Archive for February, 2008

Bush: Kiling David Before He Can Swing His Stone At Goliath

Friday, February 29th, 2008

I love it when the President subjects himself to the Q & A process by reporters because, unscripted, he often reveals who he really is. Have a look at how he fumbles through a question about the possibility he is authorizing illegal wire taps on American citizens and see if you find his answer satisfactory.

Remember the fundamental question here is that if the telecommunications companies are not doing anything illegal, why would they need immunity?

Q You can get the Congress to protect telecom companies from lawsuits, but then there’s no recourse for Americans who feel that they’ve been caught up in this. I know it’s not intended to spy on Americans, but in the collection process, information about everybody gets swept up and then it gets sorted. So if Americans don’t have any recourse, are you just telling them, when it comes to their privacy, to suck it up?

THE PRESIDENT: I wouldn’t put it that way, if I were you, in public. Well, you’ve been long been long enough to — anyway, yes, I — look, there’s — people who analyze the program fully understand that America’s civil liberties are well protected. There is a constant check to make sure that our civil liberties of our citizens aren’t — you know, are treated with respect. And that’s what I want, and that’s what most — all Americans want.

Now let me talk about the phone companies. You cannot expect phone companies to participate if they feel like they’re going to be sued. I mean, it is — these people are responsible for shareholders; they’re private companies. The government said to those who have alleged to have helped us that it is in our national interests and it’s legal. It’s in our national interests because we want to know who’s calling who from overseas into America. We need to know in order to protect the people.

It was legal. And now, all of a sudden, plaintiffs attorneys, class-action plaintiffs attorneys, you know — I don’t want to try to get inside their head; I suspect they see, you know, a financial gravy train — are trying to sue these companies. First, it’s unfair. It is patently unfair. And secondly, these lawsuits create doubts amongst those who will — whose help we need.

I guess you could be relaxed about all this if you didn’t think there was a true threat to the country. I know there’s a threat to the country. And the American people expect our Congress to give the professionals the tools they need to listen to foreigners who may be calling into the United States with information that could cause us great harm. So, on the one hand, the civil liberties of our citizens are guaranteed by a lot of checks in the system, scrutinized by the United States Congress.

And secondly, I cannot emphasize to you how important it is that the Congress solve this problem. The Senate has solved the problem. And people say, would you ever compromise on the issue? The Senate bill is a compromise. And there’s enough votes in the House of Representatives to pass the Senate bill. It’s a bipartisan bill. And the House leaders need to put it on the floor, let the will of the House work. In my judgment, it happens to be the will of the people, to give the professionals the tools they need to protect the country.

Really, if what the Bush Administration is doing is completely on the up-and-up, legal, legitimate, and scrutinized by the Congress, what’s the worry? What if you or I get sued by some nut ball attorney? Would we get immunity because what they are doing is unfair? Hell no.

If the President’s wiretap program is indeed a legal and legit operation, the Telecoms would have nothing to fear and the lawsuits would be dismissed. Moreover, if, just possibly, if it might be the case that the “government” has violated our rights, don’t you think those who have done so should be held accountable?

Law suits are not patently unfair, are they? They are designed to bring people doing illegal things to justice. If you believe the President, and feel that they have not done anything illegal, will the plaintiffs and their fancy lawyers win? Not a chance. You have got to know that Telecoms have extremely good and highly paid lawyers to protect themselves from such lawsuits. That such lawsuits are unfair is outright foolish.

So, I ask the question again, do the telecoms really need such protection, or is this just another case where George Bush is advocating another subtraction of the ordinary citizens’ rights and denying her or him the proper channels to get recourse to illegal behavior? It seems that this is clearly another case where George Bush is advocating that the meek get squashed by the mighty Goliath that is the W, Rove and Co. by killing our David before he can sling his stone.

Total Control

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Twenty-five years ago I was sitting in a political science class listening to the professor explain how the extreme right and the extreme left end up in the same place - Totalitarianism. At the time I was taken by surprise. How could the extremists goals of two completely opposite ideas result in the exact same result?

