Monday, June 30, 2008

In the Guardian, Dan Kennedy wrote:
I think [Scott] McClellan believes what he's saying now, and imagines himself to have arrived at some deep insights into what went wrong in the Bush White House. But deep insight requires deep thought, and there is no evidence to suggest he's any more capable of that today than he was when he was stammering and stumbling through the daily press briefings.
Basically sums up this administration: they may believe real hard, but staunch, die-hard beliefs are in no way substitutes for knowledgeable insights and intelligent, sensible policy. Trusting that the Easter Bunny truly exists is not enough to make it so, or right (after a certain age).
What does it say when the United Arab Emirates, ranked #5 in the world when it comes to known oil reserves, plans to go nuclear for its energy needs in the not-so-distant future? That black gold is running out and the Middle Eastern countries will be the last to tell us this fact. Note what they do, not what they say.
McCain's growing list of flip-flops (thanks to Steve Benen). Perhaps he'll hit 100 in time for the GOP convention.

Recall when Republicans found such behavior intolerable and would immediately cry foul if they even suspected any Democrat of reversing on a prior decision. Apparently that was then, this is now (or could it simply be partisan hypocrisy?).
Keith Olbermann recently caught Sean Hannity believing he was doing his usual nightly act (reciting the GOP talking points), in this case praising Bush for his progress with North Korea, only for Sean to be abruptly "corrected" by that mental giant of world affairs, John Bolton. Sean then quickly did an about-face and agreed with Bolton.

To normal people this is embarassing, but to the world of Fox and its viewers it's just another typical evening.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Recently in the Washington Post:
White House Dismissed Legal Advice On Detainees

Senior lawyers inside and outside the Bush administration repeatedly warned the White House that it was risking judicial scrutiny of its detention policies in Guantanamo Bay if it did not pursue a more pragmatic legal strategy that considered the likely reaction of the Supreme Court.
Even the Bush senior legal lackeys knew that the policies for holding detainees at Gitmo were most likely illegal and unconstitutional, and yet the Supreme Court ruled against it by just a 5-4 margin.

Yes, the dissenting four Justices went against the urgings and instincts of the crack Bush legal team. Incredible. We know how inept and hostile towards the Constitution anyone remotely involved with law is within this administration and despite that fact we now know that four Justices are worse than this collective cabal of legal idiocy.

The election this November MUST be made about the Court's future.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Further evidence the Bush administration pissed all over the Justice Department, converting it from an objective, nonpartisan enforcer of our nation's laws into just another political arm of Karl Rove's twisted vision.

It will take years to fix our government given the extent of the damage and ruin wrought by these flunkies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Regarding Charlie Black's gaffe (recall that Michael Kinsey said a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth), Richard Clarke, as usual, has it right. Monday evening on Keith Olbermann's show, Clarke said:
[W]hat Charlie Black did is reveal their thinking, not that they wanted terrorist attack, but that they do plan to run by scaring us. They‘re using the same playbook they‘ve been using for years because it works.

And if McCain is sincere in saying that he‘s shocked, that there‘s gambling going on in his casino, then he ought to part with Charlie Black. I mean, Charlie Black ought to be gone tomorrow morning so that we can say, once and for all, that this campaign is not going to be a campaign about fear and about saying that one guy is soft on terrorism and if you vote for him, there will be another terrorist attack; all the sorts of things that we‘ve heard in the past.
So, we‘re now in the situation where the American people won‘t believe a warning, if there were a real one but McCain can stop all of that. He can stop talking about Hamas has endorsed Obama; he can stop all of this sort of innuendoes and go to the issues-based campaign he said he was going to do.

And the way he does that is by tomorrow morning announcing the resignation of Charlie Black and saying that he wants to run on the issues and not as the “scare candidate,” not as the scaremonger and not as the scarecrow.
But it's Wednesday evening and McCain has yet to fire Black....? Oh well, guess they're going to use that fear-mongering playbook after all. Hopefully the voting public has finally learned their lesson regarding these beneath-contempt campaign tactics and won't get swayed this time when McCain & Co. whip up the scares and frights.

