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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The California Democratic Debate

I have to say tonight started out looking pretty good for both sides until the end when Iraq came up. I'll get to that later. Ovearll they both did pretty well and I, for the first time since this whole process started, felt good about the individuals on stage tonght even though I have major issues with both of them still using GOP framing and rhetoric.

Sen. Obama won in my estimation for three reasons: (1) his answers on immigration showed the compassion I'm looking for whenever we discuss immigrants even though Obama mouthed yet another GOP line they need help to learn english. They always seem to be framed as "them" and somehow not quite equal on a human scale with us and Hillary projected that tone, (2) on the issue of economics he mouthed nearly what I'm looking for when comparing economic policies with the GOP and saying fiscal responsibility comparisons are very welcome. Obama nearly, but not quite, used that dreaded "L" word, and finally (3) making sure that his Iraq positions were crystal clear - opposition from the outset gives him the strongrest credentials on national security.

Now that I've given my reasons why Sen. Obama won I am forced to address the issue of using, once again, GOP talking points and issue frames. I am refering to both Clinton and Obama's attitude toward the Iraqi's as something less than adult humans. A reminder here of just what has taken place is called for first:

WE invaded THIER country; WE gutted THEIR infrastucture; WE killed THEIR civilians; WE enabled sectarian strife to go critical mass into civil war; WE allowed the complete breakdown of civil authority and mass looting; WE dictated to THEM what Democracy was supposed to look like in our own image, WE imposed the CPA on THEM; WE are telling the Iraqi's they must do this and do that and modify their behavior to meet certain criteria for further relations.

I am struck that both candidates continue to adopt the GOP line and attitude towards the Iraqi's like they are children who need to be "guided" and we are the paternalistic wise ones who will show them the way. We keep telling them, repeating here - TELLING THEM you have to meet certain deadlines. At worst this sounds as racist as you can get and at best it makes us look like imperialist assholes. Can't you just feel the love? Obama and Clinton both telling the Iraqi's, "Hey, times up! We're leaving now so you need to do this and that and make sure this is happening by this time and act this way and be so damn thankful for us just being here and shedding our Americanism all over you." Obama saying we have to be honorable made me want to throw up. Hey, Barack, honorable left a long time ago my friend.

Look, here's a novel idea. Just get the hell out. Advise the Iraqi's Bush was NOT representative of American values. Advise them we are leaving NOW. Make sure we offer them help, economic packages and ADVICE only within the context of us LEAVING. And leaving NOW. No deadlines. No ultimatums. Just leave.

Oh, and btw, those "civilian contractors" as Hillary so kindly called them are nothing but god damned mercenaries. A pox on both of them for this crap. Especially Obama as well for not picking up on this in the first place. Those Bushian cowboys should be left on their own. I mean that's the conservative creed isn't it? Mavericks and we are only responsible and accountable to ourselves? Damn, I'd love to see them practice what they preach.


Local Northeast Florida Media Zeitgeist

Well, I see that via the Florida Times-Union the Department of Homeland Security considers little ol' me a potential threat to national security because I'm a,..... B L O G G E R! I'm continously struck by the propensity of this WH to chase after anyone and everyone who has done nothing but be Americans and make a point of not going after anyone and everyone who has had anything to do with 9/11. Osama Bin Ladin is still held up somewhere in the hills of northern Pakistan but DHS is going to keep a weary eye on this blog. I am also amazed at the fact that the Clinton administration was able to capture everyone involved with the '93 WTC bombing and all without infringing on anyone's civil liberties or taking extrodinary measures such as FISA restructuring and restricting habeous corpus.....I guess I can forget getting the badly needed computer projector for my classroom next year as the Amendment 1 Property Tax Cut passed statewide even though, as the Florida Times-Union informs us, its passage was somewhat of a surprise and Duval county voted it down. Being a school teacher I was more acutely aware of what this irresponsible tax cut did than most and sure enough our principal informed us yesterday that we [the Duval County Public School System] could expect a $74 million shortfall over the next five years. I'm always a little perplexed at the GOP brand name proudly identifying with anti-civic minded principles at the expense of public services and education. For some reason the GOP favors the defunding of the governing process as a virtue to boast about. If the Democratic party ever figures out how to frame this properly we could smite these self aggrandizing maggots once and for all.....Will someone please tell the editors at the Folio to stop identifying Andy Johnson as a local progressive? Everytime he gets mentioned in the press somehow that link comes up and then of course he denies being one. One or two programs that fit the criteria of being liberal/progressive radio does not qualify Mr. Johnson's new broadcast enterprise as a "bastion of progressive talk radio".....I see where SunTrust, BofA and Wachovia has cut their prime interest rate from 6.5% to 6% to help counter the 0.6% growth of the national economy in the fourth quarter, meanwhile, the subprime crisis continues and keeps growing. With the Amendment 1 property tax cut now in the books the city services for our neighborhoods in areas where the subprime crisis is acute can only make for dream times, can't it? Dontcha just love this Bushian economy?.....Hopefully the seventh year of the public hand wringing over the court house will be the charm...... I guess to preach against sin, one must first know sin.....Nothing like a turncoat Democrat endorsing a Republican Presidential candidate.....and finally, can someone get this girl a shrink? She keeps intruding on my serious news search.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An Edwards supporter now looking for a candidate

