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Three Dot Thursday

[ Posted Thursday, June 19th, 2008 – 16:50 UTC ]

Much like last week, news items seem to be coming fast and furious this week, meaning too many interesting things to talk about to fit into just one column per day. So, once again in honor of the late great Herb Caen, we turn to the three-dot journalism formula to cram them all into one (hopefully) coherent article. Without further ado...

 

...I'm going to talk about the media's love affair with John McCain tomorrow, but I had to throw this related item in here. Michelle Obama's words and actions have been pretty heavily scrutinized out on the campaign trail already, and you just know there's going to be more to come. But (surprise) when it comes to Cindy McCain, there has been almost no coverage at all. She won't release more than two pages of one single year of her tax returns, which is directly relevant to the candidate himself. Has the media been demanding more transparency from her? [Sound of crickets chirping.] Then there's the way in which she became the second Mrs. John McCain, and his behavior during the breakup of his first marriage. [Media outlets yawn.] But the real scandal in her past is the fact that she used to be a drug addict, stole drugs from a charity that were supposed to go to third-world countries, and went through rehab as a result. If you haven't heard this story, you are not alone, since the media refuses to mention it, while at the very same time it is obsessing over whether Michelle Obama's fist bump with her husband could possibly mean she's a terrorist (I wish I were making this up, but sadly, I'm not). Stephen Elliott at the Huffington Post puts it better than I could:


Cindy's addiction has been virtually ignored this election season. As a thought experiment, try to imagine what the reaction would be if Michelle Obama had a history with drug addiction? If Michelle Obama had stolen drugs meant for third world countries to support her own addiction?

Come to think of it, if anything in Cindy's past were part of Michelle's life history, I would bet my bottom dollar that we'd have heard about it by now. Over and over and over again. This is called "media bias," and it deserves to be spotlighted immediately.

 

...Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has chapter and verse on how the Democrats in Congress are -- once again! -- rolling over for George W. Bush and giving him exactly what he wants. This time, it's throwing the Fourth Amendment under an ex post facto bus. The House will vote tomorrow on giving the telecommunications companies who broke the law at Bush's request complete amnesty from prosecution, as well as from ever having to explain themselves in public. Democrats in the House, led by Steny Hoyer, call this a "compromise," instead of what it really is -- a British public school boy taking a beating and screaming "Thank you sir, may I have another?" at every crack of the paddle.

Perhaps this is why Congress' approval rating is still lower than George Bush's -- even though Bush is hitting new lows on this scale (Bush was down to 24 percent in one poll, but every poll shows Congress' approval ratings below 20). The whole story disgusts me, and I remain hopeful that the Senate will strip it out of the final bill, since it's the only thread left to cling to.

Glenn is soliciting contributions for a group that will be challenging Democrats who led this abominable effort in their own campaigns. I salute him for making the effort.

 

...Andy Worthington at the Huffington Post has a pretty good rundown on the developments in the efforts to uncover exactly how the United States started torturing people, and what John McCain (who has been tortured himself) thinks about it. Another disgusting story, but one worth keeping up on.

 

...John Dickerson over at Slate has a great John Kerry quote, that is worthy of being a talking point in and of itself:

"I think John McCain has exhibited the ongoing debate in his own campaign between John McCain and John McCain. You don't know what he means on torture, taxes, tolerance of Jerry Falwell, changed on drilling. … Here you have a flip-flop by John McCain, flipping to the right and then flipping backward."

John Kerry -- better than any man alive -- knows what the label "flip-flopper" can do to a politician running for president. Good to see that someone is calling McCain by the label he so richly deserves.

 

...Bob Barr, Libertarian Party candidate for president, chatted with the Washington Post the other day. Apparently he's hoping to become the H. Ross Perot this year, which would incidentally all but guarantee President Barack Obama. More power to him! Go Bob!

 

...Just a few months ago, President Bush was quoted in response to being questioned about $4-a-gallon gasoline "I hadn't heard that." He appeared bemused by the concept.

