Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So Did Obama Cave To Boner or Play Him

This is one of those political events where we can say that spin is all there is. President Obama did confer with Boehner and Reid prior to announcing his request for a joint speech to Congress. The White House staff confirmed to several reporters that the 7th had been agreed upon by Boehner. Boehner's staff confirmed the prior notification but claimed that the Speaker had not confirmed the date. But then again no one has yet said that he opposed the date.

The Senate historian said that Boehner's move to deny the President's date was the first time this had ever been done in American history. But remember putting conditions on the debt ceiling never occurred in American history either. However, I must point out that the Speaker of the House actually sets the schedule, according to the Constitution. However, in the case of the President wanting to address Congress tradition gives the right-of-way to the President.

Whatever the spin--You can say Obama caved but Boehner is isolated as an asshole. When the issue is jobs and getting the economy going, it's hard to see Boehner's move as being sympathetic to either the American people or President Obama.

But what is clear is that the GOP leadership has not been moved by the Townhall meetings where their own constituents lambasted them for not doing anything on jobs, for screwing up America's credit rating and for threatening Social Security.

Basically the strategy is to wear the President down and so demoralize the country that the electorate will passively accept a Republican president. The Game remains to make President Obama a one-term President no matter the cost to the country.

I hope President Obama amps this speech up and goes BIG even though he must know the Republicans will do everything to thwart him in making any headway in the economy. At least Obama can then used that for his campaign.

On The Book Shelf

The Amazon Gods have decreed that my shipments now come overnight. This means I am about to be smothered in books. So I should recap some recent reads for the deluge.

Denis Johnson returns with a novella Train Dreams (FSG, 116p), which tells the story of Robert Grainier, who lived his life in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest from the late 19th century until 1968. A fine piece of tight writing that covers Grainer's experience as a lumberjack, train hand and a hauler of goods and his life after a fire takes his life and small daughter.

George Pelecanos The Cut (Little Brown,292p). The Producer and writer for The Wire,Pelecanos now is hyped when there is no need. The best writer about non-political Washington,the best for political Washington in my mind is still Ward Just. No,the new character Spero Lucas is not his greatest creation yet but he is a good one. Spero Lucas comes home from Iraq and embarks on a career as an investigator for a Washington lawyer. Lucas is hired by a convicted drug smuggler and dealer who wants to know who has been stealing his supplies, which are FEDEX to random addresses in D.C. If you live here, the kick from Pelcanos is realizing that the character throws the knife he used to commit murder away in the yard of the school where my wife worked. Pelecanos takes you to the neighborhoods of D.C. seldom visited or written about by our local reporters.

Kjell Eriksson The Hand That Trembles (Minataur,310pages). I am a junkie for Nordic crime novels and now that Henning Mankell cruelly did away with Wallander I have to survive somehow. An up and coming country commissioner, a hero of the labor movement, Sven-Arne Persson walks out of a meeting and disappears for years, leaving his wife behind. Meanwhile,Eriksson's main character Ann Lindell is stuck trying to solve a mystery of how a female foot ends up on a lonely peninsula inhabited by single men and a woman artist. Sven is seen in India, where he cares for an arboretum, and finally he panics and returns home when he hears news of his wife's death. He confesses to killing a major industrialist, who was thought to be a Nazi war criminal. But it all ties together.

Fred Vargas' BoldAn Uncertain Place (Harvill-Secker,408p). Commissaire Adamsberg travels to a European crime meeting at Scotland Yard and visits Highgate Cemetary, where a pile of shoes with feet inside are found. He returns home to be confronted by a brutal slaying in a suburb of Paris. What starts as a normal Adamsberg mystery, with all its seeming illogic, actually becomes a mesmerizing read and ends up in a Serbian town haunted by memories of a legendary vampire. The play throughout the book is between the Gallic rationalism and the glimmers of the supernatural.

Karen Fossum Bad Intentions (Houghton Mifflin,213p). Norwegian writer Fossum brings back Inspector Sejer in a well-plotted mystery about the drowning death of a local boy who had suffered a nervous breakdown but seemed on the road to recovery and the mysterious killing of a Vietnamese boy.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir The Day Is Dark (Hodder and Stoughton,421). A scientific party goes missing at a mining facility in Greenland and our woman lawyer heroine decides to take on the work of assessing the risks and liabilities of an Icelandic company. The mystery combines high-tech computer clues with Inuit beliefs about past happenings at the mining site. It really is a fantastic read--better to read now before climate change ends the Greenland of the book. All the Icelandic names are here in their glory. Her best mystery to date.

Arne Dahl Mysterioso (Pantheon, 340p). Detective Paul Hjelm successfully ends a hostage situation at a bank but ends up facing an investigation by Internal Affairs. But he is rescued from the end of his career and made part of en elite task force to investigate a killer targeting Sweden's leading industrialists. The novel looks at a Sweden active in the global economy and linked to the Russia mafia as well as the deep-rooted xenophobia occuring with new immigrants. The victims are executed with two bullets and the murderer then listens to a rare bootleg recording of Thelonious Monk's classic "Misterioso". It's the journey of the investigation and the portrait of Sweden's super-rich and their lifestyles that provides the entertainment.

Top States Where Top Secret America Isn't--Really

In the map of the United States provided by Priest and Arkin in "Top Secret America",they note all the government agencies and corporations working on the new security state. So if you are thinking about moving to somewhere away from these intrusive entities, there are a few states where their presence is kept to a minimum. In most of these states you have a military presence but none of the more spooky elements--except for places with the right-wing militia movement.

The States are:
1. Maine
2. North Dakota
3. South Dakota
4. Montana
5. Wyoming
6. Idaho
7. Oregon

To a lesser degree;
8. Iowa
9. Wisconsin

Short Takes

**President Obama asked for a Joint Session of Congress on September 7th to present his "bi-partisan" jobs proposal. Rumors have him going big on this one instead of fiddling at the edges.

**The House is holding up UN dues until the results of the General Assembly's vote on the Palestinian State. As I wrote when Bibi enjoyed his speech before a Joint Session of Congress, President Obama's effort to get Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the table was an effort to stall this diplomatic initiative by the Palestinians. Even during Obama's trip to Ireland,the UK and France, European leaders made it clear that Obama was trying to save Israel's bacon. The Israeli ambassador to the UN cabled Bibi that there was no way to prevent the vote from passing. So far over 130 nations have promised to vote yes and literally only a handful "no" including Germany and Italy. It will come down to the United States having to veto a Palestinian state in the middle of the Arab Spring.

**Willard "Mitt" Romney says the reason we're in the mess we are is because of professional politicians. He says he's running as a conservative businessman--even though he has been running for office since the early 1990s. So I guess a perpetual candidate is better than a politician. Before the VFW, Mitt evoked deep pessimism about the American economy and said that the Obama foreign policy was a muddle.

**Rick Perry in poll after poll has widened his lead over Willard. So much so that Willard caved and now is going to Jim DeMint's South Carolina teaparty jamboree. Willard had consciously turned down the invitation to demonstrate his independence from the teabaggers. Freedomworks, Dick Army's outfit, now has withdrawn their sponsorship of the event because his group is committed to defeat Romney.

**Morning Joe talked about Rick Perry's embrace of Hillarycare in the 1990s. One guest promised that something hinky is going to come out about Perry's personal life. We've suggested a few of those possibilities on this blog.

**Mama and Papa Bush are trying to persuade Jeb to run as is W. There is real concern in the GOP establishment that Perry is crazy and Willard is Caspar Milquetoast.

**What did Michelle Bachmann propose that has been rejected by Jeb Bush, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney? The answer--drilling for oil in the Everglades.

**Sister Sarah will be taking her bus back to New Hampshire for Labor Day.

**Jon Huntsman will be presenting his "bold" jobs plan in New Hampshire at the same time. Observers say this is Huntsman's last chance to actually register in the polls.

** The new New Yorker has a new piece on the recent activities of the Koch Brothers' attempt to buy the nation.

**The House actually did de-fund the Organization of American States (OAS) in their last session. The OAS is the only international organization actually based on democratic principles. Why they voted this way I have no idea.

**The Feds are now going to court to block the AT&T-T-Mobile merger.

**Hurricane Irene is looking to become one of the most expensive natural disasters in American history. Little Ricky Cantor is still saying he won't approve more FEMA funding without cuts. But even the Christianist governor of Virginia has come out and criticized that idea.

**New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie lauded the Obama's Administration's efforts. Jersey has experienced an awesome amount of flooding that still continues.

**Vermont Senators are urging people to donate to that state's Red Cross because the Green Mountain State has experienced the worst disaster in almost 100 years.

**The only good news out of the storm is that the on-going fire in the Dysmal Swamp here in Virginia, a vital wetlands, has been dampened for now.

**Think Progress has released a report on the conservative foundations funding Islamophobia in the United States and the groups that encourage discrimination against Muslims. But what the report doesn't mention is that these groups actually are paid by local police forces and the Homeland Security to make presentations to local law enforcement groups around the country as a matter of policy.

**If Dick Cheney surfaces, you know that Col. Lawrence Wilkerson will soon follow. Colin Powell's Chief of Staff has been appearing almost everywhere countering Cheney's attacks on Powell and suggesting that he would testify in court against Cheney. Wilkerson should be made the president of the Dick Cheney Fan Club. Wilkerson is distinguished because he is the only living Eisenhower Republican left in Washington,D.C.


I guess the best way to keep a secret is to create an acronym. The first 8 pages of the book are acronyms for the new security state.

