Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Warning From a Great American

Few people have contributed more to humanity than Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution that has saved the lives of uncounted millions of humans. So when he's worried about the epidemic of stem rust disease that is devastating the world's wheat crop, I'm worried, too. The United States under Bush was initially playing a positive role in this crisis, but, unsurprisingly, the Bush Administration's usual behavior took over:
But more recently, the administration has begun reversing direction. The State Department is recommending ending American support for the international agricultural research centers that helped start the Green Revolution, including all money for wheat research. And significant financial cuts have been proposed for important research centers, including the Department of Agriculture’s essential rust research laboratory in St. Paul.

This shocking short-sightedness goes against the interests not only of American wheat farmers and consumers but of all humanity. It is tantamount to the United States abandoning its pledge to help halve world hunger by 2015.

If millions of small-scale farmers see their wheat crops wiped out for want of new disease-resistant varieties, the problem will not be confined to any one country. Rust spores move long distances in the jet streams and know no political boundaries. Widespread failures in global wheat production will push the prices of all foods higher, causing new misery for the world’s poor.
Really, is there anything these Republican conservatives do any more that DOESN'T causes devastating damage to the world?

Friday, April 25, 2008

"The Sweet Talk Express"

Heh heh heh. Gawd, I just love it.

Why Isn't Limbaugh Being Arrested?

The charge: inciting to riot. Limbaugh is hoping for AND CALLING FOR violence at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August.
He won't be arrested. He won't be suspended. He won't be driven off the air.
Why? Because in America, right wing radicals can do or say anything they want with impunity.
Don't believe it? Ann Coulter, a sick, homicidal maniac, casually calls for the mass extermination of the Iranian people. Nothing happened in response.
Ted Nugent, perverted, gun-masturbating idiot, threatens Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with death by machine gun. Virtually nothing happened in response.
John Hagee, John McCain supporter, says he wants a preemptive nuclear strike on Iran to provoke Armageddon, the End of the World, and the extermination of the vast majority of the world's Jews. The reaction was maybe one-one thousandth of that generated by Barack Obama's pastor's intemperate remarks.
The radical right can say or do ANYTHING, aided and abetted by their buddies in the national media. Remember, Brian Williams of NBC calls Limbaugh his friend. Think he'll make a big deal out of this Limbaugh thing?
There is no "liberal media". The media is controlled largely by conservative corporations. Never forget that. I've said it before, I'll say it again:
Democrats and progressives, the corporate media are your enemies. Treat them as such.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Ultimate Reject and His Apostle, St. John

His name is George W. Bush, and he has now achieved the highest DISAPPROVE rating in the history of the Gallup organization, which has been polling since FDR's time.

BTW, did you know that so-called "maverick" John McCain has supported Bush in the Senate

Ohio Democrats Have the Right Idea!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

McCain's Free Pass

Joe Conason describes the two different standards that are applied to Democrats and media darling John McCain here. (Subscription or day pass may be required). Excerpts:

Why otherwise would the campaign press corps have demanded the Clinton tax returns while nobody insists that McCain release the returns filed by him and his beer heiress wife, Cindy? When the Arizona Republican releases his 2007 return, as he has done today, will anyone urge him to cough up returns from previous years, as the Clintons did? It is an act of transparency that he has neglected to fulfill for the past quarter-century of his public service, without a peep from his press fans (despite the precedent of his wife's highly questionable shopping-mall investment with savings and loan crook Charles Keating).

And having raked Bill Clinton's charitable foundation for evidence of conflicts of interest, when will the press corps take another look at McCain’s "Reform Institute," the nonprofit think tank that has served as a soft-money conduit and cushy sinecure for his political advisors?

Will anyone ask McCain why he doesn't wear an American flag pin, the burning question that the ABC anchors pressed on Obama? Perhaps the former POW deserves a pass on that issue, but it is interesting to note that photos of McCain with a flag pin are very scarce -- which may simply prove that not every patriot must constantly sport Old Glory on his lapel.

It would be refreshing to place the likes of Gibson and Stephanopoulos and their peers on the witness stand for a change to explain their choices and prejudices. Why did they require Democrats to make tax-cutting pledges that are based on bad economics and worse journalism? Why should they focus on Obama's tenuous connection with a reprehensible but inconsequential figure like former Weatherman Bill Ayers, when they have never mentioned the White House coddling of Cuban exile terrorists? Why do they obsess over the "bitter" gaffe by Obama while passing so lightly over the confusion of Sunni and Shia groups by McCain, supposed master of foreign policy?

