Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary ready to drink the Obama Kool-Aid...

By Creature

...but can she convince her supporters to take a swig too.

Stay tuned.

Update: As an Obama supporter I am satisfied. And, maybe for the first time, I am inspired by Senator Clinton. As I said upon hearing she was ending her campaign: Thank you, Senator. "Yes we can."

Update II: The speech still wasn't enough for some of Senator Clinton's supporters. I'm reading through the comments at Taylor Marsh and their mantra still holds [and I paraphrase]: "Obama, the thug, will never get my vote. We've been robbed." I guess I'll never understand.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Craziest Republican of the Day: (McCain policy advisor) Douglas Holtz-Eakin

By Michael J.W. Stickings

For claiming that Obama would be like Bush, in that his budget "is dedicated to the recent Bush tradition of spending money on everything." -- that, like Bush, Obama is fiscally irresponsible, and that an Obama presidency would be, fiscally speaking, just like the Bush presidency.

Hilarious, eh?

Think Progress guest bloggers James Kvaal and Robert Gordon of the Center for American Progress respond:

Obama also has expensive proposals, such as his health care coverage plan and middle-class tax cuts. But he is clear where the money is coming from: higher taxes on high-income families, ending the war in Iraq, selling the right to emit greenhouse gases, and cutting subsidies to oil and gas companies, health insurers, drug companies, and the student loan industry.

That's why the Wall Street Journal concluded that Barack Obama's budget "adds up, probably." But McCain's plan, it concluded, "would either cause the federal deficit to explode or would require unprecedented spending cuts."

McCain, of course, will stress his differences from one of the worst and most unpopular presidents of all time, but it is clear that in the most important respects he is either like Bush or worse than Bush. Take foreign policy, for example, where, as Slate's Fred Kaplan recently pointed out, he is much more of a neocon than Bush ever was.

And, in terms of fiscal policy, it is McCain (who has admitted that he doesn't understand economics), not Obama (who certainly understands that fiscal responsibility requires budgetary trade-offs), who would carry on the disastrous traditions of the Bush presidency.

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Trouble for November

By Carl

Apparently, Obama had better sew up the wounds he has inflicted on the Democratic party and quickly, if
this polling data is accurate:

Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters have a favorable opinion of Obama while 42% offer a negative assessment. Thirty-two percent (32%) have a Very Favorable opinion, 28% Very Unfavorable.

McCain is viewed favorably by 55% of voters nationwide and unfavorably by 43%. Those figures include 18% with a Very Favorable opinion of the Republican hopeful and 20% with a Very Unfavorable opinion.

Two candidates with similar favorable/unfavorable percentages. Shouldn't be too hard, but take a look at the divided support for Obama. His support is highly polarized, meaning that he could conceivably lose 28% of the voters who simply don't like him much, and that would leave him only 14% who would hold their noses and vote for him. McCain, who has been portrayed as a man out of touch with his party and a grudgingly accepted candidate, actually has a better chance of holding onto his support than Obama, the "uniter", does.

In other words, McCain's campaign strategy is pretty clear cut: he merely has to not make any major errors, while reaching out to working class Americans (whom I presume make up the lion's share of that bottm 28%). Obama, whose primary campaign was rife with missteps and faux pas ("you're likable enough," being only the first of many, and you wonder how his comments later in the campaign about working class white voters will play in states that had already voted prior to Pennsylvania). McCain's base actually looks safer than Obama's right now.

Obama's strategy is a bit trickier: he's going to have to run as a populist without running as a liberal. But not running as a liberal might piss off some of the top 32%, the college educated progressives who believe his mantra that the change we need is us.

Today's presumed announcement from Hillary Clinton will likely firm up his bottom numbers, lowering his unfavorables, but I wonder how much effect it's going to have on that bottom 28%? That extremity sounds like it's going to need a bit more convincing than a concession speech.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Hillary's racist strategy?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

For now, this is just one New Jersey superdelegate's word, but... well, you never know. Here's The Star-Ledger with the gory details:

A Democratic superdelegate from New Jersey said this week he is worried that unifying the party behind Barack Obama may be difficult because the Clinton camp "has engaged in some very divisive tactics and rhetoric it should not have."

U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, who supported Hillary Clinton throughout the primary season, disclosed he received a phone call shortly before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary from a top member of Clinton's organization and that the caller explicitly discussed a strategy of winning over Jewish voters by exploiting tensions between Jews and African-Americans.

"There have been signals coming out of the Clinton campaign that have racial overtones that indeed disturb me," Andrews said at his campaign headquarters in Cherry Hill Tuesday night after he lost his bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.

"Frankly, I had a private conversation with a high-ranking person in the campaign ... that used a racial line of argument that I found very disconcerting. It was extremely disconcerting given the rank of this person. It was very disturbing."

So it's actually the word of a pro-Clinton New Jersey superdelegate. And so I think the word carries some credibility.

And it makes sense, doesn't it? That is, that Hillary -- or, more specifically, the Clinton campaign -- would have employed this sort of strategy in its "kitchen sink" effort to take down Obama. (Anything to win, even at great risk to the Democratic Party. Thanks for everything, Hillary.)

Let's see if this story goes anywhere -- and if more credible witnesses emerge to confirm Andrews's allegations.


It may be somewhat presumptuous -- again, let's see if there's more to the story -- but I would tend to agree with Steven D over at Booman Tribune: "Obviously he's coming out now because his support for Clinton didn't help him win the primary and so he no longer has any reason to fear payback. And just as obviously it would have been a much more courageous move to disclose this call back when it happened in April, rather than now in June, when the race is over and it serves little point. Still, it demonstrates that Obama supporters were not delusional about all the racial crap coming from the Clinton camp. This is simply more proof that the tale being told among Clinton supporters that Obama was the one who played the 'race card' was as false as every other spurious charge they have slung at him and Michelle."

And with Ron Chusid over at Liberal Values: "The strategy, like so much of what Hillary Clinton did during the campaign, was what we would expect from a Lee Atwater or Karl Rove, not a Democrat.

(For more, see Jack and Jill Politics.)

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Presidential candidates switch seats this week

By Carol Gee

The Democratic Party's campaign has come to an ending and a beginning during the past few days. This momentous week that is now coming to a close. Saturday will mark the official end of Senator Hillary Clinton's historic bid for the U.S. presidency. The presidential election will be contested from now until November by Senators Obama and McCain.

