December 27, 2010

Historic START Treaty Wins Overwhelming Senate Vote, 71-26

Chalk this one up along with the rest of President Obama’s achievements – and more proof that he’s definitely earned the Nobel Peace Prize that he has (note people can’t complain too much about his global anti-proliferation goals anymore.) The START treaty was part of America’s “rebooted” relationship with Russia, which had been strained under President Bush for a number of reasons – his own ignorance and warmongering agenda notwithstanding.

That said, there were worries that congressional Republicans would oppose any advances in the peace process and in the push for the world’s major powers to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and sure enough a bunch of them voted against it partially because of old Cold War beliefs, and partially because of a desire to oppose any achievement of President Obama’s, and partially because of their own personal political agendas.

Even so, the START treaty sailed through the House and the Senate thankfully, and will make the world a safer place overall. When I heard the news, the first thing I wondered was whether or not the Doomsday Clock would be turned back a minute; it seems like this would be a great occasion to do so.

[ Historic START Treaty Wins Overwhelming Senate Vote, 71-26 ]
Source: TruthOut

September 20, 2010

The Obama Achievements Center

I know I ranted about this at length in my post, That “Change” is Working Out Great for Me, Thanks for Asking! but I wanted to drive it home a little more because memories fade so quickly and people forget exactly how far America has come in the few short months since Obama took office, and how quickly this American ship has managed to right itself and set a course for prosperity. Are we there yet? No. Is Obama perfect? Not at all – but has he accomplished a lot? Is he trying? Is he a hell of a lot better than who we had before – both in the White House and his cronies in Congress? Absolutely on all counts.

That’s why I’m really thrilled to point out the existence of the Obama Achievements Center, a great resource for people who want quick ammo to rebut the claims of history-rewriting conservatives who think that Obama hasn’t done anything, or at least hasn’t done anything good, and are basking in this kind of false reality where America has become a worse place since he took office. Quite the contrary, to fact. Here’s what the site’s builders have to say:

This site is the preview version of our new Obama Achievements Center. It’s a work in progress and a labor of love — for our country.
We’re building a crowd-sourced compilation of the achievements of the Obama administration, with documentation for each achievement linked to it. It
In today’s frenzied media zones, far too much time has been spent putting the spotlight on complaints while significant achievements are either ignored, not reported, or minimized.

The Achievements

Determined to change the media narrative to finally include the good works of this administration, a group of Twitter users got together under Shoq’s leadership and compiled a list of the achievements and promises of the Obama administration, with documented links to every item. It will be updated on an ongoing basis, as this President accumulates more successes and lasting reforms.
Defining what an achievement is in any administration, is itself an interesting issue. We decided that we would define it broadly to include executive orders,important legislation, and significant initiatives or outcomes of any kind, both foreign and domestic. We worked hard to screen out minor or subjective items whenever we had agreement on them. As anyone can see from this very impressive list, they weren’t needed.

Isn’t it beautiful? This is worth a bookmark, people, and includes everything I mentioned in my last post and then some. Best of all, it’s organized by topic and category, so if you have a favorite cause of topic, you can zoom right to it.

[ The Obama Achievements Center ]

August 9, 2010

That “Change” is Working Out Great for Me, Thanks for Asking!

I’ve never been a fan of bumper sticker politics: I find it overall relatively crude and demeaning not only to everyone involved (both the person idiotic enough to put something like “Miss Him Yet?” on their car and the person who has to see it while they’re headed to work or home from it) but there’s been one little trend of short-memory and revisionist history among conservatives and Republicans that I feel compelled to note.

Admittedly, the Right’s attention span has always been short, and their capacity to revise history to make themselves look glowing (see Ronald Reagan) has always been remarkable, but President Obama has been in office for 18 months and not only are conservatives trying to pretend that he’s not still busy cleaning up the messes of the past 8 years (“hurr when will you stop blaming the last guy for what’s happening now, hrurr”) but also conveniently shaping today’s issues in short-term language (instead of properly pointing at the near 30-year history of American conservatism as responsible for the deregulation of our financial industries, energy industries, and transportation industries to the point where they’re only accountable to their shareholders and the desires of their executives to line their pockets – at the expense of the American people.)

