Sunday, March 30, 2008
Nearly two weeks have passed since Barack Obama gave a speech on race. I never knew why so many people fainted, wept or saw God when they heard it, but then again I don't get the appeal of Obama at all.
I am stuck on an Obama truth telling mission and I don't want to stop. So, not to beat a dead horse or anything, but these statements emanating from the Jeremiah Wright controversy just stuck in my craw. I had to share my dismay at the outright lies and slanders that came out of Obama's mouth when he was a guest on The View last week.
"The statements that were made were rightly offensive. What they spoke to was a brilliant man caught in a time warp where he grew up and didn't have a good enough sense of how America's changed."
"Imagine someone compiled the 5 stupidest things you ever said, and then played them over and over again for weeks."
"I spoke to Rev Wright after this episode, and I told him I felt badly he's been characterized in this one way. But he was my pastor. I think people overstate his role as my mentor or spiritual advisor."
I shouldn't be speechles and yet I am. Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a stupid old uncle, caught in a time warp, who was a pastor but not really a mentor or advisor or anything. So much for the question of whether or not Obama threw him under the bus. Wright has tire marks all over his body.
I have never thought that ignorance was in any way blissful, so I will see you in the time warp. That time warp is called reality and I like living there.
Hat tip America Blog
"There is no question that the Bush administration has proven impervious to public pressure. That's why it's time for the anti-war movement to change tactics. We should direct our energy where it can still have an impact: the leading Democratic contenders.
Many argue otherwise. They say that if we want to end the war, we should simply pick a candidate who is not John McCain and help them win: We'll sort out the details after the Republicans are evicted from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Some of the most prominent anti-war voices--from MoveOn.org to the magazine we write for, The Nation--have gone this route, throwing their weight behind the Obama campaign.
This is a serious strategic mistake. It is during a hotly contested campaign that anti-war forces have the power to actually sway U. S. policy. As soon as we pick sides, we relegate ourselves to mere cheerleaders."
Thank goodness someone gets it. In this case those persons are Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill. They seem to have figured out what ought to be obvious to everyone. Neither Clinton nor Obama are serious about ending the Iraq occupation. If the anti-war movement had acted strategically earlier, there might have been a possibility to move the agenda and have a true anti-war nominee.
The most basic rules of political strategy have been ignored in this campaign. Politicians respond to pressure. They don't respond to adulation. Actually I have to take that back. They do respond to adulation. They respond by treating the idol worshippers like chumps.
Moveon and The Nation have done great damage to the progressive cause by backing Obama without demanding anything from him. Now he has no reason to do as they want on any issue. Of course, I could be giving progressives too much credit. Many of them don't really want change either. Some are tired, some are cynical, some just want invitations to the White House.
Hillary Clinton could have been useful, in spite of her ham handedness and blatant lies. She might have been used strategically earlier on when it counted, despite her weaknesses. Obama might have been forced to stop the double talk and truly promote an agenda for change.
Now we are left with a nomination that is all but decided, and a probably nominee who won't end the occupation. The 2008 election will go down in history as an enormous wasted opportunity.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
". . . my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional bipartisan realistic policy of George Bush's father, of John F. Kennedy, of, in some ways, Ronald Reagan, . . ."
I just don't get it. Why would anyone who calls him or herself progressive support someone who vows to emulate Reagan or Bush? What a joke.
There is no progressive in this race. Get over it. Admit it. Obama is no progressive and his habit of channeling Ronald Reagan whenever he needs white conservative support ought to prove it. Progressives for Obama should put themselves out of business.
"However, the fact that Barack Obama openly defines himself as a centrist invites the formation of this progressive force within his coalition. Anything less could allow his eventual drift towards the right as the general election approaches." No s_ _ t. Because Progressives for Obama give support without making demands, he will move further and further to the right. He said so himself in the Pennsylvania hinterlands.
It is amazing. Obama can praise Republicans and still get progressives to believe that he will listen to them. There is no convincing people who are naive, cynically jumping on the winning bandwagon, or just plain stupid.
No matter. Someone has to keep speaking truth to the powerful and to the deluded too. I think Progressives for Obama are in the deluded category.
"The truth is that my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional bipartisan realistic policy of George Bush's father, of John F. Kennedy, of, in some ways, Ronald Reagan, and it is George Bush that's been naive and it's people like John McCain and, unfortunately, some Democrats (read Hillary) that have facilitated him acting in these naive ways that have caused us so much damage in our reputation around the world."
