Saturday, March 01, 2008

The "C" word

By Carl

It's been a tough week, to say the least. Yesterday, the plastic surgeon removed the pressure bandages and slapped a band aid on my nose, and described what he will likely have to do on Tuesday after the second tumor is excised from inside my nostril. The doctor asked me to remove my shirt, since he might spill some of my blood on it. I told him no.

Well, the office was cold!

I sort of took this whole thing lightly. I even joked with the plastic surgeon about giving me Heath Ledger's nose since, you know, he wasn't doing anything with it. In my history no one had cancer in my family, and disease was always something you "cured". God knows, I've faced down death before many times.

Cancer doesn't work like that. You can't cure it, you can only stop it from growing and taking you, bit by bit.

When I thought about my stupid little lesion and how friends of mine have battled "real cancers", like breast and ovarian or lung, I guess I assumed a basal cell carcinoma was small potatoes: you know, excise it, it's gone and you make sure you never get anymore. I wasn't afraid. I figured this was a step up from a root canal. I was waiting for the inevitable prostate cancer before I got scared.

Indeed, the surgery has a 99% success rate. I guess I know now what it's like to be in the one percent. This has shook my confidence a lot. I mean, here's the doctor, testing each slice as it comes off my nose, and finally clearing me after the third one. If it wasn't for the plastic surgeon noticing something was wrong, I would have been patched up with a nose full of cancer still.

I consider that to be luck: if the carcinoma had been even a millimeter away from the spot he was looking, he might have missed it too.

Your body is something that gives you diminishing returns as you get older. It becomes more and more useful to you until you reach a point when it starts to eat itself up in order to keep you on your headlong dash in to the brick wall of mortality. You have to work harder and harder to maintain it as you grow older, until finally one day you realize the effort isn't worth it anymore, that you can't work hard enough to stay in the kind of shape you want.

So you ratchet back your expectations, maybe I don't need to benchpress four hundred pounds: three hundred, no, two hundred will do. The stresses of daily living are enough to make the choice of ennui an easy one.

Ennui and hope. To look for the next snake oil, the next "miracle cure," the next fruitless waste of energy, when all this requires is work, and lots of it, and the acknowledgement that one can only do what one can do.

I've reached the age where I can say I have about as many days ahead of me as behind me, and I now head into this fearful autumn with just about all the tools I can muster. I likely won't be able to learn any "new tricks," old dog that I am. Time is neither my ally nor my friend. It is my signpost on a road that we all must travel, and it's telling me to make my mark before I have to.

I guess all this is why I fight so hard to keep my hopes up of a Clinton presidency, despite the fact that I am clearly in a shrinking number. I get the attraction of Barack Obama. Hell, I was Barack Obama...middle class kid growing up on an urban street, surrounded by all kinds of temptations and distractions, yet highly intelligent and skilled. It's precisely for this background I would never contemplate politics as a profession: too many deals done to survive, too many skeletons in my closet.

Good with words, too, which is how I know that words ARE meaningless, until you throw down and show you can back them up. I don't think Obama has done this, and the darling attention he has received doesn't seem to reflect this. He's the star quarterback for the high school football team that hasn't even taken the field to win a game yet. He can bullshit and bluff his way through a campaign alright, but when the chips are down, he's all "Bueller...Bueller...Bueller", or so his legislative record shows.

What's he done? Planted some flowers in a housing project for three years and called that a "career"? Hell, I planted carrots in the city's first urban garden in kindergarten. Elect me for world king!

What has he built? What monuments has he left in his wake? What fight has he fought where he's rolled up his sleeves, and gotten those perfectly manicured fingernails into the dirt?

Where's the blood on his shirt? Because if he thinks he can lead in a bipartisan fight by being cleaner than those he's fighting with, he's got a big big surprise ahead of him. People will test him. And test him. And there will be blood on his shirt, figuratively speaking, until he's shown he has the mettle to fight back harder (something his thin-skinned reactions thus far indicate he does not have) or he throws in the towel.

If he had cancer tomorrow, what would be left of him but a footnote to history of being the first serious minority candidate for President? We've had eight years of a career gross underachiever masquerading as a president. The unfortunate truth is that George Bush aspired to this mostly because it was his last shot at any kind of fame, which I suspect was in his head from the beginning (...with apologies to Stephen Colbert, before anyone accuses me of plagiarism): "Poppy was pres'dient, then so can I." It wasn't from any sense of "I can do this."

If Hillary died tomorrow of cancer, she'd leave behind a wealth of life and lives that she has touched. All her fights, all the dried blood on her blouse, speak of a woman who gets it and gets her hands dirty to fix things.

If my car broke down on the highway, I'd rather see Hillary pull up than Barack. Hillary would hand me a wrench. Barack, a cellphone.

I picture heaven as having a giant poker game, and if Hillary sat down at the table near me, I'd be very wary of her and count my chips. If Barack sat down, I'd be salivating, practically rubbing my hands with glee.

I think running a country in the face of an organized and disloyal opposition is a lot like that card game: you have to have the wherewithal to bluff a few times meaningfully, and every once in a while, take people at face value, all while protecting your cards and chips.

Too, I think Hillary gets that we don't have time to play nice anymore, until the other side gets that "nice" is the only way to play. Already, the Republicans are arming themselves. The
Jonah Goldberg book was not the first shot across the bow at revisionist history, but it won't be the last and it may be the most important, despite our mocking of him here on the left. We can't possibly understand what effect this trope is having on the 24 percent who still support Bush and the maybe fifteen percent more that only need a small excuse to return to the fold. That's enough to rebuild a coalition on.

McCain is not out of the race, no matter whom he might face in November. He polls well against both Obama and Clinton, and is within the margin of error of winning against either of them. If you take the "Olbermann numbers" (MOE + Undecided), McCain could conceivably wipe the floor with the Democrats, and he has strength in territory that's normally considered safely blue, like California and the Northeast.

It won't take much to beat either candidate.

While it's true it's harder now to hurt Obama...after all, you cant really shoot down an empty suit that's flitting across the ceiling on a's also pathetically easy should they find even the slightest hint of scandal in his past that they can exploit.

The problem with being an empty suit is, once that suit is torn, you're exposed. Ask Mitt Romney.

