Saturday, July 19, 2008

Two Faced McCain and The GOP

For weeks now, John McCain and the GOP have been jumping on Barack Obama for his supposed lack of knowledge of what's happening in Iraq simply due to the fact that he hasn't traveled to Iraq (as of this writing) in the last 923 days, and even rigged a clock to their website in an attempt to make it an embarrassing issue.

John McCain had even suggested that he and Obama should make the trip together. My guess on that bright idea is so the Maverick could show Obama all the hot spots and perhaps go bar hopping. Maybe even take Obama to the local strip club where the burkas only go down to just above the ankle. Ultimately, McCain was trying to pull an Izzy Mandelbaum and show the young kid the ropes, a position that the Illinois Senator wouldn't be caught dead in.

Now that Senator Obama has left on a world tour to visit war zones as well as foreign dignitaries, the McCain campaign and surrogates dare to call the trip a stunt, while McThuselah is trying to get his story straight after initially saying that Obama's trip was good thing. The audacity of Obama to go on a foreign trip, visit war zones and introduce himself around the world! It's not as if he would visit a country and by the strangest of coincidences, US hostages would be released from said country. That wouldn't be considered a stunt, would it?

And now we have this ad from the man who pledged a "respectful campaign."

Shall we take these claims one at a time?

"Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan."

It turns out that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has attended even fewer Afghanistan-related Senate hearings over the past two years than Obama's one. Which is a nice way of saying, McCain, R-Ariz., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, has attended zero of his committee's six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years.

...A review of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings as listed on the committee Web site for the past two years reveals that McCain's committee has held six hearings that included the word "Afghanistan" in the title or Central Command -- which overseas U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

McCain missed them all.

"[Obama] hasn't been to Iraq in years."

Not that it matters whether he's been there or not, but this trip will change that fact. It's also worthy to note that a person which such vast foreign policy experience as McCain should probably know not to leak the possible itinerary of a fellow Senator when travelling in hostile territory.

"[Obama] voted against funding our troops."

From Media Matters: "...on March 29, 2007, McCain himself voted against H.R. 1591, an emergency spending bill that would have funded the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and would have provided more than $1 billion in additional funds to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate passed H.R. 1591 by a margin of 51-47. Once the bill's conference report was agreed to by the House, the Senate again passed the measure on April 26, 2007, by a vote of 51-46. McCain did not vote on that version of the bill. By contrast, Obama voted for it on both occasions. President Bush vetoed the bill, citing its provision for a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Moreover, McCain has voted against other legislation funding care for veterans. On April 26, 2006, McCain
voted against an amendment by Sen. Daniel Akaka(D-HI) that would have "provide[d] an additional $430,000,000 for the Department of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans." In addition, on March 14, 2006, McCain voted against "increas[ing] Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes." On March 10, 2004, McCain also voted against "creat[ing] a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans' medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating tax loopholes." Obama voted for the first two measures; he had not yet entered the Senate when the third vote was cast."
This doesn't even include McCain's opposition to and non-vote of the Webb GI Bill, which passed in the Senate 75-22.

"John McCain has always supported our troops and the surge that's working."

Well, that's the rhetoric. But when it comes to putting your vote where your mouth is, McCain has been conspicuously absent. And as far as the "surge working," isn't it pretty obvious that when you negotiate with terrorists and pay insurgents to stop shooting at you, that violence is bound to go down?

"I'm John McCain and I approve this message."

I'm sure you do, Maverick.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bush Surrenders!

Why does George W. Bush hate America? Why does George W. Bush hate the troops? Why is George W. Bush cutting and running? Why is George W. Bush negotiating with terrorists? Why is George W. Bush an appeaser?

According to the definition of the GOP chickenhawks lo these past six years, that is what President Bush is doing as a result of this:

Washington (AP) - The United States and Iraq have agreed to seek "a general time horizon" for deeper reductions in American combat troops in Iraq.

Iraqi officials, in a sign of growing confidence as violence decreases, have been pressuring the United States to agree to a specific timeline to withdraw U.S. forces. President Bush has adamantly opposed a timeline, and the White House said Friday that the timeframe being discussed would not be "an arbitrary date for withdrawal."

The administration can try to spin this any way they want, but the fact that the Iraqis will not agree to anything unless a timetable is in place for troop withdrawal (after all, it is their country) is the very thing that Bush is opposed to, but cannot avoid.

This is the very thing that Senator Obama has been advocating from the beginning that the McCainstream Media and the GOP have been lambasting Obama for, but of course now that it's coming from the White House, they'll adapt to it and act as if this has been their position all along. And no one will call them on it.

This also comes on the heels of Monday's revelation that the US is sending a senior official to Iran for the purposes of participation in international talks. Hmmm... sounds like diplomacy to me.

...The administration sought to describe the talks as a continuation of the same strategy it has always pursued: halting Iran’s nuclear activities without having to resort to military force.

