Who would know better about who to vote for today than this guy, though his words end up unintentionally supporting Obama (h/t The Daily Kos)...
video details and more
...and one more time, here's the video that got the ball rolling, as they say.
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I haven?t followed college football in quite a while, but I remember that when I was a fan, the sport?s post-season system ? known as the ?Bowl Championship Series? ? was thoroughly annoying. Playoff systems are utilized in college baseball, basketball, hockey, and Divisions II and III football, but Division IA college football relies on [...]
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At Foreign Policy magazine, they describe people in worse economic shape than most Americans, even unemployed and discouraged me.They leave out a number of countries where there’s been unrest already. As Amy Goodman noted a couple of weeks ago:In Africa, food riots have swept across the continent, with recent protests in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory [...]
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In the past week, Hillary has dramatically altered US policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Specifically, Hillary is saying that she would launch a nuclear strike on Iran if they launched a nuclear strike on Israel. She is also saying that she wants to extend the US nuclear umbrella beyond Israel, and include other US allies in the Middle East (i.e., we would nuke Iran if they nuked these US allies).
That's a huge, and newsworthy, change in US policy. First, we don't admit publicly when and if we are going to use nukes. Hillary just did. That's big news. Second, defense experts I talk to say that we have never said publicly that we would use nukes to defend Israel (even though this might be assumed, it's different when you confirm it publicly). Third, we have never before said that we would extend the US nuclear umbrella to defend other countries in the Middle East. Again, Hillary just did.
Whether Hillary has adopted this major change in US nuclear policy simply to curry favor with voters in Pennsylvania is certainly worthy of discussion (one would hope that such policy is made to advance US national security and not to simply win votes). But there is something even more newsworthy to this story. Hillary's staff twice, yesterday, told the media that Hillary didn't say what she said. Top Clinton staffer Howard Wolfson said last night that Hillary did not mean to say that she'd use nukes against Iran. And then a second Clinton staffer told CNN that she did not mean to suggest that she would extend the US nuclear umbrella to other countries in the Middle East. Only problem? She did, repeatedly.
So now we have no idea what US nuclear weapons policy would be under Hillary, and neither do our friends or our enemies. That creates an incredibly dangerous situation. One of the hallmarks of the US mutually-assured-destruction (MAD) policy during the Cold War was that the Soviets knew exactly what US policy was. If they used nukes, we would use nukes. There was no confusion. Confusion breeds uncertainty, and uncertainty leads your opponent to act in unexpected ways. And when you're dealing with nuclear war planning, you don't want a jittery opponent acting in ways you can't predict. Iran needs to know what will happen to it if it goes nuclear and attacks Israel (or anyone else). It is not helpful for Iran to think that, per Howard Wolfson and Hillary's other senior staff, maybe it can get away with a nuclear attack on Israel, or at least Saudi Arabia.
And finally, the same dilemma occurs with regards to our allies. It does no good for our allies, including Israel, to now be speculating that maybe the US won't defend them should Iran come knocking. That kind of uncertainty could lead our allies to take matters into their own hands, possibly even leading them to pre-emptive war, or even to seek their own nuclear weapons (Israel already has several hundred, but other US allies in the region have none).
Hillary's public battles with her own staff over the issues of US nuclear policy vis-a-vis Iran and US policy vis-a-vis our overall nuclear umbrella in the Middle East suggest that she doesn't have a clear, well thought out, policy - that she is simply winging it. If this were official campaign policy, her senior staff would know about it. And you'd think that nuking Iran and extending the US nuclear umbrella to our allies in the Middle East would be a sufficiently important enough policy change for it to have been vetted by Hillary's staff. Hillary's staff didn't even know about the policy - hell, they denied the existence of the policy - because it appears that Hillary made up this new nuclear policy on the fly, and is still honing the details in public as she speaks. So much for the phone ringing at 3am. It's not clear what Hillary thinks even at 3pm during the light of day.
