Posts Tagged ‘biden


Watching the Obama Inauguration

It’s here! It’s today! I went to bed last night relishing the “last night of Bush.” We will not have to deal with any further atrocities from that man’s administration. Their reign is over.

Watching all the failed former presidential candidates (especially Gore), I wonder if they are all thinking, “This should’ve been mine.”

Damn, 41 is looking old!

If I had to sit outside during the inauguration in the cold, and remember I’m from Texas, I would get those thermal pads that heat up. And hand warmers.

Yesterday, a number of conservative Texans were grumbling to my husband about the size of the celebration for Obama. And perhaps the shindig is so large because he is the first African-American president. Would it have been so large had Jesse Jackson been elected president? Would it have been so large had Hillary been elected? It is it so large because it heralds the end of Bush? A combo of Obama/first African-American president/end of Bush? Yes, I think so. There could be no better time to celebrate.

Yay – no more Cheneys!

Wow, this thing’s really going to happen.

How are they going to get Cheney in the wheelchair down the stairs? He’ll have to be wheeled around the side? Fitting for such and out-of-touch man. haha, they did.

Some boos for McConnell, Boehner and Bush. They’re singing, “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!” OMG! I guess I would, too. They deserve it. Though, it is bad form.

Boos for Cheney.

President Bush shaking hands and he doesn’t have that weird, uncomfortable, “I don’t want to be here” look – watch his last interview with Larry King if you want to see it.

All sorts of philosophical feelings of gladness are echoing in my head.

Obama looks cool, calm, ready.

Rep. John Lewis gives Obama a big hug. What he must be feeling…

Ugh, Diane Feinstein. I will not remember her compromise with Bush for the sake of her defense contractor husband. Californians – you should not, either. She played for play. Shameful.

Great, here comes Rick Warren. Not much clapping. Douchebag. I’m not praying with him. How is God loving to everyone he has made when he condemns kind people to Hell and murderers he invites into Heaven? Answer: Christianity is a myth. And it is waning. It’s a shame it’s given such a spotlight when our country needs reason and common sense and adult decision-making. “When we fail to give all the human beings on the earth the respect they deserve…” Could he be referring to his own treatment of gay people? Obama, this was mistake. I hope it stings. And I hope you remember it.

I wonder how many people across the world are watching this. I hope they understand that America and Americans are more compassionate and more humble than they assume. Politicians and celebrities are not reflections of us.

Biden’s oath of office. That is a big ole Bible. Wooohoooo!!!!!! I’m glad he was chosen. The Southern Louisiana in me likes that he can tell it like it is and politi-speak comes hard to him.

Robert Gibbs is sitting behind the quartet of Itzak Perlman, Yo-yo Ma, Anthony McGill and Gabriela Montero. Is that odd or is it just me?

Here come THE oath. Be proud of Hussein.

We have a new president!!!!

I won’t lie, I’m tearing up a little. A black president. It’s marvelous.

President Barak Obama.

His speech – as he lists all the problems facing the nation, I wonder if Bush feels each one is spotlight on his failure.

We chose hope over fear. Damn right! Remember that, followers of Karl Rove.

Begin the work of remaking America. I am down. Big time.

Eeeeewww, they just showed Ray Nagin the crowd. He’s a lump of worthlessness.

We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Couldn’t have said it better. Couldn’t agree with it more.

The force of our example. The tempering qualities of humility and strength. What a wonderful thing to have a president who speaks words and messages I can support. It’s been far too long.

Yes, he mentioned non-believers. Think those words would have come from McCain? Hell no.

We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. Damn, he’s a good writer.

Speech is over. Bush is giving his golf clap.

I can’t wait for the De-nauguration Party tonight!!

All right, good job, America!

I checked all the international news sites and Obama’s inauguration is on the forefront of them all, except Moscow Times. Ha’aretz points out Obama’s message to Muslims and shows a picture of Clinton and Gore together. Interesting.