Well, I was just over at the Obama campaign site and blog to register and actively engage in some discourse. I'm still reeling from Edwards dropping out of the campaign and in retrospect it might have been a little early for me to do that. What we are losing is in Edwards is a candidate who wasn't afraid to espouse liberal/progressive issues and attack from the left those issues that put the middle class and poor in economic strangleholds. More Hillary and Obama wishy washy dancing about being an actual Democrat is a prospect I'm not looking forward to. I was going to head over to the Hillary web site and do the same but I've changed my mind because there is simply no point. Here I am looking at the prospect of the first woman and African American candidate blazing the trail to make history and truly show we are all one people and instead I get a couple of bloviators that can't quite get the word "liberal" out of their mouths. Memo to both campaigns: John McCain will do that for you and once again frame "liberal" in the pejorative.

Just to give an idea of how "liberal" is framed from the Obama campaign just look at how on of his supporters do it in reply to my post where I commented on Obama's now infamous Reagan remarks:
"I agree with your comments about Reagan, but people have twisted Obama's comments. In an academic discussion - which is the context of his comments (speaking with an editorial board) - the word 'transformative' has no positive or negative meaning. It just means that Reagan significantly changed things. And that he did. Obama has spoken many times about how he disagreed with Reagan's policies, but it's hard to argue that Reagan didn't change things. I mean, he won 49 out of 50 states in 1984 and all the Republicans are fighting themselves silly trying to be Reagan 2.0. So he clearly had a lasting impact, one that we're still suffering from today.

Here's where we'll have to disagree. Obama never runs from progressive/liberal ideas. What he runs from is demonizing people, even when they disagree. Because at the end of the day, we all have a few friends/family/acquaintances who are conservative/Republican, and they're probably have very little in common with Dick Cheney. And those folks can be convinced to support a progressive agenda, and Obama knows that - it's just about not demonizing them while selling that progressive agenda."
What Obama did in that meeting with the editorial board was talk about Reagan being a tranformative figure who co-opted the disenchantment of the electorate and channeled it into successful conservative policy initiatives. The Senator went on to say Reagan tapped into that disenchantment that was caused by the excesses of the '60's and early '70's. Really? I taught reading my first year as a teacher and I think I have a pretty good handle on reading comprehension. There was no question what Obama was refering to here: the so-called 'liberal' excesses were the reason for that disenchantment. There is no question he meant policy failures not the fact that there was a failure on the part of the Democratic party to stop the GOP from framing it as such. That's not transformative. That's a complete collapse of the Democratic party community and their role in defining who they were and what they stood for.

I don't want to make this a whine about Edwards and the fact my candidate got beat. What I AM concerned about is both the Democratic candidates left vying for the top of the ticket will once again let the GOP define progressive liberalism once again in the pejoriative. Candidates not willing to say they are progressive and liberal is a first step in letting the GOP be successful in that framing. Chris Bowers over at Open Left makes it abundantly clear what the criticism of Obama has been about:
"The most consistent criticism of Obama online has focused upon his rhetorical posture in relation to Republicans and conservatives: conciliatory language of unity, the use of right wing talking points on health care and social security, positing left-wing DFH strawmen (70's style, anti-military love-in was my favorite), triangulation that blames ideologues and partisans on both sides for polarization, etc."
And one more memo to the Clinton campaign: surrounding yourself with the likes of Mark Penn and throwing kisses to Lieberman only sets you up to be defined by your opponents. I was over at MyDD earlier and saw where Todd Beeton reminded us what Hillary's campaign strategy in the general will be:
"We know that Hillary Clinton's strategy for running against John McCain is to play up what she has in common with him -- experience, especially on national security matters -- so, it makes sense that Barack Obama would take the opposite tack, playing up his differences from McCain, returning to the meme that judgment trumps experience."
As Mr. Beeton points out further in his observation Sen. Obama will agree, yes Hillary you are just like McCain. That right there is enough to make me move toward the Obama camp. We'll see. Its too early for me to make that determination. But right now it's not looking good for Hillary to get my nod.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida primary a rout for Hillary

I just got back from the Duval County Democratic Party HQ and was gratified at the size of the crowd and the new faces milling around. It was nice seeing an old friend or two. The local media was well represented in print and broadcast. Sen. Clinton won by a much larger margin over Sen. Barack Obama than I expected while the Amendment 1 revision on property taxes passed quite easily statewide. As it was an amendment it needed at least 60% to pass.

Once I got home and looked at the Duval County Supervisor of Elections web site for election returns I was struck at the lag in reporting for Duval County as opposed to its surrounding counties of Nassau, Baker and St. Johns. Out of these four counties only Duval had incomplete returns across the board for Absentee, Early Voting, and Precinct Return ballots. Baker County had 100% reporting across the board, even it's provisional ballots were all counted. Nassau and St. Johns had 100% returns on Absentee, Early Voting, and Precinct Returns. I find it very troubling Duval County, with it's tax base, cannot seem to bring itself into the 21st century.

