Fresh Obama ad
I think it's really good.
As the old saw goes, this one will play well in Peoria.
(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)
More than 40 Democratic House and Senate candidates have endorsed a document stating that "there is no military solution in Iraq" and calling for an end to the war and the removal of all U.S. troops from the country, though not according to any specific timeline.
The strategy document, titled "A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq," calls for using "diplomatic, political and economic means" to hasten an end to the conflict. As of this writing, it has been endorsed by four Democratic Senate candidates and 38 House hopefuls, a handful of whom touted the plan on a conference call with reporters today.
Under Texas law it is illegal to sell, advertise, give or lend obscene devices, defined as a device used primarily for sexual stimulation. Anyone in possession of six or more sexual devices is considered to be promoting them. (via Austin American-Statesman).
The state also argued in a brief that Texas has legitimate "morality based" reasons for the laws, which include "discouraging prurient interests in autonomous sex and the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation."
The 23-page city ordinance does allow revocation of a club's license if, for example, the club knowingly allows prostitution, the sale or use of drugs at the club, or if there are two convictions for sex-related crimes at the club within a 12-month period.
Earlier this week, we also told you about Club Metroplois, where Dallas police found 13-year-old prostitutes. That nightspot operates as a bar, so the city says it has to treat it like any other business and has to prove a pattern of crime before it can be closed -- unless they find a loophole.
In the latest twist in New York politics, Rudy Giuliani is eyeing a run for governor in a special election this fall should Gov. Paterson be forced to resign, sources say.
In a surprise move, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has endorsed Senator Barack Obama in advance of the April 22 Democratic primary. Mr. Casey had said he would remain neutral in the race in part because he wanted to help broker a reconciliation between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton afterward.
"I believe in my heart that there is one person who's uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction and that is Barack Obama." Mr. Casey said during a rally in Pittsburgh Friday.
"I really believe that in a time of danger around the world and in division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America," he said.
No, she hasn't officially swapped Rodham for Nothing-But-Ambition, but she is leaving it out of her presidential campaign. I guess she's afraid that her maiden name might put off people who were never going to vote for her anyway.
According to today's Washington Post, Michael Moore says Harvey Weinstein begged him to cut a scene out of Sicko concerning Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton.
"This is getting kind of silly. You know, I've been called a lot of things in my life, but I've never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney, certainly."
Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton
"When people say experience, what they're really saying is -- do you have good judgment? Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have a lot of experience, but they didn't have a lot of good judgment when it came to foreign policy. Part of what I offer is good judgment."
Sen. Barack Obama
The conservative Washington Establishment is swooning for Hillary for a reason. The reason is an accommodation with what they see as the next source of power (surprise!); and the desire to see George W. Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq legitimated and extended by a Democratic president (genuine surprise). Hillary is Bush's ticket to posterity. On Iraq, she will be his legacy. They are not that dissimilar after all: both come from royal families, who have divvied up the White House for the past couple of decades. They may oppose one another; but they respect each other as equals in the neo-monarchy that is the current presidency.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, in 1981 the Israelis took out a nuclear reactor in Iraq. On September 6th, to the best of our information, Israel attacked Syria because there was suspicion that perhaps North Korea had put some nuclear materials in Syria. If Israel concluded that Iran's nuclear capability threatened Israel's security, would Israel be justified in launching an attack on Iran?
SENATOR CLINTON: Tim, I think that's one of those hypotheticals that --
MR. RUSSERT: It is not a hypothetical, Senator. It's real life.
SENATOR CLINTON: -- that is better not addressed at this time.
MR. RUSSERT: It's real --
SENATOR CLINTON: What is real life is what apparently happened in Syria, so let's take that one step at a time. MR. RUSSERT: But my question --
SENATOR CLINTON: I know what the question is.
MR. RUSSERT: The question is --
SENATOR CLINTON: But I think it's important to lay out what we know about Syria.
MR. RUSSERT: Would Israel -- my question is --
SEN. CLINTON: Because we don't have as much information as we wish we did. But what we think we know is that with North Korean help, both financial and technical and material, the Syrians apparently were putting together, and perhaps over some period of years, a nuclear facility, and the Israelis took it out. I strongly support that. We don't have any more information than what I have just described. It is highly classified; it is not being shared. But I don't want to go a step further and talk about what might or might not happen down the road with Iran.
MR. RUSSERT: My question was --
SEN. CLINTON: But I think it is fair to say what happened in Syria, so far as we know, I support.