1. CENTCOM (Central Command)
2. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
3. CIPFIN (Defense Critical Infrastructure Program for Finance)
4. DHS (Department of Homeland Security)
5. DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency)
6. DNI (Director of National Intelligence)
7. DoD (Department of Defense)
8. DOHA (Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals)
9. FBI (Federal Bureau of Intelligence)
10. FISD ( Federal Investigative Services Division)
11. GAO (Government Accountability Office)
12. GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence)
13. IO (Information Operations)
14. JCITA (Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy)
15. JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff)
16. JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command)
17. JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller)
18. JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force)
19. NCTC (National Counterterrorism Center)
20. NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
21. NIEs (National Intelligence Estimates)
22. NIMA (National Imagery and Mapping Agency)
23. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command)
24. NRO (National Reconnaissance Office)
25. NSA (National Security Agency)
26. ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence)
27. OPSEC (Operation Security)
28. OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense)
29. SECDEF (Secretary of Defense)
30. SOCOM ( Special Operations Command)
31. SOF (Special Operations Forces)
32. SPACECOM ( Space Command)
33. TOSA (Technical Operations Support Activity)
34. USD (I) (Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence)

The Top 20 Communities in Top Secret America

From the book "Top Secret America". These are communities that have the most government organizations and private corporations doing top-secret work.

1. Fort Meade
2. McClean-Tyson-Fairfax
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Arlington
5. Dulles-Chantilly
6. Fort Belvoir
7. Norfolk
8. Tampa
9. Colorado Springs
10. San Antonio
11. Omaha
12. Bethesda
13. Fort Braggg, North Carolina
14. Dayton, Ohio
15. El Segundo-Los Angeles
16. San Diego
17. Honolulu
18. Quantico
19. Huntsville, Alabama
20. Denver-Aurora

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

C.C. Gets 18th, Mariano 35th Save--Against Bosox

Coming soon--a Review of Dick Cheney's Memoir and Dana Priest and William Arkin's Top Secret America:the Rise of the New American Security State.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This Week's Ideas From The Alternative Universe

**Well, it's a good thing that President Obama and the FEMA team got A's from the governors affected by Hurricane Irene or else Ron Paul's idea of doing away with FEMA and its "bailouts" would be gaining speed. The Glaveston Hurricane Paul had referred to in the good, old days before FEMA killed over 6,000 in a few hours. So much for local communities recovering rapidly.

**There is a limit to how much insanity I can absorb on a daily basis. So, I think I will limit lunacy to one post a week for the fun of it.

**Joining Ron Paul, Fox News called for the elimination of NOAA, the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center because the private sector could do it better. I'm sure they would do this free of charge.

**Michelle Bachmann this week said she would consider lowering the minimum wage so that we can be competitive with foreign countries. She would do this to help businesses bring back jobs to the United States and to lower their costs.

**The Westboro Baptist Church advocates developing the Christian National Registry of Atheists.

**Chuck Norris wants to enlist you in the fight to defeat the United Nations Small Arms Treaty, which is part of Obama's plot to take away your guns. Dimbulb doesn't understand that Hillary Clinton actually inserted the clause that each nation would manage its own gun laws.

**Rick Perry continues to go for the fences. He says he has not backed away from what he "wrote" in FED UP. He still believes Social Security is unconstitutional and a "Ponzi-scheme". He also believes Medicare is inconstitutional.

**Rick Perry has signed the NOW petition agreeing that as President he would oppose same-sex marriage everywhere. Presumably this includes Uganda.

**Rick Perry again dismissed evolution as just another theory.

**The Right this week stepped up its accusations that the Obama Administration was "infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood." This time they've moved beyond saying former NSC head General Jim Jones was Brotherhood to accusing one of Obama's speechwriters as coming from a Muslim Brotherhood background--whatever that is.

**Pat Robertson says that the crack in the Washington Monument caused by the earthquake is a "sign of God".

**The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) said that the Washington Earthquake was because DC allows gay marriage.

**Cindy Jacobs, a New Reformation Apostle and prophetess, said that all the bluebirds died in Arkansas because DADT was repealed. That's actually a month old but appropriate.

**Glenn Beck said that Hurricane Irene was a sign from God that things are beyond our control.

**Willard "Mitt" Romney has had second second thoughts about climate change. Now he's not sure that humans have anything to do with it.

**Willard also said that rich people are doing nicely--thank you.

**Former Vice President Dick Cheney thinks the next President should bring back torture because it was an effective tool in fighting terror.

**Willard said that the Lockerbie bomber should be brought to the United States for trial. Not only was that his only statement on the revolution in Libya but neglects the fact that he already was convicted in a jury trial in the U.K.

I neglected to mention any statements by our congresscritters because that would be sensory overload. You'll be glad to know that the House met today for four minutes so that President Obama could not make any recess appointments. I am sure I will neglect some of the greatest hits in the weeks ahead but consider how many of the above insanities come from people thought to be serious candidates for President.

As President Obama said today, the coordination of the FEMA team with the local and state governments is what government can do. How pathetic is it that our Prfesident has to defend emergency assistance for a natural calamity?

More Bad News For Al Qaeda and Other Syrian Matters

While Americans were fussing with Hurricane Irene, Al Qaeda's number 2, the Libyan, who was its operational planner, was killed by a drone attack in Pakistan. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman was considered the new generation of Al Qaeda leaders, who could sustain the organization. When the Seals assassinated bin Laden they found a treasure trove of digital materials in bin Laden's lair, which showed that it was Rahman who had been in most frequent contact with the leader.

Leon Panetta said weeks ago that a few more "lucky" strikes and the United States could 'defeat" Al Qaeda. Under President Obama, bin Laden, Rahman, Al Qaeda's Financial Chief al-Yazid, the chief of Al Qaeda in Iraq al-Masri and their spiritual leader Omar al-Baghdadi have been eliminated. Again proving that President Obama is weak on terrorism.

The revolt in Yemen has intensified with more demands for the regime to step down. But this has camouflaged the activities of the Yemeni forces in taking the fight to Al Qaeda. If anything the war against Al Qaeda in Yemen has escalated in the last month.

Washington pundits have asked why we can't pull another Libya in Syria. The Syrian regime has killed several thousand people over the last few weeks and the United Nations have started investigating the deaths. Two days ago Syrian troops actually attacked the Grand Mosque in Damascus and even wounded the 80-year old Imam, who was simply conducting services. While President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have demanded Assad step down and the Arab League has demanded the Syrian regime stop filling its own citizens, both Russia and China have vowed to veto any Security Council action.

President Obama had been criticized for the lateness of his actions but the Turkish government had requested Washington to hold off until their foreign minister had spoken to Assad. Clearly, the Turkish talks didn't work. The EU and the United States have invoked economic sanctions on key Syrian leaders and also the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is assisting the Syrian crackdown. Iran has stepped up its financial assistance to the regime and Tehran pressured Iraq's al-Maliki to pony up $5 billion to shore up the Syrian regime, a move that was highly unpopular in Iraq.

Save the Date--September 6. Moqtada al-Sadr or the Mookie has called on Iraqis to take to the streets in millions to protest the al-Maliki regime. The Mookie had given his provisional approval of the regime in January but Iraqis have conducted periodic protests over the failure of the Maliki regime to provide even minimal services such as electricity to the population. The Prime Minister had asked for at least 100 days until the situation was resolved but the time has been up for a while.

Dick Cheney in his new memoirs said that "the Iraq war was George W. Bush's greatest achievement." I guess it led to the Iraqi Fall of this year.

Hana Lives! and Other Tales from Gaddafi's Crypt

**Remember Hana, the baby daughter Reagan killed in the airstrike on Gaddafi's home? Hana became a symbol of Libyan martyrdom during those years. Al Jazeera found out that Hana is alive and is a practising physician in Libya and has had to keep her true identity hidden all these years so the myth could be maintained.

**Not only did we find out that Gaddafi was a Mason but he loved Versace Suits as well as Condi Rice, his African baby. The King of Kings, as he insisted people call him, had botox treatments and hair plugs that became infected.

**While fighting goes on in Libya, the TNC has sealed the Tunisian border, the southern most borders of the country and are heading to another Gaddafi hometown. Mass Murder sites have been discovered throughut the country. Both sides are the culprits. In one atrocity committed by the FF, Qaddafi soldiers still were in the plastic handcuffs when they were gunned down. As he was losing Tripoli, Qaddafi had hundreds of captives killed and their bodies have been discovered. The FF will not bury the African mercenaries that are sprawling all over the Qaddafi compound.

** Reporters discovered that the camp near Qaddafi's compound in Tripoli,which housed the African mercenaries was empty. Passports from Maurentania, Chad and Mali were found. Italian journalists reported that Qaddafi shipped African migrant workers to a small island off the coast in small boats, creating a contingent of terrified refugees.

**The Daily Mail in the UK reported that the Zimbabwe opposition reported that Gaddafi had landed in a private plane sent to pick him up by Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe. Since Zim was the prime choice for exile, the story is entirely plausible.

**Qaddadi yesterday made it clear through his son Saif that he was now ready to negotiate power-sharing.

**The African Union met on Friday for numerous hours and refused to recognize the TNC, despite the urging of the Deputy Secretary General of the UN. South Africa's President Jakub Zuma urged the AU not to recognize because fighting continued. He insisted that any transition government must include officials from the Gaddafi regime. Of course, the TNC is chock-a-block with former Gaddafi officials. Zuma is still annoyed by the TNC's rejection of the AU's plan to mediate the conflict months ago.

**The AU has another tremendous issue to face--what happens to Gaddafi's funding of the organization. Gaddafi has been the chief underwriter of the AU as an institution and individual delegations for years. Quite frankly without the Libyan funding the continued existence of the AU is at stake. So the reticience in not simply writing off Gaddafi has a clear,understandable motivation.

**As if from a time machine, Nicaragua's Bayardo Arce and later President Daniel Ortega offered Gaddafi asylum for his contribution to the Sandinista's revolution against Anastasio Somoza. Next we should see Suriname's President Desi Bouterse pipe up.

**The Arab league had no qualms with recognizing the TNC. The Arab League and Gaddafi have been feuding for years.

Like a Hurricane*

Neil Young (1978).

Just leaves and tree limbs here in Alexandria and no flooding downtown. Power outage about 2am and huge bursts of wind.

I know a response to a national disaster can be politicized like Hurricane Katrina. But how do you politicize a disaster that was unfolding? Little Ricky Cantor did just that days before we knew Hrricane Irene was going to touch down. Almost 600,000 in Cantor's neck of the woods yesterday lost their power and a few lost their lives. But Ricky wants there to be further cuts before FEMA can pay the states for damages. Twice his office confirmed this position. As it was, FEMA had to spend payments for rebuilding projects in Missouri to take care of the immediate needs of Hurricane Irene.

