Friday, October 31, 2008

Vote PSA

The Clarion Content recommends you vote and be grateful you don't live somewhere you can't. There are still lots of countries where dissent can get you killed.

Early Obama

Here is a link to some interesting interview footage of Obama before he was a United States Senator.

Thanks to the New York Times.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wider War



Despite the very limited play it is getting in the mainstream United States media, Iraq continues the downward spiral into wider regional war. Turkish troops and warplanes regularly engage Kurdish troops inside the borders of Iraq. Of course, Iraq central government is both powerless to stop it and ill-incentivized to defend Kurdish citizens of the state. As the Clarion Content has repeatedly warned the "state" of Iraq is an illusion created in the mind of a Western mapmaker. A dictator like Saddam Hussein might have been able to hold it together by brute force, secret police, torture and intimidation, but those days are over. The "state" is disintegrating.

A little campaign that could...


Tom Perriello


Tom Perriello is turning heads in the 5th Congressional District of Virginia. He is running against incumbent Virgil Goode in what was a Democratic seat from 1889 until Goode changed parties in office in 2000. Word is internal campaign polling indicates Perriello has pulled within single digits of Representative Goode. This is significant because Goode has won re-election five times with times with no less than 59% of the vote.

The Clarion Content is drawn to this race because although Goode claims to have Libertarian philosophies, we are strongly opposed to several of his positions. Goode is against equal rights for homosexuals, strongly against abortion rights and anti-immigrant. Of course, the Clarion is predisposed at least slightly against all Congressional incumbent candidates. But Representative Goode has had a whiff of scandal around him too, he was connected to the same company California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham was convicted of being bribed by. No charges were ever brought against Goode. The Clarion Content further opposes Goode because he voted for the Iraq War, and has made comments that are at minimum less than sensitive to Islamic sensibilities, (if not downright prejudiced.)

Tom Perriello on the other hand has a fascinating and atypical background. He received a law degree from Yale and then moved to Africa to actively live out his ethic of service. He worked in Sudan (including Dafur,) Liberia, Sierra Leone and also separately in Afghanistan. Perriello supports the same kind of mindset that the Clarion has been touting as central to our support of Barack Obama; from Perriello's website, "[he] believes that America must reverse the erosion of our commitment to the common good and restore our understanding that our nation rises or falls together."

It is one thing to say such things, it is a far different cry to attempt to live them out through service. One reason the Clarion Content was drawn to Senator Obama was his days as a community organizer in a tough place. One reason the Clarion was drawn to Tom Perriello was his commitment to serving the common good. The Clarion is also cognizant, and frankly appreciative, that neither man feels that he has to deny his faith to participate in politics. America needs more leaders who unhesitatingly point out our obligation to do some good in this world.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Al Qaeda endorses McCain

The Clarion Content has been following presidential endorsements for the past several weeks, from our own, to American newspapers, to pop culture You Tube endorsements. Unfortunately, it is our duty to report Senator John McCain's campaign received an endorsement that they certainly didn't want, Al-Qaeda.

It only figures, Senator Obama's plan to withdraw from Iraq, his willingness to negotiate with America's enemies and his long term vision are all bad for Al-Qaeda recruiting. Al-Qaeda would much prefer to have the man who envisions American troops in Iraq for 100 years win power. Al-Qaeda prefers the man who like George Bush the II views the world through the prism of an endless conflict between good and evil. Al-Qaeda prefers the man who sees "Islamo-fascism" behind every separatist and nationalist struggle.

Senator McCain, we believe that this was one endorsement that you did not want. However, it should serve as a reminder to all American's that seeing the world through a lens of "Us vs. Them" in a zero-sum death struggle is the vision of its greatest enemy. America should not adopt said vision as their own crusade. It is inherently self-annihilating. Any Americans old enough to have lived through the Cold War should be able to recite a litany of America mistakes; ranging from tragic to disastrous, that came about because of the narrow focus that saw every separatist and nationalist struggle as a battle between communism and democracy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Endorsements

The Clarion Content posted our endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States on the main page this week.

We thought perhaps you might like to read some other newspapers' presidential endorsements, follow this link to an AP story excepting several.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Still smoldering



Yesterday saw one of the type of clashes that are likely to be increasingly common in Iraq as the United States draws down its troop presence and the survivors of the U.S. invasion fight over the spoils. The clash in question occurred in the recently quiet, supposedly, "Mission Accomplished" Anbar province. Xinhua reports fifteen folks were killed and forty wounded in clashes that lasted throughout the night and on into the next day. Speculation about a motive centered around disputed property. In a discouraging, but again not surprising note, Xinhua said, "Local security forces did not step in the fight, but had been put on alert."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Polls



The Clarion Content doesn't believe the hype. The news media industry has been all aflutter the last day or two claiming that the polls show a tightening presidential race between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. The Clarion reminds you that this industry has a huge financial stake in hyping the competitiveness of the presidential race as much as possible.

