Alan Grayson leads Republican primary

Too funny. More Democrats like Rep. Alan Grayson please…

T Rex isnt afraid of the puny sun

Rep. Grayson Has Huge Lead in Republican Primary

No, that’s not a typo. According to a poll of registered Republicans last week, Congressman Alan Grayson has an enormous lead in the Republican primary for Florida Congressional District 8 (FL-8).

Of course, Grayson is a Democrat. Yet Grayson is far and away the leading choice among registered Republicans in FL-8. In fact, he has almost twice as much support among Republicans as all his Republican opponents combined.

In the poll, Grayson won the support of 27.8% of registered Republicans. None of Grayson’s 13 opponents scored higher than 3.7%. Their combined performance was only 14.5%. The remaining 57.7% of registered Republicans were undecided.

30.1% of registered Republican women support Grayson. And Grayson has the support of 25.5% of registered Republican men.

Grayson also has an enormous lead in name recognition. 76.9% of Republicans know Grayson; none of his opponents scored higher than 15.1%. 81.4% of Republican men know Grayson, and 72.4% of Republican women know him.

Grayson received high marks from Republicans for his Constitution initiative. Over half of all Republicans said that they were more likely to vote for Grayson because he passed a resolution urging high schools to teach the Constitution, and he had distributed tens of thousands of copies of the Constitution throughout the district.

Interestingly, Grayson is more popular among Republicans than Republican Governor Charlie Crist is. 42% of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of Crist, far more than those who have an unfavorable opinion of Grayson […]

The poll was conducted on Feb. 26th. There were 324 respondents, all registered Republicans in FL-8. The margin of error was 5%. The poll was conducted by Middleton Market Research.

[Click to continue reading Daily Kos: FL-08: Grayson leads, er, Republican primary]

Republicans predictably are sputtering with indignation, but impotent to change facts.


Reading Around on January 18th through January 20th

A few interesting links collected January 18th through January 20th:

  • Change of Subject: W.W.R.D? — What Would the Republicans Do? – [Republicans]

    now control the U.S. Senate, 41 votes to 59.The Democrats, based on this one very notable setback, seem poised now to attempt a strategy of retreat and appeasement, exactly as is being demanded by their harshest critics on Fox News. Evan Bayh, Barney Frank and the coalition of the pouty and lily livered seem to think voters in the fall will be drawn to the sight of their fluttering white flags.

  • Chicago Transit Authority urges commuters to report photographers | Photography is Not a Crime

    The Chicago Transit Authority is so “committed to safety,” that it is urging commuters to report people committing “excessive photography/filming.” The sign posted inside the train stations places photographers on the same level as, say, a non-CTA employee walking the tracks or an unattended package or “noxious smells or smoke.”

    In other words, it accuses photographers of being possible terrorists or just suicidal maniacs.

    The problem is that these signs not only encourage commuters to dial 911 when seeing someone taking photos, which will tie up real emergencies, it contradicts the CTA’s own policy on photography and videography within train stations

  • Econundrum: 10 Eco-Apps for Your iPhone | Mother Jones – Econundrum: 10 Eco-Apps for Your iPhone
Advertising humor Links Music

Reading Around on November 12th through November 14th

A few interesting links collected November 12th through November 14th:

  • More on Franken Amendment, elitism… at – In an effort to increase my ability to do this kind of reporting, I’ve exchanged contact information with several Democratic Press Secretaries. I’ve explained that I am a progressive news service and that my goal is to quench a thirst for timely progressive news… that it’s not enough to complain about Fox, Nedra Pickler, John Solomen or an inability to get your message out… that growing a progressive media requires cooperation from the news-makers that want to see the progressive media grow…

    Perhaps I’m too impatient… But the truth is that I’m having a really difficult time getting my calls returned from most offices.

    That’s something I’d understand if my web videos hadn’t been viewed nearly 500,000 times. But hell, it’s clear my work is reaching people, so it’s difficult for me not to see a certain form of elitism in the Democratic communications establishment.

  • Hullabaloo That Commie Bastard Al Franken Broke the Rules – Are those Senators not insensitive to rape victims? It’s quite obvious that they are.

    The good news is that the Republican senators have learned their lesson:

    Privately, GOP sources acknowledge that they failed to anticipate the political consequences of a “no” vote on the amendment. And several aides said that Republicans are engaged in an internal blame game about why they agreed to a roll-call vote on the measure, rather than a simple voice vote that would have allowed the opposing senators to duck criticism.

    Right, they forgot to hide their misogyny. (Man, you let your guard down for one minute and those bitchuz are all over you.)

