Saturday, April 19, 2008
Alright a little art lesson for you today: now to support the Reverend who finds P-duck's image disgusting, which one of you brainy-acts can tell me why I posted this image by David, "The Death of Marat" in relationship to P's image and to M's van der Weyden???? Trust me, the answer relates to the tenets of the TRS.
Sorry for the extended absence folks but been job hunting--think I got one but more to follow about the ordeals of academic job searches!
The dangerous aspects of this is the way in which certain ideological perspectives establish certain cultures and policies. And all of this depends on the manipulation of information.
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.
In theory, the Times study is not anything new. Noam Chomsky is most likely laughing at this article. Or cringing.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Iran and Iraq: Senator Obama did well on
The Economy: Tax cuts for you, not for the rich. Obama ups the ante with a payroll tax cut. Capital Gain Taxes will increase. Can’t take out a credit card from the Bank of China (good metaphor.) The right will attack Obama endlessly on the Capital Gains Tax though Hillary will raise them as well but only to a certain point. Do the middle class voters of
Gas Prices: Not much can be done on this issue. Sorry, $4.00/ gallon sucks. However, $5.00 is worse. Any alternatives? Nope.
GOP: 5 (2nd Amendment, No Super Delegates, Iran)
Senator Clinton: 7 (Minus 1 for Iraq)
Senator Obama: 6 (Minus 1 for AA, Economy)
The GOP wins, as even though they tied Senator Clinton in points, they did not debate. Anytime you win while sitting on the sidelines, you win. Senator Clinton takes second place.
As for Senator Obama, good luck in North Carolina. Unless you hope for a Clinton/ New Hampshire backlash, you'll fare better in another venue. Also, I would avoid ABC in the future.
One A Side Note:
There were no questions on Global Warming/ Environment, Torture, Interrogation Techniques, Supreme Court Justices, Health Care, Education, Executive Authority, Israel/ Palestine, Spreading Democracy, Darfur, Alternative Energy, Michigan and Florida… etc. Oh well, Flag Pins are important.
Welcome to out 23,432 installment of better know a candidate. In this segment, we will focus on who holds the anchor. Who ever holds it for the longest, loses. Senator Obama, you held the anchor for much too long in the debate and, you lost.
The questions in debate number #21 were much tougher than recent debates, as were the follow ups. But this does not mean that they were better or address important topics, especially to the voters of Pennsylvania.
The first section focused on the Dream Ticket, Bitter-Gate, Jeremiah Wright, Bosnia, William Ayers (a member of The Weather Underground), and a Flag-Pin, which as you can imagine, these topics favor Senator Clinton. ABC attempted to use snippets of the Constitution throughout. However, the first question showed the futility of this approach and the debate. Moderator Charlie Gibson asked the two candidates about a Dream Ticket, invoking the idea that the Original Constitution stated that the person that received the most votes would be president, the second most, VP. Of Course, this question was predicated on a portion of the Constitution that was amended via the 12th Amendment. If you don't know the Constitution, don't ask questions based on it.
Here is a recap: The Unity question, at the beginning, flopped and left the candidates with an uncomfortable silence. The moderators hit Obama hard on “Bittergate,” Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers from the Weather Underground, and Flag Pins. Senator Clinton hit Obama hard on these topics, throwing him an anchor every chance she could get. Obama responded, as best as he could, by trying to focus on the issues, which is surprising that a candidate would want to address the issues. When the media asks a question about the patriotism of a candidate, no one wins.
Senator Clinton got hit hard on losing a voter over
End of Round One: The Score (Two points for each question, 12 max)
Obama: 3 (Plus for feistiness, going easy on
It will be interesting to see what degree Bitter, Wright, Ayers, Bosnia, & the Flag-Pin continue after this debate. Also, can Hillary use the "Obama can't win argument" any longer as she has denounced it? What about Obama standing up to criticism?And for the umpteenth time, there will be no Unity Ticket.