Bumper stickers like “How’s that change working out for you” and “Miss him yet?” have been appearing on the cars of the angry, who want you and I to believe that the world may as well have ended 18 months ago and now we’re all picking through the smoldering ashes of our civilization. To those questions, I have two very simple answers:

* That change is working out great for me, thanks for asking!
* No, I don’t miss him at all – in fact, I’m happily on my way to forgetting he ever existed.

Starting at the very bottom, I’m particularly glad that I have a President who, while he isn’t perfect, is leaps and bounds more perfect than the last guy, and a President who I don’t have to worry will lock me up and waterboard me if I disagree with him and don’t march in lock step behind. Now I have a President who, as a matter of policy, doesn’t strip American citizens of their rights and due process just so they can be thrown in a dark cell until the powers that be can think of what do to with them. Again – our current Administration isn’t perfect on this point, but at least they’re willing to listen to suggestions and open to changing course – the last Administration would have simply called you “un-American,” “un-patriotic,” and thrown you in a cell just for speaking your mind.

The last Administration listened in on the phone calls of American citizens without a warrant, and the last Administration locked up American citizens for no reason. The last Administration was responsible for the Patriot Act, which while it hasn’t been repealed, has been used with significantly more caution and judgment than it had been in the past. The last Administration was obsessed with the State Secrets Act and shutting down human rights lawsuits just by invoking it.

So no, I don’t “miss him yet” at all, and that “change” has been a huge breath of fresh air.

Let’s move on to some more tangible examples though:

Would Mad King George have appointed two women to the Supreme Court? Likely not.

Would McCain have signed the Lucy Ledbetter Act, mandating equal pay for equal work? Never.

Would Bush Jr. have committed to drawing down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, even if those plans are slow to take shape? Never – they would have said even talking about leaving would have emboldened our “enemy.”

Would the Little Bush or McCain ever strive to provide health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, pass a Patient’s Bill of Rights, put Medicare on sound financial footing, and cut near a trillion dollars from the budget defecit over the next 10 years by reforming the way Americans get and spend on health care? It would have been a laughable proposition.

Would McCain or Palin have signed an executive order mandating that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” be repealed? Wouldn’t have even crossed their minds.

Would Bush Jr. ever thought to close Guantanamo, much less actually try? Never.

Would a Republican president ever have sought to re-vitalize the Civil Rights wing of the Department of Justice, ousting political appointments that sought only to minimize the amount of work the agency did by throwing out legitimate cases and complaints and marginalizing career lawyers who have fought for equal rights their entire lives? Nope.

Would McCain or Palin have fought to restore science and scientific analysis to its rightful place in American discourse, especially on such important topics as climate change, space science, and medicine? Never.

Would McCain or Bush Jr. be on nearly as solid terms with our allies as Obama is, and managed to completely turn around our antagonistic relationship with Russia the way he has? Never – we would have seen more bluster and saber rattling, and likely be in the middle of another war with another faceless enemy designed to make us afraid by now had we voted differently.

Would McCain ever have gleefully signed ethics reform into law that would ensure there were strong rules to make sure the the field day that Republicans had during their majority time in office prior to 2008 (remember the cascade of ethics and sex scandals coming out of Congress back then? Oh how soon the right wing forgets…) never happen again? Not a chance.

Would Bush Jr. ever have given woefully needed money to the American auto industry – even if it was unpopular – and then been able to stand behind them as, as happened last week, they all post revenue gains and profits as opposed to the record losses and debts they had over a year ago?

The economic downturn was in full swing when President Obama was elected, as were both wars and all of their issues – so blaming President Obama is only ad accurate as you can blame someone for not cleaning up someone else’s mess fast enough. Someone recently pointed to a story about the vast majority (something like 96%) of money slated for reconstruction in Iraq being unaccounted for, and snarkily commented about whether or not this was something that people would just blame President Bush for – to which I responded that yes, it is – it’s only the right that seeks to unload accountability for their own actions and leadership decisions onto the people that follow them. President Obama has accountability to cleaning up that mess, but he has no accountability for having made the mess in the first place.

