Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Like Groundhog's Day, ..."

David Horsey
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Thursday, February 28, 2008

©1996-2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tim Russert Loses Democratic Debate

BocaGuy: Somebody should have told Tim that the debate was not "Meet the Press".

Russert figures that since Farrakhan is black and Obama ia black anything Farrakhan says must automatically be what Obama thinks.

February 27, 2008

In modern political discourse, per our punditry, a cult is defined as any sizable group of enthused supporters of a political candidate in a purported Democracy. But if we are going to be loose with definitions, then let us address the 'Cult of Russert'.

I admit, I didn't watch the debate, I had other priorities ("Work your magic Mangroomer") but many brave masochists did. And from their comments it appears that with the exception of one group -- television talking heads -- the clear loser was the man who enables Dick Cheney to control the message, Tim Russert. Held up by his feted peers as the "Ultimate in Bobbleheads".

After all, Louis Farrakhan is black -- Barack Obama is black -- therefore anything Farrakhan says must be automatically what Obama thinks because apparently to Tim Russert all black men have an intellectual osmosis that links them together*. Like in "The Matrix" which had Cornel West in it so it must have some form of factual basis (only in Tim Russert World would African-American intellectuals be saved by Keanu Reeves). And, of course, feckless and worthless talking point driven questions were also directed toward Hillary Clinton.

But it is in more than this that Timmah & Friends fail us. Digby sums it up perfectly -- having actually watched the debate:

The problem is Tim Russert and all his petty, shallow acolytes who spend all their time reading Drudge and breathlessly reporting every tabloid tidbit and sexy rumor and seeking out minor inconsistencies from years past in lieu of doing any real work.

Judging by their silly questions tonight, Russert and Williams obviously know nothing about health care policy, Iraq, Islamic terrorism, economics, global trade or any other subject that requires more than five minutes study to come up with some gotcha question or a stupid Jack Bauer fantasy. It's embarrassing.

These people guide the way citizens perceive politics even if the citizens don't know it. It's hard for me to see how anything can truly change until this is dealt with.


*May mean that Clarence Thomas is a killer, unquestioning, cyborg from the future...or not.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute.

Papa or the whiz kid brother?

BocaGuy: I'm ready to take the leap forward this year. I have had enough of the past seven years.

It's time to get out of the political boneyard where old hacks sit grinding their gums over the burning questions of 1968.

Garrison Keillor
Febuary 27, 2008

Sen. McCain is 71 and most likely he will be the last Old Guy presidential candidate for all of you boomers. Goodbye, Great White Father in Washington. It happens as you age: Other people get younger. The pilots flying you to New York are teenagers. Your banker, your therapist, even your urologist is young. Still, you go along thinking of the Leader of the Free World as your old civics teacher, genial, omniscient, wielding his pointer, patiently answering dumb questions, and then one day one of your classmates has the pointer in hand and he is not one of the smart ones. It's a big whoosh in your life: Mr. Teacher has left the building and Larry has taken over.

It's a long throw from Mr. McCain's 71 to Sen. Obama's 46 and that may be the big invisible issue in the fall: Do we feel better with Papa at the helm or the whiz kid brother? It's a visceral choice you make without thinking too hard about tax policy or judicial appointments. For people like me who think the war in Iraq is a horrible wrong turn, it's an easy choice, but the election won't be decided by people like me -- it'll be decided by people who could go either way and who make up their minds at the last minute.

Papa appeals to us because we're sentimental and we assume he's learned a few things. (One could argue that you learn more of the right things in the Illinois Legislature than in the Elks Club that is the U.S. Senate, but never mind.) The beauty of the kid brother candidate is the plain hope that we can put a chunk of the past behind us and not keep reliving it over and over. Our 51-49 national impasse. The culture wars. Our mutual misapprehensions. Old debates that we're sick of and that go nowhere. Let's get out of this political boneyard where old hacks sit grinding their gums over the burning questions of 1968. We're done with the Current Occupant who is dead wrong and proud of it. Time to leave the ranch and head for the 21st century. ... ( more )

Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.

Monday, February 25, 2008

He's Baaaaaaack!!!

BocaGuy: Nader is such a narcissitic spoilled brag. He enjoys screwing with the American system. He is not relevant anymore.

Craig Crawford
Craig Crawford's Trail Mix
February 25, 2008

He’s older than John McCain, more liberal than Hillary Rodham Clinton and offers way more change than Barack Obama.

Ralph Nader announced on Sunday that he will run again for president. The perennial candidate is as easy to dismiss as he is to fear – if you’re a Democrat. He won more than 2.8 million votes nationwide in the 2000 race, and many Democrats will never give up believing that he threw the election to George W. Bush.

Nader would not have done this had John Edwards stayed in the running for the Democratic nomination. The two share much in common, not the least of which is Nader’s longstanding alliance with trial lawyers who have politically sustained Edwards, a former trial lawyer.

We could be witnessing why Obama should have tried a little harder to court Edwards. And why the Democratic frontrunner should not have dissed Nader, as Al Gore did eight years ago.

The spoiler is back.

CQ © 2007 All Rights Reserved Congressional Quarterly Inc.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

BocaGuy: Frank Rich has another brutal column for the Clinton campaign to face. He takes the campaign apart piece by piece, and the lead is a comparison with Bush's Iraq strategy.

Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
February 24, 2008
WHEN people one day look back at the remarkable implosion of the Hillary Clinton campaign, they may notice that it both began and ended in the long dark shadow of Iraq.
It’s not just that her candidacy’s central premise — the priceless value of “experience” — was fatally poisoned from the start by her still ill-explained vote to authorize the fiasco. Senator Clinton then compounded that 2002 misjudgment by pursuing a 2008 campaign strategy that uncannily mimicked the disastrous Bush Iraq war plan. After promising a cakewalk to the nomination — “It will be me,” Mrs. Clinton told Katie Couric in November — she was routed by an insurgency.

