Another Bobo Heard From

Ah, Bobo where would we be without you and your half-witted moralizing?  Today, Bobo, after watching Barney sing and dance and the Count count to Three penned another silly bit of ether-wasting prose (at least fewer trees were killed in his attempt at Villagerism).

See, Bobo doesn’t like Julian Assange very much because Julian has been putting out information that might cause someone, somewhere, (but not at the NY Times) to commit actual Journalamism. Despite the fact that Irony died on the day of the pronouncement of Bush v Gore, it’s ultimately ironical that in the pages of the New York Times we read Bobo discussing the leaking of secret government documents which hold the potential for embarrassing the US Government like it’s a bad thing.

Far from respecting authority, Assange seems to be an old-fashioned anarchist who believes that all ruling institutions are corrupt and public pronouncements are lies.

For someone with his mind-set, the decision to expose secrets is easy. If the hidden world is suspect, then everything should be revealed…

Our Man Dave goes on to make several unintentional funnies about the way that the “real” Journalistas at the Times would behave when confronted with actual factual information:

For him, it’s easy. But for everyone else, it’s hard. My colleagues on the news side of this newspaper do not share Assange’s mentality. As the various statements from the editors have made abundantly clear, they face a much thornier set of issues.

As journalists, they have a professional obligation to share information that might help people make informed decisions. That means asking questions like: How does the U.S. government lobby allies? What is the real nature of our relationship with Pakistani intelligence? At the same time, as humans and citizens, my colleagues know they have a moral obligation not to endanger lives or national security.

Yes, because as everyone knows the Top-Notch Pulitzer Winning reporting went on prior to the Invasion of Mess-O-Potamia in the very self-same newsroom of the New York Times.  No, really it did, just ask Judy Miller.  I know for a fact that the reporters at the times ask the hard questions like: “What time is the buffet on Air Force One?” and “Does the Prime Minister of Pakistan like silk or cotton boxers better?”

You know, important Villager stuff like that.

A Fantasy OFA Letter from Obama

The panic of the media storm surrounding the midterms has had the effect of getting a rather unusual email dumped in my inbox from our bold incisive leader, here it is in full:

Friend —

Eighteen years ago, shortly after graduating from law school, I helped lead a voter registration campaign in Chicago that generated record turnout on Election Day.

That experience taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learned as a community organizer: When people promise that they’ll do something — like voting — they are far more likely to do it.

That’s why one key part of our Vote 2010 plan this year is to get folks like you from across the country to commit to vote, to make sure we get as many people as we can to cast their ballots this fall.

But getting the commitments we need starts with your own promise to make it to the polls and cast your ballot.

Will you please commit to support your representatives in this contentious debate?

Over the next 54 days, volunteers across the country will spend countless hours calling voters and knocking on their doors, asking them the same question.

And you can bet that I am counting on you to join them in talking to voters in your community.

This election offers a stark choice. We Democrats are hard at work trying to move America forward, repairing a decade of damage and growing an economy based on the Main Street values of hard work and responsibility.

We’ve fought for and won historic reforms to our health care system, a victory 100 years in the making, and to Wall Street, the most sweeping overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression.

But after years of policies that landed us in the worst recession since the 1930s, the Republicans who got us there have not come up with anything different from the policies of George W. Bush.

We simply cannot afford to go backwards or let them repeal our reforms. And making sure we can continue moving forward starts with your own promise to cast your ballot in these elections.

Please commit to vote this fall:

http://my.barackobama.com/Commitment

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Is anyone else seeing/feeling some desperation here? As in major Desperation?

As Rod Serling used to say at the beginning of the Twilight Zone episodes; "Imagine if you will…" a letter from Obama during the Death Panel/Tea Party harrassment over the Health Care bill:

=======================================
Friend —

Eighteen years ago, shortly after graduating from law school, I helped lead a voter registration campaign in Chicago that generated record turnout on Election Day.

That experience taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learned as a community organizer: When people promise that they’ll do something — like voting — they are far more likely to do it.