To that end though, would Bush Jr. or McCain ever have pushed through legislation designed to stimulate the economy, fund thousands of new infrastructure projects, put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work, and, with time, eventually turn the job decline into a slow but steady job incline? Not at all – there would have been some tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans (like the Bush tax cuts being debated now in Congress – you remember, the ones that did nothing to stimulate the economy or create new jobs?) and the Republicans would have resorted to their old stand-by, that people who are unemployed somehow “want to be jobless” or “deserve it.”

Would Bush ever have had the gravitas or political will to push through a massive financial system reform bill into law that not only forces more accountability in the financial sector but also establishes a new government agency that the public can turn to for their own protection against those massive Wall Street entities? Never. Would McCain? Hardly – he may have handed over some more money to them, but never have fought on our behalf.

So when you ask me if that “change” is working out for me, I’m more than happy to say yes.

When you ask me if I “miss him yet,” I can answer with a smile and say “miss who?”

Because overall, there’s plenty of work left to be done, and we’re not out of the woods, and everything isn’t perfect, but I’m more hopeful now than I ever have been, and I’m confident that America is moving in the right direction under a leader who at least considers the best interests of the people and the nation over their own personal whim or delusional personal “calling.”

Yup, that change is working out for me just fine, thanks. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

June 1, 2010

The Party of “No” is Officially Now the Party of “No Clue”

Over at AlterNet, Devona Walker has an excellent dissection of the Republican Party’s “opposition” to President Obama and the progressive movement in America today: it’s not so much about actually coming up with ideas of their own, it’s not about coming up with solutions to the problems that America is facing, it’s not about providing an actual alternative to the Democrats in power, it’s about stalling, obstructionism, and blockading.

The thing that the Republicans have forgotten is that this is the same mentality that lost them seats in 2006 and 2008, and lost them the Presidential election in 2008: they’re devoid of ideas, governance, and moral direction – all they know how to do when in power is give away money and power to their friends:

Ever since the 2008 presidential election, the GOP has positioned itself firmly as the opposition party. Opposed to everything and clearly unable to deliver any policies on their own. Republican legislators have had a laser focus on one thing; regaining control of Congress. They are unwilling to see past that and that has made them entirely useless as it relates to legislating.

In fact, Republican Whip Eric Cantor admitted as much to the Washington Post. He said the Republican Party’s approach to the Obama agenda is “just saying no.”

So what do they do now that they’re out of ideas? They wade back into their horrible attempts at crowd-sourcing ideas by building a website where people can suggest the things they want to be American policy direction. And again, as the Republicans always find out when they do things like this, that their “base” are really the dregs of American society and that they represent the fringe of American politics – not the mainstream. For example:

Well, now the Repbulicans have outdone themselves. Their new scheme to regaining the political majority in Congress and reclaiming the White House? A website. Americanspeakingout.com, they are hailing as “revolutionary” in its democratization of the political process.

Here’s the plan: We, citizens make policy suggestions, vote on them, then the most popular policy suggestions, Republicans claim, they will take to Congress and turn into law. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich framed the idea as the first step in the process of remaking a Contract with America — a set of policy proposals that Ginrich pulled together back in 1994 and led to the Republican takeover of Congress.

One suggestion, so far, has been to repeal section II of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Another suggestion: Keep closer tabs on Muslim-Americans than other citizens. And here’s this gem: “When my ansestors came to this country, they knew that GOD had given it to them and not the animals that was here before. It makes me sick to see this scum pullutin our godly values with there heathen ways. all forerners must leave or die!”

But here’s the real problem. Doesn’t this website illustrate the very thing that many Americans suspect is wrong with the GOP, that it is void of ideas and clueless when it comes to moving this country forward?

Here’s the other obvious problem with the site, it’s not revolutionary. What do they think the netroots have been doing on the left for the past several years. Well, the site is already being mocked for that: DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said in statement that “only House Republicans would think that talking with the American people is an ‘unprecedented new initiative.’”