Now, he's hand in hand with John McCain in calling for oil rigs off the Florida and California coasts. Even though not a drop of oil would be pumped for seven to ten years. Boy, that'll solve gas prices this summer! Watch McCain's poll numbers in Florida to see the impact of this new policy (McCain was against drilling a mere three weeks ago, so who knows if he'll change his mind if his Florida numbers tank...).

Oh, and Bush wants Congress to act before they go home for the summer. Gail Collins at the New York Times summed this one up perfectly:

It was sort of mesmerizing. Imagine some half-forgotten celebrity popping up out of nowhere and announcing that he wants an Academy Award. By Tuesday. And if he doesn't get it, he cannot be responsible for the consequences.

 

...Congress overturned another Bush veto, but it's really not a big deal -- it's the same thing they passed over Bush's veto a few weeks ago, except this time they didn't lose 34 pages of it when they sent it to him. So, like I said, it's always fun to see a Bush veto overturned, but this one is virtually meaningless.

 

...And finally, something fun to watch for tomorrow: Scott McClellan is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Like I said, should be lots of fun!

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

15 Comments on “Three Dot Thursday”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Cindy's addiction..
    Doesn't slamming her about it go against the Democrats and their "vaunted" compassion for those addicted and "rehab'ed"?? I think any attempt to play on this will just generate sympathy for McCain from those Democrats who are inclined to vote for McCain anyways.. Those Dems who shall remain nameless... You know who I am talking about..

    Rolling Over For George Bush
    Ya know, as often as this has been happening, you would think the Left MIGHT come to the conclusion that, "Hay... Maybe they are right and WE are wrong.." If Democrats are constantly supporting the security measures the administration wants, isn't it SLIGHTLY possible that there is a very good reason for it??? Hmmm??? Slightly possible?? Maybe?? A little?? hmmm???

    Ahhh Torture
    The issue that brought us together... Iddn't dat sweet?? :D heehehe OK, sorry. Such levity is probably not appropriate for such a topic. The simple fact is, coercive interrogations are a tool. And, while water-boarding is no fun (I speak from personal experience) neither is watching innocent men, women and children blown to bits and having to be cleaned up with a squeegie and a mop.. Just as it is unlikely that a cop will never have to use his gun in his career (but it's a GOOD thing to have), coercive interrogations may not ever be used effectively. But that one chance that it DOES work and DOES save lives is why the option should remain in the toolbox.. Yes, I know the argument for making it illegal and then pardoning the poor guy who uses it to save lives.. As we see with the Telecomm's, that wouldn't work out so well for the guy, now would it??

    John Kerry
    Hard to take anything from this guy too seriously.. If McCain was good enough to be considered as Kerry's VP, then McCain is good enough to be President.. Kerry has a LITTLE more credibility with me than Al Gore... But that really ain't saying much..

    Bob Barr
    Ya know, that JUST might be what Obama needs to make the race close... I don't know if it will be enough for Obama to win.. I am still hoping so, but...

    Oil Drilling
    Crist is the very popular FL governor and he is on board with McCain on this. I honestly can't see the logic of NOT drilling. We should have been drilling since the mid 70s!.. Imagine THAT.. The USA a member of OPEC!!! :D

    Scott McClellan
    What's he going to say that Bush isn't already being accused of?? The funny thing is, McClellan specifically stated in his book that Bush did not intentionally lie or mislead the American people.. Amazing how that little nugget got ZERO airplay, eh??

    I am disappointed that you did not mention Obama's going back on his word regarding public funding.. Those Who Shall Remain Nameless But You Know Who They Are will have a FIELD day with this. And, rightly so... As much as it pains me, I have to agree with TWSRNBYKWTAs on that... VERY disappointing move by Obama..

    Michale.....

  2. [2] 
    Michael Gass wrote:

    Ah, where to start... (may as well be the top, huh?)

    1) Cindy McCain/Media love affair

    Of course there is almost no coverage of Cindy McCain, while Michelle Obama is scrutinized over a "fist-bump". It's called, "control the messenger, control the message".