  • There is no time to be tactful – For fans of Mad Men it will prove difficult to learn of the story behind ‘Peace, Little Girl’ – a brutal 60 second television spot which first aired on September 7, 1964 – and not imagine the offices of Sterling Cooper. The ad was conceived by agency Doyle Dane Bernbach on behalf of President Lyndon Johnson, in an effort to kill off Republican candidate Barry Goldwater’s march to the White House. DDB, desperate for success with their first political client, threw 40 of their best men at the campaign and chose to aim for the jugular by capitalising on comments Goldwater had previously made concerning nuclear weapons. The following letter was written by DDB co-founder and legendary ad-man Bill Bernbach just months before the election, at a time when Goldwater had managed to regain the public’s confidence and the DNC had started to drag their heels.
  • Blind Man’s Penis -John Trubee’s infamously great song:

    I got high last night on LSD My mind was beautiful, and I was free Warts loved my nipples because they are pink Vomit on me, baby Yeah Yeah Yeah.

    Stevie Wonder’s penis is erect because he’s blind
    It’s erect because he’s blind, it’s erect because he’s blind
    Stevie Wonder’s penis is erect because he’s blind
    It’s erect because he is blind

    Let’s make love under the stars and watch for UFOs
    And if little baby Martians come out of the UFOs
    You can fuck them
    Yeah Yeah Yeah.

    The zebra spilled its plastinia on bemis And the gelatin fingers oozed electric marbles Ramona’s titties died in hell And the Nazis want to kill everyone.

Food and Drink government

House to Vote on Food-Safety Legislation

Speaking of food safety and the FDA, The House is expected to vote on a new, long-awaited food safety bill giving more authority to the FDA.


The House is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would significantly increase the Food and Drug Administration’s funding and authority to police food safety.

Democratic leaders will bring up the legislation under a procedure that allows limited debate and no amendments and requires a two-thirds supermajority vote to pass. The bill unanimously passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee in June.

The vote was scheduled after negotiations averted a prolonged turf battle between two powerful Democrats: House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the Commerce Committee’s chairman emeritus. The committees were still working on the final language Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Peterson had threatened to stop the legislation if it didn’t explicitly exempt livestock or grain farmers and others that are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mr. Dingell, the legislation’s main sponsor, has said the legislation wasn’t intended to overlay FDA rules on USDA regulations.

[Click to continue reading House to Vote on Food-Safety Legislation –]

sausage making

and since the FDA is toothless at the moment, consumer groups are becoming more impatient with the slow moving process of making legislation. There are problems with the US food safety, why can no changes be made?

Consumer groups, however, urged lawmakers to pass the bill, saying Congress already has held more than 20 hearings on food safety in the aftermath of a string of widespread food-borne illnesses involving products such as hot peppers, spinach and lettuce. The outbreaks exposed gaps in the FDA’s ability to prevent large-scale outbreaks and trace the source once they begin.

Under the legislation, the FDA would be able to order food recalls. The bill would also require the agency to inspect food facilities more often and would give FDA authority to set production and record-keeping standards to prevent contamination and more easily trace outbreaks. Food facilities would be required to register and pay an annual $500 fee.

The Senate, on the other hand, is more concerned with going on vacation and avoiding bills like health-care reform, and food safety. The Senate also likes to ride the corn-porn pony of corporate lobbyist dollars.



Dems Abroad passes sweeping Marijuana resolution at DC Meeting

Good for the Democrats Abroad! Common sense would suggest the United States government should reconsider its ill-guided anti-marijuana crusade. The majority of Americans espouse this position as well, only the retrograde faction also known as the US Congress, Senate and White House that resist change.

Live High aka High Life

Democrats Abroad (DA) is the overseas branch of the Democratic Party. We’re considered one of the 56 ‘state’ parties by the DNC and are one of the 6 non-state ‘states’ (along with Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.). Our members live around the world and come from every US state.

We held our annual global meeting recently (April 24 ~ 26) in Washington DC and, in addition to doing things like our DC doorknock and sharing ideas for increasing voter turnout among Americans overseas in 2010, we considered a number of resolutions, including one (text below), calling for the regulation of marijuana and for treating it in the same manner we treat alcohol.

It was, as you can imagine, a somewhat controversial resolution but I’m proud to say that our members tackled the issue head-on and passed the resolution without modification fairly easily in the end. If you think the so-called ‘war’ on marijuana should be scrapped and would like to confront this issue in your own state party, read on.