If that’s not proof that representative democracy is absolutely essential to keep the mindless hordes from trampling on the rights and liberties of minorities, I don’t know what is. But even that statement gives these people too much credit – it implies that there are lots of people who share this belief. I’m sure there are some, but they’re by no means a majority in any sense, even likely within the Republican party. But the problem is that the Republicans are listening to these folks, and these are the folks who are turning out to elect their Libertarian and Tea Party brethren – not only do the American people need to be kept safe from wingnuts like this, but you could argue that for the Republican party to really remian as a viable alternative party in any sense that they need to be stopped from cannibalizing themselves like this.

Regardless, the poor Republican party, completely out of ideas, turns to their base for feedback and what do they get in return? Racism, hatred, and intolerance. Fitting.

[ The Party of “No” is Officially Now the Party of “No Clue” ]
Source: AlterNet

April 19, 2010

Obama’s Nuclear Summit: Invisible for Conservatives?

True to nature, whenever there’s good news to be had or real leadership shown by the Obama Administration, the conservative reaction is to say nothing if at all possible, especially when they know that being negative will just further marginalize them from the rest of American society.

For example, when the President and the Secretary of State both collectively stand behind podiums in front of world leaders and explain that the threat of a Cold War-style annihilation is lower than it’s ever been but the threat of a rogue nuclear attack by a terrorist or non-state organization is higher than ever, conservatives can’t dispute that because to do so would make them look not only crazy, but contradictory to their own policies less than 2 years ago. (Not that they’re any stranger to self-contradiction – these are the same people who yelled down progressives for “not respecting the office of the President even if you don’t respect the person in it” and less than 2 years later are summarily publishing racist cartoons and training for the woods for the “next Civil War.”) At the same time, only the fringiest of fringe conservatives (and they’ve definitely stood up) can bash the President’s vision of a world where the threat of nuclear weapons doesn’t loom large over the populous of every nation around the globe.

So what do the conservatives do when they can’t acknowledge something good is happening? They just ignore it, of course:

On Monday and Tuesday, President Obama convened a historic gathering in Washington to deal with the most urgent threat facing the globe: nuclear terrorism. Never before have so many world leaders gathered to discuss together how to thwart one of the greatest nightmares imaginable; 47 nations were represented. Though no sweeping treaties or agreements were reached, Obama did succeed on two important fronts. He placed the issue of controlling and securing nuclear material that could be used by terrorists (including al-Qaeda and its allies) at the top of the global to-do list. And he encouraged nations to take their own individual steps. Chile gave up its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium (HEU), the material that terrorists need to produce a weapon. Ukraine said it would eliminate its HEU stockpile, as did Mexico. Canada agreed to do the same with much of its HEU. (Reducing and controlling HEU stockpiles is the key to preventing nuclear terrorism.) China, Japan, India, Argentina, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Italy each announced nuclear security initiatives.

There’s still much that the nations of the world, including the United States, must do to prevent HEU from slipping into the hands of terrorists. (It only takes a lump the size of a grapefruit to make a bomb, and the bomb-building part isn’t so tough. What’s hard is getting the HEU.) But with this summit, Obama did move the world in a safer direction. He nudged it toward policies that could lessen the odds that one or more of our cities are incinerated by a nuclear weapon cobbled together by a band of evildoers. Everyone — even people who believe Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim with a covert plan for imposing socialism on the United States — should be grateful for that, right?

Maybe not. After Obama’s summit was done, I went looking to see how prominent conservatives and Republicans were reacting to it on the Twittersphere. I found a lot of silence. Newt Gingrich tweeted on Tuesday about a meeting where he would “outline 2010 and 2012 big choice themes 2+2 equals 4 is key concept.” (Don’t ask me what that means.) But not a peep about the summit. Sarah Palin, ditto. Same for Karl Rove. These folks are all active Twitterers, ever ready to share their opinions and thoughts in 140 characters or less. But none saw fit to do so regarding the nuclear security summit.