The Clinton camp was certain that its moneyed arsenal of political shock-and-awe would take out Barack Hussein Obama in a flash. The race would “be over by Feb. 5,” Mrs. Clinton assured George Stephanopoulos just before New Year’s. But once the Obama forces outwitted her, leaving her mission unaccomplished on Super Tuesday, there was no contingency plan. She had neither the boots on the ground nor the money to recoup.

That’s why she has been losing battle after battle by double digits in every corner of the country ever since. And no matter how much bad stuff happened, she kept to the Bush playbook, stubbornly clinging to her own Rumsfeld, her chief strategist, Mark Penn. Like his prototype, Mr. Penn is bigger on loyalty and arrogance than strategic brilliance. But he’s actually not even all that loyal. Mr. Penn, whose operation has billed several million dollars in fees to the Clinton campaign so far, has never given up his day job as chief executive of the public relations behemoth Burson-Marsteller. His top client there, Microsoft, is simultaneously engaged in a demanding campaign of its own to acquire Yahoo. ... ( more )
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Friday, February 22, 2008

McCain And Iseman: It’s Not About The Sex… It’s About The Favors

Suzie-Q version 2
February 21, 2008

Everyone’s all a titter about Sen. John McCain’s “inappropriate relationship” with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. I personally could care less whether or not the self-confessed Senior Adulterer from Arizona and Iseman are romantically entangled (other than the mere thought of McCain entangling anything with anyone completely creeps me out).

As the Amazing Digby points out It’s Not About The Sex…it’s about the favors. McCain’s unswerving support of Iseman’s telecom clients included championing bills to end big time evangelical Bud Paxson’s (Ion Television formerly Paxson Communications) and others’ fight to force cable to run his broadcast stations or to provide minority ownership tax breaks for Cunningham Broadcasting (née Glencairn, LTD — the shell corp. owned and operated by the evil John Kerry-swiftboating Sinclair empire to avoid FCC ownership regs). McCain not so coincidentally spearheaded a ton of broadcast industry deregulation that led to the MSM mess we now endure.

However, this goes deeper than McCain’s favoritism and reciprocal of use of their corporate jets and other stuff. The aforementioned NY Times piece points out just how far Johnny Boy’s super-cozyness with lobbyists goes:

Like other presidential candidates, he has relied on lobbyists to run his campaigns. Since a cash crunch last summer, several of them — including his campaign manager, Rick Davis, who represented companies before Mr. McCain’s Senate panel — have been working without pay, a gift that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

In recent weeks, Mr. McCain has hired another lobbyist, Mark Buse, to run his Senate office. In his case, it was a round trip through the revolving door: Mr. Buse had directed Mr. McCain’s committee staff for seven years before leaving in 2001 to lobby for telecommunications companies.
(my emphasis)

Shee-it! As HuffPo noted last year McCain’s team is fucking riddled with lobbyists! Forget about any rumored romance with Iseman, even at work Johnny beds lobbyists! Mark Buse is notorious as one of the two lobbyists secretly hired by former CPB Chair/Karl Rove amigo/Republican tool Ken Tomlinson to quash attempts to seat more actual broadcasters on the PBS board. ...

( more )

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McCain: Reformer or phony?

BocaGuy: McCain is a phony pretender. The great "reformer" and his "Straight Talk Express" - yeah right.

McCain's alleged affair with a lobbyist isn't a big deal. What matter more are his ties to special interests, like her clients in the cruise ship industry.

Joe Conason
Febuary 22, 2008

While reporters, critics and campaign flacks debate whether the New York Times probe of John McCain's relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman was undercooked or overdone, the sexual implications should not distract from the story's real significance. Iseman is blond, buxom and three decades younger than the Arizona senator, but nobody except Cindy McCain should resent their alleged affair. Her husband has never pretended to be a sexual puritan, like so many of the hypocrites in his party.

But McCain has long pretended (and still pretends) to be purer than ordinary politicians compromised by special interests, soft money and lobbyist perks, which in Washington can include anything from pizza and beer to private air travel, free limousine service, luxury gifts and, of course, extramarital sex -- as scandal after scandal has proved in salacious detail.

We may never know exactly what kind of relationship McCain pursued with Iseman. But if she is a symbol of broader patterns in his political career, as the Times story suggests, then it becomes easier to understand why many of his colleagues regard this great reformer as a preening phony. Although he has often displayed independence from the pressures of the capital, he has sometimes succumbed to those influences; and while he may seem to shun lobbyists, he actually surrounds himself with them.

Indeed, the McCain spokesmen who have mounted his aggressive counterthrust against the New York Times are lobbyists themselves, or at least that's what they do when they aren't speaking up for the integrity and incorruptibility of their candidate.

Among the loudest McCain mouthpieces is Charlie Black, a seasoned Republican operative whose client roster dates back to such paragons as the late Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos and several African dictators, and more recently has featured Erik Prince, the mercenary entrepreneur who founded Blackwater. (Black's wife is a lobbyist too, and his firm, known as BKSH, is owned by Burson-Marsteller, the enormous P.R. conglomerate chaired by Hillary Clinton's top campaign advisor, Mark Penn.) McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, is also a lobbyist, whose client interests in the broadcasting and cable industry overlapped with those represented by Iseman and her firm, Alcalde & Fay. During the off years between presidential elections, Davis collected donations from companies regulated by the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by his boss McCain, for the amusingly named "Reform Institute," which also paid handsome sinecures to Davis and various other McCain campaign consultants. McCain's chief fundraiser is Tom Loeffler, a prominent lobbyist and former Texas congressman whose clients range from PhRMA to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. ... ( more )

Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Senator McCain? Your world:

BocaGuy: There's more than meets the eye.

