I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but the current President of the United States is a serial liar. He lies as easily as he breathes. Why are we putting up with this? Two minutes of searching proves that his latest statement to troops that he gave them a more than 10% raise and that there hadn’t been one in more than 10 years is demonstrably false. They’ve gotten one every year for the last 10 years and the largest in the last 10 years was in 2009 at 3.9%.
So, the biggest day for primaries coincides with Mardi Gras. I guess this has happened before, but I just like saying “Super Fat Tuesday”.
I’m obviously for Obama. I think he’ll do well enough to keep in the race today. I posted the letter from GYWO’s David Rees yesterday. I’ve got several video links today, so you don’t even have to do much reading.
The Will.i.am, celebrity-studded, Yes We Can video – this is adapted from Obama’s New Hampshire Primary speech
Lawrence Lessig’s 20 minutes on why he’s for Obama and not Clinton. Lessing is a Stanford law professor and is very tech savvy with an amazing record on copyright. He’s also got a personal story that I’ve always connected with, so I give his opinion a lot of weight. I think the first 3/4 is right on. I do think Lessig overstates the impact of Obama’s election on peace at the end of the video.
Here’s the Lorna Brett Howard video referred to by Lessig’s video on why she switched from Clinton to Obama.
And if you’re not reading Robert Reich’s blog, you should start.
Ok, one more that I forgot, Questlove from The Roots reminds us of some things that we shouldn’t forget.
[tags]obama, clinton, lessig, yeswecan, lornabretthoward, switch, videos, election, primaries, democrats, questlove[/tags]
Two things cropped up today and I think they tie together nicely. I’ve got plenty of immediate concerns to worry about, but these are two “big picture” items.
First, Sean, linked I Am Not Afraid from Downsize DC this morning. I completely agree that the Bush administration and the GOP in particular have used fear of another terrorist attack as the reasoning for doing all sorts of ill-advised, bone-headed and criminal things over the past 6 years. However, I don’t want to blindly endorse another push to downsize the government. There’s no doubt that bureaucracies are bloated with waste, but we can’t use the method employed by the current administration to kill it off, namely incompetence and privatization. I’m still baffled as to how I’m drawn into left and right, us and them arguments with friends and co-workers whose viewpoints I have a lot more in common with than somebody like George W. Bush. We’re arguing with the wrong people and about the wrong things.
The second, somewhat related, news item is the death of Nataline Sarkisyan. Jason Calacanis is all over this with posts to his own blog and Mahalo. Speaking of bloated bureaucracies, if it turns out that hers was a legitimate case for a transplant, one was available and she died because of wrangling from Cigna, then this case will be a rallying cry for everyone who’s ever had to deal with the crap that health insurance companies can dish out. This is exactly the sort of thing that illustrates how all of the free market whackjobs need to STFU. Some things can’t be evaluated on their profit potential and if that’s the sole criterion, then you end up with a dead 17-year-old who could and should have been saved. How does fear play into this? I fear that one day; I might have to face a similar situation with my own children.
[tags]fear, terrorism, healthcare, natalinesarkisyan, bureaucracy, policy, failed[/tags]
Keith Olbermann goes off on GW. I know it’s for theatrics and that Olbermann has carved a niche for himself as the anti-O’Reilly, but this quote is too good not to repeat:
A bright man, or an honest man, would have realized no later than the McConnell briefing that the only true danger about Iran was the damage that could be done by an unhinged, irrational Chicken Little of a president, shooting his mouth off, backed up by only his own hysteria and his own delusions of omniscience.
I’d laugh harder if it didn’t scare me so much.
This is the sixth year that my mother has had to share her birthday with that favorite GOP talking point. I wonder if she’ll ever get it back. I’m not going to post much because I think I covered it pretty well last year.
Six years later and we’re still dealing with poor decisions made in the wake of the attack. Osama Bin Laden is still releasing videos. Here’s a proper remembrance from Tony Pierce. DailyKos has a proper interpretation of Petraeus’s testimony yesterday (anybody surprised by the timing?). And the Rep for my old ‘hood in Queens tries to get to the point. Of course, his original question never gets answered.
[tags]9/11, anniversary, remembrance, tonypierce, dailykos, crooksandliars[/tags]
In a press conference last week, Preznit Bush answered a question from David Gregory:
Q Mr. President, after the mistakes that have been made in this war, when you do as you did yesterday, where you raised two-year-old intelligence, talking about the threat posed by al Qaeda, it’s met with increasing skepticism. The majority in the public, a growing number of Republicans, appear not to trust you any longer to be able to carry out this policy successfully. Can you explain why you believe you’re still a credible messenger on the war?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m credible because I read the intelligence, David, and make it abundantly clear in plain terms that if we let up, we’ll be attacked. And I firmly believe that.
Look, this has been a long, difficult experience for the American people. I can assure you al Qaeda, who would like to attack us again, have got plenty of patience and persistence. And the question is, will we?
Yes, I talked about intelligence yesterday. I wanted to make sure the intelligence I laid out was credible, so we took our time. Somebody said, well, he’s trying to politicize the thing. If I was trying to politicize it, I’d have dropped it out before the 2006 elections. I believe I have an obligation to tell the truth to the American people as to the nature of the enemy. And it’s unpleasant for some. I fully recognize that after 9/11, in the calm here at home, relatively speaking, caused some to say, well, maybe we’re not at war. I know that’s a comfortable position to be in, but that’s not the truth.
Failure in Iraq will cause generations to suffer, in my judgment. Al Qaeda will be emboldened. They will say, yes, once again, we’ve driven the great soft America out of a part of the region. It will cause them to be able to recruit more. It will give them safe haven. They are a direct threat to the United States.
