Oval Office Address Open Thread

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President Obama addressed the nation on the occasion of the official withdrawal of combat forces in Iraq.  I am interested in your thoughts regarding the address and ask that you consider the following questions:  (1) Do you believe that the combat mission in Iraq was worth the cost in blood and treasure to the American people?  (2) Do you believe Bush’s trillion dollar imperial crusade improved Iraq in any way at all?  (3) Did the President reassure you that he is sufficiently turning his focus to domestic concerns–the economy in particular?  (4)  Does Obama look comfortable sitting behind the big desk and if not, why not? (5) What didn’t you hear that you expected and needed to hear?

Talk to me.  Don’t be shy.

Gary Hart slams Billary

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Skeptical Brotha’s Mea Culpa: I am sorry y’all, I’ve been absent for several days and I just needed a mental health break. I am working on a piece that I hope y’all will enjoy and in the meantime, this commentary from former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart sums up my thoughts on the national security credentials of Billary Clinton.

Hat Tip: Huffington Post

“It will come as a surprise to many people that there are rules in politics. Most of those rules are unwritten and are based on common understandings, acceptable practices, and the best interest of the political party a candidate seeks to lead. One of those rules is this: Do not provide ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee. This is a hyper-truth where the presidential contest is concerned.

By saying that only she and John McCain are qualified to lead the country, particularly in times of crisis, Hillary Clinton has broken that rule, severely damaged the Democratic candidate who may well be the party’s nominee, and, perhaps most ominously, revealed the unlimited lengths to which she will go to achieve power. She has essentially said that the Democratic party deserves to lose unless it nominates her.”

…If Mrs. Clinton loses the nomination, her failure will be traced to the date she voted to empower George W. Bush to invade Iraq…For her now to claim that Senator Obama is not qualified to answer the crisis phone is the height of irony if not chutzpah, and calls into question whether her primary loyalty is to the Democratic party and the nation or to her own ambition.”

Lieberwhore endorses John McCain

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Republican Presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ...

Hat Tip:  Jennifer Loven, Associated Press

Sen. John McCain, trying to keep momentum in this state’s critical Republican primary race, brought in something unusual on Monday — an endorsement from the other party’s former vice presidential nominee.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Democrat Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, said he had intended to wait until after the primaries to make a choice for the 2008 presidential race. But McCain asked for his support and no Democrat did.

Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said he chose his longtime Senate colleague because he has the best shot of breaking partisan gridlock in Washington. Both men also support the war in Iraq.

“On all the issues, you’re never going to do anything about them unless you have a leader who can break through the partisan gridlock,” Lieberman said. “The status quo in Washington is not working.”

Independents can vote in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 8, and they are the people McCain is targeting, much as he did in winning the state’s Republican primary in 2000 over George W. Bush.

Traveling with Lieberman Monday morning to Hillsborough’s American Legion hall, McCain said the Connecticut senator is his answer to the people he hears in every town hall meeting who ask, “Why can’t you all work together?”

Lieberman said McCain’s approach to Iraq and his credentials on national security are the main reasons he is supporting a Republican for president.

But both men said the election seems increasingly about the economy and domestic issues rather than Iraq. On those issues, Lieberman acknowledged he does not always see eye-to-eye with his 2008 pick. But, said Lieberman, McCain is always straightforward about where he stands.

For McCain, behind in the polls here but gaining, the endorsement carries the risk of alienating conservatives who have been critical of his support for immigration and campaign finance reforms.

“If I get some criticism for aligning myself with a good friend I have worked with for many years, I will be more than happy to accept that criticism,” McCain said.

For Lieberman, it marks another turn away from the Democrats.

“Political party is important, but it’s not more important than what’s good for the country and it’s not more important than friendship,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman won re-election to the Senate in 2006 as an independent, after losing the Democratic primary largely because of his support for the war. High-profile Democrats abandoned him after the primary defeat.

This has to be the most epic betrayal of all time.  The Majority Leader, Harry Reid, mumbled something about having “the greatest respect for Joe.”   Greatest respect, Harry?  F*#@, Joe and F*#@ You. 