He hasn't channeled Reagan in a while. Now he is trying to win over red neck Pennsylvania, so the GOP love is back. Can't say I didn't tell you so. Read Black Agenda Report. We always tell you so, whether you are ready for the truth or not.
Friday, March 28, 2008
There is good news to start the weekend. Don Siegelman was released from prison pending an appeal of his bribery conviction. Siegelman was the former Democratic governor of Alabama who was victimized by Bushite selective prosecution under the direction of head henchman Karl Rove.
Not only was he convicted of a bribery that never took place, but he was immediately jailed and his appeal was delayed by the suspiciously slow production of a trial transcript.
He is out and he is scheduled to testify before Congress. Sometimes there is a little bit of justice, but as Siegelman said today, “I wish I could say it was over. But we’re a long way from the end of this.”
Thursday, March 27, 2008
"Barack Obama had a plan. He knew that the only way a Black man could possibly stand a chance of becoming president of the United States was to pledge allegiance to the national white historical narrative, or religion – the Big Lie that says God wanted all those Indians dead and Africans enslaved, for some higher purpose that will be worked out sometime in that sweet by-and-by."
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report radio
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Yesterday Glenn Greenwald had an excellent post in Salon about the media black out of foreign policy experts who opposed the occupation of Iraq. Greenwald used the Charlie Rose program as an example of this corporate media censorship policy. One letter writer, eastriver, said the following in response.
"Charlie Rose lives and tapes in NYC, where I happen to reside. For all of the Big Apple's leftward-leaning politics, there is a large, monied, and very influential segment of the population that cares greatly about the US staying in Iraq; forever. Because if the US has an army in Iraq, Israel is considerably safer from foreign invasion.
Sure, terrorists attacks will still happen, and the Palestinian situation will remain unsolved, but there will be absolutely no fear of Syria, Egypt, or Iraq attacking with an army.
Charlie Rose is a sociable guy. He goes to lots of parties, and runs into lots of people. I'm sure he's not immune to a coordinated effort to influence his guest list. For these kinds of seminal, landmark shows (which only roll around about once a year, anniversary-like), it wouldn't be too hard to jiggle things.
Just a respectful observation. And a little inside knowledge of how things work in the un-real world."
Thank you eastriver for putting the nail squarely on the head. Israel wants the U.S. to destroy Arab nations. Israel's allies make sure that government gets its way. Sadly there will be no change from the policies that have made this country the United States of Israel. No one can raise $130 million (Clinton/Obama) without strictly adhering to the constant demand to do what Israel wants.
That is part of the reason that thousands of Iranians are about to be killed by our government. Israel, the outpost of pax Americana in the Middle East, wants it to happen.
Back on December 19, 2007 Talking Points Memo Election Central interviewed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Krugman has consistently asked tough questions about Barack Obama's policies. He should. All progressives ought to look askance at a Democrat who says there is a social security crisis or who describes the 60s and 70s as "excessive." The Obama cult don't like Krugman, but so what. They don't like anyone who questions their great saint. There is no reason for eveyone to suspend disbelief.
Hillary Clinton will not get the nomination, despite an expected victory in Pennsylvania. The trends are going in Obama's direction, so it is important to remember why Obama is so problematic. Hopefully someone, somewhere will have the guts to ask him tough questions before November.
"EC: What other things gave rise to your current critique of Obama?
PK: When Obama used the word "crisis" about Social Security it gave me a little bit of a sense of, "Hmmm -- I'm a little worried that my initial concerns were more right than I knew."
To have Obama sort of sounding like the Washington Post editorial page really said among other things that he just hasn't been listening to progressives, for whom the fight against Bush's Social Security scare tactics was really a defining moment. Among the Dems he seems to be the least attuned to what progressives think.
It's a tone thing. I find it a little bit worrisome if we have a candidate who basically starts compromising before the struggle has even begun."
Amen Krugman. Obama is either terribly naive or a complete cynic. Whatever. The end result will be disaster if he wins and governs the way he says he will. There is no compromise with Republicans. Compromise with them means just one thing. Assume the position. Please.
Monday, March 24, 2008
"The United States has to not only end this war but reject war as an instrument of policy."