[Click to continue reading Daily Kos: State of the Nation – Dems Abroad passes sweeping Marijuana resolution at DC Meeting]


The text of the resolution:

Resolution text:

Resolution on Regulation of the Use of Marijuana


The Obama Administration has wisely stopped Federal prosecution of marijuana sold for medical purposes in a manner compliant with state regulation, thus alleviating the suffering of cancer patients and others who would benefit from medical marijuana.

Only thirteen states regulate the sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

Criminalization of non-medical uses of marijuana continues to contribute needlessly to organized crime at home and abroad, illicit drug trade, overburdening of the criminal justice system, and diverts valuable criminal justice resources away from more serious crimes.

The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy heavily criticized U.S. drug policy and called on the U.S. to decriminalize marijuana in a report coinciding with increased drug-trade violence in Mexico;

The dominant argument against liberalized marijuana regulation, the gateway theory, has been consistently disproven, most recently by a RAND Corporation study commissioned by the British Parliament;

According to a World Health Organization survey conducted in 2008, the United States of America has the highest rates of marijuana use in the world.

In the Netherlands, where adult possession and purchase of small amounts of marijuana are allowed under a regulated system, the rate of marijuana use by both teenagers and adults is lower than in the U.S.

55% of Americans believe possession of small amounts of marijuana should not be a criminal offense, according to a 2005 Gallup poll.

In the U.S., almost 90% of more than 9.5 million marijuana-related arrests since 1995 were for simple possession – not manufacture or distribution.


We praise the Obama administration for its bold step to make marijuana available for medical purposes,

We call upon states that do not yet provide the reasonable regulation of medical marijuana to do so as soon as possible, to alleviate suffering wherever possible.

We recommend replacing the current policy of marijuana prohibition with a taxed and regulated system modeled on how alcohol is treated in the U.S.


Reading Around on April 26th through April 28th

A few interesting links collected April 26th through April 28th:

  • The GOP’s base problem – Back in 2002, the Democratic Party was a disaster. It was beset by an establishment convinced that this was a center-right nation, and that the only path to victory was to be Republican-lite. It was outgunned by a conservative movement that had a well-established idea factory and message machine, with a traditional media more eager to pick up Fox News themes than to hold the administration accountable. And it was plagued by a consultant class that still thought the calendar read 1968, and that their campaigns couldn’t associate with dirty fucking hippies or innovate with new tools like the “internets”.Lucky for them, a new generation of activists arose to challenge the status quo…, in addition to a core group of big-money donors willing to invest in a new party infrastructure. … Anyone remember how conservatives gloated when we got Howard Dean elected chairman of our party? Anyone remember how our party’s DC establishment reacted, in genuine horror and fear for the party’s future?

  • image from an unknown source

  • The real reason for torture | Steve Chapman – “Its advocates make it obvious that this cruelty is not an unfortunate byproduct but a positive attribute.

    That’s why so many people endorse inhumane methods while disregarding any evidence that suggests it is ineffective. Their hatred of our enemies has made them indifferent to civilized norms. They want to see our enemies suffer hideously regardless of whether that enhances or degrades our security.

    The point of torture is torture. It is not a means to an end. It is the end itself. ”

  • BARTANNICA » B.L.U.E.S. | Chicago, IL – I’ve got the quit-making-out-in-front-of-me-and-rubbing-each-others’-legs-and-standing-up-from-your-stools-and-bumping-into-me-you-gross-old-people-from-the-suburbs-that-have-had-too-much-to-drink-and-should-just-get-a-room-and-I-know-that’s-what-you’re-thinking-because-I-just-saw-you-pop-a-Viagra blues. Deh dah-dah dum dah-dum dah-dum …



Reading Around on February 12th through February 13th

A few interesting links collected February 12th through February 13th:

  • RIAA’s need for discovery was not so urgent : Internet law – Evan Brown – Internet Cases – Photo courtesy Flickr user swanksalot under this Creative Commons license.
  • Barking Mad by digby Chris Hayes has a… – "I've spent the past few months trying to sort out why the Blue Dogs get so much attention. The best I can tell, there are two main reasons. One has to do with the organizational mechanics of the Blue Dog caucus, which is more unified and cohesive than any other in the House. The other has to do with the ongoing Beltway love affair with "fiscal conservatism."

    Yep. And until we kill that phony meme, and put the Blue Dogs down, it will continue to make it nearly impossible to enact liberal legislation. The Republicans start unnecessary, hugely expensive wars and enact massive tax cuts, thus starving the beast, and then posture and preen like a bunch of fastidious schoolmarms when they are out of power."