From time to time that same circular diagram that that professor drew on the black board pops into my head. The diagram continues to remind me that moderation may be the best action with the most reasonable results. But, the diagram also has its subtleties. For example, are government interventions always bad? How much government intervention is too much? Can one side of the political aisle claim to be the party of less government? Isn’t it true that extreme conservatives will eventually demand the government to take control - like the Fascists of World War II?

Unless one is a true libertarian, which is a very small portion of the American electorate, Americans actually want our government to take some control. The argument isn’t really about more government and less government as the Reagan Conservatives claim. The argument is about which things the government should have a hand in. Religious conservatives want the government to control the culture. Fiscal conservatives want the government to control the working class. Environmentalists want the government to control those who feel they have a right to rape the heartland. Whoever believes in the law wants laws enforced by the government.

So, if most people want the government to intervene in some way, the question should become “What do we want our government to do?”

When we finally stop arguing over the false dichotomy of whether we want more or less government we need to begin to construct an honest idea of what we want a functional government to do. Then we can begin to move in a direction toward a solution that the majority can agree to.

Liberals and Conservatives already have many positions on many issues, and these positions suggest what the total function of government might be. The majority of Americans will agree that government needs to create laws the majority can agree to except to live by. But, what should the purpose of these laws actually be? Should laws be created to restrict the general population, because the general population can not be trusted. Or, should laws be created to restrict those who have power, because those with power can not be trusted? Or, should laws be created to empower the weak because they are at a disadvantage? Should laws be created to protect the weak? Should laws be created to protect property so that the wealthy will not be able to lose their property, even if they are careless with it? Should the government encourage or discourage risk and investment? In the simplified view, should the government control, encourage, discourage or ignore what we do as citizens in order to protect us?

I think that it is interesting to study the two paths in which extremists on the left and on the right eventually come to the conclusion that totalitarianism is the solution. Totalitarianism is type of government that controls all aspects of our lives.

Extremists on the political right are Fascists. Even though many conservatives of today claim that they want less government, they certainly do not want to do away with laws and law enforcement. If these conservatives truly believed in the idea of more freedom and less government they would be happy to be placed in the middle of some failed state like Somalia. In Somalia people are at the will of he War Lords that maintain control by force without law. In reality laws do exist, because the War Lords create their own personal laws to suite themselves. The power of force - be it military, monetary or religious is placed over those forced to obey. Many conservatives view the world based on an extension of this view. Leaders are strong and powerful and they enforce their will by creating rules enforced by power. Since this is the nature of the world the only problem with it is the way in which the rules and laws are created and enforced. If the laws could be created and enforced more fairly everyone could live in peace. Conservatives can see that the main problem is that many different leaders created many different rules and laws. If there were a way in which one universal system of rules could be created then our problems could be solved. Religious conservatives already understand that the problem is solved, because God has given us the universal guide to law. Not all conservatives agree to this. In fact fiscal conservatives believe that business should be free of law and workers should be made to conform to society’s needs. Fascists take the conservative idea of laws to an extreme where every possible law is created in order to make society run a smooth as possible. Whenever a problem is encountered, then a new law is created to fix the problem. If people don’t comply with the rule or law, then the penalty is increased until society conforms and becomes efficient. The government ends up taking control of every aspect of life.

On the other hand the left begins with the idea that workers should be able to live a reasonable life with very little constraint. Workers should be able to have the jobs that they chose to do and be paid a reasonable amount for the work that they do. Immediately we realize that there is a problem here. How can workers demand to be paid for doing a job that society does not need or want? If every person decided to run his or her own company we end up with all chiefs and no Indians to use a politically incorrect metaphor. One way to fix the problem is to demand that people are allowed to do this work and be paid to do it by law. Extremists on the left quickly find that the utopia must be created and fueled by the government. And, the people quickly find that they are forced to do work that the government needs to be done and they are paid what the government decides to pay. The leaders will continually explain that this totalitarian government is only temporary until people realize that what the government is forcing them to do is what they wanted all the time anyway. However, the future never comes and the government wouldn’t know what to do if it did come anyway. The goal ends up becoming creating rules and laws until society conforms and becomes efficient. Which means that the government ends up taking control of every aspect of our life.