    When you have a GOP President installing GOP hacks in every position (to include the FCC) which then allows the GOP media moguls to buy up more outlets (Wall Street Journal? hellloooo) at which point said mogul then turns the editorial board into just another right-wing lovefest (did I mention the WSJ?), what do you expect? Then, whenever some uppity reporter does their job, the GOP politicians and pundits whine and cry about how "liberal" the media is! Have you EVER in your life heard so much whining and crying from people who claim to be the "big bad men who'll protect you" in your life????

    I suggest MediaMatters.com which documents the daily GOP lovefest in the media.

    2) Democratic Party capitulation on FISA and telecom immunity

    The "Blue Dog" Democrats are a double-edged sword. Sure, they have a (D), and with such, the Democratic Party gets to choose the chairmanship of the committee's, but, it does no good when the chairmen/women roll over and play dead (as we've seen). Also, the Blue Dogs vote with the GOP on many issues because they come from GOP districts/states, so, other than chairmanship's, they are of little value to the Democratic Party.

    The people to focus on are the Chairman's themselves. Why? Because, under the GOP, NOTHING got out of committee that they didn't WANT out of committee. The Democratic Chairman's, and leaders of the Senate/House, are letting stuff out of committee that are nothing more than Bush giveaways. Why?

    The "conventional wisdom" is that the Democrats are as guilty as the GOP on warrantless wiretapping/torture/etc, thus, they won't even touch fighting the issues". This is as plausible as the fact that the GOP were caught spying on the Democratic politicians and thus, could be blackmailing them. Why are both plausible?

    The Washington Post reported that key Democrats were told of waterboarding as far back as 2002. Yet, because the information was classified, the Dems couldn't "go public" without risking being prosecuted. This has played right into the GOP talking point that the Democrats were "complicit" (which, if they weren't before, they most certainly are now). On the other hand, we were treated to stories in the press (Harry Reid in Oct 2006 and Pelosi in May 2007) about possible "shady land deals", which suddenly disappeared from the media all together once Reid and Pelosi rolled over for Bush and the GOP minority (which, again, makes them complicit now if they weren't before). So, each reason is as plausible as the other.

    The real difference between these reasons is the FISA capitulation on the telecom immunity and warrantless wiretaps. Supposedly, the warrantless wiretapping is no longer being used (yeah, righttttt). So, this is all about immunizing telecoms for acts that occurred before the Democrats took control. This is a no-brainer then, right? It should be. Except, it is Sen. Leahy who requested the documents on warrantless wiretaps (that Bush/Cheney laughed at), and, it was Sen. Leahy's computers that were altered to allow the GOP to spy on the Democrats in the 2002-2003 years by one of Leahy's "techs" (who then happened to tell the GOP all about the backdoor). This doesn't even get into Democratic Party offices being broken into and the computers being stolen (Minnesota and Toledo) (oh, and btw, Watergate anyone? Since Cheney was part of the Nixon administration).

    3) Torture

    Nothing more to say on this. The GOP and right-wing wingnuts see nothing wrong in torturing people, much less, innocent people. They are also the first to whine and cry about their "rights" (ie, "it's ok to torture others, but, not ok to invade on their rights). The only thing more to say what hypocrites these people are...

    4) John Kerry and McCain's "flip-flopping"

    Hilarious. Sen. Kerry (and Sen. Clinton should she have been the nominee) was in trouble and called a flip-flopper because of the Iraq vote. Obama doesn't have that problem (hence, why we keep hearing Obama and Osama being "mixed up"... they have nothing else). McCain just can't decide what he thinks as it changes almost daily depending on the issue. Yes, great to see SOMEONE calling McCain out... but, I'm sure Obama's campaign are documenting McCain's flip-flops and will be highlighting them as the General nears. Why waste bullets early?

