Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Where's the Red Meat?"

Right. Fucking. Here.

John Kerry's speech was the best of the convention thusfar (Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo Agrees).

He nailed McCain. He took him to task on his exploitation of his military experience, on his constant reversals on issues, he even slammed him for saying "Next up, Baghdad!" right after 9/11.

That was MY President up there talking. The guy I worked my ass for and believed in. The guy who sat in front of Congress during the Vietnam War and asked, "How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?" and practically ended the war with his performance there single handedly.

That was the John Kerry I knew. Not the one who was swarmed by Clinton advisors who were unbeknownst to Kerry playing for Hillary in 2008 and not for the Democratic Candidate to win.

According to TPM, Kerry scripted this whole speech himself. There wasn't a group of handlers stepping all over who he was. It was John Kerry, on the attack, showing why he was better than the media ever dared give him credit for.

They stepped on him when he OWNED Bush in the debates. They walked all over him during the primaries when they thought he had no chance. They repeated the Swift Boat smears verbatim and constantly re-ran the ads for free on talking head shows to "discuss them", or rather perpetuate the lies. And when Kerry went to give a solid speech at the 2004 Convention, he was warned that the networks would cut him off if he didn't keep it short, so he was forced to rush.

So it didn't surprise me that Kerry was considered inconsequential to the networks. Filler to go between Bill Clinton and Joe Biden.

And as Kerry spoke, a lot of Democrats who believe the negative spin the media gave him or think foolishly that he gave up in Ohio too easy, (forgetting that the lawsuit presented by David Cobb against Ohio for vote tampering was thrown out and that Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell certified the election results before any recount would have been allowed anyway) sat there quiet at first.

It didn't take long for Democrats that were present to realize what this was... a great speech that tore McCain to shreds. Suddenly they started to cheer his lines and maybe many realized why they voted for the man just four years ago...

The Networks however had stayed away from the speech. Weren't going to air any of it... until they realized his speech was hammering McCain and cut in towards the very end.

Still they only caught part of the speech and unless you were watching C-SPAN or PBS you got to see only a snippet of it.

The entire three days of the convention so far the idiot talking heads kept screaming, "Where's the Red Meat?". Downplaying comments from the Democratic speakers for not being angry or divisive enough. They want conflict... it draws ratings.

But they missed the one speech that REALLY DID provide such so-called "red meat". They were too busy making the same ridiculous cliched complaints over and over to hear themselves talk and they forgot to listen to a man who should have been President in 2004 and a man who has been thusfar Obama's best surrogate by far.

I sat there in shock too after Kerry's speech to hear Pat Buchanan go on and on about how he hasn't heard a single thing about Guantanamo Bay and have that remain unchallenged from the MSNBC panel when Kerry not only mentioned it but talked of closing it down and ending torture forever!

If you're wondering why America seems so stupid these days, turn on your cable news.

The Mainstream Media is a joke.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Time for Obama to Stop Pandering

I have a friend named Sam who is about 24 years old (ahh to be young and politically motivated) and is excited about Obama. He has been for months and to be truthful he's been backing Obama since the beginning of the primaries.

I have not.

He asks me to help volunteer for Obama and I just can't bring myself to do it. I gave up months and months of my time for John Kerry but I can't do it for Obama. Truth is Obama's not half the man nor the hero Kerry was.

I think I have mentioned here that I had to very slowly come around to Obama after first picking Edwards... and my decision to support Edwards was laced with hesitancy as well.

For all of the propaganda the DNC put out about this being the best field ever assembled in a Democratic primary a whole hell of a lot of us knew better. Aside from the incredibly unelectable thanks to the media Dennis Kucinich, there wasn't a single liberal in the field. Just a bunch of Washington worn centrists who are used to playing ball with big business.

So when John Edwards railed against big business, of course I was for his rhetoric even though I knew that Russ Feingold slamming Edwards for stealing his platform (but never enacting it when he was in the Senate) was spot on.