Blue Gal
Thursday, February 21

There's no one way to spin it, but let's try this way:


Private Corporate Jet

Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client

official favor for a friend with regulatory problems

Keating Five scandal

Telecommunications Lobbyist.

And the first words I heard on this from the candidate's mouth:

"I have
lots of friends in Washington."

In covering this story, neither I nor The New York Fraking Times have used the words blow job, blonde, or


I don't stoop to gutter politics, Mister McCain, because, as a Democrat, I generally never have to.

Blue Gal @ Thursday, February 21

Worse than Watergate: Bush scores lowest presidential approval rating EVER!

BocaGuy: This means that Laura and Barney are among his only supporters but Barney appears to be jumping ship as of late.

Will Bunch
February 20, 2008

The 2008 presidential race must be an incredibly welcome development for President Bush and his White House. That's because the American body politic can only really focus on one thing at a time, and so there's little time for anything else aside from the madcap antics of of Gilligan, the Skipper, the Millionaire and his wife, the Movie Star, the Professor and Mary Ann...and the rest. Some liberal blogs and right-wing talk radio are lined up in circular firing squads, and the op-ed columnists have trained their fire on Hillary's lonely teardrops or Barack's Church of the Poison Mind.

While no one was looking, the economy nosedived, gas prices have soared, the war in Iraq is as unpopular as ever and Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. And so while none of us were paying attention, our 43rd president just hit a major milestone.

George W. Bush is now the most unpopular president in recorded American history. (h/t Atrios)

Worse than Richard Nixon in the days before he resigned in disgrace during Watergate, worse than Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis, much worse than Bill Clinton when he was impeached. Just as Roger Bannister raced through what once seemed the unreachable 4-minute mile, Bush has burst through a barrier once also thought impossible, below the 20-percent mark.

Check this out:

George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 18% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 78% disapprove.

That is just mind-blowing. How does it compare to other presidents? There's no comparison.

Nixon, as he was hounded out of office in August 1974, never dipped below the mid-20s.

... ( more )

©2005 Philadelphia Daily News

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To Catch a Thief

Maureen Dowd
Op-Ed Columnist
New York Times
Febuary 20, 2008


Lenny and Squiggy were nowhere in sight.

But Hillary was doing her best to come across as a “Laverne & Shirley” factory girl as she headed away from not-a-chance Wisconsin and on to gotta-have Ohio.

She was drinking red wine and talking up the virtues of imported Blue Moon beer with a slice of citrus on her plane and putting up an ad in Ohio about how she works the night shift, too, just like the waitresses, hairdressers, hospital workers and other blue-collar constituents that she’s hoping to attract.

And she doesn’t mean that being married to Bill Clinton is what keeps her up all hours. She’s talking about burning the midnight oil in her Senate office.

At any minute, she might break out into the “schlemiel, schlemazel” “Laverne & Shirley” theme:

“Give us any chance, we’ll take it.
Give us any rule, we’ll break it.
We’re gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin’ it our way.”

Doin’ it her way, Hillary huffed to reporters on her plane: “If your whole candidacy is about words, they should be your own words.” ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Nature of Plagiarism

BocaGuy: The Clinton's charge of plagiarism is the equivalent of throwing a load of shit on to a wall and hoping something sticks

Stephen Denning
Febuary 19, 2008

Last week, when Hillary Clinton began contrasting her “solutions” to Barack Obama’s “word’s, Obama came back with a crushing rebuttal. “’I have a dream.’ Just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident.’ Just words? ‘All men are created equal.’ Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words?”

The problem with the charge is that plagiarism is not just using someone else’s words. If that’s what plagiarism was, we would all be plagiarists, all the time.

Plagiarism has three elements. First, the words are stolen, without permission, from the original user. Second, the words are used without acknowledgement. And third: the user has an intent to deceive, to pass the words of another as his (or her) own, so as to appear more eloquent.

In Obama’s case, the words were not stolen: they were given. Obama had explicit permission from Patrick to use them, a fact immediately confirmed by Patrick yesterday. As in theft of property, permission from the owner is a complete defense. End of argument.

And there is no indication that Obama had any intent to deceive. On another occasion, he had acknowledged the source of the rhetorical riff. On this case, he says he forgot to do so. There is no pattern of action pointing to deception.

In any event, beware of alleging faults in others. Critics were quick to point out that Clinton is herself a liberal “borrower” of words, having borrowed Obama’s “fired up” line, as well as Edwards’ comparison of immigration enforcement to tracking movies from Blockbuster. Clinton has yet to suggest that she had permission for these borrowings. ... ( more )

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Grand Old White Party Confronts Obama

BocaGuy: The first people I know who saw the approaching change were Gary and Lenore Patton ( a couple of New Hampshire activists ) then Senators Kennedy and Kerry. I thought they were all wrong. I was wrong. They all saw something that is unstoppable, a“Millennial Makeover”. The republicans are in trouble - a national rout in 2008 just may be that Republican Party’s last stand.

Frank Rich
Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
February 17, 2008

THE curse continues. Regardless of party, it’s hara-kiri for a politician to step into the shadow of even a mediocre speech by Barack Obama.

Senator Obama’s televised victory oration celebrating his Chesapeake primary trifecta on Tuesday night was a mechanical rehash. No matter. When the networks cut from the 17,000-plus Obama fans cheering at a Wisconsin arena to John McCain’s victory tableau before a few hundred spectators in the Old Town district of Alexandria, Va., it was a rerun of what happened to Hillary Clinton the night she lost Iowa. Senator McCain, backed by a collection of sallow-faced old Beltway pols, played the past to Mr. Obama’s here and now. Mr. McCain looked like a loser even though he, unlike Senator Clinton, had actually won.

