Archive for the ‘election’ Category

Boy oh boy do I hope that Giuliani becomes the Republican nominee in 2008. Why? Because he’s now made it abundantly clear with his rhetoric that he’d be nothing but a younger, crueler and more incompetent version of Dick Cheney. And anyone who’s paid the slightest bit of attention to the polls should know that he’s scraping even further down in the bottom of the barrel than Bush.

I think Democrats would be wise to start pointing out the similarities to Cheney and Giuliani sooner rather than later, as the entrenched myth of Giuliani’s competence as an executive officer is much more formidable than that of Cheney as an assessor of intelligence. The myth of Cheney has been adequately demolished by the Iraq war, but Rudy’s remains somewhat in tact for a large portion of the politically disengaged. In the most recent issue of The Washington Monthly’s Scoop Rachel Morris does a superb job of illuminating these two men’s similarities by way of Ron Suskind’s book The One Percent Doctrine, and by reminding us of Cheney’s rhetoric leading up to the 2004 election:

Giuliani’s speech was about as pure an expression of the Dick Cheney worldview as you’re likely to find outside the inner recesses of the vice president’s psychological bunker.

For instance: “If any Republican is elected president … we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said. Later, he added: “Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it.”

This is precisely the logic that Cheney has deployed ever since 9/11, with catastrophic results for the country. In his book, The One-Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind describes a meeting in which Cheney succinctly set out his new doctrine: “If there’s a one-percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response … It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It’s about our response.” In a 2002 speech, Cheney pronounced that, “the risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action.

More than anything, this is what Giuliani must be associated with than–much more so than his cross-dressing or his so-called liberal views. It will do more to remind the American people that a Giuliani administration would in essence be more four more years of Dick Cheney running the show. This recent American Prospect article does an excellent job of looking past these superficial and semi-sensational aspects of Giuliani’s campaign and reminding us what a sadistic prick the man has been and will continue to be.

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Just wanted to share a couple of letters I wrote over at Salon on their latest article on John Edwards. Both were prompted by comments questioning John Edwards authenticity, and the level of cynicism being thrown about towards him.

He still seems disingenuous
Having read this piece, I still can’t get past the sense I had in the last election that Mr. Edwards is just fake and that everything he says and does is just calculated. I have felt badly about expressing it aloud when his wife is terminally ill and everyone is giving him a pass but he still seems fake. Everything from the kids on the campaign, to using the sympathy notes to generate a list of potential financial contacts. I hope it turns out not to be true but for now, I’m just not buying the total transformation from moderate, cautious candidate to a far left gospel.


[My response]

I did too… for a minute.

I’m so accustomed to being cynical under the rule of King W. and rightfully so, and so I too have felt pangs of skepticism towards Edwards’ sincerity. After all, wasn’t the base of the right-wing seduced by the aww-shucks facade of W.? And we all now know his good-ol’-boy charm was just a mask for the insecure, cruel, frat-boy asshole that we all know he really is. Could John Edwards be the same? Could it be an act?

But that all disappears when I think about how passionately and unequivocably he is giving voice to so many issues that I care about and desperately want to see become a part of our national dialogue. His background does matter, we know what someone’s upbringing does to shape or, as in the case of W., mis-shape their character. The man seems to get it on a personal level, and thank god for all of us that he also happens to be an extremely gifted orator. It is a welcomed change and a necessity frankly that all of America hear John Edwards articulate the need for universal health care, worker’s rights, fair trade and an environmentally sustainable economy.

These are populist issues. They can only propel a candidate to the Whitehouse if there is a massive wave of support for them that can overwhelm the politics-as-usual elites that survive on their corporate donors and meandering pandering centrist ways. So if you’re gonna stir up the people by talking about big issues like these, you’d best deliver or you’ll be ten times as unpopular twice as fast if you turn your back on the people who put you there. It’ll work much the same way as things did under Bush and Cheney, but instead of the president guiding policy towards the whims of neoconservative thinktanks and Halliburton, he’ll be guided by the needs of the people of the United States of America.

So I’m not as much supporting a candidate, as I am supporting all of the issues that I care most deeply about by hiring the most passionate and effective advocate for them that I can find. Right now that’s looking like Edwards to me and a lot of other folks.

What’s allowing Edwards to be the left flank?
It’s easy to observe the campaign rhetoric and say, “Edwards is the most left of the top-tier candidates.” And that may be the case. But this essay completely misses a more glaring difference between Edwards and the other two candidates: he’s a white male .

I’m not saying we should give Obama and Clinton a free pass. But for those of you who think Obama and Clinton have sold out, just think about this: how much easier is it for Edwards to be a progressive than it would be for either of them?


[My Response]

Sounds a bit bigoted

I would submit to you that there is an underlying bigotry to this statement. If I were to contort that to say that Barack’s rhetoric is somehow more or less authentic based solely on the color of his skin with no other reasonable evidence to back it up, I hope I would be called a racist. Just because I’m white does not mean that I as a human being am any less of incapable of understanding and honestly empathizing with the difficulties women and minorities have faced. Nor does belonging to one of those two categories automatically earn you my respect and trust all on its own. It’s all just silly.