Joe Lieberman, Putz

I obviously don’t understand politics as well as Harry Reid and Democratic Party leaders: if the decision was mine, I would have stripped Lieberman of all assignments long ago, and especially when he started being John McCain’s BFF1.

That Horse Is Long Gone
[That Horse is Long Gone, Pilsen]

By the time Washington settles down to look at the election results next month, there may not be many more lines left for Lieberman to cross. Endorse the GOP nominee? Check. Blast Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention? Check. Defend embattled Republican incumbent Norm Coleman of Minnesota in one of the country’s most contested Senate races? Check. Yet, despite all that, top Senate Democrats like Harry Reid still aren’t willing to say they’ll kick Lieberman out of the caucus next year. In fact, they’re still not willing to say they’ll move against Lieberman at all, even if things break their way and the party winds up in control of more than 60 seats. “We truly are in a spot where [Reid] will talk to the members of the caucus after the elections about what — if anything — to do,” said Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesman, regarding Lieberman’s role. (Since becoming an Independent, Lieberman has continued to caucus with Democrats in the Senate and regularly votes their way on domestic policy.) “We’re going to have to wait and see how this thing plays out.”

Lieberman’s future is partly a question of math — as in, will Democrats win enough Senate seats to gain a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority, and if they do, will Lieberman represent that 60th vote? But it’s also partly a question of clubby intangibles inside the Senate. The guy may have irritated a lot of liberals in 2008, and even a lot of Democrats in the Senate, but he’s been on Capitol Hill for 20 years, and, although people may wish they could forget it now, he was on the party’s national ticket in 2000. In the end, how far will longtime friends want to push him to hold him accountable for supporting McCain?

What isn’t in doubt is how fervently Lieberman has been out there pushing the Republican ticket. He hops on and off McCain’s campaign plane and bus constantly these days, in between trips to suburban areas in swing states with lots of Jewish voters — south Florida, the Philly suburbs, the Cleveland area. During Sunday’s tele-town hall, he tried to make the case that McCain is the real heir to the legacy of Bill Clinton. “The eight Clinton years were good years, but the Democratic Party is not where it was eight years ago on a lot of issues,” Lieberman said, citing trade and “government reform,” without specifying exactly what that is. Addressing McCain, he continued: “You are more in that tradition on those issues than a lot of the Democrats are today.” (McCain may be pretty sure he’s not George Bush, but he didn’t sound like he wants to be Bill Clinton, either. “Yeah,” he muttered. “Next question, please.”)

This kind of shtick is what drives many Democrats crazy. “I think that Sen. Lieberman feels much more comfortable in the Republican Party,” said Ned Lamont, who beat Lieberman in Connecticut’s Democratic primary race for the Senate in 2006, but then lost the general election when Lieberman ran as an independent. “I got in the race two and a half years ago because I thought he had left a lot of Democratic principles a long time ago.” Blogger and activist David Sirota says he hopes Reid and other leaders will punish Lieberman: “I hope that there is some personal animus toward the guy.”

[From Joe Lieberman, Sarah Palin, and Democrats | Salon News]

I seriously see no reason the Democrats should include Lieberman in anything the Democratic Party does, unless Lieberman changes his ways. Zell Miller was bad enough, but Lieberman is even worse.

  1. best friend forever in internet slang []

Kerry Hits It Home

Kerry gave one of the best speeches of the convention, in my estimation. I’m not alone in noticing1. Kerry made points that might have helped him win election in 2004, if he hadn’t listened to his centrist-leaning advisors.

Now, if Mr. Kerry had stopped there this would have been an effective partisan speech — memorable in the moment but likely soon forgotten. But what John Kerry said at the end of his remarks took a very good speech into the pantheon of great speeches.

For more than two generations, one of the dominant narratives in American politics has been the notion of Democratic “weakness” on foreign policy. Democrats, the stereotype goes, do not love their country; they are not patriotic, they are as Jeane Kirkpatrick famously declared at the G.O.P. convention in 1984, blame America-firsters. And for years, Democrats have struggled to fight back; often choosing political artifice over impassioned persuasion. But, last night in Denver, John Kerry fought back:

How insulting to suggest that those who question the mission, question the troops. How pathetic to suggest that those who question a failed policy, doubt America itself. How desperate to tell the son of a single mother who chose community service over money and privilege that he doesn’t put America first.

Pathetic, insulting and desperate are not the words that Democrats frequently use on the campaign trail and particularly not in the context of national security. As for the idea that community service belongs in the same lexicon as military service … well that’s something you are even less likely to hear.