“Former President George W. Bush” Ahh, sounds so sweet. There he goes. Be gone. I should say Here he comes seeing as how I live an hours’ drive from his new home. The crowd is sing, “Hey,hey,hey, good bye” again. Right on.

How many times can I say I’m so glad It’s Obama? For a year now, he’s been my first choice – it was a year ago Bill Richardson dropped out. But, I’m so glad it’s Obama. Not McCain, not Giuliani, not Hillary. Obama.

haha. The crowd his chanting, “Yes, we did! Yes, we did!” Yes, we did.

Obama’s signing the cabinet nominations. I forgot he’s a lefty.

They just showed Chelsea Clinton speaking with John and Cindy McCain. That shouldn’t seem too odd to me, but it does.

Watching Bush at Andrews Air Force Base. These images make me so happy.

Okay, it’s done. We’re a go. I’d uncork some champagne if I didn’t have to drive today. A certain sobriety is appropriate at this moment, I think – at least until tonight when I’ll let loose with revelry. It’s important to remember what the people can do when the need for action is paramount.

Good judgment has returned to the American people.

The era of religious ideology dictating ruinous policy is over. Evangelicals, you can terrorize the rest of us no longer. Your leaders have brought this country to its needs. The rest of us will not allow you to destroy what we hold dear. Remember what we can do when you seek to dominate and control with your intolerant, unjust will.

The long, dark night is over.

Obama is president. The people have spoken. We must continue to do so and implore our president to listen.

I can breathe again.

I will not forget this day.


Update On Decrease In Violence In Iraq

In my efforts to combat the campaign of misinformation regarding the “success of the surge,” I have blogged about the efficacy of Sunni payoffs and the new strategic ops program Bob Woodward has brought to light.

I’m sure many of you saw the new report that came out yesterday indicating the ethnic cleansing in Iraqi neighborhoods has been the “primary factor” in reduced violence in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. Whether ethnic cleansing was THE primary factor or not, I cannot say, but am sure it was a very large component – much larger than Bush’s surge – in reducing violence.

Sunni payoffs are also a primary factor in their “Awakening”, placing into question the stability of the decreased violence should the U.S. decide to reduce payoffs to Sunni tribes as our forces are withdrawn. Furthermore, there are around a million Shia refugees that will be looking to return to Iraq as reconstruction, which has been an abysmal failure, continues. Violence in the Anbar province and Baghdad continues to be very fragile. Despite the existence of ethnically-cleansed neighborhoods, poverty breeds violence and the payoffs ensure tribesmen do not look singularly to killing to “get what’s theirs.”

Developments to transition the security burden to the Iraqi government, however, are in progress. As the Associated Press reported yesterday, “The Iraqi government will begin paying the salaries of about 54,000 of the mostly Sunni fighters in Baghdad Province who joined the fight against al-Qaida.” Unfortunately, the article does not state that the U.S. is currently paying those salaries and gives the impression that the Iraqi government is “all of the sudden” offering payments to Sunnis. Obviously, Iraq – who stands to make between $67 and $79 billion in oil sales this year – has the cash to offer these payments despite the ubiquitous corruption in the government’s ranks.

This increased role by the Iraqi government is certainly a sign that there is a possibility of violence remaining at a reduced state as the U.S. refocuses its military efforts where they should be: Afghanistan.

What is most irritating as the election enters its final stage is the reluctance by Democrat leaders, besides Biden, to point out the other variables that reduced violence in Iraq and suck the air out of Republicans’ continual misleading about the results of the surge. Just this Sunday on 60 Minutes, Obama again failed to give a comprehensive response to claims about the surge:

Kroft: Iraq. When we talked to you the first time, back in February of 2007, you had proposed, at that time, a piece of legislation that would have had all the troops out in 16 months. Which means they would have been out by today, if it would have been passed. We would have missed the surge. We would have missed the reduction in violence.