Dennis Kucinich is probably the only member of Congress who would make that statement. He was the only presidential candidate who acknowledged 1,000,000 Iraqi deaths and who advocates for a complete end to occupation.
Help Dennis out at www.kucinich.us
I think we can stop asking if Bush will attack Iran. This little gem was reported by the German news service DPA.
"The Saudi-based King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology has prepared a proposal that encapsulates the probabilities of leaking nuclear and radiation hazards in case of any unexpected nuclear attacks in Iran, the Okaz Saudi newspaper said."
Well, that little NIE report last fall was just a minor inconvenience. Bush and Cheney know that if they keep lying they get their way. They also know that the Democrats will do nothing. John Conyers swears that he really, really means it this time. He claims he will hold impeachment hearings if Bush attacks Iran. Puhleeze. Spare us. The Democrats will do nothing and Bush knows it.
I for one can't stomach being an accomplice to a war crime. Not enough people feel the same way, so many thousands of Iranians are about to die.
Hat tip to Chris Floyd.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
"But the common and ordinary wisdom of Black America is inadmissible in mainstream US discourse. In the reality-defying bubble of US corporate media, one does not speak of the genocide and dispossession of Native Americans as “terror”. Comparing the atomic bombings of hundreds of thousands of civilians in World War 2, the snuffing out of two million Vietnamese lives in the sixties and seventies or one million plus Iraqis in the current war is, in mainstream media, strictly off-limits. And any suggestion that US imperial policies in the Middle East, Africa or elsewhere might provoke resistance or retaliation is deemed beyond-the-pale anti-American hate speech." Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report
"For this is where we are in the United States, nearing the end of the Year of Our Lord 2007: the truth is not merely unpleasant, an uninvited guest who makes conversation difficult and awkward. Truth is the enemy; truth is to be destroyed. To attempt to speak the truth on any subject of importance requires a deep reserve of determination, for to speak the truth requires that one first sweep away an infinite number of rationalizations, false alternatives, and numerous other failures of logic and the most rudimentary forms of thought -- as well as the endless lies."
Arthur Silber, Power of Narrative
There you have the Jeremiah Wright story in a nutshell. The truth of America's genocidal beginnings and its imperial atrocities must not be told. Anyone who does manage to break through the bubble and speak truthfully is ground into the dirt.
I don't know why Jeremial Wright thought that his association with Barack Obama could continue or that it should. An association with a presidential candidate should have been anathema to this man who has spent his life speaking truthfully. Was he blinded by the the thought of going to state dinners at the White House? Did he believe Obama when he whispered sweet nothings in his ear?
Wright knew or ought to have known that speaking truthfully and becoming president are simply inconsistent. Truth tellers are not allowed anywhere near the presidency. They can't raise money, they aren't allowed to debate and consequently are erased from memory. Just ask Dennis Kucinich.
Wright was not mistaken in his comments. The United States has terrorized people across the globe. The killing of Americans on 9/11 is no worse than killings anywhere else on earth. All of these things are true.
Wright's only mistake was believing Obama's hype. Anyone else who wants to speak the truth and also join the Obama band wagon should remember this lesson and decide now. Will you follow Obama or will you tell the truth? You can't do both.
Why do they hate us? Why do they think we are making war on Islam? Hmmm, maybe it is because we are.
By the way, attacks on houses of worship are in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. Ooopsie. I forgot. Those rules don't apply to the U.S. anymore.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation
Watch and listen to testimony from Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The Winter Soldier hearings give detailed accounts of the atrocities committed in an occupation. If you don't feel like a German in the 1930s you ought to.
Wednesday, March 19th, will be the fifth anniversary of theIraq occupation. Remember. Protest. Your country is committing a crime against humanity.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
U.S. Not Planning to Attack Iran, Says U.S Iran War Czar
Leave it to the Onion to give us the real scoop.
"We're simply taking every precautionary measure we can to maintain the peace between the two countries, such as making sure we have enough cruise missiles to carry out that peace, taking comprehensive aerial photographs of Iranian bombing targets, and calculating how many lives would be lost if we did invade Iran, which we're not going to do."
Many a truth is said in jest.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Congressman Dennis Kucinich won his primary race last week, but just barely. The race was close in part because Ohio permits same day changes in party affiliation. More than 10,000 Republicans voted in the Democratic primary under these rules. Dennis defeated Joe Cimperman by about 20,000 votes, which is too close for comfort.