While I was at the DEC HQ I listened with irritation at the local broadcast media while they characterized the Democratic primary as nothing more than a "beauty contest." Not once did I hear any of them explain the unusual circumstances the Democrats were put in by the Republican dominated state legislature forcing a vote to move the primary up earlier than the super Tuesday states. The GOP knew Democratic Party rules would be broken and punitive measures would be taken by the national party to show they were protecting the "Super Tuesday" states as well as New Hampshire and Iowa. What the media continues to leave out is the deal Democrats were forced to strike with the GOP dominated state legislature leadership in order to get paper ballots for the November general election. In exchange for the paper ballots the Democrats would remain silent on the early primary date. What really rubs is the open field the GOP made for themselves and their presidential candidates. The Democratic candidates did not bother to visit the state while the GOP candidates had the run of the state to themselves and the free media that went along went it. After the final results are in I'll take a look at the vote totals tomorrow.

It looks like McCain is definitely the front runner now for the GOP and Guiliani most likely to drop out. Huckabee did a faster fade than I expected so I expect so called "Super Tuesday" to all but declare McCain the presumptive nominee. It now looks as though the Democrats may be the ones to find themselves with a muddled picture afterwards. More on Amendment 1 tomorrow.

Running off at the keyboard...

I'm still working on my teacher certification stuff so the posting has been a little lighter than usual. In any event, my prediction for the primary tonight on the GOP side: McCain, Romney, Huckster, Guilini, and the rest in that order. For the Dems I see Hillary (barely), Obama, and Edwards. Btw, there's interesting talk about Edwards as AG buzzing around on the 'net so that remains to be seen.....I think Crist's endorsement of McCain may have actually boosted him a little, how much? Who knows, I'm not that big on endorsements actually counting for anything other than more free media.....So far my favorite review of Shrub's last (thank God) SOTU speech last night comes from Hunter via Daily Kos:
"Jesus, what a trite, boring speech. And "trite" is probably the nicest description. A laundry list of stuff he obviously doesn't mean, never worked meaningfully towards in the last seven years, and won't give a rat's ass about two hours from now when he's back in the White House. A few petty whines about earmarks and judges to remind 'em he's still the deciderer. And a big, last ditch helping of empty talk trying to redeem his own personal clusterf---, Iraq. Platitude, bluster, platitude, threat, platitude, pander, platitude. What a waste... for this, we numbed the butts of hundreds of our most esteemed citizens."
And then from Think Progress we get Bush telling us about his wonderful comfort level within the confines of his little WH bubble:
"[...]you know there’s just a certain freedom of movement that you don’t have and so I tell people, “yeah, there’s a bubble but life’s pretty comfortable inside the bubble."
What a leader. And we couldn't find anyone in 2004 to beat this moron?.....More economic good news, new home sales have redefined the word "dive" since "plummeting" isn't quite emphatic enough. Maybe "fallen off a cliff" would have been better. Btw, this is a new first for Bush, every administration since Roosevelt (that's Teddy, not Franklin) has always been able to boost about new home sales,.....unitl now anyway.....Interesting that Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg(sp?) and her uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy have both endorsed Sen. Obama. Caroline was comparing him to her father in the press release.....
"[...]I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."
And last but not least, the main problem I've had with Sen. Obama is his propensity to run away from progressive or liberal positions when discussing issues. Like me, Marcos over at his site Daily Kos has had the same problem,.....
"One of the problems I've had with Barack Obama, and the main reason I've never gotten on the bandwagon (even though I already mailed in my vote for him), was that he never criticized from the left."
I'm still waiting for him to cross over to the river Jordan of liberal and progressive values. Nothing irritates me more than a politician who runs away from the word "liberal."

Btw, I haven't mentioned it or talked with them because I've been so wrapped up in my certification stuff, but I'm going to mosey over to the new Duval County DEC HQ and see if they'll premit me to live blog for awhile from there tonight. Who knows, if I get lucky they may even let me broadcast live. We'll see...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

An Obama win in SC has talking heads spinning

Now that Obama has wrapped up the SC primary [most of the networks have called it without even 1% of the vote registering] the talking heads on MSNBC and CNN keep wondering how much of President Clinton's stature has diminished within the Democratic party. Howard Fineman, who has held a love affair with the Bushian image from the beginning, looks absolutely delighted at that prospect. I am somewhat taken about about the race factor that is being brought up over and over by the spinning heads. Veering away from that lovely subject I am also struck by the fact the spinning heads seem to think this win by Obama gives him the momentum of a front runner. Right now I don't see Clinton losing Florida. If that holds all this does is muddy the water about front runner status. At this point I don't see the "Super Tuesday" primaries settling anything.

Update: I am continuously stunned the network spinning heads always seem shocked the African American community is not a monolithic voting block. Just shocked. That in itself is racist since the broadcasts tonight insists on bringing it up in almost every sentence.

Update II: That was some speech by Sen. Obama. I'm continuously amazed at his capacity to speak extemporaneously without notes or telepromter and bring the house down. He did have a great line in that speech: "This election is about the past versus the future." Obama and Edwards' complete speeches were shown while they cut away from Hillary's speech in Nashville to speak live with John Edwards. I think the polls had Edwards had 15% and he's winding up with about 18%. So he's showing progress and he did say he was pulling in more money than ever right now.