Keep in mind that Clinton, Edwards, et al, have kept the gloves on in the primaries. They had to. The Republicans do not, and will not. They play to win and they play hard. The cocaine issue...well, let's put it this way: the sense I get is that Hillary could have gone after that a lot harder, that she had something in the tank to bring out. After all, I can't imagine that people like Al Gore in 1992 didn't know about the Paula Jones case in the primaries, but let the Gennifer Flowers case stand in lieu of it, figuring Americans would get it.

This is what I find so distressing about this election cycle: here, you have arguably the best qualified human being on the planet to be President, someone with blood on her blouse, being short-shrifted by an awful lot of people who are looking to Obama for hope, and not much else, and who knows what kind of backlash there will be once he's had to stand the grueling torture of the methodical 99% effective surgery of a general election campaign.

Imagine the psychology of these young folks if Obama, like McGovern before him, gets tangled up in mental health issues while he's supposed to b focusing on the campaign, as McCain pulls away in the polls. People don't like to be afraid, and if they are afraid, they'll turn to someone who they can be assured will protect them. If the Republicans can successfully paint Obama in this same fashion they painted that other anti-war candidate, it will be decades before Democrats will win the White House again.

Maybe under Chelsea Clinton...

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Bush and the tyrants

By Michael J.W. Stickings

In response to Obama's suggestion that, as president, he would talk and negotiate with enemies of the United States -- a very sensible component of a very sensible approach to foreign policy (taking and negotiating, from a position of strength, are not the same as giving in or surrendering and are not at all reflective of weakness; diplomacy can be a powerful and effective tool, can be combined with other, more aggressive approaches on a case-by-case basis, and would bolster America's legitimacy and credibility, and hence power and influence, around the world) -- President Bush on Thursday declared, seemingly without even the tiniest shread of self-awareness or irony, that sitting down with and having one's picture taken with a tyrant only serves to support that tyrant's position insofar as American recognition is somehow conferred on that tyrant through the president's act of sitting down with the tyrant. In other words, if Bush were to sit down with Raul Castro, Castro and his tyranny (his brother's tyranny, that is) would somehow be granted American approval.

Bush is wrong, of course. It is one thing to make friends with a tyrant -- remember the famous photo of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, for example? -- quite another to talk and negotiate. But Bush is also, as he so often is, hypocritical. Approval -- or recognition as an equal -- need not come into it. One can sit down with a tyrant while also calling the tyrant a tyrant. And this is surely what Obama means. He would sit down with Castro, say, without approving of Cuban tyranny. He would only talk to the tyrant, not confer legitimacy upon the tyranny.

The problem with Bush -- one of many problems -- is that he doesn't seem to get any of this. And it isn't so much that his world is so black-and-white that he simply refuses to talk to or negotiate with tyrants. Because he actually does it all the time. Maybe not to or with Castro or Ahmadinejad, say, but he is a friend, a close friend, of many tyrants around the world. And, in so doing, he does confer legitimacy upon them, does provide them with America's stamp of approval. He talks about freedom and democracy, and about the evildoers who must be destroyed, but the hollowness of his high-falutin' rhetoric is glaring. Indeed, throughout his presidency he has consisently undermined America's credibility around the world, not to mention his own credibility, by forming alliances with tyrants and tyrannies -- solid friendships with some, convenient relations with others. And here, just to prove the point, are four notable examples:

Call him what you will -- a hypocrite, a liar, a moron, or just plain stupid -- the pattern is clear. While Obama just wants to talk to America's enemies, Bush has been more interested in befriending, and allying America with, some of the world's leading tyrants.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Outside of awareness and outside of the law

By Carol Gee

The current facts -- As of 8:15 AM February 25, 2008 the DoD has confirmed 3972 military fatalities in the Iraq Coalition. As of a few minutes ago, the estimated cost of the war in Iraq stands at $498,517,678,500+. And there are 325 days, 13 1/4 hours until we have a replacement for our current president (OCP). It is high time, because the man is standing outside too often. He sometimes is abysmally unaware, or operating outside of the law. Here are the latest episodes. It is important to keep up with such things in order to remind others that the man who wants to replace him, Senator John McCain could be similarly afflicted. More on that in a subsequent post. Meanwhile . . .

Outside of awareness -- Bush: I'm 'focused' on gas prices but unaware of $4 gas, reports Think Progress. The blurb has the video and a transcript:

QUESTION: What’s your advice to the average American who is hurting now — facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline, a lot of people facing –

BUSH: Wait a minute. What did you just say? You’re predicting $4 a gallon gas?

QUESTION: A number of analysts are predicting $4 a gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.

BUSH: That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. […]

QUESTION: Any restrictions on who can give? Will you take foreign money for this?

BUSH: Yes, probably take some foreign money, but don’t know yet. We just haven’t — we just announced the deal. And I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices and, you know, my trip to Africa, and haven’t seen the fund-raising strategy yet.

And so, the answer to your question is really I can’t answer your questions well.

OCP claims that he is unaware of his approval ratings of 19%?! That may be. But he seems pathetically needy for praise and acceptance, as noted in this story about his recent visit to Kenya. To quote:

"And so when a reporter during a joint news conference with Bush today asked Kikwete about African enthusiasm for Obama's candidacy, he diplomatically played it down and heaped praise instead on the president who just gave him a five-year, $698 million aid package.

"Of course, people talk with excitement of Obama," Kikwete said. But he added, "For us, the most important thing is, let him be as good friend of Africa as President Bush has been."

As for Bush, he did not seem all that thrilled at the notion of being upstaged in his moment on the world stage. "It seemed like there was a lot of excitement for me -- wait a minute!" he said with a laugh. "Maybe you missed it."

Outside of the law -- "Contempt takes the next step" by Kagro X at Daily Kos contains the full text of an important letter by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to the Attorney General of the United States. To quote from the Speaker's letter to AG Mukasey:

According to the testimony of your predecessor, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and your recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department intends to prevent Mr. Taylor from complying with the statute and enforcing the contempt citations against Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten. You claimed that "enforcement by way of contempt of a congressional subpoena is not permitted when the President directs a direct adviser of his... not to appear or when he directs any member of the executive not to produce documents." Hearing on Oversight of the Dep't of Justice Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 110th Cong. 87-88 (Feb. 7, 2008). You purported to base your view on a "long line of authority," but cited no court decision that supports this proposition.