To that list, you can add other conservative tweeters: John McCain, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and John Boehner.

You bet that if this had happened under the Bush Administration (not that Mad King George would ever have been able to comprehend the issue of nuclear weapons, much less have the will to bring so many world leaders together to discuss it, much less be respected enough by any of those leaders for them to actually attend) they’d be shouting from the rooftops about how important and historic the moment was and how it was a turning point in world history – and, if it had happened under their watch, they’d all be right.

But it was all of those things – it was historic, it was turning point, and it was the first time a lot of those leaders had convened in the same place to discuss the same issues and all agree that it was important. And the simple fact that everyone – including the mainstream media that these conservative wingnuts love to hate so much – covered it, does more to destroy their credibility in some ways than anything they possibly could say about any other issue. Sorry guys, you don’t get to pick and choose the news, and you don’t get to pick and choose what’s important and what’s historic.

[ Obama’s Nuclear Summit: Invisible for Conservatives? ]
Source: Politics Daily

April 12, 2010

Earning His Nobel Prize

Perhaps one of the proudest moments of President Obama’s young presidency is last week’s announcement that he’s signed a historic nuclear disarmament treaty with President Medvedev of Russia, agreeing that both countries will draw down their nuclear weapons by about a third.

It’s true that there’s a long way to go, but this is a remarkable first step, and a massive break from the horribly tense relationship that the US and Russia suffered during the Bush Administration. Finally, we have a President who understands that keeping a massive nuclear arsenal isn’t key to our national security and is actually counterproductive to our national interests. And in fact, while the threat of a nuclear strike is higher than it’s ever been (terrorists or rogue states getting their hands on nuclear material or a small nuclear bomb) a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons doesn’t serve as a deterrent from those who are most likely to use them these days.

The best part of all of this though is that as soon as the announcement was made that President Obama had unveiled and signed the treaty, the first thing I thought was that he’s certainly earned that Nobel Peace Prize:

At last, a believable sighting of that peace president many of us thought we had elected. Give Barack Obama credit, big time, for the startling progress he has made in tempering the threat of nuclear annihilation.

The Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review Report for the first time prohibits “first use” of nuclear weapons against nations complying with the nonproliferation treaty. It also pledges a halt to U.S. efforts to modernize such weapons, as had been proposed by then-President George W. Bush in his call for new nuclear “bunker busters.”

Whereas his predecessor succeeded only in eliminating the nonexistent Iraqi nukes, this president has forged a treaty with the Russians that will reduce the world’s supply of the devil’s weapons by one-third. But it was essential to follow that up with a clear departure from the always-insane policy that the U.S. has a right to develop and use such weapons as conventional tools of war.

Robert Scheer, writing for TruthDig, has some much stronger words later in the piece to describe how he feels about global nuclear weapons, but I think that tidbit is the most poignant (which makes sense why he opened with it) and telling about exactly the size of the accomplishment President Obama has made.

Now of course the treaty has to be ratified in the Senate, and Republicans are already frothing at the mouth – not because this is a bad decision (as much as they’d like you to believe that it is) but because they can’t stand to see President Obama do well at anything.

Regardless of the fact, it’s an amazing achievement, and I’m more than proud of our President for making the world a safer place, little by little. I wonder if they’ll move the midnight clock back a little bit now.

[ Earning His Nobel Prize ]
Source: TruthDig

August 10, 2009

Bill Clinton Departs North Korea With Two Freed US Journalists

bill clinton

I had to link this old old frame from a comic over at Sore Thumbs, a webcomic that’s occassionally political but regularly hilarious, because it’s the only thing I could think of when the news came down that Bill Clinton was making an unannounced personal trip to North Korea to request the release of two American journalists for Current TV, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, that were being held there and being prepared to serve a 12-year sentence in a North Korean labor camp. No sooner than the news broke that he was headed there and that he had arrived did we get news that not only had North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned the two women, but that they would be flying home with Clinton on his private jet.