Ron Paul doubled down today on his view that we should eliminate FEMA because it's centralized planning. As Hurricane Irene bore down on Florida, Paul suggested that we should go back to the way it was from 1900 to 1950 when local communities recovered on their own. He cited that Galveston was in his district. Does anyone remember the devastating hurricanes that wiped out Galveston? FEMA is a direct result of government taking action on such disasters. Yes, some communities recovered but others were lost forever.

Believe it or not yesterday Republicans worried--yes, worried--that all the preparations for the hurricane taken in North Carolina and northwards would actually act as a stimulus on the economy. Not to be outdone by insensitivity, insurance companies announced as both North Carolina and Virginia were under assault that they would be raising home insurance rates this fall because of all the natural disasters.

On Republican websites there was also concern that President Obama might look good because he cut off his vacation--does that make it three in a row?--to return and go directly to the FEMA headquarters. They opined that the photos released with Homeland Security Head Napolitano and FEMA head Fugate were aimed at Obama's re-election campaign.

Others wanted a delay in emergency funding for the Northeast so Hurricane Irene would become Obama's Katrina.

No one seemed to care about the actual effects of Hurricane Irene. But I guess if everything is politics why be concerned--the devastated won't vote for you anyway.

I do have a bone to pick with the reporters on this whole affair. Not once in stories about Obama at the FEMA headquarters did the authors tell you where it was. 500C Steet for the record. They didn't even tell you it was in Washington,D.C. But they did tell you that the National Hurricane Center was in Miami.

As New York City is being blasted, kudos to Mayor Bloomberg, who took Irene seriously from the beginning and was heard giving instructions to citizens late into last night.

And for a final laugh, Dick Cheney in his new memoir says that George W. expressed his compassion for the people of New Orleans during the Katrina disaster.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You Say Gaddafi, I Say Qadhafi, Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

++Wikileaks released some cables on Libya today. We learn of John McCain's offer of American arms to Gaddafi last year, Joe Lieberman calling him "our ally in the war against terror" and a few personal things we didn't know. Gaddafi had botox treatments and hair plugs. This might explain his boxom Ukrainian nurse. The FF found out yesterday that Gaddafi was a Mason and brought his masonic gear out of the compound. Remember the Amazon Brigade Gaddafi bragged about? They were found. Apparently they were a group of Nigerian women who were snipers. The rest of the day in Libya was spent playing whack-a-mole as the FF chased around searching for the Gaddafi sons and offering a reward for the capture of Dad.

++We survived the 5.9 earthquake. One African sculpture smashed and three Hopi Kachinas mutilated but everything else is fine. NOM blamed the earthquake on gay marriage. Markos Malitos blamed the Virginia part of the earthquake on gays not having the right to marry.

++The Most Powerful Man in America emerged yesterday. If you are a Glenn Beck fan, you know I mean Cass Sunstein, Samantha Powers' husband. The man key to President Obama's plot to bring socialism to the United States unveiled his plan to streamline government regulations and eliminate unnecessary redtape. He claimed this would save American businesses $40 billion. Naturally,the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn't think this is nearly enough. I guess Cass didn't get the memo from the Second International or he didn't take the phone call from Van Jones. Seems a bit too GoGo--Good Government for me.

++Glenn Beck, wearing a black suit and black gloves in the heat near Jerusalem's Temple Mount,held his Restore Courage rally--meeting--gathering of a couple hundred people. To celebrate Jewish life, shofars welcomed him and he played music from Fiddler on the Roof. He postponed the timing of the event out of respect for Ramadan. You could have enjoyed this if you had paid $5,000 and hotel accomodations. The event was sponsored by the Harvey Wallbangers--no, I mean the Wallbuilders, the fundamentalist Christian group headed by fake historian David Barton. Barton still can't explain how it was that George Washington was the only President that was head of state while actively leading the largest Masonic Lodge in the United States. Maybe Gaddafi knows.

++The Mitt or Willard as we know him is taking a beating in the polls from Rick Perry. Willard leaked out a memo that he has gotten several of Obama's Wall Street funders from 2008. One such person said,"It is not good to denigrate the rich." Willard has no problem with that. Apparently, he is doubling down on his image as Richie Rich and claims his vast expansion of his La Jolla beachside estate was because the current structure doesn't meet his present needs. Willard will thrill us all by revealing his jobs program. It's just coincidentally the same day as President Obama's speech.

++President Obama has hit his lowest Gallup poll rating--38%--and is now slightly behind Willard and ahead of everyone else. This prompts the GOP to wish for another white knight. If you're still losing to the President at his lowest point, there is trouble here in River City. Former Governor George Pataki, Mayor Rudy Guiliani, and Jeb Bush are rumored to enter next. Sarah Palin continues to play her games about her political aspirations. Jeb Bush did say something interesting this week. He complained about the Republicans questioning President Obama's motives and not offering anything constructive in return.

++The CBO projects the deficit will be lower again--back into the W era--but unemployment will remain high, only hitting 8.5% in 2014. As Nate the Great Silver has suggested--the road for Obama's re-election is tougher than ever before.

++Rick Perry continues to entertain. Perry now has doubled his lead over Willard and has pulled ahead of Michelle Bachmann in Iowa, who looks like she's taking a dive. Perry did an unusual thing this week--he repudiated all his positions in his book Fed Up, which was only published seven months ago. Apparently he no longer wants to repeal the 16th Amendment , which concerns the income tax. Also he has retreated from his position that Medicare and Social Security were unconstitutional. But he did take the pro-life pledge and promised only to appoint an attorney general, judges and the head of Health and Human Services that were anti-abortion. He also promised to enact a the "fetus pain" act , which has no scientific basis. He also fumbled around this week saying he wanted to eliminate all federal government that was not envisioned in the constitution. Great, that means no standing army, intelligence agencies or FBI.

++It turns out they caught the man responsible for the Arizona fires. It turns out he's not an illegal immigrant or a Mexican. He's a gringo.

++The Obama Administration is trying to clean up more messes. This time they have changed their deportation policies. From now on they are only focusing on criminals and people who present a tangible threat to society. The Right is howling this represents a type of amnesty. It's actually just a practical step given the limited resources of ICE. The administration is also bringing suit against Alabama for its new restrictive immigration laws. As in Georgia, the new law is devastating the agribusinesses. Meanwhile Obama's support among Hispanics against all Republican candidates is about 75%, slightly lower than in 2008 but convincing.

++The much maligned EPA is hiring unemployed for the Great Lakes Clean Up Project. There is also another move afoot concerning a unilateral refinancing of underwater mortgages to restart the flagging Obama program on mortgages. And the Administration is also floating another trial balloon--getting businesses to hire the unemployed on a trial basis. None of these initiatives need any congressional approval. Expect some of this to turn up in Obama's jobs speech.

++I've received the latest anti-Obama e-mail being sent around by conservatives. This time the question is raised "Where are Obama's former girlfriends?" This starts off slow by citing evidence of other candidates past girlfriends and boyfriends but asks why we never hear about Obama's. It takes up the whole idea from the past campaign that no one at Columbia and Occidental ever heard of Obama. What do we really know about him? Heh. Well, books have been written quoting former classmates from high school through Harvard. But the real point here is to get you looking away from Rick Perry's serious lady and man problems. Even since my last post mentioning Perry's amorous adventures more posts have appeared on Republican websites from Texans raising even more questions about his lifetime of frequenting strip joints and hitting up the workers. One wonders the unconscious motivation behind his statement that "homosexuality is like alcoholism." Is this something we should know about?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gaddafi Does A Cheney

From an undisclosed location, Gaddafy made a radio broadcast to the nation. He claimed that his removal from his compound was a "tactical move to retreat". He said,"We are resisting with all our strength..we will either win or become martyrs, God willing." He threatened to turn the country into "a burning volcano under the feet of the invaders."

The Pentagon made sure people knew that they were actively monitoring the Libyan supplies of chemical weapons in case Gaddafy tried to do something drastic.

For reasons best known to selected media, the former government spokesperson Ibrahim Moussa is still allowed to comment. If you have caught this guy, he's well worth seeing on some of the Libyan coverage. This is Baghdad Bob all over again. He claims Qaddafi controls 80% of Tripoli and that 6,000 volunteers have entered Tripoli and are spreading through the nieghborhoods. Virtually all the international reporters on the ground say that the Freedom Fighters have almost complete control and now have to encounter small pockets of resistance here and there.

But what is interesting about Moussa is that reporters going back to towns that resisted the FF for so long have found that the Gaddafi propaganda was instrumental in the villagers resisting. The information war inside the country has been aimed at the various tribes and to that extent it has been successful. Now that the FF have seized the propaganda organs of the previous regime there is reported a different mood in the areas who once mounted resistance.

Perhaps because the FF were under-armed or focusing on another strategy, they apparently left a corridor open that inadvertantly allowed Gaddafi loyalists to escape Tripoli for Sirte, the former leader's hometown. Tonight there have been reports of Scuds being fired from Sirte to the FF-controlled city of Misrata.

Hugo Chavez said today that he would only recognize Gaddafi. The African Union remains befuddled. Nigeria and Kenya have come out for the TNC but South Africa is reluctant and is complaining that NATO exceeded its Security Council mandate. The heads of the AU are to meet on Friday to discuss the issue. Remember Gaddafi has been the primary bankroller of the AU since it was the Organization of African Unity so he commands a loopy respect. Besides, he was in power 41 years, a good African tradition.

Gaddafi's Souvenir Stand

This is always the most tacky part of revolutions--when people rummage through the dictator's clothing. The Freedom Fighters--their preferred name--took the Gaddafi compound today at Bab Al-Aziziya (remember the name for future trivia games). Loyalists to the King of Kings put up a bitter fight but their boss had already left them behind. The FF found the usual schlock--dictator chic--bronze statues of his greatness, a gold plated dragunov pistol, a sculpture in the shape of a fist crushing an American plane and his wardrobe. Throw in his golf cart and you have a new day of E-bay sales. One FF wore Gaddafi's anniversary hat, which he is going to give to his father.