There is no authority by which persons may wholly ignore a subpoena and fail to appear as directed because a President unilaterally instructs them to do so. Even if a subpoenaed witness intends to assert a privilege in response to questions, the witness is not at liberty to disregard the subpoena and fail to appear at the required time and place. Surely, your Department would not tolerate that type of action if the witness were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury. Short of a formal assertion of executive privilege, which cannot be made in this case, there is no authority that permits a President to advise anyone to ignore a duly issued congressional subpoena for documents.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is the law of the land. "My lawyer," Glenn Greenwald is an attorney who specialized in Constitutional law. I trust him to tell us when the law is being broken. Here is an index of his most recent articles on the subject of domestic surveillance lawbreaking and corruption by OCP and his administration, as well as how Congress and the courts also got involved.

  1. A.J. Rossmiller: "Still Broken" -- 2/25/08 "An intelligence officer with the DIA volunteers to go to Iraq, leaves the job after two years, and writes a superb new book detailing firsthand the wholesale corruption of the intelligence process."

  2. McConnell/Mukasey: Eavesdropping outside of FISA is "illegal" -- 2/23/08 "In their latest fear-mongering letter, the Terrorist-combating duo let slip an odd admission."

  3. The Courts and Congress affirmatively conceal and protect lawbreaking -- 2/19/08 "The Supreme Court's refusal today to rule on the NSA spying program means that the telecom lawsuits are the last remaining hope for finding out what happened and determining its legality."

  4. The Leader isn't protecting us and keeping us safe -- 2/16/08 "George Bush warns of the grave dangers from allowing the Protect America Act to expire, even though he is the one who single-handedly ensured its expiration."

  5. Amnesty Day for Bush and lawbreaking telecoms -- 2/12/08 "The Senate's actions today in permanently protecting Bush officials from clear lawbreaking illustrate how far we've tumbled from the Church Committee of the post-Watergate era."

  6. The WSJ lies about our surveillance laws -- 2/11/08 "As is true for most advocates of telecom amnesty, the WSJ editors conceal the fact that telecoms broke numerous federal laws for years."

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Urgent request: The Hillary Rodham Clinton Legal Defense Fund

Guest post by Swampcracker

I am taking donations for a legal defense fund benefiting Hillary Rodham Clinton. Please send your donations payable, not in U.S. currency, but in the form of goats, sheep, or camels. Live ungulates may be in any condition, but "huddled masses" and "wretched refuse" are preferred.

Here's the full story:

NAIROBI (Reuters) -- Kenyan elders may impose a fine on U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, payable in livestock, after a photo of her rival Barack Obama in robes dragged their people into the race for the White House.

The picture, which appeared on a U.S. Web site, showed the Illinois senator in a white headdress and traditional Somali attire during a 2006 visit to Wajir in Kenya's remote northeast.


Wajir elders resolved to file an official complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, dropping earlier plans to hold a protest after Friday prayers.

They said they would also convene a traditional Somali court to investigate the matter. It can impose fines that are payable in cattle, goats or camels.

"We will go ahead with this case whether Senator Clinton or Democratic party leaders turn up or not," said Mohamed Ibrahim, a member of the clan that hosted Obama during his trip. "But this whole thing can be avoided if only an apology is made."

Please send your donations to Michael c/o The Reaction.


Thanks, SC -- just what I need.

Actually, I'm not sure what crime Clinton is alleged to have committed, and it's not clear that her campaign was behind leaking the photo in question to the media... but it's all quite amusing, isn't it? I mean the Somali court case, not the anti-Obama smear campaign.

And feel free to send in your donations, in monetary form. (What's the monetary value of a goat these days?) I cannot guarantee that they'll go to the HRCLDF, but they'll certainly help support the blog.


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We are the world's biggest jailer

By Libby Spencer

It's beyond me how anyone can still call America the "land of the free" when the latest figures reveal 1 in 100 Americans are in jail. Our president hypocritically lectures oppressive regimes about human rights when in fact the population at greatest risk of incarceration is right here in the USA.

So is this because we have a more violent society? As dday explains, well -- no.

...[L]awmakers are learning that current prison growth is not driven primarily by a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the population at large. Rather, it flows principally from a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular "three-strikes" measures and other sentencing enhancements, keeping them there longer. Overlaying that picture in some states has been the habitual use of prison stays to punish those who break rules governing their probation or parole.

The rules violations that send these people back to jail for impossibly long jail terms can be for something as small as missing a meeting with their PO or perhaps some petty crime like stealing a slice of pizza. Meanwhile, this "dumb on crime" approach leads to overcrowding so severe that truly violent offenders are released to reoffend again, which they often do. But the costs don't stop there.

And when sentencing laws eventually produce an overwhelming fiscal burden on the state (the cost of housing prisoners has jumped from $10 billion in 1987 to $44 billion last year), there aren't many choices: cut education or health care or social services to compensate, or contract the job out to private for-profit industry to reduce the expense. Of course, then those industries become reliant on "new customers" for their bottom line, and legislators are again pressured into increasing sentences, and the death spiral continues. There is a direct line between the campaign donations of the private prison industry and the states with the strictest sentencing laws.

This harebrained policy is driven largely by the new prison-industrial complex that contributes heavily to politicians and is supported by small communities whose economic security depends on housing the prisons.

What's missing in the reactions to this story is the nexus between the war on marijuana and prison overcrowding. The root of the problem and the solution both lie there. Non-violent marijuana offenders make up a large percentage of the population. The communities who benefit from prison expansion are largely those who formerly thrived on agricultural enterprises. The obvious fix would be to legalize marijuana and industrial hemp.

These communites could then make a living on raising farm crops again instead of on caging their fellow Americans. Furthermore, the industry would be contributing revenue to the tax base, rather than sucking tax dollars out of the municipal coffers simply to punish our citizens for non-violent, non-infringing lifestyle choices.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Pick your crazy: McCain, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and Ahmadinejad

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Question: Which is the craziest?

a) John McCain claiming that Obama is all about "the past" on Iraq.
b) Bill O'Reilly equating Arianna Huffington with the Nazis and the KKK.
c) Rush Limbaugh defending the "Husseinization" of Obama.
d) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling Iran the world's #1 power.

I'll go with b) and d) -- a tie. McCain's claim is just silly, while Limbaugh's defence of the predictable Republican smear is, well, predictably stupid.


