Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt and King George's olive branch

Mubarak and Condi yuk it up...

Remember the heady days in the middle of the reign of King George II, when a moment of calm, a lull, an eye in the maelstrom of Iraq's civil war, allowed the mad king to dream of democratic contagion. It was argued for a moment that like so many of Kissinger's dominoes the dictatorships of the Middle East were going to morph into peaceful bucolic multi-party democracies. There was the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, that; that is going well. There was also the full-court press on Egyptian President Hosni Murbarak who made just enough of the right noises to pass the muster of Condi Rice. A sad sack herself, she will go down in history as a world-class dupe.

Sadly, the Obama Administration represents continuity within the American Empire rather than fundamental change, as things stand, Veep Joe Biden is now playing the Condi role. Unfortunately, the fire brigades brought in during the mad reign of King George the II, as they did in so many other places, threw fuel, rather than water, on the fire. Egypt has gone from smoldering to smoking. Faux moves toward democracy gave Murbarak what he thought was cover to attempt to squash and imprison leading voices of dissent and plurality. There were no real changes or democratic accommodations. Mubarak, and more importantly the people of Egypt, fully expect his son to succeed him under the status quo ante. America has ignored, to its detriment, any moderates within the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

Today a full-fledged uprising grips Egypt. Stock market worldwide are tumbling in response. Gold and crude oil prices are soaring.

What a wonderful world.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Republican nominee

Is another governor from Arkansas headed to the White House?

One of our older readers, a stalwart Republican since the AUH2O campaign of Barry Goldwater, made a point of telling us this past weekend that he thinks the Republican Presidential nominee will be Mike Huckabee.

The case he made, in brief, goes something like this. Huckabee has campaigned once and learned the nuances of the primaries. He has tight ties with Republican base, especially the evangelicals. Our wise old Republican says that Sarah Palin is too volatile, too much of a lightning rod. He believes that much like the Dems rejected Hillary, her negatives were too high, the Republicans know that Palin is viewed as toxic by too many.

He discounts Mitt Romney as too liberal too win the nomination. The man who presaged Obamacare in Tax-achusetts is not winning the Republican nomination. Newt Gingrich is ruled out for having too much baggage. He is Gary Hart, there is no way the media isn't digging up dirt on old Newt that will rule him out. He may be the powerbroker who decides who will be king.

The rest of the legions of unknowns John Thune, Lindsey Graham et al. are not coming from out of nowhere. Though many of our liberal friends disagree, our old Republican hand says there is no way Jeb Bush gets drafted off of the bench for this run. The Bush name still has too many negative connotations.

Ironically, for all that, this stalwart Republican is not an unabashed Huckabee supporter. In fact, he would prefer to see one of the unknowns, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, become a household name as he emerges to the steal the nomination from more famous contenders, ala Obama. Perhaps the only thing ala Obama this diehard Republican has ever wished for.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Republicans repealed Health Care...

and fixed the economy.

Wait, what? You didn't hear?

Well- it is not because Eric Cantor and the young guns aren't putting out the press releases. Less than three weeks after taking control of the House of Representatives, Eric and the Egomaniacs sent out a press release this morning trumpeting,
"THERE ARE THE JOBS: Republicans Prevent Massive Tax Increase, Economy Begins to Improve: U.S. companies plan to hire more workers in the coming months amid growing optimism over the economy, a quarterly survey released Monday showed, providing further evidence that the jobs market is turning around. In the fourth-quarter poll of 84 companies by the National Association for Business Economics found 42% of companies interviewed, ranging from manufacturing to finance, expect to boost jobs in the six months ahead..."
No need to let the facts get in the way of your version of reality, Representative Cantor. No matter that Republicans did not actually control the House of Representatives when this survey took place, that much of the surveying was done before the November election or that even after the November election Republicans only control one of the three branches of government, the branch with the least direct impact on the economy, the Supreme Court. Pish-posh, facts. Blech. How dull. Facts don't play in the Real America.

In Real America, they just repealed the Health Care Law. Or was that Never-Never land, Representative Cantor? Even the always fair and balanced Fox News admitted, "Many House Republicans ran on repealing the health care law last fall. But after the vote, there was no GOP victory lap or celebratory press conference. The debate was muted. The outcome anti-climactic. And at the end of Wednesday, most just packed up and went home for the night." Their own salary, health insurance and pensions, safe and secure.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Toning down the rhetoric

The single best way we have heard someone call for the toning down of the temperature of political rhetoric in America came from an unlikely source, Sports Illustrated pro football columnist Peter King. The Clarion Content is very wary of calls to temper or tamp down political rhetoric because of the concomitant chilling effects on all free speech.