    5) Bob Barr and the Libertarian's

    It's actually no surprise what-so-ever. Anyone who has been following the political landscape knows that Bob Barr (among others) started speaking out against the Bush GOP as far back as 2005. The only real story here is, why if he was such a conservative, is he going Libertarian instead of challenging McCain in the primaries? The answer is, and can only be, that the GOP brand was/is so damaged that only idiots still want to be associated with it. Will Bob Barr be the next Ross Perot? Very likely. Perot got 18% of the vote, and, that is nothing to sneeze at.

    6) Off-shore drilling

    This is nothing more than a GOP bamboozle. The oil companies already have plenty of contracts in hand that they have never pursued drilling, so, why do they need MORE? How about... GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES to drill? Get money for having drilling contracts, never drill, pocket the money. Go figure, huh?

    As noted, it takes 7-10 years before any drilling would produce actual, in hand, oil for consumers, and, as ANWR shows us, some of the sites don't even contain enough oil to WARRANT drilling.

    That is WHY Cheney was salivating over Iraqi oil maps during his secret "energy task force" meetings before 9/11 hit (go figure THAT). The 3 top OPEC nations who are not U.S. friendly and hold the most in oil reserves are Venezuala, Iraq and Iran.

    Remember how the CIA tried to have/assist in Hugo Chavez's coup attempt right as Bush took over the White House? The same time frame that Cheney was salivating over Iraq's maps? And, oh, btw, we are now IN Iraq and the oil companies and Bush are trying to force Iraq into giving up those reserves to the oil companies. And the drum beating for an Iran war by the GOP and neo-con's is still going on. Follow the actions, follow the oil, follow the money.

    7) Bush veto

    I can only assume you are referring to the Iraq supplemental and G.I. Bill (Webb's version) that Bush threatened to veto, and then backed off of...

    That was a no-brainer. Veto the G.I. Bill, and the GOP better make SURE that all of the military absentee ballots got lost in the mail come election day.

    8) Scott McClellan

    Isn't telling us anything we grown-ups didn't already know... Bush and Cheney are corrupt, conniving, thieving, etc... and that McClellan has waited to come out with his book (so he too can try to rake some bucks) lends little to his own stature.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    :D

    All I can say about your "theories" Michael is:

    http://xboxman.us/temp/protection1.jpg

    It really must be so sad to be so paranoid and afraid of your own government and citizens. I really feel for you..

    Once again, I suggest that you employ Occam's Razor.

    Which is more likely??

    A vast US Conspiracy involving hundreds of people, GOP and Dem alike, intent on subverting the US Constitution and turning this country into a police state??

    or

    Good honest Americans who know infinitely more about the issues and circumstances than you do, making the best decisions they can for the safety and security of this country.

    Which is more likely, logical and rational??

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    Michael Gass wrote:

    Ah yes... Mr. "I posted a comment made on a blog as an argument" asks what is more plausible (stop... please... my stomach hurts... bwaahahahahaaa)

    - Which is more likely?? A vast US Conspiracy involving hundreds of people, GOP and Dem alike, intent on subverting the US Constitution and turning this country into a police state?? or Good honest Americans who know infinitely more about the issues and circumstances than you do, making the best decisions they can for the safety and security of this country.

    Which is more likely, logical and rational?? Let's talk about these "good" "honest" "Americans" who know infinitely more than I do... like...

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/004951.php

    * Eric G. Andell - deputy undersecretary in charge of newly created Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (previously senior adviser to Secretary of Education Rod Paige) - pleaded guilty

    * Claude Allen - Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy- resigned, pled guilty to shoplifting from Target stores.

    * Lester Crawford - Commissioner, FDA - resigned in late September 2005 after only two months on the job. On October 17th, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts, making a false writing and conflict of interest.

    * Brian Doyle - Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Homeland Security - Resigned in wake of child sex scandal. Doyle was arrested on April 4th, 2006 and pleaded no contest on September 19, 2006 to seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and sixteen counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor.

    * Steven Griles - Deputy Secretary at the Interior Department - is the highest-ranked administration official yet convicted in the Jack Abramoff scandal. In March 2007, Griles pleaded guilty to lying about his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

    * John T. Korsmo – Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board from 2002 to 2004 – pleaded guilty in 2005 to lying to the Senate and an inspector general.

