Thursday, October 30, 2008
Francis Fukuyama has jumped on the Obama bandwagon. From The American Conservative:
McCain’s appeal was always that he could think for himself, but as the campaign has progressed, he has seemed simply erratic and hotheaded. His choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate was highly irresponsible; we have suffered under the current president who entered office without much knowledge of the world and was easily captured by the wrong advisers. McCain’s lurching from Reaganite free- marketer to populist tribune makes one wonder whether he has any underlying principles at all.
Amazing stuff. I don't remember a case where so many significant people and organizations have been so openly critical of their candidate - usually, especially in recent elections, you can count on the Republicans to tow the line. It's usually the Democrats that suffer the wrath of their own party brothers and sisters.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Now that Journalists have named the 44th President, relegating next week's election a formality, the discussion has shifted to concerns (or hopes) of a filibuster-proof 60-40 margin in the Senate.
Ignoring for the moment that voters may find it offensive when journalists skip over the event the voters are supposed to be taking part in, namely voting, we find the GOP in damage control and dealing with massive infighting and finger-pointing. The discussion has turned to shifting dollars away from the McCain campaign to senatorial campaigns, including this advice from conservative David Frum: "Republicans need to give up on the happy talk about how McCain has Obama just where he wants him, take off their game faces." Frum in Sorry, Senator. Let's Salvage What We Can says they need to change the message to accept the fate of a Democratic White House and shift the focus to "balance in Washington."
"Otherwise, you're going to wake up two years from now and find a Democratic president, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House... Divided government is the best precaution you can have."
This message does hit home with people and probably will swing some votes to McCain and Republicans in general.
Today's SF Chronicle has a story with the headline Senate Dems aim for filibuster-proof majority. Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton went to Minnesota to endorse Al Franken to the Senate, saying that he could be that key 60th Democratic senator.
I think this kind of thing will just fire up people to vote against Democrats. People do fear an unconstrained Democratic leadership. They fear that it will lead to unlimited "taxing and spending" (despite the fact that the worst deficits have come under their hero Reagan and the two Bush's).
The message it sends is one of arrogance - it may be taken by many voters as a signal that Obama and Democrats are so cocky about the presidential election that they can now start to focus on this filibuster-proof "dream" - or "nightmare" to many voters. While, like Sarah Palin for the right, it may inspire the base, it will turn off many moderates and independents.
There is still plenty of time to lose this election.
The Huffington Post has fun with their story about Richard Dreyfus' appearance on The View today, including video, showing the Academy Award winning actor railing about the Oliver Stone "W" movie (wherein Dreyfus lays down an excellent performance of Dick Cheney, BTW). They decided to make a big deal about Dreyfus being critical of Stone and the film being too soft on Bush - their headline includes the flame bait "Calls Oliver Stone A Fascist." Such is good for getting clicks to your page I guess, but it leaves out the best part of the segment.
Dreyfus goes on to explain, with some eloquence, the necessity in a democratic republic, to teach civics in public schools. The Huffington Post video cuts off before that point, but the video below includes his passionate plea (starting about 5:45 into the clip).
I don't fit the conventional labels. Frankly, I don't think I'm alone in that, which is why I think we need new labels and why the alternative "third-parties", aren't going anywhere.
On the Political Compass™, (take the test yourself HERE), I fall as shown below:
Okay, so I'm a little "left-ish" and a good bit "libertarian" (mostly with respect to liberties and freedom from tyranny). Fine.
I strongly support our civil liberties protected under the U.S. Constitution, INCLUDING the "evil right-wing" 2nd Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA), which is why I support BOTH the American Civil Liberties Union AND the National Rifle Association, even though I disagree with both organizations on many specific issues. I also support the Electronic Frontier Foundation in this fight.
When it comes to conventional partisan politics, I'm left in the cold. The GOP is controlled by a bunch hypocrites who use double-talk and double standards to push their political agenda.
The Republicans are Pro-Second Amendment but Anti-4th Amendment. They talk smaller government but practice Big-Government.
On the other hand, the Democrats are Anti-2nd Amendment but Pro-4th Amendment.