Duh. That's what diplomacy is, you nitwits. And what do you know! Diplomacy is what Barack Obama has been advocating as well. Is Obama secretly Bush's real Secretary of State? At this rate, maybe by the end of the day we'll have universal health care too!

So let's recap: diplomatic intentions with Iran on Monday, the Medicare veto override on Tuesday and the agreement with Iraq for a troop pullout timeline today. I'd say it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for Georgie.

(Photo courtesy of The Onion)

Supporting Our Troops, Republican Style

Don't you just love the free market? Too bad it wasn't used when these no-bid contracts were handed out by the Bushies.

NY TIMES: WASHINGTON — Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.

During just one six-month period — August 2006 through January 2007 — at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged American military facilities in Iraq, including the military’s largest dining hall in the country, documents obtained by The New York Times show. Two soldiers died in an electrical fire at their base near Tikrit in 2006, the records note, while another was injured while jumping from a burning guard tower in May 2007.

And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis.

...The reports of shoddy electrical work have raised new questions about the Bush administration’s heavy reliance on contractors in Iraq, particularly because they come after other high-profile disputes involving KBR. They include accusations of overbilling, providing unsafe water to soldiers and failing to protect female employees who were sexually assaulted.

9/11 Billboard. Classy.

So what genius thought this was a good idea?

"A controversial billboard in Orange County has a picture of the burning World Trade Center and the message, "Please Don't Vote for a Democrat." The man who paid for the ad says he's trying to help Republicans, but officials with both political parties are calling the billboard inappropriate.

...A controversial billboard in Orange County has a picture of the burning World Trade Center and the message, "Please Don't Vote for a Democrat." The man who paid for the ad says he's trying to help Republicans, but officials with both political parties are calling the billboard inappropriate."

Awesome. Mike Meehan sells his soul to the devil for $5 CDs. But of course this is what they do, invoking 9/11 to create an atmosphere of fear, sport purple band-aids to disparage a Vietnam war hero, and insist you "know how to win wars" when the only war you were involved in saw you shot down and a prisoner of war for five and a half years.

(H/T C&L)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last Play At Shea

Yesterday, my wife and I enjoyed an evening of Billy Joel as he played a three hour concert at Shea Stadium in its final year.

And what a great concert it was. In the middle of "New York State of Mind," out came Tony Bennett to partake in a couple of verses. Then a few songs later, Joel was joined by John Mayer as he played the guitar solo to "This Is The Time." My wife and I looked at each other and wondered what other guests Billy might have in store.

Don Henley came out to sing "The Boys Of Summer" and the crowd went nuts. And finally, after a few more famous Joel tunes, John Mellencamp brought the house down with "Pink Houses."

I'm tired today and my ears are still ringing (we had 5th row floor seats) but it was well worth it to watch Billy Joel in the house that The Beatles played in, singing Beatles tunes and showing that he can still fire it up at 59.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Know How To Win Wars

Taking credit for successes and blaming others for failures is what Republicans do. Over the past couple of days I've been listening to GOP Senators on MSNBC blaming NATO for the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. I suppose "Support The Troops" only means our troops. Fuck the other allies' troops. They can't do anything right, right?

And now McThuselah claims that he "knows how to win wars." Yes, "wars" as in plural. I'm sure he wasn't just thinking of Iraq and Afghanistan as Beach Boys tunes danced in his head.

"...It is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan. It is by applying the tried and true principles of counter-insurgency used in the surge -- which Senator Obama opposed -- that we will win in Afghanistan. With the right strategy and the right forces, we can succeed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I know how to win wars. And if I'm elected President, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq, with a comprehensive strategy for victory."

Perhaps McCain's definition of winning a war is getting shot down over enemy territory and being a prisoner of war for over five years. We win.

That the "success in Iraq" is the model McThuselah would use in Afghanistan if he became president is absolutely ludicrous. I would not so kindly ask, "What success would you be talking about?!"

It seems that everyone touting success in Iraq is selectively remembering only the post-surge reduction in violence and not the fact that the whole reason for the surge in the first place was to give the Iraqi government time to get its shit together. That hasn't happened and moving the goalposts from "when they stand up, we'll stand down" to "an acceptable level of violence" won't make the surge a success.

And even if you accept McCain's premise that the model of Iraq is the way we'd do things in Afghanistan, one would have to realize that it's an impossibility to do it the Iraq way with the lack of resources we now face. We don't have the troops to send to Afghanistan unless we pull them out of Iraq!

And this is the man that is lauded by the McCainstream Media as a foreign policy wiz!


T Minus 188 Days

"Our country puts $1 billion a year up to help feed the hungry. And we're by far the most generous nation in the world when it comes to that, and I'm proud to report that. This isn't a contest of who's the most generous. I'm just telling you as an aside. We're generous. We shouldn't be bragging about it. But we are. We're very generous."

- Washington, DC, July 16, 2003

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pat Buchanan Skewered On Hardball

Sometimes Chris Matthews is completely off the mark, but sometimes he hits the nail on the head.