So, in America we praise freedom and liberty as a check on either type of extremist. Freedom of speech allows us to question the extremists before they build up enough momentum to make all of the rules and laws that end up controlling our lives. Under the Republican controlled congress and the Bush administration our liberties and freedom were beginning to be stripped away. This is the first step in the direction of either extremist movement. Fortunately the election of 2006 was able to wrest away the congress from the extremists. Similarly, if the left were to begin to make laws restricting our freedoms and liberties another election would give some check to the right. And, once again we would see that the checks and balances of American democracy really does work.

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Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Reflection

The Biggest Fascist Paramilitary You Never Heard Of

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Ever heard of Infragard? Well, I hadn’t, until I opened the March 2008 issue of The Progressive. We should have, though, should have heard a lot about it.

Infragard consists of 23,000 private industry officials, organized into 86 chapters overseen by the FBI, who act as intelligence sources for the Bureau and the Homeland Security Department, in exchange for getting “near-daily updates” on terrorist threats before the rest of us and, as The Progressive learned, sometimes before elected officials. According to its website, www.infragard.net, “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative in Infragard,” and an Infragard executive reports that “Infragard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases.”

Here’s what may be the best part: according to Matthew Rothschild, author of the Progressive article, “One executive, who showed me his Infragard card, told me they have permission to ‘shoot to kill’ in the event of martial law.”

The second-best part: because these people are in the private sector rather than government, the administration uses the trade secret exemption to bar the release of information about the Infragard program under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Now, there’s nothing wrong, and a lot that’s right, with either individual citizens or businesses giving information on crimes and terrorism to the police and other elements of the government. But that process should be transparent (allowing, of course, for anonymity for witness protection).

But this is different. With Infragard we have big corporations deputized as something like an old west posse, but those corporations have access to lots of information about the rest of us ordinary schmoes that is not supposed to be in the public domain. There’s a good chance that includes the people who hold our mortgage, car, and credit card loans if we have them, manage our health insurance, and sell us books, videos, plane tickets, recreational activities, and just about everything else.

And the sheriff has a recent history of going on illegal fishing expeditions through the private affairs of regular citizens not because they’re suspected of anything in particular, but just because you never know what us untrustworthy citizens might be up to – especially if we belong to groups that express disagreement with BushCo’s behavior, like the Quakers, or the ACLU, or a lot of the writers at this and other progressive blogs.

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” That quote is usually attributed to Benito Mussolini; he never really said that, but it does seem to sum up the essence of fascism as practiced in a number of countries, and it seems to be a pretty close description of Infragard.

And don’t think we’ll automatically be able to breathe a big sigh of relief if a Democratic administration takes office 327 days from now – the executive branch, and its functionaries, seem to like to accrue power and hate to give it up, regardless of party. After all, they know that they can trust themselves to use it only for reasons that meet with their own approval. This administration has indeed been cruder and more aggressive about it than most, but both parties have overseen way too many witch hunts. It’s the corruption of power, not of any particular party or left-wing or right-wing orientation. In fact, Infragard was started under the Clinton administration, although it has expanded quite a bit under Bush.

So next time there’s a big terrorist attack in the U.S., or another major natural disaster like Katrina, don’t be too surprised if you see Wal-Mart and Bank of America managers, along with Blackwater’s boys, rolling down your street packing iron. After all, if that’s what it takes to keep Osama from taking away our civil liberties…

The Price Of Economic Inequality?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

A report on the rising number of incarcerated Americans provides a disturbing look at the unspoken impact of economic inequality and the high cost we pay for perpetuating it. At the same time, during each election cycle, politicians from both parties accuse each other of practicing suspect fiscal discipline.