It’s time to get beyond race and start seeing that we’re all connected and to think better of one another. That our differences are far outnumbered by our similarities. Those who are in power now have view everyone around them with suspicion and unwaivering cynism. That is the underlying reason why they have no faith in government. If we are going to turn this country around we have to remember what makes us different, that we believe in the basic underlying goodness of our fellow human beings. That when people believe in the best of one another it tends to bring out that result.

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This is too good not to share, and I’ll entice you with the closing line:

Is America really ready for a black president? Well, why not? We just had a retarded one.

And yes I know it is a slur to use the word retarded, and an even bigger insult to the mentally and developmentally disabled by comparing them to the inexorable fuck up that IS George W. Bush.

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I’m running out of things to link this scandal to. All we need now is someone to blow the whistle on how the Bushies have been using the NSA to spy on political opponents and the puzzle will be completely assembled. Via the LA Times:

Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

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Crossposted @ dailykos

As if there weren’t enough intriguing aspects to the US Attorneys case already, Greg Palast dropped this bombshell in my mail today:

Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove’s assistant, the President’s pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Griffin, according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand behind a scheme to wipe out the voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior to the 2004 election.

Key voters on Griffin’s hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men and women. Nice guy, eh? Naughty or nice, however, is not the issue. Targeting voters where race is a factor is a felony crime under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

So now we can attach election tampering to this scandal.

The most fascinating aspect of this piece is how it was uncovered:

In October 2004, our investigations team at BBC Newsnight received a series of astonishing emails from Mr. Griffin, then Research Director for the Republican National Committee. He didn’t mean to send them to us. They were highly confidential memos meant only for RNC honchos.

However, Griffin made a wee mistake. Instead of sending the emails — potential evidence of a crime — to email addresses ending with the domain name “@GeorgeWBush.com” he sent them to “@GeorgeWBush.ORG.” A website run by prankster John Wooden who owns “GeorgeWBush.org.” When Wooden got the treasure trove of Rove-ian ravings, he sent them to us.

And we dug in, decoding, and mapping the voters on what Griffin called, “Caging” lists, spreadsheets with 70,000 names of voters marked for challenge. Overwhelmingly, these were Black and Hispanic voters from Democratic precincts.

I was disgusted enough with the prospect of giving one of Rove’s former assistants subpoena power, but it looks like he’s been involved in another Katherine Harris style voter purge ala Florida 2000:

The Griffin scheme was sickly brilliant. We learned that the RNC sent first-class letters to new voters in minority precincts marked, “Do not forward.” Several sheets contained nothing but soldiers, other sheets, homeless shelters. Targets included the Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida and that city’s State Street Rescue Mission. Another target, Edward Waters College, a school for African-Americans.

If these voters were not currently at their home voting address, they were tagged as “suspect” and their registration wiped out or their ballot challenged and not counted. Of course, these ‘cages’ captured thousands of students, the homeless and those in the military though they are legitimate voters.

This needs to get out there and become part of the narrative of this story. Especially given that we all learned yesterday that the US attorneys who were fired had IMPECCABLE credentials and reputations, the fact that THIS is the caliber of one of their replacements should demonstrate that this was a purely political move to place administration stooges in major positions of power.

If you haven’t heard of Greg Palast, go buy a copy of his book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. I haven’t read his latest, Armed Madhouse, but I’m sure it’s stellar.

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While I do miss the old Al Franken show since he announced his run for the Senate, I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of someone I fully respect and trust gaining access to that body. And not to diss Al, but I’m totally in love with the guy who replaced him, Tom Hartmann. Here’s Al explaining what progressive politics means to him on a personal level.

I couldn’t agree more with Al’s point that in order to have a society filled with ‘rugged individuals’ who ‘pull themselves up by their own bootstraps’, we need to first give them the boots, so to speak. I find it somewhat disturbing though, that we live in a time where people like Al actually have to defend programs like Social Security, Pell grants and other programs that enable the middle class to even exist. It speaks to the hideous efficacy of the right-wing noise machine that’s succeded in convincing people that government wants to take away your hard earned paycheck and give it to undeserving homeless people, when what it’s actually doing is taking away your hard earned paycheck and giving it to billionaires, arms manufacturers and oil companies. I don’t see how that’s the more appealing option over helping out people who are genuinely struggling to survive and alleviating the difficulties that accompany growing old or the death of a parent/spouse (in case anyone is unaware, that’s what Social Security does).

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Here’s my half-assed ranking of the most web-savvy campaigns, judged solely by analysis of each campaign’s official account stats. I gave consideration to the campaign’s date of registration, videos viewed and how many are posted. No matter how you decide to weigh the numbers, there can be no doubt that the Democrats own YouTube.

[UPDATE: I decided to give Bill Richardson a bump to 3rd. The primary factor in this decision is the fact that Richardson has nearly a thousand more hits than Clinton, despite having less than half as many interviews, a four month gap between registrations. Not to mention the fact that Hillary’s name recognition has to be way above Richardsons. This says to me that Richardson must have a bit more juice online that Clinton, and so now I’m saying it to you.]

  1. John Edwards
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Bill Richardson
  4. Hillary Clinton
  5. Mitt Romney
  6. Joe Biden
  7. Rudy Giuliani
  8. John McCain
  9. Dennis Kucinich

YouTube 2008 Candiates

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