Monday, March 31, 2008

What is up with this peculiar about-face by Mr. Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Richard Scaife, towards Hillary?

A probable guess is he -- like Rush and other far right crackpots -- would rather face her in November given they likely have tons of baggage they can attempt to smear her with, as opposed to the relatively squeaky-clean Obama. But also Hillary likely not only tolerates but embraces Scaife's newfound affection because she's nothing more than desperate and needs his support in this must-win state.

Either way, it's a sad state of affairs. The man who once accused Hillary's husband of being a murderer, among other things, is now being courted by Mrs. Clinton for political gain. Just sad.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

When recently asked if we, the U.S., would try to stop Israel if they came to us saying they needed to attack Iran, VP Cheney said, "I don't do hypotheticals."

Interesting. Hypothetical means something involving conjecture, and yet Cheney states he doesn't "do" or deal in such things.

Hilarious. When they say we must fight them there so we don't have to fight them here, what do they think that is -- a fact? Uh, that's clearly a hypothetical, used to scare us no less. And what about his 1% doctrine? The fact is they've been using hypotheticals for years to instill fear and drum up the worst kind of nightmares to get us to oblige, to give up our rights and just go along. Oh, and how about global warming, where thousands of scientists have shown it to be real yet Cheney prefers instead to treat it as a hypothetical, one involving just conjecture...?

Clearly he's "doing" hypotheticals, but only those of his own choosing.
Is this also a sign of the surge's progress, Iraqi soldiers switching sides??!
Hmm, the supposed independent, maverick McCain sure has a good number of lobbyists at his side.... Just another typical politician, wake up MSM.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Let me understand, so the reduction in violence served as the main reason for Bush and others to declare that the surge was succeeding, and yet now with this recent outbreak of fierce fighting they're claiming it's a "byproduct of the success" and a "positive moment."

I see, this recent violence is just an after-effect of all that's good with surge, like a fart after eating a big plate of beans. They'll stop at nothing in spinning any kind of nonsensical gibberish in hopes that it will stick.

Bush continues to prove that he's in an alternate universe:
"By any reasonable measure, the legislative achievements in Baghdad over the past four months have been remarkable," Bush said, acknowledging that more needs to be done.

He pointed to the proliferation of soccer games, community organizations and a 5-kilometer race along once-perilous streets in Anbar province as signs that normalcy is returning.
Legislative achievements? What? Notice Bush doesn't cite any of these achievements, rather shifting to soccer games and marathon races as examples of "normalcy" returning to the country (this despite lack of electricity and water in many parts, but hey, those are just luxuries -- on with the games!).

Tufts University scholar Vali Nasr makes the case that the surge simply postponed the inevitable, given there really hasn't been any political progress made.
"This was expected. It was just a matter of timing," said Vali Nasr, Tufts University scholar and author of the bestselling book, The Shi'a Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. "The ceasefire and the surge allowed everyone to regroup and rearm. There is still the Shi'a-Sunni conflict. There is still the Sadr-Badr conflict. The surge and the ceasefire merely kept them apart, but there has never been a real political settlement," he said. "No, the big battle for Iraq hasn't been fought yet. The future of Iraq has not been determined." Nasr said the question now remains just how deep U.S. forces will get sucked into a Shi'ite civil war.
Yes, that is the question, to what extent will our forces get sucked into what will likely be a bloody civil war? And what will McCain say about all of this??

To put the tin foil hat on, if things begin to really get bad again in Iraq, will this prove to be an opportune time to wag the dog and turn one's attention to Iran? It's long been rumored that Bush/Cheney adamantly refuse to leave the Iran/nuclear issue to the next president, preferring to deal with it themselves. We shall see.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rush encourages (suborns) perjury.

This oafish slob has sunk to the depths of brainwashing his audience of morons to commit a felony.