Friday, January 25, 2008

John Edwards' New York Times Interview

The former NC senator has a forty minute interview in the New York Times' Friday edition about health care and it's dead on. His perspective has so much common sense and thought behind it, Obama's and Clinton's pale in comparison. The most interesting aspect of it is the way he frames the issue making it nearly impossible for the GOP attack machine, the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance lobby to define in terms for their advantage. Edwards uses their own frame of "choice" in a way I'm sure they didn't expect since their meme for the public is choice as well. He takes it and say's fine, you want choice? How's this?

Go read it now. This guy knows how to frame issues in a way he wasn't able to in 2004. His growth as a candidate since his run on the ticket with Kerry has been inpressive to me. I like to imagine what it would be like to watch him grow into the WH job. It's too bad the odds are stacked against him so steeply now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Florida GOP Debate

First of all, why is Andrea Mitchell (Ms. Alan Greenspan for those who do not know) on my TV telling America that Mittens looked the most Reaganesque? Edward R. Murrow just came out of his grave so he could die all over again. Where do today’s journalist get the ideas that I (we) care what they think about these candidates. Here’s a novel idea, how about embracing a basic tenant of professional journalistic ethics and letting your viewers decide? That would be refreshing.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way I will say watching these country club white boys standing on the stage tonight trying to out “tax cut” the other delivered the most comedic effect of the evening with the exception of Huckabee. The “Gomer Pyle” of Arkansas actually said something that made me flinch because it had the semblance of clear thinking behind it: [paraphrasing here]”…why not take the tax rebate Congress just voted on and put it into job creating projects like highway infrastructure funding to improve and add stretches of highway that will cut fuel costs for working people instead of giving them money that will be borrowed from the Chinese so they can purchase Chinese made products.” I nearly fell out of my chair watching Huckabee’s rare moment of lucidity. He quickly recovered though and veered away from that moment and joined in the fray to out tax cut his fellow debaters.

Obama recently said the GOP for a while had been known as the party of “ideas” [though he tried to clarify himself later by saying not especially “good” ideas]. The only “ideas” I’ve ever heard from the GOP over the last 30 years of my political cognizance is for the administration of a cure all elixir in the form of a tax cut for any economic malady or foreign crisis that could be conceived. The lobotomy required for one to join the “conservative raison d’etra” is something to behold, isn’t it? Good times, bad times it doesn’t matter, either way it always calls for a tax cut. Defunding the process of governance as a cure all for economic, cultural and social malady’s should make for excellent comedic fodder but for some reason it gets a serious nod by people who pretend to be serious on TV.

They had their moments of making nice with one another and it was almost sickening listening to them “question” each other as the mutual admiration society suddenly showed up on stage. But the most interesting moment of the night wasn’t Huckabee’s moment of lucidity; it was Ron Paul’s rant about the illegality and stupidity of getting us into the Iraq war in the first place and the roar of approval from the audience that followed. This after each candidate fell over one another telling America what a great idea the war was and that Bush was bold and brilliant instigating it. I imagine you might get an argument from family members who have lost a loved one since but be that as it may, there is no way that fly’s in the general election.

One of the things that irritated me about the 2004 election was the charge of flip-flopping the GOP hung around Kerry’s neck. I always wondered why he didn’t just raise his hand and claim, “Guilty as charged.” Then followed up by saying if you want a President who believes the same thing on Thursday that he believes on Monday no matter what new information was learned then I’m not your man. Hillary Clinton would do well to try that tactic after several of the GOP candidates this evening made reference to her war vote on Iraq and tipped their hand how she would be attacked in the general.

Overall, the evening was a wash as far as this viewer was concerned. Though I suspect Romney will benefit the most simply because McCain just looks so yesterday beside him. If Romney takes Florida after a McCain win in SC the race will be even more convoluted for the GOP and won’t that just be too bad.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Offline until Sunday...

I'm still doing grades (have I forgot to mention I'm a school teacher?) and my daughter's birthday party is tomorrow and we are making a big deal out of it - she's turning 2! Might be a cute daughter picture coming when I'm back online Sunday.

Update: I've been really sick since Saturday and haven't really been up to posting, especially about the Nevada and S.C. primaries as well as the upcoming Florida primary. Hopefully I will be feeling well enough today (Wednesday, 1/23) to post later.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Huckabee’s “Constitution”

Sometimes I hate visiting Digby’s site for the simple reason that it is addictive and detrimental to my work habits. [Sigh] Speaking of which, I was just there visiting reading Tristero’s usually excellent writing when I came across his post on fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee and his remarks yesterday redefining the relationship between church and state:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,' Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. 'But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's
standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

Forget for a moment the implications this disturbing statement has regarding not only his views about the separation of church and state, but about his views on cultural and social norms.

While the folks over at Digby all seemed to center on the eschewing of modern science as the main focus and cause for sensibilities being upset I was more disturbed by another aspect of his statement:
[…]”so it's [the Constitution] in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”
Some ‘contemporary view?’ As opposed to what one would and should ask? The period in human history when the Spanish Inquisition reigned? Or during the period of the Scopes trial when it was all said and done ignorance won the day in court? Or how about when several women were hanged in Massachusetts after being indicted for practicing witchcraft while being one?

