is not Europe.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We want a nominee who can FIGHT the Republicans, not vote-suppress like them

Joe Sudbay on the Clinton campaign's voter suppression efforts in Nevada:

The attempt by supporters of Hillary Clinton to change the rules of the Nevada Democratic caucus, which have been approved for months, goes to court tomorrow. A Supreme Court decision issued today based on a case from New York State seems to undermine the arguments of the plaintiffs.

For me, this episode is one of the most despicable acts we've seen in the campaign so far this year. We expect Republicans to block voters from participating, but not Democrats. According to the Las Vegas Sun (my new favorite paper, for this week anyway) the case may be doomed already over timing issues. Basically, the plaintiffs waited too long to file:
It appeared that the plaintiffs, another legal expert said, “just waited too late in the day to entertain these types of issues.”

The doctrine is meant to prevent last-minute litigation when rules could have been challenged earlier, said Edward B. Foley, professor of law at Moritz College of Law and the director of the election law program at Ohio State University.

“The court is likely to ask: Why couldn’t they have brought this sooner? Why is it filed now?”

Supporters of the lawsuit have said they didn’t become aware of the caucus rules until recently, though the rules were passed by the state party in March.
They became very "aware" of the rules after Obama got endorsement of the Culinary Workers Union. Which brings me to today's Supreme Court ruling explained after the break.

One of the legal expert interviewed by the Sun made this astute comment:
Even if the judge discounts the timing, Foley said, courts have largely given wide latitude to parties to come up with their own rules.

“This is arguably an internal party matter,” he said. “Case law from the U.S. Supreme Court gives considerable deference to parties.”
Astute, because interestingly, a Supreme Court case unanimously decided today may undermine the lawsuit brought by the Clinton supporters. That case revolves around political parties in New York State choosing judicial candidates.

More here.

You know, I've really tried to resist the temptation to don the tinfoil as I've read Bradblog on a daily basis since the New Hampshire primary. I've really wanted to believe that not even the Clintons, who are as ruthless as any Republican (which is why Bill Clinton won twice and prevailed despite an eight-year-long witch hunt), at least believe in Americans' right to vote.

There are legitimate beefs with the caucus process in that those who can't be physically present can't participate. The same could be said of having a single day in which to vote. But this campaign's attempt to stop caucus locations on the Strip in Las Vegas that are designed to allow casino workers to participate is nothing short of vote suppression. And if this campaign is trying to keep people from voting, then Hillary Clinton has lost the right to be taken seriously as a president who can clean up the mess left by George W. Bush.

Nevada Debate: When Media Zombies Attack!

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

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What a miserable debate last night. The worst of the campaign season by far. This one started off with what looked like a a group hug in the principal's office over race relations and it slid downhill after that.

The candidates aren't at fault here, it is the mainstream media. The spoon-fed, pre-programmed "gotcha" drip of questions did not serve the people of Nevada or We The People for that matter. The whole shindig seemed to be designed to give each candidate an opportunity to bitch slap their opponents. Definitely not something worthy of Jefferson's Virginia Statehouse.

The bright spot was the heckler. The heckler also had the most poignant statement - race baiting which is what this debate was all about. A purposeful attempt by Russert and the gang to start a class/race war among the candidates, thankfully they did not bite.

I am left wondering when We The People will bite back... bite the mainstream media?

BTW, today's strip is dedicated to Dot. You can't see her right now. She is fighting the good fight, deep down in the trench.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Daily Pulse- Letters Tuesday Editor

For those unfamiliar, The Daily Pulse was at one time, and is now again, a regular feature. It surveys local papers' editorial pages to capture the "pulse" of Americans froma local point of view, rather than seeing what the beltway and the national media TELL us to think. Over time, it recognizes trends you might not otherwise see coming. It also lets you know just how effective the national media is in pushing memes, be it the New York Time or FAUX NEWS.

It's Tuesday, so it's time for Letters Tuesday Editor. Today we look at the Nevada and South Carolina papers to see what people are writing about. You need to take the big leap to find out for yourself.

As always, and because I can't drop the rest behind the fold, please go to The Daily Pulse for the letters and commentary.