For this discussion, I want to look at the costs of incarceration in relation to providing universal health care as well as the Bush tax cuts. Time and again, the GOP points out the exorbitant costs that might be associated with providing universal health care. From what I’ve read, the plans being pushed by Senators Clinton and Obama are reported to cost 10 to 15 billion dollars annually. That’s a big expense…but before one concludes we can’t afford it, one must consider the burgeoning costs of incarceration and the distribution and impact of the Bush tax cuts.

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

NEW YORK — For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America’s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 - one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it’s more than any other nation.

The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

So in the course of 20 years, we have increased our annual corrections spending by a whopping $38 billion dollars. That is roughly three times the projected annual cost to provide universal health care…health care that would help elevate the very people who are disproportionately represented in the prison population. Factor in the following data on the Bush tax cuts and one will begin to see the larger picture.

From MSNBC.com:

WASHINGTON - Since 2001, President Bush’s tax cuts have shifted federal tax payments from the richest Americans to a wide swath of middle-class families, the Congressional Budget Office has found, a conclusion likely to roil the presidential election campaign.

The conclusions are stark. The effective federal tax rate of the top 1 percent of taxpayers has fallen from 33.4 percent to 26.7 percent, a 20 percent drop. In contrast, the middle 20 percent of taxpayers — whose incomes averaged $51,500 in 2001 — saw their tax rates drop 9.3 percent. The poorest taxpayers saw their taxes fall 16 percent.

Unfortunately, these percentages are deceptive. Let’s look at a practical explanation of what these tax cuts meant to the working poor.

From BusinessWeek.com:

Imagine you are a waitress, married, with two children and a family income of $26,000 per year. Should you be enthusiastic about the tax cuts proposed by President Bush? He certainly wants you to think so. He uses an example of a family like yours to illustrate the benefits of his plan for working Americans. He boasts that struggling low-income families will enjoy the largest percentage reduction in their taxes. The income taxes paid by a family like yours will fall by 100% or more in some cases. This is true–but highly misleading.

President Bush fails to mention that your family pays only about $20 a year in income taxes, so even a 100% reduction does not amount to much. Like three-quarters of working Americans, you pay much more in payroll taxes–about $3,000 a year–than in income taxes. Yet not a penny of the $1.6 trillion package of Bush tax cuts (in reality, closer to $2 trillion over 10 years) is used to reduce payroll taxes. Moreover, should your income from waitressing fall below $26,000 as the economy slows, your family could be among the 75% of families in the lowest 20% of the income distribution that stand to get absolutely zero from the Bush plan.

The President claims that the “typical American family of four” will be able to keep $1,600 more of their money each year under his plan. Since you won’t be getting anything like that, you might be tempted to conclude that your family must be an exception. Not really. The reality is that the President’s claim is disingenuous. Eighty-nine percent of all tax filers, including 95% of those in the bottom 80% of the income distribution, will receive far less than $1,600.

In other words, when a 100% tax cut is the equivalent of $20.00, a family of four might be able to translate that twenty dollars into a meal at McDonalds…one time in 365 days. On the other hand, if one is lucky enough to be in the top one percent (those with $915,000 in pretax income…and first class health care) of earners and receive a 20% tax reduction, I suspect the savings would buy more than one fast food dinner over the course of a year. The skewed advantages…and disadvantages…suddenly become obvious.

If that isn’t bad enough, let’s return to the costs of incarceration and look at future cost projections.

From The New York Times:

By 2011, the report said, states are on track to spend an additional $25 billion.

The cost of medical care is growing by 10 percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.

In less than four years, we will spend another $25 billion annually (more than enough to pay for universal health care) to incarcerate more and more Americans…the bulk of which come from the economically underprivileged.

More From The New York Times:

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 are behind bars but that one in 100 black women are.