MR. RUSSERT: My question is, would the Israelis be justified if they felt their security was being threatened by the presence of a nuclear presence in Iran , and they decided to take military action? Would they be justified?
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, Tim, I'm not going to answer that because what I understand is that --
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, would you be in favor of saying to the American people, "I'm going to tax your income. I'm not going to cap at $97,500. Everyone, even if you're a millionaire, is going to pay Social Security tax on every cent they make"?
SEN. CLINTON: Well, Tim, let me tell you what I think about this because I know this is a particular concern of yours, but I want to make three points very briefly. First, I do think that it's important to talk about fiscal responsibility. You know, when my husband left office after moving us toward a balanced budget and a surplus, we had a plan to make Social Security solvent until 2055. Now, because of the return to deficits, we've lost 14 years of solvency. It's now projected to be solvent until 2041. Getting back on a path of fiscal responsibility is absolutely essential. Number two, I think we do need another bipartisan process. You described what happened in '83. It took presidential leadership, and it took the relationship between the White House and Capitol Hill to reach the kind of resolution that was discussed. And I think that has to be what happens again, but with a president who is dedicated to Social Security, unlike our current president, who has never liked Social Security. You can go back and see when he first ran for Congress he was dissing Social Security. So when I'm president, I will do everything to protect and preserve Social Security so we can have that kind of bipartisanship. And finally, then you can look in the context of fiscal responsibility and of a bipartisan compromise what else might be done. But I think if you don't put fiscal responsibility first, you're going to really make a big mistake, because we demonstrated in the '90s it had a lot to do with moving us toward solvency.
MR. RUSSERT: But you would not take lifting the cap at 97.5 off the table.
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, I take everything off the table until we move toward fiscal responsibility and before we have a bipartisan process. I don't think I should be negotiating about what I would do as president. You know, I want to see what other people come to the table with.
MR. RUSSERT: But Senator Biden said you can't grow your way out of this. And for the record, when the Clinton administration left office, Social Security was only guaranteed to 2038, not 2055.
SENATOR CLINTON: There was a plan, on the basis of the balanced budget and the surplus, to take it all the way to 2055.
MR. RUSSERT: A plan --
SENATOR CLINTON: And we know what happened. George Bush came in, went back to deficits, and has basically used the Social Security trust fund and borrowing from China --
MR. RUSSERT: But Senator --
SENATOR CLINTON: -- and other countries to pay for the war.
MR. RUSSERT: -- a simple question. A simple question. What do you put on the table? What are you willing to look at to say, "We're not going to double the taxes, we're not going to cut benefits in half; I'm willing to put everything on the table, some things on the table, nothing on the table"?
SENATOR CLINTON: I'm not putting anything on the proverbial table until we move toward fiscal responsibility. I think it's a mistake to do that.
RUSSERT: I want to turn to politics and money. Senator Clinton, as you all know, you had to turn back $850,000 in contributions from Norman Hsu because of his rather checkered past.
Again, President Clinton said this, Now, we don't have to publish all our donors for the Clinton Foundation, but if Hillary became president, I think there would questions about whether people would try to win favor by giving money to me. In light of that, do you believe that the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton library should publish all the donors who give contributions to those two entities?
CLINTON: Well, Tim, I actually co-sponsored legislation that would have sitting presidents reveal any donation to their presidential library, and I think that's a good policy.
RUSSERT: And the foundation?
CLINTON: Well, it would be the same, because that's where the library comes from.
RUSSERT: Until such legislation, would they voluntarily, the Clinton library and Clinton Foundation, make their donors public?
CLINTON: Well, you'll have to ask them.
RUSSERT: What's your recommendation?
CLINTON: Well, I don't talk about my private conversations with my husband, but I'm sure he'd be happy to consider that.
RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, what about a World Series -- Yankees and Cubs?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I've worried about that because I think, given the Cubs' record, which of course, I hope it happens, but it could very well be a sign of the coming apocalypse, were that to ever occur. It would be so out of history that you would have the Cubs versus the Yanks. Then I'd be really in trouble.
RUSSERT: But who would you be for?
CLINTON: Well, I would probably have to alternate sides.
Barely a month after Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton proposed $5,000 savings bonds for every child born in the U.S. only to get slapped around by the GOP, she has dropped the idea and claims that it was always an idea, not a proposal, and that it is off the table now.
