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.

Obama’s war plans

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 Senator Obama speech

photo by radiospike

Hat Tip: Dan Balz, Washington Post

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama today pledged an aggressive war against Islamic extremists, calling for the deployment of at least 7,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to combat the growing Taliban influence and promising to order U.S. forces into Pakistan if necessary to seek out and kill known terrorists.

“When I am president, we will wage a war that has to be won,” Obama told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He added, “I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to the United States.”

Obama’s speech represented the most comprehensive outline of his approach to Islamic terrorism. He said ending the war in Iraq is crucial to success in the broader struggle against terrorism.

“The terrorists are at war with us,” he said. “The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real.”

The Illinois senator offered a biting critique of President Bush’s foreign policy decisions after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, while seeking to reassure Americans that his long-stated opposition to the war in Iraq would not make him hesitant to vigorously pursue extremists who threaten the United States.

He repeated a pledge to double U.S. foreign aid to $50 billion, provide $2 billion to combat the influence of Islamic madrassas and launch a more ambitious public diplomacy initiative that he said he would personally lead. He also called for additional steps to protect the homeland from possible attack.

Obama said that, as president, he would make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on the success of President Pervez Musharraf’s efforts to shut down terrorist training camps and prevent the Taliban from using the nation’s territory as a staging ground.

“Let me make this clear,” Obama said. “There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

Bush, he said, squandered national and international unity in a reckless war in Iraq that has compromised American values, undermined U.S. influence and left the country less secure.

“Because of a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged, we are now less safe than we were before 9/11,” Obama said.

He also took a thinly veiled swipe at his principal rival for the Democratic nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, with sharp words of criticism for the Congress, which he said had “rubber-stamped the rush to war” in 2002. “Congress became a co-author of a catastrophic war,” he said.”

Clinton, who voted for the Iraq war resolution, last week had described Obama’s willingness to meet with leaders of rogue nations without pre-conditions as “irresponsible and frankly naive.” That sparked a days-long argument between the two about diplomacy and the presidency.

In his speech today, Obama said the “lesson of the Bush years is that not talking [to hostile nations] does not work,” and signaled his desire to take a different approach.

“It’s time to turn the page on Washington’s conventional wisdom that agreement must be reached before you meet, that talking to other countries is some kind of reward and that presidents can only meet with people who will tell them what they want to hear,” he said.

Obama accused the Bush administration of undermining American values and said that if he becomes president, “we will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers and that justice is not arbitrary.”

He said he would prohibit torture “without exception,” assure that any intelligence gathering adheres to the letter of the law and close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obama said he would end the Iraq war as president if Bush has not done so by the end of his second term. That, he said, would free up resources for fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. He pledged at least two additional brigades for the effort there and said he favored sending the Afghan government an additional $1 billion in non-military aid.

Cindy Sheehan arrested in capitol protest

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Hat tip: WASHINGTON (AP) — Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Monday at the Capitol for disorderly conduct, shortly after saying she would run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the California Democrat’s refusal to try to impeach President Bush.

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Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan says “Impeachment is not a fringe movement.”

Sheehan was taken into custody inside Rep. John Conyers’ office, where she had spent an hour imploring him to launch impeachment proceedings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Conyers, D-Michigan, chairs the House Judiciary Committee, where any impeachment effort would have to begin.

“The Democrats will not hold this administration accountable, so we have to hold the Democrats accountable,” Sheehan said outside Conyers’ office after the meeting. “And I for one am going to step up to the plate and run against Nancy Pelosi.”

Sheehan and about 200 other protesters had walked to Conyers’ office from Arlington National Cemetery. She said Conyers told her there weren’t enough votes for impeachment to move forward on the issue.

Forty-five of Sheehan’s fellow protesters also were arrested. Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said that after they are processed, the arrested activists could each pay a $50 fine to be released.

“Impeachment is not a fringe movement, it is mandated in our Constitution. Nancy Pelosi had no authority to take it off the table,” Sheehan told her group of orange-clad activists before they began their march from the national cemetery.

Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Iraq, has been saying for two weeks that she would seek to oust Pelosi from office by running against her as an independent in her San Francisco district if Pelosi didn’t change her mind by July 23 on trying to impeach Bush.

Conyers introduced a bill last term calling on Congress to determine whether there are grounds for impeaching Bush. Pelosi has steadfastly dismissed any talk of impeachment, saying Democrats should focus their efforts on ending the war in Iraq.

Obama’s political expediency is showing

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Hat Tip: By Philip Elliott, Associated Press

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.

“Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea,” he said.

Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it’s likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq.

“Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.”

The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.

“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnate for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.

The senator has been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, speaking out against it even before he was elected to his post in 2004. He was among the senators who tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to force President Bush’s hand and begin to limit the role of U.S. forces there.