While hundreds died for him, the Fearless Leader is rumored to be out and about staying in houses and mosques for about three hours at a time. His regime is kaput. Taking the compound means the loss of his military intelligence headquarters, the revolutionary guard's command and a huge arsenal of weapons--heavy and light. Strategically it means the gig is up. Fighting will continue in pockets throughout the country but don't expect any counter-offensive. The Libyan UN ambassador expects that all of Libya will be under the control of the TNC within 72 hours. At this hour, the FF are negotiating with tribal heads to take Sirte where the loyalists went in the last 24 hours.

The mystery of Saif Gaddafi has apparently been solved. A band of loyalists posing as the opposition "captured" him and relayed the message to the TNC so they could be caught flat-footed when he re-appeared. It apparently worked but now very few people care about the whereabouts of the family or their relevance.

Al Jezeera continued their superb reporting but even they found it soon becoming a slow news day. Their reporter James Bays reported on a phenomenon that we have all seen in the Middle East--the celebration of military victories, weddings and the birth of children by shooting AK-47s into the air. Clips of his report should be purchased by USIA and distributed throughout the Middle East. Bays reported what all of us have wondered--the bullets that go up, really do come down and sometimes fatally. His report showed how many fatalities there have been by these enthusiastic bursts of celebratory shootings. He covered serial deaths at weddings in Jordan and another atrocity in the Phillippines. Of course, none one on the scene was listening to him as they shot off more rounds.

The United States today released $1.5 billion from Gaddafi's loot for use of the TNC and Predsident Obama spoke to Nicholas Sarkozy about the contact meeting scheduled for Paris. Another one is scheduled for Turkey this Friday. Nigeria, Norway and others have recognized the TNC as the legitimate government today. The State Department announced that the United States was requesting that Gaddafy make an "affirmative" statement that he realized his days as leader were done. Don't hold your breath.

Morning in Libya

The battle has been taking place over Gaddafi's compound with NATO airstrikes leading the way. If you want to watch, check out which has it all live.

One interesting bit of guessing about the whereabouts of the King of Kings was the notion he was actually in the Rixos Hotel where the international journalists were staying. His compound and others are connected by tunnels to the Hotel. A reporter for a major network claimed that Gaddafi at one point gave a speech in the Hotel and the journalists didn't even know.

The big news of last night was Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the dreaded son showing up at the Hotel in an armored limo and saying he had never been captured. He said that he had been travelling around the city the whole day in a convoy. Previously,the TNC and the ICC had confirmed his capture. The whole episode set the press in motion raising doubts whether the revolutionaries had control over any of the city. The whole dance was fascinating since you saw journalists ignoring the reporting of their other colleagues, who actually were with the opposition forces.

The appearance of Saif was brilliant psyops because it did trigger a wave of tweets from Libyans, who became demoralised and began to ask questions about the TNC. What about the TNC's credibility? The TNC didn't help themselves by remaining silent.

Saif said to "Hell with the ICC", which has an outstanding charge against his "crimes against humanity". He said his father was safe and unharmed and claimed that Gaddafi really controlled Tripoli-- a notion pretty dubious.

The New York Times Lede had great videos of the hijinks of the various Gaddafi sons. You get to see Beyonce's performance--actually quite tasty-- for them shot on a cellphone. This was the $1 million private concert. Or the other son who wanted to be a professional soccer player in Italy. You get to see him entering a game in Italy to much laughter from the locals.

More governments are now recognizing the TNC. This morning Iraq chimed it. I guess Al-Maliki was somewhat embarrassed about his recent $5 billion gift to Syria's Assad and wanted to change the story. Russia would not recognize because of the TNC's statements about Russia's business interests.

The Pentagon released the costs of the Libyan operation so far. About $890 million so far. Final estimates are the cost will be about $1.1 billion. In other words, a rounding error in the Defense budget. Slightly different from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

NATO spokespeople were very chipper this morning ,saying that the days of the Gaddafi regime were basically over. They cited the rapid degradation of the loyalist forces, the elimination of arms and the massive loss of strategic territory in the country. The Brits seemed to assure UK citizens that their people were in fact on the ground coordinating the final offensive.

The Drudge Report printed a photo of Gaddafi shaking hands with President Obama at a United Nations function to deflect attention from the videos of McCain bowing to Gaddafi and the other articles surfacing about Gaddafi's thank-you letters to John Boehner for his opposition to the Libyan operation.

A blog war has broken out over the issue of humanitarian intervention and whether we should do such things in the future. Personally, I think that is fair game. The ease of the Gulf War led to the Iraq debacle and people are already chanting about Syria being next. So the issue of whether will should use military force continues to be relevant and should be debated.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Before The Final Push Tonight--Libya

The AP posted a photo from Benghazi that showed a huge poster amid thousands of people. It read "Fantastic 4" and had the photos of Susan Rice, David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and President Obama, and underneath "God Bless You All. Thanks for All."

If you ever wonder why the world may not appreciate America, all you needed to do is to listen to The Donald, who opined that "All the rebels will be richer than Americans because they are going to take the oil." So the Donald suggests we take it first because of the adage about the spoils of war.

The Washington Times' Eli Lake tweeted:" Worth noting. President Birth Certificate has done what Reagan and W could not: End Qadhafi's reign and kill bin Laden."

For another opinion, there is ole' Frothy Mix, Rick Santorum, who said," Ridding the world of the likes of Qadhafi is a good thing but this indecisive President had little to do with this triumph."

Steve Benen sort of disagrees. He reminds us that President Obama assembled a broad international coalition, got the Arab League to support Western intervention and got a vote at the United Nations rather rapidly and the bombs fell quickly. Good or bad, it was not indecisive. Amen.

Mitt Romney, who has been back and forth on this subject acted--well--weird. The first words of his mouth were he wants the Lockerbie bomber extradited. Virtually no concept about freedom or that the Libyans threw off a dictator.

President Obama called again for Gaddafi's surrender, hailed the Libyans who struggled for freedom (his full comments were broadcast to Libya),told them it was their revolution and that we would assist in helping build an inclusive democratic system. He also detailed the American military role and congratulated our forces and the NATO alliance. He also emphasized that all this was accomplished with no American boots on the ground. Well, sort of or none that you know about.

French President Sarkozy will be hosting the TNC this Wednesday for a meeting with "the contact group of nations".

If the Republicans aren't very happy, there are some unhappy campers. The TNC warned the Chinese, Russians and Brazlians that business would first go to those who supported them. The Chinese have 75 companies operating in Libya, some 36,000 staff and nearly 50 projects. The Russians I have mentioned before have extensive interest in the gas and oil industry. And the Brazilians also are in the energy sector. ENI, the Italian oil company, looks to benefit the first and the Qatar national oil company and the trading house VITOL.

Kudos to the twitter crowd--the Libya Youth Movement,the Feb. 17 Voices and Sultan Al Qassemi, who have brought to light local reactions dring the last few days. The Libyans are ow enjoying e-mails after several months of blackouts.

900 prisoners,mostly political, have been freed from the Ein Zara Prison.

Two bodies were discovered--that of Khamis Gaddafi, who had mounted the counter-offensive, and that of Gaddafi's brother-in-law and intelligence chief, Abdallah Sanussi. Apparently, they were casualties in the fighting this morning.

Mohammed Gaddafi escaped from his house arrest as Gaddafi loyalists sprung him.

Revolutionaries captured Gaddafi's bodygoard Sa'd Mas'ud with $4 million US on him.

Fighting has been fierce around the Rixos Hotel where the international journalists have been holed up.

A Libyan AP reporter, who lives near Gaddafi's compound reports that it has been devasated by NATO air strikes.

During the fighting this morning in Sirte, Gaddafi forces launced a Scud, which was intercepted by NATO.

Egyptian democrat and diplomat Mohammed El Baradei said today,"The Freedom Train for the locally occupied Arab world has left the station and will not stop--ever."

After the break for the Ramadan fast, we can expect fierce fighting for the last strongholds of the Gaddafi supporters in Tripoli. Stay tuned.

About That 3am Call

The Brokeback Mountain Boys--Lindsey Graham and John McCain--praised the outcome of the Libyan Revolution, the efforts of all our allies but blasted President Obama for not committing sufficient airpower early enough. It was only two years ago that both men went to Libya and praised Gaddafi and now McCain has gone all jingo and said "Gaddafi has the blood of Americans on his hands."

On NPR this morning, callers voiced doubts over whether Libya was worth it. One caller said it was a "pyrrhic victory" because Islamic fundamentalists will capture the revolution. Another wondered whether Libya would now repay NATO for the costs. Still another wondered how much money would the Libyans ask us for to rebuild. Neo-isolationism is still alive and well.

For now the Libyan episode takes away the issue of national security from the Republicans. It seems Obama can remove dicators at less cost in lives and treasure. Mark Penn, the Democratic strategist, used an ad during the 2008 campaign questioning whether Obama had the character to answer the 3am phone call. With the killing of bin Laden, the evisceration of Al Qaeda and the careful navigation of the Arab Spring, I think it's safe to lay that one to rest. Right now it seems Republicans have to come up with their positions on national security.

Republicans are not looking very classy on issues of national security. Remember the House wouldn't entertain a mundane resolution congratulating the Navy Seal team 6 for killing bin Laden because it would have to include praise of the President. Now they make sure to downplay any American accomplishment. That's why I call them the "Hate America Firsters", echoing the pre-WWII isolationism of the GOP.

The loser so far in the Libyan Revolution seems to be Russia. The representative of the Russia-Libya committee said as much when he cried,"We've lost Libya." Russia has lost a new $5 billion arms deal and now they have been informed they have lost the Gazprom contracts.

The NTC today also said they rejected the building of NATO bases. They explained that they once revolted against Western military bases.

The Arab League expressed solidarity with the Libyan Revolution. One Libyan tweeted,"Your support comes too late, we did it without you guys."

