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Category Archives: Washington

The Republican Convention was at a definite disadvantage. They went first. Never ideal. They lost a day, thanks to Isaac. And they built their entire convention on a lie. They are running against a figment of their collective imaginations. The Obama who hates success, hates America and hates taking responsibility for the economy. It is an Obama as nonexistent as the straw man floating above Clint Eastwood’s empty chair.

The Democrats, by contrast, are building their convention on Obama’s record and agenda: expanding opportunity. Equal pay for equal work, equal access to healthcare, Pell grants for greater college opportunity, the rescue of jobs tied to the US auto industry and the overturning of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so homosexuals can openly fight for the country they love. These are accomplishments that move the country forward. And accomplishments tend to make for better speeches than trumped up fear mongering.  But what was striking about the first night of the Democratic convention was the unbridled patriotism of it all. The Democrats’ love of country is positively passionate! Just as the Republicans tried to build an entire convention around a gaffe in an Obama speech, this convention is taking Romney’s premise that the best we have felt about Obama was the day we cast our vote for him and deftly turned it on its head. The Democrats feel just fine about Obama. And some seem as smitten with him as the First Lady, who, as it turns out, may be the best orator in the Obama household.

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Sure, this has been edited for effect. Sure, there are probably other people that could have been interviewed that wouldn’t make the Tea Party come off sounding so stupid. However, for this Glenn Beck-sponsored rally, I’ve got to believe this is pretty representative of the crowd. Why do I say that? Because, everything these flag-waving solid citizens are saying I’ve heard before. On the Glenn Beck show.

It’s the obvious next step after reclaiming America’s honor. Glenn Beck has launched his very own Huffington Post. Apparently, he believes that there is a Tea Party subculture out there that can actually read. So he is doing what he does best: bending the news to have an Armageddon-Four-Horseman-of-the-Apocalypse-Doomsday flavor to it. So I guess his Million Minions March on Washington was not just a flash in the pan. It was a Blaze.

Liz Cheney has a passion for Eric Holder that  positively gives me the vapors. Her war on the Attorney General’s prosecution of the War on Terror is fascinating. The Department of Justice has been dubbed the Department of Jihad. The tea partyists are calling for a lynching. But there has been a backlash. Eugene Robinson writes:

Presumably they know that “the American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients is at least as old as John Adams’ representation of the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre”—in other words, older than the nation itself.

That quote is from a letter by a group of conservative lawyers—including several former high-ranking officials of the Bush-Cheney administration, legal scholars who have supported draconian detention and interrogation policies, and even Kenneth W. Starr—that blasts the “shameful series of attacks” in which Liz Cheney has been the principal mouthpiece. Among the signers are Larry Thompson, who was deputy attorney general under John Ashcroft; Peter Keisler, who was acting attorney general for a time during George W. Bush’s second term; and Bradford Berenson, who was an associate White House counsel during Bush’s first term.

“To suggest that the Justice Department should not employ talented lawyers who have advocated on behalf of detainees maligns the patriotism of people who have taken honorable positions on contested questions,” the letter states.

But maligning is apparently the whole point of the exercise. The smear campaign by Cheney, et al., has nothing to do with keeping America safe. It can only be an attempt to inflict political damage on the Obama administration by portraying the Justice Department as somehow “soft” on terrorism. Even by Washington’s low standards, this is unbelievably dishonest and dishonorable.

Has Obama been neutered by the Massachusetts election? Not hardly. He is back with a vengeance. And although Obama is the first president since Carter to resist the tacky trotting out people props to underscore some policy goal, there was something vaguely Reaganesque about the speech. Son of Bill, Chris Buckley observes;

Tonight Mr. Obama proved—once again—that he hears the American music and can play it like a maestro. As well as Ronald Reagan. Both presidents had—have—have music in their souls. The other people in the room where I watched the speech were in tears by the end—the kind that stream down the face. I managed to hold those back. But I could not hold back my admiration at the performance, in particular of Mr. Obama’s deep humanity, as evinced by his profound, almost Lincolnesque humor. Oh dear, are tears streaming down my face, one way or the other?

He proved himself capable, too, of drama, as when he (figuratively) pointed a finger at the Supremes, sitting in their courtly robes directly in front of him, hands demurely folded, and accused them (in my opinion, unjustly, to say nothing of injudiciously) of allowing “foreign enemies” to influence our elections. I had been under the impression that it was called “free speech.” But never mind. It was an electrifying moment. Thank you, Mr. President.

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Prosecuting the war on terror has always required a steely resolve, a heart of courage and a complete disregard for history, facts or anything approaching reality. It is a shame that the Nobel Prize committee can’t cough up a Nobel War prize. John McCain and the neo cons would be shoo ins.   Frank Rich of the New York Times explains:

Perhaps the most surreal aspect of our great Afghanistan debate is the Beltway credence given to the ravings of the unrepenant blunderers who dug us into this hole in the first place.

Let’s be clear: Those who demanded that America divert its troops and treasure from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002 and 2003 — when there was no Qaeda presence in Iraq — bear responsibility for the chaos in Afghanistan that ensued. Now they have the nerve to imperiously and tardily demand that America increase its 68,000-strong presence in Afghanistan to clean up their mess — even though the number of Qaeda insurgents there has dwindled to fewer than 100, according to the president’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones.