Obama: Oh, wait, wait, wait, Steve. I mean, now you’re just engaging in a huge hypothetical. We don’t know what would have happened if we had initiated the plan that I put forward at the beginning of 2007. And the fact of the matter is that, as successful as our troops have been in lowering the violence in Iraq, and they have performed brilliantly. But the truth of the matter is we still don’t have an oil agreement. We still don’t have provincial elections. The commanders on the ground themselves acknowledge that the political progress that’s needed has not been made. So we all welcome the reduction in violence, but the notion that somehow this was the only way for us to solve the problem, and that the problem has been solved, I completely disagree with.

He really needs to get with the program ahead of this Friday’s debate on national security. Cowtowing to uninformed notions that honesty regarding military situations – especially troop activities – is somehow unpatriotic is no way to lead. A presentation of the facts is the best and most effective way to pop McCain’s false surge balloon. Simply saying, “We don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t go ahead with the surge,” does not get the job done, and presents a weak and disingenuous message. And that goes for all Democrats – not just Obama.


Finally, Honesty About the Surge

Sunday was a good day for those of us wishing our politicians and media were a bit more candid about the success of the troop surge.

First off, Biden was on Meet The Press. Hopefully, when Palin is finished in political boot camp and learns where she stands on all the issues, she’ll go on there as well and we can see how well she regurgitates all her new policy stances. Like Biden said,

Well, in, in the sense I know Mitt Romney and know his positions, and I know Tom Ridge and I really respect them. And–but you know, I, I’ve debated an awful lot of tough, smart women. A woman who’s a judge here in our superior court was one of my toughest opponents ever for the Senate. And there’s a lot of very tough, smart women in the United States Senate I debate every day. So in that sense it’s not new. But what is new is I have no idea what her policies are. I assume they’re the same as John’s. I just don’t know.

The most important comments he made to Tom Brokaw, however, were in reference to the Iraq War, during this exchange:

MR. BROKAW: But it’s a process, and it’s beginning, and the surge made that possible, did it not?

SEN. BIDEN: No. The surge helped make that–what made is possible in Anbar province is they did what I’d suggested two and a half years ago: gave local control. They turned over and they said to the Sunnis in Anbar province, “We promise you, don’t worry, you’re not going to have any Shia in here. There’s going to be no national forces in here. We’re going to train your forces to help you fight al-Qaeda.” And that you–what you had was the awakening. The awakening was not an awakening by us, it was an awakening of the Sunnis in Anbar province willing to fight.

MR. BROKAW: Cooperating with the Shia.

SEN. BIDEN: Willing to fight. Cooperating with–no, they weren’t cooperating with Shiite. They didn’t cooperate with the Shiites.

MR. BROKAW: Once the awakening got under way.

SEN. BIDEN: No, no, no. No, they didn’t cooperate with the Shiites. It’s still–it’s a big problem, Tom. You got–we’re paying 300 bucks a month to each of those guys. Now the problem has been and the, and the promise was made by Maliki that they would be integrated into the overall military. That’s a process that is beginning in fits and starts now, but it’s far from over. Far from–look, the bottom line here is that it’s–let’s–the surge is over. Here’s the real point. Whether or not the surge worked is almost irrelevant now. We’re in a new deal. What is the administration doing? They’re doing what Barack Obama has suggested over 14 months ago, turn responsibility over and draw down our troops. We’re about to get a deal from the president of the United States and Maliki, the head of the Iraqi government, that’s going to land on my desk as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee saying we’re going to set a timeline to draw down our forces. The only guy in America out of step is John McCain. John McCain’s saying no timeline. They’ve signed on to Barack Obama’s proposal.