Huckabee’s call to change the Constitution so it reflects the standards of the Bible should even give pause to adherents to one book over another: The OT versus the NT. Does he mean standards set such as those in Exodus where one can sell their daughter into slavery? Or how about if my daughter is raped whereas her attacker pays a fine in gold to me and then is to marry her without divorce for the rest of his life? Should I call the police, or should I call my pastor?

Forget the implications for science and separation of church as state. This is what his statement implies by eschewing ‘some contemporary view.’ He knows damn well what he said. There is no doubt in my mind that Huckabee does in fact say what he means and means what he says.

Welcome to Mr. Huckabee’s “constitution.”

Nevada post debate analysis: Edwards won

[This is my analysis I diaried on Daily Kos earlier this evening] As usual the MSM talking heads refuse to address the issues that were discussed this evening while instead talking about personalities ad nausem like this was a hollywood gossip programmer. Here is why Edwards shined this evening: his answer on his wrong vote on the never passed 2002 Bankruptcy bill and his clarifing position on Iraq.

First, his vote on that 2002 Bankruptcy bill. Let me get this out of way by saying Edwards did miss an opportunity to explain why this bill failed in committee. He voted for the bill initially because of the raise in minimum wage provision which is also the reason it died. The GOP just would not have anything to do with a raise in the minimum wage. Hillary acted confused or forgetful on why it failed and tried to explain her mea culpa as well. But Edwards did did tie the bankruptcies in this country with catastrophic medical illnesses.

As usual the MSM talking heads refuse to address the issues that were discussed this evening while instead talking about personalities ad nausem like this was a hollywood gossip programmer. Here is why Edwards shined this evening: his answer on his wrong vote on the never passed 2002 Bankruptcy bill and his clarifing position on Iraq.

First, his vote on that 2002 Bankruptcy bill. Let me get this out of way by saying Edwards did miss an opportunity to explain why this bill failed in committee. He voted for the bill initially because of the raise in minimum wage provision which is also the reason it died. The GOP just would not have anything to do with a raise in the minimum wage. Hillary acted confused or forgetful on why it failed and tried to explain her mea culpa as well. But Edwards did did tie the bankruptcies in this country with catastrophic medical illnesses.

Studies have continually shown that catastrophic medical illnesses are the core of bankruptcies that are filled. The 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act, which was called the "Bankruptcy Abuse Bill" by the right was passed even though studies showed it had nothing to do with abuse and every thing to do a majority of them due to medical catastrophy.

Edwards consistently ties these two together and then treats them as separate problems that heve everything to do with one another. He shows how it consistently exposes the broken health care system in this country. The talking head may not be talking about it but the average American was reading Edwards all the way this evening.

Then there was Iraq. Both Clinton and Obama have repeated positions linking combat troops being left in Iraq as a residual force to handle border issues and to prevent a regrouping Al Queada(sp?). Edwards, as he has continously done so, talked about combat troops being on the ground in Iraq, no matter in what capacity, and the problems they pose for pragmatic and effective policy formulation in the Middle East. Obama and Clinton have never mentioned the serious policy implication for the rest of the Middle East the combat troops pose in thier capacity as occupiers. The general population at large throughout the Middle East clearly sees the connection as a threat to their cultural and religious sovereignty and is reminded on a daily basis that Iraq is a country that is occupied by a western foreign force. This doesn't even touch on the internal issues where major segments of the population sees us as an invading occupying force posing a threat to their cultural dominance.
Not one co the talking heads discussed this. But you can bet the average American voter heard Edwards loud and clear with nodding heads.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nevada Democratic Debate

The debate is going pretty well I think. Edwards just gave a great answer on the backruptcy bill he voted yes on when he was in the Senate by admitting he was wrong to cast that vote. I loved the way he tied in the catastrophic medical illness and how it shouldn't be a reason to claim bankruptcy and also exposes a deeper promblem with both policies, or rather lack of one. Very nice indeed. HIllary's answer was a forgettable one. She waded herself between both issues: bankruptcy and medical coverage. Obama gave a similar answer to Edwards but he did tie both together. Hillary missed on that one.

Update: I know I'm an Edwards partisan, but his answers were great on Iraq. I believe he has actually moved the positions of the other two his way. His distinction about where combat troops being posted in Kuwait as opposed to keeping any combat troops in Iraq made the other two clarify their positions that now seem more in line with his. Excellent. If anything this made me feel better about the other two as well.

Atrios' prediction makes me sick. I predict he's right.

Why do campaigns, especially Democratic ones, fall for this every time? Our liberal media at work.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Looks like the national polls loves them some Edwards.

He's the only one who beats every GOP candidate in a head-to-head match up nationally.

The realities of the new Iraqi “De-baathification Law revision

And Juan Cole shakes his

The big news coming out of Iraq over the weekend of course was the new revision to the De-baathification Law instituted by the CPA (Coalition Provisional Government) in the summer of 2003, whereas now they are welcomed back into the positions of Iraqi government. CPA head Paul Bremer, backed by a smirking and flight suited Bush, decided what was best for the Iraqi’s by telling them those who would not be welcome in the new Iraqi reality. As Bush, Cheney and Bremer stood around waiting for the Iraqi citizenry to deliver flowers and candies for their efforts, the rest of the population decided to loot what they could and then settle down into a bloody sectarian battle among themselves. One of Bremer’s first acts was to dissolve the Iraqi military dominated by Baathist which would be inline with the CPA’s de-Baathification policy and create ideal conditions for an insurgency armed and hostile toward the American invasion and subsequent occupation.