On tonight's Hardball, Matthews was contrasting Barack Obama's and John McCain's prospective policies for the Middle East and took Pat Buchanan to task for attempting to compare John McCain to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Matthews and Mark Green are on Buchanan like a couple of pit bulls.

Watch and enjoy.

Obama Smear E-mail Update Part 2

The update at this point is that there is no update. The e-mails I've sent out in trying to reach Gary McDermott, the supposed originator of the "Obama dissed a wheelchair vet" story have garnered no response.

However, I did get this comment from Jim Davlin, a disabled Vietnam veteran who didn't take kindly to the receiving the same e-mail and apparently came across my blog trying to validate the story as well.

UNEDITED: I got the email today and like you I tried in Vain to valid it. And got no joy! Seems you can write anything you want and, people will believe it at least the right wing zealots.I find this truly disturbing because I am a disable Marine in a wheelchair, this makes us look like at best a bunch of winers at worst liars. Good luck on tracking this coward down, if he told half the truth he would stand up and be counted!Just so there is no questions my name is Jim Davlin, I was with Delta Company 1/5 , in 1966, My email is I stand behind what I say, so if this coward has the stones email me!

Thanks, Jim. I hope you have better luck than I'm having. If you hear anything let me know.

Live From Vietnam

Oh, the irony.

The Miss Universe pageant took place over the weekend in Vietnam. The Miss Universe pageant, which was first concocted in California in 1952, was hosted in a country where we lost 58,000 soldiers by the end of the Vietnam War.

Ironically, thirty-odd years after the fall of Saigon, came the fall of Crystle Stewart, Miss USA, right on her ass as she was participating in the evening gown competition. The "universe" works in mysterious ways.

Oh, and Jerry Springer and Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown were the pageant's hosts. Talk about A-List!

The End Of Satire

Bush at the G8 Summit: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

I don't know if this story is 100% accurate, but how sad if it were factually correct.

Not only have we been screwed by this administration time and again but it also seems as though this may be the end of satire as we know it. How else can you explain that such a quote possibly coming from the leader of the free world would be plausible?

T Minus 189 Days

"One thing is clear, is relations between America and Russia are good, and they're important that they be good."

- Streina, Russia, July 15, 2006

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Yorker Obama Cover: "The Politics of Fear"

I only came upon this about a minute ago, but I can't decide how I feel about it yet.

I know it's supposed to be satirical, but I think The New Yorker swung and missed.

Notice that the Obamas are in the Oval Office, Bin Laden's portrait hangs on the wall, the American flag is burning in the fireplace and the "terrorist fist jab" is thrown in for a nice touch. I wonder why he didn't include the Obama daughters in burkas?

Artist Barry Blitt has yet to decide if this was a mistake or not, though he defends the cover.

"I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is."

And in retrospect, given the outcry, is he glad he made the art?

"Retrospect? Outcry?" he wrote. "The magazine just came out ten minutes ago, at least give me a few days to decide whether to regret it or not..."

Yeah, I've decided. It's tasteless. I'm not just saying that because I'm an Obama guy, it's just that it's over the top and since the right wing is trying to portray Obama in this light already, the irony and satire will be lost on those to whom it was meant for.

And as Reef at Kos put it so succinctly, "They got the new McCain Manchurian Candidate cover lined up for next week right?"

UPDATE (7/15/08, 10:20pm): From the Rude Pundit:

"...the Rude Pundit's problem with the whole Barack-as-Muslim and Michelle-as-Black-Panther plus burning flag and bin Laden's picture in the Oval Office isn't that it's particularly offensive. It's that it's just not very funny. It's not even enough to make you go, "Hmmm." You glance at it once and think, "Yeah, some people think that, don't they? That's a shame." And there the whole joke ends. There's no more levels to it. It's like an Upper East Side version of South Park, an elitist attempt at crude humor, like an ironic fart at a wine tasting.

...Here's the thing: anyone who doesn't see the cover art as satire already believed that Obama was a terr'ist out to secretly destroy American and get rid of apple pie and porn. No one's gonna look at the cover and say, "Well, right there, it proves Obama hates this country."

Unfortunately, right after I read that last line, I saw this.

Ex-convict G. Gordon Liddy, who masterminded Watergate break-in of the DNC headquarters in 1972, and who for some reason people take seriously and give him a radio show, said the following to a caller:

"Yeah, I don't suppose you've, by any chance, have seen the cover of the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine, which is, you know, a huge thing. It's got Obama in his Muslim dress with a turban, and he's there with his wife. His wife has a "mad at the world" afro, circa 1968, she -- she's got bandoliers and an assault weapon, and there in their fireplace is burning the American flag. The New Yorker finally got it right."

Go read the rest of the Media Matters article if you're the least bit interested in increasing your blood pressure by seeing what kind of shit comes out of this toady's mouth as well as the mouths of all Republican water carriers on the airwaves.

I've also heard differing opinions on the New Yorker cover from, "It's offensive" to "It's brilliant satire." But is it brilliant if it has to be explained?