What do we know? We know an awful lot. A search on "obama" in my Bloglines aggregator returned 3, 155,000 posts. leads with the best and most prominent current info about the changes with the Democratic campaign. The news that Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had a meeting somewhere in Washington, D.C. Thursday night was the most intriguing. The New York Times reported much of what is known about the event, headlining "Clinton meets with Obama, and the rest is secret." To quote the story's conclusion:

Finally, as Mr. Obama was headed back to Chicago on a private plane and Mrs. Clinton had returned to her home, another rarity took place. A joint statement was issued by representatives of the two senators, but sent out by Mr. Obama’s staff. Those words, perhaps, were the first cooperative undertaking since the presidential race began six seasons ago.

“Senator Clinton and Senator Obama met tonight and had a productive discussion about the important work that needs to be done to succeed in November,” the statement said.

Mrs. Clinton’s farewell from the race comes Saturday. When she offers her endorsement, Mr. Obama said he intends to be in Chicago with his family. Unless, of course, he isn’t.

Because Obama and Clinton were clever, the media did not see their secret meeting coming until it was well underway. Many of us get a secret kick out of the mainstream media sputtering away about failure to disclose, etc. But I got an even bigger kick out of this little gem from Firedoglake (6/5/08) - "We Should've Seen This Coming," by Blue Texan. The clever short post cascades a number of mostly Republican quotes (Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, Dick Morris, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush) on how Hillary Clinton was going to win the nomination. To quote the blogger's conclusion: "I predict that Republicans will continue to be wrong about everything."

My favorite conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish at The Atlantic (6/6/08) writes an interesting blurb about -"Obama The Post-Boomer." Sullivan has often been right on point with his posts. This short piece focuses on the important generational differences between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and between Obama and John McCain.

We know a bit about how Obama's win is viewed by people in other nations. Aljazeera reports that he is "the favourite global candidate." Philip Stephens says in The Financial Times that "the world wants a vote in an epic presidential contest." Matt Frei of the BBC News says that "Obama now has a mountain to climb." This neat little story comes from a post at Make it stop! Make it Stop (5/31/08) - "Obamacan Bridging," by Bucarooskidoo. To quote:

. . . I have been overseas . . . I did see convincing evidence that Barack Obama is not just a candidate for US President, he is now a worldwide cultural megastar.

In virtually every major city in Europe and Asia, Americans and locals have been gathering near the big river in solidarity behind the slogan, "Yes We...SPAN!" They refer both to the bridge they are standing near or on and Barack Obama, who first coined the term "yes we CAN." Both groups see Obama playing the same role as the bridge does, i.e. linking peoples, providing a means of transition, just bridging the gap generally. In Hungary, they gathered on the famous Chain Bridge, built in the l830s to link Buda and Pest and launch Hungary into a new, dynamic era; in London, it was the bridge between St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tate modern art gallery, the symbolism unmistakable. There were similar gatherings in Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Strasbourg, basically anywhere there is a river and bridges. I have never seen anything quite like it in a Presidential campaign.

It got me to wondering whether Obama is even bigger abroad than he has ever been here, where he is a any case, a bona fide extravaganza, an Event, a human Happening!

As of this moment Barack Obama has moved into the driver's seat of the Democratic campaign. And Hillary Clinton is going to have to learn how to ride in the back seat without getting carsick. So far it has not been an easy switch for this amazing and gutsy candidate, who still has much to give to the nation.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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The conquest of nature and the destruction of Papua New Guinea's rainforests

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From the BBC:

High-resolution satellite images have revealed the "rapid deforestation" of Papua New Guinea's biodiversity rich rainforests over the past 30 years.

An international team of researchers estimates that the current rate of loss could result in more than half of the
nation's tree cover being lost by 2021.

They added that the main threats came from commercial logging and burning.

Existing conservation measures were failing to protect the world's third largest rainforest, the team concluded.

Commercial logging and burning. In other words, human beings and their seemingly bottomless reservoir of greed.

As much as individual liberty, the conquest of nature -- the effort to impose our will on it, not (as the ancients prescribed) to live harmoniously with it (and within its limits) -- very much defines the modern project as set in motion by the likes of Machiavelli (see his famous discussion of fortune/nature, and how to oppose it, in Chap. 25 of The Prince), and, however postmodern we have become, we are still very much the heirs to that tradition.

But this conquest -- so powerfully articulated by Locke in Chap. 5 of his Second Treatise, "Of Property" -- was meant to serve the development of civilization, both individual and social progress, and, to that end, it has been enormously successful. (Who among us genuinely wants to return to pre-modern "nature"?)

The conquest continues, and much of it is conducted more responsibly than ever before (consider the rise of "green" politics in recent years, as well as much greater environmental stewardship in the private sector), but, obviously, some of it is continues to be both destructive (of the natural environment) and self-destructive (of our planet and ourselves).

The willful and irresponsible human conquest of the world's third-largest rainforest is both destructive and self-destructive. It is bad enough, in and of itself, that such a significant and intrinsically valuable component of our biosphere is being destroyed. What makes it worse is that rainforests -- and there aren't that many of them -- are incredibly valuable both to our planet and to ourselves. Consider what plants and animals have yet to be discovered. Consider what we can still learn from rainforests, what contributions they can still make to what we would like to call civilization. And yet we are destroying at a rapid pace, and all for short-term financial profit.

What ignorant beasts we truly are.


Machiavelli: "And I liken her [fortune] to one of those violent rivers which, then they become enraged, flood the plains, ruin the trees and the buildings, lift earth from this part, drop in another; each person flees before them, everyone yields to their impetus without being able to hinder them in any regard. And although they are like this, it is not as if men, when times are quiet, could not provide for them with dikes and dams so that when they rise later, either they go by a canal or their impetus is neither so wanton nor so damaging. It happens similarly with fortune, which demonstrates her power where virtue has not been put in order to resist her and therefore turns her impetus where she knows the dams and dikes have not been made to contain her."

Locke: "From all which it is evident, that though the things of Nature are given in common, man (by being master of himself, and proprietor of his own person, and the actions or labour of it) had still in himself the great foundation of property; and that which made up the great part of what he applied to the support or comfort of his being, when invention and arts had improved the conveniences of life, was perfectly his own, and did not belong in common to others... And thus, I think, it is very easy to conceive, without any difficulty, how labour could at first begin a title of property in the common things of Nature, and how the spending it upon our uses bounded it."

Note that, for Machiavelli, the conquest of nature is virtue. For Locke, it is what defines civilization.

What we know now is that it may also destroy both civilization and nature itself.