Let me be clear…crime is wrong…and it should be punished. However, we cannot ignore the factors that facilitate crime. Failing to provide opportunities to those most lacking in resources is also wrong…and it often leads to a lack of education and therefore a susceptibility to participating in crimes that are driven by poverty.

We have likely exceeded the point at which it will cost us more to punish and incarcerate those who commit these crimes of poverty than it would have cost us to insure their education, to raise the minimum wage above the poverty level, and to grant them the dignity and peace of mind that comes with knowing one’s family members can receive health care when it is warranted; not just when it is necessary to prevent death.

Instead, under the guidance of the GOP, we have elected to ignore the fact that 47 million Americans lack health care and to focus upon further enriching the wealthiest…all the while being forced to endure asinine arguments that doing so will create jobs and thus facilitate a rising tide to float the boats of all Americans. It simply isn’t true.

At a savings of $20 a year, millions of Americans can’t even buy a seat in the boat…let alone stay afloat by treading water in the midst of the steady deluge of ever more ominous waves. If the number and availability of life preservers continues to dwindle, we are fast approaching the point at which our society will collapse under the weight of the inequity we chose to ignore.

If that happens, it will be as my grandfather argued many years ago, “They can eat you, but they can’t shit you”. The cannibalism has begun. What follows will not be pleasant.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Bush Insists Recession Not Coming- Asks For New “Rosy Glasses” Stimulus Package

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Denying the claims of economists nationwide, President Bush today said that HE doesn’t think the nation is headed towards recession.

“I’m concerned about the economy. I don’t think we’re headed to recession. But no question, we’re in a slowdown.”

At the White House news conference, Bush also claimed that the dollar was still strong:

“I believe that our economy has got the fundamentals in place for us to … grow and continue growing, more robustly hopefully than we’re growing now. So we’re still for a strong dollar.”

And he’s quite proud of the faux-stimulus plan passed by Congress and signed by him-you know the one that borrows another $150 billion from foreigners so he can give taxpayers a small shot in the financial arm at the expense of future generations descended from those same taxpayers:

“We acted robustly…we’ll see the effects of this pro-growth package.”

And he rejected any additional stimulus plans for now:

“Why don’t we let stimulus package 1, which seemed like a good idea at the time, have a chance to kick in?”

Which seemed like a good idea at the time? Is he implying that just maybe it wasn’t really such a splendid economic plan, but rather a meaningless pander and giveaway that ultimately does nothing but bury this country further?

When asked about growing consumer concern about the economy, and in particular about the possibility of gasoline costs reaching the $4 mark by summer, Bush had this to say:

“That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that. … I know it’s high now.”

All of these are telling signs of an executive completely out of touch with reality. Of course, we know that Bush has been out of touch with reality for most of his life, so none of these pronouncements should be a surprise, considering the source. But it almost stretches incredulity to accept that our nation’s leader is this far out of touch with reality, the reality that most economists recognize and that most Americans are enduring as best they can.

Earlier this week, my local paper pulled out the super-font to declare STAGFLATION- that lovely economic state marked by stagnant economic growth, rampant inflation and rising unemployment. And many economists agree that the outlook is not at all comforting.

“We have stagflation,” said Peter Schiff, head of Euro Pacific Capital in Newport Beach. “No matter what the government numbers say, we’re in a recession already, especially if you measure our growth against foreign currencies or gold. And even by the government’s figures, we clearly have very high inflation – and the government data really don’t capture the extent of how prices are rising.”

Right- food and energy costs aren’t included in federal economic numbers…as if the costs of these items don’t really affect average folks. Silly of us to be concerned if we have a tough time filling the gas tank so we can get to work to earn enough money to decide whether to fill the tank again or feed the family some food that might actually be good for them.