Let me walk you through the various positions of Hillary and her staff regarding US nuclear policy and the Middle East:
1. Last October, Hillary says it would be wrong to speculate publicly about when and if the US should attack Iran: "I am not going to speculate about when or if they get nuclear weapons." Hillary also criticized her Democratic opponents for publicly discussing their war plans for the region: "[R]emember, you shouldn?t always say everything you think if you?re running for president, because it has consequences across the world. And we don?t need that right now."
2. During the ABC debate a week ago, Hillary implied that she'd nuke Iran if they nuked Israel. She also suggested that the US extend its nuclear umbrella beyond Israel, to protect other Middle Eastern countries from an Irani attack.
"I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course, I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States, but I would do the same with other countries in the region."3. Hillary reiterated her nuclear threat against Iran yesterday, telling ABC that if Iran attacked Israel with nukes, she'd "obliterate them" - widely interpreted to mean that she would nuke Iran.
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."4. Then last night, Senior Clinton campaign aide Howard Wolfson backs off Hillary's Iran comments, telling Politico's Ben Smith last night that "she wasn't referring to, or suggesting, nuclear weapons."
"In order to forestall that, creating some kind of a security agreement [with countries in the region] where we said, no, you do not need to acquire nuclear weapons. If you were the subject of an unprovoked nuclear attack by Iran, the United States and hopefully our NATO allies would respond to that as well....6. Then, a senior Hillary aide tells CNN that she didn't mean to imply that she would extend the US nuclear umbrella to other countries in the region, even though this is what she repeatedly said over the past week.
"[T]heir use of nuclear weapons against Israel would provoke a nuclear response from the United States, which personally I believe would prevent it from happening. And that we would try to help the other countries that might be intimidated and bullied into submission by Iran because they were a nuclear power, avoid that fate by creating this new security umbrella."
Our congressmen have better health care than this-- shouldn't we?
The Blue America candidate from Saturday was Larry Joe Doherty, a populist Democrat running for Congress in one of the gerrymandered districts Tom DeLay created to thwart the will of Austin residents by cutting the city up into three pieces and giving each piece to a bizarre entity designed solely to elect Republicans. But even among Republicans, even among Texas Republicans, the misdeeds and incompetence of the Bush Regime-- and of the rubber stamp enablers like incumbent Michael McCaul-- have so turned off voters that Democrats are finding opportunities where none "should" exist. By all means go back and read over the archive of the chat session we had with Larry at Firedoglake Saturday.
Larry covered a whole range of positions with us but there is something he said that has stuck with me.
When I sued lawyers, I sued them for breaching their fiduciary duty, failing to put the interest of their clients above their own. I've known how to do that for more than 37 years in my law practice and I intend to see to it that Congress gets an explanation of how to put their constituents' interests above their own. We don't have a national health care plan for the public but Congress has one for itself. I've called on Michael McCaul to give up his national health care plan until he can legislate one that's at least as good for the public as he gets for himself. He hasn't responded to that.
I've already pledged that I'm not taking the national health care plan afforded congressmen until we pass a plan that's available for the public. It'll be the same for me as it'll be for them or I'm not going to have it... If you don't appreciate how suffering takes place until you've suffered a little then Congress needs to go without its medical plan until they can give one as good to the public.
It's a very interesting question. I think that the problem goes a lot deeper than that. The problem is not only that Congressmen have a good health care plan, but that they are paid over $170,000 a year, with plenty of other perks beyond that. And the problem is not only that Congressmen are treated that way, but also TV news anchors, newspaper editors, judges, generals, and bosses of all kinds. All of these people act in concert to protect their privileges.
In my experience, no group of people ever acts to reduce their own privileges. It's far more likely that you will see corporations adopt "green" environmental policies than you will see corporate executives give up their private jets. It's far more likely that you'll see baseball players submit to weekly drug testing than a salary cap. And it's far more likely that you'll see national health care than you'll see any cut back in health care for members of Congress.
Congressmen also get free haircuts. If we all take a pledge against that, you'll still see plenty of mullets in Tennessee.