King quoted John F. Kennedy, "Let us begin anew, remember on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

Kennedy was thinking arms control, but the spirit still resonates.

King is a talented writer with a big heart.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Twitter stands up

It has recently come to light that Twitter stood up for the privacy of folks everywhere last month. The big brothers of the United States government got a court order demanding that Twitter turn over information about a number of people connected to WikiLeaks. The feds wanted IP and e-mail addresses. They got a court order demanding them.

Twitter took a stand for the little guy. According to, Twitter successfully challenged the gag order in court, and then told the targets their data was being requested, giving them the time to try to fight the court order themselves.

Wired notes,
"Twitter and other companies, notably Google, have a policy of notifying a user before responding to a subpoena, or a similar request for records. That gives the user a fair chance to go to court and try and quash the subpoena. That’s a great policy. But it has one fatal flaw. If the records request comes with a gag order, the company can’t notify anyone. And it’s quite routine for law enforcement to staple a gag order to a records request.

That’s what makes Twitter’s move so important. It briefly carried the torch for its users during that crucial period when, because of the gag order, its users couldn’t carry it themselves. The company’s action in asking for the gag order to be overturned sets a new precedent that we can only hope that other companies begin to follow."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Buying a gun in Canada

One of our favorite Tweeters, Kelly Oxford, put a lovely little post on her blog the other day about buying a gun in Canada. Or as she put it, "Do ...people realize that in Canada you also have the right to own a gun and ammo?"

Yep, it is true, but according to Ms. Oxford..."You can’t just decide you want to go the the local shop and pick one up like an Xbox game rental."
1. Pass a gun safety course (crazy people HATE tests! they hate a day long course! SCHOOL SUCKS!!!!)

2. Provide three references of character (crazy people are crazy! BILL IS CRAZY AND WANTS TO BUY A GUN!!! DON’T SIGN IT HAROLD!)

3. Provide information on your love life and financial affairs (have abuse charges against your lady/boy friends?? bankrupt? SORRY GUIDO!!)

***note: when husbands/wives get a license to buy a weapon, the spouse must sign a form indicating they feel safe with him/her buying a weapon.

Now mail this all in, get a license back in the mail (4-6 weeks later) and go and BUY YOUR GUNS AND ALL THE AMMO YOU NEED.

If you don’t like those rules, you are too stupid to own a weapon that can kill people when you move your finger.

Ahhh, Kelly Oxford. If you think that is great, you should read her thoughts about family.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Washington tragedy

A candid photo of Ashley Turton...

More tragedy. The inside the Beltway community suffered a third blow this morning when Ashley Turton, the wife of a key Obama staffer and a prominent lobbyist herself, was found dead today inside her burning BMW SUV at her Washington, D.C. home. A police investigation is still underway.

The story has immediately triggered speculation, Turton's SUV was found halfway in-and-out of her garage when fire officials responded to 911 calls from neighbors at 4:50am. Metropolitan Police Lt. Nicholas Breul said, "This could be just a tragic freak accident. And that is why we're crossing our t's and dotting our i's, because it is a little freaky."

She was the mother of three young children and a lobbyist for Progress Energy, which is in the middle of a $13 billion merger. From North Carolina, Ashley Turton graduated North Carolina State and first worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Mike McIntyre from North Carolina's 7th congressional district. Her husband, Dan Turton, has worked as liaison between the Obama administration and the House of Representatives.

Our condolences and prayers to her family and friends.

Check out the photos of the very odd circumstances here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Political tragedy in Arizona

Representative to the United States Congress Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head during a public event in Tucson this morning. Tragic. We never want American politics to be conducted this way. This way lies madness.

Representative Giffords was holding an event outside a grocery store in Tucson, AZ when a man ran up and started shooting. The Pima County sheriff has told MSNBC that five other people were killed and six were wounded, including some members of her staff.

AOL reports, "Giffords has represented Arizona's 8th Congressional district since 2007 and is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. She narrowly defeated tea party-backed Republican Jesse Kelly to win a third House term in November."

Domestic terrorism tends to be wildly underplayed and underreported by America's corporatist media. Bear this in mind as the story unfolds this week.