That’s why one key part of our Health Care reform plan this year is to get folks like you from across the country to commit to come out to your local town hall meeting and provide informed support for your representatives when the "Tea Partiers" begin shouting down your elected officials, make sure we get as many Congress People as we can to cast their ballots to support the single-payer strategy that will help control costs and get our economy under control.

But getting the support of ordinary Americans like you we start bring truth to process and electoral support for the Health Care Reform Change we campaigned on in 2008 .

Will you please commit to support your representatives in this contentious but important debate?

Over the next several months, volunteers across the country will spend countless hours calling voters and knocking on their doors, asking them the same question, do you support Universal Health Care if it guarantees that you or your loved ones can not be denied care, and that you will not go bankrupt or lose your life savings should someone in your family become ill?

And you can bet that I am counting on you to join them in talking to voters in your community.

This issue offers a stark choice. We Democrats are hard at work trying to move America forward, repairing a decade of damage and growing an economy based on the Main Street values of hard work and responsibility. And ensuring that every American is afforded excellent, high quality Health Care is part of that movement.

But after years of policies that landed us in the worst recession since the 1930s, the Republicans who got us there have not come up with anything different from the policies of George W. Bush.

We simply cannot afford to allow an ill-informed minority sponsored by some of the richest men and women in our country dictate whether or not you get Health Care.

Please commit to help support Universal Health Care this year:

Thank you,

President Barack Obama
—————————————————————

See, there’s my fantasy letter that BHO could have sent out and roused his already motivated base to oppose the Tea-Partiers/FreedomWorks and every other interest group including Max Baucus’s WellPoint legislation-writing mole LAST YEAR, but never did.

But of course it never worked that way. Now that BHO is beginning to believe that he might be blamed (and perhaps correctly) for the loss of at least one house of congress in November he’s panicking, even (shudder) politicking.

Here’s The Deal

I’ve had it with the manufactured outrage over the "ground zero" Islamic community center, the republican Wurlitzer playing a tune of bigotry, faux outrage and the noun and verb of 9/11 in incredible harmony.

So I have a proposal. If the republicans, as well as the assorted and miscellaneous rednecks who claim to be so concerned with the symbolism of an Islamic Community Center so close to their holy ground of "Ground Zero" then perhaps we should work out a trade.

There were about 3,000 men and women presumably of all faiths killed in attack on 9/11 and the outrage machine is trying to paint the rights of some Americans to build a place of worship and fellowship in some degree of proximity to the still not-begun WTC complex. In the treasonous war of secession aka "The Civil War" about 625,000 Americans died from combat or related causes and yet the State of South Carolina still flies a flag with the symbol of the treason of the Southern states on it and the same republicans who criticize the Islamic center dance with joy over the symbol of oppression and death that that flag represents to millions of Americans.

How about they take the treasonous "stars and bars" off that flag, and then talk about denying the Islamic Americans their right to practice their First Amendment right of Religion.

No double standards here, no sir-ee. IOKIYAR always and forever.

Almost Half-Way

When the primary battles of the 2008 election were drawing to a close, the bloody remnants of two strong campaigns shook hands and agreed to close ranks around our candidate for President, Barack Obama.

Even if we had supported another candidate in the primary season, we as Democrats were thrilled to see an historic candidate, the first African-American ascend to the zenith of American Politics, nomination for President of the United States and titular leader of the "free" world. His meteoric rise from unknown Illinois politician to the US Senate and then his leap into Presidential politics was the stuff of a Horatio Alger novel, something that left us all both stunned and hopeful.

In his campaign he seemed to be a forthright and honest broker in the American political process, while not using the Clintonian "Feel your pain" cadences in his speeches, he sought to lift the spirits of the listeners and make us feel that we could be participants in his rise to national puissance. His political psalms were of the restoration of America using the power of the Presidency and the victories gained in the legislative chambers to begin to effect an agenda that would take us away from the political and economic death-spiral our Republic had been locked in to since 2000.

Instead he as chosed to abdicate his office on almost every major issue to those who have been able to stick something shiny in front of his eyes at critical moments. His administration is being run by his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, a man who sharpened the vertices of Clintonian Triangulation to a fine point, and runs the agenda of the administration, and hence the country ruthlessly and for the profit of those who have been his longest-term friends, the Masters of the Universe in Lower Manhattan.