Finally, a politician mentions the payoffs we’re giving the Sunnis – and it’s more than just 300 bucks here and there. The continued payoffs and ability for the Shia government to modify their behavior toward the Sunni militias will have a big impact on the success, or lack thereof, of our troop withdrawal – which is why it is so important for our government and military leaders to publicly acknowledge this strategy. All the lefties demanding troop withdrawals need to understand the U.S. government’s pouring of cash into the region as well as the hundreds of thousands of refugees waiting to return. The Iraqi government must stand up and decide if they want peace and progress or simply cultural domination.

On to our next revelation of the Iraq War, this time brought to us by Bob Woodward on 60 Minutes regarding and the new information he has of the development of the surge as a strategy and its success.

Asked what the generals at the Pentagon thought when presented with the idea of a surge, Woodward told Pelley, “They think that it won’t work. And the president actually at one point goes and meets with them. And the Army chief of staff, General [Peter] Schoomaker, says ‘You can’t add five brigades, it will take many more,’ ‘What about another crisis?’ ‘We don’t have troops for this,’ ‘What about the damage your doing to the force, the young kids who see nothing but endless rotations?'”

“What does General Casey, sitting in Baghdad, think of having additional troops?” Pelley asked.

“He thinks that Baghdad is a troop sump-a place you can put endless numbers of troops in. And he does not want to add force,” Woodward said.

“The president, who has said in public, endless times, that he relies on his generals to tell him what they need, is actually going his own way here,” Pelley remarked.

“That’s right,” Woodward agreed. “The records of the joint chiefs show that the idea of five brigades came from the White House, not from anybody except the White House.”

(Later, Woodward says about General Casey) “Casey told one colleague privately that the president’s view is almost reflective of ‘Kill the bastards. Kill the bastards,’ and that way we’ll succeed.”

Alright, so what we have here is Bush wanting to add troops to Iraq and the generals disagreeing with him. I’m not sure if McCain, at this point, was supporting a surge – but if he was, he was also disagreeing with the top generals. Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney have said repeatedly that they aren’t taking into account public opinion (polls) or political ramifications – they listen to the men on the ground, the generals, before making their decisions. Obviously, this is not the case. And none of those men fought in a war. Now, we are considering whether to appoint McCain Commander-in-chief. It seems, at least when it came to the surge, he was not listening to the men on the ground – the generals – either. If McCain didn’t listen then, he certainly won’t if he’s president. Dangerous decisions when you’re playing with the lives of thousands.

Bob Woodward also reveals a new strategy, comparing its influence to the addition of the aircraft or tank to warfare,

But beyond all of that, Woodward reports, for the first time, that there is a secret behind the success of the surge: a sophisticated and lethal special operations program.

“This is very sensitive and very top secret, but there are secret operational capabilities that have been developed by the military to locate, target, and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq, insurgent leaders, renegade militia leaders. That is one of the true breakthroughs,” Woodward told Pelley.

“But what are we talking about here? It’s some kind of surveillance? Some kind of targeted way of taking out just the people that you’re looking for? The leadership of the enemy?” Pelley asked.

“I’d love to go through the details, but I’m not going to,” Woodward replied.

The details, Woodward says, would compromise the program.

“For a reporter, you don’t allow much,” Pelley remarked.

“Well no, it’s with reluctance. From what I know about it, it’s one of those things that go back to any war, World War I, World War II, the role of the tank, and the airplane. And it is the stuff of which military novels are written,” Woodward said.

“Do you mean to say that this special capability is such an advance in military technique and technology that it reminds you of the advent of the tank and the airplane?” Pelley asked.

“Yeah,” Woodward said. “If you were an al Qaeda leader or part of the insurgency in Iraq, or one of these renegade militias, and you knew about what they were able to do, you’d get your ass outta town.”