Here's an analogy. Jeff Flake of Arizona constantly attacks "earmarks." The result is that his district never gets any earmarks, he never passes any bills of any kind, and his committee assignments are lousy. He gets some good media out of it, but he never accomplishes anything. People think he's a flake. Not just a Flake, but a flake.
I'm not saying that cutting health care for members of Congress is a bad idea. Actually, as you can see, I'd not only be in favor of that, but a lot beyond that.
Final Zogby tracking poll: Clinton 51, Obama 41.[...]
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BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG
by Mark Karlin
Editor and Publisher
April 22, 2008
It is almost incomprehensible; it is such a brazen abandonment of progressive principles and such an embrace of Karl Rove tactics.Bookmark/Search this post with: buzzflash | delicious | digg | technorati Technorati Tags: EditorBlog Clinton Bush Scaife
The VA conceals there are 1,000 suicide attempts among Vets a month[...]
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copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth
Ok, call me crazy but I thought a foreclosure prevention bill is suppose to be designed to help average folks stem off foreclosures. So will someone tell me how a foreclosure prevention bill would contain bail-out money for automakers, airlines, alternative energy producers and other struggling industries? What do these clowns in Washington have to do to prove to the American public where their loyalties lie. Why is it that when average Americans seek help from their government they are treated to: rely on capitalism and the free enterprise system, but when these CEO's, who get million dollar bonuses whether their companies succeed or not, make bad business decisions it is ok for the government to bail them out. Who says we are capitalist? I guess the poor are, but the rich sure as hell aren't.
Washington - The Senate proclaimed a fierce bipartisan resolve two weeks ago to help American homeowners in danger of foreclosure. But while a bill that senators approved last week would take modest steps toward that goal, it would also provide billions of dollars in tax breaks - for automakers, airlines, alternative energy producers and other struggling industries, as well as home builders.
The tax provisions of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which consumer groups and labor leaders say amount to government handouts to big business, show how the credit crisis, while rattling the housing and financial markets, has created beneficiaries in the power corridors of Washington. NY Times
These representatives of the people have made the argument that they don't want to bail-out consumers who have made bad credit choices. Let's say for the sake of argument that some mom and pops did overextend their budgets and purchased homes a little out of their budgets. These people made bad decisions concerning thousands of dollars, while these CEO's have made bad decisions in the millions of dollars. I can never understand how so many Americans have bought into the false narrative that the government safety net for them is bad, but that it is ok for corporations. It is this same mentality that allowed so many Americans to bite the bullet during the Depression while their rich counterparts continued to live high on the hog. We are being treated to a similar situation today, while many Americans are facing dire economic straits the hedge-fund managers, CEO's, and other Wall-Streeters have not only lost any buying power they have actually increased their wealth.
Congressional Democrats are also hearing from consumer advocates and other groups who say that the Senate bill does little to help Americans in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.
"The Senate legislation gave corporations and Wall Street billions in tax breaks," Terence M. O'Sullivan, the president of the Laborers International Union of North America, said at a news conference on Tuesday to denounce the bill.
"Tax breaks for corporate home builders won't help stabilize the housing market, won't create jobs and won't prevent a single foreclosure," he continued. "If anything, this multibillion-dollar windfall will make things worse." NY Times
It doesn't seem to matter who is in the White House or who is in the majority in the House the results are the same. The moneychangers continue to rob from the public coffers with little resistance or oversight from those elected to protect us. Instead of bickering about who is bitter and who isn't, who has more experience, or who is out of touch maybe our candidates could discuss how they are going to deal with coming economic meltdown and the continuing transfer of wealth from the average American to the super-rich. What a campaign about issues? God forbid.
Senator McCain has made it clear that he has no intention of changing course on the war or the economy. And instead of focusing on the real enemy of the American people the Democrats are arguing about the most insignificant things in an effort to distance themselves from each other. They need to be distancing us from the ill-fated policies of Bush and his clone McSame. But who wants a campaign that deals with issues, when we can have the "Desperate Candidates" soap-opera? In the meantime the folks who need foreclosure relief the most will lose out to the likes of American Airlines, Goodyear, and General Motors all of whom I guess are subject to foreclosure.