Why? Because the vast majority of our elite media corps is violently hostile to Democrats and all snuggly-wuggly with conservative Republicans. Again, we have to call them on this, and repeat, again and again:

"The Liberal Media label is a right-wing myth--and a damned lie."

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Beltway Media: Blood Enemy of the Democrats

If you have been one of the few regular readers of this little blog, you know that I consider America to be a nation in crisis. This crisis has been brought on in no small measure by media figures who are determined to smear and destroy every Democratic candidate for president. (BTW, the phrase "Liberal Media" is an absurd lie. There is no such thing. It's a conservative fairy tale circulated to intimidate media people.) Their favorite method for doing this is to widely parrot and faithfully circulate every radical right-wing slander and talking point directed at Democrats. In EVERY election, the Democratic candidate is "elitist", "out of touch", "not a Regular American", "not one of us", and other similar vomit. Meanwhile, Republican silver spoon aristocrats like George W. "Aw, shucks, y'all, I'm just like you are" Bush are given the red carpet treatment, fawned over, protected, and portrayed as Real People. Never mind Bush's phony accent, his phony ranch, his multi-million dollar personal wealth, or his amazing record of failing his way upward through the use of family clout and corrupt influence. Why, he's WAY better than any of those fancy-pants librul Democrat Party types, ain't he? Now, Barack Obama is being subjected to the same filthy, despicable tactics. As always, the inimitable Glenn Greenwald is on the case:

The reason the establishment press fixates on these adolescent themes has nothing to do with what "Americans" want. It has everything to do with the fact that it's what these journalists always do; it's what they're programmed to do; and, at this point, it's all the empty and slothful media stars know how to do.

Critically, they're not just assaulting Obama (and, before him, Clinton and Edwards) with randomly selected petty trash. It's purposeful and familiar: all of these Drudgian paper cuts are intended to expose Obama as an exotic, bizarre, effete, vaguely American-hating elitist who is out of touch with Regular Americans and plagued by a personality so unlikable that you can't possibly vote for him even if you agree with him on all of the issues -- just as was true for virtually every national Democratic leader before him. All of this happens while the media reverence for John McCain and his character, "strength," likability and integrity grow -- far beyond even the affection they acknowledge they have long harbored for the amiable war hero, George W. Bush, and which is obligatorily directed at the canonized Ronald Reagan.

As I wrote in Great American Hypocrites:

As always, Drudge rules their world and they become his echo chamber. If he selects a petty, personality-smearing story to trumpet, and the media (as they always do) dutifully follows, then that alone constitutes "proof" of the story’s importance, evidence that "plenty of people" care about it, which in turn justifies the media's continuous chatter about it.

Most certainly, the press will pretend to be above it all ("this is not something that we, the sophisticated political journalists, care about, of course"). But they yammer about Drudge-promoted gossip endlessly, and then insist that their own chattering is proof that it is an important story that people care about. And because they conclude that "people" (i.e., them) are concerned with the story, they keep chirping about it, which in turn fuels their belief that the story is important. It is an endless loop of self-referential narcissism—whatever they endlessly sputter is what "the people" care about, and therefore they must keep harping on it, because their chatter is proof of its importance.
They no longer even need Drudge to lead the way. They find that path on their own now. Journalists like [David] Brooks and his friends fixate on these issues because they're what interests them, because it takes no work and no thought to chatter about it, because they have been fed their trashy storylines by right-wing operatives ever since they formed their partnership with them during the Clinton sex witch hunts, and because the people who become media stars become media stars because this is what they do best (Digby has more on that here). Blaming the American public for the behavior of these journalists only compounds the deceit and scurrilousness of it, particularly given that nobody is more removed and insulted from what "Regular Americans" think than the coddled, pack-mentality media stars who fantasize that they are their spokesmen.
Now, couple this with the fact that the vast majority of Beltway Media people are fervently supporting McCain. They purvey pro-McCain BS 24/7, throw him namby-pamby softball questions, and ignore his $100 MILLION+ personal fortune while portraying him as just a "regular guy". They also ignore McCain's neglect of veterans issues, his bitterly right wing stance on reproductive issues, his corruption, his vile temper, and his questionable mental stability. But Barack Obama is subjected to a constant wave of petty, lying, idiotic bullshit because he is the likely Democratic nominee. We have to call these bastards on it NOW before they succeed in bamboozling enough Americans to get another right-wing radical Republican in the White House.
Remember, Democrats and progressives: the Beltway Media figures ARE YOUR ENEMIES. Treat them in the way they deserve to be treated. They need to be DEFEATED, not compromised with.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More Stupid Economic Ideas from McCain

