Sunday, March 30, 2008

God Damn America!

I have to admit to a bit of shock over the response to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, especially among folks who consider themselves liberal or progressive. It is no shock that Faux News and the other cogs in the rightwing media machine went nuts. After all, these are the same people who cannot seem to separate scientific fact from religious fiction (yeah, I'm talking about evolution).

"God Damn America" does elicit a visceral response from many (most?) listeners. But after that initial shock, shouldn't the rational brain take over and think through the implications of what Pastor Wright is saying. What is it about American exceptionalism that makes us believe that we alone will be blessed by god? Especially given our history.

Need I recount? We stole land from the indigenous people. We brought human beings to this land in shackles as slaves. We kept the institution of slavery well into our history. And, after we formally ended slavery we created a de jure and de facto separate society where former slaves did not have the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Women were not allowed to vote until our country was over 100 years old. And the list goes on.

Today we live in a country of obscene wealth that is concentrated in the hands of the few. And as the rich get ever more rich, the poor in our country suffer. We have nearly 13 million children living in poverty. About 3.5 million people, including 1.35 million children, experience homelessness each year. Our public education system is in ruin and continues to lag behind other industrialized countries. Oh, and about 47 million people lack health insurance.

And yet you tell me that god blesses America? What for? For our good deeds in the world community? Point to one post WWII success story for American foreign policy. Just one. We sat idly by during the genocide in Rwanda and the ecocide in Nigeria. Perhaps if the denizens of Africa had a paler hue to their skin or more natural resources America could begin to care. But the sad reality is that America cares only about itself, by and large. We are a selfish country. Not only in our relations with the rest of the world community, but within our own society.

I'm sorry, but if this is a country worth blessing then I would hate to live in a country that god would damn.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sometimes You Just Have To Say, "What the F*ck?"

As if Bill Clinton going on Rush Limbaugh wasn't bad enough, just who was Hillary sitting down with today? Richard Mellon Scaife, the rightwing millionaire who funded the Arkansas Project, the hit job designed to take down the Clinton presidency. You see, he owns the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and Hillary was there for an ed board meeting. In her time there, she tried to revive the Wright story.

So let me see if I have this right, Hillary supporters. She is supposedly the better Democratic candidate, yet she had a fundraiser held by Rupert Murdoch (Faux News), her husband goes on Rush Limbaugh's show on the day of the Texas primary, and, she is a member of the rightwing super secret Fellowship ( a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ).

Add in her refusal to acknowledge the mistake of her Iraq War vote and her campaign's thinly veiled racist attacks on Obama and you have a run of the mill neocon. Come on people. Wake up. Hillary is not a progressive Democrat. She is Joe Lieberman in a dress. And soon enough she will morph into Zell Miller in a pantsuit.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


For the past few months the Obama campaign has called on Senator Clinton to release her tax returns going back to 2001. Team Hillary has stonewalled for the most part, saying that they will be released on or about April 15. That would be understandable if we were talking about her return for 2007, which is not due until then (unless, like many other taxpayers, she files for an extension). But what about 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006? Is it really that difficult for a staff member to Xerox the Clintons' returns?

This is not to say that their returns contain anything untoward. However, earlier this year Hillary loaned her campaign $5 million. This is not an unsignificant amount of moner and clearly more than she has earned in her six years in the Senate. So, one would have to assume that at least some of that money came from the income earned by her husband since he left office. Of course, he has every right to earn money however he sees fit. But wouldn't it be nice to know who has been paying Bill, and thus in a around about way helping to finance Hillary's campaign?

It would seem to me that Democratic primary voters ought to know just where the $5 million came from. Is Bill earning big bucks from polluters or Big Pharma or defense contractors? This is about basic transparency. It has been the norm for politicians to release their tax returns to the public. And we should not have to wait until the presidential primaries are nearly over to know just where Bill and Hill have been getting all their money.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Unsolicited Advice to the Democratic Party

Some people think it's unfair that Democrats forced out Governor Spitzer for his dalliances with high priced prostitutes while the GOP (not to mention the media) turns a blind eye to US Senator Vitter (LA). But life is unfair in so many ways I have to wonder why my fellow liberals/progressives even bother to fret.

Rather than force Vitter to resign, only to be replaced with another Republican (appointed by GOP Governor Jindal), the real solution is to beat his ass with a strong Dem challenger in 2010. We know the GOP won't try to primary him; let's face it, for the GOP talking a big moral game is far more important than leading a moral life.

And how do we win a Senate seat in a deep red state? Easy.. imagine this campaign ad-- a photoshopped pic of Vitter in diapers (for those who don't know, that was his fetish) with the question- who do you trust to protect you from terrorists? Diaper boy Vitter or Candidate X?

Oh, I know most Democrats would be afraid to run such an ad. And that is why we LOSE. We are fundamentally afraid to get down in the trenches and fight. There is simply no good reason not to run a tough campaign against Vitter. Or any other GOP incumbent. Some may say this is the politics of personal destruction. But is the moral high ground helpful when our Constitutional rights are rapidly evaporating? How about when we mortgage our future for a war based on lies? Tell me how well that moral high ground is working out for you lately, my fellow Democrats.

The Blue Dress

So, an Iowa co-chair for Obama came under fire today for writing that Bill Clinton's questioning of Obama's patriotism would be "a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress." Of course, Team Hillary and their online minions went ballistic, saying that Obama now "owned the low road." Right.

Leaving aside all related to the current Clinton campaign and the hypocrisy of such a charge, what is so wrong with referencing the blue dress. I am tired of the constant refrain from some corners of the Democratic Party that the whole episode is beyond the pale and reinforcing of right wing frames. The reality is that Bill Clinton could not control his sexual urges. And the entire Lewinsky scandal did not exactly come out of the blue. Conservatives made it quite clear all throughout the 1992 campaign that they were on a mission to destroy Bill Clinton, and in particular they would use his sexual past to do so.

Bill Clinton entered the White House with full knowledge that the GOP was obsessed with his sex life. Yet, despite this knowledge he still could not keep his dick in his pants. Bill Clinton decided that it was more important to get off than it was to lead the country in a progressive direction.

Sure, Clinton loyalists can point to a strong economy, but what other opportunities for progressive change were stranded on the rocks of Bill's libido? I am sick and tired of progressives and Democrats who rule all criticism of Bill Clinton out of hand. Bill Clinton fucked us all. He squandered a unique opportunity to dramatically change the country; he cost the Democratic Party control of Congress; he ignored the genocide in Rawanda (maybe if they had oil or promiscuous women he'd have shown more interest); he acceded to a radical restructuring of welfare that has done little to help the truly needy. Oh, but we had some more jobs and the rich got even richer (nevermind the yawning income gap).

Fuck you, Bill Clinton.