I ask again, whatever happened to "the rule of law" this crowd supposedly held in such high regard during the Clinton/Monica fiasco? I recall Rush and his side screaming till red in the face about needed respect for our legal system, yet we see over and over again that it was all a joke. They could care less about our laws, whether it be Rush himself with his Oxycontin scandal or Libby's pardon, or the "lost" White House emails, or the illegal eavesdropping, etc. etc.

I don't know what's worse, Rush endorsing this unpatriotic, illegal act to corrupt our electoral process or the thousands of idiots who blindly follow his orders, not for one second questioning the larger meaning of what they might be doing, much less the hypocrisy (imagine their reaction if Randi Rhodes implored her listeners to do the same vs. the GOP). When will Rush's listeners wake up and realize their rotund radio god is simply an evil, power-hungry egomaniac who uses and abuses his minions like unwanted kitchen utensils?

Whether it's legal or not is an important point, but not THE point. His listeners shouldn't have done it because they should've known it was wrong, period. If Rush told them not to pay their taxes, would they likewise oblige?

Ladies and gents, I give you the extreme right, i.e. the GOP's base.
With Cheney it continues to be open mouth, out comes reprehensible bilge. We were recently treated to our illustrious VP flipping us the bird by uttering "So?" to the years of most polls showing the majority of Americans opposed to Bush's war. Now we have Cheney trying to claim that GW is bearing the biggest burden when it comes to this Iraq debacle ("The President carries the biggest burden, obviously"), not the soldiers or their families.

We're supposed to believe this from a president who has stated, "You know, I don't worry all that much, other than what I just described to you. I attribute that to...I've got peace of mind....I'm sleeping pretty good."

At this point when it comes to Cheney is there anything left to say? We've seen Micky Edwards, a former GOP congressman, write that he's known Cheney for decades but doesn't know who this guy is anymore. We've seen other former colleagues do the same. This is one VP who has truly gone Manchurian or Dr. Strangelove.

On a related note, Dana Perino recently said of Bush, "He gets a report about every single soldier who passes away, and he always pauses a moment to think about them and to offer a prayer for their loved ones and their family and friends."

Are you kidding me? Does she expect us to believe he gets this report, on each of the 4000 dead soldiers, and that he's taken 4000 moments of respectful silence? C'mon, give me a break. Sounds more like because he's not troubled much by this war and is sleeping quite well, they need to fabricate the most ridiculous warm-and-fuzzy images to compensate for this unfortunate fact. And I suppose there are many who believe it, sadly.
McCain's huge gaffe concerning Iraq: purposeful deception or a senior moment?

Does it matter? Do we want as president someone that would do or suffer from either? Do we really need four more years of deception and willful lying, OR someone who apparently is showing early signs of senility?

This is your choice over the Dem alternative.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cheney's infamous "So?"

Former Republican congressman Mickey Edwards wrote yesterday:
Cheney told Raddatz that American war policy should not be affected by the views of the people. But that is precisely whose views should matter: It is the people who should decide whether the nation shall go to war. That is not a radical, or liberal, or unpatriotic idea. It is the very heart of America's constitutional system.

In Europe, before America's founding, there were rulers and their subjects. The Founders decided that in the United States there would be not subjects but citizens. Rulers tell their subjects what to do, but citizens tell their government what to do.

If Dick Cheney believes, as he obviously does, that the war in Iraq is vital to American interests, it is his job, and that of President Bush, to make the case with sufficient proof to win the necessary public support.

That is the difference between a strong president (one who leads) and a strong presidency (one in which ultimate power resides in the hands of a single person). Bush is officially America's "head of state," but he is not the head of government; he is the head of one branch of our government, and it's not the branch that decides on war and peace.

When the vice president dismisses public opposition to war with a simple "So?" he violates the single most important element in the American system of government: Here, the people rule.
Since when did Bush/Cheney rule for the people? Their reign has always been about ruling over the people. The public are but mere peasants who are ignorant to what is best for them. With Cheney's constant smirk, he knows what's best for us and this country -- not us. The sweet irony being these two guys have done more to take us back to pre-Founding Fathers days, pre-Constitution, back to when we were ruled over by a king in England. Just wonderful.

