18 November, 2007

Selling Obama Short, What We Have Is A Failure To... Imagine

I clicked onto this article from the SF Chronicle - Obama's transformative powers - expecting to read something insightful, not knowing who Debra J Saunders is. Boy, nothing could have been further....

The unfounded criticisms of Obama within the article underscore a larger theme permeating many Democrats' cloudy, and sometimes senseless support for Clinton: familiarity breeding consent. In other words, they'd trade the good ol' boy we thought we could have a beer with, for the wife of the other good ol' boy we already had a beer with. And because Barack's last name isn't Clinton or Bush, his "lack of experience" makes the rest of the "lurking" world scarier. The ignorance of Saunders' characterization of the rest of the world notwithstanding - I invite her to take a walk through any impoverished city within the U.S. to find out what else might be "lurking" - the infantile pining for Hillary reveals a lack of imagination and a blatant disregard for the idea of learning from one's mistakes. As a New Yorker, I am happy to say that Sen. Clinton is fine as just that - senator. Unfortunately, her infamy pre-shadows her. As president, she could only polarize, and would no doubt incite Republicans to draw up another Contract With On America. The fact that Obama has not been in D.C. long, or the White House ever, is precisely one of the reasons he should be the next president.

05 November, 2007

Samantha Power Breathe's Life into Obama's Campaign

I can't believe I forgot to post this by now:

Barack Obama for President, '08.

Ok, now onto the more interesting part, which is the recent addition* of reknowned author and scholar Samantha Power to Obama's Campaign. In an interview on MSNBC (with an interminably obnoxious host formerly known for sporting a bowtie - thank you, Jon Stewart), the bottom of the screen lists Power as Obama's Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, which, if true, could be the best move so far Obama has made for his campaign. ("Note to self regarding campaign: less re-closeted entertainment, more Pulitzer Prize-winning, teaching-at-Harvard advisors.")

*Apparently she's been advising Obama for a while; it's only her tv appearances which are recent. Here she is on Charlie Rose:

19 October, 2007

Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH): Children - Pets or Slaves?

<Shudder!> I have seen evil, and it's Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH) speaking at the much-touted event put on by the Family Research Council. Listening to their postured and contrived arguments about family values is like listening to Alberto Gonzalez talk about upholding the law maggot-infested carcasses justify their existence.

Regarding sex ed, the reps. of course support abstinence-only education, in turn, conflating the notion of providing education on measures of prevention with advocating early sexual activity; in other words, they believe education promotes practice. Let me tell you, education does not promote practice - just ask millions of students who've taken French 1 and can't recall a single verb conjugation. Furthermore, they forget that there was already a time when all we had was abstinence-only education - it was called our entire history up until the development of modern science!

"We love our kids. We just prefer to love them in a pre-1700's, pre-vaccine, pre-Newtonian, Salem Witch Trial kind of way!"

Social and religious conservatives brandish their naivete best when they pontificate out loud on how to control, legislate, and decide for everyone, what everyone can do behind closed doors. Which apparently is easier in the South, where most of those doors are screen doors. Their notion of "parental control" being exerted over children-as-property is actually strikingly similar to the way a remote control works on a tv: both are operated exclusively from the couch, both confuse the user, and while parental control sometimes employs battery, remote controls just run on them.

Their overall hypocrisy is captured succinctly in this line by Blackburn:

"This should not be a partisan issue. This should not be a partisan issue... As Connie mentioned, the liberal media would have you believe..."

Ah yes...

And then thankfully they leave and I begin to laugh when Fred Thompson comes on after them. He can't say the phrase "...as President of the United States, I..." without sounding like a terrible con-man at my front door. I can't bare to watch anymore. But for the right, this FRC event is like church and the county fair combined into one; coming to see these crazies speak is both affirmation and an excuse to get Granny out of the house, so they'll mos def get their applause on.

16 October, 2007

Rep. Chris Smith's (R-N.J.) Yahoo/China Statement Echoes AT&T/U.S. Relationship

I just read this and thought the (unintended?) parallel would be hilarious, if it wasn't so indicative of hypocrisy. From The Hill article, "House panel targets Yahoo," author writes:

“Last year, in sworn testimony before my subcommittee, a Yahoo! official testified that the company knew nothing ‘about the nature of the investigation’ into Shi Tao, a pro-democracy activist who is now serving 10 years on trumped-up charges,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said.

“We have now learned there is much more to the story than Yahoo let on, and a Chinese government document that Yahoo had in their possession at the time of the hearing left little doubt of the government’s intentions," Smith said. "U.S. companies must hold the line and not work hand in glove with the secret police.”

Ahem...*cough*atandt*cough*... excuse me. Anyway, this coming from a guy who voted for warrantless wiretapping. Go figure. And according to his record, he actually seems more interested in the U.S. removing "the line" for companies altogether. Granted, he seems nicey-nice about this imprisoned activist, but I think Smith - as well as many a supposed Christian Republican - suffers from not heeding this classic Biblical quote when it comes to other countries: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye" (Matthew 7:3).

Hey, New Jersey's 4th! What gives with this guy?!

10 October, 2007

This sums it up perfectly...

What the U.S. did to Iran in 1953, and why we should be apologizing to them, rather than entertaining notions of more war (original blog post here, by Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah’s Men.):

More than half a century has passed since the United States deposed the only democratic government Iran ever had. As militants in Washington urge a second American attack on Iran, the story of the first one becomes more urgently relevant than ever. It shows the folly of using violence to try to reshape Iran.

Mohammad MossadeghIf the United States had not sent agents to depose Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh (right) in 1953, Iran would probably have continued along its path toward full democracy. Over the decades that followed, it might have become the first democratic state in the Muslim Middle East, and perhaps even a model for other countries in the region and beyond.


A new American approach to Iran should be based on direct, bilateral, and unconditional negotiations. Beyond that, it is in the urgent interest of the United States to promote all manner of social, political and economic contacts with Iranians. In a new climate, American businesses would no longer be forbidden to trade with Iran, but encouraged to do so. Rather than tightly restricting the number of visas issued to Iranians, the US would do the opposite: invite as many Iranians as possible to the United States, and flood Iran with Americans.


By violently pushing Iran off the path to democracy in 1953, the United States created a whirlpool of instability from which undreamed-of threats emerged years later. A long American campaign of isolation, pressure and threats has produced no change in Iran’s behavior. Continuing it will mean a steady increase in tension that some in Washington believe should culminate in a military attack. Such an attack would usher in another era of upheaval in Iran and the surrounding region, this time with the overlay of nuclear-tinged terror.

Operation Ajax, as the CIA plot to depose Prime Minister Mossadegh was code-named, brought immeasurable tragedy to Iran, contributed to the rise of anti-American terror and, in the end, greatly weakened the security of the United States. Few episodes of 20th-century history more perfectly epitomize the concept of “blowback.” Today, as anti-Iran rhetoric in Washington becomes steadily more strident, it is more urgent than ever for Americans to understand how disastrous the last US attack on Iran turned out to be. They might also ponder the question of what moral responsibility the US has to Iran in the wake of this painful history.