Do what you can to help Dennis. They aren't done trying to get him out of office.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
"Wendell, I’m under strict instructions, and have been from the beginning, to not talk about the dollar, and I’m not going to get fired to satisfy your question."
Dana Perino, White House Press Secretary
Don't talk about that elephant in the room.
Monday, March 10, 2008
“I never saw the other side, that the man (Spitzer) doesn’t think straight, that the man has a quirk in his mind. There is something wrong with his mind. He doesn’t think like most. He’s two-faced. He does not tell the truth. He looks you in the eye and tells you something that is totally untrue.” - Joe Bruno, New York State Senate Leader
As of this moment, Eliot Spitzer is still the governor of New York. By tomorrow he will not be. He is toast. This afternoon the New York Times broke the story of Spitzer's involvement with a prostitution ring. Spitzer held a brief press conference with his wife at his side and apologized for hurting his family. He didn't resign, but it is only a matter of time. The story can only get worse and Spitzer has no friends left to go to bat for him.
When I first read the above quote from Joe Bruno, I dismissed it because it came from a man who hates Spitzer and who Spitzer hates right back. As a Democrat I am no fan of Bruno's, but I have to say that Spitzer was more at fault in creating this rift. He did everything wrong after he was inaugurated last January.
He couldn't get along with Democrats or Republicans. As Attorney General of New York he acted as a prosecutor of the malefactors of great wealth and did a great job busting corporate crooks. Sadly, he didn't know how to stop prosecuting and he made enemies, even within his own party, when he got to the capital.
Once again we have an example of a zealot who had skeletons in his own closet. I should have known. The finger pointers usually live in glass houses and throw stones anyway. I also see that Bruno's comments may not have been just venom coming from an enemy. It is hard to keep secrets in one area of life without it showing up in another. Compartmentalizing is a lie. It never works. Everything comes out eventually, especially phone calls to prostitutes.
In New York, the Governor and the leaders of the Assembly and Senate are known as "the three men in a room" who horse trade and make things happen. Because Spitzer was busy making enemies with Bruno, the two of them couldn't stand to be in the same room together. Nothing has been accomplished since Spitzer came to office.
Spitzer investigated Bruno's use of state helicopters and may have broken the law doing it. He and Bruno don't speak, and their relationship is so bad that Bruno felt comfortable calling Spitzer out in the pages of New York magazine.
Now Lieutenant Governor David Paterson will become Governor. If Hillary Clinton were to be elected President, Spitzer had the power to appoint Paterson to her seat. It is now a moot point, Paterson will be Governor, the first black governor in New York state. He had a long history as a progressive when he served in the State Senate for 20 years. He will be a better governor than Spitzer. Once the shock and scandal subside, New York politics will be much better with Paterson at the helm.
This is all too sick and disgusting for words. Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair will teach religion at Yale University. That's right. The man responsible for giving Bush cover in occupying Iraq and killing one million people will be affiliated with the Yale University Divinity School. I hope someone at Yale has guts enough to denounce this travesty.
It isn't surprising that Blair can only get a job like this in America, or that the Bush family alma mater is the place where he landed. Will he ever stop sucking up to Bush? I guess not. When he tried to establish a similar arrangement at the London School of Economics faculty and students said no thank you. The British have sense enough to be embarassed by his presence. Only the Bushies would make the case for this awful man to have a decent job. If there were any justice in this world Blair would be permanently unemployed and friendless.
Blair, like Bush, is a war criminal. He shouldn't be allowed anywhere in polite society, certainly not in a classroom with impressionable young minds. But we all know what will happen. The ambitious student will clamor to be in his presence because his courses will look good on an American resume. A letter of reference from a former British Prime Minister will look even better.
So the worst criminals in this world, government leaders, once again get a pass. Blair thinks that killing thousands is fine as long as a government run by white people does the killing. If you think I'm being harsh look at his own words.
"British troops are risking their lives trying to prevent the killing. Why should anyone feel angry about us? Why aren’t they angry about the people doing the killing?"
Gee Tony, maybe people are mad because Britain is doing some of the killing. There is more death in Iraq post occupation than there was under Saddam Hussein, and that is no mean feat.
Like his pal George Bush, Tony Blair is a terrorist. Warfare is the ultimate act of terror with the biggest body count. There is no terror group with the killing capacity of a government. Just ask Rev. Blair. He can explain it all to you.