Yes, this two-headed king in the White House knows best and supposedly we're going to realize this fact decades from now. Wasn't it Keynes who said in the long-run we're all dead? Don't you just love Bush/Cheney's long-term timeframe to be judged on Iraq, and yet when it comes to something like global warming -- truly an occurrence with long-range repercussions -- they apparently have no concerns, assuming they'll be judged equally well.

Look, it's all a crock of BS, they know it and we know it. The bottom line is they could care less about anything 50-100 years from now, knowing they'll be long dead and gone and all that matters to them is the here and now. It's called maniacal sociopathic narcissism.
Another paradox hoisted upon us by Bush/Cheney:
There is a paradox in the current situation in Iraq. We are told that the surge has worked brilliantly and violence is way down. And yet the plan to reduce troop levels—which was at the heart of the original surge strategy—must be postponed or all hell will once again break loose.
The original "bargain" to the American people was please go along with this brief, temporary surge in an effort to reduce violence and allow for political progress, and then we can bring troops home. Another lie told. Just like Bush's tax cuts which were to expire or have a limited lifespan -- once the end comes near, he tries like hell to make them permanent. This administration has pulled this move time and time again, going with the supposed temporary and then pushing to make it permanent.

So here we have the success of the surge which was supposed to mean troop reduction, and yet now they say to do so would mean Iraq explodes into bloody mayhem. If that's what they believe, it seems like they could've deduced that same line of logic back when they were instead hoisting that stuff about a surge success would mean troops come home. It's all just lies fed to the public (and Congress) and we go along.
With the passport breach, like father like son.

I suppose it's opposition research, with so many illegalities swept under the rug at the White House that GW wants to learn more about who may soon discover all the dark secrets.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

This story about mercury pollution is not new (date October 2007) but is still quite relevant and important. It's always worth remembering that at some point we'll arrive at some resolution on Iraq, and the U.S. economy will at some point bottom and begin its inevitable course to recovery, however we cannot say these same things about our environment. There is no guarantee that global warming will reverse, that pollution will decrease. It would be nice to think it will be so, but again, no one really knows what the planet will look like for our kids 50 to 100 years from now. It's this haunting thought that should stay with us as we head into November's general election.

As for the story on mercury, some segments:
As many as 600,000 babies may be born in the USA each year with irreversible brain damage because pregnant mothers ate mercury-contaminated fish, the Environmental Protection Agency says....Nationwide, more than 8,000 lakes, rivers and bays are compromised by mercury's toxic effects.
The $298-billion-a-year electric utility industry is the nation's largest source of mercury air emissions....[M]ercury from coal-burning power plants has risen, largely because there have been no federal limits on such emissions.
The electric power industry, which has plans to build an additional 153 coal-fired plants by 2030, says it is behaving responsibly. It is retrofitting old plants and building new ones with pollution-control equipment that will remove much of the mercury, with other pollutants, from flue gas.
Pew argues that in the waning days of the Clinton administration, the EPA legally committed the government to a more thorough cleanup as required by the Clean Air Act. Now, under pressure from industry, he says, Bush administration EPA officials have crafted their own interpretation of the law, giving power plants more time to meet less stringent emission goals.

EPA officials say that deep, rapid cuts in mercury emissions are unwarranted and too costly to the power industry and would produce nominal health benefits, because, in their view, most of the mercury deposited in U.S. lakes and streams comes from abroad.
That figure of 600K brain damaged babies born in the U.S. each year due to mercury contamination is just astounding. It's an extraordinary high figure period but even more so for a developed country like ours, and to think this figure is from Bush's EPA, meaning the true figure is likely much higher. Notice that Bush is not so outraged about this assault on the unborn, the wrecking of their brains in the womb. The silence is deafening and his EPA backs the businesses who wish to stall any effort to limit such emissions.