Obama should make the case, "If you don't want change, if you want four more years of Bush, then vote with your fears come November." That should do the trick.
Ralph Nader's once sterling legacy gets tarnished again -- by Ralph Nader. This time in an attempt to get some needed attention he takes shots at Obama.

Just how different is Obama from John Edwards? I continue to believe that Obama will select Edwards as his running mate, yet recall that Ralph Nader endorsed Edwards this year. Does Ralph honestly believe there is a chasm between his choice, Edwards, and Obama? If so, he definitely has a bolt or two loose, but me thinks it's simply more so vanity and publicity-seeking mouthing off. Sad.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When I recently wrote that interviewing Rove while NOT under oath would be "a complete waste of time," don't take my word for it, listen to Scott McClellan:
DAVIS: I'm going to ask you two pointed questions. Would you trust Mr. Rove, if he were not under oath, to tell the truth?

MCCLELLAN: Well, based on my own experience, I could not say that I would.

DAVIS: And, in fact, if Mr. Rove were under oath, would you have complete confidence that he would tell the truth?

MCCLELLAN: I would hope that he would be willing to do that. And as you point out, it doesn't seem that he is willing to do that. But based on my own experiences, I have some concerns about that.
Concerns, indeed. But alas several Dems seemingly trust The Turd completely.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is this the season of guilt and confession? We had Scott McClellan attempt to purge and now Curveball....?
[I]n his first public comments, the 41-year-old engineer from Baghdad complains that the CIA and other spy agencies are blaming him for their mistakes.
It was intelligence attributed to Alwan -- as Curveball -- that the White House used in making its case that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He described what turned out to be fictional mobile germ factories. The CIA belatedly branded him a liar.
Along with confirmation of Curveball's identity, however, have come fresh disclosures raising doubts about his honesty -- much of that new detail coming from friends, associates and past employers.

"He was corrupt," said a family friend who once employed him.

"He always lied," said a fellow Burger King worker.

And records reveal that when Alwan fled to Germany, one step ahead of the Iraq Justice Ministry, an arrest warrant had been issued alleging that he sold filched camera equipment on the Baghdad black market.
"I never said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, never in my whole life," he said. "I challenge anyone in the world to get a piece of paper from me, anything with my signature, that proves I said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Over 4000 U.S. soldiers are dead in part due to Bush/Cheney pushing the "intel" of this ex-BK worker -- outrageous and criminal.

In fact, it appears everyone complicit with this cabal of craven thugs is stumbling to come clean and wash their hands of any of the blame. No one wants to get sucked in and painted harshly when the history books are written.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More overtures of the spineless majority continuing down the road of eventually caving in (after much chest-beating and expressed outrage). Just pathetic.
House Judiciary Committee Democrats on Monday renewed their demand that former White House political adviser Karl Rove testify publicly on the politicization of the Justice Department but suggested they may accept a compromise in which Rove would be interviewed in private without taking an oath to tell the truth.

The committee on May 22 subpoenaed Rove to testify at a July 10 hearing on the White House's role in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and his alleged involvement in the prosecution of Don Siegelman, the former Democratic governor of Alabama.

(my bold)
To let sociopath Rove speak while not under oath is a complete waste of time and the Committee likely full well knows this fact. They might as well do the interview over the phone or better yet over coffee at a diner. Give me a break.
An interesting web site,, keeps track of polls and projects winners/losers based on prior accuracy of pollsters, recency of the poll, etc. Here is what they're showing currently:

In other words, a very comfortable Obama win. Thank heavens. He needs to have a sizable margin or cushion to insure inevitable GOP vote suppression shenanigans will not adversely affect the outcome (ala Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000).
It's all going according to plan. The high price of gasoline is beginning to impact peoples' behavior and so it makes sense that the Republicans will try to blame this unfortunate fact of life on the Democrats. They're already calling it the "Pelosi Premium."