But he has it even worse than Mrs. Clinton. What distinguished his posse from Mr. Obama’s throng was not just its age but its demographic monotony: all white and nearly all male. Such has been the inescapable Republican brand throughout this campaign, ever since David Letterman memorably pegged its lineup of presidential contenders last spring as “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club.”

For Mr. McCain, this albatross may be harder to shake than George W. Bush and Iraq, particularly in a faceoff with Mr. Obama. When Mr. McCain jokingly invoked the Obama slogan “I am fired up and ready to go” in his speech Tuesday night, it was as cringe-inducing as the white covers of R & B songs in the 1950s — or Mitt Romney’s stab at communing with his inner hip-hop on Martin Luther King’s birthday. Trapped in an archaic black-and-white newsreel, the G.O.P. looks more like a nostalgic relic than a national political party in contemporary America. A cultural sea change has passed it by.

The 2008 primary campaign has been so fast and furious that we haven’t paused to register just how spectacular that change is. All the fretful debate about whether voters would turn out for a candidate who is a black or a woman seems a century ago. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama vanquished the Democratic field, including a presidential-looking Southern white man with an enthusiastic following, John Edwards. What was only months ago an exotic political experiment is now almost ho-hum. ... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Captive to History’s Caprice

Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
February 17, 2008


Maybe we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Or maybe we are not.

Perhaps when Barack Obama uses that trippy line, he is just giving false Hopi, since the saying, which he picked up from Maria Shriver’s New Age-y L.A. endorsement speech, is credited to Hopi Indians.

The passionate palaver about Hillary versus Barry rages on, with each side certain it is right about our fate if we end up with a President Obama or another President Clinton.

Hillary says Obama is “all hat and no cattle.” You’d think she’d want to avoid cattle metaphors, so as not to rile up those with a past beef about her sketchy windfall on cattle futures. She could simply say he’s all cage and no bird.

But is she right, that he’d be a callow leader, too trusting of Republicans, dictators and terrorists? Is Bill right, that voters should not be swayed by eloquence and excitement? (Unless he’s running.)

Or is Obama right, that Hillary would ensure that the acrid mood of the last 15 years would continue to paralyze Washington, appall Americans and shrink our standing in the world?

Who knows? As a Henry James character said about art: “We work in the dark. We do what we can. We give what we have.” ... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Back-Room Deals Loom For Democrats

Craig Crawford
Craig Crawford's Trail Mix
CQ Politics
Febuary 16, 2008

No matter who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, back-room deals seem likely to make the difference and hand Republicans a rhetorical opportunity to portray Democrats as undemocratic.

Right now, neither side in this race sees a clear path to a nominating majority without relying on so-called superdelegates -- and some of those 796 party insiders are determined to wait as long as possible to make a fateful choice between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Worried party elders are already meeting behind closed doors to work something out.

Both contenders have long known it might come to this. That’s why they gave a combined total of nearly $1 million in campaign contributions to elected officials who are superdelegates, according to a study done by the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama led the way with $698, 200 doled out to unpledged convention delegates who could decide the outcome. Clinton trails at $205,500 in superdelegate giving.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that superdelegates should not “overturn the verdict, the decision of the American people.” But a razor-thin margin of difference in delegate totals would mean no overwhelmingly clear verdict from Democratic primary voters. ... ( more )

CQ © 2007 All Rights Reserved | Congressional Quarterly Inc.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Krugman: Lessons of 1992 Or Obama's Post-Partisan Narrative

BocaGuy: This is an interesting piece a found on Tennessee Guerilla Women by Paul Krugman. He weigh in on Obama's Naïve blaming the Clinton's for the culture war.

Tennessee Guerilla Women
Monday, January 28, 2008

Paul Krugman weighs in on Obama's wishful post-partisan narrative or the absurd argument that Hillary and Bill Clinton are to blame for the culture war:

It’s starting to feel a bit like 1992 again. A Bush is in the White House, the economy is a mess, and there’s a candidate who, in the view of a number of observers, is running on a message of hope, of moving past partisan differences, that resembles Bill Clinton’s campaign 16 years ago.

Now, I’m not sure that’s a fair characterization of the 1992 Clinton campaign, which had a strong streak of populism, beginning with a speech in which Mr. Clinton described the 1980s as a “gilded age of greed.” Still, to the extent that Barack Obama 2008 does sound like Bill Clinton 1992, here’s my question: Has everyone forgotten what happened after the 1992 election?

Let’s review the sad tale, starting with the politics. Whatever hopes people might have had that Mr. Clinton would usher in a new era of national unity were quickly dashed. Within just a few months the country was wracked by the bitter partisanship Mr. Obama has decried.

This bitter partisanship wasn’t the result of anything the Clintons did. Instead, from Day 1 they faced an all-out assault from conservatives determined to use any means at hand to discredit a Democratic president. . .

[T]hose who don’t want to nominate Hillary Clinton because they don’t want to return to the nastiness of the 1990s . . are deluding themselves. Read more

Copyright 2008 Tennessee Guerilla Women

A Flawed Feminist Test


Maureen Dowd
Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
February 13, 2008

Russell Berman, a young reporter for The New York Sun, trailed Bill Clinton around Maryland all day Sunday. The former president was on his best behavior, irritating the smattering of press.

After Bill’s last speech at Leisure World retirement community in Silver Spring, Berman interviewed two women in the audience.