[From Kerry Hits It Home – Campaign Stops – 2008 Elections – Opinion – New York Times Blog]

Crooks and Liars has video of the speech.

Its About Judge Ment

For a good laugh, check out James Taranto’s analysis. I’m not sure what planet Mr. Taranto is from, especially when he writes sentences like: Kerry: President Obama and Vice President Biden will shut down Guantanamo, respect the Constitution, and make clear once and for all, the United States of America does not torture, not now, not ever.

President Bush has repeatedly said that America does not torture. Can we really afford four more years of the same?

Right, the waterboarding and stress positions are only enhanced interrogation techniques, and not torture. Why? Well, because we’ve just redefined the meaning of the word, torture, to be whatever we are not doing to prisoners. If we do it, it is no longer defined as torture2 Taranto continues in this vein:

In his 2004 speech Kerry did discuss terrorism at length, but he said not a word about global warming, and he mentioned AIDS only in the context of demanding federal funding for stem-cell research. If these things are so important, why is he only getting around to telling us now?

Pretty weak, Mr. Taranto, pretty weak. Let us count the number of mentions of global warming and AIDS in John McCain’s convention, shall we?

Tom Schaller of Salon briefly interviewed John Kerry yesterday morning:

Thursday morning outside the Brown Palace Hotel where he and his wife are staying, John Kerry was helping get Teresa’s stuff packed into a car for her departure today from Denver — she’s leaving, but he says he “isn’t going anywhere.” The Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee is fresh off his widely hailed evisceration of John McCain in a speech last night to the delegates — arguably a better speech, given the relative expectations for the two men, than Bill Clinton’s. (The sad part is that the networks and even MSNBC didn’t run it in its entirety, live.)

Kerry was generous enough to take a few moments of time while extracting his very snappy bike out of the trunk — apparently, he is planning to stretch those long legs today — to speak with Salon. He showed more of that fire from last night, leavened with some self-effacing critiques of his own failures in 2004. And though I can’t be sure who he had in mind as referents when he mentioned “some partisans” unable to get over Hillary Clinton’s defeat, I could swear between the lines I heard the names Paul Begala and James Carville.

I liked this answer to the question, “Where was this fiery Kerry in 2004”3

Well, I feel like — no, on the contrary, I was that John Kerry four years ago … particularly in the last six weeks I was. I won three debates against the sitting president. And I think that I’m proud of what we did. We should have taken those Swift boat attacks on more directly earlier. We just made a miscalculation. The calculation was that we had put the truth out and people saw through that kind of attack. The miscalculation is that if you put a lot of money behind a lie, there are some people who don’t [see through it]. And that’s where we made a mistake. We should have put more money behind the truth.

And I think the Obama campaign has learned that, and they’re not going to give any quarter on these smears, lies and attacks. And I think that’s what’s important. You know, there are plenty of places where I let fire and let loose, like I did last night — believe me. If you go back and look at my convention speech it was a strong speech, well received at the time. But people tend to blur that and they don’t see it in the context of the attacks that came out afterwards. Yeah, we could have done a better job at making certain that we absolutely murdered those [attacks]. Believe me, part of the message I was sending last night was I learned that lesson — and never again.

More reactions to Kerry’s speech compiled by Chris Suellentrop: The Kerry Surprise

  1. though, apparently none of the major networks carried the speech, only CSPAN []
  2. which is ridiculous, of course []
  3. paraphrased []

Historic Event for the Democratic Party

I too was moved despite myself. I realize the whole Democratic convention1 is scripted within inches of its life, but witnessing the Democratic Party actually nominate a black man for President was something I never would have expected happen, at least in my life time.

This evening, though, I watched something happen that I was solid sure would never happen in my lifetime, or probably my children’s lifetimes: A major American political party just nominated an African American as its candidate for the presidency of the United States — the big job, the Leader of the Free World, the whole enchilada.

Watching it on C-SPAN, I saw a closeup shot of an African American delegate after Nancy Pelosi banged the gavel down. She was hugging the delegate next to her (a white woman) And the tears were pouring down her cheeks.

I dunno, I guess that’s when it hit me — the enormity of what I’d just seen. It may not mean as much to you youngsters (get off my lawn!) but for someone of my age, who grew up in the dying days of segregation, who still remembers the colored and white drinking fountains and the monochrome lunch counters, who saw Washington DC burn the night Martin Luther King was killed — who, in some sense, has essentially spent his whole life living in the shadow of American racism, it was completely mindblowing. The party of Jefferson Davis and George Wallace (but also of FDR and Bobby Kennedy) had just chosen a black man as its standard bearer — and the Gods willing, as the country’s next leader.