Cynthia McKinney leaves democratic party, tests waters for Green Presidential bid

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Cynthia McKinney, a former Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia, was in California this weekend to test the waters for a potential bid for the Green Party’s 2008 Presidential Nomination.  Last month, she left the Democratic Party in the wake of its failure to end the War in Iraq and the many and sundry defeats it has sustained since taking back power on Capitol Hill this past January.

McKinney, defeated for re-election last fall by a handkerchief head uncle tom, has been courted steadily since then to take up the Green banner and continue her progressive fight against the imperialistic Bush war machine.   An announcement is expected shortly about her future intentions.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Hillary’s bait and switch strategy

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Hillary Clinton 

America, from its inception, has been addicted to patriarchy-the white supremacist capitalist kind. American feminists have been railing against the more ignorant aspects of patriarchy and misogyny in all of its forms for more than a century. They have been chafing under the gendered constraints of patriarchy and desire to break, at last, the ultimate glass ceiling of the Presidency.  

Symbolically, the election of a female chief executive will be a watershed event.  However, it’s practical, political import is the functional equivalent of dabbing perfume behind the ears of a pig in a pigsty.  The American political system is hard-wired never to embrace reform completely and shall not next year.  Instead, we will fall for a cosmetic subterfuge: two women exercising and extending white supremacist capitalist patriarchy into the middle of this new millennium and performing a kind of hormone replacement therapy for the nation, switching us from testosterone to estrogen.  

Yes, children, Hillary will choose a woman to run with her and in the process cement her appeal to and strength among women everywhere.  This will work because feminists-especially white feminists, have always been ambivalent about challenging patriarchy and white privilege.  If anything, they wish to exercise the prerogatives of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy alongside their men.  In my mind, nothing could be a better description of the Clintons marriage and political partnership. 

African American feminist scholar and cultural critic, bell hooks, has written, “Coming in the wake of the civil rights struggle, of black power movements which were demanding cultural revolution, a sharing of the nation’s material resources as well as an end to white supremacy, contemporary white women’s liberation movement was easily co-opted to serve the interests of white patriarchy by reconsolidating white power, by keeping resources all in the family.”  

 “It should have come as no surprise to any of us that those white women who were mainly concerned with gaining equal access to domains of white male privilege quickly ceased to espouse a radical political agenda which included the dismantling of patriarchy as well as an anti-racist, anti-classist agenda. No doubt white patriarchal men must have found it amusing and affirming that many of the white women who had so vehemently and fiercely denounced domination were quite happy to assume the role of oppressor and/or exploiter if it meant that they could wield power equally with white men (Killing Rage p. 98-99).” 

It makes me physically sick to see black people falling all over ourselves in a mad dash to subsidize our own oppression by supporting Bill and Hillary Clinton’s undercover malevolent agenda.  They have deftly exploited our political ignorance and shall harness the loving caress of the black community to propel themselves back into the Oval Office and the apparatus of imperial tyranny that it commands.  

  

It was recently discovered that hormone replacement therapy for women enduring the severe symptoms of menopause, is a cure more dangerous than the disease.  Dramatically increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke are common in women after long-term treatment.  Similarly, the estrogen replacement bait and switch ruse that Hillary and her Vice President will play on the American people is equally dangerous because the excesses of American capitalist hegemony will not be cured, social and economic justice will not be advanced, and resource wars will still be waged as tools of American foreign policy.  

To whom shall Hillary turn to complete the troika of power?   That’s the $64,000 question and one I have pondered a bit.   I’ve come up with a few names:  Ellen Tauscher, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, and Claire McCaskill.   Each woman brings a different strength to the ticket and has more experience as an elected official than Hillary has.  