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Geraldine Ferraro is the funniest woman in America

By Michael J.W. Stickings

She thinks Obama, or at least his fundraisers, should pay off Hillary's campaign debt, which currently stands at more than $19 million.

Ha. Very funny.


Wait... what? She's serious? Really?


Oh. Well, that's not funny at all, is it?

Nope, not at all.


Seriously, how is it Obama's responsibility to pay off Hillary's debt? It's not his fault that she can't pay her bills (including staff salaries), or at least would need to raise a lot more money to pay them.

We've already learned that Ferraro is something of a racist. Now it just seems she's a complete wacko.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

A lesson in heteronormativity

By LindaBeth

From (not to mention a slew of radio talk shows!):

Lesbian kisses at game ignite Seattle debate

The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman nearby who said that there were kids in the crowd of nearly 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.


The code of conduct -- announced before each game -- specifically mentions public displays of affection that are "not appropriate in a public, family setting." Hale said those standards are based on what a "reasonable person" would find inappropriate.


"I would be uncomfortable" seeing public displays of affection between lesbians or gay men, said Jim Ridneour, a 54-year-old taxi driver. "I don't think it's right seeing women kissing in public. If I had my family there, I'd have to explain what's going on."

This is the very definition of heteronormativity. This is the kind of thing Queer Nation used its performances/demonstrations to point out. It is not just a double standard but it's evidence that "acceptance" of queer people does not mean social equality and that "acceptance" does not mean that we have by any means had any sort of self-reflexive pondering of what sexuality means and about assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality.

Why do we have to "explain" queer sexuality? Shouldn't we need to "explain" any sexuality? Is it really time to pull out the Heterosexual Questionnaire to point out the lunacy of Jim Ridneour's statement?

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?

3. Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?


7. Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyle?

8. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be what you are and keep it quiet?


12. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?

The absolute invisibility of queer individuals in popular culture except as a niche market, or the 'gay' friend, or the coming of age sexual ambiguity, or the stereotype (butch/femme, 'queens') -- all which lead to a kind of erasure of all sorts of queer people -- is part of what feeds this. I have been noticing lately how sex or desirability is everywhere in advertising (of course it has been predominate for a while, but now, I don't know if I'm just watching more cable TV or what), and it's always put in terms of heterosexual desire/coupling/attraction. It's as if queer people don't exist, don't buy products, or only watch Logo!

And addressing number 12 on the Het Questionnaire, I can't help but mention this recent bit of news that irked me big-time. One Xbox online gamer had his gamertag "TheGayerGamer" revoked. From Lesbian Gamers:

When TheGayerGamer got a ban it was fair according to MS spokesman Stephen Toulouse because "Gamertags are visible to everyone and it would be hard for me to defend to a parent of a young child who saw it that the name did not contain content of a sexual nature."

Microsoft saw the word "gay" to be "of a sexual nature." Apparently, however, The StraightGamer, is not of a sexual nature, because the tag was tried and accepted.

In a heteronormative culture, queers are first about sex, queer affection is sexual and not "family friendly," queer sexuality is not part of "talking about" sexuality with your kids, and heterosexuality goes without saying.

And I couldn't leave this post without throwing out my favorite heteronormative-induced double-standard:

Lesbians kissing at a game out of affection? Deviant! Offensive! Threatening!

Two women kissing in a bar, 'performing' lesbian sexuality for an audience? Hot! Sexy! Desirable!

(Close runner up: bisexuality is "hot" for women (increases appeal!), not so acceptable for men.)

(Cross-posted to
Smart Like Me.)

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What leaving Iraq could do

By Carol Gee

Lawmakers talk about the way forward out of Iraq -- Leaving Iraq could mean that citizens of both countries could have a say in what eventually happens. For the very first time two leading members of the Iraqi parliament (speaking through translators) appeared at a hearing of a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Tuesday. Political science Professor Nadeem Al-Jaberi and Sheik Khalaf Al-Ulayyan, wished to be identified as Iraqis rather than Shiia and Sunni, respectively. Surprisingly in accord with many of their points of view, the two men were very impressive witnesses. Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass) chaired the panel which was only lightly attended by House Members. He said of Al-Jaberi that he had "trained a generation of Iraqi political scientists." The Sunni Sheik, Al-Ulayyan, impressive in white robe and turban, had risen to the rank of General in the Iraqi armed forces prior to the invasion.

All the lawmakers involved, both U.S. and Iraqi, will demand that any joint "status of forces" agreement be ratified by the legislators representing the peoples of each country. Leaving Iraq could mean political party realignments in both countries. There was a good deal of sentiment for waiting for such a deal until a new U.S. administration takes office. At the very least, however, the "Iraq lawmakers want U.S. forces out as part if a deal, " according to the 6/4/08 Reuters article. To quote:

A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Rep. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat and Iraq war opponent, released excerpts from a letter he was handed by Iraqi parliamentarians laying down conditions for the security pact that the Bush administration seeks with Iraq.

The proposed pact has become increasingly controversial in Iraq, where there have been protests against it. It has also drawn criticism from Democrats on the presidential election campaign trail in the United States, who say President George W. Bush is trying to dictate war policy after he leaves office.

Getting out of Iraq will mean the release of certain Iraqis from U.S. custody. Leaving Iraq could mean justice for the first time in several years for innocent men from Guantanamo and from secret prisons in Europe and around the world, who must be repatriated to their homelands. Now it turns out that our prison ships must also be part of that solution. It will be no small task. This story in The Guardian* (6/2/08) is headlined, "US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships." To quote:

The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, said: "They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.

"By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been 'through the system' since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them."

What will happen to the mercenary forces when the U.S. leaves Iraq? Leaving Iraq could break the strangle hold that private contractors have had on the U.S. military budget. The war profiteers will be forced to find other lucrative ways to make their huge profits. The following blurb from Pam's House Blend (6/2/08) explains that the private contractor Blackwater has been allowed by the U.S. government to purchase a Brazilian made fighter. The author leaves us with this natural question: "Blackwater starting its own mercenary air force for use against whom?"

Getting out of Iraq may mean a chance for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Leaving Iraq could remove one of the primary irritants -- occupation of Iraq -- to radical jihadis and oppressed people in the Middle East. The story regarding former President Jimmy Carter's long term opposition to current U.S. mid-east foreign policy is from Chris Floyd Online* (5/26/08) and headlined, "Hay Ride: Jimmy Carter Crosses the Line." To quote:

Former President Jimmy Carter had come to Hay-on-Wye for the annual literary festival, and held forth in a wide-ranging interview before a large crowd. Carter denounced the policies of the so-called "Quartet" -- the U.S., EU, UN and Russia -- which have led to the strangulation of Gaza and immense suffering to the people "imprisoned" there, in Carter's words.