The Foreign Minister of Turkey attended this morning's AU summit meeting and is flying to the temporary capital of Benghazi. I suspect he has a message for the TNC.

The South African government continues to deny it was planning on flying Gaddafi to exile. The Gaddafi Prime Minister al-Bahdadi ,along with the head of the national television,managed to escape to the Tunisian island of Djerba. The Pentagon is saying that Gaddafi remains in Libya. Rumors have him escaping the capital and moving further inland.

Gaddafi's son Khamis apparently has launched a counter-offensive amd heavy clashes in Sidi Khalifa in Central Tripoli and around the Gaddafi stronghold of Bab Al-Aziziyah have been reported.

The TNC reports that many Gaddafi officials have taken refuge in the city of Sirte and that the city is now under seige.

Niger is begining to conduct air surveillance along its northern border because they fear the possible infltration of armed groups from Libya. Over the past week they have seized 60 vehicles and a helicopter. Niger is also concerned about the number of mercenaries from Niger and Mali who serve Gaddafi.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil of the TNC gave a press conference where he mentioned the transition plans but also expressed concerns that his forces might act out beyond their orders--especially taking personal revenge.

Richard Haas opened the morning with a suggestion that the United States actually put boots on the ground--now! I'm afraid NATO can claim credit for its support of the revolutionaries but it would be unseemly to appear after six months and try and take the legitimacy away from the Libyans. Unlike their Iraqi counterparts,they fought for their freedom and deserve the street cred that comes with that.

A Great Day For Libya,A Bad Day For Comedy

The King of Kings is on the run and no one knows where he will pitch his tent next. The Algerian embassy in Tripoli denied last night Gaddafi was there. David Ignatius reports this morning that the Gaddafi family has been sending money to Tunisia and Algeria for the last week. South Africa denies they are helping him prepare for exile. When asked about the South African Airways planes on the tarmac, they told the reporters to ask NATO because they control the airport. Besides the two African countries--Angola and Zimbabwe--some suggest Gaddafi might join Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

One mysterious report had a yacht and another vessel departing the port of Tripoli last night for places unknown.

By morning, the revolutionary army had claimed control of 90% of Tripoli. The fierce fighting had been around the Gaddafi compound last night and neighbors were told to stay away as NATO fighters bombed it. The New York Times' section The Lede revved up last night with tweets from Libyans in the neighborhood. The new twitters were breaking a long silence because the Libyan National Telephone company sent congratulations to all subscribers for overthrowing Gaddafi and then the lines were open.

President Obama released a statement this morning saying that Libya was at a tipping point and urged Gaddafi to leave before there was more bloodshed. He also noted that the United States recognized the TNC as the governing authority of the country and urged it to preserve human rights. Strangely, President Obama' s statement was reprinted in full in Billy Kristol's Weekly Standard, a conservative mouthpiece almost constantly critical of the President.

Early morning pundits and analysts appearing on television seemed way behind the news or at least too cautious about where we are. Former Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania crowed that the situation vindicated Obama's low-key approach to the Libyan situation. Republicans are spinning away with two points--the end could have come sooner if Obama had used airpower immediately, which mirrors the French statement, and that the success of this policy initiative could only come after we know the future shape of the government of Libya. However,toppling a Mideast dictator with no casualties to Americans is no small feat as we know from our prior experiences.

Juan Cole, who has monitored the whole Libyan situation from the beginning,posts on his blog an essay this morning about the myths about the Libyan revolution. He is trying to counter the Left's complaints about our involvement and blasts other analysts who said it had to be done with American boots on the ground, people like Max Boot. Juan also has a good point about the analysis that Libya could break up because it is an "artificial country". He points out that almost all such criticism is by people who always view countries of the South as "artificial" because of the legacy of colonialism. He points out that the TNC has managed so far to contain the various factions within it.

There appears to be a silver lining in the delay of the TNC's victory. The TNC had to fire their leadership early on because of incompetence and their failure to develop a transition plan. During the months of delay, the TNC sent out feelers to Libyan army officials and government bureaucrats securing their commitment to participate in the transition process. This is a far cry from the Iraqi situation, which led to the de-Baathification and the elimination of the military, which plunged that country into continuous war. Yesterday we saw the fruits of that strategy when the Libyan military at key points surrendered. This was a real surprise to NATO officials who expected a fierce defense of the capital. But TNC officials frequently commented on the "honorable commanders" whom they had been in contact with for months.

So far the TNC fears the continued presence of snipers and "sleeper cells" in Tripoli and sporadic firefights in different neighborhoods. But there does not look to be any likelihood of a reversal of the battle. The regular army seems to be off the battlefield and only a few mercenaries and Gaddafi supporters appear to be creating the violence.

Now the TNC has captured Saad Gaddafi,making it three sons in total. The ICC has announced they have not prepared an arrest warrant for Saif Gaddafi and Mohammed. While Al-Jazeera interviewed Mohammed via telephone at his mother's house, gunfire erupted outside but he was unharmed. He said that the revolution occurred because the regime had made many mistakes. Got to Juan Cole's blog to see what they were.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bayard Rustin's Place In History

With the Gaddafi regime collapsing, it's fitting to see on Page 1 of the Washington Post an article on Bayard Rustin's role in the American civil rights movement. Steve Hendrix does a superb job of capturing the essential role Bayard played in making the March on Washington work. The man, who organized the March, was meticulous in planning the details from what kind of sandwiches were appropriate to training the volunteer police. Two subjects Bayard talked to me about--how to schedule the speakers and get some to tone down the rhetoric and the whole issue of toilets so that after the March the effect would not be spoiled by a mess. One source is quoted as saying that Bayard was like "Zelig, showing up at all the events in our age."

Never in the closet when he was growing up, his frank and open homosexuality provoked conflicts within the civil rights community as well as condemnation on the Hill where Strom Thurmond attacked Bayard as a homosexual, communist, draft-dodger--all true at one time. Pressure was always put on Martin Luther King and A. Philip Randolph to fire Bayard but they supported him against the most vicious attacks. At one point, Adam Clayton Powell threatened Martin Luther King, Jr. that he would say that Bayard was Martin's lover if he didn't get rid of him. Martin actually distanced himself from Bayard for a while.

In a short piece, Hendrix captures the essence of the man. But the most important part of the piece is not about Bayard being timely now with his gayness, it's the examples that are included about what he was concerned about when organizing a mass action. These are the lessons others have learned from him and applied elsewhere.

The Wheels Aren't Up Yet--But Soon--the Libyan Revolution

NATO called on Gaddafi to leave before there is more bloodshed. The UK told him "Go Now!" Prime Minister Cameron said," The regime is now finished."

Al Jazerra reported that the Africa Union had been frantically mediating with Gaddafi and his family through the South Africans to resettle Gaddafi in exile. The South Africans have sent two planes to Tripoli,which are standing on the tarmac. Because South Africa is a signatory to the ICC, he could only offer Gaddafi two options--Angola or Zimbabwe. Gaddafi has always had a close relationship with Robert Mugabe.

NATO forces bombed Gaddafi's compound in the Bab al-Azziziya section of Tripoli. The revolutionary army claimed that all fighting in Tripoli, except in this section had ceased. They captured another Gaddafi son, Mohammed after a firefight. Gaddafi supporters reportedly have dumped their uniforms and fled to neighboring farms along with the mercenaries from Chad.

The capture of Gaddafi's son prompted a statement from the ICC that they confirmed Gaddafi's arrest. This made the crowds in Benghazi go nuts. But Al Arabiya had to retract their report when the ICC corrected their statement to say it was the son, not the father.

Ahmad Bani, the head of the Libyan National Army, confirmed that Gaddafi was in Tripoli and promised,"in 10 minutes, we will be giving the Libyans a big present." I didn't get whether that would be a good or a bad present, since there were reports of army personnel walking around with gas masks on and snipers continuing to fire down into the streets.

A final tweet reports celebrations in Green Square, a place where Gaddafi used to assemble people for demonstrations in support of his regime.

Elvis Is Almost Out Of The Building--Libyan Revolution

NATO has confirmed that the Libyan regime is now crumbling. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said,"The End Is here."

Hundreds of thousands filled the streets of Benghazi celebrating the imminent fall of Mu'ammar Gaddafi. Throughout Tripoli neighborhoods are out celebrating. Newly liberated prisoners greeted the opposition as the liberated the eastern part of the city. Reporters note that the flag of Libyan independence has been raised at all the government buildings with the exception of the State Broadcasting Center.

Gaddafi's eldest son Saif has been captured. Gaddafi's personal security force surrendered and gave up their arms. And the revolutionary forces are calling,"Now we're coming for you "frizz-head" referring to Gaddafi.

The whereabouts of Gaddafi is still unknown. Earlier in the day the TNC said that Qaddafi had fled to Algeria,while other reports had him killed near a hotel in downtown Tripoli. But a few moments ago, Al Jazeera broadcast his latest radio address. He warned the people of Tripoli that they would be servants forever under their French occupiers and that British colonalism would return. He said that the West would not protect the inhabitants of the city. He claimed that he would stay until the end.

One aspect of his late messages was his call to tribes nearby to come into Tripoli and fight. There is no evidence any are doing so.

There is some rumors that Qaddafi is actually negotiating with the head of the Transition Council. But as one spokesman of the opposition said, "It is finished."

What surprised NATO observers was the lack of resistance to the invading force. It was assumed that Qaddafi's forces in and around Tripoli were sufficiently armed and devoted to their leader to put up a stiff resistance to last much more than today and yesterday's events. Radio intercepts from today's fighting reveals these forces were running short of gas and weapons and complaining about morale.

The immediate concern now is how Qaddafi will be treated. NATO observers are urging the TNC to do everything by the book and capture and try him so that a legal precedent is established for their future rule.

While the situation at this hour is still fluid, it is clear that the Qaddafi regime is dramatgically crumbling before our eyes.

Gaddafi now Mayor of Tripoli--Not For Long

Yesterday began Operation Mermaid Dawn when Nato aircraft covered for the Libyan opposition fighters as they headed for the final showdown in Tripoli. As of now, the opposition forces have entered Green Square in the center of the capital city. As the forces began coming in from the West, thousands of Libyans poured into the streets to greet them. This is the difficult end-game as the strategy was always to make Gaddafi the mayor of Tripoli and end his 41-year rule.

