January 12, 2010 archive

Game Change: Timing is Everything

The book, Game Change, has rightly been the talk of Washington, DC, and the pundit class.  Like many have, I have read the published excerpts, a few of which shock me, but most of which confirm the rumors long existent about the real nature of the notable players in the groundbreaking 2008 Presidential election.  What the book does for me is question the number of times I have given the benefit of the doubt to politicians based on their passionate entreaties that they have been so unfairly smeared by the media.  In some instances, I have completely doubled back and reversed course altogether from my initial reservations regarding certain candidates (namely Hillary Clinton) by second-guessing myself.  In doing so, I assumed that perhaps my own first impressions were wrong or were motivated by some heretofore unrealized internalized sexism on my part.

I wonder about the timing of releasing such salacious, and ultimately damning revelations now.  Clearly, John Edwards’ reputation and political fortunes were rendered null and void long before the book’s release, though one does get the added bonus of being supremely grateful he didn’t even come remotely close to securing the nomination.  The small, but substantial band of true believers who bought into what we know now was coordinated, though barely contained myth might be the real losers in all of this.  These people felt demoralized and rudderless when Edwards crashed to earth.  If even half of what is printed is true regarding Elizabeth Edwards, she is unlikely to be able to reserve space on daytime television couches ever again.  At any rate, few will be pressing the Pope to canonize her for suffering nobly with quiet resolve from breast cancer while her husband was carrying on an affair with another woman.  The Edwards’, like so many political marriages, apparently are made for each other, somewhere on cloud-cuckoo-land.      

What might be the intent of releasing this book now?  To encourage the Democratic party to rid itself of dead weight to maintain ample majorities in both the House and Senate with the upcoming Mid-Congressional elections?  To make President Obama look good by comparison?  To dance one final dirge on the grave of the supposedly invincible Clinton machine?  To keep the Republican party weak and divided leading into 2012?  As a cautionary tale towards all Americans that one should never believe the man (or woman) behind the curtain?  Or is it purely as a means to stir up controversy and sell books by the cartload?  Only the authors themselves know for sure.    

Everyone’s been talking about the Harry Reid comment, as well they should, but when I read it, all I see is an out-of-touch politician stuck in a way of thinking forty to forty-five years out of date.  Who says “Negro” anymore, aside from hip hop superstars, except maybe in an ironic context?  Though the remark is embarrassing enough on its face, it also points out just why Senator Reid was in a vulnerable state before this bombshell exploded.  Behind the times and certainly behind the eight ball, the ultimate impact of this ill-chosen remark will not arrive for another ten months, but if this is the beginning of the end, history will record the precise reason why.  One would hope this would also be a bucket of cold water to the face of the Democratic party, who has consistently clung to wet noodles like Reid and eschewed inspirational and potentially transformative leadership out of a stubborn refusal to delegate power to those with better ideas and better strategies.

If the portrayal in Game Change rings true, then we were fortunate to neither have nominated, nor elected now-Secretary Hillary Clinton.  She comes across as a supremely impotent and callous leader:  petty, cold, vindictive, and totally unprepared after the surprise loss in the Iowa caucus.  The irony among many is that, if this story is true, Hillary Clinton is the absolutely last person I would ever want picking up the red phone at 3 am.  Furthermore, the results of Bill’s apparent unwillingness to stop philandering might not have been leaked to the public, but the fear that it would proved to be a major distraction, among many many others in the Clinton War Room.  There were many of us out in the blogosphere who were accused of being clandestine Republican, or at least disloyal traitors to the party for voicing these same reservations, and I hope that now perhaps we can be vindicated as placing mostly ethical conduct (if not a winning team) before party line.

I don’t blame those who wanted to see Hillary Clinton as the first female President in the hopes of putting a symbolic end to the oft-reviled glass ceiling.  Even going in, she was clearly not a flawless candidate, but many who participated in the front lines of the women’s equality movement were willing to overlook them in order to make a clear and unequivocal statement.  As for me, I can’t count the number of times I’ve voted for a candidate who neither inspires me, nor fills me with anything more than a rather perfunctory obligation to cast a ballot (see: Kerry, John).  In the minds of some, no red flag or combination of red flags could have swayed them from taking Hillary Clinton to new living quarters at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  But, in saying this, it is very dangerous to superimpose any dream on one single individual, particularly when the cause itself can at times be distorted into purely self-serving ends, rather than with the intent to positively influence as many people as possible and in so doing improve life for everyone.  