We cannot yet imagine all that leaving Iraq could do. Millions of us would like to begin that imagining. But it needs to be remembered that electing Senator John McCain to the U.S. presidency would end all such dreams.

*Hat tip to betmo at life's journey for a number of these links.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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So long, Hillary, it's been a blast

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It was being reported yesterday -- by ABC News, among others -- that Hillary was set to drop out of the race, and endorse Obama, tomorrow.

It will now be Saturday, as both the Times and Post are reporting. From the former:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will endorse Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House, aides said. Her decision came after Democrats urged her Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Mr. Obama.

Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day. One adviser said Mrs. Clinton would concede defeat, congratulate Mr. Obama and proclaim him the party’s nominee, while pledging to do what was needed to assure his victory in November.

Her decision came after a day of conversations with supporters on Capitol Hill about her future now that Mr. Obama had clinched the nomination. Mrs. Clinton had, in a speech after Tuesday night’s primaries, suggested she wanted to wait before deciding about her future, but in conversations Wednesday, her aides said, she was urged to step aside.

“We pledged to support her to the end,” Representative Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate, said in an interview. “Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”

Mrs. Clinton’s decision came as some of her most prominent supporters — including former Vice President Walter F. Mondale — announced they were now backing Mr. Obama. “I was for Hillary — I wasn’t against Obama, who I think is very talented,” Mr. Mondale said. “I’m glad we made a decision and I hope we can unite our party and move forward.”

Tomes upon tomes will be written on Hillaryland by Hillarylanders, as well as by ardent Hillary- and Hillaryland- watchers, offering insider perspectives on what happened, on what went wrong, on who liked whom, and all the rest of it -- and we've seen some of it already (TNR's Michelle Cottle, one of the better Hillaryland-watchers -- and one of the most acutely critical -- offered a sentimental eulogy a couple of days ago).

But what the Times account suggests is that Hillary is only reluctantly dropping out of the race. Contra Rangel, the problem is not that we can't determine when the end is, or was, but that Hillary doesn't seem to know, or to accept, that the race is over, that it has already ended. Did she really need to be "urged to step aside"? I realize that political campaigns can be like bubbles, where the occupants lose any sort of firm grasp on reality -- much like Bush's bubble -- and it could be that Hillary had fallen under the spell of her own egotistical ambition or the delusional enthusiasm of her inner circle and most ardent supporters, or both, but it is troubling that, even at the end, it was all about herself.

Of course, it could be that it is only being spun that she needed to be "urged to step aside," perhaps in order not to look like a loser to her supporters, to indicate that she could have fought on and had the desire to do so, and, as always, to imply that she is somehow the victim of forces beyond her control.

But enough Hillary. She won't be Obama's running mate and, for now, we can take comfort in the fact that she is set to drop out of the race, endorse Obama, and call for party unity.

Let's just hope she can put aside her arrogant self-glorification -- of the sort that made her speech the other night so utterly appalling -- long enough to do Obama, and the Democratic Party, some good.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

America's moment

By Michael J.W. Stickings

In case you missed it, or want to watch it again, here's Obama's brilliant speech from St. Paul last night. HuffPo has the full text here. It gets off to a slow start, with Obama a bit flat, but it builds and builds to this awesome conclusion:

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.

America, you need Barack Obama in the White House.

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Why I think Hillary should fight on

By Carl

I'm often asked how I can support the "corporatist" candidate in the Democratic primary.

As opposed, I assume to the non-corporatist candidate who magically pulled three campaign financings out of his ass, for legislature, Senate and now President. Anyone who believes Obama isn't as beholden to corporate interests as any other candidate is fully deluding himself, but I'll get back to that in a moment.

Believe it or not, on the liberal scale, I consistently score to the left of Dennis Kucinich, so no, Hillary does not come close to representing the ideal changes I'd like to see in this nation.

But she's the strongest step in that direction.

Here's how I view political history: the cyclic nature of short-term changes is one of broad sweeps of the pendulum from one end of the spectrum to the other, extremist and ultimately unhealthy to the nation's well-being.

But like all pendulums, there are larger forces at work besides gravity: momentum, friction, and periodicity all play a part in change.

Long term, it would hard to deny that two opposing forces struggle against each other: the isolationism of effectively an island nation, bordered by only two other countries (no other major nation save Japan and Australia has fewer), and the inevitable march of time forcing us into new technologies and exposure to new ideas and cultures.

Ultimately, it is THIS battleground that I want to win a progressive agenda on, and if that means sacrificing the short term liberal agenda (which in truth, is nothing more than another group of elitists imposing their will on me), then so be it.

Now, to Obama. Run with me a little on this, it will involve some suspension of disbelief:

As a result of an unhappy circumstance, I was forced to watch
All the President's Men last night on DVD.

As I sat there watching it for the umpteenth time, discussing it with my daughter with regards to how all political campaigns involve dirty tricks and how hard it is to uncover them if they are financed and backed with a lot of money, a few tumblers clicked in my head.

In the world, as a free agent, is a man who is fully capable of executing the ultimate "rat fuck" on the Democratic party: Karl Rove.

In watching how the Watergate investigation revealed this entire netherworld of Republican operatives only too happy to do the dirty work to set up the nomination of George McGovern, it occured to me, "what if this was the scenario that played out in 2008?"

Think about it: Hillary was the nominee-presumptive in December, and despite her missteps and gaffes along the way, has garnered more votes, and certainly more Democratic votes, than any other nominee for President. Ever.

And still hasn't secured the nomination and sure looks to be a fair distance from doing so.

What if these nickle-and-dime contributions to Obama's campaign weren't from honest citizens, but were part of a larger campaign to push a different candidate for the November election, one who would be almost guaranteed to lose the important states that Democrats need to win: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Michigan?

I added those last two, mostly because in those instances we have overt evidence of Republican involvement in the Democratic campaign: both Florida and Michigan (Florida more so) moved their primaries ahead of New Hampshire and Ohio, and as such have been punished by the DNC, hampering Hillary's efforts and crippling her chances of taking the nomination on the first ballot.

The Florida initiative was promoted and passed by a Republican-controlled legislature and signed by a Republican governor.

Florida. Remember them?