Qaddafi's close confidente and recent defector, ex-Prime Minister Abdes Salam Jalloud told the Italian press this morning that it was too late for Qaddafi to make a deal. It would all end when Qaddafi is killed. "The regime has a week left,10days at most," he said.

Qaddafi's version of Baghdad Bob, the head of intelligence, cried that the attack on Tripoli was "NATO being led by Al Qaeda."

Meanwhile Mu-ammar himself speaking in English or maybe through an interpreter said," I am with you in this battle,I am among you now, I am there with my weapon. We shall never give up."

While clashes have erupted between opposition forces and Gaddafi's militia, it appears that regular army soldiers are laying down their arms and surrendering their bases. On-the-ground observers believe that there will be severe fighting in the hours and days ahead as neighborhoods are liberated and the noose tightens.

The end will come none too soon as the NATO operations are scheduled to end shortly and for any extension it would then take another vote of the NATO partners to continue. Conditions in Tripoli itself have steadily worsened over the last few months as food prices have skyrocketed and oil has been rationed.

Al Jazeera deserves kudos for their live-blog and Michigan professor Juan Cole wins the tweet award for his coverage of the Libyan revolution. The Guardian did an excellent job but I found the BBC seemed to lag behind events.

Cobbling together a transition government will be difficult because the opposition in the last few weeks has experienced in-fighting and the eruption of tribal conflicts.

Assad next!

Calling The Captains of Industry

Over the last few days there have been plenty of commentary by financial analysts on NPR that claim the slump in the market and the talk about a double dip recession is the result of a pessimism by corporations that Congress will do anything about the economy in the short-term. For all the talk about the European debt crisis, Wall Street still seems shocked over the whole congressional debt ceiling debate and the downgrading of American treasuries by Standard and Poor's.

When the Republicans were opining that it would be a good thing that an economy, which is 25% of the global GDP, should default, Republican corporate donors were quietly and lately more opening urging rationality. While the debt ceiling may have cooled that ardor of the GOP to shut-down the government, there is no evidence that the Republicans want to do anything to help the economy because it would indirectly benefit President Obama's re-election efforts. This was the message President Obama took on the road,saying some put political victory over opponents over the interests of the country.

Warren Buffett came right out and said that the United States has to stop "coddling millionaire and billionaires" and raise taxes on the wealthy. But Charles Koch has responded that this shared sacrifice language is nonsense and that most things the government does are harmful and that his philanthropic efforts do more social good. But the divide is not so clear cut among those whose business depends on consumers.

The consumer index had been steady over the last year and a half signalling that the economy had stabilized. But now the index has fallen below its worst during the deepest days of the Recession. Most analysts attribute this to the state of our politics. And now, for the first time in many a year, economists are openly discussing the role of psychology in an economic recovery. They argue that Washington must be instrumental in breaking the negative feedback that is reinforcing the trends in all the economic indicators.

The New York Times published an editorial today urging more near term spending to simulate the economy and a balanced approach to deficit control by mixing cuts with revenues. Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly points out that this line is now the consensus opinion of economists, sane politicians and the businss community. He wants to know why the nation's business leaders never came out openly and supported the grand bargain being negotiated by President Obama and John Boehner. If they had lobbied their Republican minions on this, would the state of play in our economy be different?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has dedicated itself to defeating President Obama and all Democrats, openly backed the President's stimulus package,which now the business community admits was too small. Now is the time for the Chamber, the Business Roundtable and American corporations to get behind President Obama's plan to create an infrastructure bank. If you actually listen to President Obama , such a thing has already been started. The problem is that it is funded at a small level and probably will not get working for awhile. But more infrastructure spending in the short-term is called for and the Chamber and Business Roundtable should be lobbying Congress now.

President Obama promised a new set of proposals to get the economy going after Labor Day. But he caught the Republicans flat-footed by e-mailing out a few days ago his list of proposals. These included his plans to hire 1 million veterans,extend the payroll tax cut, and spend more money on the infrastructure. Prior to his Midwest road trip, Joe Biden had commented here in D.C. that the debt ceiling deal left sufficient money in the budget to do all these things. The comment went underreported at the time.

One can't help but think that some of new rhetoric from Jon Huntsman isn't a result of American corporate leaders being very concerned that the Republicans virtually have no one proposing anything to get the economy going. It's all well and good to talk about eliminating the EPA and corporate tax rates but sober minds in the corporate community know that these things are not serious impediments to investment.

House Republicans are being pummelled in townhall meetings during their recess by citizens demanding jobs and more taxes on the wealthy. Paul Ryan is so frightened by his constituency that he's taken to beefing up his security and demanding entrance fees for his meetings. Southern Republicans are handing out lists of constituents that they know are antagonistic to their views so they can be excluded from townhall meetings. But so far the initial feedback from the GOP is to oppose the extension of the payroll tax cut, while they still maintain the view thyat the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy remain.

It is going to be a strange Fall. Can the GOP really stop all measures to help the economy? Can the Captains of Industry allow them to?

Strange fact of the day: Apple is worth more than all the banks in the Eurozone combined.

Send in the Clowns--2012 Presidential Election

++The good news is that Joe McGinnis' September pub. date for his Palin book will not be in vain. Even Karl Rove is now convinced that Sister Sarah will be running,citing her almost campaign-like schedule. Rumors have her declaring after Labor Day. She couldn't stand Michelle Bachmann getting all the hype as the new Esther, a title she claimed for herself.

++Mitt Romney has his new stimulus plan--a $12 million remodel of his LaJolla estate. He says the present estate is not "adequate" for his family.

++Mitt has doubled down on his corporations are people comment, cutting an ad suggesting he was referring to small businesses and those companies created by inventors like Steve Jobs. He was not referring to all the corporations he put out of business.

++Beltway pundits, who have missed the boat when it comes to picking favorites in the GOP race, now are pushing for Paul Ryan of Vouchercare fame to throw his hate in the ring.

++The GOP establishment is still uneasy about the choices this year. They are conducting focus groups to test the viability of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a candidate.

++Jon Huntsman under the tutelage of John Weaver has taken the gloves off and lambasted his fellow candidates of providing "zero leadership" on economic issues and claimed the debt ceiling debate was a disaster. He's gone further in attacking today's Republican party as anti-science and blasted Rick Perry for his stance on evolution and climate change. He says America is center-right and that he is running as one and not an extremist like the other Republicans.

++Ross Douthat has embraced Rick Perry because he has a backbone , a killer instinct, and a primal understanding of the right-wing electorate.

++Douhat said that Romney has been campaigning for five years without taking a single courageous stand on anything remotely relevant. He called Romney "a born compromiser" and "a downsizing elitist".

++But Ross is worried that Perry will alienate Americans so the only alternative is Chris Christie, the new American General McArthur in the words of George Will.

++Karl Rove has re-started his career as a political commentator by appearing on Fox News almost three times daily to quietly suggest that there are problems in the Republican field--like Rick Perry. Rove and other Bushies have reacted to Perry trying to diss W and separate himself from the former President. Calling Ben Benarke, the Fed Chairman, a "traitor" and threatening to lynch him was a bit too much for even Karl, who called the statement "unpresidential". Nicole Wallace , another Bushie, said that it's turn for some people in the middle to run.

++Rasmussen polled Republicans after Perry entered the race and the Texas governor raced into the lead with 29% to Romney's 18% and Bachmann's 13%.

++Perry kept on his right-wing talking points, saying that creationism is taught in Texas, that climate scientists made up their findings for money and that our military should have a commander-in-chief they respect. Ron Paul complained that Perry was making him look like a moderate. Perry supporters dutifully sent out e-mails showing him as a pilot contrasted with a college photo of Obama smoking a joint.

++Perry may have to deal with the gay rumors that I noted in another post, but Texas Republicans are countering that claim with stories about Perry's sexual escapades with the ladies. The Ron Paul campaign has run an ad offering a reward for the women to come forward. From the tales of former Perry staffers, the governor makes Bill Clinton look like a Puritan. They call him a "serial adulterer."

++Perry's own "Texas Miracle" is coming under close scrutiny by the Washington Post. Texas is 24th in unemployment and 1 million of the Perry jobs are public sector jobs. At 8.4%,Perry's record is not as good as New York State.

++Perry is already running into ethical and probably legal problems with his SuperPacs, who are not supposed to coordinate their activities with a candidate, which apparently they are. Perry is also facing scrutiny about how someone who has always been a politician got wealthy. At least Romney made his money the honest way--he threw people out of work. Apparently, Perry enjoyed some gifts of stocks and some real estate swaps that made him a millionaire. His pay-to-play policy has enriched his donors and many of those are from the extreme right and are now beginning to share the spotlight.

++The Republican establishment is opening asking whether Perry is electable in light of his statements on secession and his belief that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. Even the Koch Brothers are hedging their bets. They hosted a fund-raiser for Mitt Romney on Cape Cod.

++Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for taking a vacation and a vacation at that liberal place Martha's Vineyard. The problem is that Mitt Romney was there on the other side of the island fund-raising with fatcats.

++Not one to ever miss a vacation, Newt Gingrich decided to campaign in electoral vote rich Hawaii.

++Karl Rove decided he was looking a little unpatriotic by criticising Republican candidates all week so he blasted President Obama for taking a bus tour through the Midwest. The problem was that the bus was built in Canada. Karl's problem here is that the same bus will be used to escort the Republican nominee around the country when the time comes. And for Sarah Palin, this is a problem because she uses the same model bus for her family vacation/campaign stops.

++The real silly season is now upon us and we should expect more, not less insanity in the next few months.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Read My Lips--No New Texans

++Rick Perry was on the campaign trail in Iowa attacking Mitt Romney's record for job creation. But his own record is getting plenty of scrutiny from the likes of Paul Krugman who challenges his numbers and points to states in the Northeast actually doing better. Perry also declared that Social Security was a Ponzi-scheme, the teabagger line, and was unconstitutional even though it was a Republican dominated Supreme Court in 1937, which upheld it. Perry also declined to say whether he was carrying a concealed weapon while campaigning. Bill Clinton loved Rick Perry's announcement and commented he looked handsome but his views on government are scary.