[From billmon at Daily Kos: Really Proud]

I’m not quite old enough to remember colored and white drinking fountains, but I did live in Burkeville, Texas2 so witnessed first-hand plenty of vestiges of the Old South (the bone-crushingly racist South, if you don’t know)). I’m similar to billmon also in that I have conflicted feelings towards the Democratic Party: I am much more left than most party leaders, and yet I was proud of the Democrats last night.

  1. like all conventions, just wait till the Republican show starts! []
  2. Jasper, Texas was the nearest town, yes, that Jasper, Texas []

Hillary Diehards in the Media

Slightly more on the Hillary-Heads, from today’s Altercation:

this story from Scott Lindlaw at the Associated Press was headlined “Pelosi admits Democrats not yet united.” Here is the entirety of Pelosi’s quotes in the ensuing story:

  • Asked by reporters about female voters’ comfort level with Obama, Pelosi said women show a strong preference for Obama in public opinion polls. A “gender gap” in Obama’s favor had emerged “even before the convention, and even before the complete reconciliation that we need,” she said.
  • “The nomination is decided, we have a vice president, we’re going to work together and go forward,” she said.
  • “But to stay wallowing in all of this is not productive,” she said. “So we can talk about this forever, or we can talk about how we’re going to take our message to the American people, to women all across America, to see the distinctions” between Obama and Republican candidate John McCain.”
  • You know what? This is like a yesterday room,” she told the reporters. “We are going into the future. What did I walk into, a time capsule?”

[From Media Matters – Altercation by Eric Alterman]

Seems as if the Hillary Diehards are either a Republican concoction, a media concoction, or both. I love the final Pelosi response, I hope it becomes a meme for this election season.


The Hillary Diehards

“What Liberal Media?: The Truth about Bias and the News” (Eric Alterman)

Eric Alterman doesn’t think much of the Hillary Diehards, nor much of the media idiots who keep interviewing the pathetically small minority of Hill-Raisers who would even consider voting for John Anti-Choice McCain. Dr. Alterman writes:

Personally, I think that people who are “still angry” about Hillary Clinton and are considering “withholding their support” from Obama are moral and political idiots in exactly the same vein as those people who voted for Ralph Nader in swing states in 2000 were. More so, actually. The Democrats had a primary, and Obama won it fair and square. He didn’t cheat. He didn’t do any of the things that Hillary Clinton diehards are are so angry about. He just won and she lost. That’s how these things are supposed to work.

These Hillary diehards act as if they are making some sort of point, but the only point they are making is that they would prefer to see John McCain be President–and run a government that is opposed to everything they say they favor (here’s where the Nader comparison comes in) because they think politics is a form of therapy rather than a matter of compromise, coalition and, ultimately, victorious combination.

If you talk to one of these people for more than two minutes, they immediately cease to make any sense. But the press doesn’t talk to them for more than two minutes at a time because all they need is that one self-serving, conflict-building quote to give them what they need to support their big–and, right now, virtually only–story line. What’s more, the Obama people are under orders–quite understandably–not to anger these nut cases, because, sad to say, you can’t win an election without stupid people voting for you. So nobody says it aloud, but everyone says it privately. And that, rather than what you hear on your TVs all day, is the real news of this place, so far. And so the charade continues until we have some real news

[Click to read more The Hillary Diehards]


All I can add is thank pasta for CSPAN, otherwise I couldn’t stand to watch more than 3 minutes of the Democratic National Convention. Those fact-free yammering television commentators are nauseating.


Blue Dog Democrats and Their Master

AT&T was thankful to the Blue Dog Democrats, and others, who gave the telecom corporations retroactive immunity for breaking the law, and spying on Americans without warrants, before 9-11 even happened, so AT&T threw a lavish, private gala. A group of blogger activists tried to find out exactly who was invited to this special FISA party, but even though the party was held on public land, they were thrown out by Denver Police.

Last night in Denver, at the Mile High Station — next to Invesco Stadium, where Barack Obama will address a crowd of 30,000 people on Thursday night — AT&T threw a lavish, private party for Blue Dog House Democrats, virtually all of whom blindly support whatever legislation the telecom industry demands and who also, specifically, led the way this July in immunizing AT&T and other telecoms from the consequences for their illegal participation in the Bush administration’s warrantless spying program. Matt Stoller has one of the listings for the party here.