What an interesting revelation. It reminds me of a quotation I recently read in A History of Iran by Michael Axworthy,

Successful high command has little or nothing to do with masculine attributes like brute force, bravado, machismo, arrogance, or even courage, except insofar as it may be necessary to advertise these from time to time to inspire the troops. Rather, it has to do with what one might regard as more feminine characteristics — sensitivity, subtlety, intuition, timing, an indirect approach, an ability quietly to assess strength and weakness (based perhaps on an intuitive grasp for the opponent’s likely behavior as much as factual information) to avoid and baffle strength, to flow around it, to absorb its force and strike unexpectedly at the weak spot at precisely the right moment.

Basically, in President Bush, we have extremely unsuccessful high command. Only through the military’s development of ground-changing “feminine characteristics” of warfare was the surge able to succeed. Not through the simple addition of men on the ground. McCain continues to pressure Obama to acknowledge the success of the surge – so much so, that Senators Graham and Lieberman are trying to bring legislation to the Senate floor demanding a vote acknowledging the success of the surge – yet will McCain acknowledge that there where other, possibly bigger elements at play than the simple addition of brigades to Iraq? Especially at a time when our military is far over-extended, rotations have grown protracted and numerable, and the war in Afghanistan is faltering severely?

I hear over and over that Obama is not ready. But he will listen. He will listen to our military leaders and allow them to help him make the best decisions in his foreign policy. McCain is not ready, either – nor will he ever be. He did not listen to the generals on the ground when calling for the surge and does not recognize the entire complex situation when chanting about the success of the surge.

By the way, Bob Woodward will be on Larry King tonight and Meet the Press next weekend.


Palin Has CEO Experience?? GAG.

Let’s put this “Palin has more experience than Obama and Biden because she was CEO of a state” argument to rest once and for all.

There is a large corporation worth billions that is facing troubled waters and in need of a CEO and you have two candidates in front of you.

Candidate X is the owner of a flower shop that garners a little over half a million in annual revenue.

Candidate Y was a successful executive manager in the corporation and other corporations in the same field as the one in need of a CEO.

Sure, the owner of the flower shop has been a CEO and in charge of running an entire operation. But Candidate Y, though just a manager, has the EXACT experience needed to lead the large corporation in its extremely competitive field. Which would you pick? Jack Welch, Carly Fiorina, who would you choose?

Now, if anyone actually thinks Palin has better experience than either Obama or Biden, that speaks to their individual judgment and credibility. And the fact that they are comfortable telling untruths as any remotely informed person clearly knows Palin’s experience pales in comparison to either member of the Democratic ticket. None of those people actually believe the words that are coming out of their own mouths. I expect nothing less from Republicans, but the lies are becoming old and stale and are as unconvincing the 1000th time they’re uttered as the first time.


Reaction to Night 3 of the Dem Convention

Lackluster. I really thought it was lackluster. Bill’s speech was okay and he did a good job. Apparently, the Obama team sent a speech writer to work with Biden and it showed, in a bad way – I even zoned out a couple times. Beau Biden almost had me in tears, I have to say. BUT, nothing was transcendent. Nothing really stuck it to McCain. I will be regaling no one with momentous tales of last night. It was good. Like Mike Murphy said on Morning Joe this morning, it was “adequate.”

I hear everyone saying Bill knocked it out of the park, but why is the sound bite the stations keep playing saying something like, “I support Barack Obama and I’m here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden.” Who cares? We know you’d support Obama. Where are the great zingers he always gives that make the Repubs look like dufuses and doddering fools?

I want over the top. I want to jump out of my chair and wave my fist in the air (like I just don’t care! kidding…) and shout, “We’ve got ’em by the balls this year, goddammit!!!” And I expect it. This is the Democrat’s biggest chance to get the country fired up and you know what they were? They were careful. There were no risks taken. Only a lot of “John McCain is my friend, but…” Well, John McCain is NOT my friend and you are speaking to ME, not John McCain’s momma.

Sure, the Dems may be focusing their messages on swing and independent voters. But, remember during the primary when Obama was courting the Democratic base? That was when he was a candidate for change. That was when he was exciting and presented to us a picture of a future that could make the last eight years seem like just a bad dream. That was hope and excitement that made us all hold our breaths and pinch ourselves.