The Michigan case is harder to make, as the governor is a Democrat (but an Obamist) and half of the legislature is controlled by Democrats, but that still leaves significant input from the Republicans.

Too, Obama had significant support from Republicans who crossed over to vote for him in (nominally) Democratic primaries that were open to all (which is why Hillary has a case that more Democrats voted for her than Obama, nevermind more votes, full stop.)

Indeed, at one point when it looked like Obama might knock Hillary out early on, Republicans suddenly started voting in large numbers for Hillary, primarily in Texas.

Apparently, the powers that be that would run this kind of trick didn't want to show their hand too early. They had to extend the season a bit to cover for their own candidate, whomever that might be (at that time, the race for the GOP nod was still in the air).

One more point to make before getting on to conclusions: much if not most of Obama's support comes from states which held caucuses. Caucuses are ideal places for infiltration and dirty tricks, since there's no real paper record of what transpired: you stand in a room, are counted, and then recounted until one person wins a majority.

How hard is it, particularly since caucuses tend to be open to all, for a Republican squad to dispatch posers? Not hard at all.

You think this is all unlikely, yet in 1972, there's Nixon's CREEP running a dirty tricks operation that not only had Muskie knocked out of the race on a very trumped story about him crying over the "Canuck letter" (even then, the media played lap dog to Republican politics), but ensured the weakest possible candidate would take the nomination.

So, here's the scenario: you have an uberstrong candidate, clearly unbeatable in the general election, and a really weak case to make for your own party, no matter who the candidate is (Nixon was despised in 1972, almost as much as Bush is today)

You have the media in your back pocket. No one can deny that Obama benefitted clearly from the Hillary hatred of the media...the GOP-owned media.

You have a candidate who is irresistible to liberal Democrats: a first-term Senator, African American, who espoused 6 years ago his opposition to the war and four years ago his desire to bring the country together and heal its wounds.

Let's call him the
Manichaean Candidate.

And you have a political machine that has shown its ability and propensity in the past for stealing elections (Ohio in 2004, Florida in 2000, and Austin in 1994).

In all of these, Karl Rove has played a vital role, indeed, the key role, in swiping these elections.

Would it be too hard to imagine that, given the intricate mechanics of the Watergate scandal, that Rove took a look at the environment he grew up in in the party, and saw how to improve it and to nearly bulletproof it?

Apparently not.

Now, yes, this has been a fairy tale, but....

If it turns out to be true, remember you read it here first.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Activism -- when citizens exercise leadership

By Carol Gee

What are the qualification of a Citizen Activist? It is not very easy to find a good definition. But here is an example. When Senator Barack Obama got out of law school he worked as a community organizer in Chicago, teaching people how to become citizen activists. Robert Kennedy's words below probably say it best. The Gleitsman Foundation gives awards for it, so it might be worth a try:

Citizen Activist Award

Statement of Purpose

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself;
but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and
in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."
--Robert F. Kennedy

The Gleitsman Foundation Citizen Activist Award is designed to encourage individual commitment and leadership by recognizing the exceptional achievement of people who have initiated social change. The award recognizes activist efforts in the United States to confront, challenge and correct social injustice. These individuals, because of their courage and persistence, have become leaders in efforts to change the way we live. . .

Who qualifies? Are you one already? If you are trying to change things, you probably qualify. This grieving mom became one by establishing a foundation to help stop bullying after her child committed suicide. Am I one? What you are reading here is my version of activism. "Is Scott McClellan one," I asked at Forum: Lucidity. Could you use a Citizen Activist Toolkit to become one?

Here are some examples of organized campaigns: Anti-arms trade; On Citizen Science; Overcoming Consumerism; The Daily Gotham - grassroots news for activist New Yorkers. I recommend the following article because it is so very inspiring and uplifting. It is from After Downing Street,* "A Radiant Message, Two Beautiful Forms, And The Backbone Campaign," submitted by davidswanson on Sun, 2008-05-25, by Diane Wittner, May 24 2008. Summary:

transcript from talk at
Building A New World Conference, Radford, Virginia

Progressives belong to a propositional movement
with the leaders and ideas to run the country.

. . . Some of the Conversations on developing an effective progressive movement have clarity, poignancy and a poetic quality. And a young radio producer once described some of our policy Conversations as "wonky." As an artist and writer, I was new to this kind of work, and I considered that description to be a compliment. We were indeed achieving our objective: to discover our country's diverse leaders and gather from them, in audio form, their nation-healing policy ideas.

This citizen activist uses the sheer power of the written word. I recommend this recent post from a fine writer, Deanie Mills: Military Mom: The Loneliness of Speaking the Truth on Iraq," at The Huffington Post.

Another form of activism is the use of public exposure. Read this example from Multinational Monitor* "Neither Honest Nor Trustworthy: The 10 Worst Corporations of 2007" (Nov-Dec, 2007) by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman.

When citizens exercise leadership, when they act on behalf of those in their community or their nation, things can actually change. Today is the first day of Barack Obama's national "change" campaign to become the first African-American President of the United States. In a strange way Obama is a kind of personification of citizen activism.

*Hat tip to betmo at life's journey for several of the links.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Last Super Tuesday: Montana, South Dakota, and the end of the Democratic presidential race

By Michael J.W. Stickings


Okay, let's get right to it:

8:25 pm - The media are really trying to milk this, aren't they? I know why they do it, and I know that sensationalism sells, and I know it's all about the drama of it all, however manufactured, but come on. Obama has "effectively clinched" the nomination -- it was clear well before today, but there's a new AP delegate tally -- but CNN, for example, with Wolf hyping it up in The Situation Room, is breathlessly counting down the number of delegates Obama needs to reach the magic number of 2,118. As I write this, he needs 4. It was 6, then 5, then 4, each step BREAKING NEWS, and it could change... momentarily!

8:34 pm - Honestly, there's hardly any genuine drama tonight, if any. Obama will win Montana and perhaps also South Dakota, but the race is over. For Hillary, the question isn't what to do -- drop out, that is -- but when to do it. It won't be tonight, from what Hillaryland is saying, but it will be soon, and there have been countless clues to that effect. (Over the past couple of days, I've posted at length on this here and here.)

8:39 pm - Superdelegates are surging to Obama. Said one of Hillary's more prominent supporters, Sen. Dianne Feinstein: "I think after the campaigns are wrapped up today, it is in fact a moment of truth." Even Hillary extremist Terry McAuliffe knows it's time to give in to reality.