There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find ~ Michael Friedlander
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For Caliberal, with whom i shared a love interest;
For Betsy, who likes souls laid out "like a patient etherized upon a table;"
For Rachel, who was nice enough to ask questions.
This is a personal reflection, a recounting of about 16 hours of my crazy life. It is not an argument, and seeks to convince no one of anything. In fact, if you change how you think of Obama because of this, you have missed the point.
I will not do as i usually do and edit out all the craziness. So those of you who are juniour analysts and/or bullies can have fun drawing conclusions about my bizarre psyche.
As usual with these pieces, every word is true.
Now on to a love story....
Caliberal posted an effusive appreciation of Obama last week, the terms of which touched something in my soul, something i have been playing with for over a year. A long time ago, I published some of the first positive sentences about Obama here. While i tried to be all intellectual about it, there was and is no doubting that there is something transcendent about Obama.
Caliberal talked of Obama's smile, his grace, his laughter, his playfulness. We have all seen it who would look.
I, too, have long noticed this, and have been seduced.
For truly, it is a seduction. surely we are meant to be drawn in by this man who knows his powers, who is comfortable in himself, who has the playfulness to reach children and the subtlety to impress the thinkers.
I have long played with this, fanning it now, letting it cool. I feared that if i got too involved, it would flame up and blow itself out, or that some unforeseen circumstance would douse the flame. It became my private affair or the mind, a last candle to hope in an old man's life.
It has been a wonderful year or so, marveling at Barack and his answers, his ability to remain centered above the fray, to use humour instead of churlishness when annoyed. I delighted when he turned what was meant to lessen him against itself, and raised himself up, often with a hidden smile.
So when i read Caliberal's essay, her words, I drifted into a wild reverie...[I had not wanted to write this in response to Caliberal's essay for fear that she would misunderstand]
There we were, in Caliberal's room, our knees on her bed, looking at the posters of Barack on the wall. We stared at them, drinking in the smile, the eyes. Then we sat on the bed, looking at the posters on the other wall, I being careful to keep my saddle shoes off the bed, while folding my tartan plaid skirt modestly and drawing my pastel sweater around my white blouse.
We were ecstatic. Sometimes, in my reverie, we would squeal. Then Caliberal told me that she was going to see Barack, and I hugged her as we both shrieked. We softly sang a song as we looked at the posters, one suggested by Caliberal's words...I've grown accustomed to his face
he almost makes the day begin
I've grown accustomed
to the message he delivers night and noon
his smiles, his grace
his laugh, his gentleness
are second nature to me now
like breathing out and breathing in
I'm so used to hearing him say
"we can do it," every day
his joys, his woes
his highs, his lows
are second nature to me now
like breathing out and breathing in
Later, I imagined in the reverie that Caliberal had returned from the event with Barack, and told me that she had had the opportunity to shake his hand. It was very exciting. I imagined her singing a song, again, inspired by Caliberal's "we can remember": [sorry, my reveries are most often accompanied by music]He touched me,
He put his hand near mine
And then he touched me
I felt a sudden tingle when he touched me
A sparkle, a glow
He knew it...
It wasn't accidental, no,
He knew it
He smiled and seem to tell me so all through it
He knew it, I know...
He's real, and the world is alive and glowing
I feel such a wonderful drive toward hoping
He touched me, I simply have to face the fact
He touched me...
Control myself and try to act
As if I remember my name
But he touched me...
He touched me...
And suddenly nothing is the same!
'Cause he touched me...
He touched me...
And suddenly... nothing, nothing, nothing is the same!
"It wasn't accidental, no,
He knew it"
You see, that's exactly it. Barack to those of us infatuated with him is the kind of man who knows what he is doing, knows his effect on people, knows how to touch. In fact, he has been touching us, all of us, all of us willing to be touched.
And he knows when to touch, and what touch each of us require. It is part of a manly competence that makes us think that he would be good in the White house even if we aren't sure of his policies.