“We have not lost a military battle in Iraq. So when people say if we leave, we will lose, they’re asking the wrong question,” he said. “We cannot achieve a stable Iraq with a military. We could be fighting there for the next decade.”

Obama said the answer to Iraq — and other civil conflicts — lies in diplomacy.

“When you have civil conflict like this, military efforts and protective forces can play an important role, especially if they’re under an international mandate as opposed to simply a U.S. mandate. But you can’t solve the underlying problem at the end of a barrel of a gun,” he said. “There’s got to be a deliberate and constant diplomatic effort to get the various factions to recognize that they are better off arriving at a peaceful resolution of their conflicts.”

The Republican National Committee accused Obama of changing his position on the war.

“Barack Obama can’t seem to make up his mind,” said Amber Wilkerson, an RNC spokeswoman. “First he says that a quick withdrawal from Iraq would be ‘a slap in the face’ to the troops, and then he votes to cut funding for our soldiers who are still in harm’s way. Americans are looking for principled leadership — not a rookie politician who is pandering to the left wing of his party in an attempt to win an election.”

An opponent of the death penalty, Obama said he would make an exception for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The first thing I’d support is his capture, which is something this administration has proved incapable of achieving,” Obama said. “I would then, as president, order a trial that observed international standards of due process. At that point, do I think that somebody who killed 3,000 Americans qualifies as someone who has perpetrated heinous crimes, and would qualify for the death penalty. Then yes.”

Activist Cindy Sheehan to Challenge Speaker Pelosi

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HAT TIP: Associated Press, Washington Post

CRAWFORD, Tex., July 8 — Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unless Pelosi introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.

Sheehan’s deadline, July 23, is the same day she and her supporters are to arrive in Washington after a 13-day caravan and walking tour departing from the group’s war protest site near Bush’s Crawford ranch.

Sheehan said she lives in a suburb of Sacramento but declined to disclose the city, citing safety reasons. She added that she would run against Pelosi in 2008 as an independent and “would give her a run for her money.”

“Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership,” Sheehan said. “We hired them to bring an end to the war.”

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the congresswoman has said repeatedly that her focus is on ending the war in Iraq.

“She believes that the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home safely and soon,” Daly said in an e-mail.

Sheehan first came to Crawford in August 2005 during a Bush vacation, demanding to talk to the president about the Iraq war, in which her son Casey was killed in 2004. She became the face of the antiwar movement during her 26-day roadside vigil, which was joined by thousands.

Edwards, Obama on the Air; What I’m reading

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The story of the Obama Ads is here in the NY Times.   The Borq Queen’s resistance is futile tour continues as she attempts to assimilate the business community and Warren Buffett. 

I am also reading the extensive series the Washington Post has done on the enormous power Vice Preznit Dick Cheney wields behind the throne.   They’ve done stories Sunday, Monday, and Today that are quite illuminating.  I would encourge you to read each story in order so that you can get a true sense of what malevolence is.  The post reveals how he kept Condi and Colin, the doublemint twins of mass deception in the dark about his nefarious scheme to detain, indefinitely and without access to counsel, American citizens deemed terror suspects.  

Then there was yesterday’s extraordinary White House “Briefing” in which “Legally Blond” Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino bobs and weaves around questions regarding whether the Vice President is a member of the Executive Branch and is able to be investigated by an executive branch agency.   

 

She seems to be saying that ,”I am only up here to look really pretty, sympathetic,  and answer nothing-because I’m an idiot.”   That’s truly why she’s “thoroughly confused.”

Campaign Mailbag: Giuliani again reaches out to wingnut America

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RUDY GIULIANI


Dear Wingnut,

I believe in solving problems through intimidation-not weakness-from hubris, not vacillation.

I’ve seen the everyday racism and homophobia of Americans across our country. I’ve seen people create political careers from nothing-using nothing more than the inherent fear white folks have of colored folks. I’ve witnessed how well it always works and have good reason to peddle the white fantasy that anybody can grow up to be President. In America, we love to congratulate ourselves for our openness to diversity while simultaneously asserting white privilege.

I am running for President because when I look to the future, I see a fascist police state where Americans are confident that their President is in rigid control of the country.

When I was first elected Mayor, we looked at the places where the City, or bureaucracy, or racial liberalism, were taking away people’s white pride. We cracked down and focused our sights—we took the bull by the horns.

Wages, hard work and ingenuity were overtaxed and overregulated. Too many white people felt like they couldn’t get ahead if they allowed black folks a level playing field and played by the rules. So we took decisive steps to dramatically slash social services and cut the N****** off welfare.

When I was elected Mayor, half the blacks were on welfare clogging up the system and sucking decent taxpayers dry. Therefore, we took on the state-sponsored liberal welfare state bullshit and turned “Welfare Offices” into “Job Centers” that became an Orwellian nightmare only a fascist could love.

