Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hillary will appear on Bill O'Reilly's show? Just when I thought she had already jumped the right-wing-pander shark, she goes and proves me wrong....

What we have is a demented marriage of convenience: she's to-the-hilt desperate and will do just about anything at this point to be the nominee, and the gnashing teeth on the right oh-so want her to be the one given she's got a TON more baggage to attack, assail, and smear than does Obama.

Bill Kristol's column on Monday was all about singing the praises of Hillary at the expense of Obama. Look, isn't it a good enough rule of thumb that if the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, and the FOX network are for Hillary, we should be against her?

And regarding the the Kristol column, it continues to be the same old pap and recycled snores, but one item in particular really struck a chord. He criticizes Obama for refusing to debate Hillary in Indiana:
On Friday in Indiana, Obama talked tough in response to a question: “I get pretty fed up with people questioning my patriotism.” And, he continued, “I am happy to have that debate with them any place, anytime.” He’s happy to have fantasy debates with unnamed people who are allegedly challenging his patriotism. But he’s not willing to have a real debate with the real person he’s competing against for the nomination.
But in the sentence just prior to this paragraph, Kristol offers the completely understandable reason why Obama has made this decision: "[D]ebates would give Clinton equal time in the spotlight, and would make Obama’s advantage in paid media in Indiana and North Carolina far less significant."

Duh. Kristol knows how this game works and even makes that obvious, yet that doesn't stop him from sticking head up butt and writing something naive just after it. If he was backing a Republican front-runner in Obama's spot you'd hear none of this from Kristol. It's Campaigning 101.

It just makes Kristol look disingenuous and laughably stupid. Another in a series of dopey columns by him. Bravo NY Times!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let's just hope we never see one of our soldiers captured by a terrorist outfit and waterboarded, with the justification offered being some cobbled-together logic inspired by the recent revelations that our Justice Dept. gives it the OK, and top White House officials also approve.

Did a terrorist outfit always have the opportunity to do this? Sure, but before learning that we apparently do employ torture and find it to be legally acceptable "under certain circumstances," we stood on firmer ground of no-tolerance for such acts with one huge reason being we don't do it ourselves. That precedent just went out the window. Instead, we've decided to cross over and join the legions of primitives and thugs.

Not to mention the evidence showing these tactics simply don't work (just Google "torture does not work"), and instead we've open our soldiers up to harm via reciprocity.

Just more backwards, idiotic reasoning from this reigning cabal. As with their idea to outsource many federal jobs (you know, like a good deal of our military presence in Iraq), forcing current government employees to justify their existence else be shown the door. The problem is this program hasn't gone quite as expected (surprise!):
It turned on a simple idea: Force federal employees to compete for their jobs against private contractors and costs will decrease, even if the work ultimately stays in-house.

But as Bush's presidency winds down, the program's critics say it has had disappointing results and shaken morale among the federal government's 1.8 million civil servants.

Private contractors have grown increasingly reluctant to participate in the competitions, which federal employees have won 83 percent of the time.

The program fell short of the president's goals in scope and in cost savings. Between 2003 and 2006, agencies completed competitions for fewer than 50,000 jobs, a fraction of what Bush envisioned.

Moreover, the Government Accountability Office found that the administration has overstated the savings from some competitions by undercounting the costs of running them. Collectively, they cost $225 million, or about $4,800 per job, according to White House figures.

"The competitive sourcing initiative did little to improve management, produced a ton of worthless paper, demoralized thousands of workers and cost a bundle, all to prove that federal employees are pretty good after all," said Paul C. Light, a professor of government at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Just more incompetence from these fools. Meanwhile, recall what Clinton/Gore did to shrink government and make it more effective. Ah yes, the good old days....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nicholas Kristof recently wrote:
Imagine if President Bush announced a plan for Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs that declared: They will cease accumulating nuclear weapons by 2025. We will accomplish this through incentives and voluntary action, without mandates.

Mr. Bush would be ridiculed, but in essence, that’s the plan he announced for climate change on Wednesday. He set a target for halting the growth in carbon dioxide emissions by 2025, without specific mandates to achieve that, and in the meantime he blasted proposed Senate legislation for tougher measures as unnecessary.
I've written about another comparison that could be made to emphasize the absurdity and hypocrisy of this administration's stance on the environment: Cheney's 1% doctrine.