Elaine Sirkis, 77, an Obama supporter, confided that she just isn’t sure she’s ready for a woman president. Betty Conway, 83, a Hillary supporter, confided that she just isn’t sure she’s ready for a black president.

As Conway walked away, Sirkis smiled sheepishly. “I’m sorry,” she told Berman sweetly about her friend. “She’s a bigot.”

We’re not just in the most vertiginous election of our lives. We’re in another national seminar on gender and race that is teaching us about who we are as we figure out what we want America to be.

It’s not yet clear which prejudice will infect the presidential contest more — misogyny or racism.

... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tortured Patsies To Take Fall For 9/11

Pentagon hopes executed scapegoats will make questions disappear

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Monday, February 11th, 2008

After half a dozen years of waterboarding, genital zapping, sleep deprivation and brainwashing, the Pentagon has finally found six patsies who will readily welcome their 72 virgins and take the fall for 9/11, providing debunkers with ample ammunition to dismiss questions about the gaping holes in the official story of the terror attacks.

“Among those held at Guantanamo is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the attack six years ago in which hijacked planes were flown into buildings in New York and Washington. Five others are expected to be named in sworn charges,” reports the Associated Press.

The fact that KSM’s confession included a plan to target the Plaza Bank building in Washington state, which was not founded until 2006, four years after the alleged Al-Qaeda mastermind’s arrest, should provide a clue as to the reliability of the “terror mastermind’s” culpability for 9/11.
Keep reading →

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Monday, February 11, 2008

My CNN Saturday Election Coverage Diary: Or Why I Will Never Watch MSNBC (Except Countdown) Again

McCamy Taylor
General Discussion: Primaries
McCamy Taylor's Journal
Sun Feb 10th 2008

Intro: I apologize in advance. The CNN coverage of tonight’s primaries and caucuses was really tame and responsible compared to the media atrocity I documented on MSNBC, so this will be pretty boring. You may not even want to read it, unless you are like me, and you are interested in the corporate media in the United States. I think the difference between CNN and NBC is CNN does not have General Electric telling it “Our major contractor, the Pentagon wants John McCain elected president so get to work turning that sow’s ear into a silk purse.”

After MONSTER Super Tuesday I couldn’t take any more of MSNBC’s biased election coverage. If I heard one more GE employee call John McCain a maverick I was going to hurl my beef tacos from Melis Taqueria, and they are too good to waste. Plus, you would have to have been born yesterday to think that the Hillary bashing was going to stop, just because poor David Schuster had been nailed to a cross to pay for Chris Matthews’ sins and soothe Joe Scarborough’s ruffled feathers.

At 4 PM CST, I turned the TV to CNN for the first time since 2006, when I swore off Ted Turner’s old news network. At that time, Screaming Chicken Wolf Blitzer and Co. were offering Terra Warnings du Jour. The last one I remember was something about an imminent dirty bomb attack on a football game at a time when there were no football games scheduled. The FBI said it was not going to happen, but Wolfie looked very scared anyway.

On the theory that nothing could be worse than what I had witnessed on MONSTER Super Tuesday , I decided to watch CNN.

4 PM CST: Oh my! There are three women covering the primaries. No snickering guys in suits making rude jokes about Hillary or Bill’s sex life. No “she-devil” comments. No references to “claws” or “pimps”. And no one ever called McCain a “maverick” or a “truth teller” or an ‘independent”. I knew right away that both the Republican Party faithful and Obama supporters who are used to what passes for journalism at MSNBC would probably be horrified by CNN. The Republican Party establishment is so used to seeing their guy verbally serviced by guys like Tweety that the women at CNN must have seemed downright disrespectful to the aging Senator from Arizona in their indifference. And Obama supporters who have come to expect the blatant Hillary and Bill bashing over at MSNBC as their candidate’s due might be tempted to think that the women at CNN are biased in favor of the female candidate because they didn’t make fun of the thickness of her ankles or the lack of money in her coffers or her laugh or her daughter (as the Onion says, “Bullshit is the number one issue on the mind of American voters this campaign season as in every season.”)

5 PM Uh Oh! Lou Dobbs time. We all know he is crazy. Crazy with bigotry over illegal aliens. Maybe I will check in and see what is up at MSNBC. I switch channels and discover that the GE network has no election coverage scheduled tonight. Very odd. Are they embarrassed at being found out as Hillary bashing sexists? Are they expecting their man, McCain to do so poorly tonight that they fear the “mavericks” and “truth tellers” and “independents” will sound hollow falling from their adoring lips?

Back to Lou Dobbs, and his show wasn’t half bad! Sure, he had a rant about immigrants. But he also ranted about the mortgage crisis, and Jesse Jackson got to complain about reverse red lining in which people who should have qualified for normal mortgages were told they could only have the nasty kind—the ones that are costing them their homes. Every one agreed the Bush is to blame and that the next president had better get his act together about the failing economy and that only someone with a plan was going to have a snow ball’s chance in hell of getting elected.
Oooo. Economic issues. And here I thought that Bullshit was the number issue with voters.

6 PM Prime time coverage. Huckabee is projected as the winner of Kansas and no one laughs at either Huckabee or Kansas! Amazing. ... ( more )

© 2001 - 2007 Democratic Underground, LLC

The mess at MSNBC

Jamison Foser
"Media Matters"
Fri, Feb 8, 2008

Three weeks ago, in the wake of Chris Matthews' quasi-apology for one of his countless objectionable comments about women in general and Hillary Clinton specifically, I argued that Matthews' apology was not enough. Neither Matthews nor MSNBC had acknowledged that the problem ran far deeper than one comment by Matthews -- and their failure to make such an acknowledgement was an ominous sign that the apology would not be accompanied by a change in behavior, no matter how forcefully Matthews insisted: "I get it."