A blue dog democrat, six-term Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher D-California has ready-made entrée to the more conservative wing of moderate House Democrats so crucial to maintaining legislative success and maintaining political power.  A former stock broker and the youngest woman in the country to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, Ellen speaks Wall Street’s language and parlayed that ability to raise record sums for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s corporate pacification program.   An initial supporter of the Iraq War, she’s had to backtrack because of the opposition of activist groups like MoveOn and the blogosphere, which, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, conspired to alter her district to make a primary challenge more likely, if she didn’t toe the line.  A gifted fundraiser, she can help take a burden off Hillary, a plus Hillary would greatly appreciate.   

Blanche Lincoln, a  second-term Arkansas Senator, is a right-wing good ole’ gal too comfy-cozy with the corporate power structure of Arkansas and D.C.’s legendary K street-synonymous as a headquarters of corporate lobbyist influence peddling.   Blanche was also a supporter of the bullshit in Baghdad and Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.  A former congressional aide, she sized up many of the mediocre congressional membership and decided to throw caution to the wind and challenge former Congressman Bill Alexander, a profligate fool caught up in the house bank check kiting scandal.  She won, got married, had twin boys, and left the house after two terms, only to return two years later to claim Dale Bumpers seat in the Senate.  Blanche ain’t no radical and her down home twang and wholesome motherhood shtick would be a big selling point to working class women.  

Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Senator up for re-election in 2008, is the most experienced politician of the four and brings nearly 3 decades of experience and she is only 52.  The female scion of a prominent New Orleans political dynasty, Landrieu is a tough, unflappable pol that has survived two tough races for the Senate.  A former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and two- term U.S. Senator, she brings to the table the ability to make a deal and be taken seriously.  A member of the gang of 14 that smoothed the way for confirmation of two of Bush’s reactionary Court of Appeals judges, she kept the Senate from blowing up and shutting down if Cheney or his minions would have forced a vote by violating the Senate’s filibuster rules.  Mary Landrieu is as liberal a Senator as Louisiana will ever have-which is to say that she voted for the War and against partial birth abortion and takes great pains to look after the care and feeding of the corporate interests of her state.  Mary’s greatest strength is the ability to demagogue anything-a skill I’m sure Hillary will find a use for.  

Lastly, there is Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Senator elected last year who rid us of Richard Nixon’s philosophical son, Jim Talent, a corporate whore and wingnut with a disturbing propensity to mentor black republicans.  Claire McCaskill is an executive by temperament, a former state legislator, District Attorney and State Auditor, she ran against the sitting Governor of her party and defeated him for the nomination in 2004.   She is hard charging and decisive and came heartbreakingly close to winning the governorship.  She came back last year and was elected to the Senate to prove that there is a God, and he will not be mocked by a deceptive and sanctimonious fascist like Jim Talent.  A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Miss Claire has yet to find any of the balls she stole from weaker men and oppose this war like she was elected to do.  A cautious moderate and policy wonk, she and Hillary will find immediate kinship.   

Maxine Waters famously said at one of the Democratic National Conventions in the 90’s that the Clinton-Gore ticket was the last all-white anything she would support.  I took a sistah at her word, and then came the Gore-Lieberman ticket, and then the Kerry-Edwards ticket. We heard some mild grumbling from ole girl about the corporate vampire that masquerades as Joe Lieberman, but that’s about it. Until Barack Obama came along, I thought that some grassroots effort to enforce diversity was in order, and then I really scrutinized the choices and examined our political system and concluded, rightly I think, that resistance is damn near futile when the choices are so circumscribed.   

Author bell hooks has said, “What I am most criticized about is the use of the phrase “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy”. It’s seen as too strident, too exaggerated, too militant. But what that criticism says is that we’re not even allowed to name the enemy. The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says we have to call things by their real name, and if we’re not allowed to do that, how can we have a revolution? How do we move forward? I’m not particularly attached to those terms but they seem to me to much more accurately state what we’re up against than a term like “sexism.” And I prefer the term “white supremacy” to “racism.”  