Armed with full-scale Convention press credentials issued by the DNC, I went — along with Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher, John Amato, Stoller and others — in order to cover the event, interview the attendees, and videotape the festivities. There was a wall of private security deployed around the building, and after asking where the press entrance was, we were told by the security officials, after they consulted with event organizers, that the press was barred from the event, and that only those with invitations could enter — notwithstanding the fact that what was taking place in side was a meeting between one of the nation’s largest corporations and the numerous members of the most influential elected faction in Congress. As a result, we stood in front of the entrance and began videotaping and trying to interview the parade of Blue Dog Representatives, AT&T executives, assorted lobbyists and delegates who pulled up in rented limousines, chauffeured cars, and SUVs in order to find out who was attending and why AT&T would be throwing such a lavish party for the Blue Dog members of Congress.

Amazingly, not a single one of the 25-30 people we tried to interview would speak to us about who they were, how they got invited, what the party’s purpose was, why they were attending, etc. One attendee said he was with an “energy company,” and the other confessed she was affiliated with a “trade association,” but that was the full extent of their willingness to describe themselves or this event. It was as though they knew they’re part of a filthy and deeply corrupt process and were ashamed of — or at least eager to conceal — their involvement in it. After just a few minutes, the private security teams demanded that we leave, and when we refused and continued to stand in front trying to interview the reticent attendees, the Denver Police forced us to move further and further away until finally we were unable to approach any more of the arriving guests.

[From AT&T thanks the Blue Dog Democrats with a lavish party – Glenn Greenwald –]


Video of the event is now available, and a transcript of Democracy Now!’s video of the same event here

GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, it’s amazing. And essentially, we probably tried to interview twenty-five, thiry people going in, and every last person refused to even give their name, identify themselves, say what they’re here for, what the event is for. It’s more secretive than like a Dick Cheney energy council meeting. I mean, it’s amazing.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what are you here for? Why do you want to interview people?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, because, I mean, it’s extraordinary that the same Blue Dogs that just gave this extremely corrupt gift to AT&T are now attending a party underwritten by AT&T, the purpose of which is to thank the Blue Dogs for the corrupt legislative gift that they got. So AT&T gives money to Blue Dogs, the Blue Dogs turn around and immunize AT&T from lawbreaking, and then AT&T throws a party at the Democratic convention thanking them, and then they all go in and into this exclusive club.


GLENN GREENWALD: Absolutely. I mean, I found the symbolism of the event very revealing. First of all, as you say, there was a very intended-to-be-intimidating wall of private security surrounding the event, and they were actually infinitely more aggressive and angrier than the Denver police were. And in fact, I was there with Jane Hamsher, the blogger from FireDogLake, who at one point was trying to speak with one of the individuals entering the party, and she was physically pushed by one of the private security members, notwithstanding the fact that the Denver police had been there the entire time, navigating and negotiating where it was that we could stand. The other aspect of it was, was that what the police had been clearly trained to do is create this façade of being accommodating and cooperative and pleasant, but what it really does is it masks the fact that their strategy is to ensure that any sort of dissident voices, or people off script, are relegated to places where they can’t really be heard.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s very hard to figure out in these situations. You know, you have a sidewalk, which is owned by the private venue, and where the public can use the public sidewalk, they’re showing you the cracks, the crevices in the sidewalk, and they’re saying that’s theirs, this is yours.

GLENN GREENWALD: Right, well, I mean, I found that very odd, too. At first, we were told that we could stand in a certain place that was on one side of one of the cracks that appeared in the sidewalk, and I was kind of amazed that the Denver police knew with such precision, based on the cracks in the sidewalk, where private and public property were demarcated. But when it turned out that where we were told to stand originally still enabled us to accost the people who were exiting the cars and try to interview them, suddenly the cracks in the sidewalk shifted to a place further away, and then suddenly that became the public-private line, and then we were told to stand there.

Who needs civil liberties when there are pageants to present!


Bill Casey and Abortion

I didn’t realize this myself. I had read so many times that Bill Casey was refused a speaking platform at the 1992 Democratic Convention for his anti-abortion views that I assumed this was not in dispute. I was wrong.

For the past 16 years, news organizations have been repeating an obvious falsehood about the 1992 Democratic convention. According to countless news reports — in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, ABC, NPR, Time, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, and on and on and on — then-Pennsylvania governor Bob Casey was denied a speaking role at the convention because he opposed abortion rights.

That’s false. And it’s obviously false.

Here’s all you need to know in order to know with absolute certainty that Casey’s views on abortion were not the reason he was not given a speaking role: that very same Democratic convention featured speeches by at least eight people who shared Casey’s anti-choice position, including Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley Jr., Sens. John Breaux and Howell Heflin, and five governors.