So what has happened in those three weeks?

MSNBC has turned Matthews' purported apology into a promotional campaign, using clips of his statement to advertise MSNBC programming. Not the parts of the statement in which he acknowledged having been "callous," "nasty," and "dismissive" toward Hillary Clinton, of course -- the parts in which he spoke of his love for politics.

Turning a forced apology into a promotional campaign seems like a pretty good sign that MSNBC and Matthews don't "get it" at all.

But it isn't the best sign. Consider what else has happened during MSNBC broadcasts since Matthews' apology.

First, Matthews' MSNBC colleagues leapt to his defense. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and reporter David Shuster lashed out; Scarborough declaring it "offensive" and "outrageous" that Matthews had to apologize, and Shuster adding "this is absolutely infuriating, to see the way these groups used him for pure political gain is absolutely infuriating." As I noted at the time, Scarborough and Shuster have their own history of questionable comments about women:

... ( more )

© 2008 Media Matters for America

How will it all end?

Obama surge? Or Clinton comeback? Superdelegates anyone? With the delegate count agonizingly close -- and proportional representation likely to keep it that way -- all bets are off.

Walter Shapiro
Feb. 11, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. -- Normally, when you hear the lamentation, "Oh, God, how will it all end?" you are safe to assume that the speaker is referring to the Day of Judgment or a similar religious topic. But these days most of the wailing about the End Times is being done by Democrats unable to decipher how Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can corral a majority of delegates at the Denver convention. Where once the Democratic primary race was seen as a rush to judgment now it is regarded as a restaging of "No Exit."

Nothing better conveys the white-knuckle flavor of the Democratic race than the apparent maneuvering behind the scenes. According to Time magazine's Mark Halperin , Hillary Clinton met secretly with up-for-grabs former candidate John Edwards in Chapel Hill, N.C., last Thursday and Obama is slated to fly there Monday. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign announced that it had a new campaign manager, Maggie Williams, who had been Hillary's White House chief of staff. Williams joined the campaign as an unpaid, but high-ranking, consultant after Clinton's brutal third-place finish in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and had initially planned to stay for just 45 days.

This is certainly looking like Sweeps Week for Obama. He pulled off a surprise victory in Sunday's Maine caucuses, despite Clinton's efforts to turn out blue-collar women in this economically troubled state. Obama also easily prevailed Saturday in the Louisiana primary along with caucuses in Nebraska and Washington, winning 39 delegates more than his rival, according to CNN. And he is heavily favored to repeat the hat trick Tuesday in the Potomac Primary (Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia). There is nothing in politics like a 7-and-0 week.

But this mini-surge has not brought clarity to the overall delegate counts by major media organizations, nor is it likely to. When it comes to landslide leads in the quest to win the 2,025 delegates needed to win the nomination, there is the CBS News tabulation, which currently has Obama besting Clinton by exactly three delegates, 1,134-to-1,131. The Associated Press has them flipped with Clinton leading 1,135 to 1,106, while the New York Times, using a very conservative methodology and not counting some caucus results, has Hillary ahead of Barack 912 to 745. ... ( more )

Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Who is crying now?

BocaGuy: Are we asking the right questions to both candidates?

Joan Vennochi
Globe Columnist
The Boston Globe
February 10, 2008

HILLARY CLINTON isn't the only one crying on the campaign trail. So is Bob Schieffer.

The veteran CBS news anchor recently told radio host Don Imus he got all choked up watching the inspirational "Yes We Can" video, which boosts Barack Obama's candidacy.

Over at MSNBC, Chris Matthews has already admitted to tearing up over Obama's speechifying. Recently, the host of "Hardball" also compared the candidate to "the New Testament."

Some big media names are getting goosebumps thinking about the next Camelot. They're not shy about yearning to turn the clock back to JFK and the 1960s, rather than to the Clintons and the 1990s. Meanwhile, former ABC news anchor Carole Simpson - a journalism professor, no longer a practicing journalist - was lambasted when she gave Clinton an impromptu endorsement at a rally last fall.

The Illinois senator is in good shape as he continues his run at winning the Democratic presidential nomination. He has money, momentum, and plenty of media support.

Analysis of votes cast on Super Tuesday shows that Obama is attracting higher-income citizens, blacks, and young people. He has synergy and the ability to inspire videos like the one produced by rapper-producer of the Black Eyed Peas ( It features clips of the presidential candidate in New Hampshire delivering his Jan. 8 concession speech, with actors and athletes who sing, mouth, and recite Obama's message. It's fine for Scarlett Johansson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but should media personalities get in on the act?

It should be scrutiny time for Obama, even if only as a helpful exercise in vetting him, if he is the Democrat to face John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. ... ( more )

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company..

Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War

BocaGuy: I'm sad to say, but the Clinton people have lost it.

Frank Rich
Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
February 10, 2008

WHAT if a presidential candidate held what she billed as “the largest, most interactive town hall in political history” on national television, and no one noticed?

The untold story in the run-up to Super Tuesday was Hillary Clinton’s elaborate live prime-time special the night before the vote. Presiding from a studio in New York, the candidate took questions from audiences in 21 other cities. She had plugged the event four days earlier in the last gasp of her debate with Barack Obama and paid a small fortune for it: an hour of time on the Hallmark Channel plus satellite TV hookups for the assemblies of supporters stretching from coast to coast.

The same news media that constantly revisited the Oprah-Caroline-Maria rally in California ignored “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall.” The Clinton campaign would no doubt attribute this to press bias, but it scrupulously designed the event to avoid making news. Like the scripted “Ask President Bush” sessions during the 2004 campaign, this town hall seemed to unfold in Stepford. The anodyne questions (“What else would you do to help take care of our veterans?”) merely cued up laundry lists of talking points. Some in attendance appeared to trance out.