The direction toward the middle, pulling back from being out on that limb, and the simple over-handled, formulaic, un-spontaneous capitulation to the middle is sucking all the air out of Democratic Opportunity.

I still think Obama will win. As far as the report card for the Convention goes, however, I give it a B. Not a B+, not a B-. B. Milk toast. Milhouse.

Suggestion: Dems need to cede more of this planning to the younger members who are galvanizing around Obama and can bring the freedom and excitement back to the Democratic Party. It feels like the old, normal, same ‘ol same ‘ols are the ones pulling the strings. It makes me feel like I’m at a bad art film instead of a blockbuster.

I disagree that the celebrity, rockstar attack against Obama is the cause of the poll numbers between McCain and Obama closing. McCain experienced a bit of a shot in the arm because he starting saying something – anything. Before, he was just an old man in a grocery store cheese aisle. Even if all he has to offer is an empty attack of Obama, it’s more than he was doing before. It’s not the celebrity attack that’s working. And these attacks will fizzle during the debates when Obama makes McCain look like an out-of-touch, senile diaper-wearer. So, Obama shouldn’t shy away from being the rockstar. We want a rockstar! We’ve had a buffoon for eight years! Give us the Rock Star and stop letting McCain dictate your words and actions and defining you! Sheesh!

When everyone is talking about “red meat” and the fact that it’s missing from the Dem. Convention, the translation is that these Dems are not speaking to their base. Focus your message on the base and the swingers will see why the Dems can promise a better president and the Republicans can promise continued failure.

I feel like I’m always saying, “Hello! McFly!!!”

David Shuster is now saying Obama’s speech won’t be the type of speech everyone is expecting; it won’t have as many “rhetorical flourishes” and it will be more circumspect, not rip-roaring. Great. Fantastic. YAWN.


Did Obama Just Lose My Vote?

This is serious. I’ve been saying for quite a while that Obama has not yet earned my vote and I am quite happy voting for Nader to help strengthen efforts toward a multi-party system. However, I voted for Obama in the primary here in Texas and was excited to vote for the first viable African-American candidate in the U.S.

Also, this is the most important election in years, if for no other reason than the necessity to populate the Supreme Court with judges who will protect civil liberties unlike those Bush has appointed or McCain would appoint.

While I have continuously lambasted the lack of character Hillary Clinton and her husband have shown during the primary season, I would not say I have been sipping “Obama Kool-Aid.” I understand that his “Change We Can Believe In” slogan is only as effective as his ability – to put it simply – to get things done. And politicians have to work together to accomplish progress. (Unless you’re President Bush, in which case you use the 9/11 attacks and existence of terrorism to scare Americans and politicians alike into marching behind your efforts to make the U.S. more of an authoritarian regime than ever before. Ugh, the thought makes it difficult to keep my coffee and chocolate granola cereal down.)

Obama is a politician first. With a degree in Government, I never lose sight of this. While Democrats fall in love (and Republicans fall in line) we must not forget that politicians must operate within the existing confines of the Washington Dance. This will inevitably lead to widespread disapointment with Obama, when he’s president, because he simply cannot please everyone and will have to compromise in order to accomplish certain goals. A president must make decisions when no option is the right one. It’s a hard gig – the hardest one in the world; I thoroughly recognize this.

However, much of my free time this week has been spent trolling the internet for a reasonable justification for Obama’s approval of the new FISA Act of 2008. Of course, I already have my fair share of underlying bitterness because the Democrats have performed disgracefully since taking control of the Congress. They are inexplicably banner ankle-grabbers again and again despite Bush’s record disapproval ratings. Yes, they do not want to seem weak on national security, but they are greatly underestimating the American people’s desire to have their civil liberties protected in this era of heightened danger.