8:43 pm - And so now the next stage of the campaign begins: Putting Hillary on the ticket as Obama's running mate. Personally, I'm against this. I may change my mind, but I don't think Obama, who stands for hope and change, needs the Clintons dragging him down. Far better for Hillary to remain in the Senate, perhaps in a leadership position.

And yet, as the AP is reporting: "[Hillary] told colleagues [today] she would consider joining [Obama] as his running mate, and advisers said she was withholding a formal departure from the race partly to use her remaining leverage to press for a spot on the ticket." Some of her supporters are pushing for a so-called "unity ticket" -- is she now pushing for it herself? Perhaps, with distance from this long and sometimes bitter race, this will begin to make more sense to me than it does now.

8:48 pm - McCain is speaking. He said some nice things about Hillary and called her a friend, and he's putting on his "I'm-such-a-serious-and-sincere-guy" voice while, as usual, reading off a teleprompter without being able to disguise it. You know, it's all about trying to come across as tough yet soft. Some people still think he's a straight-talker, but he's such a phony bullshitter -- and he's got it going tonight.

Creature here with my two cents: So, John McCain is on my TV trying to weasel in on Obama's thunder, except not. The candidate is dull and so is his audience. The contrast couldn't be more stark. I can't wait until November.

9:01 pm - And there we have it. It's over. Obama has reached the magic number. He will be the Democratic Party's nominee for president. I may object to media sensationalism, but there is no denying that this is a truly historic moment.

9:22 pm - On CNN, David Gergen, contra Jeffrey Toobin, defended McCain for reaching out to Hillary and for playing up his "A Leader You Can Believe In" creds. Nonsense. It was a horrible speech. (Why am I watching CNN? It's my default cable news network. I suppose I'll turn to MSNBC later. But that means Chris Matthews. So perhaps not.)

9:26 pm - Hillary's up soon, but on to more pressing news: Jays 3, Yankees 2. (The Jays, my favourite team, have exceptional pitching this year, and their ace, Roy Halladay, is on the mound tonight. It's just too bad they can't hit. And as for the Yanks, they're not even over .500. And tonight was the formal Deification of Joba Chamberlain, his first start in the majors. He settled down after a rough first inning, but, honestly, what does it say about the '08 version of the Pinstripes that the team's hopes and dreams seem to be resting on the untested arm of a second-year quasi-phenom?)

9:33 pm - Okay, here's Hillary...

9:57 pm - Creature here with my two cents: Senator Clinton is on my TV still making her case. I just don't get it. I really don't. I respect the historic nature of her candidacy, but she is offering false hope. She says the word unity, but she is offering none.

Ted, via text message, adds: "Clinton just said 'she won't be making a decision tonight.' She's like a bad rash."

I guess it's all about the VP slot, but seriously why should he offer when she won't even acknowledge his win. I say Obama should adopt her health care plan and let's all move on.

11:31 pm -- MJWS back again. Sorry for the delay.

Creature and Ted put it well. What an appalling speech. Early on, I was thinking how appealing she can be when she's positive. When she was talking about what she wants, I was reminded of why I once liked her, and I understood, in a way, why so many people like her still.

But the rest of the speech... again, appalling. Look, I get it. She wanted to stay in the race to the very end, or at least through all the contests, until Obama reached the magic number. And she has. And he has. And it's over. And yet there she was, arrogance and egotism to the max, stressing her version of the popular vote totals, talking up her alleged experience, and, campaigning. In other words, her speech was all self-glorification -- specifically, self-glorification in the wake of unacknowledged defeat. Its sole purpose, it seemed, was to keep up the fight, or at least the facade of a fight. And that meant continuing to diminish Obama, just as she has done all along. On CNN, Gergen noted that the night would have been so much grander for Obama had Hillary come out and endorsed him. But of course that was never to be. This is Hillary we're talking about, and it was, as always, and despite her bullshit about how this was all about "you," about herself.

And so she didn't concede. Instead, she kept up the campaign rhetoric. No, it wasn't as negative as it has been in the past, but the message was clear: I'm the best and I deserve to win. In other words: Obama's win is a huge mistake. Those who voted for him are wrong. For fuck's sake, the self-glorifying song that was played when she finished was Tina Turner's "Simply the Best." How utterly arrogant and egotistical is that?

And what will she do now? She'll talk to party leaders about where to go from here. Really? Here's some advice: Get the fuck out of the race! It's over.

11:48 pm - The contrast between Hillary and Obama could not have been clearer tonight. His speech -- delivered to more than 17,000 people in St. Paul, Minnesota -- was simply awesome, one of the best I've heard him give in a long time. He was generous in his praise of Hillary -- so much so that I was again remainded of why I once liked her. He didn't talk much about himself, but he was gracious in victory, reaching out to Hillary and her supporters, and to Democrats generally, as well as to independents and disgruntled Republicans, effectively beginning the general election campaign with a fair and tough critique of John McCain, the Republican Party, and their deranged and destructive policies, and conclusing with an inspirational yet substantial appeal to the very best of the American spirit.

Simply put, I am in awe of Barack Obama.

11:59 pm - I couldn't agree more with Andrew Sullivan: "The speech tonight was a remarkable one for a candidate who has lost the nomination, though not remarkable for a Clinton. It was an assertion that she had won the nomination and a refusal to concede anything to her opponent. Classless, graceless, shameless, relentless. Pure Clinton... She will not go away. The Clintons will never go away. And they will do all they can to cripple any Democrat who tries to replace them. In the tent or out of it, it is always about them. And they are no longer rivals to Obama; they are threats."

And that's what she did tonight: In a speech that was all self-glorification -- arrogant, egotistical, delusional -- she threatened to keep on fighting even in defeat (not that she accepts defeat). And she wants her supporters not to rally behind Obama, not to work to unite a party that she has done so much to divide, but to keep fighting with her.

Like I said, appalling.

1:30 am - Let's get to the results before signing off for the night:

-- South Dakota: Hillary 55-45 (almost all precincts reporting).

-- Montana: Obama 58-40 (64 percent of precincts reporting).

No surprise in Montana, but the South Dakota result is a bit of one. I must admit, I wasn't paying much attention to the polls, but, then, there weren't many polls. Hillary campaigned there aggressively, but I thought Obama's connections to former Sen. Tom Daschle would have given him enough of a boost to win. In both states, though, it looks like turnout was really low.

1:34 am - So that's it for the primaries. It's been fun, eh? Well, no, that's not the right word for it. But it's certainly been exciting for us political junkies -- and especially for us Obama supporters.