Speaking of the "Husseinization" of Obama -- and I wrote the other day about how the Republican Smear Machine (RSM) will portray Obama as a black Muslim terrorist -- one of the bigger and more despicable right-wing bloggers, Pamela of Atlas Shrugs, is already on the bigoted offensive: "My objective is to unearth Obama's relationship to Islam. Islam is a political ideology and it is incompatible with democracy."

Actually, Islam is a religion, a faith, just like Judaism or Christianity. (Yes, she's that ignorant, that bigoted.) Her actual objective is to smear the entirety of the Muslim religion and to argue that Obama is a terrorist, or at least a friend to terrorists.

And given her ignorant, bigoted view of Islam as, in essence, a cult of terrorism, all she needs to do, in her own mind, is to show that Obama has a Muslim friend, or perhaps has just shaken hands with a Muslim.

Pamela is an extremist, yes, but this is what we can expect from the RSM going forward.


There was much ado over Obama and Farrakhan, even though the former publicly rejected and denounced the latter at the Ohio debate the other night, but what about McCain and Hagee? Hagee is the pastor of a San Antonio mega-church, an evangelist -- an extremist, as crazy as they come on America's christianist right. Even the right-wing Catholic League calls him a bigot, if only because he is anti-Catholic as well as anti-Muslim -- yes, he is an equal opportunity bigot.

He is totally insane and, of course, immensely influential. And he supports McCain. And McCain is "very honored" to have his support.

(For more, see Greenwald, Benen, and Amato.)

Let's review: Obama rejects and denounces Farrakhan, but McCain embraces Hagee. And yet the media are all over Obama while giving McCain yet another free pass.

Yes, the media are crazy, too. And, should he win the nomination, Obama will be required to contend not just with the O'Reillys, Limbaughs, and Hagees of the world, but also with a media establishment that seems determined to cut him down -- yes, just as, over the years, including this one, it has cut the Clintons down.

It'll be ugly -- and an enormous challenge for Obama. I am still confident he is up to the task, but it won't be easy, not up against the RSM and its media mouthpieces, not up against the crazies of the right.

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Obama and gay rights 2

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Following up on yesterday's post, this is from Obama's open letter to the LGBT community:

I'm running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It's wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.


Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

As I have said before, America needs Barack Obama now more than ever. He is the right leader at the right time -- on this as on so many other issues.

Make sure to read the whole thing.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blame Game in Hillaryland

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Make of it what you will, but one Clinton bigwig, Harold Ickes, has come out swinging against another, an even bigger one, Mark Penn.

"Mark Penn has run this campaign," Ickes told The New York Observer. Which, on the surface, isn't much of an insult -- until you consider that it's been a campaign that turned Clinton the frontrunner into Clinton the desperate loser of 11 contests in a row, a failure of a campaign that now stands on the verge of defeat, a campaign that may come to an utterly inglorious end if things don't go well next week in Ohio and Texas.

Ickes has his own agenda, of course, not to mention a reputation to try to preserve, and he is now pointing fingers, laying the blame squarely on Penn's head -- and Penn may very well deserve much (or most) of the blame (as Arianna suggests), though there is surely enough blame to go around.

There is still hope for Clinton -- the race isn't over yet -- but, evidently in anticipation of what is looking more and more like an inevitably bad conclusion to its campaign, one that it fully deserves, the blame game has begun in earnest.

This is just the beginning.

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Last night's dress boy sticks his neck out

By J. Thomas Duffy

Boy, this took a lot of courage ... And what prescience!

Move over Nostradamus, there's a new kid on the block ...

Maybe he has a "feeling" on how the Cubs are going to do this season ... Or, does he already know who our next president will be? ... Or perhaps, he's holding high over our guilty pleasures, teasing those around him, smug with the knowledge of who will be this season's American Idol winner?

Drum roll, please ...

Prediction [Jonah Goldberg]:

"In the next few days, there will be a wave of liberals — Frank Rich comes particularly to mind — who will use WFB's memory to beat up on today's conservatives ..."

Whoa! ... Ya think so?

Well, Commissar Goldberg, you don't have to wait that long ... And you don't have to worry about "today's conservatives" ... Beating up on Buckley himself will do just fine ...

Barry Crimmins - Burial Right

Dennis Perrin - Socked In The God Damned Face (with bonus videos of Noam Chomsky schooling Little Billy)


Bonus Links

"The morning after always looks grim if you happen to be wearing last night's dress"

Timothy Noah/Slate: Am I a Fascist? Jonah Goldberg's tendentious history of liberalism

Lawyers, Guns and Money: Dear Jonah: I Am Not Serious, Either

Move over, Old Timer, the new kid Jonah is taking over!

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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Just call it war

By Capt. Fogg

Hell is murky.—Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and
afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our
pow'r to accompt?—Yet who would have thought the old man to
have had so much blood in him?

Macbeth -- Act 5, Scene 1

Frankly, I'm not as disturbed by the images of torture and mayhem perpetrated by American "warriors" as by some of the public response you can see at, where Abu Ghraib photos have been published. It's the ones that argue "this is a war and in a war..." and the ones that say "but these are Muslims and they would be happy to eat your children, yadda, yadda..." that make me most ashamed to have any association with this self-righteous and evil nation. They've made me evil, too; Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and their puppet George Bush. I'm part of it because all I do is complain. I don't risk losing my life to end it, nor even my freedom. All I do is blog and go about my life of comfort and safety.

I got a video in my e-mail yesterday. I don't know whether it was staged or real, but it showed some US military personnel walking through an airport while people stood up and applauded. No one could have been thinking of the archive of pictures on view at They aren't returning from a parade ground, but from hell, and a hell the United States of America created with eagerness and enthusiasm and lies.

Men with plastic bags on their heads being beaten, smiling "warriors" posing with corpses, a man's severed penis in a mousetrap, blood and pain and shit -- these are things many Americans think "you do in a war" even though you started the war and of course anyone caught up in the grinder is promoted to the ranks of the "terrorists" who bombed New York even though they didn't.

So clap when you see our soldiers. I'm sure nearly all of them are good people, but don't call them warriors. Warriors take scalps, soldiers are responsible for their actions. Warriors represent themselves, soldiers represent us and when there's blood on their hands, it's on our hands too and remember, when John McCain tries to tell you this is noble, this is about protecting your sainted mother, your back yard barbecue and your civil rights -- it isn't. It's about water up the nose, the cattle prod up the ass, bloody teeth spilling out like corn from a popper. It's about rape, about shit and piss and blood on the floor being wiped up with the flag we're supposed to worship like some tawdry pagan idol.

