Friday, February 29, 2008

Second City Cop

Second City Cop is written by an anonymous group of CPD officers illustrating the trials of a patrol officer. This week, The Chicagoist did an interesting interview with SSC about the recent shake-up in the department and the lumps CPD has taken over the past year.

The interview, and the blog are pretty interesting. I think the fact that the blog takes a political stance (Links for Right Thinking People) distracts from the substance of the site: The Job. I was immediately put off. Besides that, I was pleasantly surprised. It is well written and thought out. I think people are want to believe "Cops Suck" or that "You want them on that wall... you NEED them on that wall" and not think about all the intense shit they deal with, the bureaucracy, the death, the mettle necessary to do what they do: the daily stare into the abyss that is our society without going crazy. Just like there are good and bad people, there are good and bad cops, and we tend to paint them with too broad a brush.

That said, a lot of the substance of the blog deals with departmental minutiae, and disgust with the new Superintendent (Jody Weis from the FBI, in case you live in a cave) trying to create a trust relationship with community leaders in high crime neighborhoods, namely "the reverends." There is a lot of talk about certain "demographics" who make up, according to SSC, the majority of perps, the disparaging of Weis' attempt at hiring more minorities and conducting sensitivity training... the list of grievances goes on. Fine. This is America, say and think what you like. However, how can you constantly say others don't look at a cop's lot from a cop's perspective, when you don't look at anything from the perspective of community leaders (or "reverends" or "fronts for gang activity"). Any hint at this double standard is met with "I put my life on the line every day".

Needless to say, policing a city the size of Chicago, with the breadth of issues this city faces is a daunting task. There are no easy or definitive fixes. But cops, like the "reverends" need to realize that they also don't have all the answers.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ron Paul Slams Bernanke in Congress, Again: "History is Against You"

Presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul takes FED chairman Ben Bernanke to task once again in a House Financial Services Committee meeting today in Washington. Paul lets loose on the FED chairman about their destructive activity that is destroying the value of the dollar. Bernanke, like clockwork, gives his same old tired response about the CPI, which does NOT comprehensively account for all of the areas of "consumer cost". Frankly, its just a ridiculous response. Bernanke really ends up having no choice but to admit that Paul is right.

Faux News .... or Fox Porn?

You gotta check out the links in this blurb, which contain real Faux News footage... Wicked good, and wicked bad.

From Lawyers, Guns, and Money:
Via Feminist Law Profs comes this interesting website/advertisement for "Outfoxed," a documentary about how Fox News is dragging down the entire television medium. The website "Fox News Porn" exposes how Fox News consistently relies on images of scantily clad and gyrating women to titillate its conservative audience (puns intended). All of the images on the faux site were actually broadcast on Fox News.

The segments (which you can view on Outfoxed's really well done (and provocative) site) Fox News Porn are particularly surprising (at least to me, since I never -- ever -- stop flipping the channels at Faux News) in light of O'Reilly's near-constant screeds about moral values and the decline of the American social fabric. Nice to know that Murdoch's empire is putting its money where its mouth is.

Inside the World of War Profiteers

Slowly, the graft associated with the largely privatized war in Iraq is being exposed. Unfortunately, an impotent Congress and a wholly corrupt Department of Justice owned by the Executive branch will keep most of this under wraps, or at least in the "a few bad apples" ball park, long enough to let everyone off unscathed except the taxpayers.

From The Chicago Tribune:
ROCK ISLAND, Ill.—Inside the stout federal courthouse of this Mississippi River town, the dirty secrets of Iraq war profiteering keep pouring out.

Hundreds of pages of recently unsealed court records detail how kickbacks shaped the war's largest troop support contract months before the first wave of U.S. soldiers plunged their boots into Iraqi sand.

The graft continued well beyond the 2004 congressional hearings that first called attention to it. And the massive fraud endangered the health of American soldiers even as it lined contractors' pockets, records show.