    * Scooter Libby - Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff - resigned after being indicted for lying to a grand jury and investigators in connection with the investigation stemming from the leak of Valerie Wilson’s covert CIA operative's identity. Convicted on four of five counts, making him the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-contra scandal.

    * David Safavian - former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget - convicted of lying to ethics officials and Senate investigators about his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    * Robert Stein - former comptroller and funding officer for the now disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority, Southern Central Region in Al-Hillah, Iraq - pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, possession of a machine gun, and being a felon in possession of a fire arm.

    That's just the list of those who were convicted from the Bush administration! That isn't even those indicted, resigned, etc, nor, does it touch Congress! And... once again... Michale brings non-sense against FACTS...

    (waits for the whining and crying...)

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Wow.. NINE WHOLE people out of how many thousands in government??

    Of course, you don't bother to include any DEMOCRATS in your list, of which there is an ample supply as well..

    This is why I really can't take anything you say seriously. You are so obviously and irrationally biased that EVERYTHING you say is colored by your politically bigotry..

    If you were a little more objective and logical, as I am, you would stand a better chance in winning these arguments..

    Michale.....

  6. [6] 
    Michael Gass wrote:

    - Wow.. NINE WHOLE people out of how many thousands in government??

    Yes, because you are so challenged you can't click a link and count past 10 without taking off your shoes. Oh, and btw, it's called SPACE and BANDWIDTH and GOOGLE.

    1) Space and Bandwidth

    The point was made... these "good honest" people are crooks... CONVICTED CROOKS... and crooks who RESIGNED IN DISGRACED... and crooks who are UNDER INDICTMENT... and Chris just shouldn't be bothered with me having to spoon feed you information because...

    2) Google

    ... you are too stupid to understand how to use Google.com

    - Of course, you don't bother to include any DEMOCRATS in your list, of which there is an ample supply as well..

    I never said there wasn't. I have merely refuted your ever-present wingnut talking point argument that these individuals are good and honest and have OUR best interests at heart. They aren't and don't.

    - If you were a little more objective and logical, as I am, you would stand a better chance in winning these arguments..

    LMFAO... oh yes... Mr. "I post blog comments to further my argument" says that he wins the arguments... BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAA... stop... the FACTS are killing you!!!!

  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Dear Democrats,

    Do you see how you are hurting your own cause? You are giving credibility to the GOP argument that you are "ineffective" and "spineless". No wonder your poll ratings are so low.

    If you can't stand up for the Constitution during a lame duck Presidency, what can you stand for? You should be ashamed.

    - David

    p.s. I also called my Congressman to voice my concerns. And Steny Hoyer. This is just disgraceful. Apparently, there's a lot more reform that still needs to happen in the Democratic party.

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    @akadjian

    Let me ask you something. In all seriousness..

    Isn't it SLIGHTLY possible that the Democrats are doing the RIGHT thing in supporting this??

    Is it even SLIGHTLY possible??

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    I posted this on an earlier thread, but ya'all might have missed it..

    What do ya'all think of this measure??

    Payment Card and Third Party Network Information Reporting. The proposal requires information reporting on payment card and third party network transactions. Payment settlement entities, including merchant acquiring banks and third party settlement organizations, or third party payment facilitators acting on their behalf, will be required to report the annual gross amount of reportable transactions to the IRS and to the participating payee. Reportable transactions include any payment card transaction and any third party network transaction. Participating payees include persons who accept a payment card as payment and third party networks who accept payment from a third party settlement organization in settlement of transactions. A payment card means any card issued pursuant to an agreement or arrangement which provides for standards and mechanisms for settling the transactions. Use of an account number or other indicia associated with a payment card will be treated in the same manner as a payment card. A de minimis exception for transactions of $10,000 or less and 200 transactions or less applies to payments by third party settlement organizations. The proposal applies to returns for calendar years beginning after December 31, 2010. Back-up withholding provisions apply to amounts paid after December 31, 2011. This proposal is estimated to raise $9.802 billion over ten years.