Oh sure, the electric power industry will say they're doing all they can to reduce mercury in the air, but these statements are not very honest. Any retrofitting of equipment that may eventually occur is because they're forced into doing so thanks to regulations that were likely fought by these same utilities. This deceptive word play and glossing over the ugly truth is much like Bush adamantly opposing children's healthcare in Texas during the 1990s, losing that battle, only for him to many years later boast that children's healthcare was passed while he was the state's governor.

Lastly, I have to laugh every time I read a quote asserting that much of the mercury problem here in the U.S. really stems from abroad. I simply request show me the proof. The acid rain problem in the Northeast was very much localized, having little if anything to do with China or India or Russia. Steps were taken to limit sulfur and nitrogen emissions emanating from utilities in the immediate region as well as the Midwest and what do you know, acid rain decreased significantly. The mercury problem is very much like the acid rain predicament meaning any talk of it being blamed on other countries is a dodge, plain and simple.

As the story cites, the Clinton administration's EPA had committed the government to reducing mercury emissions, but then GW came along and eight years later his EPA is still just "studying" the matter....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This is truly repulsive:
In a videoconference, Bush heard from U.S. military and civilian personnel about the challenges ranging from fighting local government and police corruption to persuading farmers to abandon a lucrative poppy drug trade for other crops.
"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said.
Yes, this from a guy who did everything to avoid military service when he was younger. And not only did he get a pass from going to Vietnam, but he didn't even bother to finish his meager service here in this country (recall Texas National Guard AWOL).

Yet now he's going to wax poetic about how serving would be "a fantastic experience" and "romantic"?? He's simply simple and beyond shameful.

1-20-09, 1-20-09!!
From Sunday's NY Times editorial:
For more than two years now, Congress, the news media, current and former national security officials, think tanks and academic institutions have been engaged in a profound debate over how to modernize the law governing electronic spying to keep pace with technology. We keep hoping President Bush will join in.

Instead, the president offers propaganda intended to scare Americans, expand his powers, and erode civil liberties — and to ensure that no one is held to account for the illegal wiretapping he ordered after 9/11.
Mr. Bush said it was vital to national security to give amnesty to any company that turned over data on Americans without a court order. The purpose of this amnesty is not to protect national secrets — that could be done during a trial — but to make sure that the full damage to Americans’ civil liberties is never revealed.
The president will continue to claim the country is in grave danger over this issue, but it is not. The real danger is for Mr. Bush. A good law — like the House bill — would allow Americans to finally see the breathtaking extent of his lawless behavior.
Finally, someone(s) on the Times' editorial staff has spit up the Kool Aid and found that long lost journalistic quality called being truthful. Better late than never.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In the NY Times' review of Eric Alterman’s new book, “Why We’re Liberals,” a key fact is mentioned:
[P]olling data repeatedly suggest that Americans are far more inclined to express liberal than conservative opinions regarding big business, the environment, energy policy and social issues. “That liberals remain on the defensive regarding the accusation that their positions are out of step,” he [Alterman] writes, “is more the product of effective conservative propaganda and credulous reporting than of any genuinely identifiable trends in public opinion.”
It's really an awful truth. In general, Americans align much more so with liberals on the issues that affect them most, however time after time we do not see this agreement borne out in elections.

Look, it's not a secret, conservatives / Republicans cling to the wrong views on many issues, and they can't govern for the life of them, but damn can they win elections. Why? Two things: unity and smears. They'll stick together like mindless lemmings, willing to overlook key differences simply to have the advantages that come from a mob. They also are experts at playing dirty and denying (Rove perfected this art), the hit-and-run followed by, "What? Who me? Nope, had nothing to do with it."

And the saddest part is voters fall for it every time. They wake up post-election day and wondered what happened, not realizing many of them gave in to their worst instincts -- exactly what the GOP had hoped. The Dems happen to be on the popular side of many issues but it won't stop fear-mongering and the like from working (once again) to have the public vote against the positions they're for. That said hopefully this time voters have finally learned their lesson and will resist all attempts to manipulate their thinking, thus avoiding the feeling on Nov. 5th that they were collectively hoodwinked.
If the Hillary/Obama race stays close, just what will be the deciding factor(s) for the superdelegates? And what margin of delegate count will be large enough for them to refuse to overturn? 50? 100? 200?