Federal prosecutors in Rock Island have indicted four former supervisors from KBR, the giant defense firm that holds the contract, along with a decorated Army officer and five executives from KBR subcontractors based in the U.S. or the Middle East. Those defendants, along with two other KBR employees who have pleaded guilty in Virginia, account for a third of the 36 people indicted to date on Iraq war-contract crimes, Justice Department records show. (story continues here)

All Starbucks Closing Tonite, Apocalypse Imminent

From Chicagoist:

If you're cramming for a test, need a post-dinner pick me up or want a Paul McCartney CD between the hours of 5:30 and 8:30 tonight, you'll have to go somewhere other than Starbucks. Nearly all of the coffee chain's locations will be closed for a company-wide education and training session for employees. Dunkin' Donuts just happens to have a promotion running today and will be giving away free lattes. Our favorite quote in the Trib's story comes courtesy of Frances Allen, Dunkin' Donuts' brand marketing officer: "We never want any customers to ever be denied access to their specialty drinks." You tell 'em, Ms. Allen. Let's draft a constitutional amendment guaranteeing Frappuncino availability.

If you want a quality hot beverage this evening that you don't mind paying for, we recommend opting for Intelligentsia (the Millennium Park store is open till 8 and Broadway till 10). Talking Heads' frontman and all-around awesome guy David Byrne agrees with us. On a recent trip to Los Angeles he stopped by Intelligentsia's new Silverlake location and prounounced the coffees "incredible. This seems to be common knowledge — the place is filled with hipsters waiting patiently to order." Absolutely.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Former Congressman Warns of Martial Law In America

Former Congressman Dan Hamburg co-authored this article recently in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here are a few excerpts.

Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."

Guy Stabs In-Law over Clinton/Obama Argument

Yep, here it is. The party of "non-violence". Apparently a heated exchange between in-laws over the merits of a Clinton or Obama administration proved too much to handle. It seems this Clinton supporter likes knives..

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday, Peace Sign

From LRC

"The peace sign is 50 years old today. It was designed in 1958 by British artist Gerald Holtom, who combined the semaphore letters N and D, for nuclear disarmament".

Wow, 50 years and still nothin'. I say we come up with a new sign. Any ideas?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Crinch Pin Late Night Music Club: Black Sabbath

Of course I could have played war pigs which is the obvious choice for our current political situation. But I just had to post this amazing live version of fairies wear boots from Paris, 1970.
This just completely rules in so many ways, I don't know where to begin. Enjoy!

Nader to Announce?

Ralph Nader will be appearing on Meet the Press this week (2/24), and rumor is he will announce his candidacy.

As much as I respect the guy, and will admit to the world that I voted for him in 2000*, it's time that Nader admitted to himself and his followers that his impact can be at it's greatest if he uses his considerable clout to build the Green Party's local organizations throughout the country. This year in Illinois, I could have actually filled out a Green Party ballot for the primary. In a state where the Democratic Machine has all but suffocated any other party organizations, this is no small feat.

* I do not believe that Nader lost the election for Al Gore. Nader had and has every right to run, and we have and had every right to vote for him. Al Gore lost the election by a) running a shitty campaign, b) moving to the Right to garner votes, c) bowing to the media pressure and basically giving up on the "intent of the voter" standard in Bush v. Gore before the Supreme Court thus stopping the Florida recount and handing the election to Bush.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Serbian Blowback

Looks like "blowback" is once again the product of another tentacle of U.S. foreign policy, this time it's Kosovo. The LRC blog has a great post on this by Lew Rockwell via James Elliot:

Writes James Elliott: "I just saw the headlines on the Serbian 'storming' of the US Embassy in Belgrade. This was not done to the French Embassy, because the French did not bomb Serbia beginning on their highest holy day, Orthodox Easter, the way the US did under the enlightened 'genocide'-halting foreign policy of the Clinton/Albright administration, and we have the audacity to ask the UN to be incensed for us over this issue now! Blow back strikes again."

Also, I just watched some highlights of the Clin-ton/O'Bomber debates on CNN . Imagine if the moderators would have asked a pertinent question about oh..I don't know...something that is happening right maybe the fact that there are Serbians setting fire to our embassy right now in Belgrade over our Kosovo policy. Ok, Who wants to answer first?

Kucinich to Investigate 9/11 Insider Trading

Dennis the Menace is at it again, and I mean "menace" in a good way. The establishment can't wait to get rid of this guy. Probably why the corporate controlled DNC is making sure he has a primary challenger this year. Anyways, I love this guy. He's all truth and no bullshit. I've seen one YouTube video after another where 9/11 truth activists are hounding Kucinich to look into the discrepancies and lies in the official story. Well, Dennis has delivered again and again, and this time is no exception. The Ohio congressman just recently said that he will initiate an investigation of the pre-9/11 insider trading that has been exposed, dealing primarily with put options placed for both United and American Airlines.
I have a feeling that Dennis may be legitimately concerned about losing his congressional seat, so he is goin for broke. Cynthia McKinney, the former Congresswoman from Georgia has been pretty vocally supportive of those questioning the the official story. She was one of the only members of Congress who really took some of the administration and military officials to task by asking the important, and for those being questioned, uncomfortable questions about the government's response on that day. We all know what happened to her during the election of 2004. Let's hope Dennis doesn't get "McKinneyed". These are a few excerpts from Kucinich on this topic while being interviewed again on the Alex Jones Show.

"I've indicated a long-standing interest in gathering information and trying to get to the bottom of exactly what happened with respect to all the stock activity that took place preceding 9/11."

"From my own personal standpoint, I've had long-standing questions about why this volume, why those airlines, why that time, who made the buys, why did they buy them, who told them to make the buys, who was involved? There are questions there that need to be answered as part of an effort to get to the truth,"

"I think we need to talk to the people who were involved in making those transactions in order to try to figure out why they were made, for example, American Airlines and United Airlines stock."

Here's Kucinich discussing more details about how and when this will be brought into hearings.

Teevee Terror

Damn! Greenwald is ON FIRE today.

Check out the shit the GOP is trying to pull over on all the impressionable sheeple out there:

Were it not so serious, this would be laughable. Unfortunately, dear reader, a lot of God and country loving Americans out there will take a look at this and say "Them turrorists are tryin' to take away ma 'Merican Gladiaters and neckid Lindsay Lohan pitchers?" and that will be it. No one will be able to convince them that they are victims of a cleverly targeted media terror campaign against their Constitutional rights.

Hey... can you get those Lindsay Lohan pics in the womb?

9/11 Changed Everything

John Swift wishes the NYT would get over it's pre-9/11 thinking. Everyone knows 9/11 changed everything...

Conservatives are soooo lucky to have this guy on their side.

Crinch Pin Music Club: The Who

As The Arm said when I played this for him: "Holy fuck!"
And he's not easy to impress.
I was never that into The Who until I saw them totally destroy EVERYONE at The Rolling Stones' Rock n' Roll Circus. This live clip of "Won't Get Fooled Again" is 10 minutes long, but not a second is wasted, so pour a green martini and watch the whole thing. It is simply amazing.

Meet the new boss, motherfuckers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama: The "Cover Band" Candidate

Damn Barack, You just got called out bigtime with your own words. Looks like your response to the extremely valid point that all you have to offer is "just words" helped to prove that your detractors have a point on this one. In your speech the other day in Wisconsin, when responding to the "just words" accusation, you decided to lift a speech, or part of it at least, from Deval Patrick. I mean, this is so obvious it hurts.

ooh..but there's more:

Dick Cheney Plans for Retirement

American Vice President Dick Cheney test drives a custom hot air balloon.

Finally coming to terms with the fact that he is retiring in less than a year, American Vice President Dick Cheney tries to find a hobby.

"I love ballooning. I can imagine doing this in retirement. You can really take in the scenery," quacked Cheney. "Everyone looks like little ants that you could easily destroy underfoot while their little screams fade out into deadly silence," continued the Vice President, obviously aroused. "I mean, it looks like even a medium piss would wash away entire homesteads. Imagine what a finally-getting-to-the-john-after-sitting-in-a-car-on-a-long-roadtrip piss would do to them. Jesus. That would be awesome."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama, Japan

In case you needed one, and I find I do, here's another great reason to vote for Barack Obama...

Konnichiwa, bitches.

Fear & Loathing in DC

Glenn Greenwald takes the rock right at the hawks, and dunks in their faces (sorry, still sleeping off the NBA All-Star game). This guy's got all the right moves.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Keith Olbermann Calls Bush a "Fascist"

Looks to me like Keith Olbermann might be ready to start asking the real questions. Someone who is this vocal about the criminality of this president and his administration must be somewhat willing to "go all the way" and expose more in depth things like 9/11 and its coverup. Calling Bush a "fascist" on national television is a great start. Here's his recent special comment:

Crinch Pin Flashback 1983: Rep Larry McDonald (D-GA) Warns Of Plans For World Government

Congressman Larry McDonald was a Democratic Congressman from Georgia. He is a completely interesting story on his own. He was elected to Congress as a Democrat and at some point realized what was really happening with our policies by looking into the "behind the curtain" elite. He eventually joined the often controversial John Birch Society and stuck with his goal of stopping this covert world government plan. McDonald has a mysterious aura around his sudden death in 1983, in which his Korean Air Flight 007 was shot down by Soviet jet interceptors. Among the interesting facts surrounding this case is the fact that several other U.S. Senators and Congressmen were scheduled on that flight, but miraculously had their accommodations changed at the last minute. Here's Congressman McDonald on an episode of Crossfire with Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden four months before his death in 1983. This is the google video description:

Around May of 1983, approximately 4 months before being shot down in KAL007, Congressman Larry McDonald takes on Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden on Crossfire as they badger him about his new role as Chairman of the John Birch Society. He easily handles them and answers questions concerning the Elite's Conspiracy for a One World Government.

Also, if you're having problems connecting this segment to our current situation, just substitute the word "Socialism" with "Neo-Conservatism" and also substitute "communism" with "terrorism". Then it will all make a whole lot more sense.

Want More Wexler?

No Problem.
Here's Congressman Wexler's speech to Congress calling for impeachment hearings.Imagine if more of our government representatives actually gave a shit and asked the real questions like Wex. Apparently that's too much to ask for nowadays.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Clinton's Ass Hat

From TPM via First Read:

Political Genius Walking Among Us

A quote from Mark Penn that should go over extremely well:
"Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois? That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama.”
--Josh Marshall

Well, I am certainly relieved I live in a significant state. Don’t really know what to say to those millions of other people who voted in the other 20+ states Obama won. I guess you’ll need to move to one of the 10 Hillary has won, if you’d like to be significant. This according to her chief campaign ass hat Mark Penn. Lovely.

DAMN! Rep. Wexler Slams Condi Rice on Iraq War Lies

Ok, some of you know who Congressman Wexler is. He's a badass that's for sure. If you remember, he was the one who appeared on Colbert's show during the 2006 election and was asked to say that he enjoys coke and hookers. Remember that one? Who could forget, but anyways he was obviously running unopposed as a Democrat. Anyway, Congressman Wexler took Condi Rice to task today about her false statements and manipulation of intelligence to manufacture a reason to go into Iraq.
I love this guy. He's all balls. You can really tell how uncomfortable and overly defensive Secretary Rice is in her answers. Take a look:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clinton Is A Robot

During a presser today, Hillary Clinton, in between offering more lame excuses for getting her ass handed to her over the past ten days ("Always thought that would happen." My husband lost in Maryland too.), she was dropping talking points like some spawn of Karl Rove. Today was the debut of Providing Solutions for 21st Century America. That must be what is needed after you cross the bridge to the 21st century.


Valentine's Day Massacre

My wife and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day, but it's impossible to miss the litany of ridiculous commercials trying to get husbands and boyfriends to "prove" their love by shelling out for a diamond. My wife, in all of her glorious modesty, does not care for diamonds, and I never cared to buy one. Neither one of us believes that we need an outrageously expensive Thing to prove our love. We are in the minority. My wife's students, 13 yr olds, don't believe she's really married because she uses the Ms. prefix. Also, she conspicuously has "no bling," only a simple silver band. A lot of my friends are in the same sans-diamond boat as we are, but they also have similar points of view and similar financial status, but they too are in the minority. Most married women I know from work, family, friends of friends wear their diamonds with pride. It is proof that someone successful loves them.
Price and materialistic undertones are not the only reason we have consciously decided to not buy diamonds. I have felt that no matter what De Beers says (who doesn't trust De Beers?) that there is no such thing as a "conflict-free diamond". As it turns out, (and this does not happen often) my instincts are right. The Kimberly Process is not only ineffective, but basically unmonitored, and in reality creates another niche market for diamonds: the Whole Foods Diamond. The diamond it's OK to buy (and pay more for). Regardless of the conditions they were mined and produced in, diamonds, because of their appreciation and liquidity, are used as currency to fuel and fund conflicts around the globe. Diamonds are small and easy to transport and hide, retain their value better and are less traceable than currency, have more value per pound than currency, and are virtually impossible to destroy. Thus, they make the perfect medium for funding international war and terror.

I'm not trying to be holier than thou or preach at you. The fact is that I happened to be too poor to buy a rock when I got married, and have been lucky enough to get educated on their horrible impact since then. So do what you will this Valentine's Day. I can only choose for myself. But nothing says "I Love You" like driving your Hummer over to WalMart, crossing that picket line, and getting her some Chinese chocolates or Columbian roses spawned by slave labor. Don't forget the virgin paper greeting card with toxic glue on the envelope. I love you, baby.

Day One

We hear the phrase "ready on day one" from the Clinton camp, as much as Obama spouts his "change" mantra(s), but one can argue that Obama will bring some form of change. However, the way Clinton has run her campaign, her readiness is very questionable.

Judging from Clinton’s complete lack of foresight (I'm inevitable) or plan B (pretty much everything that happened after Iowa) plus her arrogance (I'm inevitable again) and what now seems like a healthy form of denial (she doesn't even comment on her recent HUGE losses), I don’t think it’s her. In fact, this kind of sounds like our current train wreck of a president, doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

GOP: Our Ass, or Hole in Ground?

The party of "state's rights" and "strict constructionism" calls local democratic representation, freedom of speech and assembly "treasonous".

However, it is okay for a state to vote into law a measure that directly contradicts a Supreme Court verdict if it suits their political objectives.

Youth, Youth Vote, Wasted on Young

People who know me (all 4 of you) know how skeptical I am about Obama-mania, Hill-arrhea, Democratic "inevitability", and how Hope, Love, and The Youth Vote conquers all. It sounds nice and feels self-satisfying, but it didn't work in 2004 even though like now we were targeted by campaigns, mobilized, angry, eager for change, and running against a total turd sandwich.

To further pump people up and tell themselves and each other how great and inevitable and young and hip they are, along comes DKos to discuss the Youth Vote, and pooh-pooh any skeptics such as myself that the Youth Vote may not turn out like it did in 1972, or, 1992, or 2004.

Meteor Blades may need to review his/her history here because, Democrats lost 2 out of 3 of those elections he claimed were so dominated by the Youth Voting tsunami.

Sorry to be a downer here, and even more sorry to use a sports analogy, but weren't the Patriots talking about how inevitable their ascendency was?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sen John McCain (D-AZ)

Faux News continues to prove to be a hilarious caricature of themselves. Much like Rudy 9iu11ani's constant refrain of 9/11 9/11 9/11 made him a punchline, so has Faux News continued to reinforce and outperform every criticism of it's "Fair and Balanced" catchphrase.

And the thing is, I grudgingly respect Faux News for their balls and unwavering commitment to reporting the news as they want it to be, rather than how it is (as Colbert said, "Facts have a well-known liberal bias"). But it's the people who actually look to Faux for their information and opinions that are maligned in my view by these rank shenanigans. I have as much respect for those people as I do for a steaming loaf of shit floating in a vat of diarrhea.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Spending Outside the Bun?

New Yorkers have spotted signs in shops reading "Euros Accepted". More of a shot to the pride than anything. Beware when you start seeing signs that read "Pesos Accepted."

Et Tu Coulter?

So with Romney out of the race, will Ann Coulter start campaigning for The Huckster to bring down McMaverick, or will she jump right on the back of the Clinton campaign and ride it all the way?

Is Mitt Romney Dropping out of the Race?

According to Raw Story, through reports from CNN and the AP, Mitt Romney will suspend his presidential campaign for the Republican nomination, effectively ceding the nomination to John McCain, according to reports by CNN and the Associated Press.

What's going on here? Is the GOP trying to do anything possible to make sure that its the Democrats who have a brokered convention and not the Republicans?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Crinch Pin Late Night Music Club: Jello Biafra and The Melvins

Here's a 21st century version of the Dead Kennedy's classic "California Uber Alles" performed by Jello Biafra and The Melvins. As you'll notice, this updated version goes after California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. Always good to hear Jello Biafra...

California Election Fraud

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thinking Outside The Bun

Remember when Gore won the Presidency in 2000, but was denied the White House? He took to the political wilderness and grew a beard. It was taken as a sign by the Sean Hannities and Rush Limbaughs of the world as proof positive that he was unhinged.

Bill Richardson appeared on MSNBC tonight sporting a new goatee. Is he unhinged? Or is he just thinking outside the bun?

The C Word

Tonight, at 7pm Central, as ABC kicked off their Super Tuesday coverage, it was too early for any substantive results, so Charlie "Charles" Gibson, Diane Sawyer, and George Stephanopoulos joined each other in some vapid banter which went hilariously off-script for a moment when Diane Sawyer said there'd been "a lot of talk about the 'C' word" in this campaign.

No. Not 'Crinch.' Change! The other 'C' word.

Bad B.A.D. Hangover

It's a big week for me and my fellow Crinchers.

Today, Crinch Pin turns 3000 hits. I'm not sure if that's good or not, but it's sort of like your car turning 3000 miles. You get your first oil change and you're pretty sure you have many more miles to go, but knowing your luck you're going to drop the tranny before 4000 rolls around. It is what it is, so you'd better celebrate.

Coincidentally, it is also Fat Tuesday, and SUPER TUESDAY!!!! The day we Crinch Pinners have been awaiting with baited breath for at least a week. The election season is in full swing... and there is plenty of fodder for our ideological brawling. I wish you, dear reader, could see some of the emails. Anyhow, we four Crinchers will be watching the primary election results roll in, while we watch the beers roll down our throats at Schubas Tavern in Chicago. If anyone in snowy Chicago is reading this, please feel free to join us. We'll be upstairs, safely shrouded from the normal paying public's view. If you hear the sounds of shattering glass and splintering wood, you may want to decide how much you like your face. If you hear something that sounds like a bubble machine, you're probably safe.

All of this, and I'm still getting over my bad bad B.A.D. hangover. Apparently, I made a few to many links, and tried to take a blogroll in the hay with Brilliant at Breakfast and Blue Gal, both of whom denied my advances. Your loss ladies. We here at the Crinch Pin really took the tenants of B.A.D. to heart, and thus are equal opportunity linkers... B.A.D. to the bone. Ahem.

On the positive side we made some great new friends, including: bildungblog, Chuck for..., Drink Liberally in New Milford, Mike the Mad Biologist, Moue Magazine, The Impolitic, The Political Cat, and the infamous skippy the bush kangaroo.

I can't wait till next year's Blogroll Amnesty, but here at the Pin, it's B.A.D. every day! That's right! I don't give a fuck. Email me, and I'll add you to our roll.

Cheers, lads and lassies!

Why This Edwards Booster Voted for Obama

This morning I woke up and walked to my polling station and there I cast my vote for Barack Obama. I had the opportunity to vote for Edwards, who was still on the ballot, but I chose not to. Since Edwards suspended his campaign, I've been forced to do some hard thinking about who I would support in his absence.

One of the issues Edwards championed was universal health care. He came out early with a bold plan that set the bar for the other candidates. Clinton's plan is nearly the same as Edwards's, while Obama's leaves a little something to be desired (as I've blogged about before). So, strictly in terms of healthcare policy, I'd prefer Clinton. But of course, in politics, policy is only a piece of the puzzle. And in thinking about this, I realized that healthcare is actually a good lens through which to view the broader issues at stake.

Obama's healthcare plan is essentially the same plan that the "liberal utopianist" Bill Bradley proposed in 2000 when he ran against Al Gore--the same plan for which he was pilloried by Al Gore for going too far. Of course, those were different times. And it is reassuring to realize that the healthcare plan being critiqued today as insufficiently progressive is the same plan that was too progressive eight years ago. That's progress!

But of course, the President doesn't make laws, the President executes laws. It Congress who writes the laws, so when it comes to healthcare, whether Clinton or Obama are president, their policy proposals are only proposals, and it is the law that comes out of congress that they'll have to decide to sign or veto. And this brings me to my larger point: what kind of congress are we likely to see if Clinton is the nominee, and what kind of congress might we see if Obama is the nominee?

We all know how polarizing Hillary Clinton is. And we all know how many enemies the Clinton's have. One thing that seems clear to me is that if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, she will unite a fractured republican party against her. She may win the Presidency, but it will be yet another close election, and it will cost the democrats scores of downticket seats as republicans, who's entrhusiasm has been lackluster in the primaries, will suck it up and go vote not only for the republican nominee (who will be McCain), but also for all the republicans running in theri district. I expect that if Clinton gets the nomination, Democratic gains in congress will be squelched. Further, I predict that she, like her husband, will lose democratic seats in congress in the 2010 midterm elections of her first term. If Hillary Clinton is working with a weak Democratic majority, or worse, a republicasn majority, we can be assured of several, more years of vitriol and acrimony with less than progressive outcomes.

And of course, if it's Clinton vs. McCain, the distinctions between them are minimal. And in a general, McCain will move to the left and Clinton will move to the right, further blurring the distinctions. I believe this scenario favors McCain as the anti-dynastic candidate.

What we know about Obama as a candidate is that he's energized the youth vote like no other candidate in my lifetime, which is a huge thing. These are people who might never have voted before, and Obama is bringing them into the Democratic tent, and most are likely to stay there. We also know Obama has appeal across party lines. Of course we remember Reagan Democrats, that bloc of voters who helped Ronnie into office in '80, and into a landslide in '84--effectively setting up the kind of republican party that would elect Bush in 88, and after losing the White House in 92, they would take back congress in 94...they would elect Bush in 2000, and take congress in 2002. Of course, many in the republican party viewed Reagan with suspicion. He had been, after all, an FDR Democrat. But it was his broad appeal that allowed him to build the party that has effectively set the agenda in this country for 26 of the last 28 years.

I believe that Obama can do the same thing for Democrats that Reagan did for Republicans. Obama at the top of the ticket agains McCain is a much clearer choice--youth vs. age, the party of change vs. party in power, a vote against the war vs. 100more years in Iraq. I believe Obama will have no trouble winning that matchup. And the wave of enthusiasm that would accompany Obama when compared to the suppressed republican turnout due to conservative suspicion of McCain will mean big gains for the downticket democratic races. With an Obama candidacy we can expect solid democratic majorities in Congress which will hold or grow in 2010 midterms, and the very real possibility that President Obama will be give a healthcare plan to sign into law that more closely resembles Edwards' plan than his own.

On foreign policy, Obama IS the best candidate. Clinton is a hawk. McCain is a hawk. Romney wants to double the size of Guantanamo. Only Obama has had the courage to say that we would engage the world like an adult, which is to say he'd use diplomacy rather than preemption. We know that much of the animosity the rest of the world feels towards the US is directed at our boastful neo-imperialism. Obama would soften that image with genuine global citizenship.

Obama is not the perfect progressive candidate in terms of domestic policy. I have many reservations about him on several issues. But I believe he is the candidate who will galvanize the Democratic Party and lay the foundation of a new progessive era and a better America.

Whgo else supports Obama?
Janet Napolitano, Governer of Arizona -- a state G.W. Bush won twice
Kathleen Sibelius , Governor of Kansas -- a state G.W. Bush won twice
Claire McCaskill, Junior Senator from Missouri -- a state G.W. Bush won twice

Hillary can win in the bluest of the blue, and so can Obama. But Obama can turn the purple states blue, and start turning some red states purple.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Brainwashed

Whoa! Looks like Willie Nelson has come out against the official story of 9/11. Appearing today on the nationally syndicated radio show of Alex Jones, Willie Nelson had this to say:

"I saw those towers fall and I've seen an implosion in Las Vegas - there's too much similarities between the two, and I saw a building fall that didn't get hit by nothing,"

"How naive are we - what do they think we'll go for?"

"I saw one fall and it was just so symmetrical, I said wait a minute I just saw that last week at the casino in Las Vegas and you see these implosions all the time and the next one fell and I said hell there's another one - and they're trying to tell me that an airplane did it and I can't go along with that,"

An mp3 of the interview can be heard here on the Prison Planet website.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Happy Blogroll Amnesty Day!

As a child I always kept my library books for way too long. It could have been because I was a slow reader, or just a dunce, but that's not the point. The point is that Library Fine Amnesty Day was always my favorite day of the year. The weights were lifted and I felt like I could come out of the shadows beneath the card catalogue. Now that I no longer read (even street signs, mind you) I've been looking for a new Amnesty Day which will liven the spirits and bring people with something to share out into the light of day. Happy Blogroll Amnesty Day!

If you want to be on our blogroll, we want to be on yours... just email us, and don't forget to save us some matzo.

(B.A.D. banner courtesy of skippy)

Obama Video

Can anyone even imagine anything like this for Clinton?

Oh, and Moneymonk, whatever your reservations about Obama, it looks like the one endorsement that matters to you has come in. Now you have to do your part to give Scarlett Jo the Big O.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

CNN's Jack Cafferty: Closet 9/11 Truther?

9/11 Blogger

Jack Cafferty ran a report that took a strong stance against our "two party" system and included a clip of 9/11 truthers at about 0:30. I've written Mr. Cafferty before practically begging him to research the topic of 9/11 truth . He is a former NYC local news anchorman and has real street smarts. He's also one of the few commentators on the MSM that tells it (almost) like it is. I would bet my bottom dollar this guy questions the official story but is not allowed to tackle the subject on his program.

I do not trust CNN as far as I can throw my (rarely watched) HDTV. But Mr. Cafferty managed to include a smidgen of 9/11 truth without taking a swipe at truthers and without actually raising the topic of 9/11 truth (which is probably verboten at good 'ol CNN.) I think his inclusion of the 9/11 truthers at 0:30 was no accident. Even though it was only a few seconds, it was there and did not have to be.

Is this a sign of things to come? Is the MSM trying to figure a way out of their (almost) seven year lie? Or is this simply one newsman’s effort to sneak some truth out?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Proof! Hillary Clinton is a NEO-CON: Ann Coulter Endorses Hillary Over McCain

Really makes you wonder about the two party system eh? Is Coulter working for Hillary Clinton? You know the NeoCons would be able to pick up right where they left off and continue America's ride on this Fascist roller coaster if another Clinton is elected.

The United States of Japan?

As usual, Jim Jubak describes complex macro- and micro-economic issues with great simplicity and elegance. Here he highlights some of the growing similarities between our recent market woes, and the decade long recession the Japanese finally just recently climbed out from beneath. Frightening stuff.

I dismissed finances and money matters for years as the worry of the bourgeois. I lived hand-to-mouth, I was trying to be an "artist" or some sort of Whitman-esqe or Keroac-ian model of life as art. Money (though Whitman had a bit of it) was evil; "The Man's way of controlling the masses." I wanted no part of it. To fret over finances was shallow, or worse materialistic, and to be materialistic in the scene that I ran in made you a pariah.

Now all that has changed. I've gleaned a lot since then by keeping my big mouth shut and observing our world as it is, not as I wished it could or would be. What I realized was that money can mean different things to different people. Having money doesn't mean that you have to live in a brownstone on Astor Street and wear a monocle. It also doesn't mean that you have to buy all kinds of junk that you don't need and point out at every opportunity that you could buy this or that if you wanted it, or boy, you really had a great year in the market. To me money means time. Time to work less. Time to spend with people I love doing things I enjoy. Time to volunteer, donate, and be genuinely generous. Time to do what I want. Money is no longer an oppressor or an instrument of violence wielded by the rich, but the only true liberator from these lives we lead. The only way we'll be able to quit the race and be truly on our own.

The point:
I say all of this because I feel funny thinking and talking about money as much as I now do. It feels contrary to my wiring, my punk rock roots, the "man as island" lifestyle I'd spent so long cultivating in every gesture and nuance. But the fact is that if you ignore money, it isn't going to leave you alone, like a bully might. It will slowly and quietly undermine you behind your back, until one day you look up and wish it were there for you, but it's not. Then you end up working every day until you die just to keep food in your belly, a roof over your head, and batteries in the pacemaker.

Clinton Gets Debate Question on Bush/Clinton Dynasty

Sick. These people are just sick. She says, "it did take a Clinton to clean after the first Bush, and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush".
(Loud brainless applause follows)

"Go back to bed America, your government is in control" -Bill Hicks