Let’s see here…among the signs of recession, the dollar is weak and getting weaker (hell- the Canadian dollar is worth more the the US dollar), gold is surging (which occurs when the dollar is so weak), the Fed keeps cutting interest rates, home foreclosures are at decade highs, unemployment is rising, inflation is rising….yep, I can see why Bush thinks we’re going along fine.

The president isn’t too worried:

“We’ll make it through this period just like we made it through other periods of uncertainty during my presidency.”

Oh right… rough periods like Katrina and Iraq. ‘Nuff said Mr. President.

WHEW! And to think I was worried there for a minute. I’d like to get a pair of those rose colored glasses Bush has. Maybe he could offer that as a stimulus plan.

(cross posted at Common Sense)

Ripped-Off Customers: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

According to this Business Week article, 2007 might be remembered as the year angry customers started fighting back. We all heard about the 76-year-old woman who came storming into her local ComCast office with a hammer and started swinging. After damaging a keyboard and a phone, she yelled out “have I got your attention now?”

And last Spring a pissed-off Apple customer made a YouTube video of himself smashing his Macbook with a sledgehammer after Apple refused to honor a service warranty. So far over 340,000 people have seen the video. (And Apple has agreed to replace his defective computer.)

The author, Jena McGregor, says: “Consumers already pushed to the brink by evaporating home equity, job insecurity, and rising prices are more apt to snap when hit with long hold times and impenetrable phone trees.”

She uses the term Consumer Vigilante. Even if you don’t settle your grudge with a sledgehammer, more and more people are discovering that there are other options besides sitting there waiting on hold all afternoon because both operators are busy.

The e-mail carpet bomb is becoming more popular.

Last October a National Public Radio host created a website called ComCastMustDie.com. The article has a few other examples of pissed off customers who settled things their own way.

And occasionally the courts come through. A few days ago, one of those slippery HMOs got hit with a crushing left hook to the bank account. In 2004, Health Net canceled a woman’s medical insurance while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She was left with $129,000 in unpaid medical bills. A judge has ordered Health Net to repay the $129,000 plus $750,000 for emotional distress and $8.4 million in punitive damages.

As conservatives are always saying, severe punishments are the only way to deter criminals.

Health Net is also being sued by the City of Los Angeles for illegally canceling the health insurance policies of 1,600 other patients. The company had an incentive program: administrators had to meet a certain cancellation quota, and if they exceeded their quota they’d get a bonus. (See, this isn’t just something Michael Moore dreamed up.)

Maybe these are just isolated incidents, or maybe there’s a positive trend. No matter who or what gets elected next November, maybe this 21st Century Gilded Age is starting to wane.

Super Delegate & Super Heroes

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

If the race for President comes down to the Democrat Convention then super delegates will play a huge role in deciding if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will be the parties nominee. That being said the Clinton machine is in trouble with a huge loss of super delegates. NBC and Brian Williams report that Obama has gained 35 super delegates in the last couple of weeks where as Clinton has suffered a net loss of five super delegates.

One of the super heroes of the civil rights movement John Lewis is also a super delegate. One other fact is that he has been and is still a very close personal friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton. Formerly, he committed to supporting Hillary Clinton in the convention but changed his mind to vote for Obama.

In the latest campaign setback for Clinton just days before crucial Democratic primaries in Ohio and Texas, Lewis said that his constituents back Obama, an Illinois senator, and that it was his “duty … to express the will of the people.”

Clinton had hoped that Lewis, who was severely beaten during civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, would help her win the support of black voters. If he wins the White House in November, Obama would be the first black U.S. president.

Previously, Lewis said he was supporting Clinton, a New York senator, for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Something is happening in America,” Lewis said in a statement explaining his shift. “The people are pressing for a new day in American politics and I think they see Sen. Barack Obama as a symbol of that change.”

Obama, campaigning in Ohio, said in a statement: “John Lewis is an American hero and a giant of the Civil Rights Movement, and I am deeply honored to have his support.”
Asked about the switch, Clinton said she respected Lewis and understood that he has been under tremendous pressure. - Reuters

This was a tough personal call for John Lewis but it was the right one for the right reasons. John Lewis has fought for change his entire life and it could be said that he of all people can recognize the power of change in an Obama candidacy for President.