Obama’s apologists point to his passage of his Health Care bill as a "crowning achievement" and use the phrase "the perfect is the enemy of the good". An examination of Obama’s role in the passage of that legislation shows that he hardly expended any effort of political capital to achieve passage. In fact, he allowed a member of his own party, Max Baucus to slash and write a bill that not only profited but was written by the Health Care and Insurance Industries by Liz Fowler, a highly placed former Baucus staffer and VP at WellPoint, a mega-insurer who will profit immensely from the language of the bill, thanks to Baucus, Fowler and of course Obama’s cowardice (or to be kind, lack of definitive leadership in the matter)became so well defined that the phrase "Public Option" was a means for Rahm to scorn the very voters who believed in Obama’s support for universal health care as if we were some kind of wanton children with our noses pressed up against the glass, while our betters decided our fate unilaterally.

We are reminded every day that Obama, a Constitutional Lawyer, is willing to abrogate his duties under the Geneva Convention (and thereby the Constitution), to which we are a signatory to allow the continued existence of GITMO and not prosecute instances of torture, not "enhanced interrogation", torture that was prosecuted by the Allied Courts in Post WWII Europe and the Far East because of some mythical insistence on "looking forward not back" in his Administration. Would that any felon who has committed no crimes lately be granted so generous a respite from prosecution by law enforcement, their lives would be immeasurably more tranquil for not having to look over their shoulder and know that indeed justice delayed becomes no justice at all, and Rule of Law becomes moot with the passage of time for them.

Today Dan Choi was discharged from his honorable position in the service of our Country, by all accounts an outstanding and honorable soldier whose only fault was the sexual orientation he arrived in this world with. In campaign mode, Obama expressed over and over his disgust with the waste of good, honorable soldiers like Choi and promised that their cause of ending DADT would be his cause when he crossed the threshold of the Oval Office. Again, Obama has not only fallen short of his promise, but for all intents and purposes has retreated to the same "cone of silence" invented by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry in the TV sitcom "Get Smart". He hears nothing and we are left wondering what the real joke is, if not on us, the voters who gave him his opportunity to be the agent of Change in America.

I’m disgusted. I don’t know what will happen in 2012, but between the disaffected Democrats and Independents who pegged their hopes seeing a manifestation of energy comparable to the rhetorical brilliance of every Obama speech, it has been a sore and wounding trial to endure the successive disappointments when there could be achievement and progressive movement to rebuild and restore our country after the destruction of eight long years of republican destruction, both foreign and domestic.

Screwed? Jersey Sure!

So here it is, in living color. New Jersey, the Garden State (and the Garden does not include money trees, sadly) is facing the same revenue losses and budget shortfalls that many, many other states are facing.

The madness that is the republican "magic money machine", you know, the one that produces money for schools, roads, cops, firemen, airports, and all manner of other services as well as fighting two wars has caught New Jersey. And Governor Christie is going to let his high-dollar donors "trickle down" their potential tax money into some other place, like say, The Caymans…

The governor said “the watchwords of this budget are shared sacrifice and fairness,” yet his spending plan calls for only modest tax increases on insurers and hospitals, eliminates the film-production tax credit, and halves a tax credit for high-tech businesses.

The battle to ensue is likely to shape up around the so-called millionaire’s tax, a one-year income-tax surcharge on people making more than $400,000 that Mr. Christie vowed not to renew. (Democrats allowed it to lapse in December.) If that surcharge were renewed, it would bring in close to $1 billion.

In his speech, Mr. Christie affirmed his stance on the issue, saying New Jersey’s tax burden was already the nation’s costliest. “Mark my words today: If a tax increase is sent to my desk, I will veto it,” he said.

Wow! How incredibly fair! A Billion dollar source of revenue for the state, paid by folks who live in the state, use it’s resources, call the Garden State home and probably have for years, now get to have that incredible ass-hat Christie let them, nay, permit them with honors to become a "protected class" of tax-payer. One that pays less taxes.