(Hat tip to Chris Floyd)
Friday, March 07, 2008
(Hat tip to Greg Palast)
Did you know that Hugo Chavez paid Colombian rebels $300 million to make dirty bombs? You didn't know? Good, because if you do hear that you ought to know in advance that it is all a lie.
This is scary. Colombia invaded Ecuador, a sovereign nation by the way, in hot pursuit of FARC rebels who want to over throw that government.
Colombia claims to have found a laptop belonging to a FARC leader they killed, and claims that it contains hard evidence of a Hugo Chavez plot to buy uranium and make dirty bombs.
“… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call “dossier,” efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for ‘cripple’], which I will explain in a separate note. Let’s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto.”
300 what? That is the question you should be asking and the answer is not millions of dollars, it is 300 people in a hostage exchange. Chavez was working on the exchange as part of an agreement he had with the government of Colombia.
“To receive the three freed ones, Chavez proposes three options: Plan A. Do it to via of a ‘humanitarian caravan’; one that will involve Venezuela, France, the Vatican[?], Switzerland, European Union, democrats [civil society], Argentina, Red Cross, etc.”
Hostage exchange or millions of dollars? You be the judge. But wait, there is more.
To bolster their case, the Colombians claim, with no evidence whatsoever, that the mysterious “Angel” is the code name for Chavez. But in the memo, Chavez goes by the code name … Chavez.
While Latin American nations are in an uproar over this violation of international law, Bush is ecstatic that his guy, Colombian President Uribe, has stabbed Chavez in the back and created turmoil in Latin America. That is not surprising but Clinton's and Obama's support for Uribe ought to be. Here is Hillary's take:
Rather than criticizing Colombia's actions in combating terrorist groups in the border regions, Venezuela and Ecuador should work with their neighbor to ensure that their territories no longer serve as safe havens for terrorist groups. After reviewing this situation, I am hopeful that the government of Ecuador will determine that its interests lie in closer cooperation with Colombia on this issue.
Is Obama any better? You decide.
"The Colombian people have suffered for more than four decades at the hands of a brutal terrorist insurgency, and the Colombian government has every right to defend itself against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The recent targeted killing of a senior FARC leader must not be used as a pretense to ratchet up tensions or to threaten the stability of the region.
Well, he is nothing if not consistent. If "targeted killing" is OK for Israel it should be OK for anyone else.
It is a disgrace that both Democratic candidates think it is acceptable for Ecuador's sovereignty to be violated. As we say at Black Agenda Report, they are in fact political twins. Actually they sound like McCain and Bush. They are all political quadruplets.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Yesterday the citizens of Brattleboro, Vermont voted to indict GeorgeW. Bush and Dick Cheney for committing "crimes against the constitution." Brattleboro is willing to do what Congress will not. They have declared that our president and vice president have committed crimes in violation of international and American law.
If we had the Congress we ought to have, localities would not have to make these decisions. Brattleboro has given us democracy at its very best. No lobbyists, no check bundlers, no elected officials played any part in this important declaration. That is what makes it so wonderful.
That is the best news from yesterday's primaries. Dennis Kucinich defeated his primary opponents and is likely to be re-elected to Congress in November.
A Kucinich defeat would have been a terrible blow to progressive politics. Kucinich is the most vocal congressional supporter of impeachment and of the occupation of Iraq. If he had lost, all of those issues would have been easily dismissed.
The national Democratic party will now be obligated to fully support an incumbent Congressman. Nancy Pelosi will have to get over it, and so will the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Kucinich is back for one more round.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
"The girl's family had called an ambulance but it came under fire and was not able to reach the house.
When he tried to carry the girl out of the house, under a white flag, he said troops in an Israeli tank fired warning shots above their heads forcing them to dive for cover. Shortly after that Safa died in her father's arms."
This is supposed to be a day full of big changes. If Barack Obama wins the Ohio and Texas primaries as expected, change is allegedly in the air.
Nothing changes for the Palestinians. Israel still kills them, men, women and children, with impunity. Twelve year old Safa Abu Seif was one of approximately 100 who have been killed by Israelis soldiers in Gaza in recent days.
No, there isn't any change coming, not with Obama or Clinton or McCain. Israel will always have Uncle Sam's support and can keep killing whenever and wherever it wants.