"I will immediately move to begin bringing our troops home when I am inaugurated...[But there] may be a continuing counter-terrorism mission, which, if it still exists, will be aimed al Qaeda in Iraq. It may require combat, Special Operations Forces or some other form of that, but the vast majority of our combat troops should be out."
(H)er bold 'I will end the war' promise is an obvious exaggeration. A truer description of her position would be, 'I will do my best to end a war that I now believe to have been deeply mistaken, but the United States has many interests in the Middle East that must be protected.'
Former Sen. John Edwards has stepped up his criticism of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton this week, aiming it about her character and truthfulness as well as her substantive policies. This represents a marked change for Edwards, who, even though he has been the attack dog among the top-tier candidates, has gone after her mainly on the question of electability (as he is doing again this week, on a four-day electability tour).
Sen. Barack Obama is taking a sharper edge toward Clinton -- and her husband -- as well. Appearing on The Tonight Show on Wednesday night, Obama joined in mocking Clinton for her strategy of presenting herself as the inevitable nominee.
"Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare mission accomplished a little too soon," Obama said, to applause. "So we're -- we've got a long way to go before the first vote is cast, but we do this every year, every election. Four years ago, you know, President Howard Dean was coronated, and that didn't work out. And so really until those folks start going into the polling place, these races end up being very fluid."
Edwards, meanwhile, has been pursuing Clinton on the question of her honesty and sincerity. During a stop earlier this week, Edwards criticized Clinton for her seeming fluidity on the issues in order to win. "Instead of moving from primary mode to general election mode, why don't we have tell-the-truth mode, all the time, and not say something different one time than we say another time?" Edwards said.
"I don't like her. I don't think she's honest."
"I'm not a fan at all. She shifts a lot of her policies depending on what the question is. I don't feel her values are consistent."
"She should have stayed in Arkansas. I just don't care for her. I don't know if she follows through on what she says she's going to do. I would vote for Barack Obama. I just like his style."
"She's nothing but a fraud. She says she's going to do all sorts of things but doesn't do any of them. All she's trying to do is get people's votes."
Four Upstate New York voters
“Part of the reason that Republicans, I think, are obsessed with you, Hillary, is because that’s a fight they’re very comfortable having. It is the fight that we’ve been through since the ’90s. And part of the job of the next president is to break the gridlock and to get Democrats and independents and Republicans to start working together to solve these big problems.”
Sen. Barack Obama
By Anne E. Kornblut and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 1, 2007; A01
After a rare night of fumbles by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination rushed to maximize the damage yesterday, even as her advisers argued that the "piling on" engaged in by an all-male field of opponents will ultimately drive more female voters into her camp.
By JEFF ZELENY and MICHAEL COOPER
... former Senator John Edwards, said he would draw new distinctions with Mrs. Clinton in a speech here on Monday, raising questions with other Democrats over Iraq and Iran.
“Senator Clinton is voting like a hawk in Washington, while talking like a dove in Iowa and New Hampshire,” Mr. Edwards plans to say, according to excerpts of a speech provided by his campaign. “We only need one mode from our president: tell-the-truth mode all the time.”
“She hasn’t accomplished anything on her own since getting admitted to Yale Law. She isn’t Dianne Feinstein, who spent years as mayor of San Francisco before becoming a senator, or Nancy Pelosi, who became Madam Speaker on the strength of her political abilities. All Hillary is, is Mrs. Clinton. She became a partner at the Rose Law Firm because of that, senator of New York because of that, and (heaven help us) she could become president because of that.”
Joan Di Cola, a Boston lawyer
JUST 24 hours after Hillary Clinton mowed down a skeptical Katie Couric with her certitude that she would win the Democratic nomination — “It will be me!” — her husband showed exactly how she could lose it.
By telling an Iowa audience on Tuesday night that he had opposed the Iraq war “from the beginning,” Bill Clinton committed a double pratfall. Not only did he refocus attention on his wife’s most hazardous issue, Iraq, just as it was receding as the nation’s Topic A, but he also revived unhappy memories of the truth-dodging nadirs of the Clinton White House.
By PATRICK HEALY
As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled her that she threw up afterward.
Iraq’s Prime Minister was staring into the abyss today after his operation to crush militia strongholds in Basra stalled, members of his own security forces defected and district after district of his own capital fell to Shia militia gunmen.
Mr al-Maliki has gambled everything on the success of Operation Saulat al-Fursan, or Charge of the Knights, to sweep illegal militias out of Basra.
"Prime Minister Maliki's bold decision, and it was a bold decision, to go after the illegal groups in Basra shows his leadership and his commitment to enforce the law in an even-handed manner," Mr Bush said. "It also shows the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge."