Congressional members have far more concern with the length of their federal careers than casting the appropriate vote – rendering them impotent in the areas of war profiteering (Diane Feinstein’s husband is a defense contractor and why she still enjoys support in California, I have no idea. BTW, she vote AYE on FISA as well), criminal activity at the executive level (erasing emails, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers refusing to testify, Valerie Plame, fixing EPA reports and much, much more), reforming health care and national energy policy, policing unfair lending practices and allowing the establishment of a credit industry that works against the American people, not for them. It inexplicable that Congress has utterly failed to inhibit Bush’s harmful activities when the majority of Americans do not favor his policies in the slightest. It is frustrating and goddamned ridiculous.

So, Obama is Change personified, right?

Apparently, not so. Yes, I have read his blog on The Huffington Post regarding his FISA vote, which proffered no substantial logic for his approval of the bill. A few gems from the piece are:

Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise. I do so with the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.

Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That’s ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have.

The problem with our agreement on the vast majority of issues is that his vote on the FISA bill illustrates his inherent weakness and willingness to compromise when no comprise is needed simply to prove (which he fails to do with this vote) that he is strong on national security. This “aye” was unnecessary, dangerous, wrong, hurtful and potentially, yes, a deal breaker. Especially when assessing the guts of the bill, along with those who voted against it. On The Huffpo website, David Bromwich provides a very concise, yet in-depth look at the governmental powers granted with this legislation. I strongly recommend reading the blog and the readers’ comments below.

Among the senators who opposed the vote are Biden, Boxer, Dodd, Clinton, Byrd, Durbin, Feingold, Harkin, Kerry, Leahy, Reid and Levin.

The bottom line is that political agreements with a candidate are moot if the candidate does not have the political strength or fortitude to operate in accordance with that agreement.

Of course, Obama’s folding on FISA was a political calculation – that’s practically consensus. And I wish he could offer an honest defense of his vote; but, alas, this theater of election season would lead any such candor to damage the candidate.

Obama will be elected president barring any unforeseen, intensely damaging and highly unlikely circumstances. Though the media portrays the presidential race as close – it is a facade. McCain’s chances of succeeding in November, in my opinion, are around 1 in 5. Incumbent parties do not win when the economy is in the tank – mentally or not (and it’s not mental, Phil, when milk, bread, cereal, gas and all other necessities are more and more expensive and the dollar is weaker and weaker). McCain is not galvanizing and voter trust of most election issues points toward Obama. I wish Obama the best and will be hopeful as he takes his oath of office.

Furthermore, I applaud Obama’s willingness to work across the aisle and understand there will be areas in which he will break with Liberals. Support of faith-based community initiatives, for one (and this coming from an agnostic).

The FISA Act, however, is so detrimental to democracy itself, my respect for not just Obama himself, but the very idea of Obama has been irreparably damaged. I would encourage hardcore Obama supporters to keep this particular vote of his in mind when daydreaming of the days to come as he takes on the heavy mantle of President of the United States of America. Perfection at this level does not exist and any romance with a candidate will certainly abate over time.

I would never cast a vote for McFlip-Flop, nor would I ever stay home and waste a voting opportunity. Also, I am a thorough, complete supporter of a multi-party system. While I wanted to vote for Obama – and was excited to vote for him – my decision was not cast in stone. It still is not cemented. However, the odds I would pull the lever in support of him this November are greatly diminished. Truthfully, I am ever more looking in Nader’s direction.

If Obama’s political contributions continue to decline, I encourage him to address his FISA ’08 support with increased seriousness. This is no small issue for those of us who follow politics and government activity.

This weekend, I plan on purchasing Obama’s two books and will begin reading them with a large grain of salt. Perhaps this will allow me some insight behind this recent mind-boggling decision of his.

As of this point, Obama is not Hope and he is not Change We Can Believe In. He is merely Better Than Bush, but isn’t everybody else?