What remains to be seen is what Hillary does now. I suspect that despite tonight's bluster she'll bow out soon enough, likely in the days ahead.

Regardless, the general election campaign has begun. And we'll be there to follow it.

(Oh, and by the way, the Jays can hit... sometimes. They scored 6 in the 7th en route to a 9-3 thrashing of the Yanks.)

Good night, everyone.

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More than the sum of her parts: AfterEllen's "Hot 100" list

By LindaBeth

I hate "Hot Lists." I hate the idea of them. Someday I will rant on them. Not today., a website about lesbian and bisexual women in entertainment, publishes an annual Hot List. When I first started reading their site, I had noticed they had one. I checked it out, hoping that it would not just be a replication of the uni-dimensional hot-at-the-moment-until-they're-prego-or-passe' of most Hot Lists. It was not. I was pleased.

So let me qualify my first sentence:

I hate (most) Hot Lists, especially the one's put out by lad-mags and their ilk. I hate the idea of them, which not only sees 'hot' in the narrowest of senses, but also they're 'hot' because these women are overwhelmingly (with token exceptions) the flavor of the moment, and it also seems to favor women who participate in the culture of 'posing.'

(Not for nothing, but the exposure-no pun intended-that women with little professional accomplishment are able to garner in the media by simply being young and pretty and thin is incredible! They are paraded around for having a nice face and/or body-and being willing to display it-but having little talent. This happens in a way completely unlike men who are in the same position-those small time accomplishments or poor acting ability but are incredibly good looking. Men definitely have it harder in this way. But women pay for our quick and easy value as eye candy with appallingly few strong female roles, and with the near-impossible task of being a successful actress or performer without participating in posing culture. I couldn't even make a men's parallel list to Maxim's 100 even if I tried!)

So AfterEllen just released their Hot 100 of 2008:

A few non-surprises? The woman who made Maxim's 100th spot, Tila Tequila, wasn't even close to making our list, and their number-one choice, swimsuit model Marisa Miller, barely received any votes from readers. In fact, just like last year, only two of Maxim's top 10 showed up anywhere on our list.
Other stats about this year's list? There are 18 women of color — a definite improvement over last year — and 21 openly gay/bi women on the list (seven of whom are vloggers), which is more than double the number on last year's list.
Our list includes women from all over the world — from countries as diverse as Canada, England, France, India, Mexico, Norway, and Spain — and women who vary in age from 18 to 57 years old. Although the vast majority of women on the list are actors or TV personalities, there are some musicians this year, as well as a few writers, a chef, and an athlete.

Diversity is valued, age isn't a barrier, and when you look at the kind of women that queer women find hot, you'll quickly understand why there are few cross-overs with the lad-mags. Queer women clearly value flat, physical beauty (although their idea of beauty is not the narrow version purported by most lad-mags). But they also value talent, wit, humor, intelligence, success, not as separate from but as part of what makes women hot. It's a little different from another counter-hot list: the excellent non-celebrity The Real Hot 100, where smart=hot and physical beauty has nothing to do with it. AfterEllen's list seems to embrace physical beauty, alongside and equal to other aspects of women's personhood. Beauty is part of being human, but unlike other Hot Lists, AfterEllen readers seem less apt to value women who are only beautiful but as people seem less-than-interesting. And I find this really fascinating.

I also love the photos they use to illustrate their list -- no lingerie here!

And I love this part:

The following pages provide photos for all 100 women in ascending order according to your votes, with some further details provided about the first 25. We've also linked each woman's name to other articles about her on, in case you want to do some more reading about them, and we've listed each woman's rank on the 2007 list below her name.

Imagine that! "Hot" women aren't just for looking at-their 'hotness' isn't simply based on their measurements, so they're actually people you would want to read up on!

The thing is, I think beauty is wonderful. But a hell of a lot of women are beautiful, celebrities and peers alike. Honestly, I don't think beauty alone is all that 'special.' Put most of the women I know on the cover of a magazine with the kind of lights, makeup, and photoshopping that goes into a celeb or model photo shoot (and especially add in personal training and wealth needed for complicated beauty regiments), and they're just as 'hot' as the women on there each month. Hot lists that are only about physical hotness are pointless and are more about selling magazines by reiterating the importance of the people (well, really women)-of-the moment.

AfterEllen's list? There's more going on here and I'm liking their idea of "hot" and the context they view it in.

(Cross-posted to Smart Like Me.)

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Will the leaders in Congress stand up, please.

By Carol Gee

Today's the very last set of Democratic primaries to be held this year. And aren't we relieved! After South Dakota and Montana voters make their choices, as they have every right to do, the country can move into its next phase. As it has turned out, the highest ranking Democrats in the party serve in Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) will step into action in the next few hours, urging their party super delegate senators and representatives to announce their candidate preferences. The three presidential candidates are senators. Holding even lower public approval ratings than our already thoroughly discredited current president, their leadership will be essential to victory for Democrats in November. Today's post offers a few news items regarding what is happening in this Congress. From this (6/3/08) story explains: "Super Delegates predict quick primary end." To quote:

As the Democratic nomination marathon neared a potential finish line, key senators said the results of Tuesday’s South Dakota and Montana primaries will have a domino effect on uncommitted superdelegates – quite possibly clinching the nomination for Barack Obama.

With only 31 total pledged delegates at stake in the two states, Obama cannot win enough in the final two primaries to reach the 2,118 necessary to clinch the nomination.

The highest ranking Democrat has made her mark already. Though many wish Speaker Pelosi had not ruled out a presidential or vice-presidential impeachment, I can understand her decision as one of pragmatism. She was a newcomer to the position, and not yet familiar with what would actually be possible to pull off. But that does not mean she has been shy about exercising power. (6/3/08) has the story,"Pelosi concentrates power in office," by John Bresnehan. To quote:

Pelosi says she feels a “natural gravitation to the floor,” but there’s more to it than that: The speaker’s propensity to speak reflects her determination to lead from the front, not the rear, of her caucus.

Since taking the gavel in January 2007, Pelosi has consolidated power in the speaker’s office. She has overruled influential chairmen such as Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) on key issues such as global warming and children’s health insurance, bringing legislation directly to the floor without committee approval.

She personally forced through a rules change creating a new Office of Congressional Ethics, despite loud complaints from veteran lawmakers in both parties. She ran a recent Iraq war funding measure through the House as an amendment, an unusual procedure that allowed Democrats to bypass the powerful Appropriations Committee while providing political cover for anti-war members who opposed the funding measure.