But I’m glad I watched every minute, right up until Mrs. Clinton was abruptly cut off in midsentence so Hallmark could resume its previously scheduled programming (a movie promising “A Season for Miracles,” aptly enough). However boring, this show was a dramatic encapsulation of how a once-invincible candidate ended up in a dead heat, crippled by poll-tested corporate packaging that markets her as a synthetic product leeched of most human qualities. What’s more, it offered a naked preview of how nastily the Clintons will fight, whatever the collateral damage to the Democratic Party, in the endgame to come.

For a campaign that began with tightly monitored Web “chats” and then planted questions at its earlier town-hall meetings, a Bush-style pseudo-event like the Hallmark special is nothing new, of course. What’s remarkable is that instead of learning from these mistakes, Mrs. Clinton’s handlers keep doubling down.

Less than two weeks ago she was airlifted into her own, less effective version of “Mission Accomplished.” Instead of declaring faux victory in Iraq, she starred in a made-for-television rally declaring faux victory in a Florida primary that was held in defiance of party rules, involved no campaigning and awarded no delegates. As Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said, it was “the Potemkin village of victory celebrations.” ... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Friday, February 8, 2008

What I really wanted to say to Chris Matthews

BocaGuy: Chris you are getting on my nerves. You are the "Tweeny Bird" of the journalists.

The "Hardball" host wanted to know how a feminist like me could support someone other than Hillary Clinton. Well, here's how.

Kate Michelman
Feb. 8, 2008

As the red light atop the camera went dark on Monday night, there was still much more I wanted to say to Chris Matthews, much more that I needed to say.

So for the moment, my time on "Hardball" continues here.

Knowing that I had just announced my support for Barack Obama for president after having earlier supported my old friend John Edwards, Matthews had me on his show Monday. His first Hardball to me was one of his typical zingers: "Kate Michelman, how does it feel to have abandoned the cause of your life?"

The simple answer, Chris, is that I haven't -- in fact, my endorsement of Barack, just like my earlier embrace of John Edwards, is all about exalting the causes of my life. Not about repudiating them.

I haven't abandoned my commitment to the women's movement -- and anyone who knows me understands I never will. My endorsement of Barack Obama is actually a celebration of that commitment, and an honest reflection of what I have been fighting for for over 40 years.

The women's movement is about free choice, self-determination and challenging a status quo that fails a lot of Americans, not just women. And it is not about going along. It's about transcending, about having the freedom to follow one's heart, about creating and pursuing new opportunities, and about the American dream being for all Americans. ... ( more )

Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

We Come to Bury Rudy

BocaGuy: I promised no more Rudy, but I couldn’t help myself.

The evil that men do lives after their mayoral stints—and even 9/11

Carlos Barria/Reuters/Corbis

Wayne Barrett
Village Voice
February 5th, 2008

Rudy Giuliani may now be a footnote in the 2008 presidential campaign, but it's important to remember how close he came to becoming this election year's looming specter—one that would haunt America far into the future. We are such a 24-hour news-cycle nation that it's already getting hard to remember that Giuliani topped the national polls for 11 months, often with double the percentage points of his closest competitor, and was even leading in Florida as late as November 2007.

As dismally as he performed in all six caucuses and primaries, he still might have been the GOP's strongest general-election candidate, doing for them in the Northeast what Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did for the Democrats in the South: drawing voters from the other party's base. If Giuliani could have won in January and February, transcending the rigid social orthodoxies of his party, he might then have soared to the White House in November—a prospect made all the more chilling by the war drums he so cavalierly pounded. Asked how he'd take on terrorism, he told the Tampa Tribune recently that he'd "get rid of the nation-states that support it," which alarmed the paper's conservative editorial-board members so much that they endorsed John McCain. Should Iran continue to pursue its fantasy nuclear-weapons program, Rudy vowed to "set them back" five to 10 years. Waterboarding? His reaffirming metaphor for it was his own mob interrogations as a federal prosecutor. Even children came in for his warlike bombast: When a 36-year-old mother attending a New Hampshire event with her child dared to ask why Rudy's son and daughter weren't supporting him, the former mayor replied, "Leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone"—and it came off as a threat. ... ( more )

Copyright © 2008 Village Voice LLC

Making sense of Super Tuesday

Joan Walsh
Thursday February 7, 2008

My friends at MSNBC were getting ready for a big party Tuesday night when the first results came in, showing Barack Obama winning handily in Georgia. There was genuine news, and very good news, in the results: Obama carried more than 40 percent of white Georgia voters, showing he can break out of the "black candidate" box some observers (perhaps some in the Hillary Clinton camp) want to lock him in, and in the South, no less. No matter which candidate or which party you support, Obama's growing appeal with white voters is good news for America.

But it was really good news at MSNBC. You could see the expectations grow that finally they would be able to finish the dance on Clinton's grave they'd begun on Jan. 8, when she denied them the fun by winning New Hampshire. "Barack Obama is putting a smile on America's face," declared Mike Barnicle. The last time I talked to Barnicle was the morning of Jan. 8, when he was predicting Clinton would not only lose New Hampshire, she'd have to pull out of the presidential race before Feb. 5 to avoid a humiliating loss in her home state of New York. But being wrong doesn't get you kicked off television, as long as you're consistently wrong on behalf of the right candidate.