In both cases, they are made up of Career Politicians who must be Loyal to their Party in order to keep their political careers. Both parties are Anti-Constitution, Pro Big-Government, and Anti-States Rights. Their loyalty lies with the highest bidder.
And then, we have the third parties, such as the Libertarians, who I agree with in terms of personal privacy and individual liberty, but then they just go too far, with their "no government, ever, at any price" policies. They won't accept that some amount of regulation of Capitalism might just make some sense. We've seen where letting the market go its own way gets us. (The market seems to have a preference for useless financial instruments and insane compensation packages.) That's why I'll continue to use the lower-case "L" when referring to my libertarian-leanings.
This 1890's populist cartoon captures my thoughts quite succinctly:
Populists claimed that Democratic and Republican politicians agitated meaningless issues, such as tariff revision, in demagogic attempts to divert people’s attention from the real problems that producers faced. Notice where the politician’s right hands are located.
Sound familiar? My sentiment is that Democratic and Republican politicians agitate meaningless issues in demagogic attempts to divert people’s attention from the real problems the country faces - all the while ripping off the public for their own personal and political gain. As long as we the people are fighting each other and blaming the other side, Democrat or Republican, for everything, the politicians win.
So that might explain why, on this site, you'll see that I question ALL crooked and hypocritical politicians, regardless of their party affiliations. I try to highlight all attacks on our freedoms, no matter where they originate.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Alaska’s largest newspaper has endorsed a candidate for president. We keep being told that Sarah Palin is so popular in Alaska, so of course they must have gone with the McCain/Palin ticket. Nope.
Despite [Palin's] formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.
Wow. Perhaps we should listen to the people that know her best.
The ACLU has put in a Freedom of Information request to the Army with respect to their recent report that the Army has deployed an active military unit inside the United States, the 3rd Infantry Division of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) for the first time on our soil.
The ACLU press release, dated October 21, 2008 states:
According to a report in the Army Times, the Army recently deployed an active military unit inside the United States under Northern Command, which was established in 2002 to assist federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. This deployment marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command.
"This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority, and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law," said Mike German, ACLU national security policy counsel and former FBI Agent. "Our Founding Fathers understood the threat that a standing army could pose to American liberty. While future generations recognized the need for a strong military to defend against increasingly capable foreign threats, they also passed statutory protections to ensure that the Army could not be turned against the American people. The erosion of these protections should concern every American."
A copy of the ACLU's information request is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/general/37272lgl20081021.html
This is some serious stuff.
UPDATE: an interview by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman with Army Col. Michael Boatner, future operations division chief of USNORTHCOM, and Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, contains some very good insights, here: www.democracynow.org/2008/10/7/us_army_denies_unit_will_be
I love the comment from the Army guy that says, in essence, trust us "American citizens can be confident that there will be no abuses." Unfortunately, that's not the way the framers wrote it up, Colonel, that the citizenry should simply "trust" that the army won't be turned against the American people.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
As reported at CNN Palin's 'going rogue,' McCain aide says
Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."And get this:
McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate.
Pretty strong stuff, and from the McCain camp too.
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.
"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."
McCain advisers Nicolle Wallace, who Palin blames for her Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric bluders went so far as to say: "If people want to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most honorable thing to do is to lie there."
Friday, October 24, 2008
My brother, a really smart guy, has long chided that by shipping jobs and manufacturing overseas over the recent decades, the US "no longer makes anything," or, in other words, doesn't contribute but only consumes. While this is of course not 100% true, (we produce a huge portion of the world's food, for instance), there is something to it. He has always said this would lead to a massive depression, if not the ruin of the US.
One metric for what a country produces might be GDP. Will Hutton of THE OBSERVER, LONDON has an excellent article on How to survive the market meltdown that brings this together very well. Hutton suggests that there isn't enough money in the world to pay for the "dark heart of the global financial system" or the US$55 trillion market in credit derivatives: "This is a market more than twice the size of the combined GDP of the US, Japan and the EU."
Try to imagine that: a $55 trillion market now at risk of complete destruction. Even the derivative debt owed by individual institutions stands at nation-wrecking levels. For example, a single bank in Britain, Barclays again, holds more than $2.4 trillion in credit default swaps. This is more than the entire GDP of Great Britain. If all this paper goes bad, there are not enough assets in the entire country to pay it off. And that's just one bank, in one country.