It occurs to me that diversifying the patriarchy isn’t gonna do much except create female or colored mouthpieces to propagate a reactionary program-which will, in turn, drive progressives down an ideological cul de sac and do nothing to really change things.  Hell, we can’t even agree that we need to name the thing which prevents progressive change.  If a white, sixty-five year old fascist with and itchy trigger finger can be Vice President, and progressives can tout the Vice Presidential candidacy of the not so progressive Barack Obama, why can’t we discuss the Vice Presidential candidacy of a sixtyish black woman with 17 years experience in Congress like Maxine Waters.  I think you know why.  Maxine Waters has a political agenda that wasn’t written in the bowels of a corporate think tank or in the office suites of a corporate lobbyist. 

Hillary Clinton will try to sell her all-white, all-female ticket as an affirmation of America’s diversity-it will be anything but.  What it will be is an affirmation of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.  Again, bell hooks, “white women have a stake in white supremacy – that it is the hottest, the fastest ticket for white women to get inside the patriarchy and play the game. We can’t act like “daddy made me do it” anymore. It’s all about what white women have to gain.  What Hillary and the women who are brainwashed by her have to gain is power.     The glass ceiling may be shattered, but it will not liberate anybody except Bill and Hillary and their loyal retainers.    

Karl Rove resigns

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 Karl Rove is 2 4-letter words

Hat Tip :By John D. McKinnnon, Wall Street Journal

Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, marking a turning point for the Bush presidency.

Mr. Rove’s departure removes one of the White House’s most polarizing figures, and perhaps signals the effective end of the lame duck administration’s role in shaping major domestic policy decisions. Mr. Rove revealed his plans in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. (See related commentary.)

Mr. Rove also said he expects the president’s approval rating to rise again, and that conditions in Iraq will improve as the U.S. military surge continues. He said he expects Democrats to be divided this fall in the battle over warrantless wiretapping, while the budget battle — and a series of presidential vetoes — should help Republicans gain an edge on spending restraint and taxes.

Mr. Rove established himself as the political genius behind the rise of George W. Bush and the brief period of united Republican rule. But he did it largely through highly divisive policies and campaign tactics, such as the attacks on Democratic rival John Kerry the 2004 campaign. That strategy appears to have backfired, as seen in the Republican loss of Congress in 2006, and Mr. Bush’s low poll numbers.

Mr. Rove has advised Mr. Bush for more than a decade, working with him closely since Mr. Bush first announced he was running for governor of Texas in 1993 and serving as chief strategist in his presidential campaign in 2000. Before joining the White House, he was president of Karl Rove & Co., the Austin, Texas-based public affairs firm he founded. Mr. Rove first became involved in Republican politics in the 1970s.

Mr. Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with his aide at the White House, before they fly to Texas to Mr. Bush’s Crawford ranch retreat.

“Obviously it’s a big loss to us,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. “He’s a great colleague, a good friend, and a brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed, but we know he wouldn’t be going if he wasn’t sure this was the right time to be giving more to his family, his wife Darby and their son. He will continue to be one of the president’s greatest friends

Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president’s term in January 2009.

“I just think it’s time,” Mr. Rove said in the interview. “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.” Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio.

In the interview, Mr. Rove said he expects Democrats to give the 2008 presidential nomination to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he described as “a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate.” He also said Republicans have “a very good chance” to hold onto the White House in next year’s elections.

What I’m reading this Friday

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Cindy Sheehan has announced her candidacy for the Congress against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the AP has the story:

…”The country is ripe for a change,” said Sheehan, who spoke at a podium with her son’s photograph attached to it. “It’s going to start right here and right now.”

Sheehan said she would run as an independent on a platform of universal health care, making college affordable and improving ethics in the legislative and executive branches. She did not offer specifics.

The money being spent on the Iraq war should be used to help the country’s shrinking middle class, she said.

Sheehan said she had no funds for a campaign but planned to immediately start raising money. She said she wouldn’t accept money from corporations.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

Hillary Clinton is asked at the National Association of Black Journalists convention whether she’s “Black Enough,” The Feed blog has the story.

LAS VEGAS — It probably wasn’t a question Hillary Clinton expected to face, even at a national convention of black journalists.

But CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux, acting as moderator during Clinton’s appearance here Thursday at the National Association of Black Journalists’ annual gathering, uncorked it anyway:

“Are you black enough?” asked Malveaux, echoing a question often asked of rival Democratic candidate Barack Obama, who is biracial. “What makes you a better candidate over a black man representing issues confronting African Americans?”

Facing a room packed more than 1,000 journalists, Clinton chuckled a bit before launching into a generalized tribute to campaign diversity.

“I am thrilled to be running at a time when, on the stage, you can see an African American man, a Hispanic man and a woman,” she said, referring to Obama and fellow Democratic candidate Bill Richardson. “Democratic primary voters don’t have to be against anyone. You can be for the person you believe will do the best job as our President.”

LOGO’s Presidential Forum addressing LGBT issues was last night and ABC News has this story:

Democratic presidential candidates attended a historic candidate forum Thursday evening sponsored by the liberal gay and lesbian rights group The Human Rights Campaign and broadcast on the gay cable TV channel LOGO. Supporters of gay and lesbian rights should have been pleased to see the White House hopefuls treat their group as politicians treat other more mainstream interest groups: They came, they saw, they pandered.

The first task for the candidates speaking to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender crowd of roughly 200 attendees  including the actors who have portrayed Doogie Howser and Lloyd from HBO’s “Entourage” was to try to relate.

“I come to these issues & as a friend of a lot of members of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community,” said New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said, “When you’re a black guy named Barack Obama, you know what it’s like to be on the outside.”

By the same token, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson noted, “I’m Hispanic. I felt the sting as a kid of being stereotyped.” Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards even reminded folks of his fight with conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who once referred to him using the word “faggot.”

“I think that what Ann Coulter does is the worst kind of public discourse,” Edwards said.

But even if there was agreement on many issues  nondiscrimination in the workplace for gays and lesbians, for example the evening was not without friction, some of it caused by panelist and self-described “privileged rock star” Melissa Etheridge Referring to an account from Edwards’ former political adviser Bob Shrum, Etheridge said to Edwards, “I have heard that you have said in the past that you feel uncomfortable around gay people. Are you OK right now?”

Edwards disputed the account. “It’s not true. It’s not true,” he said. “Elizabeth and I were both there, and both of us have said he’s wrong.” Etheridge asked Richardson, “Do you think homosexuality is a choice or is it biological?”

“It’s a choice,” Richardson said. “I don’t know if you understand the question,” Etheridge said to laughter. “Do you think a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, ‘Oh, I want to be gay’?”

“Well, I, I’m not a scientist,” Richardson said. His campaign later issued a statement declaring that he didn’t think homosexuality was a choice the correct answer for that crowd.

Whites have become a minority in 10% of the counties in the United States and some just can’t deal:

WASHINGTON – (AP) Whites are now in the minority in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties. And that increased diversity, fueled by immigration and higher birth rates among blacks and Hispanics, is straining race relations and sparking a backlash against immigrants in many communities.

“There’s some culture shock,” said Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based research agency. “But I think there is a momentum building, and it is going to continue.”

As of 2006, non-Hispanic whites made up less than half the population in 303 of the nation’s 3,141 counties, according to figures the Census Bureau is releasing Thursday. Non-Hispanic whites were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990.

…Many of the nation’s biggest counties have long had large minority populations. But that diversity is now spreading to the suburbs and beyond, causing resentment in some areas. Many Latinos say they see it in the debate over illegal immigration.

In northern Virginia, Teresita Jacinto said she feels less welcome today than when she first arrived 30 years ago, when she was one of few Hispanics in the area “Not only are we feeling less welcome, we are feeling threatened,” said Jacinto, a teacher in Woodbridge, Va., about 20 miles southwest of Washington.

Woodbridge is part of Prince William County, which recently passed a resolution seeking to deny public services to illegal immigrants. Similar measures have been approved or considered in dozens of communities across the nation. In all, state lawmakers have introduced more than 1,400 measures related to immigration this year, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.