Absolute nonsense, as usual, and quite sad. The GOP has no issues to run on, in large part thanks to the failure of GW the last 7+ years, so they have to drum up this red herring in hopes of smearing the Dems while at the same time keep the heat off their deep-pocket oil buddies. The latest is to clamor about the need for offshore drilling but what you don't hear is thousands upon thousands of already-outstanding leases remain undeveloped or idle. In addition, many offshore wells have already been drilled and capped with the oil companies deciding just to sit on them. And then of course there is the existing 13.4 billion barrels of known oil reserves (formerly called the Naval Petroleum Reserve) that just goes untapped.

Oh, and look, if the right wishes to make a stink about onerous environmental regulations being the big problem here I say bring it on. That claim is just another red herring but even more so the GOP realizes that to turn the attention towards the environment and away from the mindless partisan blame-game -- something they excel at -- is a losing cause. The public is in favor of most things that are pro-environment and as we know most Republicans are not, so again I say turn this idiotic canard towards focusing on the environment. It's all BS, but then so is the entire crux of these Republican accusations.
I just came across this news story (about two weeks old), that the U.S. government is blackmailing Iraq:
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely.
It's come down to this, petty blackmail, to try and get that mission accomplished? Incredible.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

About the bill that protects the telecom companies at the expense of the Fourth Amendment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "But to have a bill we must have a bill that does not violate the Constitution of the United States and this bill does not."

Absolutely wrong. It's no wonder the Congress is more/less as unpopular as GW. They have the backbone of an amoeba and the principles of a mafia lawyer. At this rate, we'll be lucky if there's anything left standing of the Constitution come November.
Chris Kofinis, former spokesman for Democratic candidate John Edwards, was recently on Dan Abrams' MSNBC program emphatically warning that the Republicans will most certainly attempt to "Swift Boat" Obama, and have already started to do so. He said make no mistake, they'll get the 527s into action and Obama should be prepared for the same sort of groundless smearing that went on four years ago.

Of course, Kofinis is 100% correct, but it's funny how you never hear the yammering dunderheads on the right ever sound the same cautionary alarm. You never hear Rush or Hannity or Kristol exclaim, "My fellow Republicans, please get ready for the onslaught of the Dem smear machine -- you know, the likes of which they do each election cycle."

Yeah, right. The fact is even before Karl Rove raised it to a new level, the GOP has always been about doing whatever it takes to win elections -- lie, insinuate, infer, imply, distort, whatever. Sling the scum, make an impact, hopefully win the election, and then tolerate the criticism after its over (ho hum, yawn, big deal at that point). It would just be laughable to hear anyone on the right even hint at accusing the Dems of likely to "Swift Boat" McCain. Beyond the fact it just doesn't happen, given the many ripe and fair-game targets provided by The Maverick, Obama should be able to attack above-board at will, scoring points steadily in the months ahead.
At minimum, this administration is guilty of war crimes and treason. And yet apparently such wrongful acts don't approach the level of heinous wrongdoing as lying about consensual oral sex. Madness, just sheer madness.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More irresponsible fear-mongering by the right. This time from Newt Gingrich and even worse, from a Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia.

Lose a city? To honor the Constitution will cost many American lives? How low must the right sink? It's embarrassing that Scalia is a judge period, much less on the Supreme Court. He's an overt political operative as opposed to an objective enforcer of the law -- he's the purist example of an "activist" judge. Recall on 60 Minutes when asked about the 2000 election decision he simply said "get over it." Smug pr*ck.

As for Newt, need I say more. Fortunately most sane people no longer take him seriously, if they ever did, but the problem is he's still a reverent figure on the right. Scary.

UPDATE: Scalia said, "The nation will live to regret what the court has done today." If he was talking about what the Court did in 2000 to install GW as president, he would most certainly be correct!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I've written a great deal about the rise of the new federalism, or the rebirth of states' rights given the federal government's negligence concerning so many issues. It has forced states to take charge and attempt to get things done for the benefit of the people.

Adam Cohen wrote a terrific piece about this subject. The Republicans are all about states rights -- except when such rights do not favor their special interests (which can be quite often).
A few days ago, I was listening to Rick Shenkman being interviewed on a Thom Hartmann radio segment. Shenkman has written a book entitled, Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter. He more or less makes the unsurprising case that the American voter is sadly misinformed. He/she will basically believe almost any load of hooey hoisted at them if it's done convincingly enough.

The one example he finds most appalling is the supposed 9/11 and Saddam connection. Of course, most intelligent, non-Fox News viewing folks know that there is/was no connection, but nonetheless Shenkman cites that all too many Americans believed there was and worse yet favored going to war because of this non-fact.

Shenkman, in a justifiably angry tone, implored that just because so many wrongs in our country are not singularly 10-alarm fires doesn't mean they should be excused or should not be elevated to top importance. I've been making this same case about climate change. Just because the warming of the planet is not an immediate problem that will kill us tomorrow doesn't mean it's not an urgent matter. Because the problem is so gradual and in effect subtle, it allows for the public to take it for granted -- until it will be too late to do anything about it. By the time we wake up to its true harm, we'll be long past the point of no return.

Sounds hysterical? Alarmist? Exactly, given the nature of the looming catastrophe we need more strident warnings since the problem itself is advancing too slowly (fortunately for us).

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Two days ago I jotted down on a piece of paper six reasons why I felt John Edwards would be the best pick for VP. I then came across Neil Sinhababu's list. I'm sure countless other bloggers have published similar lists for Edwards, Hillary, Biden, Richardson, etc.

Anyway, here's the list I came up with in favor of Edwards:

1) Women like him. There certainly appears to exist a chasm of hurt for Hillary supporters that needs to be healed or at least bridged. Selecting another woman would obviously not help as it would be passing over Hillary for another woman and likely just further exacerbate the problem, so best to pick a man that very much appeals to women. And the fact that Edwards' wife is so appealing, likable, and courageous (given her fight with cancer) is just a huge extra plus.

2) You want a smart, tactful attack dog as VP. It was often said after the 2004 election that Edwards had pushed hard for Kerry to fight back sternly and forcefully against the Swift Boat morons, but his urging was rebuffed. The campaign felt better to take the supposed high road -- and it cost them. That's a great sign, to see Edwards willing and up for aggressive response to the predictable slime from the GOP. Make no mistake, this eagerness to strike back fast and with emphasis will be needed this time around and Edwards can effectively deliver the zings.

3) Edwards is not overly gray haired. Many are saying Obama needs to pick an older fella to offset his youth and relative inexperience. Baloney. We've seen that arrangement for the last eight years and it's been a disaster. Obama does not in anyway want to conjure up images that resemble the current administration. (Also, Obama can use Cheney to point out that age and experience do not always equate to wisdom and good judgment).

4) Edwards appeals to Hispanic and Latino voters. It's known that Obama could use some help concerning these voters and Edwards is well-liked by them.

5) Iraq. Unlike Hillary, Edwards expressed deep regret for his Iraq war vote. As I mentioned in a prior post, Obama's anti-war stance was a huge reason for his edging out Hillary and by going with Edwards (as opposed to Hillary) is keeping unified this enormously important and influential anti-war message. (Esp. vs. McCain's 100-years-in-Iraq message).

6) Lastly, I would mention that Ralph Nader did endorse Edwards for president this year so that could at least mean something with regards to appealing to all those progressives who feel that the Democrats have become just like the Republicans. That may or may not be true but the guy who's been pounding home that belief for the last several years (Mr. Nader) apparently felt differently about Edwards -- quite a bragging point for a presidential candidate who wishes to stress change as his primary goal.

Yes, the more I think about it the more I believe Edwards would be Obama's best choice, and let's be real: Obama is no John Kerry (thankfully).