He proposes a massive shift of money from consumers to the oil companies--er, I mean a gas tax "holiday" . He also continues the utterly irresponsible policy of advocating the continuation of Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy. Excerpts from Jared Bernstein's post:

First, the gas tax holiday is smart politics but lousy policy. As Taplin aptly described, high gas prices are sending an important economic signal and jamming that signal is ill-advised. On the other hand, as one of the commenters points out, this idea could really help some strapped families.

The problem is there's absolutely nothing to stop the oil companies from claiming a big chunk of this subsidy by raising the pretax price of gas at the pump. Prices go up in the summer anyway, and I'll bet you a gallon of premium that they go up even more than usual, such that some of that 18.4 cents/gallon ends up back in Exxon's wallet, not yours.

Which leaves us with a nice little transfer from taxpayers to oil companies. Nice work, John.


Finally, and this is the most worrisome aspect of McCain's economics, if he gets what he wants, he has two fiscal choices: deeply cut entitlement programs, especially those related to health care, or blow a massive hole in the budget.

I give the details here, but the arithmetic is simple: you can't extend the Bush tax cuts forever, same with the war, end the AMT, finance big health care subsidies, and slash the corporate tax rate all on the backs of "savings from earmark, program review, and other budget reforms." Like I said, you either end much of government as we know it--a standard conservative goal--or become unsustainably indebted.

Folks, this guy is a dangerous ignoramus. The Democrats MUST stop their internecine warfare and train their political guns on McCain, the biggest threat to America's survival since...well, George W. Bush.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

John McCain: Uncensored, Unreported, Unhinged

Check out this and see if you don't agree.

I wonder: why won't our political press tell us about--

--McCain's connection to some pretty shady characters in Arizona's underworld?

--The full extent of McCain's vicious temper?

--McCain's connection to Sun Myung Moon (through Charlie Black, a lobbyist supporter of "Mr. Intergrity")?

--The full story of how McCain has crawled to Religious Right fanatics?

--The ways in which a McCain presidency would simply be a third term for Bush?

--"Mr. Straight Talk's" lies, deceptions, and spine-cracking flip-flops?

Gee, could it be that most of the Trad Media is in the tank for St. John? Hmmmm.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

McCain: Ignoramus or Knuckle-Head?

You decide!

...Groaning error is nothing new when this famous straight-talker heads out on the trail. During Campaign 2000, McCain made an endless string of policy errors—errors which his pals on the bus tended to gaze away from. You name it, the hopeful seemed to bungle it: Tax cuts, prescription drug prices, health care, school voucher plans. But reporters tended to downplay his blunders, focusing instead on his highly authentic straight-shooting maverick straight-talk. He seemed to be comfortable in his own skin as he authored his string of mistakes.

When McCain made his foolish remarks in that Baghdad market last year, we ran through some of these previous episodes. As McCain keeps bungling Sunni and Shia, some have asked if he’s showing his age. But McCain has always bungled big-time. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/4/07, for a run-down from earlier days.

We asked a question in last year’s post, as we did during Campaign 2000: When a senate veteran knows so little about a string of policy matters, is it possible that his serial ignorance betrays some sort of a character problem?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Is McCain's Violent Temper a Disqualification for the Presidency?

Read the disturbing details here.

Man, this guy is scary. He definitely has unresolved rage issues.

Monday, April 07, 2008

How McCain's Friends in the National Media Cover for Him

The outrageous details are here.

McCain's favorite pastor wants to nuke Iran to help bring on the freaking Apocalypse.

Response from the national media:

(Sounds of crickets chirping.)

UPDATE: If you want me to publish your comments, do NOT do the following things:

1. Recycle discredited right-wing slanders and lying Republican talking points.
2. Indulge in racist insinuations.
3. Send me a comment in all CAPS. That's the equivalent of shouting at me, and no one shouts at me on my own blog. Got it?