Regarding the Hillary supporters, I do understand their motivation.  When she was criticized from whichever corner was actively firing at her, they felt criticized, too.  All of the times where women in position of power were discounted or called “bitch” when they tried to intrude upon what had long been spaces reserved purely for men translated to a supreme justification for their unyielding favor with Team Clinton.  Still, what one must do, however, is qualify the criticisms and the negative comments in their proper context.  “Bitch” can be meant in an equally petty, snidely condescending fashion regarding any woman who broaches Patriarchal protocol and demands to be both highly visible and highly outspoken.  “Bitch”, it must be added, can also be an epithet for someone whose mean-spirited behavior and ill-tempered personal conduct renders them most unpleasant and not especially ingratiating.  So there is a difference, though sometimes it can be obscured or manipulated when it is politically expedient to do so.  

This degree of self-identification at the expense of viewing the Senator’s New Clothes is what drove the hard-core Hillary loyalists, some of which became PUMAs come convention time.  It is also why the mainstream Feminist organizations like NOW backed Hillary Clinton to further their own cause, though in truth they are beholden to aging leadership, obsolete strategies, and tone-deaf attempts to stay relevant and pertinent to a new generation of younger feminists as well as those interested in the cause.  Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising why these organizations allied themselves with a candidate who shared all these same regrettable tendencies.  Hillary Clinton might as well have been a PUMA herself, since by the end, it was only those of her own age range, skin color, level of education, and background who clung tenaciously to a fading hope.  Again, true change will always be threatening to the status quo, but passing the torch isn’t an inspirational invocation, it is an admonition in this context.  It is well past time for a new generation of Americans to move forward the cause.          

Returning briefly to then-Candidate Clinton, though there was certainly an undercurrent of sexism inherent in media portrayals and public opinion of Hillary Clinton, as revealed in the book, the candidate certainly didn’t help her case by her private behavior.  Furthermore, she was brought down and utterly discounted by one of the most bizarre bedfellow arrangements I’ve ever seen in the form of the Anybody but Hillary bandwagon, the nascent Obama campaign, and the weakened, but still effective Republican party media blitzkrieg.  For once, all three were on the same page, with the same target in their sights, and all were dishing out a version of the presumptive front-runner that the passage of time has proven to be closer to fact than to fiction.  When you actually are that which your opposition claims that you are, then it is time to consider punting.    

Books like these reveal a fundamental truth about Americans, and perhaps all humans.  We are all eager voyeurs, gleefully peering behind the curtain to observe a glimpse of something we should not be able to spy, but also praying that the camera eye will never be turned upon us at any time, for any reason.  One might call it hypocrisy or the by product of a repressive society, but at any rate, it is the fundamental tension that leads us to create carefully crafted public images which are often nothing like our private, unguarded selves.  This is true on Facebook and it is true out in the work world.  I’d rather pursue this angle rather than resorting to a bunch of faux moralizing about how this book is scandalous and tawdry to no good end.  Scandalous and tawdry has become a cottage industry of sorts and it will always have an eager market.  There was a market for it a thousands years ago and there will be a market for it a century hence, I have no doubt.    

One would hope, then, that recognizing the painful dysfunction inherent in our political stars would cause our views to soften or at least evolve.  Being given a clear example of how propriety has a way of distorting the real from the imagined one would think would be liberating.  Imagine if there would be no need to outsource our own shortcomings to a war room within our own heads or, if we had the money, five or six well-paid keepers.  Still, to normalize this sort of behavior is neither my intent, nor my goal.  I’d rather focus on how initial altruism often takes a back seat to ultimate ambition, both in the minds of candidates and those actively involved in the game itself.  This is the lasting lesson I glean from all of this.

