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Philip Gourevitch sells transparency down the river.

I originally posted this here at the Great Orange Satan. I stated then and I will state now that my rights are not for sale. Now, Philip Gourevitch seeks to sell my right to know what is being done in my name down the river in the New York Times. I will repost here and then add a rebuttal to Mr. Gourevitch down below.

Crazed & Confused thinks that Obama was right not to release the torture photos. But he ignores the basic problems with Obama’s rationale — transparency is essential to a functioning democracy. It was the clear intent of the Founding Fathers that the government follow a policy of transparency — in fact, the Constitution requires that Congress publish a journal of its proceedings. If we do not have maximum transparency in our government, then how will we know if we are still a functioning democracy? How will we know if our elected officials are following the Constitution? This is the very sort of thing that Obama ran on. I suggest that he do what he was elected to do and provide more transparency in government by releasing these pictures.  

John McCain to voters: “Please, sir, I want some war!”

Proving that John McCain is a total lunatic when it comes to foreign policy, he is now calling for more wars. And not only that, he had this to say:

Presidential candidate John McCain shocked observers on Sunday when he told a crowd of supporters, “There’s going to be other wars. … I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars.”

Which horrified Pat Buchanan:

“That’s one of the things that makes me very nervous about him,” Buchanan went on. “There’s no doubt John McCain is going to be a war president. … His whole career is wrapped up in the military, national security. He’s in Putin’s face, he’s threatening the Iranians, we’re going to be in Iraq a hundred years.”

“So when he says more war,” Scarborough commented, “he is promising you, if he gets in the White House, we’ll not only be fighting this war but starting new wars. Is that what conservative Republicans want?

“I don’t say he’s starting them,” Buchanan answered. “He expects more wars. … I think he’s talking straight, because if you take a look at the McCain foreign policy, he is in everybody’s face. Did you see Thad Cochran’s comment when he endorsed Romney? He said, look, John McCain is a bellicose, red-faced, angry guy, who constantly explodes.”

Just as John McCain is positioning himself as a frontrunner and stealing the thunder from Ron Paul by appealing to those Republicans who think the war was mismanaged, he comes up with this howler. And although Buchanan tries to put the best face on his remarks by saying that McCain would not start them, that does not mean anything.

McCain Doctrine in Iraq Unraveling

John McCain is riding high in the polls right now. As of right now, he seems to be on the inside track to win the Presidential nomination. He is one of the few candidates who is currently leading Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the general election polls. And yet, it turns out that the McCain Doctrine on Iraq is now unraveling.

John McCain, whose campaign was left for dead last summer, was able to revive in part by portraying himself as a heroic figure who stood up and challenged the Bush administration on Iraq and called out Donald Rumsfeld. He was therefore able to attract Republican critics of the war that might otherwise have gone to Ron Paul; he was able to attract them by showing how the war was allegedly mismanaged. But McCain is now a ticking time bomb who is in danger of imploding. He hitched his wagons to the Petraeus Surge so that when there was more stability in Iraq, he could turn around and say that he was right all along. Already, Mitt Romney is drawing even with McCain in the polls in Florida.

John McCain’s political fortunes in this race rise or fall with the success or failure of the “surge.” And given the stories below, it seems that it has not addressed the ongoing violence in Iraq. People may argue at this point that there is a lot more stability in Iraq than there was several months ago. But the current relative stability in Iraq has nothing to do with the so-called “surge.” But it turns out that the current stability, which could unravel at any time, was a result of deals that were brokered by Northern Ireland and South African negotiators and 16 of the main Iraqi political factions. So, even if there was stability, John McCain cannot justifiably claim credit for it in the first place.

Bill Clinton attacks created backlash for Hillary.

Tonight’s victory of Barack Obama was a lot bigger than anyone expected. Most pollsters expected a victory of around 10 points; only one predicted a victory of 20 points. While they correctly predicted the uptick in support for Edwards, they did not predict the huge margin of victory that Obama would take.

The X Factor in this race was the attacks of Bill Clinton on Obama this week. However, it turned out that these attacks created a huge backlash against Hillary and led to Obama’s unexpectedly wide margin. Obama’s victory will undoubtedly give him momentum going into the next race; however, the big question is how much?

The reason that I ask this question is because the next battle will be totally different than the four battles that came before it. In the previous four battles, the winner was the candidate who could do the best at practicing retail politics — this was a turf that clearly favored Obama. With his huge gift for oratory and his ability to draw some of the largest crowds ever for political campaigns, Barack Obama was able to generate the kind of grassroots support that propelled him to convincing wins in Iowa and South Carolina, a narrow loss in New Hampshire, and a tie in Nevada.