It's about millions of homeless innocents, about a lost generation of uneducated children brought up in terror and squalor and hate. It's about people whose crime was fighting for their homes being tortured like John McCain who once was tortured by those whose homes and children he was destroying. It's about evil. It's about me and about you justifying it all by just calling it war.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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Flaws in the ointment

By Carl

It concerns me greatly that, while Barack Obama continues to whistle past the graveyard of his own inexperience, his opponents (Senators McCain and
Clinton) are scoring deeply disturbing hits at his expense.

First up, Hillary:

At a late-night rally in Burlpe, she noted that Mr. Obama served as chairman of a subcommittee responsible for Europe and NATO and that the United States has had difficulty in getting NATO to help out in Afghanistan. “My opponent, when he talks about his foreign policy experience, he includes his chairmanship of this subcommittee,” she said.

Referring to Tuesday night’s debate, she added: “And what you learned last night is, he’s never held a substantive hearing or meeting to look at what is going on in NATO, to take a hard look at what’s happening in Europe. And in fact, the reason he hasn’t, as he said, is he got the assignment when he started running for president. Well, I don’t think that’s an adequate excuse.”

She's right: it's not. To suggest that his own ambition and Presidential plans supersede any quantitative and substantive discussion of NATO and Europe's role in hunting down what he himself admits is a grave danger to American interests, Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the Taliban support it receives (in Tuesday's debate, he scored a couple of points by noting the debacle in Iraq came at the expense of hunting down Osama Bin Laden at al) is at once foolish and foolhardy. He could have held at least one meeting in the past six months, particularly during lags in the campaign, at which he could have dressed up a pig and put some make up on it and called it a discussion.

He couldn't even do that, tragically. Which brings us to the
long-distance encounter with John:

During the recent Democratic debate, John M. Broder and Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times write, “Mr. Obama had said in response to a hypothetical question that although he intended to withdraw American forces as rapidly as possible, he reserved the right to send troops back in ‘if Al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq.’ ”

Mr. McCain pounced on the remark. “I have some news,” he said at a town-hall-style meeting in Tyler, Tex. “Al Qaeda is in Iraq. It’s called ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq.’ My friends, if we left, they wouldn’t be establishing a base. They’d be taking a country, and I’m not going to allow that to happen.”

His debate answer was flippant and naive, to say the least, and his quick stab at clearing the air was even dumber:

Mr. Obama, campaigning in Columbus, Ohio, responded soon after. “I have some news for John McCain,” Mr. Obama said at a large rally at Ohio State University. “There was no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.”

True enough, Senator, but guess what?

They Are There Now!

As you so artfully described it on Tuesday night in defending your current votes "yes" on funding the Iraq invasion (I may have been under anesthesia, but damn, even I saw an opening here), "Once we had driven the bus into the ditch, there were only so many ways we could get out."

You can't have it both ways, Barack: either you go hunt down Al Qaeda in Afghanistan while preventing its expansion in Iraq-- it exists, it is there and while it may be quiet now, it has established territory-- or you admit you have no clue as to how to engage in a comprehensive national security policy that defends our interests while assistin Iraqis in recovering from what everyone except John McCain has called a blunder, yourself included.

And stop whining about this!

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Obama and gay rights

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Advocate: "The Obama campaign is lavishing some of its cash advantage on LGBTs with targeted ad buys in Ohio and Texas leading up to the critical March 4 primaries in both states..."

As John Aravosis points out, Obama and Clinton are "both excellent on the issue, and far better than McCain and the far-right bureaucrats and Supreme Court justices he'd appoint," and Pam Spaulding notes that "this is a real sign of recognition and support of the LGBT communities in Red states".

This is a very good move on Obama's part -- the race is close in Ohio and Texas, and every vote counts -- but it also reflects what I think is a genuine commitment on his part to gay rights. It isn't just about the talk with Obama. It's about doing what's right.

(Ad via Towleroad.)

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dukakissing Obama

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(Thanks to the co-bloggers for stepping in and keeping things going the past few days. I was in Prince Edward Island for a short, spur-o'-the-moment, mid-winter vacation -- and, yes, it was extraordinarily beautiful, as always.)


Bob Somerby has his problems with some in the liberal-progressive blogospheric elite, such as Marshall and Drum, and I don't always take his side, but he may very well be right about the upcoming plans of the GOP Smear Machine:

If the RNC gets its way, Obama is going to get "Dukakised" in the coming months. Our guess: In the main, he will not be treated as a liar/flip-flopper/reinventer, as Clinton, Gore and Kerry were treated. Instead, he’ll be treated as an unsettling alien presence, much as Dukakis was played (except more so). The Democratic Party has never nominated a more decent person than Michael Dukakis. But by the time the RNC got through, he was a person with a funny name and olive skin who: 1) "had a problem with the pledge of allegiance"; 2) looked funny riding around in a tank; 3) may have had some sort of mental illness (that was voiced by Reagan himself); 4) was "a card-carrying member of the ACLU"; and 5) had released Willie Horton. Almost surely, similar themes will be voiced against Obama -- and yes, there's material to work with.

Now, before you Clinton supporters go all up-with-Hillary on this, desperately trying to make the case that she (and not Obama) is better positioned to withstand the inevitable assault, please understand that the Republicans no doubt have a similar plan for her. Just imagine how the GOP Smear Machine (RSM) would assault her.

Of course, Somerby is right that, with Obama, "there's material to work with". Assuming that Obama is the nominee -- and, no, I don't intend to make a formal prediction here (but, if you've been paying attention, you know what I think) -- we haven't heard the last of Louis Farrakhan. Nor, for that matter, have we heard the last of of Jeremiah Wright, "Obama's minister," as Somerby suggests. Nor of Obama's middle name. Nor -- and this is what it comes down to -- of Obama's race and skin colour.

No, it won't be McCain who does the dirty work. He'll take the high road, or what passes for the high road in Republican circles, talking about experience and all that, spinning it all for good, and avoiding his rather more controversial record. Instead, it'll be his various minions who connect the Obama-is-a-black-Muslim-terrorist dots, spinning the usual lies that make up Republican presidential campaigns, if not Republican campaigns generally -- his various surrogates, the various right-wing media outlets, the rest of the RSM, all feeding those lies to a more-than-willing media elite: Brian Williams, Tim Russert, and Chris Matthews, to name but three of the more noxious offenders, but also the entirety of the Fox News establishment, etc., etc.