But also there was a time when the build-up of nuclear arms was referred to as MAD ("mutually assured destruction"), implying rational thought would insure that the lethal stockpiles would never be used. That scary assumption appeared to work for decades, despite the inherent evil and waste associated with building such bombs. Nonetheless, fewer nukes on the planet is a good thing and worth pursuing.

Cut to climate change. It too is MAD, as we're all "mutually assured destruction" if we continue to ignore this problem. However, the fact that global warming does not conjure up jarring images like hundreds of war heads pointed at our country or "finger on the button" jitters makes the entire issue less frightening, less impending, less urgent. Yet with each passing year of no mandates, no action, no urgency makes the probability of MAD that much more irreversible and certain.

When will this enormously pressing problem generate the fear it deserves, to be treated less as a luxury that can be managed or curtailed at the margin? And we've observed what this administration can do when it wishes to crank-up the nail-biting on anything meaningful to them. Even more alarming is things are getting increasingly worse as is -- before even factoring in the millions of additional cars and hundreds of additional coal plants that will be built in fast-developing countries like China and India.

Whereas many believe GW will go down as the worst president in history due mainly to Iraq and Constitutional transgressions, his purposeful and unconscionable delay(s) on anything having to do with climate change will more likely become his primary demerit. His eight years of stonewalling and water-carrying for industry on this front has literally adversely changed the course of nature to the point where we may never recover.

Maybe that's why he cares not a wit about the federal deficit: who will be around to collect?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

With regards to the back/forth Hillary/Obama media dance, Kevin Drum recently wrote:
I'm more interested in following the almost pathological pandering and flip-flopping coming out of John McCain's camp these days — you can practically feel the desperation if you watch closely — but it's hard for that to get a lot of traction until the Dems finish up their race.
So true. McCain is on holiday, getting a free pass from MSM scrutiny while Obama and Hillary slug it out. Needless to say, McCain has tons of baggage just waiting to be spotlighted and vetted, baggage that is much more relevant and meaningful than the level of Rev. Wright coziness or sniper fire memories.

Whenever that day may come, Keith Olbermann offered up a start by listing eight questions that could be asked of McCain. The topics are plentiful: the "Keating Five" S&L scandal, Jerry Falwell flip-flopping, Confederate flag support, flip-flopping on tax cuts for the rich, support from anti-gay/anti-Semitic/anti-Catholic John Hagee, McCain's "senior" moments re Iraq, his admission that he doesn't understand our economy -- the list goes on and on.

Dems should be researching like crazy, readying to launch the many valid questions that need to be asked, and more so answered. And make no mistake, it will be difficult to get those questions asked much less answered given the media's over-the-top adulation for Teflon John.
Never mind Truman, worse than Nixon:
For the first time in the history of the Gallup Poll, 50% say they "strongly disapprove" of the president. Richard Nixon had reached the previous high, 48%, just before an impeachment inquiry was launched in 1974.
GW continues to make (dubious) history.
Rick "Anyone But McCain" Santorum flip-flops and endorses McCain.

Santorum always liked to brag about his principles, how he stood above politics and looked to just do what he felt was right. In the end, that was all just complete bullsh*t. He's just as much a party-affiliated hack as anyone else in Washington.

I mean c'mon, the guy's on record saying, "I don’t agree with him [McCain] on hardly any issues." If that's the case, Santorum always had the option of simply not publicly endorsing McCain, staying silent. The fact he felt compelled to do otherwise, despite disagreeing with McCain on almost every issue, further emphasizes how few principles Man-On-Dog Rick really has.

It's par for the course. McCain is anything but Mr. Straight Talk Express, Santorum is anything but Mr. Diehard Principles.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jon Stewart recently said, "My position is: Free societies are not safe -- and that's the price you pay for your freedom. And you can't have it both ways."