Hang on. This is going to be a bumpy ride.
Top Contributors to Obama's campaign
Goldman Sachs $739,521
UBS AG $419,550
Lehman Brothers $391,774
Citigroup Inc $492,548
Morgan Stanley $341,380
Latham & Watkins $328,879
Google Inc $487,355
JPMorgan Chase & Co $475,112
Sidley Austin LLP $370,916
Skadden, Arps et al $360,409
This should tell us something about why Obama voted for the bailout with McCain and Pelosi, when he could have taken a stand to show that he really does represent change.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Gov. Palin's unfavorable rating has increased dramatically since she first came on the scene and is now net negative. She is also now rated as a bigger drag on John McCain's campaign than George W. Bush according to new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.
Here's what the Pew Research Center had to say yesterday:
Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing – if not an increasing – drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view. In mid-September, favorable opinions of Palin outnumbered negative ones by 54% to 32%. Women, especially women under age 50, have become increasingly critical of Palin: 60% now express an unfavorable view of Palin, up from 36% in mid-September. Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate.
How Wolf Blitzer let this comment slip by without question, I have no idea:
MCCAIN: I would have vetoed literally every spending bill, even those that I voted for, if I were president of the United States and made them famous the way Ronald Reagan did.From interview today Oct-22: transcript here or watch the video here.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The list of intellectual republicans either officially endorsing Barack Obama, or expressing criticism of the McCain campaign keeps growing.
Last week we saw two prominent media conservatives endorse Senator Obama: Michael Smerconish, a radio talk show host, and the novelist Christopher Buckley. Buckley is the son of William Buckley, one of the key founders of the modern conservative movement.
Many of them, like Colen Powell, have cited concerns over McCains choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate.
Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, was the first of several conservative pundits to say publicly that she felt betrayed by the choice of Sarah Palin.
Kathleen Parker, another National Review columnist, wrote that Mrs Palin was "clearly out of her league" and should step down as the vice-presidential candidate.
George Will, another influential conservative writer, raised questions about whether Mrs. Palin is qualified to be president and compared the "Palin bubble" to the dotcom and housing bubbles.
David Brooks said Sarah Palin "Represents A Fatal Cancer To The Republican Party" and said she is "absolutely not" ready to be president or vice president.
Lifelong conservative Republican Ken Adelman says he will vote for Obama, adding "Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office—I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency."
Can we point to any prominent democrats endorsing McCain/Palin? What does that tell us?
I'm an NRA member and I support the NRA-ILA because there is nobody else supporting the Second Amendment. I also support the ACLU.
The NRA is a one-issue organization so I suppose it makes sense that they endorese candidates based on that single issue. However, the NRA leaders appear to me to have become too entrenched in partisan politics. They think because members are interested in guns, they must also be on the right on all issues, and in particular, republican.
Even as an NRA member, I can't vote against my economic and social self-interest based on a single issue, especially with all the issues before us.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Colin Powell, President Bush’s former secretary of state and a former chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said on Meet the Press that he is voting for Obama.
Beyond endorsing Barack Obama, Powell also said, with regard to Sarah Palin, "I don't believe she is ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President."
He also said Obama would Be A "Transformational President."
In the meantime, Obama's lead in the polls is shrinking, with some polls showing almost a dead heat.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The rolling stone article "Make-Believe Maverick" hits hard. The subtitle gives a hint of their conclusion:
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty
A companion of McCain's who was also taken prisoner (but never cracked), is quoted:
"McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man. But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."
It paints a picture of a selfish person:
This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.
McCain has become the kind of politician he ran against in 2000. He has embraced those he once denounced as "agents of intolerance.
In the end, the essential facts of John McCain's life and career — the pivotal experiences in which he demonstrated his true character — are important because of what they tell us about how he would govern as president. Far from the portrayal he presents of himself as an unflinching maverick with a consistent and reliable record, McCain has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to taking whatever position will advance his own career.