Somehow, someway, Obama will be presented -- that is, repackaged and rebranded by the RSM -- to the American people as a dirty, traitorous foreigner, black, Muslim, at least by implication, a threat to (steroid-fueled) baseball and (artery-clogging) apple pie and all that is good and dear to "Main Street" America. The Republicans have made a predictable habit of feeding the culture of fear that chains Americans to their cave of delusion, and, looking ahead to a possible Obama-McCain showdown, they will turn Obama into the new Other, a terror -- literally and figuratively, to be rejected.

Obama, I believe, is up to the challenge. He can stand up for himself and push back -- just as Clinton can, I acknowledge -- and, for once, at long last, the American people may not buy what the RSM and their media mouthpieces, overtly partisan or otherwise, are trying to sell them.

It is never an easy task to go up against the ratfucking of the RSM, however, and, should he win the Democratic nomination, Obama will have a huge challenge ahead of him


On a related note, it isn't just McCain who rejects the RSM's "Hussein" campaign. As Marc Ambinder points out, no less an RSM insider than Karl Rove has also come out against the Husseining of Obama -- but for partisan political reasons, not out of decency or anything like that. Apparently, according to Ambinder, Rove thinks referring to Obama by his middle name "would perpetuate the notion that Republicans were bigoted".

Sorry, Turd Blossom. It's too late for that. We already know what your party is all about.

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Quick Flick Pick: The Maverick vs. The Messiah Edition

By Creature

If John McCain thinks mocking Barack Obama will work in the general election he's sadly mistaken. From Hardball here's today's stark back and forth (and, if I didn't dislike John McCain so much I'd almost feel sorry for him).

Steve Benen and Ben Smith have more on the fight Obama is happy to have.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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The oldest trick in the book

By Libby Spencer

Digby has already put McCain's apology for his front man at a recent rally into the proper context but I would add this. Yes, it's good that McCain denounced the idiot hatejock but let's not get all starry eyed over it. I mean the guy is a radio personality and surely that's not the first time he's made such remarks. I assume he makes a living from exactly this sort of slander. If McCain didn't expect him to come out and do his schtick, he certainly should have.

It's a classic trial lawyer trick to insert inadmissible content into the narrative. Ask a question that's clearly out of bounds. The judge upholds opposing counsel's objection and instructs the jury to ignore what has just been said in their deliberations. But it's like asking someone not to think of the word hippopotamus. The mere suggestion allows you to think of nothing else.

I have to say, it was a pretty good tactical move. Let the surrgogate look like the bad guy and then take the high road with a heartfelt -- tut tut, we don't countenance name calling in this campaign. But give me a break. As Digby illustrates, Johnny hasn't exactly taken the high road on this sort of smear in the past.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Denounce vs. Reject (Otherwise known as Hillary's "meaning of is" moment)

By Creature

In case you missed the debate last night, here's the low-light: Russert reached into his bad of gotcha tricks [see: 10:05 of my live blogging] and pushed way too clumsily on Obama's fabricated link to Louis Farrakhan. Hillary took it further and, both she and Russert, looked dumb in the end. Denounce vs. reject, my ass.

TPM has more.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Please let this be the last debate live blogging

By Creature

8:50 - Honestly, I don't know if I have it in me to live blog the whole thing, and I do warn all readers now, upfront, that I'm done with Hillary Clinton. Be prepared for foul language and anything but a fair and balanced view of this debate. That being said, the big set-up for tonight is: which Hillary will show up? I doubt she'll be as off the rails as we've seen the last few days, but if the last few days tell us anything, she will come out swinging. As far as Obama, he doesn't have to do a damn thing tonight except get through the next hour-and-a-half.

9:03 - Good, they switched up the seating (though I do wish they had them standing up). Right off the bat Brian Williams asks Hillary about the difference in her tone since the last debate. Hillary says, [para-phrasing, of course] "I have respect for the guy next to me, but we have differences." She's trying to keep her cool. She's pissed because she believes deeply. Now Brian Williams brings up the Obama "dressed" photo. So long as she doesn't play dumb about the photo, I'm OK with it. She doesn't, she scores a make-up point with me. Obama brings up Hillary's own negative mailings. His hitting, but, oh, so, gentle. Obama: "But we haven't whined about the negative mailers, robo-calls etc." Good job. Hillary: "Obama's mailer is almost like the GOP wrote it." Ouch, though kinda true. Obama: "Hillary is not being accurate about my healthcare proposals." It's all about healthcare again. And, yes, we get it Hillary, you're passionate. Back forth, back forth. They are both having trouble holding back. Brian Williams is trying to change the subject, no such luck. Obama's trying to hard to get a word in. Dude, just let her talk. Sixteen minutes later...

9:19 - Brian asks about NAFTA, Hillary responds with a canned reference to Saturday Night Live because somehow she's always asked the questions first. Huh?

9:21 - On to the meat of NAFTA. Sorry, Hillary, you have no standing here. NAFTA is a Clinton baby, live with it.

9:31 - Still talking NAFTA. Obama's doing fine. And, again, Hillary does not have a NAFTA leg to stand on. Russert: "Hillary, in 2000 you pledged a zillion jobs for upstate NY, are you too exuberant now as well?" Hillary: "Doh, I was expecting Gore to be president. My bad."

Brian Williams moves on to foreign policy and Hillary's comparison of Obama to Bush. Obama: "Longevity in Washington is not experience." Amen. Obama: "We are not safe. We are bleeding cash." She's getting ready to slam him as naive. This will be interesting. Hillary: "I have put forward my extensive experience. Many people, like Obama, gave speeches." Bull. Again, Hillary, you have no standing here. He gave a speech, you sent thousands to die. Hillary: "Obama wants to bomb Pakistan and hug evil leaders." Obama's not happy. This response should be interesting. Obama: "My speech mattered. It wasn't just a speech. I was in a Senate race. Iraq was a big blunder. You helped drive the bus into the ditch, Hillary. You gave in to GWB on day one. You enabled GWB." Yes, yes, yes.

9:44 - Russert on Iraq: "If you pull out, and Iraq goes to crap, do we go back in?" Hillary hits Obama, out of nowhere, on Obama not calling Europe oversight hearings. Huh? This tack must be part of her kitchen sink attack. I give her credit for trying, but these non-sequiturs are annoying. And, despite Hillary's insistence on talking, we are at a commercial break.