Mr. "Support the Troops" McCain and the New GI Bill

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Martin Luther King was murdered the next evening--40 years ago, 4 April 1968.

God bless you, Martin

How Bad Does It Have to Get?

Any nation that would return the Republicans to power after the nightmare our country has gone through since 20 January 2001 is going to die. In fact, voting Republican this year is no more or less than an expression of national suicide. How much worse does it have to get, America, before you wake up out of this absurd right-wing dream world you live in?
1. YOUR COUNTRY WAS LIED AND MANIPULATED INTO A NEEDLESS WAR. That war has killed over 4,000 of our best young people, wounded more than 30,000 others, often cruelly, and mentally shattered countless others. It has killed perhaps more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, driven 2,000,000 other Iraqis into exile, and immensely strengthened radical Islamists in Iran. Iraq is again descending into civil chaos after a brief lull. Every one of the stated premises for the war has turned out to be false. And yet, many of you want to vote for the one man--McCain--who will keep this monstrous conflict going indefinitely, and who even hints at wanting to expand the war into Iran.
2. YOUR NATION'S ECONOMY IS TEETERING ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER. Economic analysts are already using the frightening term "worst since the Great Depression" to describe the escalating crisis our economy is in. Government debt has risen SIXTY PER CENT under George W. Bush. The economic con artists have been building a financial house of cards, and now it's crumbling, as the deepening mortgage meltdown attests. Right-wing Republican economic idiocy has caused this dilemma. And yet, many of you want to vote for someone--McCain--who has pledged to keep the same failed policies in place, or even accelerate them.
3. CORRUPTION AND INCOMPETENCE HAVE SELDOM BEEN MORE WIDESPREAD. Republican cronies, crooks, and incompetents have looted the federal treasury at a shocking rate. The Iraq War has been a gold mine for Republican-connected companies like Halliburton and KBR. Corporate greed and corruption, such as in the case of Bear Stearns, are the worst since the 1890s. The Katrina disaster was only one symptom of the breakdown of government in America and Republican mishandling of virtually every issue. And yet, many of you are prepared to vote for a man, John McCain, who is more tied into lobbyists and Republican special interests than almost any other politician in America.
4. REPUBLICAN SOCIAL POLICIES HAVE BEEN A DISASTER. Under the Republicans since 2001, poverty has risen. The number of those without medical insurance has risen. The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest has enormously expanded. "Abstinence-only" sex education has been a wretched, miserable failure. The gap in the life expectancy between rich and poor has grown. And yet many of you are prepared to vote for a man who has one of the most radical right voting records in the Senate, McCain.
5. RIGHT WING FANATICS AND LUNATICS CONTROL THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. From Pat Robertson to John Hagee, borderline-insane zealots control the Republican Party. Hagee is trying to bring on a war with Iran to precipitate the Apocalypse. Many who run the Republican Party are so-called "Dominionists" who want to drive anyone who isn't a right-wing fundamentalist End Times Protestant out of the government, or even deprive them of citizenship. Hatred of Roman Catholics, hatred of Jews (despite the "pro-Israel" rhetoric of many of these nut cases), hatred of women, murderous hatred of gays, and a lust for a worldwide religious war are common themes among these profoundly dangerous people. These same lunatics hate science, hate public education, hate environmental protection, hate the court system, and are determined to interject the government into the most personal of all decisions, from the Terri Schiavo tragedy to how married people can have sex. (No joke.) And yet many of you want to vote for someone--McCain--who crawls to these people, begging for their support.
People, your nation is in crisis. Despite what the McCain-loving hacks in the media tell you, and despite what the conservative-controlled corporate media are tring to sell you, we're in big trouble. Almost 80% of Americans say this country is headed in the wrong direction. And yet, McCain--who would be nothing but a third Bush term-- has a better than even shot at winning. Why? Because he was a hero in Vietnam? Many men were heroes in Vietnam. Are they necessarily therefore qualified to be president? I respect McCain and honor him for his service, but it doesn't mean he should be president. His record in public life has been atrocious. His policies are utterly wrong for America. He is allied with some of the most dangerous people in the country. He is the new leader of the political party that is strangling this country's future to death. And yet, he might win. So one more time, I ask: