Saturday, August 30, 2008

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Right-Wing Lunatic Fringe Loves Palin

By MARC McDONALD

What was your reaction to John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his VP pick? Curiosity? Indifference? Bafflement?

The more one learns about Palin, the more afraid we progressives ought to be.

After all, a quick scan of the lunatic fringe blogosphere reveals that the wingnuts adore Palin. And anything that these nutcases cherish should be something that the rest of us fear and dread. (Remember, these are the same people who also love torture, illegal wars, and Constitution-shredding).

Palin's selection on Friday was predictably greeted with raves by the lunatic right-wing fringe.

On Friday, Michelle Malkin was among the wingnut bloggers cheering Palin's selection. And Malkin is about as crazy as they come on the right-wing fringe these days. As Glenn Greenwald noted, Malkin once wrote a book "defending the ethnicity-based imprisonment of innocent American citizens in internment camps."

Of Palin, Malkin wrote, "Yes, I’m impressed. Very impressed." Malkin also linked to a YouTube video showing Palin firing a military rifle. (Apparently that alone gets these wingnuts excited these days---which is curious, as most of them are chickenhawks who have never served).

Meanwhile, the wingnuts who run RightWingNews.com took time out from their busy schedule of bashing Obama and claiming global warming is a "hoax," to cheer Palin's selection. As one writer there noted, "I watched Sarah Palin's roll-out today and it was real home run. She has a great family, a great resume, and for the first time in more than a year, the crowd at a John McCain event seemed genuinely excited."

Hugh Hewitt over at Townhall.com was similarly enthused, as he raved about Palin in a piece titled, "An Extraordinary Choice." Reading his piece, one might think Palin was nothing less than the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan.

It's all rather interesting: the vast majority of America had never heard of Palin before Friday (and I'd suspect most wingnuts had never heard of her either). But now, they're suddenly falling all over themselves to assure us that she's a solid pick and has the credentials to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MSM Gives McCain Free Pass On His Terrorist Friend: G. Gordon Liddy

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Blogger Joseph Miller has a good article on yet another free pass the MSM is giving John McCain:

In light of the completely unsurprising news that McCain is going to try to tie Barack Obama to Bill Ayers, I thought it might be fun to look at John McCain's much more dangerous, much more violent, much more radical friend: G. Gordon Liddy, notorious even in the lawless Nixon White House for his fanaticism and his unbelievable lack of any moral restraint whatsoever. Chicago Tribune columnist Stephen Chapman brought the issue up this spring (the article is not online, unfortunately) but HuffPo picked up on it. Read along with me, dear friends, as we dive into the muck of Liddy, the Ultimate Right Wing Republican and die-hard McCain supporter.

Let's start by establishing their connection:

In 1998, Liddy's home was the site of a McCain fundraiser. Over the years, he has made at least four contributions totaling $5,000 to the senator's campaigns--including $1,000 this year.
Last November, McCain went on his radio show. Liddy greeted him as "an old friend," and McCain sounded like one. "I'm proud of you, I'm proud of your family," he gushed. "It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."


And what kind of man is Liddy, exactly?

[Adolf Hitler] was G. Gordon Liddy's first political hero. Liddy was a sickly, asthmatic child when he grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey, in the 1930s. The town was full of ethnic Germans who idolized Hitler. Liddy was made to salute the Stars and Stripes Nazi-style by the nuns at his school; even now, he admits, "at assemblies where the national anthem is played, I must suppress the urge to snap out my right arm." His beloved German nanny taught him that Hitler had -- through sheer will-power -- "dragged Germany from weakness to strength."

This gave Liddy hope "for the first time in my life" that he too could overcome weakness. When he listened to Hitler on the radio, it "made me feel a strength inside I had never known before," he explains. "Hitler's sheer animal confidence and power of will [entranced me]. He sent an electric current through my body." He describes seeing the Nazis' doomed technological marvel the Hindenberg flying over New Jersey as an almost religious experience. "Ecstatic, I drank in its colossal power and felt myself grow. Fear evaporated and in its place came a sense of personal might and power.

Read the whole terrifying interview with Liddy here.
Read the rest of Miller's article here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Will Democratic Delegates Mock McCain With "Purple Heart" Bandages?

By MARC McDONALD

The 2008 Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday. And I'll go ahead and make one fearless prediction about the convention: no one there will mock John McCain's military service.

Speakers at the convention will likely criticize McCain's political agenda and his proposals for America. But no one will say one negative or derogatory word about his military service in Vietnam. Indeed, those who attend the convention will have nothing but respect for McCain's military record.