[From Media Matters – “Media Matters”; by Jamison Foser]

The reason Casey was not afforded a prime time speaking position was that he refused to endorse Bill Clinton, and wanted to do a Zell Miller spew-fest, trashing the Democratic Party for various reasons, mostly having to do with abortion. Strange how that got twisted.

People involved in planning the 1992 Democratic convention have long maintained that Casey was not given an opportunity to speak because he refused to endorse Bill Clinton, who was to be nominated at the convention. That’s what they said at the time, too. The Washington Post’s first report on Casey’s request for speaking time included a quote from the Democratic National Committee’s press secretary: “anyone who is speaking at the convention will have endorsed Governor Clinton by the time of the convention and Governor Casey has not.”

It should be noted that it wasn’t merely that Casey hadn’t gotten around to endorsing Clinton. He was arguing that Clinton had only a “flyspeck” of support and that the party should consider nominating someone else at the convention.

Of course, only those involved in the decisions about who would speak at the convention know for certain if Casey’s refusal to endorse Clinton was the reason he wasn’t given a speaking role. But we do know that as soon as Casey asked for one, the Democratic Party publicly indicated that his failure to endorse Clinton would prevent him from speaking. If the convention organizers were making a bluff, Casey could have called it by simply endorsing Clinton. He chose not to. Instead, he began denouncing the party for having a “radical, extreme position” in favor of abortion rights and claiming it was bowing to “the radical far left.” Members of his own delegation were quoted saying he was “being a jerk” and said they were considering removing him as head of the delegation.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Casey didn’t merely want to speak at the convention. He wanted to devote his entire speech to opposing the Democratic Party on a single issue. After the convention ended, Casey released the text of the speech he would have delivered had he been given the chance. The speech ran more than 1,000 words — and not one of those words was “Clinton.” Nor was the word “Gore” mentioned. Casey’s speech did not include a single word of praise or support for the ticket being nominated at the convention he wanted to address. Instead, it accused the party of being “far out of the mainstream and on the extreme fringe” on abortion. That’s what the entire speech was about: disagreeing with, and insulting, the Democratic Party on abortion.

Barack Obama had better vet Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton’s speeches pretty carefully. Pretty damn carefully.
Jamison Foser continues


Democracy and Blue Dogs

Glenn Greenwald brings out the sarcasm whip, and flails Ed Kilgore a bit about the face and hands

Here’s what I learned today about democracy and ideology as a result of my debate with Ed Kilgore and having read the comments to the piece I wrote about targeting Blue Dogs

  • If you believe in the Fourth Amendment, an end to the Iraq War, the rule of law for government and corporate criminals, a ban on torture, Congressional approval before the President can attack Iran, and the preservation of habeas corpus rights, then you’re a fringe, dogmatic Far Leftist ideologue, the kind who ruined the Democratic Party in 1968 and wants to d so again.
  • Even though the country is overwhelmingly against the Iraq War and intensely dislikes George Bush, it’s necessary for Congressional Democrats to support the Iraq War and accommodate George Bush’s demands so that they can remain popular and be re-elected.
  • If you oppose politicians who support laws that you think are destructive and wrong, then you’re an intolerant purist who hates dissent and doesn’t believe in democracy.
  • If you try to defeat in elections those politicians who support the things you don’t believe in, then you’re similar to — basically the same as — Nazis and Stalinists, because targeting politicians for electoral defeat who espouse views that you think are wrong is comparable to murdering political dissidents and requiring purity of thought.
  • Being a Good Democrat means embracing, welcoming and supporting members of Congress who support unnecessary wars, the evisceration of the Fourth Amendment, the abolition of habeas corpus, the use of torture, and protections for lawbreakers — as long as they place a “D” after their name when voting for those things.
  • Blind, uncritical allegiance to one’s Party — and to all of its officials — is the defining attribute of a tolerant, enlightened, and savvy progressive, and is the very heart of a healthy democracy. Those who diverge from absolute Party loyalty are Stalinists.
  • Congressional incumbents in the U.S. are re-elected at rates that even Brezhnev-era Politburo officials would envy

[From Things I learned today about democracy – Glenn Greenwald –]

There’s much more in this vein, worth a glance. The sad part is that these talking points are often voiced on television by various so-called liberal commentators, even though when examined closely, the points are ridiculous. My belief is that politicians serve their constituents, so should reflect their beliefs. If they don’t, the politician should be voted out of office.