It comes to no surprise to my fellow Situationers that I love art, but few paintings have elicited a physical reaction from me. Roger van der Weyden's The Deposition is so beautiful that I cried when I saw it in person. van der Weyden, a Northern Renaissance painter, puts the viewer on the same plan as Christ being deposed from the cross. The viewer is the same size as all of the figures in the painting, and from where it is hung in the Prado, I was at eye level with the Virgin Mary. I could easily read the painting as a commentary on grief and mourning, but I'd rather just share the beauty with my friends.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Yet, there is another angle to this story. Because this is a Democratic primary and, we know that Democrats adhere to fairness above equality, CQ Politics examines the congressional districts and argues that Clinton will take 53 pledged delegates to Senator Obama's 50. Like Texas, some areas receive more delegates than others.
The 103 district-level delegates are not distributed evenly. Democratic-leaning congressional districts are awarded more delegates than Republican-leaning districts. The state’s 2nd District, a Democratic bastion centered in Philadelphia, has nine district delegates to divvy up among Clinton and Obama. The heavily Republican 9th District, in the south-central part of the state, has just three.
Pennsylvania has 84 other delegates, divided between Super Delegates (29), at-large pledged delegates (35), and PLEOs (20) [a PLEO is a Pledged (Party) Leader or Elected Official]. It is this last category that Senator Clinton did not fill out a full ballot for before the deadline. According to a diary on MYDD, the at-large would split 20 - 15 Clinton and the PLEOs 12 - 8.
While I do not know how the Supers will split-- CNN reports the current Super split is, Clinton 14, Obama 5-- her pledged delegate pickup will be +11.
Combined, she will pick up 25 delegates, with 14 Supers undecided.
If she were to win the nomination, a 25 delegate pickup will not help as she is down by over 140 according to MSNBC, and this is her best chance to pick up delegates. She should do well in Puerto Rico (63) and Kentucky (60). However, Of course, Senator Obama will win North Carolina (134) and should win Oregon (65).
In the other states, Clinton will win the majority in West Virginia (39 total), Kentucky (60), while Senator Obama will win the majority in Guam (9), Montana (25), and South Dakota (23).
Indiana is the wild-card with 85 delegates and polls show this is close, meaning they will most likely split most of the delegates, leaving the winner only to pick up a few.
Senator Clinton will need to make her case to the Super Delegates through the popular vote, If that were the case, she would need at least to net 300,000 from Pennsylvania. Of course, you could make the "electibility," [who has a better shot of beating Senator McCain] if you dehistoricize the polls and ask the Super Delegates to choose within discerning what will happen or choose the nominee as late as possible, i.e. The Convention. Yet, this means you lose at least four months (May - August) to begin the fall campaign, which will hurt either candidate's ability to win in November. Is that irony?
I am starting to have other thoughts about the Democratic Primary: it is just a clever game based on Inoculation theory. I've had a feeling about this since March but I will have more on this later. However, if this were the case, then the Democrats would be serious about winning the election and would be smart about it. And, for some reason, I cannot believe this it is the case that they could play people like this as it may require a sophisticated level of coordination and organization not known to the Democratic Party.
And if this class is among us, who are they? Does this class of men have any stroke in either major political Party? Does their likeness appear in any of the three Presidential candidates? etc.
For what it is worth Harrogate feels it is a cop-out to invoke the caricature of the "Endtimes" driven Social Conservative/Evangelical at this juncture. That is a separate issue, and for Harrogate's money, more founded in illusion than in fact.
Indeed. The most striking thing about Social/Religious Conservatives is that they draw off all the most precious imaginative energy of liberal Americans. We are so busy warning against this "element" that we don't seem to notice that the far more dangerous eco-cons have by now almost totally closed the circuit on our republic. Witness the fact that so many people, even after all that has happened with the country, conceive of George W. Bush in primnarily in terms of social conservatism.
But anywho. Perhaps even the eco-cons ought to be mildly freaked by the questions Harrogate poses above.
Yes. Some might argue that the questions are hysterical ones in the first place. And, perhaps they are.
(Although, the Wars keep mounting, the shit-talking keeps escalating, and even those few among us who cared enough to do anything about it, wouldn't know where to begin. Blogging from one's study, for example, probably aint making much headway).
From The New Republic, a look at where your tax money goes. As the brief article states, it is always helpful to known how the government uses our tax money, especially when politicians call for cutting spending and cutting taxes.