We were successful because we refused to define deviancy down-instead we raised expectations and told the lazy ass blacks to get a damn job. We frustrated legitimate job seekers and people eligible for assistance and took on the black groups in the spirit of my mayoral campaign slogan, “one city, one fascist dictatorship.”

I’m writing you because you are some loon on a right-wing mailing list the campaign bought. You fancy yourself influential in your community and give to various and sundry right-wing causes and candidates. You know what they say, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” It would be great if you could be parted with a gift of $ 1,000, $500, $250, $100, $50, or even $25 bucks. If you could send it today, our grassroots hand holding and pacification of the troglodyte right can begin immediately.

We stand at one of he most crucial points in the history of the campaign-I got Fred Thompson breathing down my neck and I NEED YOUR SUPPORT.

Like you, I believe that Ronald Reagan was the greatest thing since sliced bread and that we must look toward the future to reassert our core values of hate, fear, racial polarization, respect for law and order, and a commitment to scaring the bejesus out of stupid people about Arab ragheads out to get us at home and around the world.

And while we know damn well that the bullshit in Baghdad and Afghanistan ain’t going well, I need to fill your stupid head up with ridiculous rhetoric about victory so that I can win your vote and the nomination.

This campaign is about strong, fascist leadership. When I took office in New York, people were afraid of criminal blacks and felt like they were losing control of their own lives. Drawing upon the “Broke Negroes” theory of policing, we cracked down on the quality-of-life-crimes such as walking, driving, and just plain being-while black. We cleaned the riff-raff out of Times Square so that wholesome white families from Nebraska could feel safe visiting the Big Apple.

To usher in an era of dictatorship based on our shared right-wing fascist Republican values, we must win this race for the White House so that I can uphold our priorities and demand accountability.

We will impose discipline on the budget by kicking the blacks and Hispanics off welfare. By doing so, we will reclaim our Reagan tradition as the party that understands the importance of hostility to minorities wins elections.

At the core of our approach to reform is the basic concept of white supremacy.

I believe that every parent should have the ability to send their child to the all-white school of their choice, be it public, private, or parochial.

We cannot be discouraged or cynical in the wake of our Party’s disastrous midterm F-up’s. For the Republican Party to win the presidency in 2008 and take back the majority in Congress, we must wholeheartedly embrace our core principles-or simply steal it again.

From the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, our party’s greatest contribution is to expanding the wealth of the top 1% and keeping the blacks and Hispanics down in this land and around the world.

When I say we should reduce taxes on the rich to stimulate the economy, I say it to slavishly appeal to the anti-tax nutcases and government phobic wingnuts that get off on that bullshit and will vote for me. It worked in New York because I did it and saw it work like a charm.

As Mayor, I stood up to the politics-as-usual agenda, held fast to my unprincipled demagoguery, and proved that:

  1. Tax relief creates more wealth for the rich and leaves the rest behind.
  2. Picking fights with a cartoonish clown like Al Sharpton was good for my approval ratings.
  3. Shooting an unarmed black man 41 times because the NYPD have a vague sense that he might have committed a crime is a public relations bonanza and an opportunity to pander to the basest elements of the white electorate.

Our party is at its best when it connects to the primal racial fears of the white populace.

At a time of war and danger, the Republican Party must nominate a proven demagogue. At a time when Americans want to feel confirmed in their desire for white privilege, the Republican Party must boldly lead in this direction. Being a stubborn prick with strong beliefs and the arrogance to stick with them through unpopular times is an essential characteristic of our next president.

I’ve been tested, after all, I was the gigantic asshole that brazenly flaunted my whore in public and then announced the dissolution of my marriage in a televised press conference before I asked my wife for a divorce to her face. If y’all can let me get away that bullshit and still take me seriously, I deserve the Republican nomination for President.

Sincerely,

Rudy Giuliani

Campaign Mailbag: Rudy’s 12 commitments

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12 CommitmentsDear Wingnut,

I’m running for President of the United States based on the fear and hate I can offer the American people. When I was the Mayor of New York, the city was in a crime crisis, a budget crisis and a financial crisis. When I left office, we had turned the city into a boiling cauldron of racial division and economic stratification.

Many of the things I did as Mayor of New York City are irrelevant to what America needs now. That’s why today I announced my 12 commitments to you, the American people. These commitments are intended to lift my megalomaniacal ass into the White House.

My 12 commitments to the American people are:

  1. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  2. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  3. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  4. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  5. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  6. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  7. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  8. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  9. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  10. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  11. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11
  12. I will shamelessly exploit the fear of terrorism and tragedy of 9/11

My focus – as it was when I ran for Mayor – is on the accumulation of unlimited power. Because real leadership is focused on handing our nation to the next white generation far more right-wing than it was when handed to us. Today, I’m asking you and all of my fellow White Americans to join me in this mission. Will you go to my website, JoinRudy2008.com, to sign my petition and show your support? I also ask that you forward this to 12 of your most right-wing, knuckle dragging friends and get them to sign it as well.