As a politically benign and spent Bush stumbled his way through the Middle East this past weekend in a desperate attempt to salvage some kind of legacy of note pretending to prop up an equally spent Israeli P.M. Olmert and an ineffectual PLO P.M. he stopped to laud the Iraqi parliament for their new revision. In light of the CPA’s original de-Baathification policy then, Bush must have looked positively comical to the Iraqi’s at large as his Christianized Middle East caravan of the clueless
paused long enough to offer praise:

"It's an important step toward reconciliation," President Bush said during his visit in Manama Bahrain. "It's an important sign that the leaders in that country understand they must work together to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people."

Of course, the even more comical aspects of Bush’s laudatory remarks are incredible when contrasted with his own domestic actions back home of doing just the opposite.

Juan Cole gives us the realities on the ground and asks questions about certain dynamics that just doesn’t add up:

“That [original de-Baathification] law got tens of thousands of Sunni Arabs fired from their government jobs and excluded from public life and helped kick off the Sunni-Shiite civil war we having been living through for the past few years.The passage of the new law will be hailed by the War party as a major achievement. But as usual they will misread what really happened.”

Mr. Cole then reveals something you will not see reported in the MSM. The Baathist sympathizers in parliament voted against the provision:

“If the new law was good for ex-Baathists, then the ex-Baathists in parliament will have voted for it and praised it, right? And likely the Sadrists (hard line anti-Baath Shiites) and Kurds would be a little upset.Instead, parliament's version of this law was spearheaded by Sadrists, and the ex-Baathists in
parliament criticized it.”

Mr. Cole then goes on to explain how this looks all very suspicious:

“Now, when the Iraqi cabinet of PM Nuri al-Maliki initially introduced the draft bill into parliament last November 25, the Sadr Movement deputies rhythmically pounded their desks in protest. The Sadrists have a special and abiding hatred for the Baath Party, which killed both major clergymen that they venerate,
Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (d. 1980) and Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr (d. 1999). But on Saturday the Sadrists spoke for the new law. Very suspicious.”

The really interesting part of all of this of course is the actual intended effect of the law:

“The headlines are all saying that the law permits Baathists back into public life. It seems actually to demand that they be fired or retired on a pension, and any who are employed are excluded from sensitive ministries.”

I’m really struck by this move on the part of the Iraqi parliament to pass a law with a name that suggests one thing and then has the opposite intent once its enacted. It reminds me of the Republican measure passed by Congress named the “Clear Skies Initiative.” We all know how that turned out for the industrial polluters.

No wonder Bush liked what he saw.

Update: I see where AmericaBlog's A.J. Rossmiller posted about this story late this afternoon. Juan Cole in the article cited above talks about how close the vote was. Mr Rossmiller [that is a gender assumption] also stated that information was hard to come by for some reason. Wonder what that is all about?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

O.k., so Edwards is angry...

And can someone please explain to me why the rest of the Democratic field of candidates for President aren't? Polls in both New Hampshire and Iowa showed a majority of voters to be angry with Bush and our government overall right now.

So yeah, Edwards is angry. Memo to the MSM: so are a lot of us you blowholes. And then the Washington post goes on to tell us the Democratic party establishment is angry at Edwards. Really? Names please.

Update: Looks like Edwards isn't the only one who's angry. Courtesy of diarist infidelpig via The Booman's Tribune, Truman's Conscience has discovered the former '04 Democratic VP candidate has pissed off the corporate world which, no doubt, includes the insurance companies:
"We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it bites you in the butt, you bleed," chamber President Tom Donohue said."
Uh, Mr. Donohue. Would that include the likes of Exxon and the rest of the oil companies that have broken unprecedented historical world records for profits this year? What about the insurance companies like CIGNA, who are finding creative ways to kill their policy holders without paying out on those policies?

Mr. Donohue explains further:
"Reacting to what it sees as a potentially hostile political climate, Donohue said, the chamber will seek to punish candidates who target business interests with their rhetoric or policy proposals, including congressional and state-level candidates.Although Donohue shied away from precise figures, he indicated that his organization would spend in excess of the approximately $60 million it spent in the last presidential cycle. That approaches the spending levels planned by the largest labor unions."
So much for the consumer in all of this who patronizes these businesses. We've already got toys dripping in lead and they are the ones pissed off?

No wonder Edwards is pissed.

Update II: I'm glad somebody's finally getting angry.

Rudy's Secret

I just saw an even newer campaign ad by Rudy this morning claiming he will cut trillions, yes, thats right "trillions" of dollars in new tax cuts in his first year in office. This is on top of a, so far, estimated two trillion dollar war that is nowhere near over.

I think I found out what Rudy's secret is regarding challenging the American people. In a previous ad he intoned that when American's are 'challenged they always step and and meet them. Well with trillions of dollars in tax cuts on the way in his first year in office I can already see the "challenges" ahead:
  • No FDA
  • No Air Traffic Control
  • Which means on FAA
  • No OSHA
  • No Interstate Hwy maintenance
  • No...I think you get my drift.
The challenge will be no governement services we surely take for granted by now. I don't know about the rest of you but I'm looking forward to going to the supermarket and flipping a coin on whether the meat I'm buying isn't laden with deadly bacteria because the meat packer decided to make some cuts in production process.
What joy.
Update: Poor Rudy!