It questions his character on many levels:
Indeed, many leading Republicans who once admired McCain see his recent contortions to appease the GOP base as the undoing of a maverick. "John McCain's ambition overrode his basic character," says Rita Hauser, who served on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 2001 to 2004. But the truth of the matter is that ambition is John McCain's basic character. Seen in the sweep of his seven-decade personal history, his pandering to the right is consistent with the only constant in his life: doing what's best for himself. To put the matter squarely: John McCain is his own special interest.
Calls him a "brat":
McCain's admittance to Annapolis was preordained by his bloodline. But martial discipline did not seem to have much of an impact on his character. By his own account, McCain was a lazy, incurious student
When McCain was not shown the pampering to which he was accustomed, he grew petulant — even abusive. He repeatedly blew up in the face of his commanding officer. It was the kind of insubordination that would have gotten any other midshipman kicked out of Annapolis. But his classmates soon realized that McCain was untouchable. Midway though his final year, McCain faced expulsion, about to "bilge out" because of excessive demerits. After his mother intervened, however, the academy's commandant stepped in. Calling McCain "spoiled" to his face, he nonetheless issued a reprieve, scaling back the demerits. McCain dodged expulsion a second time by convincing another midshipman to take the fall after McCain was caught with contraband.
Over the years, John McCain has demonstrated a streak of anger so nasty that even his former flacks make no effort to spin it away.
At least three of McCain's GOP colleagues have gone on record to say that they consider him temperamentally unsuited to be commander in chief.
Read the whole 10-page article here.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Stacy in PA writes in her "smart girl politics blog" about the current Democratic leadership:
"What have they accomplished in the last two years? Not much. It's not surprising that they have a 13% approval rating, 9% at it's low."
This, I cannot disagree with. They have been a tremendous disappointment. For starters, they should have impeached Bush. Of course, their excuse is they have a weak majority.
Then she goes on to say, with respect to fears of an Obama victory:
"There have only been a handful of times in our history where one party has had this much power in government."
Yeah, for example, the prior 6 years to the 2 mentioned above, the first 6 years of the G. W. Bush presidency. A what did they accomplish together, Bush and Congress, under that Republican majority leadership? Oh yeah:
- Abu Ghraib
- Missing WMDs
- Hurricane Katrina
- Extraordinary Rendition
- Spying on Americans without warrants
- Continued failure to recognize Global Warming as a threat
- Torture justified and legalized
- Alberto Gonzales
- Donald Rumsfeld
- $9.1 trillion National Debt, up from $5.6 trillion
- Taking a budget surplus to the worst budget deficits in history
A new Gallup poll finds that only 9% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States, which is the lowest such reading in Gallup Poll history, easily beating the 12% recorded in 1979.
The reason is simple: the economy. Almost 7 in 10 Americans mentioned some aspect of the economy as the most important problem facing the country today.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Georgia congressman and hero of Selma, John Lewis, said today:
“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all.
They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy.”
In the past, McCain has praised Lewis, including naming him as one of "three wise men" he would consult as president.
Now Lewis was invoking George Wallace in reference to John McCain:
"George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks...
What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."
Lewis closed with: "We can do better. The American people deserve better."
The McCain campaign continues to lower the bar of decency. Their latest 90 second web video is targeted to the extreme right (majority of the base these days I guess), sending the message that not only are the scary blacks stealing the election, but they also caused the economic crisis. Don't blame Wall Street. Blame the n-----s.
McCain knows he's going to lose and he's prepping the base to take the position that Republicans didn't really lose the election, but that it was stolen by Barack Omaba and his army of black street thugs.
from Daily KOS:
How do Republicans get on this so quickly and hammer until it is now spreading to other media outlets besides fox?
The answer, They did it. Republicans are the party of dirty tricks, of putting up billboards in 2004 in black neighborhoods telling people to vote on teh wrong day. They put police near voting places to scare of many. They have sent out fliers listing the wrong polling places. I could go on, but I'm already sick to my stomach.
The idea is to cast suspicions over ALL new voters, who are overwhelmingly Democratic. Then, when McCain loses, to start the lawsuits, attacking the legitimacy of lower income, minority, and ACORN gathered voters.
I wouldn't put it past them. We have seen such things, and worse, from Republicans in the past.