But this will be a totally different battle than the one before it, because it will be decided on the airwaves. Stump speeches will be important, but the candidates will have to try to appeal to audiences much bigger than the small audiences that they appealed to before. The battle will be won and lost based on who can create the best commercials that appeal to voters. So, if Obama cannot give people flashes of his oratorical skills in 30 seconds, then he will be in even more hot water than he is already — he trails by double digits in the all-important state of California. And that is on top of the fact that he is still trailing the delegate count to Hillary.

Do we REALLY want change?

One of the key buzzwords of this Presidential race is change. The voices of change cumulated in a Democratic victory in 2006, and since then, the voices of change have only gotten louder and louder. Supposedly. And yet, when we look at the front-runners for the election, we see that the conventional candidates — Hillary Clinton and John McCain — are poised to take the nomination starting with Super Tuesday. A showing below 15% in South Carolina could doom John Edwards, while both Hillary and John McCain are leading by substantial margins in California. While the Republican primary is a lot messier than the Democratic primary, it seems that with his wins in South Carolina and Louisiana, Mike Huckabee’s home turf, it seems that McCain is an odds-on favorite to take over the Republican nomination.

This brings us to the question of change — do we really want change? The buzzword of this election has been change, yet we see the two establishment candidates, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, establishing themselves as frontrunners in the primary. It seems that people on both parties say that they want change, yet saying that they want change and actually having the courage to vote for change are two different things. It is a lot like a bad relationship — we say that we want to break up, yet when it comes time to actually do it, it is much more comfortable to stay in the relationship than it is to make a clean break and start over. We say that we don’t like where we are and want to move and make a fresh start; however, when it comes down to do it, we are more afraid of the unknown than we are of staying in a bad situation.  

Rush Limbaugh possibly not supporting any Republican Presidential candidates.

Raw Story now reports on its front page that Rush Limbaugh may not support any of the Republican presidential candidates. It seems that the right-wing political movement is now in its last throes, seeing that there is no clear favorite in the race and none of the current candidates can unite them like Ronald Reagan did.

And Limbaugh is hardly the only gatekeeper who may sit out this race. The Republican Party is controlled by many gatekeepers, including Dobson, Norquist, and many others. Dobson, for instance, has refused to give his blessing to Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, or Fred Thompson. The fact of the matter is that the social conservatives who provide the boots on the ground only have one candidate — Ron Paul, who meets their purity tests on abortion, gays, gun control, immigration, and taxes. Paul does not have the blessing of one of the key wings of the Republican Party — the defense hawks and neocons, given his opposition to Iraq. However, the fact that he is the only antiwar voice in the GOP and 34% or so of Republicans do not approve of Bush’s handling of Iraq means that he is competitive.


One of the big travesties in this country is the fact that we still have hunger and homelessness in this country even though we are still the most prosperous nation in the world. However, given the continuing problem of hunger and homelessness in this country, we need to be able to engage in much more effective planning in order to reduce hunger and homelessness and get people off of the streets and into homes.

The HEARTH Act is designed to do that by bringing groups and people together in order to address the problem of hunger and homelessness.

No woman should die giving birth.

Recently, I wrote about where we would like to be in the next 100 years. Most of us in the left-wing blogosphere want to see the end of world hunger, wars, and poverty, among other things. But there was one thing missing from that declaration — no woman should have to die giving birth to their child. This is a goal that the UN Population Fund has set (UNFPA).

I propose that, to #10, the eradication of disease:

All major diseases will be eliminated through massive new investment, research, and design in drugs and treatments. All people will have universal access to such treatments. Prevention will be the primary source of treatment for diseases.

That we add at the end, “No woman should die giving birth to their child or children.”

The Party that likes to Save Peoples’ Lives

Clammyc wrote about how the Republican Party likes to destroy peoples’ lives. It seems to me that in order to combat all this, we should talk about reforming the Democratic Party into the party that likes to save peoples’ lives. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the big things, like Iraq; it also has to be the little things, like Patty Murray’s bill to ban asbestos in the US that passed the Senate.


Prohibits the importation, manufacture, processing and distribution of products containing asbestos.  The ban covers the 6 regulated forms of asbestos and 3 durable fibers.  The EPA will issue rules to ensure asbestos products are off the shelves within 2 years of the bill’s enactment.

Bob Herbert and The Manifesto Project: Abolish No Child Left Behind?

Bhudydharma suggested ways that we could make things better and undo the mess of the Bush administration. Herewith mine — abolish No Child Left Behind. Bob Herbert provides reasons why this travesty of a law should be abolished.

Should John Dingell be primaried out in 2008 or 2010?

Tom Friedman writes about how Michigan automakers and Toyota have consistently fought against rises in auto emissions standards. What Friedman doesn’t get is what he calls empty-barrel politics — or the practice by Detroit automakers of constantly fighting against higher and higher MPG standards, even though they have been brought to the verge of bankruptcy by those standards.