The continuing madness that somehow we can get everything for free is going to somehow end "The Noble Experiment" when we all start learning Mandarin because the fucking politicians can’t face paying for what they promise, and what we need to survive is paid for by our Chinese Overlords with Walmart coupons.

Primaries, Primaries and Primaries

The historic election of 2008 was as much about putting Barack Obama into office as it was about getting rid of George W. Bush and his lawless, hyper-partisan administration. There was incredible messaging being pushed out about "change" and "hope" and a people-powered agenda that would reverse some or all of the ills of the previous eight years.

Sadly, our man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has not managed to deliver on much of anything that he promised. Whether it’s through an overabundance of caution or an honest belief that the "loyal opposition" will meet him half-way if he tries hard and speaks no ill of his adversaries, it’s not happening for the Americans who voted him and Congress into office over successive electoral cycles. The epic fails are beginning to add up in a way that soon no matter how many "wins" Obama can pull off his presidency will begin to look in retrospect like Jimmy Carter’s, and not in a good way.

The most effective tool right now in our toolbox as "netroots" activists is to find and work with likely candidates for office that will carry a progressive agenda forward, and push for things that are meaningful for progressives, and don’t have to be concerned with the myth of "bipartisanship". Sadly, as we look at a primary challenge for Blanche Lambert Lincoln, the wholly bought and paid for Senator from Arkansas it might be time to break with tradition and begin to look for a primary challenger for Obama as well.

Obama arrived with soaring rhetoric and a marketing machine second to none, sadly neither have translated into the kinds of change he promised at virtually every campaign event until the election. A choice of someone like Howard Dean would send a powerful message to the establishment Democrats who seem to be in charge of marketing our rulers to us… we would be supporting someone who was a successful governor, knows how to play politics on the National stage and seems to have the situational awareness to play the republican’s games, and win…as well as knowing when to hold’em and fold’em to get the people’s business done.

The 2012 election is going to be a coliseum-worthy Christians v Lions event on the republican side with the insurgence of the Tea Party crowd… they are going to go all Perot on the GOP, and cause havoc with the rank and file republicans, the more the establishment republicans try and co-opt them, the more they’ll fight to be "outside" the GOP agenda… one week they want to be in love with Moosilla and the next with Ron Paul’s spawn. I’m guessing that more than one "establishment" republican will try and claim the "Tea Party" mantle, before they are kicked to the curb for another TeaBagging heartthrob.

All that’s going to leave us with almost unheard of opportunity of being able to run a candidate against Obama, even though as the incumbent he’s the de-facto Democratic candidate for President. Primarying Obama might actually produce results, including demonstrating the lack of invulnerability within the Obama White House. He either has to start producing now on promises or watch his historic presidency limited to being a one-hit wonder.

The Other Side of Airline Safety Kabuki

Roberto-Devido,-Politicomix
Roberto-Devido,-Politicomix -click to embiggen

The airline industry has been caught in the post-Underpants Bomber security scare, and the bedwetters at DHS have been imposing draconian, virtually useless screening methodologies on the traveling public ruining both the industry and the public’s desire to travel at all. And it’s all in the name of Safety, right? Not so fast…

Airline management on the other hand has been working hard to ensure that the safety card is played in a whole other way… by punishing crews who try to behave in a way that allows safe operation of their aircraft, and who are doing their best to ensure that passengers have crews that are rested and ready to fly.

Last winter, Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed on approach into the Buffalo airport in Buffalo, NY. There has been a lot of speculation about the cause of the crash, from training issues to fatigue issues involving the crew. Well, the operator of that flight just put out a memo to their flight crews threatening them with discipline if they call in “fatigued” for a flight. The partial memo was posted on the website Airline Pilot Central, and is copied here as it was posted there: (more…)

The Other Side of Airline Safety Kabuki

The airline industry has been caught in the post-Underpants Bomber security scare, and the bedwetters at DHS have been imposing draconian, virtually useless screening methodologies on the traveling public ruining both the industry and the public’s desire to travel at all. And it’s all in the name of Safety, right? Not so fast…

Airline management on the other hand has been working hard to ensure that the safety card is played in a whole other way… by punishing crews who try to behave in a way that allows safe operation of their aircraft, and who are doing their best to ensure that passengers have crews that are rested and ready to fly.