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If we're going to truly be safe, I'm still not sure we're going far enough with this plan. Someone could get elected that doesn't agree with secret government surveillance.

    If that happened, millions could die.

    What I think we ought to do is make the President king. That's the only way we can truly feel safe and not have someone elected by the people who thinks differently.

    The risk is simply too great. Millions could die.

    What if a terrorist-supporting Democrat becomes elected? None of us want that.

    Their blood will be on our hands. We have to make him king. Don't you agree, Michale?

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Actually, I think what we are seeing is great..

    Complete bipartisan support for strict security measures that are necessary for the safety and security of this country.

    Even BOTH Presidential Candidates agree on this legislation..

    When was the last time THAT happened..

    Truly, today is a great day for America, no??

    Michale....

  12. [12] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But you're ignoring the evil that is happening here. Millions could die if he only has the powers of a simple President.

    When faced with a no-win scenario one sometimes has to choose the lesser of two evils. And I'm willing to make the sacrifice to anoint a king to take care of us.

    We can't allow the death of hundreds, thousands or even millions of innocent men, women and children.

    If there is even a chance that allowing our President (err, King) to make decisions on the spot can save thousands of innocent people, I'm willing to take it. If our King has to wait for Congress or anyone else like a lower court to review information, this could cost us lives!

    I am personally willing to cede all power to a King to prevent the detonation of a nuclear device in a populated city or even stop a suicide bomber that will kill a dozen, I am all for it. I don't feel that my personal convenience is worth the lives of thousands of people. Or a dozen people. Or even ONE PERSON.

    Do you?

    Having courts and even a Congress is a ridiculous burden on our King. He simply can't act fast enough.

    The high and mighty principles of Democracy we all aspire to are all fine and dandy, in theory. But when faced with the real and possible consequences of those principles, no one wants to step up to the plate.

    So time to take a stand, Michale. Or aren't you principled enough?

    The new FISA bill is a hippie compromise with left wing loonies. Give us a bill with some real balls in it. Give us our King!

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's humor. I recognize that
    -JT Walsh, GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I understand where you're coming from, Michale. Similarly, I thought your responses were a joke upon first read.

    I mean, why would anyone want to give more power to our President when he can't even tell us what it's going to get us? I couldn't understand.

    But then I grew up, dropped my idealism, and started working for a new organization, Monarchy Now!

    The founding principle of this organization is to make the President a monarch so he has ALL the tools he needs to do his job.

    Makes sense, right?

    My new role in this organization is to troll the communist liberal blogosphere to spread the seeds of monarchy as far as I can.

    And I get paid for it. Can you believe it?

    Why? Because I've come to believe that our President faces difficult decisions every day. How can he deal with these decisions when he has to worry about being re-elected every 4 years?

    Wouldn't it be better if he were simply king? Ok, maybe we shouldn't call him king. You've shown me that this sounds like a joke and you're right. People still have a bad taste in their mouths about kings.

    What do you think of "Perpetual President" or "Perpetudent"?

    Hmmm. We may have to work on this.

    But here's the reality of the situation. If we don't give our Perpetudent all the tools he needs, we face death or nuclear holocaust at the hands of the terrorists.

    As you yourself said, "when faced with a no-win scenario one has to choose the lesser of two evils."

    It's make him monarch or risk millions of lives. I don't know about you, but I would rather have a Perpetudent than risk the lives of millions of people.

    Terrorists do not deserve respect. They do not deserve compassion. So I can't believe you're happy with this current bill. It doesn't give our Perpetudent nearly enough power to fight terrorism.

    You're starting to sound like a left-wing communist freebaser. Do you have a job?

    So answer the call, Michale, do you want to give the President ALL the tools he needs to do his job?

    Or, are you going to flip flop on your principles like a weak spineless fish out of water?

    Come join us at Monarchy Now! - a political party that throws balls and has balls.

    David
    Internet Marketing Specialist
    Monarchy Now!

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, you don't have a website... {sniff}

    So, I don't think I'll be interested.. :D

    Michale.....

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