++Rick Perry also slammed President Obama, saying "I think you want a President who is passionate about America--that's in love with America." So in love, they threaten to secede. That's pretty patriotic.

++The Wall Street Journal worried today about the entire Republican field, especially with Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann gaining popularity. On Romney, they raised doubts about Mitt as a weak front-runner who has money and campaign experience and looks Presidential. "But he gives little evidence that he has convictions beyond faith in his own technocratic experience.." They opined that maybe another candidate will enter the field. Well, Rudy still says he might enter the fray.

++Karl Rove appeared on Fox to say," You don't want these candidates moving so right in the Republican primary that it becomes impossible for them to win the general election, because it will become a self-defeating message." He didn't single any particular person out but is he abit nervous that the teabaggers have slipped the leash?

++With President Obama's approval rating in Gallup dipping to 39% for the first time in his Presidency,it's useful to read Steve Singiser's piece in on what the 50 state Gallup poll means for the 2012 elections. It's alot of fun if you are a political junky. He points out that both Harry Truman and George W. Bush won re-election with approvals below 50%. But he's more interesting in terms of his views on swing states and puts a few new states in the mix. He points to Georgia and Arizona as possible pick-ups for Obama, while Obama loses some of his past gains. He has results for a Obama win and an Obama loss with the possible states.

++I read another interesting blog today about a Democratic Party gathering in North Dakota. The blogger was shocked to find that Organizing for America, Obama's campaign group, have set up shop there and in South Dakota. Apparently, this is happening in other states as well that didn't go for Obama last time.

++The Debt Ceiling Debate scared American corporations and they have personally been reaching out to President Obama to find ways that taxes can be raised on the super-rich. Warren Buffett in a NYTimes op-ed repeated his position that his tax rate is far below--now over 20 of his employees--before it was just his poor secretary. He calls for an increase of taxes on the top .5%. President Obama also has met with leading corporations about job creation in the next few months.

++President Obama let loose on the campaign trail today. While he started with his rambling answers at a Townhall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, he did zero in on the Republican field. He made special reference to all Republican candidates not endorsing a debt deal which would have 10 cuts for every $1 in revenue raised. He also emphasized the McColm position that Social Security has nothing to do with the national debt. He rejected my position of saving Social Security until 2175, saying that 75 years is enough for planning. He referred back to the Reagan-Foley deal that saved Social Security for 75 years. That entailed raising the FICA tax and raising the retirement age by a year or two in incremental steps. He did emphasize that Social Security is not an entitlement plan, you paid for it. Bravo!

++President Obama also outlined how the United States got into the debt situation we did--two wars and a prescription drug plan and tax cuts we didn't pay for. He also emphasized that the Iraq War was the first in American history that we made no provisions to cover its cost. Touche.

++He said that our national debt was manageable and that we can stimulate the economy in the short-run while cutting our debt in the long-term.

++Since Rick Perry wants to make Washington irrevelant to your life, President Obama wants us not to confuse government with politics. He insisted they are two different things. The government is our military fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the FEMA folks who show up at natural disasters,Social Security,teachers, firefighters and policemen, the people who keep our drinking water clean and the people in the ranger's hats at our national parks. He said that government protects us, built the interstate highway system,put a man on the Moon, and invests in new technologies and medical breakthroughs.

++He also answered a question about what would happen to the Affordable Health Care Act if the individuial mandate was repealed. While he fudged on the competing courts' decisions, he mentioned all the aspects of the Act--from no more caps, insurance for your child to 26, no pre-conditions, etc., which would stay in place.

++President Obama went geek also. He emphasized his rural broadband and wireless initiative that got funding in the Recovery Act, something I wrote at the time was the equivalent of the Rural Electrification Act of FDR's time. He also underscored how he capitalized more small and moderate farms through the Recovery Act and is looking to do more. And he went on his riff about alternative energy sources. I love this stuff the best but I thought it got him off message.

++There are a couple of wonky pieces today that show the Affordable Healthcare Act actually lowered Medicare costs this past year. No one could quite explain the drop of a 9% rise in costs to suddenly a 4% increase this year. Apparently, it is the result of health providers trying to implement certain features of the Healthcare bill early. If you will recall, it was asserted by President Obama that the bill would cut $1 trillion in healthcare costs over 10 years. Maybe it would.

++The Pentagon is gearing up for new budget cuts with the outline of a proposal to reform military pensions and healthcare benefits. If you recall, if the Supercommission can't not reach a debt deal, two triggers would start--cuts in military spending and Medicare cuts. In anticipating this, the military is acting early.

++Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann have discovered the wonders of campaigning without alot of media scrutiny. CNN is basically creaming itself on the Perry campaign. After all isn't all politics about who wins and who loses? Michelle Bachmann has turned a leaf in her book by simply ignoring anything she said in the past. The most obvious issue is about gays, where she has a lifetime of condemning gays but now claims she is not running for judge. Mitt Romney himself has been almost invisible,leading Haley Barbour to say it's time for him to suit up and hit the field.

++Ann Coulter has agreed to be the Queen of Fabulousness by becoming the honorary chair of GOProud.

++There is a rumble about whether David Plouffe and Bill Daley want President Obama to be confrontational with the Republicans or conciliatory. The idea is for President Obama to solidify his gains among independents by remaining the reasonable one. Others have argued that President Obama should roll out his job creation ideas whether they would win congressional approval or not. No one seems to get a handle on what Plouffe and Daley said. I say go for the American Infrastructure Bank even if it fails. One, you then own a good idea. Secondly, you play to those who most benefit from the idea. And let congressional Republicans knock it down.

++For the many of you who voiced concerns about Tim Pawlenty, his staff looks like they will be joining Jon Huntsman team, which is headed by John Weaver. TPaw himself sort of dismissed his willingness about being vice-president, saying he was down that road before, alluding to John McCain's interest in him. But he did say he was interested in the Minnesota Senate race.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

TPAW Quits Race--First in, First Out

In March, George Will wrote that the next President of the United States would be Barack Obama, Mitch Daniels or Tim Pawlenty. So I guess we're down to one.

Tim Pawlenty didn't just quit because he placed third in the Ames Straw Poll. His campaign had been anemic and his donor base was shrinking if not disappearing. Pawlenty has been running for President since before he left the Minnesota state house. To adapt to the challenging GOP, he twisted himself into a pretzel on issues from global warming, evolution and health care. By the time he actually declared he was no longer recognizable and had lost his working-class narrative. He simply was not designed for Teabaggerland. You knew he had troubles when he was asked,"Why he was running?" He didn't have an answer. And he was incredibly boring on the stump.

Since he didn't register much support among those polled on the nomination, the question is a little moot about who will pick up his supporters.

Instead of Fact-Checking, could the media develop a Truth-Telling index to let us know whether Michelle Bachmann actually says a true statement of fact? So far there is virtually nothing she has said that bears anything remotely connected to fact-based reality.

I thought David Axelrod and Ms. Wasserman-Schultz were lame in attacking Rick Perry's job creation record. It's not good enough to point to the wars and the oil industry to account for Texas' job record. Let's face it Texas at 8% unemployment isn't great shakes compared to New York State. The real response would be that the majority of the jobs he created were in the public sector (true) and most others pay the minimum wage. Is this worth eviscerating our educational systems and the social welfare net for? That's what Rick Perry has done.

The Left bemoans how the Republicans have controlled the whole economic debate, turning it into a discussion on the debt. I think the problem is more serious than that. I think the issue is that after decades of manipulating the media politics has been reduced to pure symbolism. What interested me in the first two years of the Obama Administration were the serious debates on domestic policy. But I like that sort of thing. Most Americans do not want to listen about legislative procedures and they do not understand or respond to the GOP using filibusters more times than at any time in our history to obstruct progress. Basically, we want the sausage made and not to know how it's made.

That's why the next election will come down to appearances and the realm of likes and dislikes. The fact that Mitt Romney actually had a terrible record in job creation and his fortune is built on making people unemployed will not be seen as relevant. It also doesn't matter that he has changed every one of his positions over the years. Nor does it matter that he doesn't know when his economic plan would produce results. Does he look like a President and does the voter identify with him? Or do they really think he's Weird. The same for Rick Perry. Do you go for that Texas act or not? Is doesn't matter that he presides over a Giant Alabama. The same with President Obama. Do you like a cool, rational man and eloquent man as President or not? For Obama, then it will come down to the employment numbers and whether there is any sense there is movement in the economy. Sad but true.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Colbert Wins the Ames Straw Poll

With his political Pac running ads in Iowa, Stephen Colbert knocked off Mitt Romney. The write-in votes for Rick Perry topped the votes for Mitt Romney. This actually raises more political questions for Romney's campaign than I'm sure they want to answer. While Romney basically wrote off the Straw Vote ,despite winning it in 2007, the question is whether he can write off Iowa, wait for New Hampshire and then plunge into the conservative waters of South Carolina.

There were three basic losers today--Jon Huntsman, who polled a pitiful 69 votes, Newt Gingrich, who netted 385, and Tim Pawlenty, who came in third with 13.57% of the vote. Luckily for Pawlenty, he at least outdrew Frothy Mix.

Michelle Bachmann barely topped Ron Paul--4,823 votes to 4,671 or 28.55% to 27.65%. Michelle Bachmann is projected as the possible winner for the Iowa Caucus next year.

But the day belonged to Rick Perry, who announced he was running for President in the Palmetto State. Perry has managed to play the media perfectly so far and has overnight become the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The author of "Bush's Brain" appeared on Chris Matthews and called Perry "the most naturally gifted politician coming out of Texas since LBJ" but did comment that he has been a horrendous governor. But that's the beauty of this year's Republican contest, no one has had to do anything positive in the political arena because the whole lineup is running against government both as an idea and as a reality.