And, of course, the song of the day, "Taxman" by The Beatles.
It seems the article by Carl Bernstein did not sit well with the Clinton camp. Lanny Davis, a Clinton supporter, fundraiser, or former Clinton lawyer, provided a response on CNN.
Davis attempts to minimize Berstein's argument by characterizing all of them as personal attacks without any facts and to suggest that Berstein uses the same methods he accuses of the Clintons without applying the standards to Senator Obama.
Monday, April 14, 2008
While the photo looks straight out of Bat-Man, either the 1960s TV show or the lame, non-Tim Burton movies, because of the angles. I could not help to notice the irony of McCain, who appears as if he is pounding his fists on the podium while standing next to a very large projection of himself to his right. And since all Americans possess this ability and technology, the elitism label escapes him.
But, more importantly, if McCain were on Bat-Man, what would his villain name be? The other candidates?
Sunday, April 13, 2008
"What a Clinton Presidency Would Look Like," by Carl Bernstein, Watergate discoverer, as if he found the hotel, & Clinton biography, for A Woman In Charge: the Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It portrays her as a fighter, as anyone would expect. Yet, the article also makes the case that the fighter ethos harms her:
This article is far more personal than the Politico article against Senator Obama as it attacks Senator Clinton on her strengths, in addition to her failure to learn from her mistakes, judgment on Iraq and her pandering, which Berstein suggests that she l0oathed this approach by Republicans, on such issues such as Flag Burning.
In fact, the demotion of Penn –- like the departure of Hillary’s acolyte Patty Solis Doyle as campaign manager –- is a confession that, for all her claims of “experience” and leadership abilities, Hillary Clinton has now presided over two disastrous national enterprises, the most important professional undertakings of her adult life, both of which she began with ample wind at her back: the healthcare reform of her husband’s presidency, and now her own campaign for the White House. These two failures -– and the demonizing of her opponents in both instances –- may be the best indication of the kind of President she would be, especially when confronted (inevitably) by unanticipated difficulty and/or entrenched opposition to her ideas and programs.
It is exactly under such circumstances that she usually resorts to the worst excesses that mark her in full warrior-mode — and all its scorched-earth, truth-be-damned manifestations. Bosnia, anyone? Smearing the women involved (or even thought to be involved) sexually with her husband. Responding to Barack Obama with the same mindset, disdain, and arsenal as she did Karl Rove and Lee Atwater, as if Obama’s politics and methodologies were as mendacious and vicious as theirs–and her own. Tax information kept secret (in 1992 to hide her profits from trading in cattle futures; in 2008 to shield the identities of Bill’s foreign clients.) A campaign that openly boasts of throwing “the kitchen sink” at her opponent.
It also points to a mistake made by the Clinton campaign: the star-power as a Democrat developed with her changed demeanor in the Senate. A New Yorker article from January discussed this same theme. Of course, it is the campaign's failure to recognize this and, consequently, they lost enormous opportunity to increase her appeal.
Yet, the Clintons have a high floor. The attacks in the article carries weight with those who find themselves against the Clintons or undecided. Consequently, this article will just be another example of media unfairness or anti-Clinton bias.
Essentially, if you choose the Clintons, you know you will get a fighter who has some experience in the White House; however, as the article suggests, the fighter ethos may be the problem and the ghosts never stop haunting the House of Clinton.
No one really disputes that Chad Hudgens was waterboarded outside a Provo office park last May 29, right before lunch, by his boss.My Favorite line from the article is: "I don't know if this would even be an issue if it weren't for Guantanamo Bay," Brunt said. Sure, other than Guantanamo Bay, there is nothing wrong with the act.
There is also general agreement that Hudgens volunteered for the "team-building exercise," that he lay on his back with his head downhill, and that co-workers knelt on either side of him, pinning the young sales rep down while their supervisor poured water from a gallon jug over his nose and mouth.
And it's widely acknowledged that the supervisor, Joshua Christopherson, then told the assembled sales team, whose numbers had been lagging: "You saw how hard Chad fought for air right there. I want you to go back inside and fight that hard to make sales."