Meredith VETO: “Dead Wrong”

I LOVE Bill Maher’s “New Rules” segment on his HBO show. I’m pretty sure he has an army of clever little writers continuously hopped up on coffee who largely get off by making each other laugh. I can totally relate.

The segment is so good, in fact, Maher’s “New Rules” book was a smash. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here are a few Rules from his website:

New Rule: Whenever you combine a secretive compound, religion and weirdos in pioneer outfits, there’s going to be some child-f*cking going on. In fact, whenever a cult leader sets himself up as “God’s infallible wing man” here on earth, lock away the kids.

New Rule: If I’m paying four bucks a gallon for gas, that TV in the pump has to show porn. This way, I’m not the only one at the pump taking it in the ass.

New Rule: If you’re in college and not drinking beer, you’re doing it wrong. Students at Utah State have taken to playing the drinking game, Beer Pong. With root beer! Instead of beer, root beer! And instead of laughing and partying and trying to get laid, everybody wishes they were dead. Hey, Mormons, if you’re going to ask kids to believe in magic underpants and posthumous baptism, don’t you kind of want to get ’em half in the bag first?

New Rule: Politicians must stop saying, “The American people are smarter than that.” No, they aren’t. If the Bush era has taught us anything, it’s that voters want a president carved from their own image. [photo of Bush making funny face] Someone who doesn’t like to read will believe anything he’s told, and is easily distracted by bright, shiny objects.

God, I could read those all day. Funny shite.

Well, as any intelligent American who watches the news coverage of our domestic and international goings on, I find certain things – words, phrases, behaviors, tendencies – drive me to the edge of reason and make me want bitch slap many of those who brave the bright lights and big lenses, exposing their idiocy for all the world to see.

No, I will not sit quietly as lawmakers, pundits, commentators, reporters, strategists, surrogates and the rest of the incestuous family of our political culture parade one ignominious annoyance after another. I veto those annoyances. In the same vein that Bill Maher erects rules, I shall have the veto.

That’s right, Meredith’s VETO, biotch.

And for my first VETO, I ban the use of the phrase “dead wrong.”

Examples of use:

Joe Biden: “There was no confirmed connection or even serious connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam, two things the vice president continued to push and continues to push which were flat dead wrong then, flat dead wrong now.”

Dick Cheney: “With respect to the charge about the president, I just think it’s dead wrong. I’ve gotten to know this man very well. I work side-by-side with him every day, seven days a week, you know, 24/7, as they say. He has a great capability that I think is absolutely essential in an effective leader, and that’s the ability to cut to the heart of the issue.”

And it’s been around a long time –

G.H.W. Bush, SOTU 1991: “But the world had to wonder what the dictator of Iraq is thinking. If he thinks that by targeting innocent civilians in Israel and Saudi Arabia, that he will gain advantage, he is dead wrong. If he thinks that he will advance his cause through tragic and despicable environmental terrorism, he is dead wrong. And if he thinks that by abusing the coalition prisoners of war he will benefit, he is dead wrong.”

Simply because one decides to use “dead” as an adjective that describes the adjective “wrong” doesn’t make the “wrong” any wronger. Same rule applies when you use “flat” in front of “dead” and “wrong.”

It’s not just politicians flinging “dead wrong” around, either – I’ve heard David Gregory recently use it and Tim Russert has bandied it about as well.

Politicians, if you use the phrase “dead wrong,” it doesn’t make you more right. It doesn’t make you the expert or your certainty warranted. It only reveals your asinine inability to prove your opinions with facts, forcing you to resort to meaningless sensationalist hyperbole and annoy those of us who fall victim to your airtime.

Why don’t you try:

I don’t agree with him.

He’s full of shit.

He’s an asshat.

His mother was whore.

The use of any of these substitutionary phrases in lieu of “dead wrong” would keep my interest and increase your stock of credibility with many of us voters and television watchers looking for someone to just speak from the heart.

Just my humble veto. The first of many.

Scarlet Letter of Atheism


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