And I’m going to keep talking about it. That’s my job as the President, is to tell people the threats we face and what we’re doing about it. And what we’ve done about it is we’ve strengthened our homeland defenses, we’ve got new techniques that we use that enable us to better determine their motives and their plans and plots. We’re working with nations around the world to deal with these radicals and extremists. But they’re dangerous, and I can’t put it any more plainly they’re dangerous. And I can’t put it any more plainly to the American people and to them, we will stay on the offense.
It’s better to fight them there than here. And this concept about, well, maybe let’s just kind of just leave them alone and maybe they’ll be all right is naive. These people attacked us before we were in Iraq. They viciously attacked us before we were in Iraq, and they’ve been attacking ever since. They are a threat to your children, David, and whoever is in that Oval Office better understand it and take measures necessary to protect the American people.
Oh, where to start? First of all, yes, Al Qaeda is a threat to the U.S. . It is inevitable that someone claiming affiliation with them (whether it’s true or not) will succeed in pulling off another attack on U.S. soil and it doesn’t matter who’s the President when it happens. It’ll happen anyway. Whether or not I blame an administration for it kind of depends on the circumstances and magnitude of the attack and if I believe that we reasonably did all that we could to prevent it.
However, the argument that we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here is a load of horseshit. On top of that, nobody is advocating that we leave Al Qaeda or any other terrorists who intend to attack us alone. To insinuate that anyone is advocating that is offensive, petty and wrong. The majority of the violence is sectarian violence that we unleashed by attacking a country that didn’t have any credible ties to Al Qaeda.
Here’s a few good links from over the weekend:
- Analysts’ Warnings of Iraq Chaos Detailed
- Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq
- I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.
I’m currently reading The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, the 2007 NonFiction Pulitzer Prize winner from Austin-based author, Lawrence Wright. It’s reinforced for me even more that giving up the moral high ground with incidents like Abu Ghraib, Jose Padilla, etc. is one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made over the last 7 years. We’ve given Bin Laden way more power than he ever actually had and it’s the fear mongering of the Bush administration and it’s propaganda machine, Fox News, that’s to blame.
The Internets are full of acknowledgments of the death of Kurt Vonnegut who died last night from complications of a fall he recently took. He did seem a bit frail and out of it the last time he was on The Daily Show to promote his last publication, a collection of essays called A Man Without A Country. I first read Vonnegut in either 1992 or 1993. Breakfast of Champions, Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five and Welcome to the Monkey House were among my favorites. His writing is amazing. I never did get to hear him speak in person. It sounds like I should check out God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Anybody have any other recommendations besides the ones that I’ve mentioned?
I have one interesting story related to Vonnegut. When I was living in Manhattan, there was a bookstore at the corner of Stuyvesant and Third Avenue, if I remember correctly. I can’t recall the name. Anyway, I was in there one afternoon buying something and I heard the clerk talking to a guy at the front of the checkout line about Vonnegut. I looked up and there was Woody Harrelson with a handful of Vonnegut books. It was clear he had decided to check out Vonnegut for the first time and was grabbing several of his books to read. I recommended Breakfast of Champions. I think Harrelson was in town to film Money Train at the time.
Not to imply that Rollins is on Vonnegut’s level, but tomorrow night is the beginning of the second season of The Henry Rollins Show on IFC at 10pm CDT. I really enjoyed the first season. He gets a good mix of guests for the interview portion and the musical performance. He kicks off with Marilyn Manson as his interview guest and Peaches, who interviewed last season, as his musical guest.
[tags]kurtvonnegut, death, woodyharrelson, henryrollins, ifc[/tags]
Anybody who reads this blog regularly…(just waiting for the crickets)…knows about the massive man crush that I have on Rude Pundit. Today, he shines again. Instead of just burying this in a del.icio.us link post, I fell compelled to quote:
For years, Bush has been the pampered only child, given the easy questions, the soft pitches, the free run to the endzone. He got all the presents, all the love and attention. And then, all of a sudden, like every overprotected manchild, he’s gotta face the real world, and the real world doesn’t give a fuck what he thinks he’s entitled to. Democracy, even though it’s so often a dance among well-connected rich people, is a goddamned fight to the finish. Reid and Nancy Pelosi are schooling Bush, and, indeed, the rest of America, on what it means to live in a democracy.
Of course, you know, the problem is there’s always a Cheney heaving through the foliage, inconspicuous, malevolent, prepared to leap out at a moment’s notice and tear us all apart.
[tags]rudepundit, gwbush, harryreid, checksandbalances, democracy, smackdown[/tags]
I moved to NYC about a month before David Dinkins was defeated by Giuliani in the city mayoral elections in 1993. Giuliani defeated Dinkins that year, partly because Dinkins was seen as ineffective on crime and was criticized for his handling of the Crown Heights riots in 1991. Whether Giuliani deserves credit or not, there was a noticeable improvement in the safety of the city during his term and I think I benefited from that. I rode subways late into the night between Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan and never had any problems. In fact, I’d see cops a lot of the time. He pushed “zero tolerance” and “quality of life” aka “broken window theory”, cracking down on the aggressive squeegee guys and enforcing laws for smaller crimes on the theory that it’ll cut down on the bigger ones. This is all well and good, but it can be taken too far and it appears that’s what happened in the later 90’s (see the Mahablog articles). Giuliani has been accused of creating what amounted to a police state and was not known for his tolerance. Not the sort of attitude I think most of us want after 8 years of the Bush administration.
Update (2007.02.08): I totally forgot the number one reason not to vote for Giuliani. He completely ruined Times Square, turning it from a seedy, nasty underbelly of NYC full of porn shops, drugs, crime and hookers to Disneyland North.
[tags]rudygiuliani, nyc, candidate, campaign, elections, 2008[/tags]