Only one poll counts, the one election officials have to tally on the evening of November 4th. (Hopefully using the actual votes cast.)

Here is some of the news media industry's latest poll hot air.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Military violence

United States Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado has asked Army Secretary Pete Geren to review a slew of violent incidents committed by soldiers stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. Because the Clarion's home offices are located not so far down the road from Fort Bragg, North Carolina in Fayetteville, this is an issue that has been on our radar. Like what the Senator has noticed in Colorado, North Carolina has seen a spate of violent incidents associated with Fort Bragg soldiers, many of them tragically related to domestic abuse of spouses and kids.

The Senator's request came to our attention courtesy of the Denver Post, which noted too, that "16 Fort Carson soldiers have committed suicide since the beginning of the Iraq war." An awful statistic that has sadly been far too common near North Carolina's military installations as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama, the white male vote, and the mandate



You may recall that last week on the main Clarion Content page we were discussing the virulent anger of some McCain-Palin supporters, and how race would factor in the presidential race. In a nuanced piece in this week's New York Times Magazine, Matt Bai addresses the issue head-on in an article titled, "Will Gun-Toting, Churchgoing White Guys Pull the Lever for Barack Obama?" He pulls out important threads, reminding readers that a very white Senator John Kerry lost the white male vote nationally by 25% according to exit polling. He notes that, "In three states — Texas, Indiana and North Carolina — more people voted in Democratic primaries this year than voted for Kerry on Election Day in 2004."

He concedes that, of course, Obama's priority is winning the election. However he carefully follows and artfully interviews the candidate on the issue of an election mandate. No more of Bush II's arrogant, divisive stance that, "50% plus exactly one vote empowers me to do whatever I want." He says that, "Obama’s central argument about American politics [is] this notion that the cultural fault line in the electorate can somehow be bridged by a generational change in leadership." Bai follows that up quoting Obama to the effect that this cultural fault line is exploited by a relentlessly profit driven media, "...there is an entire industry now, an entire apparatus, designed to perpetuate this cultural schism, and it’s powerful." Bai reminds us that this was an issue Obama wanted to fight as far back as the 2004 convention speech that introduced him to many folks, "when he talked about worshiping 'an awesome God in the blue states' and having 'gay friends in the red states.'" Obama is quoted saying that the cultural divide, the surrounding anger, and partisanship has been the impassable blockade that has prevented action on so many big issues, "if voters are similarly polarized and if they’re seeing two different realities, a Sean Hannity reality and a Keith Olbermann reality, then we’re not going to be able to get done the work we need to get done.” The Clarion agrees.

No matter who wins there are issues that have to be addressed. Among them: immigration, (which neither candidate is talking about,) the coming retirement of the boomers and the strain on Social Security and Medicare, (which McCain at least mentioned in the last debate) and farm subsidies and their brutal effect on the world's poorest. Some issues will always be partisan, some people will always disagree with any course of policy. The Clarion's hope, whichever candidate wins on November 4th, is that America will get a leader who wants to unite people, to raise them up and bring out their best selves, not a leader who uses his election to divide people and bring out their worst, smallest selves.

Let us abandon the myopia of, "I win, therefore, you lose."

Una canción de Obama

One of the best little Obama ditties we've heard yet...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Political time allocation



NBC News analyst Chuck Todd made a fascinating point tonight just before his network signed off of their presidential debate coverage. He said something to the effect of what a whirlwind the campaign had felt like to him. It has only been sixty or so days since the end of the two major party's conventions. He then contrasted that with the eighteen months spent on the primary campaigns and sighed, "What a waste."

The Clarion couldn't agree more. How could the system be gamed so that we saw eighteen months of Hillary Clinton v. Barack Obama and nearly as much of Mitt Romney v. John McCain? Tonight Clinton and Romney were their party's seconds. They were offered and accepted invitations to speak on NBC News coverage after the debate. They were both solidly on message. But to Chuck Todd's point the country spent eighteen long months dissecting Senator Clinton v. Senator Obama and tonight, two weeks before the big decision, she merited a three minute interview, likewise for Governor Romney. There were months of coverage for a person who tonight was a non-entity, whereas the country has known who the full tickets would be for the major parties for barely two months. Obama and Clinton debated twenty plus times, McCain and Romney debated sixteen times, Obama and McCain three times.

This foolish primary system has to be fixed.

Hayden Panettiere does a McCain ad, sorta...

See more Hayden Panettiere videos at Funny or Die


Unfair, but not unfunny.

Obama and new approaches

Ah, would that this post were about a brilliant new approach to politics, unfortunately it is about a savvy new approach to political advertising. Senator Barack Obama's campaign has become the first presidential campaign to place ads in video games. ("No McCainiacs, he didn't put them in Grand Theft Auto IV.")