All the money is sinking into Iraq. No wonder people remain upset with Congress being so inept at handling their power of the purse. An earlier article from Yahoo! News* (on May 23), revealed that there is a huge amount of military spending unaccounted for. Congress, alone, has the kind of oversight authority to do something about this disgustingly disheartening news -- that is unfortunately not really a surprise to many of us. To quote:

The Pentagon cannot account for nearly 15 billion dollars in payments for goods and services in Iraq, according to an internal audit which members of Congress blasted Friday as a "shocking" accountability failure.

Of 8.2 billion dollars in US taxpayer-funded defense contracts reviewed by the defense department's inspector general, the Pentagon could not properly account for more than 7.7 billion dollars.

Congress needs to investigate whether the military has been compromised for propaganda purposes by the White House. That same day, 5/23, Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher's activist newsletter held out this opportunity to get involved, if you are still interested in doing something about the "Propaganda Pundits," as Hamsher calls them. To quote her idea:

For the first time in our history, the American military has turned its operational apparatus upon the American public. And it's high time that it stop.

We're teaming up with some other groups like Freepress to send a letter to the five members of Congress - Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Armed Service Committee Chair Ike Skelton, Senate Armed Service Committee Chair Carl Levin and House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs Chair John Tierney - who can start up Congressional hearings on this despicable program. Add your name to the letter:

Life will feel a bit more politically normal after today. Congress may be in the news a bit more frequently, as it should be. The mainstream media has gotten too focused on the horse race between Clinton and Obama. Congress has begin debate on landmark climate change legislation, reported out of Senator Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) environmental committee. The bill's sponsor, Independent Senator Joe Lieberman has called for citizen activists to let those who represent them in Washington know how they feel about the proposed new cap and trade program. Lieberman will need a few more votes to override the threatened veto by our current president. Kudos to both for standing up on this vital issue.

*Hat tip to "betmo" at life's journey.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Clearer today than yesterday

By Creature

Senator Clinton will not concede, she will not suspend, she will not endorse. She will acknowledge Senator Obama has the delegates needed and she will then spend every ounce of political capital she has left trying to convince any superdelegate who will listen to change their minds come August. Throw in an underground smear campaign that will make the last few months look like child's play and you have the next phase of the Clinton campaign.

Please, Senator Clinton, prove me wrong.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Backing his way in

By Carl

This is likely the last negative column I get to write about Obama, so you'll pardon me if I let it all fly now.

While the
inevitable march of Obombers and their mindless drones has at last reached the conclusion that they seemed in their Hillary-hatin' cups determined to foist upon the Democratic party, we should probably pause a second and reflect on just how damaging their Manichaean quest has been to the party and to the chances of securing the House and Senate further.

This is a party that was only able to wrest Congress away, and that by the slimmest of margins in a culture that was thoroughly disgusted with all things Republican, particularly Bush, by hewing to the right. The people who ran in 2006 ran under the regime of Rahm Emanuel, who at the time was among the most hated Democratic leaders (and probably still is).

The Senate seats won, in particular, were won for the most part by running a close-to-pro-life ticket in states like Montana and Colorado. Hillary Clinton seemed a natural progression to nudge the country slightly to the left in her first term, then more in her re-election campaign.

Clearly, that was not going to sit well with the minority of Democrats who a) hate all things Clinton, and b) can't bear the thought of evolution. For these folks, a jackhammer is sufficient when a scalpel is needed.

There's the overwhelming need, I suppose, to try to establish some power base of about a twenty percent of the country, but at what cost to the nation as a whole? Is this any different than Ralph Nader throwing the 2000 election to George Bush? What is this basically suicidal need to run anyone who is bright and shiny and new, when governing demands someone who knows the ins and outs of governance?

No one is more adamant about the need for change in politics and governance in the country than I am, but I also remember the last time we tried replacing a tired, corrupt administration with a "fresh face" who spoke well, and held a lot of promise, and was even one of the most intelligent men to ever sit in the White House.

Remember him? Jimmy Carter?

His administration did some good things for this country, to be sure, but simply put, he could never live up to the troubles in the world that he found himself in, and I suspect Obama will be the same kind of President, if he makes it past the general election.

And Carter begat Ronald Reagan. Obama could beget, who? Mitt Romney?

Pendulums swing, but they don't miss the midpoints in their swing. It's almost like the bizarro world, non-reality-based liberal wing has decided that they'd wrench the pendulum out of its fulcrum and drag it kicking and screaming to the far left.

Trouble with that is, once you've done that, pendulums tend to swing back as violently and extremely. There's a majority seating on the Supreme Court that is going to vehemently enforce conservative values and ideology and any attempt to alter the political dynamic by uprooting the nation and shoving it leftward is going to run up against that rather large obstacle.

With any luck, the SCOTUS could be lulled into a passive mood, but not if they feel pressure from the right wing to become activist, which is pretty much certain no matter which of these three is President, but more so if Obama wins.

And we must keep in mind that, given at least a half dozen chances to score a knockout blow against Hillary during the primary season, Obama couldn't muster up enough support outside of his narrow-interest base to throw her off stride, while in the later primaries, the ones that should have been coronations of an Obama candidacy, enough anger and rancor remained that she actually gained support amongst her base and chipped away at his base.

This is not the sign of a particularly strong candidate, that his own base begins to desert him at a time when they should be more confident than ever of his leadership.

In backing into the nomination, not a given as I write this, but it seems likely that Hillary will concede tonight, Obama has a two-fold task: one, convince enough of Hillary's supporters that he deserves their support and two, make inroads into traditional Republican and independent bases.

This last, I think, will be the harder sell for Obama. Clearly, the patina of "purity" that Obama had has been washed clean: the Wright and Pfleger videos, his Rezko ties, his elitism towards anyone who's hands get dirty for a living, or who believes in church and God (apparently, something he's now lost), or who owns a gun, and his apparent arrogance.

After all, what other less-than-first-term Senator would dare challenge the establishment for the sake of his own political ambitions?

We have a saying in city politics here: That man is running like he's got something to run from.

As opposed "to run for."

There are many who disagree with me, who say Obama is different, that he will change the political dynamic.

Perhaps they are right.

Perhaps Obama really is who he says he is, and will change the political dynamic and put this country back on course. I will admit the possibility that one man could do that, however unlikely and unprecedented in the history of democracies reaching back to Athens.

And perhaps, not only are they right, but they are right in ways even they aren't aware.

Maybe he's worse than the average politically motivated corrupt politician, a flim flam man.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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