Hillary Clinton’s last chance for a knock your socks off debate in Ohio passed with nothing more than a he said, she said, minimalist attempt at true debate. The only outcome was the simple fact that Hillary looked like she was whining.

You’ve seen it here first in this political prediction. Hillary Clinton will follow the party line if she looses Texas and Ohio with a suspension of her campaign. Not because her chances to win the primary are over but for the simple fact that she too believes in change and her political party needs to win the White House this election for a far greater purpose than her own desire to be President. Her candidacy is strong but it isn’t strong enough to get the votes she needs to unseat Obama from the nomination of the Democrat Party.

Getting past this election cycle in Texas and Ohio, if Hillary Clinton suspends her campaign then Barack Obama would be a political moron not to pick Hillary Clinton as his Vice President choice in the general election. Beginning the campaign of two very brilliant minds and campaign staffs merged for one purpose and that would be CHANGE!

Politics makes very strange bedfellows and John Lewis made a tough decision that is admirable. Instead of following party politics and a friendship he surely cherishes, he chose the path most difficult to travel endorsing Obama and it was the wisest choice for someone that has believed in change for decades.

Papamoka

Originally posted at Papamoka Straight Talk

Feel free to link to this post or borrow it…

WFB; RIP

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The person who has made the greatest influence upon me, politically and intellectually speaking, passed away today. He is best known, I suppose, for his political magazine, National Review and for hosting of Firing Line but he also authored a number of non-fiction books on political philosophy, lexecography et al. as well as a series of novels about a CIA agent’s adventures. Unknown to me til today, he was also an accomplished pianist and harpsichordist…who knew?

He is in large part, though not single-handedly to be sure, responsible for making conservatism — the ’stupid party’ as it was dubbed by J. S. Mill — intellectually respectable for no one who sat through a segment of Firing Line, particularly after taking a view opposing Bill’s, could, with any intellectual honesty remaining intact, call William F. Buckley, Jr. stupid — more typically they would wish they had an unabridged dictionary of the English Language at hand to understand the full nuance of what he had just said. He is said to be the greatest debater to have graced Yale University — and to have said that the second greatest had been John F. Kerry!

William F. Buckley, Jr. has perhaps had greater influence on conservatism and conservatives in America than any other person.

I think I’ll go order a copy of God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of Academic Freedom from Amazon.com, renew my lapsed subscription to National Review Digital and cherish the sense of both gratitude and loss.

Congress asks the DOJ to investigate Roger Clemens..

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Obviously they have nothing better to do right? No wars, no recession..From MSNBC:

Congress asked the Justice Department on Wednesday to investigate whether Roger Clemens made false statements to a House committee.

The chairman and ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said they sent a letter to Justice.

“We believe that his testimony in a sworn deposition on Feb. 5, 2008, and at a hearing on Feb. 13, 2008, that he never used anabolic steroids or human growth hormone, warrants further investigation,” committee chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis wrote. “That testimony is directly contradicted by the sworn testimony of Brian McNamee, who testified that he personally injected Mr. Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.

Christ, even a huge sports nut like me thinks this is pure unadulterated bullshit.

William F. Buckley has died at 82

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The self-professed father of conservatism, although the neocon’s eventually pissed him off, has left this sphere. He wrote 45 books, founded The National Review and wrote millions of words in the process. The NYT has a piece up about him here. Norman Mailer had this to say about Buckley once when asked about him:

“No other act can project simultaneous hints that he is in the act of playing Commodore of the Yacht Club, Joseph Goebbels, Robert Mitchum, Maverick, Savonarola, the nice prep school kid next door, and the snows of yesteryear,”

Buckley also supported the decriminalization of marijuana. Probably one of the few things we had in common.

tags: William F Buckley


Fish.Travel