It's a far cry from what we saw in 2004 at the Republican convention in New York. At that convention, delegates mocked and made fun of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam service record. Kerry, as you might recall, had a distinguished military record and was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.

At the 2004 Republican convention, GOP delegates wore adhesive bandages with small purple hearts on them to mock Kerry's military record. In doing so, they were echoing a popular GOP talking point at the time (that Kerry's combat wounds were mere "scratches"). That, of course, was a lie: in fact, Kerry received a shrapnel wound in his left arm that caused him pain for years.

Would Democrats do such a thing to mock McCain's military service record? Of course not. It'd be inconceivable. Not even McCain's fiercest critics at the convention would ever dream of disparaging his military service record in any way.

One can also be assured that there will never be a Democratic equivalent of the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," which in 2004 accused Kerry of lying to win his Vietnam military decorations.

And there you have it: a key and crucial difference between today's Democratic and Republican parties. The Republicans have shown that they'll do anything to win an election, even viciously smearing the military record of a distinguished combat veteran.

Great Moments in Debate History: Lloyd Bentsen Smacks Down Dan Quayle

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Joe Biden is Barack Obama's Vice Presidential Pick, Sources Say

The Associated Press and other sources are claiming that Barack Obama has selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate.

Officially, though, the Obama campaign has yet to make its official announcement (which is set to be made Saturday morning via a mass mobile phone text message).

I noticed the AP story managed to get in a dig at Biden, claiming he has a "reputation as a long-winded orator." It appears AP is already sharpening its claws to go after Biden, (after pretty much ignoring all the lies, crimes and treason committed by Dick Cheney over the past 8 years).

Speaking of Doctor Evil, here's one early observation I have to make about the difference between Biden and the current VP. Dick Cheney once shot a fellow hunter in the face and has long been a big fan of guns and hunting (as long as the small furry creatures he's shooting at in the forest don't get a chance to shoot back). By contrast, Biden once earned an "F" from the National Rifle Association. That fact alone makes me want to support his campaign.

Here's the AP story:

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware late Friday night to be his vice presidential running mate, according to a Democratic official, balancing his ticket with a seasoned congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and defense issues.

Biden, 65, has twice sought the White House, and is a Catholic with blue-collar roots, a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator.

Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation, Supreme Court nominees and Constitutional issues.

In selecting Biden, Obama passed over several other potential running mates, none more prominent than former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, his tenacious rival in dozens of primaries and caucuses.

The official who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, preferring not to pre-empt a text-message announcement the Obama campaign promised for Saturday morning.


More here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Whatever Happened to the Anger On the Left?

By MARC McDONALD

The past three decades have been a Right-Wing wet dream for America. The Republicans have gotten their way on virtually every single issue while the Democrats have meekly rolled over.

Which raises a question. Why are the Republicans so angry these days? And why are the Democrats so goddamn happy?

What do the Republicans have to be angry about, anyway? During most of the past three decades, they've controlled all the levers of power. And even when they didn't control the White House, they might as well as have, with Bill Clinton's "Republican Lite" policies.

The Republicans have gotten pretty much everything they've wanted: their tax cuts for the rich, their sweeping deregulation, their dismantling of the social safety net, their gutting of labor unions, their blood-for-oil wars, their shredding of the Constitution: you name it.

What's more, they blatantly stole the past two presidential elections (and got away with it). And they're the one who are seething with anger these days?

And yet if you tune into Fox News or talk radio or the Right-Wing blogs these days, you encounter the most incredible seething anger and passion. Tune into just the first five minutes of unhinged Right-Wing nutcase Mark Levin's radio program sometime and you'll encounter more anger than a year's worth of reading Mother Jones or The Nation.

All I've got to say is: where can we on the Left get some of that anger to fire up our base?

After being screwed for 30 years by the New Right, you'd think the Left in this country would finally have built up some anger and passion. But instead, there seems to be way too much humor, fun and frivolity on our side these days. Even Mike Malloy's once-incendiary radio program has mellowed out in recent months.

The Left could really use a few lessons from the the Republicans these days. The GOP is a master of rallying the troops by adopting a "take-no-prisoners" hard-line approach to politics. They're also good at rallying the base with a constant "siege mentality" that would have their supporters believe that the Left is on the verge of destroying America (ironic, when you consider who's really done all the damage to our nation in recent decades).

Democrats ought to enter a street fight with the GOP with the appropriate tools: a switchblade, a .38-caliber pistol, and a pair of brass knuckles. Instead, they bring nothing to the fight but good manners and a promise to fight fairly and by the rules. In a street fight, that approach loses every f*cking time---but the Dems appear to be incapable of grasping this basic fact.