In the reverie, we wondered what it would be like to be kissed by Barack. Surely, he would know. he wouldn't be the kind of man who asked for permission, but one who knew just the right moment to kiss, just the right kind of kiss. Of course, if we were in a mood to be asked, he would know that also, and playfully ask. but surely, with the kiss, for a moment, it would seem that all was right with the world, as if he had been sworn in.
Gentle manly grace, a knowing competence...
As i said, I had been playing with this seduction in all joyfulness for many months. I read Caliberal's next essay, but again refrained from answering. I know that when someone like me speaks from the heart, he is often ridiculed, or taken wrongly.
After a while, I decided that I should at least do Caliberal the honour of looking at the youtubes she posted. And then it happened.
The first was fine, showing Barack at his playful best. But the second struck me immediately. The poster had put faces on Barack's shoulders for him to wipe off. It was jarring, to me, the exact opposite of Barack's message. But Caliberal's words, to the effect that some can't see, rang in my ears. Suddenly, i wasn't sure of Barack's fans. Were they really about dismissiveness? About revenge?
I spent the rest of the night in a half sleep, between empty wakefulness and terrible dreams. In the dreams, Barack is speaking as in the first youtube. Suddenly, through the magic of dreams, I am close up to Barack's left shoulder. Behind it are now a bright blue sky with a few wispy clouds, and on his shoulder is a high meadow, the kind that makes pone think that Julie Andrews will appear singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music." On the meadow were a group of farmers from the area in which I grew up, singing toward Barack's head:
We plant and we hoe
Little will grow
We can't feed our children....
Barack sings back:
You are annoying, annoying to me
Like dust on my shoulder
As he sings this, he wipes them off his shoulder into oblivion. And I am back at long range. I can't hear what he is saying. Soon I am back at close range, the shoulder once again has a meadow, and this time, men with orange hunting jackets and rifles appear in the meadow, singing:
We've always hunted with our guns
With our fathers and our sons;
It's constitutional, it can't be wrong,
Don't ban our guns, hear our song.
You are annoying, annoying to me
Like dust on my shoulder
And once again, he wipes them off his shoulder into oblivion.
After a few of these, I find myself on the shoulder, now, however, not a meadow under a sunny sky, but a black and white checkerboard in darkness, and the cubes are coming toward me like an old Playstation game. Barack laughs as I am forced off his shoulder and my avatar falls into the darkness with a long scream.
This repeated itself several times during the night. The dreams changed, but some were recycled. In one case, oddly, a duck blind appeared in the middle of the meadow, complete with men wearing those billed caps with the ear muffs, but dressed in Annie Oakley costumes and brandishing six shooters. A flock of ducks flew out from behind Barack's neck, but just as the hunters started to shoot, Barack wiped them off his shoulder, singing his song.
The farmers were repeated the most. And each dream cycle ended with my getting forced off the shoulder. Between, i tried to break the cycle, getting something to eat, watching a bit of television, staring out the front door at the rain in the night. But each time i went back to bed, the dreams returned. But I knew that something was changing, something was being lost. It had happened to me before. I remembered....
Her name was Marsha. She was just 18, while I was 26. I saw her every day at work, and she always stopped to say a few words to me, even if she had no business. I greatly admired her because despite no education beyond high school, she had a quiet wisdom and a gentle courage. In fact, she had the touch. She could walk up to patients in a rage, and calm them with one finger.
Once, after she had been off for several days, she returned to learn that a large dangerous patient had injured two staff and two patients in four separate instances on her days off. A few minutes later I watched in horror as she walked right up to the man in question, dressed as usual in her grandma clothes she bought at Goodwill, and got right in his face, shaking her finger at him. Before i could get out there, the man had walked away with his head down. she had told him that she was disappointed in him, that he shouldn't be hurting people, and that she wanted to talk to him about it later. Only she could get away with that.
I also had felt her touch, for she touched people constantly. As we would part, she would touch my arm just above the elbow, on the inside. i would feel better for quite a while.
One day, after she had been there for about 8 months, she was telling some of us that she had wanted to go to Tucson the next day to buy some Earth Shoes, but she couldn't because her mother had decided to go to some weekend spiritual retreat in Sedonia, and was taking the car. Suddenly, i was the woodsman bent on saving this Red Riding hood from the wolf of disappointment. I offered to take her myself.