Late night blues. Just thought I'd post a sample clip of a Bush/Cheney military briefing. Enjoy.

Hey, at least the Baghdad U.S. Embassy contractor spent the night at a Holiday Inn!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A few Florida political wire items of note

Well, looks like former senator and two-time Gov. Bob Graham has a message for other politicians: behave yourself….Listening to FauxNews explain to their wingnut base why McCain will win Michigan and Florida is like having a root canal without Novocain. But if I had a choice, that root canal's looking pretty good…..Rudy takes a new step for politicians I haven’t seen before: his new Florida ad parody’s himself. But then the New York Times sees it as a paean to the Brady Bunch. Go figure…..I see Al Sharpton made a surprise visit to West Palm Beach with his best impression of Joe Friday asking only for the facts ma’am…..As the GOP candidates get ready to head to Florida for the Jan. 29th primary they finally figure out, “Hey! It is the economy, stupid!…..Rudy does his best impression of Erol Flynn playing Custer and tells everyone that in Florida he has the GOP right where he wants them…..And speaking of Rudy, I wonder if he ran into the Rev. Al Sharpton while he was in West Palm Beach?…..And finally, a Florida blogger asks why anyone should be shocked at the Iranian reaction to U.S. naval vessels paralleling their coast line?

Update: Jerome Armstrong of MyDD tells us why Florida now matters to Obama. He passes along this interesting quote from an Obama campaign strategist:
"Advisers to Barack Obama are increasingly convinced that the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination will continue past February 5, when 24 states will hold nominating contests, including California, New York, and New Jersey. "It will not be finished February 5," says a senior Obama strategist. But he admits that a lot depends on the outcome of the South Carolina primary for the Democrats on January 26. If Obama wins there, he will revive his momentum going into the Florida primary January 29 and Mega Tuesday on February 5. Then the battle will move to the contests of mid- and late February and early March."

I'm just wondering, when was the last time a Florida presidential primary mattered?

Uh, Mr. Prince? I believe the shoe fits.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Vox Populi does some 'splainin' and I hope we are all listening.

Validity questioned of video depicting Navy encounter with Iranian speedboats

And Juan Cole

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the U.S. military rolled into Baghdad in victorious Roman fashion back in May of 2003. I was standing in the production room at the newspaper I was working for at the time where two large TV sets had been set up like some big ballgame was on. The bellicose jingoism of the FauxNews announcers echoed in the large work area as the bragged about our military prowess. I was fascinated, not by what was happening on TV, but with the people standing around watching this with awe, grinning from ear to ear.

I could hardly contain my disgust. Before I left, I taunted them with a question as the FauxNews crew went into orgasmic spasms watching the Saddam statue being brought down I asked aloud, "You know why they are really bringing that statue down don't you?" One of the production personell standing near me whirled around in mid "Ooooo's and Ahhhh's and a huge big smile of wonderment, "What? Oh, alright, let's hear it, why are they really taking it down?" she asked almost laughing. I shot back, "They were tipped off that all the weapons of mass destruction are hidden in it's base."I was met with whirling bodies shooting back cold angry stares. I was nearly overwhelmed with disgust at their fake anger.

Someone needs to explain to me how the lone superpower in the world crushing a third world like cut rate military force is a cause for awe and elation. It would be no different if I went down the street and beat the hell out of an eight year old neighborhood boy and then strutted around looking for people to marvel and my power, prowess, and agility as I pummeled this poor kid into oblivion.Real combat veterans must have been revolted by such a display, especially those WWII vets still alive with vivid memories of what a formidable military force was really composed of.

What an insult to those veterans and to the military as a whole. We fought a two ocean war against world power militaries that were unequaled at the outset of the war. Yet, we managed to overpower them, with great and almost overwhelming losses mind you, and prevail after four bloody years that make the Iraq war look like a neighborhood shootout.Well according to the MSM, things are going so swimmingly now, surely I must be able to go down to my local travel agent and make some Baghdad bookings for the summer. The way I hear it on the nightly news now, going to Baghdad is like an “E” ticket ride at Disney World. Oh, and bring the kids! I really don’t know how worse one could be over the other, a malevolent government invading a country without provocation like its some kewl video game or a compliant media that passes along the propaganda and treats it as news.

My god what have we come to.

I've got a diary up on evolution and intelligent design in my classroom on Daily Kos.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I just love how we are winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi's. "I love the smell of naplam in the morning....."

The Florida Blogosphere Zeitgeist

So Baker and Holmes County joins the young earth society. And yet these people rely on a culture of pharmaceuticals where a large part of their R & D is based on Darwinian science? Go Figure.....And then there is the right way to get the homeless off the street. And oh, btw, Jacqueline Dowd is a goddess, I’m just sayin’……Andrea Mitchell fesses up? Get Alan Greenspan a defribulator!.....And now the dog’s view on the post New Hampshire mystery. Or was that a mustang I saw instead?.....In my best little Brandon de Wilde voice from the end of the movie “Shane:” Robert C.! Come Back! Robert C!.....Guiliani doing the limbo rock? Ow! My eyes! My eyes!.....A very Lucky White Girl’s perspective on global justice is just what the doctor ordered…..From out in left field I get my daily dose of Catherine to clear the palette…..A Pensacolan is wondering the same thing I am…..I just didn’t realize nipples could have such a profoundness about them…..and finally, Judy Hill over at Sticks of Fire speaks for us Foster parents with a voice that sings.