Friday, June 06, 2008

I keep hearing much complaining by Hillary supporters that from the start the media had gift-wrapped the nomination for Obama and made it extremely difficult for her. Just bull, revisionist history. I seem to recall early on Hillary being ahead in most polls and she received many endorsements in newspaper editorials. As Dick Polman writes:
Hard to believe, but he was not always the frontrunner. He came out of nowhere and defeated the most prominent female politician in America (and arguably the world), someone who is wedded to the only two-term Democratic president of the last 60 years, someone who supposedly would blow out the competition (especially a freshman senator) thanks to a combination of organizational muscle and financial prowess.

And it's important to remember that the political media (the same media that Bill Clinton whines about today) basically declared her the winner last year before a singe citizen had cast a vote. Indeed, on the day Obama announced his candidacy, The New York Times took care to remind readers that Clinton was dominant, due to her "years of experience in presidential politics, a command of policy and political history, and an extraordinarily battle-tested network of fundraisers and advisers."

Yet without any serious executive experience, Obama oversaw a $250-million campaign operation that, among other achievements, pioneered new frontiers in small-donor Internet fundraising, captured the "change" theme and owned it, and managed to survive 16 months of unprecedented battle without any changes in senior campaign personnel. Clinton lagged in the money contest, lost out on "change," and had to overhaul her hierarchy. She was consistently reactive. She was outfought, although she remains too graceless to acknowledge it.
Graceless indeed.

As much as I understand and appreciate the pros and cons of selecting Hillary as a VP, I'm convinced that Obama should take a pass. It's hard to believe someone with the extreme ambition and drive of Hillary, who obviously very much wanted to be president, will adjust to the #2 role and be happy doing it. We've seen someone like Cheney do it but he's been basically running the country with GW's blessing -- doubt if Obama will allow for such an arrangement (!).

Also, Obama would then have to contend with Bill; how can he "compete" with a guy who has already been an extremely popular and successful president for eight years? Yes, it would be great to have the collective wisdom of all three in power (esp. versus the near collective wisdom of zero we've had for the last eight years), but odds favor such an alliance to more likely turn into a disaster, with the egos and massive personalities involved eventually fracturing the much-needed unity in the White House.

That said I have no idea who Obama will choose but my gut tells me it will be John Edwards....

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's finally over (I think?). As much as we'd like the attention to turn fully to the November election, with needed and deserved criticism to start heading McCain's way as opposed to Hillary's, what's sometimes lost in the drama is the fact that this was a very close race, and while Hillary has been mathematically out of it for some time, it's only been by a narrow margin. What could've been the issue that turned against her to cede just enough ground to Obama? I agree with Neil Sinhababu: Iraq.
Perhaps the most under-remarked fact about the Democratic primary is that if Hillary Clinton had Obama's foresight on the Iraq War, she'd be our nominee today and he probably wouldn't have bothered to run. She had the profile to become the leader of the doves in the Senate, a position that would've gained value dramatically as the war turned out to be a disaster. There might've been a challenge from the right, but she would've consolidated left-wing support and won easily. Instead, she became one of the more hawkish Democrats in the Senate, and was probably the most hawkish figure onstage during the Democratic debates. Without even seriously repenting her mistaken vote on the biggest foreign policy question of our time, it's a surprise that she got as far as she did.
Yes, she had other problems, no doubt, but this vote clearly didn't help her from the get-go and Obama's ability to say he's been against the war all along enabled him to differentiate from the others in a very stark and popular way.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's hilarious to observe McCain, who apparently has ooddles of lobbyists advising his campaign, trying of late to shed this bad image via disassociating from the lot. But it's too late, the damage is done for Obama to exploit.

How can Mr. Maverick defend or make credible his "independent" label, his supposed penchant for criticizing the special interest folks, when he has so many high-placed lobbyists working for him? Bottom line is he can't. Also, what kind of judgment does this display? How can we trust any of his "change" rhetoric when he's employing the exact people from K Street who make sure that real change never comes?

Obama should pound this message incessantly till November.

Also, more evidence that McCain = Bush/Rove: he hired Rove protege Tim Griffin.

Yup, with the tons of lobbyists on the payroll and now hiring Griffin, looks like McCain plans to continue the tradition of scum observed in the last eight years.