The ads are on virtual billboards and other background items within X-Box Live, internet enabled and connected versions of games. In Obama's case, ads will run in games by the popular EA Sports company, including Madden '09. The goal, according to the EA sports folks, is to reach the coveted 18-34 male demographic.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

McCain supporters



While this is not a scientific sampling of McCain supporters and the video's linked below are taken by a bias observer, these folks are why the Clarion is worried about the Bradley effect in the polls and Obama. The Bradley effect named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley said that polls for minority candidates consistently overstated their support because what voters did and said varied based on privacy. Today the Clarion heard former (suspect) Virginia Governor, and current Richmond Mayor, Douglas Wilder reference the same in his experience with the polls and the results. He warned the Obama campaign not to be complacent.

See the McCain rallies that have us worried.

PA video

Ohio video I

Ohio video II

Friday, October 10, 2008

Paris Hilton's campaign rolls on

Paris Hilton's campaign for the fake presidency continues.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


See her first campaign video here.

Word is Paris's potential cabinet might include Michael Kors, Kanye West, Diane von Furstenberg, Naughty by Nature, Stephen Hawking, Madonna, Karl Lagerfeld, and, of course, Tinkerbell [her dog].

Go Sheriff Dart!



Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart of Illinois, has announced that his office will no longer evict people in his jurisdiction on the basis of foreclosure orders. Now that is sweet civil disobedience!!! Sheriff Dart has found that far too often his office is evicting renters from properties owned by investors. These renters all too often are up to date, fully paid on their rent, yet they are being booted into the street with no notice because their landlords (property owners) have failed to pay the banks and mortgage companies. (Note: Evictions for non-payment of rent will continue.)

One courageous American official has said, "No more. Not on my watch." Sheriff Dart has taken a stand against what for far too long has been the wrong attitude by American civil servants, especially cops; the mantra of 'Protect and Serve' has morphed beneath our noses to 'Enforce.' The people pay the salaries of all government officials, they serve at our pleasure. We at the Clarion applaud Sheriff Dart for his brave act of civil disobedience. Of course, the mortgage companies are suing him and his office. (Somehow after all this they still have the money for fancy lawyers to sue!?!)

Protest Song

A strong video questioning the Bush II administration.

WARNING GRAPHIC

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stabbing the American economy in the back

Tarnished

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement thugs (ICE--formerly the INS) continues to stab the American economy in the back by arresting hardworking aspiring United States citizens and extra-legally shipping them out of the country with no thought to their or America's well-being.

They continue to attack American enterprises and attempt to put them out of business by arresting their employees and deporting them for what amounts to failure to properly fill out paperwork. This kind of monumental stupidity would be more widely recognized as such, if the Federal Government hadn't already adopted some of the worst tactics of the Soviet Union by imprisoning people beyond the reach of the law, suspending the writ of Habeas Corpus and torturing them in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Compared to that, the ICE showing up at folks' workplaces demanding to see their papers, and locking them up when they can't produce them, as a prelude to shipping them home, hardly sounds extraordinary. Imagine where America might be if we had pursued these kind of anti-immigrant tactics in the late 19th, early 20th century.

Read here about another such raid in Greenville, South Carolina yesterday.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A tie



The Clarion had discussed previously that there is some possibility of tie in the Electoral College vote in the United States Presidential election. Here Reuters breaks it down in detail and discusses what might then happen.

The Clarion recalled that the Constitution called for the House of Representatives to vote on who becomes president, but forgot that the vote was one state delegation, one vote, not one representative, one vote (50 votes total, not 535.) Currently the Democrats have a majority of the representatives in 27 states, the Republicans in 21 states. Of course, the elections could change that and there would be all sorts of other factors in play. For instance, what if your state has a majority of one party's people as Congressional Representatives, but the state voted for the other party's presidential candidate on election night, what then? What if your state has an equal number of representatives on each side of the aisle? Our sources say that a hung House of Representatives vote would result in the Senate's choice for Vice-President becoming the President.

Fascinating.

Joe Biden here we come?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Political Discourse



American political discourse is so fucked up and distorted these days that even the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons writing in ESPN the magazine felt compelled to call us out.

"Of all the things currently wrong with this country—a trillion-dollar war, a flagging real estate market, a crippled stock market, high fuel prices, Lynne Spears, the Jonas Brothers—the fact that nearly everyone with a platform is terrified to say anything might be the most depressing subplot of all. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Hell, whatever happened to speech?"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dateline: Northwest Frontier



Along the northwestern border of Pakistan in the Bajaur region, straddling Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the forefront of the American conflict with the Taliban and the center of the search for Osama bin Laden local tribes have formed a militia army of their own called a Lashkar. This non-aligned local army may prove the most effective force for routing the Taliban. However, these folks, who are fighting on their own land, often against their own cousins and tribes folk have made very clear the non-aligned nature of their force.

The Taliban, NATO and the US “are all equal for us”, said Malik Manasib Khan, the leader of a lashkar, called up to help Pakistan’s army expel the Taliban and anyone else. “We will fight against America until the last soul if they come to our country,” Khan told reporters in Raghagan, 12 kilometres northeast of Khar.