9:52 - Back from break. Brian Williams asks Obama about Hillary and her mocking of Obama's preaching. He plays it cool. It's not all talk. He lists his accomplishments. Ethics reform etc. His suit seems fuller than his critics would like America to believe. Hillary responds: "I was just 'aving a laugh." Hillary just linked Obama to Dick Cheney and his energy bill. Ouch, can't run from that one, Obama. Sucks for you.

10:05 - Russert tries to hit Obama on public financing and his promise to opt in. Obama: "Sorry, Tim, I am not the nominee yet." Tim, be honest, he said he would negotiate, he never said he would opt in. Russert turns to Hillary and her hidden tax return. Ugh, instead she begs for money. Hillary: "Can't release the forms right now. I don't even have time to sleep." Hopefully, soon, Hillary, you'll be getting plenty of sleep. Russert has turned this whole segment into a gotcha segment. Annoying. Farrakhan time. Obama: "I've denounced him enough and stop bringing it up. Jewish folk love me. Their security is sacrosanct." Talyor Marsh must be thrilled that Obama's getting hit with Farrakhan. Hillary: "There is a difference between denouncing and rejecting." Boy, oh, boy, how fuckin' petty. Obama "rejects" Farrakhan, gets applause, and Hillary just looks dumb.

10:20 - Williams asks Obama on him being rated the number one liberal. Come on, Obama, embrace the title. Nope, he runs from it. Oh well. Like I've always said, I may support Obama, but he disappoints me now, and will surely disappoint me later, just like every other damn politician out there.

10:25 - Second to last question, anything you want to take back. Hillary, takes back her Iraq vote, she wouldn't do it again, and she would never go to war. Sorry Hillary, too little too late. Obama, talks about Terry Schiavo, regrets not standing against it. Obama, gives props to Hillary and is proud to campaign with her.

Last question, what question must your opponent answer to the voters in order to prove worthiness. Obama: "Hillary would be worthy as a nominee. It's McCain that sucks. I'm better because I can bring the country together." He closes well with the qualities he can bring to the race. Hillary: "Both of us feel strongly about our country. Honor to campaign, but I still want to win." She nicely plays the women card. And, again she gets the last word.

Well, that's it. I think Hillary pushed things a bit. She tried hard to bring Obama's negatives in, but to no avail. I didn't like her SNL reference. Overall, Obama didn't slip, so it was a wash, and a wash goes to Obama.

Post-game - Andrea Mitchell: "Ohio is now the test for Hillary. If she wins Ohio then she moves on." What happened to Texas? Can't anyone do math?

Morning Update: Debate transcript here.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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On FISA Favorites -- 2nd installment

By Carol Gee

For everyone who is a Democrat, a civil libertarian, a national security buff or a voter, this morning's Glenn Greenwald column is a must read. Does this take everyone into account? I mean to do just that. The article in is headlined "John King with Mike McConnell: rare journalistic honesty." What this talented writer does is expose a number of unsettling realities. 1) Most members of the mainstream media are not sufficiently prepared to report on the FISA controversy between the current administration and Congress. 2) DNI Admiral Mike McConnell is not apolitical and he has a major conflict of interest as a government official demanding retroactive immunity for the nation's telecommunication companies who have assisted the government to spy on its citizens. To quote (includes Glenn's links):

Since John King knows nothing about the FISA and telecom immunity debate, how could he possibly know that McConnell conducts himself apolitically? He can't. But that's the Beltway cliche -- what Beltway journalists chatter to one another about the stern and Serious Admiral -- and so King, having heard this, just chirps it out as though it's true and vouches for McConnell's unquestionable integrity. The reality about McConnell is the exact opposite. He has proven himself to be one of the most politicized and fact-free officials in the entire administration.

. . . Most significantly of all, McConnell is burdened by one of the most glaring conflicts of interest that we've seen in any significant political debate over the last seven years. His career before becoming DNI was devoted to the very private telecom sector on whose behalf he's now demanding immunity. When he claims that the Fate of the Nation rests on granting retroactive immunity to the telecom industry, he's advocating for his long-time partners, colleagues, and business associates. In the job he held prior to becoming DNI -- director of defense programs at Booz Allen -- he was directly involved with the very people, and possibly the very programs, for which he is now demanding amnesty:

What we have in the current Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-FISA controversy is just crazy-making. It is a Catch 22. It is a no-win situation. explains, for those who have forgotten the origin of this important concept. Computer Encyclopedia: Catch-22

A paradoxical situation that has no happy ending. A popular movie with Alan Arkin in 1970, Catch-22 came from Joseph Heller's 1961 comical, yet gruesome, best-selling book about pilots in a fictitious World War II setting. The paradox was that no sane pilot would be crazy enough to want to continue flying dangerous missions. The only way a pilot would be grounded is if he were truly crazy, but if he asked to be grounded, he was then considered sane and would not be grounded.

I am a liberal {inserted disclaimer here}. Therefore I may have a mental disorder, according to the Astute Blogger. The blogger posts about Clinical Psychiatrist, Dr. Lyle Rossiter's new book,"The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." Quoting from the post about the book that asserts that modern liberalism is a mental disorder:

"Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded... Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave." . . . Dr. Rossiter says the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

* creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization;
* satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;
* augmenting primitive feelings of envy;
* rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

"The roots of liberalism – and its associated madness – can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind," he says. "When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious."

No wonder we are crazy. Every day's news presents us with head-spinning new stories on fear-mongering, screw-ups at the FBI, Republican duplicity and outright lies from administration officials:

You can't be serious -- Jane Hamsher began her "On My TeeVee" post with this keen piece of writing yesterday - 2/24/08:

If there's an Oscar given out for Worst Comb-over Of the Modern Era, it goes to Mike McConnell, whose need to give Enron Ed's telecom clients immunity has been responsible for for a "national security" argument that's about as persuasive as the sweep of his locks. This morning on Late Edition he said the telecoms all turned into reluctant virgins last week after the PAA expired, and he needed the power to "compel" them to cooperate with domestic spying. Yeah, it's called a warrant.