Today's NY Times has a front page story on the superdelegates and the following quote gets at answers to my above questions:
“If we get to the end and Senator Obama has won more states, has more delegates and more popular vote,” said Representative Jason Altmire, Democrat of Pennsylvania, who is undecided, “I would need some sort of rationale for why at that point any superdelegate would go the other way, seeing that the people have spoken.”
It's likely that if the race is very close, it won't be a matter of just the delegate count, but rather a confluence of convincing items coming together to tip the scale. Notice Altmire mentions a brief list: more states, more delegates, and more popular vote. When you hear Obama supporters on the TV or radio review what he's won thus far in the primaries, they literally recite these three things, so it would appear to me that many in Obama's camp are already aware of this feeling from superdelegates or they know that by driving home stats beyond just the delegate count will undoubtedly sway their thinking.

This quote from another superdelegate, Sen. Sherrod Brown: “It’s the overall popular vote, it’s the overall delegates, it’s who is bringing energy to the campaign, it’s who has momentum...." Which candidate does that sound like, Obama or Hillary?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I found it a bit odd that Alan Dershowitz decided to come out from seeming anonymity and defend Spitzer. In Dershowitz, here we have a guy who was an extremely outspoken liberal advocate, one who used to be seen on TV all the time, strongly voicing his opinions about the issues of the day. Then Bush was installed in office and for whatever reason Alan just disappeared from the air waves. If he was an angry liberal prior to 2000, I would have to think he was red-faced pissed post-2000 -- and yet where's he been? And of all things, he decides to come out of hiding to defend a cheating hypocrite? Again, odd.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Many have written how Admiral Fallon's resignation is just one more step down the road to eventual war with Iran. In other words, McCain may have been right with his little jingle.

Perhaps an even more credible source, one who believes war with Iran is inevitable thanks to Bush/Cheney, is former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter. Read an interview he gave just this past December by clicking here. Scary stuff.

Oh, and with the price of crude oil nearing $110 and many experts saying it doesn't square with supply/demand dynamics, you have to wonder how much geopolitical risk premium is baked into this price. Markets are not often dumb or clueless and this recent run in oil could be an indication that the earnest saber-rattling has begun. And don't forget, with Fallon out of the way, Cheney now embarks on a Middle East tour -- hmm, what will be discussed? Peace??

Monday, March 10, 2008

He was against waterboarding before he was for it.

Not too long ago, McCain sided with Bush's veto of a bill that would've banned waterboarding. So how is it last night on 60 Minutes McCain was asked whether or not the use of waterboarding was torture and McCain said "yes" and yet had zero follow-up questions to this inconsistency? If it was torture, meaning against the law, I presume McCain would therefore be against it, and yet he voted for a veto that blocked getting rid of it.
Pelley asked him about American interrogation methods today. Asked if water boarding is torture, McCain said, "Sure. Yes. Without a doubt."

"So the United States has been torturing POWs?" Pelley asked.

"Yes. Scott, we prosecuted Japanese war criminals after World War II.
And one of the charges brought against them, for which they were convicted, was that they water-boarded Americans," McCain said.

"How did we lose our way?" Pelley asked.

"I don't know the answer to that."
McCain's love affair with the media continues. Perhaps either Obama or Hillary will be able to ask him some questions on this matter in a future debate. I for one would love to hear Mr. Straight Talk's answer.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The back and forth bickering about Hillary prolonging the race and just how much it may set back the Dem cause is getting a bit tiresome. To be quite honest, I might be a bit more concerned if McCain was more of a stellar opponent, but he's not. Besides, with the media focused on the Obama/Hillary show, it sure isn't focused on McCain -- a good thing, right?