That’s right – Bill Clinton saves the day, and I say that while resisting the string of curse words I want to use to describe how emphatically pleased I am with this development. And I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that if this wasn’t Bill’s idea to begin with, this idea was born in the halls of the Obama Administration, wanting desperately to do something here, seeing an opportunity to engage North Korea, but understanding that doing it in any official capacity would appear awkward and like some kind of trade.

To that end, the right-wing pundits and officials who would rather drop bombs than say thank you, were, no sooner than the release of Ling and Lee were officially announced, claiming there had to have been some kind of trade, some kind of deal, where Clinton carried some kind of concession or agreement to the North Koreans in order to negotiate the journalists’ release. Even former UN ambassador (a title he couldn’t earn so he had to be appointed in recess behind the back of Congress) John Bolton had the nerve to sit in interviews and essentially say “well, it’s nice they’re back BUT…” and launch into a string of talking points designed to turn good news into doom and gloom like only a conservative spin-master could. Both the Obama administration and spokespeople for former President Clinton claim there was no such agreement or arrangement and that Bill was traveling as a private citizen and former head of state, not in any official capacity. Frankly, I agree.

North Korea’s irrational actions on the world stage are very easily explained when you understand the mentality of a threatened child – and I don’t say that to belittle the North Korean regime: I say it because it’s frankly accurate. Every time the North Koreans feel like the international community is ignoring them, disrespecting them, or threatening them in some way, they launch a few missles, make some loud declarations, and maybe sentence some trespassing journalists in a border region to hard labor instead of sending them home and showing their good side. Then attention is turned to them and they feel like the trend of negotiations is turning their way, they show the good side again, wanting to impress to the world that the last thing they would want is to cause harm to others, and what they’re really interested in is self-security.

Which side is the real side? I think most people have made up their minds, myself included, but I would warn anyone that there are always two sides to every coin, whether you believe it or not. But the reaction to this wonderful news should be clear proof to the American people who’s interested in their well being versus who’s interested in their own well being – someone willing to go out on a limb for them, each and every one of them, and those who would cast their countrymen aside in favor of their own pride.

[ Bill Clinton Departs North Korea With Two Freed US Journalists ]
Source: TruthOut

November 8, 2008

What Obama’s Election Means Abroad

The American media noted the street parties that broke out all across the country, including here in the great city of Washington DC, after John McCain conceded the race and Barack Obama gave his victory speech as President-Elect of the United States.

What was subtly missed until the next couple of days, and even then only on talk radio programs dedicated to real analysis (read: NPR programming) is the fact that the rest of the country breathed a sigh of relief along with us. Even conservatives in the UK and Australia were thrilled at the news, and celebrations broke out around the world on every continent cheering for a new day in America’s standing in the world – what was seen as a mistake made in 2004 following an innocent mistake in 2000 were finally rectified, and the rest of the world was watching closely to see if they really were mistakes, or a real course America wanted to chart for itself.

Thankfully, we all knew they were just mistakes – we just had to ante up and prove it to the global community. When we did, they were estatic – front pages around the world heralded a new day in politics, and world leaders rushed to call President-Elect Obama to congratulate him in the middle of the night.

As Wednesday dawned rainy and gray on the Champs- Élysées, a Parisian waiter spontaneously gave a fist pump and shouted, “Obamamania! Yeah!”

Johannesburg, South Africa – The world, which has tracked this American election like no other, sees Barack Hussein Obama as their president, their choice. And they see him through their own geographical and cultural prisms. To many, he represents the restoration of faith in American democratic ideals, of equality. The global euphoria over the election of the first black US president is also partly an expression of a populace that wants to believe that the same principles can apply to their lives, too.

Of course, as the son of a Kenyan goatherd, he’ll be Africa’s man at the White House, say Kenyans. But his appeal seems to transcend his heritage or his skin color. In Pakistan, for example, where politics has been the province of a wealthy elite, Mr. Obama is a powerful symbol for the dispossessed masses. Yes, he went to Harvard University. But also went to a Muslim elementary school in Indonesia. “They will say, ‘He is one of us,'” says Rasul Baksh Rais, a political scientist at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

In Saudi Arabia, many young Saudis have been affectionately using his middle name, dubbing him “Abu Hussein,” or “Father of Hussein.” Here, he symbolizes a restoration of faith in the democratic freedoms that Saudis don’t yet have. “Saudis … did not really believe in the American version of democracy. How could they when all the presidents of the so-called ‘melting pot’ were Anglo,” writes Eman Al-Nafjan in her post on the Saudiwoman’s Weblog. “But now they are rubbing their eyes in disbelief.”