Take Obama's current campaign strategy. He's vowed to take the high road and run a polite, dignified, no-slime campaign. McCain, on the other hand, is throwing everything he has at Obama. Day after day, McCain essentially calls Obama a traitor.

And McCain's slime is working. Obama's lead in the polls is now dangerously thin. And if recent U.S. election history repeats itself, Obama looks to be in real trouble by November.

Aren't Democrats angry about all this? Nope. While the GOP is using angry fire-and-brimstone "All Liberals Are Traitors" rhetoric to fire up the troops, we're once again acting polite, sipping our tea, and minding our manners, smug in the belief that the nation couldn't possibly be so stupid as to vote for a third term of George W. Bush.

One thing I will give the Republicans credit for: they are angry, passionate and willing to fight tooth-and-claw for what they believe in. They fight dirty and even steal elections if they have to. And do you think they lose one second's worth of sleep over it? Don't bet on it.

And meanwhile, the Dems are smug, arrogant, and way, way too goddamn polite these days. We need to get angry for a change and start fighting fire with fire.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Get a Free Obama Button



Step right up: come one, come all, and get your own free Obama button. The progressive site, MoveOn.org is currently giving away a nifty-looking free Obama button to anyone in the U.S. who requests one. Allow four to six weeks for delivery. Click here to request your button.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How Bush and the NeoCons Lied America Into the Iraq War

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This video does a good job of summing up the blatant, outrageous lies that George W. Bush and the NeoCons told in leading America into the $3 trillion Iraq War fiasco, which has led to the deaths of over 1 million Iraqi men, women and children.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

No President Has Ever Handed Off A Greater Mess To His Successor

By MARC McDONALD

When Bill Clinton handed off the keys to the White House to George W. Bush in 2001, the nation was in good shape, having enjoyed eight years of peace and prosperity. America was enjoying its first budget surplus in three decades. The economy was healthy. The U.S. Constitution was still intact. The dollar was strong and was still the world's reserve currency of choice. Gas was $1.20 a gallon.

However, Bush's successor won't be so lucky. In fact, no president has ever handed off a great mess to his successor in U.S. history.

In fact, I pity the next president. Bush has dug America into a hole so deep, that a lot of the titanic problems he's gotten us into will be pretty much impossible to solve.

Take America's out-of-control, gigantic budget deficits, for example. The next president will inherit a record $482 billion deficit in 2009. And actually, that's a conservative estimate by the White House (which misleadingly isn't including the massive additional costs of the Iraq War in its budget forecasts).

Speaking of the Iraq War, no president has ever left his successor a single bigger ongoing crisis. There is no real solution to this ongoing $3 trillion fiasco of a war. In fact, Bush's only "solution" has been to simply drag out this war long enough to hand it off to his successor. And the Afghanistan War is another ongoing fiasco with no end in sight.

Then, there's America's deteriorating economy. When Bush tried his hand in the private sector years ago, he managed to drive all three companies he had a hand in into the ground. Now, he's done pretty much the same thing to America itself.

The economy today is a horrendous mess, with 3.2 million manufacturing jobs lost since 2001. The ongoing subprime mortgage crisis is a black hole of doom and gloom with no end in sight. Serious financial commentators are starting to speak of a new 1930s style Great Depression. Some 2 million Americans stand to lose their homes in the coming years.

America's ability to get things around the world accomplished has been seriously diminished under Bush. In fact, Bush's successor will inherit a nation that is now widely feared and hated around the world. Once, when U.S. presidents used to talk to other nations about the need to respect human rights, America's words carried great weight. Now, such lectures are simply laughed at and ignored.

Along with our lost moral authority, America's clout on the international stage has been vastly weakened under Bush. For a start, our military (which has been severely battered in the Iraq fiasco) is in terrible shape.

And the dollar (which was a principal lever of U.S. power for decades) is a joke these days. The dollar continues to plummet in value---a trend which is certain to continue as America's creditor nations get increasingly spooked by out-of-control U.S. deficits.

Clearly, America is a totally different nation than the one that Bush inherited when he assumed power in 2001.

Seven short years ago, the American Dream was still alive. America was still a "Can Do" nation. We still had the ability to get things done.

Now, in addition to being broke, most Americans are deeply cynical and pessimistic. Even if the next president can do something about our financial crisis, he's going to find it real tough to restore the faith that many of us have lost in America during the Bush nightmare years.

In short, it will take decades for America to recover from the Bush years. The enormous problems we face today will simply be too great for the next president to solve, no matter what course of action he takes. All we can hope for is that the next president can stop the rot.