Second, the historicism of Matthews: Matthew is an element of a much different time and possesses a different sense of order, which makes for his comments about women as being awkward to say the least. It is interesting to see how one generation attempts to correct the errors of the past generation and hold the prior generation liable for their sins. I think we judge the news by left/ right etc., i.e. MSNBC or Fox, NPR or Talk Radio; yet, we often forget other important contextual factors such as historical context of the reporters...
Finally, it is interesting how we use Matthews. As the article states, Democrats love him as he stood up against Iraq, the Bush Administration, and other conservatives such as Michelle Malkin; yet, Democrats reject him because his is interpreted as being sexist, anti-Clinton, and a loose-cannon, as well as constantly interjecting himself into the story.
There is some speculation that when his contract expires, he will either move to another network or reenter politics in Pennsylvania. The article suggests the second and Mathews seems to support the conclusion at times.
The concerns revolve around two themes.I suggest reading the entire article as it raises some serious concerns. However, the concerns it raises against Senator Obama would be true for Senator Clinton. All three candidates remaining are strong; yet, all have fatal flaws. It depends on which poison you desire.
The first is based on the campaign so far. Assuming voting patterns evident in the nominating contest continue into the fall, Obama would be vulnerable if McCain can approximate the traditional GOP performance in key states.
The second is based on fear about the campaign ahead.
Stories about Obama’s Chicago associations with 1960s radicals Bernardine Dohrn and William Ayers landed with barely a ripple. So, too, did questions about whether he once backed a total ban on handguns (he says no but in a 1996 state legislative race his campaign filled out a questionnaire saying yes). Obama’s graceful handling of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy may have turned that into a net positive against Clinton.
At Swampland, Joe Klein offers three, (I mean two sire) counter-arguments:
1.) Obama is a terrific politician and, compared to John McCain, he will have some distinct advantages--namely that his description of the country's problems, and his proposed solutions, will be closer to what Americans actually want than McCain's will be...
2.) Clinton isn't exactly a strong alternative. She's really offended a crucial Democratic constituency: African-Americans. She would bring out Republican voters in droves....
Klein adds that the argument that though Clinton supporters argue she has faced the right wing and won, she has not dealt with her baggage in the primary and the American voting public has yet to relive the ideological battles and political scandals of the 1990s, let alone the issues that developed with the Clintons from 2001 and on, such as donations to the Presidential Library and the pardons. In the past few weeks we just initiated the NAFTA debates and the connections to Columbia, which do not sit well for Senator Clinton. And this would be just the beginning.
A few side notes:
Now that we are getting closer to Pennsylvania, and the debate is this Wednesday, the full court press is back on. According to Ben Smith at Politico, the papers are covering the "bitter remarks" but the editorial boards are sticking with him.
I never realized about the Republican ties to Politico until writing this piece.
Oh, and by the way, Megs, Sweet Baby J, and I went to our first Yankees game last Sunday. More importantly, Sweet Baby J ate her first hot dog. (And, yes, this is A-Rod at bat.)
In June, scientists in Switzerland will use, for the first time, the particle accelerator known as Large Hadron Collider (LHC), to create a black hole to study its effects. No, I am wrong. The scientists will attempt to replicate the conditions before the Big Bang and, by doing so, they may create a small black hole or two. The scientists promise that even if they create small black holes, they will be malignant, no wait, I mean benign.
The New York Times has the scoop, and an editorial against it, kind of but not really. And don't worry, there is a law suit against the use of the LHC, which means its operation status is in the hands of some judges, though I think the judge in Hawaii lacks the authority to stop scientists in Switzerland.
David Brooks, on The Chris Matthews Show, floated the idea that Senator Clinton's next job would be Governor of New York. This is not the first time in which the rumor has made its rounds. It also seems reasonable if you believe that she cannot win the primary or the presidency and would no doubt win a NY special election-- if one were to magically occur, somehow arranged, etc--, and her political style of partisanship works in the state of NY and current Gov. David Patterson may not be working out, especially with his "admissions" once in office and the failure of recent legislation.
The interesting question would be would the Clintons desire Senator Clinton becomming Governor Clinton? Currently, Senator Clinton and former President Clinton believe that only they can save the democrats from the "disaster in waiting" this fall as "naive democrats" don't see it and the media won't tell it.