Last winter, Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed on approach into the Buffalo airport in Buffalo, NY. There has been a lot of speculation about the cause of the crash, from training issues to fatigue issues involving the crew. Well, the operator of that flight just put out a memo to their flight crews threatening them with discipline if they call in "fatigued" for a flight. The partial memo was posted on the website Airline Pilot Central, and is copied here as it was posted there: (more…)

The Platform of No Meaning

Okay, raise your hands… how many of you voted for/supported BH Obama because of the obvious brilliance of his oratory, the superlative managerial success of his campaign and his demonstrated intellect in the age of The Bush?

Yeah, me too.

But not without reservations; there were those and I agreed with them that Obama was a bit of an empty suit with respect to policy and his real politics were probably somewhere closer to the "center" of the political spectrum. Now we’re finding out that that’s not just true, but painfully true.

Obama has not demonstrated much leadership on his "signature" issue, allegedly healthcare. We (the progressive Democrats) worked our asses off to deliver both houses of Congress and the White House after six and eight solid years respectively, of iron-fisted republican rule to a party and a man we thought would at least pretend to uphold an agenda we could live with. Apparently not.

Obama needs to understand, and perhaps now he’s beginning to get there, that NO republican will either support him publically or privately on any single issue he brings up. Whether it’s because of their own ideology or if it’s just to embarrass him by acting amenable and then dumping him like the cute girl punking the class nerd (and the republicans are just that high-school), their mantra is still that bi-partisanship is still akin to date rape.

If LBJ had approached civil rights legislation the way Obama is approaching his "signature" issue of Health Care we would today be parsing Jim Crow laws to find parts that give the least offense to white southerners and anti-miscegenation laws would still be on the books in plenty of states.

An incrementalist approach to health care is not going to work, Obama either needs to lead and do the right thing or just admit that he’s a highly-paid corporate lackey and enjoy his next three years of rent-free living in DC before he goes off to serve on the boards of 40 of the Fortune 50 companies and become obscenely rich and join the beltway elite for the 21st Century.

Obama’s place in history is already assured, maybe that’s all he ever wanted. Because his drive to succeed seems tempered by this whole addiction to "bi-partisanship" thing which is killing the rest of us.

Confessions of a SERE Veteran: What It is, and What It Was Not

On Wednesday, Spencer had a pretty fine piece quoting Malcolm Nance the former SERE instructor about the techniques used at SERE school. I am a graduate of the US Navy’s SERE school, albeit from the early ’80s, and the training has changed I am sure since then, so I can only speak to the things I know of, anything else is conjecture.

When I graduated from SERE, we were told that much of what we went through was classified, so anything that I talk about here has been discussed in public forums before, including by wingnut apologists and their mouthpieces (Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Scarborough, etc.), and thus I no longer feel any compunction to not talk about what they have already made public. There are some things that I remember that have never been disclosed (or I have not seen them) out here on the Internets. . . so there is no need to go into them, they are not significant with respect to the discussions of torture.

A principle wingnut talking point is that we all attended SERE school, and somehow that makes the treatment of the detainees (and others who have been subjected to the gentle ministrations of the modern-day Torquemadas) in GITMO and other places around the world OK in some way. Well, as Aviators (Pilots and Naval Flight Officers and certain enlisted Aircrew), we had to go through SERE training if we were in communities that had a possibility of flying into places we could potentially be captured (we also had a few SEALs with us, because they could find themselves in that sort of situation, too), and thus needed the training to endure a place we might not want to be.

The name of the school, SERE, is most telling—and seems to be missed by the wingnuts. The acronym stands for Survival, Evasion, RESISTANCE, and Escape. Resistance was taught as part of the curriculum—an equal part of the SERE curriculum—and likely the part most remembered by every graduate. The Survival phase was exactly what you would imagine. In general terms, we were given instruction in survival in different environments in which we might find ourselves (hey, we were Navy, so think about where that could be. . . and Deep Water Survival was a separate course). Evasion sort of speaks for itself—the challenge that allowed us to use the mad skillz we got in classroom lectures to try to get away. (more…)