Similarly, Liu Na, a high school teacher in Beijing, China, said Wednesday that “his victory proves that there is real democracy in the United States.” She added, “He is not from a family of profound influence…. Obama has a very international background, which represents America’s special situation; so many citizens are immigrants. He relied on his own hard work and abilities to go so far.”

It’s more than heartwarming to know that not only are so many of us here at home incredibly proud to be Americans – more so than we’ve ever been – but that there are so many people out there looking at the people of our humble corner of the world not with the suspicion, fear, and wary that have been cultivated over the past 8 years, but with thoughts of love, peace, justice, and like us, hope.

[ What Obama’s Election Means Abroad ]
Source: The Christian Science Monitor (courtesy of TruthOut)

September 12, 2008

Ten Conservative Myths about National Security

On today, the day after September 11th, it’s worth pointing out how some people in power took advantage of a tragic moment that will live forever in the minds and hearts of Americans and in American history as an opportunity to seize power and inject the American people with a healthy dose of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

The more frightened the American people were, the more they could keep us controlled, and slowly but surely we’re breaking out of that shell. Why? We’re coming to terms with the failures of the people who have propagated these lies, and we’re looking back in time and rethinking our frightened, knee-jerk reactions to the fear they’ve fostered. With that in mind, here’s a few myths about national security that have been repeated so often in the media that you’ve likely heard them all before.

Some of the highlights? The myth that Islamofaacism is our greatest national security threat, the myth that we have to give up some civil liberties in times of war to keep us safe, the myth that we’re “fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here,” one that makes me particularly sick, and the myth that our current strategy must be working because there hasn’t been another attack.

[ Ten Conservative Myths about National Security ]
Source: Campaign for America’s Future

July 13, 2008

10 McCain Gaffes from This Week That Should Have Damaged His Chances

Good old John McCain. In some ways, I wish the attacks against him hadn’t started so early this campaign season, but frankly, he’s making it entirely too easy to call him out for his language and his policies.

If everyone were listening, this week should have been the week that all but ended his chances at being President, but not everyone was listening, I’m afraid, which is why these 10 gaffes bear repeating, even if the author at Alternet tends to overuse the “flip-flop” label (not entirely unjustified though, it was the right that invented the term, it’s only fair they be called out when their representatives do the same):

1. McCain unambiguously called Social Security “an absolute disgrace.”

2. McCain’s top economic policy adviser calls Americans a bunch of “whiners” for being worried about the slumping economy.

3. Iraqi leaders call for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal, McCain gets caught in a bizarre denial and flip flop.

4. McCain’s economic plan to cut the deficit has no details and is simply not believable.

5. McCain’s deficit plan includes bringing the troops home represents a major Iraq flip-flop.

6. McCain campaign misled about economists support. (McCain claimed that “economists” supported his economic plan, and even included a letter signed by 300 of them…trouble was the economists that “signed” were signing on to something entirely different- NOT McCain’s economic plan)

7. McCain makes a joke about killing Iranians.

8. McCain denies, flatly, that he ever said that he is not an expert in economics.

9). McCain distorts his record on veterans benefits in response to a question from Vietnam Veteran, who then proceeds to call McCain out on it.

10.) McCain demonstrates he knows nothing about Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The trouble is, each one of these is incredibly salient, and hits McCain on every single point on which he believes he can stand out to Obama: the economy, the war, and national security and defense. In each instance, McCain proves that he’s not only out of touch with the American people and what they want from their government, but that he has this mad delusion that the policies of the past 8 years have been remotely successful.

[ 10 McCain Gaffes from This Week That Should Have Damaged His Chances ]
Source: Alternet