Further, if the Democratic primary is about the legacy of the Clintons, then this may not be desirable choice. If the argument is that Senator Obama wins the presidency then he will diminish the legacy of President Clinton, wouldn't this also mean that Senator Clinton would diminish the legacy of the former President. On one hand, If Senator Clinton wins the primary and the presidency, then the family enhances its legacy. On the other, if she wins, she may diminish the legacy of former President Bill Clinton, especially if Senator Clinton becomes a better President than Bill, which would not be too hard as the bar if very low.
Meet The Press: w/ Carville, Matalin, Murphy, and Shrum
The first fifteen minutes of Meet the Press is quite hostile over Senator Obama's "bitter" remarks and other famous "gaffes" in the campaign: Obama and "cling;" McCain, the economy, and the Sunni/ Shi'ite distinction, Senator Clinton on Bosnia, former President Clinton on Hillary's Bosnia experience. James Carville was put in an interesting position as he attacked Obama for his comments, then attacked McCain about his comments on not knowing the economy, the Sunni/ Shi'ite mishap, which will be thrown against McCain, and then attempted to defend the comments by the Clintons over Bosnia, laughing while doing so as he knew he no longer possessed the legitimacy to attack Obama and knew the Clintons were in trouble. Carville could only offer his love for former President Bill Clinton, "I love the man."
Senator Obama's gaffe is just one of many by the candidates and may not prove to be the "representative anecdote" that hurts him in the long run, though he will suffer before Pennsylvania. If he had a chance to win the primary, he may not now, though he still may keep it close. Of course, the larger strategy of these comments may be to show how neither Clinton or McCain will improve the lives of those in the Keystone state and as the economy gets worse over the summer with the rise in the cost of gas and food, Senator Obama will look courageous for speaking about the realities in small towns back in April.
There is another interesting element occurring on MTP: the game of the elites, as all of the people on the show are, which makes them look just as foolish to determine the psychological and sociological characteristics of the voters in Pennsylvania (and I understand the irony, as all speculation about the minds of the voters seem foolish). Mary Matalin attacks Obama for his comments, forcing Carville to attack McCain's knowledge on the economy and the Sunni/Shi'ite divide. Yet, despite the ideological differences between Matalin and Carville they do not have any problems reconciling their differences. Where do we reify the ideological differences and why are the elites outside of these manifestations?
Oh, and all of the panelists threw Mark Penn under the bus and attacked the way in which her strategists ran Senator Clinton's campaign, diminishing her ethos as a "manager." After ten minutes of bashing Clinton, they opened the door to bashing Obama again, especially from Mary Matalin, who would like the Democratic Super Delegates to select Senator Clinton. But I cannot understand why?
Finally, a McCain/ Powell ticket and not McCain Romney? Did Carville read the news?
Any news on how Ralph Nader's campaign is developing?
As you remember, The Scotsman is the paper that interviewed Samantha Power where the later called Clinton "A Monster" for election tactics in Ohio, though that story broke through an interview while this developed through reporting. This suggests the paper carries some credibility as it would not allow Powers to recant her statements and ran the story. But, the switch to a interview to a report carries different standards.
If you read Ihe Scotsman article, the information comes from "s source close to Carter" and "insiders say," which may be right up there with "some might say." The editors allowed the report to go through, which means there is a source and editors believe that the source does have close connections to Carter. Yet, still, there is no source named in the entire article.
As for evidence, it suggests that Gore and Carter want to protect the party and the damage done to the party's chances for the general election against McCain. Of course, neither Carter nor Gore are particular warm to the Clinton (which is a very generous statement) and they point to conflicts of interest with the Clintons (donations to the library, Mark Penn, not paying for campaign events, credibility w/anecdotes).
Of course, you can take this information either way as the information in the article seems plausible, however, the bias of Gore and Carter may cause further problems.
It will be interesting to see if this story gains attention this week because it is a foreign source and the credibility of the article seems undetermined at best. With nine days to go to Pennsylvania, if this catches on this may be a way to influence the vote, if there are any undecideds left, as it would show the long term prospects for a Victory for her would not be possible. Of course, with a big win in Pennsylvania, this conversation would die down for a week until the run up to North Carolina.