Nothing polarizes a government and a people better than a racist control freak that challenges it to deform, change and regress. I can divide this nation in ways nobody thinks is possible and can’t be accomplished. I did it as Mayor of New York City, and I can do it again in Washington.

It’s a hard job and I can’t do it alone. Will you join me? Please visit JoinRudy2008.com and sign my petition to show your support. Please ask 12 of your scariest wingnut friends to sign on as well. Together, we can destroy constitutional government forever.

If I am elected President, I want to establish a fascist police state. That is the kind of leadership I am offering. And that is why I am running for President.

Sincerely,

Giuliani Sig

Campaign Mailbag: John McCain fundraising appeal

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 John McCain 2008 - John McCain for President

I wanted to forward on this important message we sent last week in case you missed it. As we approach the financial reporting deadline at the end of this month, For the love of God, please join us in reaching our goal.  

Thanks,
Christian


Today, we at the McCain eCampaign invite you to be a part of our new online initiative to help us reach our desperate goal of raising anything respectable by June 30th.

During his remarkable century of service to our country, John McCain has served in the Navy, U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. Senate. In 1917, he was serving our country as an aviator in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Forrestal in the First World War.

An accident aboard the ship made him fixated about a career in politics and provided him an option to return home and receive psychiatric help, but he did not take it. Instead, he chose to continue his “service” to his country by running for Congress, then transferring to the U.S. Senate. In 2000, he was shot down in the Republican Primaries and spent the next eight years of his life as the prisoner of a beltway delusion that he could be President. The years John McCain spent running for President only strengthened his delusional love and respect of our unpopular commander and chief.

Today, John McCain continues his eons of “service” to our great country as a U.S Senator and as a candidate in a fruitless run for President. John McCain has never been a man to take the easy way out. As he seeks the Presidency again, he has alienated the base with his stupid support of Dubya’s Immigration bill-and killed his chance at the brass ring. This is the essence of the ass-out predicament we’re in as a campaign, and we desperately hope that you will join our campaign today so that we will continue to have futures in Republican politics even if he doesn’t. Your immediate contribution will help catapult our careers off this sinking ship.

We are approaching the end of the second quarter fundraising deadline on June 30th. The McCain eCampaign has pledged to raise anything respectable by this date, and we desperately need your support today to reach our goal.

Will you give $50, $100, $250, $500 or even $1,000 today to help us reach our goal by June 30th?

You have likely heard the pundits refer to this campaign as a “Dead Man Walking”, and in the early death throws. In the highly unlikely event he is elected President, it will be because we have a strong grassroots network of besotted wingnuts like you.

If you have already given to the campaign, we thank you for your idiotic generosity. We ask that you give one more contribution of whatever you can afford – whether it is $50 or $500 – every little bit helps us reach our goal. If you have not made a financial commitment to McCain 2008, you really shouldn’t bother, but if you must, do so by following this secure link.

You are the backbone of our campaign, and we are always thankful for your wasted energy, wasted time and wasted financial commitment. Once again (and we cannot say this enough), thank you.

Sincerely,
Christian Ferry
National eCampaign Director

P.S. We are approaching our second quarter fundraising deadline on June 30th. We know that Old Man McCain isn’t up to the challenge. Now is the time to show your compassion to us, his long-suffering campaign staff, as we seek to support our families. Please help the eCampaign reach our fundraising goal of anything respectable by June 30th.

God Bless you!

Colin Powell finds his voice on Guantanamo

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HAT TIP : Reuters/WaPo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay for foreign terrorism suspects should be immediately closed and its inmates moved to the United States.

Powell, who in a 2003 speech to the U.N. Security Council made the case for war against Iraq for possessing weapons of mass destruction that were never found, said the controversial prison in Cuba had become a “major problem” for the United States’ image abroad and done more harm than good.

“Guantanamo has become a major, major problem … in the way the world perceives America and if it were up to me I would close Guantanamo not tomorrow but this afternoon … and I would not let any of those people go. I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system,” Powell told NBC’s Meet the Press.

“Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open and creating things like the military commission. We don’t need it and it is causing us far more damage than any good we get for it,” he added.

The United States is holding about 380 foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

Rights groups and foreign governments have called for the prison to be closed, saying holding prisoners there for years without trial violated legal standards. But Washington says the prison is legal and necessary to hold dangerous individuals.

“I would get rid of Guantanamo and the military commission system and use established procedures in federal law,” Powell said, saying some leaders around the world were using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds.

“It’s a more equitable way, and more understandable in constitutional terms,” he added.