For all the talk that Social Security is the third rail in politics, I say big business is the third rail. It is the corporatization of America that has destroyed so much of what our country was in the past 30 years. Look at any system that is failing in America and you'll see funds that were diverted from a public system to private corporations/companies and see that the privatization has actually worsened us in the areas that it was supposed to help.

This is more evident in the public school system than anywhere else. We have schools falling apart, underpaid teachers, mandates on curriculum that force the teaching of two subjects, math and reading and water down or eliminate vital studies such as science, social studies, music, art, etc.

Kids are dropping out at ridiculous rates, especially in inner cities where Republicans decided to mandate test scores while underfunding schools and teacher's pay and using this under performance as a way to prop up private school vouchers.

It would be far cheaper to overhaul the public school system, fix schools, employ better teachers, get non-right wing propaganda textbooks than to keep funding vouchers for a few lucky kids.

But hey, business will work better for you than your government.

Republicans always say government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.

A disturbing trend came out of Bill Clinton's Presidential win in 1992, the Democrats moved to the Right.

They also supported big business over the little guy which in effect left the little guy to fend for himself in an ever growing class war they couldn't possibly win. After all they didn't own the newspapers or the television stations or the radio stations or even the textbook publishers so there's nobody propagandizing their point of view.

And with politicians in Washington, both Republicans AND Democrats willing to bend over backwards to allow deregulation and media consolidation, the chance of the little guy ever having a voice just turned into nil. Can't have a voice when Washington rips out your vocal chords.

If you think the impact of all of the media leaning towards the right hasn't had a profound effect culturally on America I ask you to look closer.

From the way Unions have been demonized and nearly eliminated to the way public schooling is considered bad and the teachers given the heat for it (regardless of who defunded them). From the way abortion has been able to be portrayed more effectively as cold heartless murder to the way the war was for all the right reasons despite the fact that Bush blatantly broke the law and lied to make those reasons up. From the way oil companies and their huge profits are portrayed not to be to blame for high gas prices to the way people are basically told to just accept illegal wiretapping as if it's good for you.

No matter what the situation, your media is working against you and for the big business that get extra benefits for spinning things that way. Most of the media companies cheer led for the war because other parts of those companies received billion dollar military contracts or at the very least huge ratings boosts during the invasion. There was profit motive involved in helping Iraq look justifiable so nobody questioned Bush hard on anything when clearly the liberals who were anti-war knew that the so-called "intelligence linking Iraq and al-Qaeda" was bogus from the start.

Only the right wing media could convince you that despite mega rich corporations illegally not paying their taxes and shifting most of their money into overseas tax shelters to avoid paying their fair share, that's okay and it's for the good of America. Then they pass tax cuts for the ultra wealthy top 1% that don't affect you and trick you into thinking they made everyone's taxes lower. Then when we have HUGE deficits and debt that will cost all of our children and grandchildren down the road they have taught you that raising taxes for the ultra rich is raising taxes for everyone and it's unfair.

So you continue to pay more than your fair share of the tax burden while the ultra rich pay nada.

They tell you it's okay to bail out Bear Stearns and other subprime mortgage lenders even though they don't want to help the people that were tricked into these scam mortgages and are going to lose their home. Their spin is that it was uneducated, low credit bums that took these loans and it's their fault the economy is dying.

They tell you global warming, despite every study to the contrary is fake because they want to protect the businesses most guilty for creating it, and instead they convince you that science which has been the foundation of our country since Ben Franklin, is a scam.

You'll notice a theme here: It's never the rich's fault. It's always the poor people that fuck it up for everyone else.

And by Democrats increasingly feeding at the corporate trough, it's impossible to see a difference in parties. That to me is a bigger death knell to this party than Obama losing and McCain continuing the Bush term.

In 2000 and 2004 I honestly could say that there was no way in hell that anyone could use the "There's no difference between them line". Gore's stance on the environment was in stark contrast to any Republican I had ever heard and John Kerry had liberal bonafides before his Clinton-esque advisers pushed him to run to the center.