So, the next day, I picked her up, and we went to Tucson, where we bout her Earth Shoes, and spent some time at the Desert Museum. Shge loved the prairie dogs, and I noted that she looked a little like a prairie dog. She laughed at that, and seemed quite pleased.
We got back to her house at the end of the afternoon. She asked me in. I thought it was perfunctory, so I begged off. She said, "My mother's gone for the weekend, you know." Now I felt bad, her all alone. So i asked if she wanted to go get some dinner. She said, "No." As i shuffled my feet, she smiled her sweet smile, cocked her head to one side, and said, "I've been wanting to get in your pants for six months." it took a while for that to sink in, but eventually it did. We ended up spending a pleasant weekend. Very pleasant.
She liked a little adventure (she was a Sagittarius, she reminded me), so we started going all over the desert and odd places in the city, since her mother tended to be home. It was a wild and wonderful few months.
One night, I mentioned to my roommate that i was finally going to meet her mom. My roommate tells me, "You know, you can always tell what a woman will look like as she gets older by looking at her mom."
Damn him! When i got there and met her mom, I could see immediately how she would come to look. Thing is, it wasn't that unpleasant. I could see myself growing into it. But from that moment on, whenever I saw Marsha, I saw her mom. Sex became different, and Marsha knew it. After a couple of months, I gave it up.
Intellectually, of course, I knew that this shouldn't be happening. nothing really had changed. I hated it. In fact, a couple of years later, I got a hold of her, but, well, the thrill was gone. I got a new roommate.
It was excruciating: no matter how much i tried, I couldn't get it back. it was a great loss.
Now, as I lay in the new light of the morning, gray and sad, I realized that I had lost Barack. As with Marsha, I knew it had nothing to do with Barack. It wasn't Barack that made that video. But it was as if I had been rewired, REM wired, you might say, and Barack's charms had faded from the heart to the merely intellectual.
I was profoundly sad, enveloped in the gray of the day. It occurred to me that this would never happen to me again. My one last grasp at the kind of hope one feels in one's youth now gone. For in reality, my dear readers, Barack makes us all feel as if we are younger. As if the world has possibilities that we had perhaps despaired of before.
Now, when i see Barack, despite my efforts, his smile is distorted by his wiping people off of his shoulder in the video and my dreams, my terrible dreams. Distorted into a menacing, revengeful smile. I know better in my head, but the heart is rewired.
So you see, nothing political here, just a tale of woe.
I couldn't figure how to sign off, so here i offer a few. You might discuss which is the most artistic, or the most apt. Of course, i don't really think anyone will have that much interest.
1) So hold closely love, and of this beware
Fragile is hope and a love affair.
2) How I wish that second video had come with a warning, perhaps:
Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
For surely with Obama, it is precisely the hope that no one will be brushed from the shoulders that powers our being touched by him.
3) Perhaps the famous quote from American poet, John Greenlef Whittier:
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: 'It might have been!
4) As i lay in the gray of the coming day, I could not help wonder and compare this loss with another I am dealing with now. that one is one that most would think much worse. But lo, it is not so, for it seems to me like finding a stone along the road, a stone that includes a little shell. The shell tells me that the road will soon end, and i will be on a blessed beach. it makes me smile, piques my interest. I wondered at that as I lay there, how much more deeply I feel this loss of seduction, loss of hope, something intangible, maybe all in my mind. It is perhaps a bit odd to some that the sliver of hope that morning came from my contemplating that rock I found, from my imagining the beach.
I would not have guessed that I would feel this depressed, nor that I could not overcome it by sheer force of intellect. But I should know better.
5) Once, politics was both an intellectual exercise, and an interesting game to watch. Then politics became a "playing with the tiger," a term sometimes used by therapists for how men with sex problems try to keep their desires under control, letting them out a little at a time. It became fun to expand on what i saw, to hope a bit.
Then, politics was once again an intellectual exercise and an interesting game to watch.
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