We can continue to build a cynical notion that politicians and politics are a game of smoke and mirrors.  Books like these do nothing to dispel such beliefs and everything to root them in place.  A study of hubris on the scale of this one should give us all reason to wonder if, were we in the same position, we would do any better.  It takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline not to give in to the applause, to the star-struck supporters, to the constant attention, and to the flirtations and propositions of those attracted to power, eloquence, and inspiration.  Fame is ephemeral, certainly, but it is also often instantaneous or immediate.  One day we are unknown, the next everyone knows our name.  We might handle it better if we’d had time to prepare ourselves for the good times and also the slings and arrows that are part of a packaged deal.  Though we may tell ourselves and others that being important is a state of being we would not wish for ourselves, there is a partially hidden part of us who craves it and would not turn it down if it were offered.  The rewards are too tempting for most to resist, or at least for very long.  When new fame comes attached to power, one can understand why any system views it uneasily, though the reality is that only by embracing a fresh set of legs and a new energy can we ever move farther down the road towards progress.

Vigil Witness: Worthington on Democracy NOW!


Andy Worthington guests on on Democracy NOW! Jan 08, 2010: After Years in Guantanamo Prison Without Charge, Future Even More Uncertain for Yemeni Detainees

ANDY WORTHINGTON:  You know, and the Pentagon consistently produces these kind of-this kind of information at useful times. I mean, it really makes me wonder who’s running the show here. Who in the Pentagon is making this kind of material available the day after Barack Obama has backed down on releasing any more Yemenis, which is clearly part of a whole story that makes it more and more difficult to close Guantanamo? Whose side are they on? Whose agenda is being set here?

Here’s the video… thank you edger!

Iraq War Inquiry Resumed: Day 5 and part of 6

Spin Doctor or His Master’s Voice, how many times have you heard those used as to former office holders who hit the airways after their no longer in government here, a couple of names quickly pop up, one being a recently former Vice president who seemed to have led the charge into invading an innocent country, one Dick Cheney. Another has strong ties apparently to the previous, his daughter Liz Cheney, who frankly, unless Daddy is spilling top secret information so she doesn’t spin to much out of his reality, doesn’t have the expertise nor experience to be speaking up on much of anything, nor might I add the knowledge needed.

But back to the two phrases. Seems the Brit press don’t have any problem calling a spade a spade especially on “Spin Doctor”, there’s a number of reports on the Campbell testimony quickly coming out as this session of the Inquiry is still going on, that have readily posted that up before tearing into his testimony. By the way, he’s pretty good, especially for keeping on the talking points from back then with little deviation, pure politic, Blair should be a hoot.

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics: signs of gearing up for another false flag operation

There will be a protest on February 3rd against the Patriot Act, which Congress did NOT allow to sunset at the end of 2009:

With three provisions of the PATRIOT Act set to expire at the end of 2009, the House and Senate rejected a proposal, the JUSTICE Act, that would have added long overdue civil liberties protections to the many controversial provisions of the PATRIOT Act. Other competing bills simply renewed the provisions without consideration for their significant toll on the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Americans.

Instead of passing any of these bills, Congress voted late last month to renew the expiring provisions for 60 days. Now, with calls emerging to demand even more power to monitor and spy on Americans of all walks of life, we must demand that Congress uphold our Constitution and protect our rights. As the Constitution once again finds itself with few allies in Washington, Congress is about to resuscitate a cornerstone of the domestic surveillance regime and shred what little remains of constitutional privacy.

If you are interested in participating in this protest, you can find out more here.

So while we have another 60 days of fascist surveillance in the US, it would seem that Canada’s Prime Minister has managed to shut down Parliament until March 3rd. Meanwhile, another shady security multinational with a rather poor track record is being brought in to provide security for the Olympics.

Verint, a (cough ahem) Melville, Long Island based multinational corporation (surprised? Me? Ummm… NOT!), provided faulty “security” in London during the 7/7 bombing. None of the surveillance cameras provided by this company were working shortly before and during the attack on London’s subways. They all experienced a well-timed, mysterious “outage”.

Verint was also providing “security” at the originating airports for the flights involved in the 9/11 attacks.

The Canadian Government will not be in session during the Vancouver Olympics. If a terrorist attack occurs while their government is suspended, there will be no precedent for how to respond.