If the Iraqi forces fail to stamp out the powerful militias, however, and Iraq sinks into a new bout of in-fighting, Mr Bush’s troops and British forces may be forced to weigh in, sparking a new round of blood-letting ahead of US elections and scuttling British plans for an early withdrawal from Iraq.
"Right now, among all the primary states, believe it or not, Hillary's only 16 votes behind in pledged delegates," said Bill Clinton, "and she's gonna wind up with the lead in the popular vote in the primary states. She's gonna wind up with the lead in the delegates [from primary states]."
The subject of GWOT is a perfect study in "The Blind Men and the Elephant." It depends who describes it blindfolded. First of all "GWOT" sounds like someone attempting to clear his throat. And it is a misnomer in several ways:
Global -- there may be a number of terrorist cells and a larger number of virtual jihad groups, but that does not mean they are everywhere around the globe. It would be like the blind man trying to describe the elephant as a wall, or trying to figure out how big the elephant is by trying to embrace the animal. "Global" is to big to get your arms around.
War -- a nation cannot fight a true "war" against the tactic of terrorist acts. It would be like the blind man holding on to the tail trying to describe the elephant as similar to a rope. A coiled rope looks as if it has no beginning or end; it goes on forever.
On -- meaning against, pertaining to, or about is not an accurate description of the various wars we are currently waging. It would be like the blind man holding on to the elephant's leg, describing it as like the trunk of a tree. This war ON terror is like saying the tree trunk is on its branches. It does not work that way.
Terror -- The term terrorism is carrying out an act of violence, against an individual or group, in order to terrorize, to immobilize the victims(s). It would be like the blind man holding the elephant's trunk and describing an elephant as like a snake. Because an elephant acts to coil its trunk does not mean that a trunk is a venomous thing.
Simply put the United States went to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and it went to war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Troops and guns and bombs relate to war. It may feel like war but it need not be described that way, just because we happen to be in two wars at the moment. Neither airline security gates, border crossing kiosks, Coast Guard patrol boats, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, nor the consolidation of 16 agencies into one HSA, relate to war. These are defensive or protective tactics, not even rising to the level of a strategy. We do not have a coherent strategy to fight the acts of radical jihadis. We are still too blind to see what what this big thing looks like.
Briefly, Terrorism, is more understandable than one would think, given the propaganda surrounding the term. The Washington Note's Steve Clemons spotlights a moderate Republican businessman's thought provoking essay on Terrorism:
Richard Vague, a businessman who became distressed by the course the U.S. was on and its misapplication of power and resources in the inaptly named war on terror, wrote a set of New America Foundation essays titled, "Terrorism: A Brief for Americans."There is a very interesting discussion of Osama bin Laden and others going on at Project Lucidity, "Bin Laden's Al Qaeda vs. Sunni Insurgency in Iraq," in which I have been a participant. Many of the comments are about describing of what we are talking, what is the reality of the threat, and how do so-called terrorists think. What drives them -- and us -- in this conflict. Some very smart people are teaching me some things I did not know until recently. The thread is worth the read.
This brief was designed for those casually interested in the affairs of Washington -- businessmen, primarily -- who have other things going on in their lives and don't realize how the US economy and America's own moral credibility were being quickly undermined by the war in Iraq and our collectively bad national security decisions.
New America Foundation: A Report from American Respect
Terrorism: A Brief for Americans
The Scope, Causes, and Means for Reducing Terrorism, Including Commentary on Iraq
Richard W. Vague
American Respect | February 2007
(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)
I understand people here want us to leave, regardless of the situation, but that will not happen so long as I'm Commander-In-Chief.
"[A] very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,"
With the United States providing air cover and embedded advisers, the Iraqi government on Wednesday expanded its offensive against Shiite Muslim militias from the port city of Basra to the capital of Baghdad — and many of the provinces in between.
The day saw street battles in Baghdad and Basra, mortar attacks by Shiite rebels against Baghdad's Green Zone, bombing by U.S. aircraft and encounters that left government tanks in flames. More than 97 people were reported killed and hundreds were wounded since the operation began early Tuesday.
In Baghdad, at least nine Iraqi civilians were killed and 42 were wounded in mortar attacks, police said. The Mahdi Army, loyal to firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, opened fire on civilians in downtown Baghdad and clashed with Iraqi security forces in Kadhemiya in north Baghdad.
In Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City neighborhood, clashes between the Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces supported by U.S. forces left at least 20 dead and 115 were injured. By early afternoon, people took to the streets in protest of the Iraqi government.
Mortar rounds crashed into the heavily fortified Green Zone for the third straight day, injuring three U.S. government employees, all U.S. citizens, said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo.
Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who's directing the operation from Basra, gave the armed groups 72 hours to give up their weapons and surrender without consequences, warning that they'd be treated as outlaws if they didn't.
But al Sadr demanded that Maliki leave Basra and send a parliamentary delegation to hold a dialogue. Maliki immediately rebuffed the demand.
Maliki appears to be taking a huge risk in confronting the volatile city, which is dominated by the Mahdi Army.
There were growing signs that Sadr's cease-fire, which he declared in August and renewed in February, was unraveling. The cease-fire is one of the principal reasons for the downturn in violence and U.S. troop deaths this year.
Today's WaPo "Style" section has a profile of hipster McCain offspring Meghan that's highly amusing and at times dangerously candid. For instance:She carries five pairs of shoes around with her and has, she says, "the biggest suitcase on the trail."
"He's nicknamed 'Mr. Lee,'" [friend Shannon] Bae says of that suitcase. "That's her Chinese manservant."
The 23-year-old McCain immediately assures the reporter that she "didn't create" the nickname and doesn't like it. Still, can you imagine what kind of furious shit storm would have arisen if Chelsea Clinton or a Bush twin had been toting similarly named luggage?
March 25, 2008—New satellite images reveal what scientists call the "runaway" collapse of an enormous ice shelf in Antarctica as the result of global warming.Keep in mind that it's nearly "autumn" in the southern hemisphere, and so there might be some firming up of this ice before long.
The chunk of coastal ice was some 160 square miles (415 square kilometers) in area—about seven times the size of Manhattan.
The shelf's rapid collapse began on February 28 (see image sequence at top right), sending a giant swath of broken ice into the sea—as seen in the bottom image, which shows a 2-mile-wide (3.2-kilometer-wide) area.
This happened at the "Live for Sderot" concert at the Wilshire Theatre on Feb 27. All three presidential candidates appeared on screen to deliver a videotaped statement of support for the Israelis undergoing a brutal campaign of terror in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.
Sen. Hillary Clinton appeared first, spoke clearly and decisively and received a smattering of applause. Then you came on. The crowd jeered throughout your brief statement and booed and hissed at the end of it. I didn't have the opposite of an applause meter with me, but I'd say the reaction hit a low point when you said we must all look forward to a day when "Israeli and Palestinian children can live in peace."
Jimmy Delshad, the Persian Jewish mayor of Beverly Hills, bristled. "Palestinian?" he told me. "It's like he has to throw that in our face."
Then Sen. John McCain appeared on screen, and the place exploded. Applause, cheers, standing ovations. McCain spoke with utter conviction of Israel's right to live in peace, and when he was through, even more cheers.
That brief audition was as clear a demonstration as any of something I've noticed happening over the last few months: the giant sucking sound of Jewish support for the leading Democratic candidate.
There a couple of things that could be noted here, particularly that the type of Jew that is engaged enough to attend a "Live for Sderot" concert might differ from the average. That being said, I actually have a friend who is from Sderot (a border town under consistent rocket attack from the Gaza Strip), and I certainly think that Jews (and human beings) of all political stripes have an obligation to stand for its security and the safety of its inhabitants.
But booing peace for Palestinian children? "Bristling" when their lives, too, are brought up? Claiming that it is something that he "threw in your face"? It's sickening. For that is the dream, isn't it? We can disagree over how to get there and what needs to be done, we can be adamant (correctly) that Israel's security must be maintained. But the end of this trip has to be a world where Israeli and Palestinian children live in peace. One in which either has peace, but the other has fear and strife, is no world I wish to live in.
Then there is the lack of a track record. Yes, you received a perfect score from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. You have longtime Jewish supporters, some of whom, like campaign manager David Axelrod, have been integral to your campaign. Your record on Israel and other Jewish issues is solid -- but not long. "We know Hillary; we know McCain," a Washington pro-Israel activist told me last week. "Obama -- we don't know him."
With Israel facing Hamas to the south, Hezbollah to the north and Iranian nukes further east, it's hard to blame Jews for being hesitant to cast their lot with an unknown. Finally, there is what Carroll calls the "kishkas factor," the lingering question among less partisan Jews whether you feel for Israel in your guts, or kishkas.