But why let facts get in the way? Just as these hawks insisted that Iraq was “the central front in the war on terror” when the central front was Afghanistan, so they insist that Afghanistan is the central front now that it has migrated to Pakistan. When the day comes for them to anoint Pakistan as the central front, it will be proof positive that Al Qaeda has consolidated its hold on Somalia and Yemen.

To appreciate this crowd’s spotless record of failure, consider its noisiest standard-bearer, John McCain. He made every wrong judgment call that could be made after 9/11. It’s not just that he echoed the Bush administration’s constant innuendos that Iraq collaborated with Al Qaeda’s attack on America. Or that he hyped the faulty W.M.D. evidence to the hysterical extreme of fingering Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington. Or that he promised we would win the Iraq war “easily.” Or that he predicted that the Sunnis and the Shiites would “probably get along” in post-Saddam Iraq because there was “not a history of clashes” between them.

What’s more mortifying still is that McCain was just as wrong about Afghanistan and Pakistan. He routinely minimized or dismissed the growing threats in both countries over the past six years, lest they draw American resources away from his pet crusade in Iraq.

Two years after 9/11 he was claiming that we could “in the long term” somehow “muddle through” in Afghanistan. (He now has the chutzpah to accuse President Obama of wanting to “muddle through” there.) Even after the insurgency accelerated in Afghanistan in 2005, McCain was still bragging about the “remarkable success” of that prematurely abandoned war. In 2007, some 15 months after the Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf signed a phony “truce” ceding territory on the Afghanistan border to terrorists, McCain gave Musharraf a thumb’s up. As a presidential candidate in the summer of 2008, McCain cared so little about Afghanistan it didn’t even merit a mention among the national security planks on his campaign Web site

…Americans, meanwhile, want to see the fine print after eight years of fiasco with little accounting. While McCain and company remain frozen where they were in 2001, many of their fellow citizens have learned from the Iraq tragedy. Polls persistently find that the country is skeptical about what should and can be accomplished in Afghanistan. They voted for Obama not least because they wanted a new post-9/11 vision of national security, and they will not again be so easily bullied by the blustering hawks’ doomsday scenarios. That gives our deliberating president both the time and the political space to get this long war’s second act right.

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The Holy Scriptures warn us of false messiahs promising “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. However, the Good Book says precious little about folks who receive Nobel Peace prizes when they have no peace accomplishments to merit it. President Obama has been awarded this honor after a mere nine months on the job, with America embroiled in two land wars and, most recently, having just bombed the moon. The event is rich with irony. But our President accepted the award with appropriate humility and understood it as a reminder of what he has yet to be accomplished, rather than a metric of  “mission accomplished” achievements to quote his Nobel-prizeless predecessor. Whether Obama’s over-the-top apologetic rhetoric on foreign soil has emboldened terrorists remains to be seen. What is certain is his turning sabre-rattling into multilateral cooperation has at least emboldened our European allies. Which after the last eight years , is worth, at least, an honorable mention.

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The first Great Awakening featured the Calvinistic preaching of men like George Whitefield. The result was a burgeoning young country falling to its knees to confess personal and corporate transgressions and embrace the crucified Christ. The second Great Awakening was of a different sort. It featured the man-centered, manipulative techniques of men like Charles Finney. The result were short-lived conversions, burned-overed districts and shallow, religious emotions. Now Republican congressman Mike Pence predicts a third Awakening. Apparently it will feature Bible-pounding Glenn Beck bigotry, a growing fear of goverment and a tea-party-caffinated resentment of taxation (it is, after all, the root of socialism). All which has this third Great Awakening shaping up in manner that would make Whitefield spin in his grave. A true, biblical Awakening will recognize that the evil in the world isn’t in rooted Hollywood or D.C., but in our own wicked hearts.

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JibJab has done it again.

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Who is responsible for this recession? Paul Krugman blames the Gipper.

“This bill is the most important legislation for financial institutions in the last 50 years. It provides a long-term solution for troubled thrift institutions. … All in all, I think we hit the jackpot.” So declared Ronald Reagan in 1982, as he signed the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act.

// He was, as it happened, wrong about solving the problems of the thrifts. On the contrary, the bill turned the modest-sized troubles of savings-and-loan institutions into an utter catastrophe. But he was right about the legislation’s significance. And as for that jackpot — well, it finally came more than 25 years later, in the form of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

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The Russian newspaper Pravda doesn’t think Obama is a socialist. They think he is a commie. Apparently, it all started with public education and televangelists.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas than the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their “right” to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our “democracy”. Pride blind the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different “branches and denominations” were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the “winning” side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the “winning” side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama.

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Just wondering. If you Twitter, does that make you a Twit? Well, it does if you are Newt Gingrich.

On Wednesday, Gingrich wrote on Twitter:

“Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman.’ New racism is no better than old racism.”

Could it be that Newt doesn’t understand the dynamics of oppression. The power-holding majority can never get away with saying what the disenfranchised under class can. While the majority stays in control, the underdogs are encouraged to brag, boast and strut. It is their opiate.

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Turns out Samuel Alito also has a nasty empathetic streak.

…Sotomayor’s critics are up in arms over the fact that she has admitted that her ethnic background has an affect on her decision making process. Who does she think she is? Well, as it turns out, she probably thinks she’s being very similar to Justice Sam Alito:

ALITO: Senator, I tried to in my opening statement, I tried to provide a little picture of who I am as a human being and how my background and my experiences have shaped me and brought me to this point. … And that’s why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position. […]
And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.




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That’s right, Biden forced Obama to eat a hamburger as the world looked on. It wasn’t pretty.