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Classic Republican Counterattack.

May 16, 2009

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A quick synopsis, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:

… History is beginning to gel around the assumption that the Bush-Cheney administration presided over the worst attack on US soil in history and failed to capture or bring to justice any of its perpetrators, put the next generation into unparalleled and unsustainable debt, did nothing to combat climate change, viciously opposed the civil rights movement of its time, shrunk the GOP to one in five voters, precipitated the worst recession since the 1930s, took the US into two grueling, unwinnable wars, humiliated the US at the UN with fatally flawed intelligence for war in Iraq, and destroyed the credibility and endurance of the Geneva Conventions, thus ensuring that future captured Americans will be tortured with no recourse.

And who’s to blame for all this?

Nancy Pelosi.

Somehow, Pelosi, who was only Speaker of the House for two years of the Bush presidency’s eight, has become the subject of the right’s latest counterattacks.  Every pundit on Fox News, every right wing blogger, every Sarah Palin stalker with a twitter account, every knucklehead that goes to sleep staring at a Sean Hannity poster every night, every Joe Six-Pack who dreams of getting waterboarded by Carrie Prejean…  they’re all screaming the same thing:  What did Nancy Pelosi know?  Why is she lying?

And the main stream media, fickle followers that they are, are jumping right on board.

And nobody seems to notice that this is classic deflection.  It’s so blatantly obvious, I’m embarrassed to even bring it up.

But they’re doing it, and we’re letting them.

The Bush/Cheney administration should be feeling the heat right now.  As more and more evidence is revealed, it’s becoming obvious that they not only condoned, but actually directed the torture of detainees at the hands of our soldiers and government agents.

It was George W. Bush, and it was Dick Cheney.  Those were the HNICs.  (google it)

But now the question is, “What did Pelosi know about it?”

What did Pelosi know about what Bush and Cheney were actually doing???

Yes, I concede that it is important to know exactly what everyone… and I mean everyone’s… role was when torture became the M.O. for interrogating suspected terrorists.  Pelosi should be held accountable if she knew what was going on and didn’t voice any objection.

But by no means should Nancy Pelosi be the singular focus of everyone’s energy right now.  Not by a long shot.

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Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison Takes A Stand.

May 16, 2009

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James Harrison of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers is refusing to attend the traditional meeting with the President this year.

Maybe he objects to President Obama’s policies, or maybe he’s using this stage to make some kind of profound political statement?

Nope.

“This is how I feel — if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl,” Harrison said.  “As far as I’m concerned, [Obama] would’ve invited Arizona if they had won.”

Yes, James.  President Obama probably would have invited Arizona if they were the Super Bowl Champions.

By the way, James Harrison just received a $10 million signing bonus as part of a new six-year, $51.175 million contract with the Steelers.

And I write this blog for free.

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Roxana Saberi: What If?

May 14, 2009

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Andrew Sullivan asks some hypothetical questions and makes a profound point:

We appear to be nearing a happy ending in the case of Roxana Saberi, the American journalist detained by Iran and accused of being a spy. But ask yourself this hypothetical and distressing question.

If Saberi had confessed on Iranian television that she was a spy, and if the New York Times discovered that prior to this confession, she had been kept in solitary confinement in freezing temperatures, had been slammed against a wall twenty times in a row, and had then been shackled from the ceiling for days in such a way that the pain was excruciating, and had been blasted in her cell with extremely loud noises to keep her from sleeping for a week …

… do you think the New York Times would report that she had been “tortured”? Or would they adhere to their current practice and say she had been subject to “harsh interrogation”?

If the leaders of Iran publicly stated that they had succeeded in proving that she was indeed a spy and her confession showed it, would Dick Cheney believe them? And would Bill O’Reilly proudly argue that the Saberi case proves that “harsh interrogation” “works”?

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I Don’t Buy It, Mr. President.

May 13, 2009
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© Digital Halide Productions, 2007

© Digital Halide Productions, 2007

President Barack Obama declared Wednesday he would try to block the court-ordered release of photos showing U.S. troops abusing prisoners, abruptly reversing his position out of concern the pictures would “further inflame anti-American opinion” and endanger U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think something that would “inflame anti-American opinion” is America not investigating and prosecuting potential war crimes.

So here’s the message we’re sending:  America will torture enemy combatants to keeps us safe, but releasing pictures of those tortured will endanger American lives.

Attempting to sweep this under the rug will cause irreparable damage that no soaring speeches or heart-felt handshakes will be able to remedy, sir.

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Disappointment.

May 13, 2009

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One:

President Barack Obama will try to block the court-ordered release of hundreds of photos showing U.S. troops allegedly abusing prisoners, reversing his position after military commanders warned the graphic images could stoke anti-American sentiment and endanger soldiers.

The pictures are said to show mistreatment of detainees at locations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And two:

Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, tapped to lead US forces in Afghanistan, is a former special operations commander whose elite forces were credited with notable battlefield successes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates said he nominated McChrystal to replace General David McKiernan as the top commander in Afghanistan because “new thinking” was needed at a time that President Barack Obama was launching a new strategy for the country.

He has been credited with targeted operations that hunted down and killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006 and of devising the still classified tactics used to smash Al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed cells in 2007 and 2008.

But special operators also have been accused of detainee abuses under McChrystal’s command. Questions about that were reported to have held up his appointment to his current post last year.