This is all very clever. Elements within the United States who would want to provide genuine security for this event are rendered ineffective by the fact that the event isn’t happening within our borders. Other elements inside the United States whose primary interests are JOB security have been successful in procuring a 60 day window to continue their illegal, unconstitutional operations – and they are in place to ensure that via a major false flag attack at the Olympics, combined with conveniently timed and unaccountable “incompetence” from supposedly trusted sources, they would allowed to continue their fascist policies indefinitely. And the Canadian Prime Minister has adroitly moved the entire rest of the Canadian Government conveniently out of the way.

Ignoring this now? You might not be ignoring it later.

DD Justice Vigil Open Invite

Jan 11 through 22. See my initial essay yesterday. January 22 marks the day that Guantanamo would’ve closed had that been… possible…. according to that 2009 inaugural promise.

Dharma Bums. For the duration of this ten day or so Vigil, I invite you to contribute or participate in whatever way you choose, but I would like to encourage you to attend bloggily in some small or large way.

A very simple thing anyone can do would be to change your sig for the duration.

Another simple thing you could do is to post an Essay on the subject. You can post three per day here y’know. 😉 Surely you’d be willing to devote one to this effort? It doesn’t have to be info heavy or link rich even. Some thoughts, a photo montage or music video or something simple is fine.

Just do it. No Sign Up Sheet or anything. Be excellent.




No justice, no peace.

Hey, Come This Way!!!

I’m having a hard time finding my muse this week. I guess I’m like everyone else in blogland, you get overloaded and underenergied. More than that and less I suppose. I’m not having the personal crisis of faith that so many seem to feel lately. I keep reading about people trying to define “Who we are, what we want, what are we doing, and what does the very word ‘left’ mean.” I keep seeing people buying into the outside-driven meme that the Left is powerless, or is defined by the Elites in Washington, who are all Right, IMO.

PhotobucketIn part, my thoughts this morning are also driven by Ed_Encho’s chat with me over the weekend and his ensuing essay, on why he is leaving the Left. He is still going to post here, by the way, he just internally changed the angle he is coming from.

To each his own, man, and I’m not dissing where he’s coming from. I’m just not buying any of it. I’m not buying that we are ineffective as an ideology, a movement or as people. Its in fact, amazing that we have stemmed the tide for as long as we have as much as we have when we are up against people with the Power and the Money to defend their Power and Money jealously.

Nothing they can do, nothing anyone can say, can change what and who I am. I always know, have always known which way to go. There is only one way to make the World a better place for all human beings. Its This Way.


Docudharma Times Tuesday January 12

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Federal Reserve earned $45 billion in 2009

Fla. airport gets OK for spaceport license

States Lower Test Standards for a High School Diploma

Blind architects have a real feel for the site lines

Pakistan suffers record number of deaths due to militant violence

Vietnamese evicted my flock, says Zen master

Yemen ‘cannot contain al-Qa’ida’

Jordanians question alliance with US after Humam al-Balawi’s CIA suicide bombing

Miep Gies who helped hide Anne Frank dies at 100

Controversial ‘Leonardo’ painting goes on sale in New York

Nigeria’s ailing President Yar’Adua breaks silence

African music festival goes smoothly in Mali despite Al Qaeda threats

New Film May Sway Brazil’s Vote on President

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Dancing Sprites

(Click on image for larger view)

Another graphic inside…

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Progressive Democrats of America takes strong stand for Marcy Winograd

PDA takes a courageous, principled stance against typical democratic cronyism.  I offer this diary as a continuation of Tom P’s recent essay discussing Winograd, Waxman, and Harmon, and primarily as an example of real courage and standing on principle rather than compromise.  

PDA founder Tim Carpenter and the executive board members have signed a letter asking Lynn Woolsey, co-founder of the CPC and a PDA board member herself, to cancel her scheduled speaking engagement at a campaign event for Harmon.  

Tim Carpenter writes;

We have heard from many progressives, both inside and outside PDA, expressing disapproval of PDA advisory board member Lynn Woolsey’s decision to headline a fundraising event for Jane Harman this coming Saturday in Venice, California. As you probably already know, PDA has endorsed Marcy Winograd in California’s 36th Congressional District, the seat currently held by Jane Harman.