Ultra K, Back In Play

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

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The corporate overlords back in the Star Chambers of MSNBC must not be happy with a new ruling from Judge Thompson of Nevada, denying MSNBC the right to ban Dennis Kucinich from the Democratic debate.

NBC News said Monday it will appeal a judge's ruling rather than include Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich in a candidates' debate in Nevada.

''We disagree with the judge's decision and are filing an appeal,'' said a statement provided by Jeremy Gaines, a vice president for MSNBC, sponsor of Tuesday night's debate. Gaines said the parent network would seek an immediate hearing before the Nevada Supreme Court.

Hours earlier, Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled that Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, must be allowed to participate. If he is excluded, Thompson said he would issue an injunction to stop the televised debate.

Kucinich's lawyer had argued that MSNBC at first invited him to participate, then last week reversed course and told him he could not.

This explains why Chris Matthews was particularly moody yesterday!

This is good news for the Ultra K camp and for democracy in general, especially since Kucinich's positions make a whole lot more sense than the rest of the Democratic field combined. I have always said we as a Nation are in such sorry, sad shape that half measures and slow routes to rationality will not cut it. The longer we wait to make serious changes, the more we will slide down hill.

I have read the position papers of all the candidates and Kucinich comes out on top is rationality and effectiveness. Edwards is close on his heels. The front-runners, Clinton and Obama, have weaker and much less effective ideas to save America from our downward spiral.

I know people who are voting for Obama because he is Black and I know people for are voting for Hillary because she is a woman. I just wish we would vote for people because the candidate wants to make college free for all Americans, or decriminalize drugs, or do away with insurance companies and nationalize healthcare.

We will continue to get the government we deserve.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Why are we blocking the Straight of Hormuz?

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

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As any sailor will tell you, deploying a naval battle group into a small body off water like the Persian Gulf is difficult, when you drop three or four battle groups in there, it becomes insane. You put that many ships in such a confined space and then add all the normal seafaring traffic in the Gulf and you have a recipe for disaster - with habanero sauce.

Here is a question I want answered, where are the US Naval ships? In the Straight of Hormuz, there are no international waters - you are either in Iran's or Oman's territory. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides transit passage through this area. So if Iranian boats are mingling with US ships, what are we doing in their waters? The Convention established guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. But the US Senate has yet to sign the Convention. Military vessels also have the right of "innocent passage" defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not “innocent", and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag. Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of its security.

As I read the Convention, we have no right being there.

Also, if all of our ships are in Oman's territory, isn't Oman upset that these boats are in there territorial waters? I doubt it. Oman has one of the largest ports in the world and there is a lot of small boat traffic coming and going from Iran - been that way for a very long time. In other words, boat traffic from Iran is normal, our presence there, clogging up the works with such a heavy-handed posture.

Now we learn this last event, was not the first time boats came within "the safety zone" of the US Navy. (The size of the safety zone is also something that hasn't been released as far as I know.) According to new evidence, these close encounters are common. The audio the Pentagon presented as part of the video turns out not to be associated with the video. There is no evidence the audio came from the boats in questions. Further evidence shows the audio may not have happened on the same day, nor associated with any boat. Even the Navy admits these were not a threat.

Here are the questions the MSM are unwilling to answer...

1) Whose waters was USS Port Royal in, Iran or Oman?

2) Did the USS Port Royal have permission to be in those waters?

3) What was the destination of the USS Port Royal? Was it complying with innocent transit guidelines or was it parked waiting to scrap with someone?

4) What is the size of the safety zone for the USS Port Royal. If you can't tell the American people, how are the Iranians supposed to know?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Weekend Pulse

For those unfamiliar, The Daily Pulse was at one time, and is now again, a regular feature. It surveys local papers' editorial pages to capture the "pulse" of Americans froma local point of view, rather than seeing what the beltway and the national media TELL us to think. Over time, it recognizes trends you might not otherwise see coming. It also lets you know just how effective the national media is in pushing memes, be it the New York Time or FAUX NEWS.

Today, The Daily Pulse looks outside its window at Indiana snow, and takes are hard turn south to sunny Florida.

This stacks up too high here, and I can't move the rest "after the fold," so if you want to see the rest, you can see it at The Daily Pulse.