Barack Obama had a Super Tuesday. But how super it was depends on where you measure it from. If you look back at Clinton's huge lead in most Super Tuesday states at the end of 2007, you'd have to call it a disappointing night for the New York senator. But if you look at the way the race had tightened over the last two weeks -- the surge of momentum Obama got after winning South Carolina, the endorsements of Caroline, Ted and later Ethel Kennedy, SEIU and, the predictions that he'd take away Massachusetts and he might even win California -- then it looks like a pretty good night for Hillary Clinton. ... ( more )

Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Biggest Loser

Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Ali Frick, and Benjamin Armbruster
The Progress Report
Center for American Progress Action Fund
February 6, 2008


As the 2008 campaign heats up, conservative talk radio is ratcheting up its radical right-wing rhetoric. Last year, hate radio successfully convinced conservative lawmakers to vote against comprehensive immigration reform. Indeed, these right-wing hosts have been welcome figures in the White House for the past seven years, invited to exclusive gatherings with President Bush and granted coveted interviews with high-ranking officials. But all that good fortune might be changing. In recent weeks, these talkers have launched a campaign against Republican presidential candidates and any position perceived to be too progressive. But as yesterday's Super Tuesday results showed, hate radio has begun to lose its effectiveness. The American public voted against the wishes of the radical right wing and rejected a third term of the Bush administration.

ON IMMIGRATION: Keeping undocumented -- and sometimes even legal -- immigrants out of the United States is the top issue for hate radio. Last June, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that "hate radio" had hijacked the political discourse on immigration with "xenophobic, anti-immigrant" rhetoric. That same month, then-Republican senator Trent Lott charged, "Talk radio is ruining America." An adviser to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee piled on late last year, stating, "Rush [Limbaugh] doesn't think for himself." Limbaugh, in particular, has aggressively gone after comprehensive immigration reform, blasting the failed bipartisan McCain-Kennedy bill. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "has stabbed his own party in the back I can't tell you how many times," said Limbaugh. Yet as conservative pundit Bill Kristol noted last night on Fox News, right-wing radio has been unable to convince the public that immigration is the paramount issue. Voters are instead more concerned about an economy teetering on recession. "Can we please stop pretending that immigration is a good issue for Republicans?" wrote New York Times columnist David Brooks last week. "The restrictionist side can't even produce a victory for their man in a Republican primary." Similarly, in last month's Florida primary, 58 percent of Republican voters said they preferred either a path to citizenship or a temporary worker program.

ON GLOBAL WARMING: Hate radio is still resisting the scientific consensus that manmade global warming is a real and urgent danger. CNN's right-wing pundit Glenn Beck continues to attack former vice president Al Gore, airing a documentary last year entitled, Exposed: The Climate of Fear. "Al Gore's version of climate change has no longer become science," he said. "It's dogma. And if you question it, you are a heretic." He has repeatedly hosted discredited climate change skeptics to pretend that there are still questions about the cause of global warming. In recent days, Limbaugh has gone after the McCain-Lieberman bill, a modest proposal that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions. But again, hate radio is on the losing side of this issue. According to a Jan. 2007 Environmental Defense poll, "81 percent of South Carolina's Republican voters believe the United States should reduce carbon dioxide emissions." GOP pollster Frank Luntz has called climate change "the single biggest vulnerability" for conservatives.

ON THE ECONOMY: The number one issue for Republicans yesterday was the economy, with four in 10 ranking it first. Although 52 percent of Republicans "say the economy is doing well," that number is down from 66 percent last month and 82 percent last June. Hate radio, however, continues to cling to Bush's failed economic policies. "Frankly, folks, I don't find it very conservative -- I don't even find it Republican -- to start talking about wealthy people or hardworking entrepreneurs as somehow the problem, as the enemy that need to be punished," Limbaugh said earlier this week. In particular, he has taken aim at McCain, who voted against Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 because he said they overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy. (McCain now supports making them permanent.) But as NPR correspondent Juan Williams noted this morning, GOP voters appeared dissatisfied with the Bush administration's policies yesterday, and overwhelmingly voted against the wishes of hate radio.

RIGHT-WING S.O.S.: Some members of right-wing radio recognize that they need to change their tactics in order to stay relevant. Michael Medved, who started out by hosting Limbaugh's show, recently wrote, "The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight." The Washington Post wrote this morning that the more moderate positions of some of the GOP candidates will hopefully be able to "save the party from some of its worst and most self-destructive instincts." Harold Meyerson, a Washington Post columnist, called the success of many of the GOP candidates a "direct affront to the Republican strategy devised by Karl Rove."

© Center for American Progress Action Fund

Time to start over

The American people are looking for a change this year, and so am I.

Garrison Keillor
February 6,2008

Only February and already it's a fine political year here in our great roisterous republic with a carnival cast of colorful drones and smiley eminences huffing and puffing across the field of battle and tumbling off the cliff, leaving two serious contenders in each party. Thanks to all the candidates for their nerve. Hurray for democracy, which has been so generous to keyboard wretches like me. And to all the soreheads who say the presidential campaign season is too long, a big Bronx cheer (pppppppppppppp). Not when it's this interesting, it isn't.

It is a wonderful system indeed that can take a long look at America's Mayor and hand him his hat. The man thought he could get by on symbolism, but the more people saw of him, the less they liked him. The more he spent on marketing, the better John McCain looked. And there, in a nutshell, is why you and I have sensibly stayed out of the race. Delusional grandiose self-absorption is not a qualification for high office. Goodbye, Rudy and Judy. Have a nice day somewhere.

Goodbye, John Edwards, whom friends of mine liked and who ran against the Current Occupant, which is a forlorn and fruitless endeavor, like yelling at a horse. If the Democrats run on anger and the urge to pay back the God, Guns & Capital Gains Party, they're likely to lose. Move on. That's my problem with Sen. Clinton: If she becomes president, must we relive Renaissance Weekends and New Age narcissism, and then do we also get the return of Kenneth Starr and the Mellon man? ... ( more )

Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.