The letter follows, and there is a link for you to become a co-signer at the end of the letter:


NJ Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana

Now in 14 States.

The lame duck Assembly, in it’s final day passed by 48-14 a considerably weaker bill than had cleared the senate a year ago, and adjourned, leaving the Senate with a take it or leave it on the Assembly draft. The Senate took it, 25-13.

Removed, provisions allowing patients to grow their own. Left in, non-profit “compassion centers,” analogous to dispensaries. Gov Corzine says he’ll sign, before leaving office on Jan. 19th. Incoming Republican Gov. Christie has indicated he’d also sign, if it’s left to him.

Next up, Wisconsin, where we’re also hearing from legislators uncomfortable with the grow at home provision. While negotiations are still underway in relevant committees to iron out details, I’m still confident we’ll get SOME bill passed before the end of the session in April.  Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act

For New Jersey, I want to congratulate, in particular Jim Miller, whose  wife Cheryl, stricken with Multiple Sclerosis,  used to have him bring her, strapped in her rolling hospital bed, to lobby both in Trenton and the Capitol in DC.

When she passed away in 2003, he re-dedicated himself to completing her mission.

Home Page of the Cheryl Miller Memorial Project

United States of Racists

Liz Cheney is a Racist.

I don’t mean to single out Liz Cheney, not that she doesn’t deserve it.   She and her Dad are certainly not the only racists in this country.  We have racists in every corner of our society.  We have racists in every race.  We have a wonderful melting pot of people from all over the world, with racists in every part of the pot.    

Public support has always been necessary in this democratic society we live.  Particularly with wars.  Our government has always worked hard to insure support for its wars by appealing to the racist and fearful  tendencies of the white people.    Genocide against the Native Americans was carried out by painting them as “Savages”.  They were uncivilized sub humans that were out to kill the white people and therefore, to be feared.  Slavery was enacted and continued for hundreds of years by depicting blacks as savages.  Ignorant savages, worthy only of the most menial tasks.   The public viewed them as threats that had to be kept down lest they unleashed their savagery, and simple minded people who should be grateful for their provided tasks and meager subsistence.  When the Native Americans tried to fight back, they were nothing but terrorists in the minds of the imperialist white nation.   They had no rights in racist white America.  The racism against those two races is still prevalent today.


For the past eight plus years, the United States has been waging a Global War on Terror (GWOT).  Similar to the Native American attack on Albany, NY in 1704, the white man has used the occasion to force the gullible and racist public to accept its war on people of a different color.  People that are different.  Savages that must be annihilated before they kill the intelligent and superior white man, rape their women, and scalp their children.


Many now realize that most of the so called terrorists are acting in a manner similar to Native Americans from the 1600’s thru the 1800’s.  They are fighting against an aggressor that threatens their existence.   The same white aggressor that nearly pulled off a complete genocide of the Native American people over one hundred years ago.  The same white aggressor that held other human beings as slaves in this country for over three hundred years.  

To gain support for the racist GWOT, the general public has been told the same old story.   We must fear.  Those we are fighting against are savages whose only goal is to kill us.  It doesn’t matter why they want to kill us.     Only now, the white man is not the only racist.   Support for the invasion and colonization or hegemonic control over the brown and black Muslim people crosses all racial boundaries.  Not universally of course, but slavery and Native American genocide didn’t garner universal support either.  The juxtaposition of of African Americans supporting attacks in Yemen, Somalia, and the actions of this country that assisted the near genocide in Darfur is overwhelming.  


Approximately 60% of the people in this country favor racial profiling based on the GWOT.  Considering the white race makes up about 65% of the population, and many whites do oppose racial profiling, the only conclusion is people of races who have themselves been subjugated by the white race are now supporting the white man’s racist drive for power.  


Sure, Liz Cheney is a racist, as is her father.  Harry Reid is a racist.  President Obama is a racist.  The majority of this country is racist.  Anyone who supports this Global War on Terror is a RACIST.  In a democracy, the majority rules, so we should change the name of this country to the United States of Racists.  

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