Meanwhile, I've heard it said that the Republicans would very much prefer to run against Hillary than Obama. Is there something to this? Perhaps. Three quick bullets come to mind:

1) The old Clinton "baggage" -- always an easy target for the right to take aim at. With Hillary running it would give them another chance to trot out the tired lies, to give new life to the supposed scandals, to remind the public about Monica, etc. etc. It wouldn't be the case with Mr. Squeaky Clean Obama.

2) The GOP wouldn't dare go after Obama's race. Yeah, I know, they stoop mighty low, but without Rove in the act and assuming McCain has at least retained some sense of dignity and limits, I'd like to think they won't go there. That said it's not too difficult to imagine the GOP would pull some sexist BS if Hillary was the pick, especially given Hillary's negatives with women.

3) A huge position of vulnerability for McCain is Iraq and Hillary would help to negate that juicy target for the Dems given her voting record. Hillary would not be able to credibly take it to McCain concerning Iraq, whereas Obama can open fire.

Other points I might be missing?
But I thought the war was going splendidly...? Why would they want to hide or keep secret this assessment report? Hmm.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Time magazine has an interesting article on the depth of experience in prior presidents. Newsflash: Obama (and Hillary for that matter) has more experience than GW Bush had as well as Reagan, Carter, Eisenhower, FDR, Hoover, Wilson, Taft, and Teddy Roosevelt (not to mention Lincoln).

So can we please finally stop this debate over whether or not Obama is too green. The fact is he's not.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tweedledee and Tweedledum

Twins, joined from the shoulder down.

As Dan Froomkin wrote today:
McCain has put a lot of effort into ingratiating himself to Bush and his base. And he has virtually abandoned any major policy differences, choosing to hew a line nearly identical to Bush's on the most seminal political issues of the day....[P]olls show that 79 percent of Americans say the next president should set the nation on a new course rather than follow the direction in which Bush has been leading....Bush is damaged goods, deeply unpopular not just with Democrats but also independents, and the walking embodiment of what Americans evidently are eager to put behind them.
If the idea of change is what makes Obama so popular, then the lack thereof should be McCain's Achilles' heel. Whomever ends up becoming the Dem nominee, he/she should repeatedly drive home the message that McCain = four more years of Bush, and that alone should seal his fate.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Warren Buffett believes we are in a recession, Bush begs to differ -- who you gonna believe? One of the best investing minds ever or one of the worst presidents ever?
Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has been in the news stating the Iraq war will eventually cost us well north of $3 trillion, with him recently saying it will be closer to $5 trillion. This figure is about a third of the size of our entire economy!

The White House responded sarcastically:
"People like Joe Stiglitz lack the courage to consider the cost of doing nothing and the cost of failure. One can't even begin to put a price tag on the cost to this nation of the attacks of 9-11," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto, conceding that the costs of the war on terrorism are high while questioning the premise of Stiglitz's research.

"It is also an investment in the future safety and security of Americans and our vital national interests. $3 trillion? What price does Joe Stiglitz put on attacks on the homeland that have already been prevented? Or doesn't his slide rule work that way?"
Along with the many other lies in the run-up, this administration told us this war would cost less than $2 billion -- yes, just $2 billion with a "B" -- and that it would be self-financing via Iraqi oil. Hah! And yet now we get snarky sarcasm from the podium. Imagine how safe we'd be if we just invested a portion of those trillions here at home, in policies and efforts to increase security, as opposed to on a war in a country that never had terrorists (it does now!). Also, note that Fratto never denied the $3+ trillion figure as being accurate.

Our kids' kids' kids will be paying for Bush's war escapades.
This past week Bill Maher mentioned the big secret about the success of the surge in Iraq: we're bribing the insurgents to behave. So the "surge" is really about the surge in payola or play-nice money. Who knew the solution was more along the lines of The Sopranos, receive $$ in envelope = fewer deaths?

However, is the U.S. military in the business of paying bribes to the enemy? How far must pragmatism go vs. principle? And what happens when we stop paying (or maybe we never do)? Is this really a success?