He was also found “accountable” for making inaccurate statements in the awarding of a Silver Star for Army Ranger Pat Tillman, an ex-American football star who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

So President Obama is going to withhold evidence from the American people of alleged war crimes, and he’s brought on Stanley McChrystal, who apparently has a history of — at the very least — condoning torture.

So much so that Dick Cheney himself is actually applauding Obama’s choice.

“The decision to send Stan McChrystal…is a good one,” Cheney told Cavuto. “I think the choice is excellent. I think you’d be hard put to find anyone better than Stan McChrystal.”

In a nutshell — President Obama is spending money like Bush, withholding (and thus, condoning) evidence of torture like Bush, and hired a general that has Dick Cheney’s stamp of approval to oversee operations in Afghanistan.

Are we going to adopt the neoconservative stance of preemption as well? Are we going to continue to ignore the Geneva Convention? Are we going to perpetuate the foreign policies of Bush/Cheney — the very policies you blasted while you were on the campaign trail last fall, Mr. President? Are we going to ignore the Constitution in the name of defending it?

Can we allow this to happen?

Yes, we can.

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“Forced Reparations.” So Says Rush Limbaugh.

May 13, 2009

Rush’s latest theory?  That the whole objective of Obama’s economic plan is unemployment.  According to Limbaugh, de facto leader of the GOP, this is President Obama’s master plan to get reparations for the whole slavery thing.

“This is the objective. The objective is unemployment. The objective is more food stamp benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits. The objective is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to take the nation’s wealth and return to it to the nation’s quote, “rightful owners.” Think reparations. Think forced reparations here if you want to understand what actually is going on.”

And this is the guy Dick Cheney believes is representative of the real Republican Party.

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McCain: The Future of the GOP?

May 12, 2009

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No, not that McCain.

The San Francisco Chronicle features an article about Meghan McCain today.  I’m a fan of hers, and do believe that she’s a step in the right direction for a struggling GOP.

The 24-year-old daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is a regular political blogger and most certainly not her mother Cindy’s serene, St. John-suit-wearing stereotype of a Republican woman.

In brash blog posts on the Daily Beast – “The GOP doesn’t understand sex” – and outpouring of posts on Twitter, she has described herself as a pro-sex, “pro-life, pro-gay-marriage Republican,” one who experts say may be at the forefront of a new GOP breed: the “Meghan McCain Republican.”

That GOP faction is younger and interested in fiscal responsibility and less government involvement in people’s lives, while supporting environmentalism and civic engagement. They’re part of the millennial generation, the largest and most diverse generation in American history, whose voters – born starting in the early 1980s – cast ballots for Barack Obama by a more than 2-to-1 ratio.

Lately, when you think of the Republican Party, what names do you see in the news?  Newt Gingrich?  John McCain?  Dick Cheney?  Rush Limbaugh?

Not exactly a group of young upstarts.

Imagine you’re a 20-something and you’re just now beginning to show interest in the political process.  One one hand, you’ve got a young, vibrant President who seems intelligent, logical, calm, and current.  But maybe you don’t agree with some of his policies.  Maybe you find the price tags of his budget proposals outlandish (at best), or downright dangerous (at worst).  Maybe you don’t believe that government has any place in private enterprise.  Maybe you’re looking for another solution to the problems facing our country today.

So you look across the aisle, and what do you see?

To put it bluntly, you see a bunch of old white guys who seem to enjoy complaining about shit:

Dick Cheney, who seemingly is incapable of shutting up about torturing people to keep America “safe.”

Newt Gingrich, who appears on any tv show that’ll have him, even though he hasn’t held office in ten years.

John McCain — who I still find to be an honorable man — but who got swept up in the presidential campaign playbook laid out by Karl Rove and George W. Bush.  I remain convinced that the 2000 version of John McCain gives Barack Obama a run for his money in 2008.

Rush Limbaugh.  I have no comment here.

But I believe a case can still be made for the return of the GOP.  To do so, they’ll need to resurrect the ghosts of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan and polish up their ideologies a little to jibe with the 21st century:  Emphasize individual liberties without government intrusion, something the modern GOP has seemingly abandoned.  Reduce the role of government in the everyday lives of its citizens.  Make the case that though government shouldn’t be the solution to your problems, it can be there to lend a helping hand.  Reduce the theological overtones and emphasize the freedom to celebrate one’s religious choices.  Eliminate the litmus-test of abortion.  Accept the voices of science and intellectualism, and understand that sometimes those voices will say things you don’t want to hear.  And make it crystal clear that the way you defend The Constitution is just as important as the act of defending it.

As it stands now, there is no room in the GOP for people who believe in those things (just ask Limbaugh or Cheney).  The Libertarian Party seems to be the ideal fit.  But like it or not, we live in a two-party system, and third-party candidates tend to end up being nothing more than spoilers.

The GOP needs a reboot — badly.

Adam Mendelsohn, who was a spokesman for John McCain’s presidential campaign and is a California-based GOP strategist, said such concerns underscore what may be the GOP’s most critical “rebranding” problem: younger voters.

“The party and its leadership has become totally out of touch with where voters under 30 are,” he said. “Typically, when … you talk to Republican pooh-bahs, they dismiss them. They say, ‘Wait until they get older and understand taxes.’

“But they don’t realize these voters are those whose positioning is hardening,” he said. Millennials “don’t see the world like a 65-year-old whose opinions were formulated during the Cold War. … The Republican Party has to start actually talking about ideas and issues that resonate with these voters.”

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