Steve Benen wrote a nice piece in Washington Monthly about the fate of supposed saviors in presidential years and noted the demise of people like Fred Thompson, Wes Clark and others who got in late in the day. Mark Plotkin appeared in local radio to dismiss Perry as another one of these types that enters to a big splash and fades away.

I disagree with this. Rick Perry has any number of SuperPacs raising funds for him and will have more money than anyone except Barack Obama and possibly Mitt Romney. His bravado and definiteness comes across to the Republican base as the type of assuredness they relish. And people knowing how Texas is now the 21st century Mississippi forget that the nation backed another 100% political animal with some pretty bad state statistics--Bill Clinton and Arkansas. From his announcement on the web, it's clear he has married the rhetoric of the neocons with economic nationalism and the social conservatism. This will be potent among Republican voters. How he actually fares in retail campaigning will test whether his act--which is 100% Texas compared to George W's--can sell nationally.

For an excellent and short summary of Rick Perry's record, I refer you to a post by Sandy Berman at entitled "Ladies & Gentlemen--The Real Rick Perry". It starts off with Perry being rated as one of the worst governors in American history for ethical problems. And from there his record descends. But when these issues come up, all he has to do is blame the "liberal media" and all will be forgiven.

My apologies to a reader who chastised me for my comments on Mitt Romney's Mormonism. She pointed out that Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann are connected to more crazed people than the Mormons and they pose a real threat to the United States. Altnet has an expose of when the New Apostalic Reformation approached Rick Perry and told him of the biblically important role Texas would play in the future of the United States. My reader was right. Mormonism is basically a 19th century version of scientology compared to these people.

Howard Fineman at Huffington Post comments on how Phil Gramm, a "controversial former Senator" backs Perry. Well, what a surprise! Gramm was Perry's mentor and both men have shared staffs. No surprise there.

How much is pure cynicism and how much is it belief? Rick Perry embraced the Tea Party when it began,while Washington politicians egged them on but kept a distance. Perry was down by 25% points to Kay Baily Hutchinson in the race for the governor's mansion. He then made his famous secession statement and instantly leaped ahead to win the race. The man running Kay Baily Hutchinson's campaign was Karl Rove. It was Karl Rove who convinced Rick Perry to convert from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party and Rove has acted ever since like he regretted it.

In the governor's race, the Hutchinson campaign kept encoding "Perry is gay" in its literature. A pure Rovian move. When Perry recently complained that this rumor was planted by the Democrats, I wrote that I had only heard it from Republicans, never a Democrat. In 2004, the Austin-American wrote an extensive report about this whole rumor and about Perry's wife leaving the governor's mansion. The rumor was so intense that Texas newspapers characterized the situation as a crisis in government. The rumors had Perry having a boyfriend named Geoffrey Conor, a dapper former Secretary of State. The whole Perry staff was summoned to the governor's mansion and given a pep talk by Perry himself who blamed the whole thing on the internet. And clearly in the 2010 race, Karl Rove used these rumors to advantage until Perry broke the race wide open. It remains to be seen whether this rumor gets picked up again in this year's primary season. For whatever reason, the Bush family and Karl Rove still bear a grudge against Perry.

People looking for Sarah Palin will note that she got only 1% in the write-in vote today. But political observers mention how close she has become to Rick Perry. There is speculation that once out of the primaries, Rick Perry must "moderate" and talk about the economy, leaving Sarah Palin to performed her function as attack dog whipping up the Tea Party. This leads to the idea of Sarah running as Perry's Vice Presidental nominee. I didn't make that up.

This all almost makes one feel sorry for Mitt Romney, who still is name number 1 on Team Obama's list of opponents. Romney just can't compete with Perry on the Right. It would totally warp him and make him seem even weirder. And it will be interesting to see where the Bush family comes out. After all it was George H.W. Bush who gave Romney the forum last election to defend his religion. And we have already heard that Karl Rove will not raise money for Perry.

What was interesting today was to see Rep. Issa of San Diego absolutely rip into the so-called "Texas Miracle". Issa, who wants to earn his reputation investigating the imaginary crimes of Barack Obama, blasted Perry before the California GOP as someone who pillaged California and stole jobs, not created them. Issa said he had backed Mitch Daniels because he was a governor who really earned respect. So expect this fight to get bruising.

And it looks bad for the Washington pundits, who were lining up behind Tim Pawlenty. His showing today casts doubts on his viability, especially since he lost to Michelle Bachmann,someone he said had no political accomplishments.

Commentators mentioned that the Straw poll today demonstrated enthusiasm behind the GOP because the turnout was greater than last time. Actually, the turnout was far below the 1999 Straw Poll, which did indicate real enthusiam in the 2000 elections.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Night at Winston Boogie's

++Sesame Street wants you to know that Bert and Ernie are just puppets and they don't have a sexual orientation.

++Mariano Rivero saved his 30th--making it nine years of 30 saves or above. The apocalypse has been averted..for now.

++Karl Rove will not fund-raise for Rick Perry. Besides Karl has to take back the Senate, something he failed to do in 2010, even though that was his assignment.

++Alan Keyes thinks Rick Perry is not sincere about his Christian beliefs. He also says Perry is weak on the issue of abortion.

++Richard Viguerie says that the GOP needs to have Big Ideas like in the days of Ronald Reagan. He says the nominee must persuade the base he or she really is a conservative and that he or she can really beat Obama. He says none of the people on last night's stage have shown that capacity.

++Ron Paul won the FoxNews poll on the debate--that's why they pulled it. The Crusaders of Liberty were trying to give Paul a send-off.

++Juan Williams believes President Obama won last night's debate. The President appears "sleek,fast and so very hip" compared to the "1950s Oldsmobile Republicans."

++Willard filed his personal financial info today. Romney has a net worth of around $264 million. This caused a Republican to comment that the unease people feel with Romney is the same as that felt by Republicans with Al Gore and John Kerry--a sense of entitlement from a very wealthy person. Richy Rich.

++Neocons are lining up behind Perry. They say he will come out for a vigorous unilateralism in comparison to the neo-isolationist sentiment in the current field. They also claim he will boldly outline the use of military force by the United States.

++David Plouffe, the architect of Obama's 2008 "Velvet Revolution", opined that the Republicans had "a transcendent victory in 2010" and now the approval rating of Congress is at a historic low. He claims this is a rejection of precisely the policies discussed at last night's debate.

++The Washington Post writes that Rick Perry will draw the stark contrast between the GOP vision of the country and that of President Obama. CBS is already hyping Perry by talking about the Texas Miracle. What will Al Gore say about Perry since Rick was his campaign manager.

++The 11th Circuit Court of Appeal by a vote of 2-1 ruled that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. Judge Marcus' dissent was a bravura performance. Judge Marcus was first appointed to the bench by President Reagan. The 6th Circuit Court has previkously ruled the individual mandate was constitutional. Interestingly,the 11th Circuit Court ruled that the rest of the law was perfectly fine,preserving all the elements Americans find popular. Next stop, the Supreme Court. Perhaps someone should send a few greenbacks to Clarence for his vote.

++Congressman Burgess from Texas believes the next gambit to slow up President Obama is to impeach him. He thinks this will tie him down so he can't get anything done. Interesting view of impeachment. But it actually might serve to occupy the Teabaggers so they can't be as obstructionist. They'll have to debate on what grounds to impeach the President.

++A new Marist poll shows that 59% of Americans believe Obama inherited today's economic mess, while 33% believe it's Obama's fault--the same percentage who are teabaggers.

++Chicago Bears fan,President Obama finds himself in an awkward position. He's now a shareholder in the Superbowl Champion Green Bay Packers. The only community owned franchise is the NFL, they awarded the President some shares at their White House meeting today.

++Steven Strassburg, the Nationals phenom trying to recover from Tommy Johns' surgery, continued his rehab tour with another outing where he threw in the neighborhood of 98mph. The Nationals believe he will be ready for a major league start sometime in September.

++On the passing of former Governor Hugh Carey. The last great political debate I every saw was the debate between Hugh Carey and Warren Andersson, the Republican leader of the New York State Assembly. Both men were so obviously heavyweights and both men knew the state budget backwards and forwards. They went at it non-stop for about 90 minutes. I don't remember who I thought won--I was just so impressed that people could know that much about government.

++Senator Mark Hatfield represents the passing of the "liberal" wing of the Republican Party. Hatfield was a classy man with alot of style. Best known for his dissent on the Vietnam War, he was one of the early crusaders in the modern Republican Party for environmental issues.

++Don't miss on the various blogs the clips from George Romney talking about how he was "brainwashed over the Vietnam War". People resurrected the piece over son Mitt's gaffe on "corporations are people". Some suggest there is a genetic issue here.

++One blogger suggests one solution to our current economic situation is for President Obama to invoke the Humphrey-Hawkins full-employment act of 1974, which called on the President to take such measures as necessary to create full employment--which, according to the law, is 4% unemployment.

++Another blogger suggests that President Obama create the America Infrastructure Bank by declaring a national economic emergency. Our infrastructure now gets a grade of D from the appropriate agencies who study such things. Since we have to get it done sometime, why not now?

++When will the gay, lesbian, transgender community record "It will only get better" videos for the rest of us? So far the only demographic which seems to be making any progress during this time is the gay/lesbian/transgender community.

++We're back to the times of the underclass. Over 50% of African-American teenagers are unemployed. Not only are they lacking opportunities but they are removed from job possibilities. This is dooming a generation from never being able to access the ever-dwindling American Dream.

++On a lighter note,Frank Gaffney is advising Michelle Bachmann on the threat of sharia law in tghe United States. Somehow the anti-Muslim aspect of the GOP was toned down last night.

++After all the Republicans leave Iowa, President Obama will be entering the state for a bus tour. It will be interesting to see his reception after the state has been bombarded by attacks on him and his record.

++The Supercommittee of Congress has all been appointed. I think the choices make the whole endeavor a big dud but I am not in an optimistic mood these days.

++Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism adviser to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, slipped a fast one by us yesterday. Clarke argues that the CIA tried to recruit the 9-11 hijackers and that there had been a cover-up by George Tenet and others about this aspect of the tragedy.