Useful background reading --

  1. ACLU turned down by Supreme Court.

  2. Christy Hardin Smith on SCOTUS decision.

  3. Glenn Greenwald's analysis of courts and FISA.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Tin Pin Patriotism

By Capt. Fogg

Sigmund Freud talked about the narcissism of small differences; the tendency toward making the biggest fuss over people who are most nearly identical to us. It calls to mind the Clinton/Obama Celebrity Death Match the media are promoting for their own ends. They're the most nearly alike politically candidates we've seen in a long time, in my opinion, but that's not good for the 24/7 yackathon that the nattering nabobs need to maintain to keep ratings up.

You'd think nothing was happening on planet Earth other than bitter debates about lapel pins, and every manufactured nuance of expression is chewed to a disgusting mess like a rawhide dog toy. I don't wear a lapel pin and I won't as long as the people who made my country into a quasi-fascist imperialist plutocracy are in power. I don't trust anyone who wears one and I have not since the darkest days of the Viet Nam War when it was a symbol of support for that fraudulent, mismanaged and vicious enterprise.

I don't trust people who make an issue of a candidate not wearing a toy flag and it's obvious that many people who do are dishonest, because I and others like Crooks and Liars have noticed that John McCain is often seen without his Taiwanese Token of gumball machine patriotism too. Toe tapping Larry Craig, as T Rex points out, wore one for his police mug shot and if the hero of stall three wears one, you know it means something.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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An argument Hillary cannot win

By Creature


"We’ve seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security," Mrs. Clinton said in a speech on foreign policy at George Washington University. "We can’t let that happen again."

Dear, Hillary, you gave this president, the one with "neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security" the authorization to go to war. You trusted the man who you now say had "neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security". You gave him the benefit of the doubt. You let him go to fucking war. You want to go down this road, feel free. This is an argument you cannot win.

And, as far as throwing the kitchen sick, as far as painting Obama as the unpatriotic scary Muslim terrorist, go right ahead. I am so sick of you, your campaign, and your supporters, playing dumb to this shit I can't even begin. I've tried at every turn to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I'm done. Go ahead, slash, burn, go out swinging. I look forward to the backlash.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Quick Flick Pick: McCarthy Era Redux Edition

By Creature

Olbermann and Maddow dissect the despicable AP article and, possibly even more despicable, CNN poll smearing Obama's patriotism. Personally, I show my patriotism by wearing my American flag boxers 24/7, but the GF wishes I would get a weeks supply.

Pissed? Do something. Tell the AP and their syndicators you've had enough here.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Well, It's a destiny of sitting at the Presidential Kids table

By J. Thomas Duffy

Getting lost in the booming news of the week (take your pick - Obama trouncing Hillary, Hillary blowing smoke about Obama's "plagiarism", Here's Johnny Boy McCain and his Lobbyist Love Fest), is that our current, the 42nd President of the United States has set a new record, unparalleled, unprecedented (even worse than Nixon, for Christ's Sake!).


Nixon was only at 23% during Watergate and the worst rating, Harry Truman, was only 22%, that during the Korean War.

The Commander Guy might want to put a parachute pack on the back of the flightsuit, he's plummeting so badly.

From Attytood;
"Worse than Richard Nixon in the days before he resigned in disgrace during Watergate, worse than Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis, much worse than Bill Clinton when he was impeached. Just as Roger Bannister raced through what once seemed the unreachable 4-minute mile, Bush has burst through a barrier once also thought impossible, below the 20-percent mark."

If this isn't, yet, more ammunition for the Congressional Democrats to stay strong on the Protect America Act and deny the Telcom Immunity (and, of course, the soul-less Bush Grindhouse continues to lie and play with a stacked deck of Fear Cards).

As Snagglepuss might yelp, Heavens-to-Murgatroyd!, do they want to go down, caving to a President that has 4-out-5 Americans disapproving of him?

When, in the future, the living, former Presidents get together, they'll have no choice but to place this "Cascading Conservative" at the kids table, that is if such ratings even gets him in the door.

Again, from Attytood;
It takes more than unpopularity to become the worst president ever, but this may be the straw that broke the camel's back on that front. It should remind us all what the 2008 election is all about, and it's not about Hillary's wardrobe or an off-the-cuff remark or who is the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan.

It's only about who can undo the damage of the last eight years. It's amazing so many people wanted such a difficult task."

The sooner he exits - be it stage right, or stage left, the better we will all be.

Read The Survey - Concerns over Economy Push George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval to New Low

(Cross Posted at The Garlic)

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Halloween, part 2008

By Capt. Fogg

Michelle Obama may be proud of our country for the first time, but I'm disgusted for another of the countless times I've wished I were a Martian. If this presidential campaign means anything, it surely illustrates what a nation of nasty, stupid and bigoted people we are. Worse, we seem to hate anyone with any appearance of being otherwise and if we can't tear them down legitimately, we tear them down another way even if we have to invent things. Obama refuses to say the "pledge." Not true, but to good to worry that people will reject it. Obama is a Muslim, McCain is too old, Edwards has too good a haircut. Hillary called the shots when Bill was president, but we know that Bill will call the shots when Hillary is president. All of them, like Ron Paul, are suspect because they don't just love, love, love everything America has ever done to the point where they bind it all as a frontlet on their foreheads and display it on their lapels. Nobody of course, supports the troops and everybody supports the troops and the ones who are willing to shoot you for criticizing Bush and he war are criticizing Bush and his war. As Humphrey Bogart once said "they'll get you if you scratch your ass as the flag goes by." He was right, but they'll get you if you don't too.

Now it's about clothing. Both Clintons and Obama have been photographed wearing African clothing and Bush has been photographed wearing African clothing as has a great host of visiting dignitaries to Africa, yet Obama supporters see the picture of him in Kenya as a smear from the Clinton camp - or at least they want you to see it that way. Obama haters see it as proof of his heretical unpatriotism. It's Halloween. It's a masked ball. Rudy Giuliani must be a Jew for wearing a yarmulke in Miami, Purvez Musharraf must be a Christian for wearing a Savile Row suit and I'm definitely the Great Kahuna for wearing a Hawaiian shirt this afternoon. The only way you can tell we're not stuck in a Halloween version of Groundhog Day is that the kids are older and nobody's getting much candy.

(Cross-posted from The Impolitic.)

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Obama in "strange" clothing goes viral

By Creature

Funny, I always thought it was America's embrace of the other, America's embrace of the differences between us, America's embrace of the melting pot, that made this nation something to be proud of. Today we mock difference. Today we fear it. This is the virus the GOP has unleashed. And, Hillary's people should know better than to feed it.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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