Exactly, dead-on correct. We do all that we can to insure our safety, but we draw the line when it comes to infringing on civil liberties and Constitutional guarantees. Once you go beyond such limits and begin to protect in the name of fascist domination then what's the point? All that our founding fathers and colonial brethren fought for is quickly deemed for naught. As Stewart rightly states, freedom comes with a price, one I assume we're all willing to pay.

Having said that, we have Newt Gingrich making quite the different point:
Yesterday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich visited Drew University in New Jersey, where he took questions from 20 political science majors there. When one asked him how the government could justify stripping rights from Americans in such pieces of legislation as the Patriot Act, Gingrich said that the government has a “right to defend society,” and when under threat, “people will give up all their liberties“:
"If there’s a threat, you have a right to defend society,” Gingrich said. “People will give up all their liberties to avoid that level of threat.“
Gingrich is directly contradicted by Benjamin Franklin, who rejected the notion that one should give up one’s liberties out of fear:
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
A supposed conservative contradicting perhaps the wisest and most astute founding father. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Friday, April 18, 2008

About Bush's third in a series of attempts to appear remotely interested in climate change, Stephen Dinan of the conservative Washington Times wrote, "One person briefed on White House deliberations said a cap-and-trade program for electric utilities was dropped from the package yesterday, after the White House was flooded with complaints from industry officials and lobbyists."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the cap-and-trade solution to global warming always been the one most favored by right-wing, pro-business, free-market types? They've claimed it's the more reasonable and cost-effective way to go, with many environmentalists disagreeing, saying it simply won't be nearly as effective as government regulation and mandated reductions.

And yet the industry lobbyists and no-doubt right-wing cohorts are adamantly against even this provision, their preferred alternative.

Remember this the next time you see one of those warm and fuzzy ads by an energy or utility company strongly making the case that they truly care about the environment.... Just more propaganda.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We recently learned of Cheney and other top White House officials being directly involved in the orchestration and approval of torture techniques and the fact that this revelation has not broken as big as Clinton's Lewinsky affair or even Watergate is a sad and telling sign about our country. Apparently we've become so accustomed to this administration committing so many wrongs and illegal acts that we're now numb to it all. Endorse and use torture? Sure. Illegal eavesdropping? I guess. Bomb Iran? Whatever.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The attack-Iran drum beating grows louder.... Read more about the events leading up to this point here.

On this specific subject, Kristol may be right when he recently said, "I think people are overdoing how much of a lame duck the president is." While Bush undoubtedly is looking to leave his Iraq mess to the next president to figure out, I agree with those who say he's very likely not going to leave office with the Iran question still unresolved.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

We find out Mark Penn was moonlight lobbying for a bill that his U.S. prez client was against (and the current extremely unpopular prez from the opposite party is for). Yeah, this about sums up the unfortunate and just dumb Hillary campaign as we've come to know it.

Throw this item in with the sniper fire misspeak, the lack of national organizing due to excess confidence, the agreement that FLA and MI shouldn't count only to flip-flop, having Rendell and Ferraro on staff NOT locked behind closed doors, and even Hillary likening herself to Rocky in PA -- apparently not realizing that Balboa lost in that movie to an African-American.

Based on the mismanagement and sheer idiocy of Hillary's campaign, it's hard to believe her husband was quite good at this in his day. Wow. We've had eight years of incompetence, we certainly don't need four more.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Reminder: the number of House Republicans deciding not to run for reelection this year continues to pile up, with the latest number being 27. This compares to just seven open seats on the Dem side and many expect that 27 number to go well over 30 before November rolls around.

It's safe to say Pelosi's job is fairly secure, not just after this year but likely beyond 2010. And the recent Bill Foster win in Illinois serves as a canary-in-coalmine event that frankly didn't shock as many House Republicans as one might think.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Well put:
Mr. Bush, it has been said, compares himself to Harry Truman, a president who left office dogged by an unpopular war and low public approval, but who is today viewed as one the 20th century's finest presidents.

It is possible that posterity will be equally kind to Mr. Bush. But if you're going to compare yourself to Mr. Truman, it helps to have your own equivalent of the Marshall Plan, the containment policy against Russia, the formation of NATO, the defence of South Korea and desegregation of the armed forces on your résumé. What in the Bush legacy even comes close?