And Juan Cole raises an eyebrow.
"Passive gathering of death statistics from newspapers, which always misses a lot of unreported deaths, such as at the Iraq Body Count site, came up with 47,668 civilian deaths in the same period. IBC is now up to about 84,000 civilian deaths. If the 3 to 1 discrepancy between reported and unreported deaths visible in the WHO study held steady, that would take us to a further 100,000 or so deaths in the past 18 months, and to roughly 250,000 excess deaths through violence since the war began."

Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The National Blogger Zeitgeist

Daily Kos & Atrios are reporting that first, New Mexico’s Gov. Richardson was dropping out of the race, which was then followed by denials from his campaign. An update on Daily Kos now has him just suspending his campaign for legislative business…..Looks like Romney is pulling all his ads out of Florida – I guess son Tagg was starting to complain about the inheritance drying up….. Little Ricky Santorum disses the entire GOP field of Presidential candidates? Say it ain't so Ricky!.....Law & Order man Fred Thompson got less votes in New Hampshire than the write-ins? Ouch……If I were single and Rachel Maddow weren’t gay I’d propose, I’m just sayin’……Ah, so it wasn’t Hillary’s tears, it was Obama’s message of conciliation and reaching across the aisle that lost him New Hampshire. Gosh, all that anger at Bush, imagine that…..A booby trapped house in Iraq kills 6 U.S. soldiers. Memo to the MSM: I don’t think it’s the surge that’s “working.” The insurgents have changed tactics you blowholes……Uh, whoever this spokesperson for Obama is they need to shut the hell up right now! What's that? It's Jesse Jackson, Jr!?! That's even worse!…..O.k. everyone, listen up. Goldman Sachs makes it official. We are in a recession. I’m glad that’s settled…..Wait a minute here! I thought that “surge” was working! The MSM told me so!....Speaking of the the MSM: “We loves us some McCain!.....John Cole makes a funny…..And now, my guilty pleasure – I loves me some trainwreck,....oh the drama!

Hey, Orlando! You can now thank Sen. Bill Nelson's yea vote for that Bankruptcy Law vote

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting a 96% jump in personal bankruptcy in the Orlando metro area this morning. That Jeb Bush legacy is really starting to kick in now. Then there our own esteemed senior Senator, one Bill Nelson, who loved him some new bankruptcy laws so much he found himself voting for legislation to make it tougher for "bankruptcy abusers" to file. I can't help but think ol' Bill Nelson must have been thinking about these "abusers" when he voted yea back in 2006:

Nearly 7,060 debtors declared insolvency in Orlando's federal bankruptcy court in 2007, up 96 percent from 2006, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida reported.

Fueled by the mortgage crisis, personal bankruptcy is reaching all levels of the income spectrum -- from affluent professionals to lower-income subprime borrowers, bankruptcy lawyers said.

If you or your family becomes afflicted with a catastrophic medical illness you can thank Bill Nelson for stepping in and protecting those poor ol' credit card companies and banks from the likes of you.

Wow. Can someone explain to me why this man is a "Democrat?"


I'm so glad the Associated Press finally figured out what was really important. I guess a stolen election, invading a country based on lies, Vice Presidents shooting people, memos about planes flying into buildings being ignored, and e.t.c. just doesn't have the same effect on our lives as opposed to what the AP now believes is really important. I know I'll be sleeping better at night from now on.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


"This is glorious. If the media can understand that their catty, elitist, high school Heathers-like mentality will ultimately backfire, maybe they'll shut their mouths for a second and rethink their job description." ~Digby

New Hampshire Too Close To Call
It starting to look like this one is going for Hillary. This after the MSM has written her off. Wow. The polls, as Chris Bowers over at Open Left opined were stunningly wrong. Even if she winds up finishing in second by a razor thin margin this is a stunner. This portends a long road toward the nomination that will turn into a slugfest.
I just finished watching John Edwards speaking declaring "Two states down, forty-eight to go!" I was going to post about Glen Greenwald's report on the surge no one is reporting on about the Edwards campaign. That will have to come later.
MSNBC calling it for Hillary. Her victory speech should be interesting as the pollsters dust off their resumes and look for jobs they might actually know something about.
Update: Just saw this over on Eschaton and my side is splitting:

Could Hillary be channeling Mark Twain?

It seems the mainstream media's report of Hillary's demise was in fact greatly exaggerated if these numbers hold up: Hillary 40/Obama 36/Edwards 17. One other thing, Chris Bowers over at Open Left is a God. His breakdown of the delegate count and the primary process shows the really hard road Obama is going to have. Even if the numbers so far do not hold up Clinton certainly is not dead. This is going to be a slugfest.

McCain now speaking and boy does he look tired. I'm reminded of Bob Dole. McCain has an uphill battle trying to overcome that one.