There were differences. And to be fair there are some with Obama. But the more Obama and his advisers believe playing to the center (which thanks to political spectrum re-alignment by the media means center-right) the more they alienate the left wing of the base who is absolutely sick and tired of this crap.

When JFK ran in the 1960 election the question was whether or not his Catholicism could be too influential on him as President. Now the right wing media has convinced everyone that if you're not a full on Christian that you are not acceptable for public office.

That's a stunning reversal from what our Founding Fathers believed. Many of them were indeed Christians but most including Jefferson believed many priests and preachers to be charlatans who used the pulpit for personal gain rather than for the cause of good.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the leading Presidential Historians made an absolutely spot on comment on Hardball the other night when she declared it troubling because a man like Abraham Lincoln whose moral character was as great as any President in history would not have been elected today because he did have strong ties to a church.

That to me pretty much sums it up. An atheist or agnostic running for President? Forget it! The heathens do not have God or Jesus in their heart and must be working for Satan!

What makes Christians believe they have moral righteousness on their side above all other religions?

Another fun media misnomer is "The War on Christianity". They extend this out to a war on Easter or war on Christmas. It couldn't be further from the truth, in fact it goes the other way. When communities don't want "Christmas" stuff on public property all they are doing is following the edict of separation of church and state as laid down by our forefathers. It is important to remember that when Bill O'Reilly or John Gibson or some other FAUX News tool goes out of their way to attack communities that try to even the playing field for all religions by not allowing any one of them to display on government property that they're ultimately doing this arguing to increase Christian viewership since they are a majority in our country.

But those people are quick to forget that Christians are the ones pushing their displays onto public grounds to force these fights. They put nativity scenes up in parks or push ten commandments statues into courthouses where they have no place and are not the ruling laws that our judges need to adhere to.

The Bible is written in a vague and ridiculous subjective way to draw multiple conclusions from all those who attempt to interpret it. To even suggest that this is how our law should be structured is stupidity at it's finest.

All this goes back to my initial point about Obama. He has fallen into the corrupt media's "Christian or Bust" trap repeatedly.

After they spent considerable time portraying him as a Muslim to low information voters, he had to come out forcibly for some reason to practically scream that he was a Christian. The media found that useful when Jeremiah Wright was out there making dumb statements so they could play "gotcha" with Obama on them but ignored that Christian background for the most part while he was painted as a "terrorist fist jab" artist on air.

So once again he falls into their trap and agrees to go on the worst possible forum for Democrats at Rick "A Purpose Driven Life" Warren's evangelical church. A FAITH forum. What a stupid idea this is.

So now we're trying to Out-Christian, nutcase right wing evangelicals who don't mind destroying the Earth because they think the rapture is coming?

At least 75% of that crowd had no intention of ever voting for Obama anyway, so a stacked audience along with an anti-gay, anti-abortion preacher asking loaded questions that McCain could hear backstage and likely had in advance screams total set up. And anybody with a brain would have told Obama that there was no way to look good in this situation.

You can't talk truth with a host of people who have black and white absolutes in their lives as guiding principles. They don't care what truths there are and any answer that is not absolute is John Kerry style waffling, which is what the media slammed Obama on.

Forget that Pro-Choice really ISN'T pro-abortion, the media has painted it as such and any explanation to the contrary is ignored immediately. Forget that gays are people too and that discriminating against them is no different than discriminating against Blacks because the media has made being gay a choice and evangelicals call that choice a sin (although if a single damn one had ever read their bible they would understand we are all sinners, Jesus died for our ability to sin and as long as you repent before death you are welcome into heaven... so gays are no more sinners than everyone else).

The audience loved McCain and made him look like a rock star because he gave absolutes for answers. "What can we do about evil?" McCain: "Defeat it."

No matter that this question is completely stupid at every turn and it fails to look at how we could also be evil for what we have done across the world.

Obama just setting foot in a forum that is this divisive towards other religions or views proves that he like the centrist Democrats that run Washington just don't get it. This doesn't even mention the fact that McCain cheated when he heard the questions in advance or address the totally different tones that Warren used to ask each candidate the same question. Obviously the whole thing was a set up from the get go but the problem ultimately lies in Obama's lack of judgment to participate in this charade to begin with.

Democrats will always be treated as the media's red headed stepchild as long as they accept the media's framing of these arguments and continue to play by Republican rules.

It casts them as weak and pushovers and the hard right wing pundits who have no such morality as to prevent them from lying every time their lips move know that the bigger the lie the more it will stick. It's been a Rovism since day one that you accuse your opponent of anything no matter how crazy or unrealistic because the time they have to use denying it costs them money and ultimately allows the image to stick in the public's mind.

To all of those who will come out and say, "oh there's another anti-christian who hates religions" I say this... Imagine if schools were allowed to have religion in them. You'd probably be very happy if Bibles were handed out as textbooks. But what if Korans were also handed out? How would you feel about "Muhammad as a Prophet", being a class title? What about Buddhism, Hindu or Jewish studies?

That's where the prejudice really lies. It's Christian or nothing. They don't want equality for religion in the public square, they want forced teaching of Christianity.

Big Business, as usual is totally on board with this. After all Christians are a majority of our country and they want to make their customers happy. So the media plays them up as some sort of persecuted victims like this is the Roman time period or the Spanish Inquisition. It's not true, and if anything Christians have persecuted and attacked more people of other religions since those time periods than vice versa.

Obama disappoints me because without the advisers that steered Kerry wrong he has purposely believed that the only way to win the election is to pander to the Right Wingers and hardcore evangelicals who don't believe him anyway.

And in doing so he has left the left-wing of the party in the dust. An afterthought and a political casualty. If they don't want Bush III they have no choice but to vote for Obama.

Oh don't start with that, "See! Hillary was a better choice!" shit either. Bill and Hillary started this whole move to the right movement and have helped groups like the DLC, DCCC and DSCC push only moderate-right candidates in elections everywhere.

She would have been an even greater unmitigated disaster than Obama is.

Look, we need to reclaim who we are. When polled, the majority of Americans side with Democrats and Liberals on Roe vs. Wade, on the Environment, on the economy, on foreign policy and especially on ending the Iraq War.

But instead of running on all of these issues as they are, to the left of the current media-created spectrum, Obama has run to the right. As if EVERY independent voter he is courting will come from the right (that just isn't so).

Instead of standing for strong progressive values, we are now the party of enablers. Nancy Pelosi enables Bush to break constitutional and Geneva convention laws at will when she refuses to endorse impeachment and outwardly claims no laws have been broken. Harry Reid enables Bush to continue to break the law by even allowing the FISA bill to hit the floor. The so-called Blue Dog Dems, courted by Rahm Emanuel and basically Republicans who ran as Democrats because the Republican brand is tainted, enable Bush by voting for his every bill.

Now Obama is enabling them too... by continuing to pander to them and giving everyone a reason to choose between the right wing bullshitter or the guy who is trying to be like the right wing bullshitter.

In a choice between those two, most voters go for the guy who's at least lying to your face rather than lying about wanting to lie to your face.

I'll vote for Obama because of the two evils he's less evil, but I think we need to be careful when hearing the spin about a new kind of politics. A new kind of politics would allow liberals to be liberals, right wingers to be right wingers and to honestly lay out where both sides stands on everything. That my friends, is a war we win every time. Nobody would side for a pro-perpetual war, anti-health care, anti-social security, anti-environment, anti-choice, pro-huge pentagon and government spending, anti-public schools or public assistance, anti-gays and minority candidate over the alternative.

There are Democrats I still support. I am fond of Dennis Kucinich, Tammy Baldwin, Robert Wexler, Russ Feingold and a few others. But for the most part the party has been corrupted by corporate campaign cash and influence.

There needs to be two parties once again. One for the rich, one for the people. As it stands there are two parties in name only and one party in philosophy running everything.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Fiscal Conservative"