Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

If you have a spare moment, maybe you can take some time to read the Declaration of Independence. Read it to yourself, to your family at your barbecue, read it to your kids. It's always good to remind ourselves what we are celebrating and why we are celebrating, and what we need to do to keep celebrating this day.

T Minus 200 Days

"Well, it's an unimaginable honor to be president during the Fourth of July of this country. It means what these words say, for starters. The great inalienable rights of our country. We're blessed with such values in America. And I - it's - I'm a proud man to be a nation based upon such wonderful values."

-Washington, DC, 2001

Thursday, July 3, 2008

T Minus 201 Days

"Unfairly but truthfully, our party has been tagged as being against things. Anti-immigrant, for example. And we're not a party of anti-immigrants. Quite the opposite. We're a party that welcomes people."

- Cleveland, OH, July 2000

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Obama Smear E-Mail Campaign Continues

I found this in my inbox today. Yet another one.

Subject: A disabled Vet speaks about Obama

For what may be to come......

I am a VHCM member, I spent 12 months in Vietnam (147th CH47-CE) as most of us did. I am also a disabled veteran; I have been a wheelchair user for 35 years now. A few months ago I went to listen to Barack Obama at a local college. When he was done with his speech I got in line to ask him a question.

When my time came, my question was: "Senator Obama; I work with disabled veterans throughout the VA Hospital system, what is your plan for our veterans, especially our disabled veterans who use the VA Hospitals for their care. I stated we need mandatory funding for our VA system to ensure the care is available when needed, especially in light of the current situation in Iraq and the numbers of troops who are coming home with severe disabilities."

He told one of his aide's to get my name, blew me off, did not answer my question and I never heard from him or the aide again. Is this who we want as our "Commander in Chief"? He wouldn't even answer a "veterans" question, regarding other veterans.

Take it for what it's worth...just thought I'd pass on my experience with Mr. Obama.

Gary McDermott
147th ASH Hillclimbers
Tau, RVN 68-69

If you are wishing for hope and change, you better know what the salesman is selling.

*********END E-MAIL**************

This e-mail may be a fairly new one, for when I tried to look it up for debunking purposes, nothing immediately popped up. A Google search revealed that it was used in a recent comment section of Tampa dated June 11, 2008.

Unfortunately, there is nothing to easily verify this comment. The writer doesn't specify the date or what college he supposedly attended listen to Senator Obama. Also, the story sounds incredibly similar to Mitt Romney's encounter with a medical marijuana patient and blowing him off during a rally while Romney was still campaigning.

The writer does provide his full name and unit which I'll track down and see if I can do any amateur investigating to locate the writer and verify the story.

And just for the record, Barack Obama has a very specific policy regarding veterans as President of the United States. Here is a list of bullet points - specifics can be accessed via his website.

A Sacred Trust
Barack Obama believes America has a sacred trust with our veterans. He is committed to creating a 21st Century Department of Veterans' Affairs that provides the care and benefits our nation's veterans deserve.

~Allow All Veterans Back into the VA
~Strengthen VA Care
~Combat Homelessness among Our Nation's Veterans
~Fight Veterans Employment Discrimination

Help for Returning Service Members
Obama will improve the quality of health care for veterans, rebuild the VA's broken benefits system, and combat homelessness among veterans.

~Ensure a Seamless Transition
~Fully Fund VA Medical Care
~Fix the Benefits Bureaucracy

Improved Mental Health Treatment
Obama will improve mental health treatment for troops and veterans suffering from combat-related psychological injuries.

~Improve Mental Health Treatment
~Improve Care for Traumatic Brain Injury
~Expand Vet Centers

UPDATE (7:35pm): A Google search of "Gary McDermott" and his unit name brought me to this website. The "Crew Roster" does indeed have McDermott's name listed among it's members. I have written an e-mail to a Rodney Brown of the 147th Veterans Association in an attempt to find out more information or hopefully get in contact with McDermott. Below is my e-mail.

Dear Mr. Brown,

Recently, I received an e-mail forward with the subject header, "A Disabled Vet Speaks About Obama."

In it, the writer speaks of having attended a local college to listen to Senator Obama speak, and after having asked a question regarding what the Senator plans to do in regards to veterans care, the writer claims that he was dismissed, was told to give contact information to an aide, and that he never heard from them again.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much pertinent information to verify this story except for the writer's name and unit. It was signed, "Gary McDermott, 147th ASH Hillclimbers, Vung Tau, RVN 68-69."

A quick Google search of the name and unit above brought me to your website and Mr. McDermott's name is in fact on your member list.

In an effort to verify the validity of this story, I was hoping you could help me contact Mr. McDermott or at least forward this information to him in hopes of making contact to get more specific information as to where and when his interaction with Senator Obama took place.

As a matter of complete disclosure, I am an Obama supporter but I am not affiliated with the Obama campaign or the campaign website in any way. I'm just a concerned citizen who is trying to keep informed and search for the truth.

I will include the body of the original e-mail I received for reference.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.

    Global Warming: Mass Neuroses?!

    This is why I don't watch "Morning Joe." Listen to this list of substitute hosts sitting with Mika Brzezinski: Mike Barnicle, Pat Buchanan and guest GE CEO Jack Welch! And he's asking people to read an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal which "makes an interesting case" that global warming is really just mass neuroses and is more of a movement than anything else. Mika states that at some point this is going to come back to haunt us if it is ignored, to which Welch responds, "We'll see." What does he care? He's got one foot in the grave anyway.

    And now Pat Buchanan is dumbfounded as to why Barack Obama isn't 20 points ahead in the polls. The ol' "why can't he seal the deal?" argument again. Now Tucker Carlson is shrieking about it as well. This is an awful, awful show.

    My wife just called across the room and said he sounded like Bill O'Reilly. I said, "No, O'Reilly has a lower voice. Tucker Carlson is a little girl."

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    "Calm Down" - The Canonization of St. McCain

    Well, it looks like the last two days are only the beginning of what we are to expect this general election campaign season. The guard dogs are all out and in attack mode on anyone who dare speak the truth of St. McCain.

    The ridiculousness of it all began on Sunday with Gen. Wesley Clark's appearance on Face The Nation and continued on Monday night with Senator Jim Webb's appearance on Countdown and his opinion that St. McCain "calm down" his military rhetoric and not conflate it with political experience.

    Well you'd think they took a bat and beat St. McCain about that bulbous head of his. The McCainstream Media has gone ballistic with Clark and now the McCain campaign has accused the Obama campaign of not being able to control his surrogates due to Webb's comments.

    As Paul Waldman writes:

    "...what happened with Gen. Clark reveals the McCain Rules, as he and the press would have us understand them. Here's how things are supposed to work: It's fine for the McCain campaign to run ads touting his time as a POW, create web videos touting his time as a POW, have him mention his time as a POW in speeches, and have him bring it up in debates (remember "I was tied up at the time"?). In other words, it's fine to have John McCain's entire presidential run be presented through the filter of his POW experience. Should, however, someone even ask the question of whether the fact that McCain was a POW really qualifies him to be president, that would be a deeply offensive affront to all that is right and good, and must not be tolerated. Talk about having it both ways."
    Here's how disjointed this all is. Emphasize your military record for political gain, not the part where you graduated 894th out of a class of 899 at the Naval Academy and your father and grandfather were both Admirals, just the part about being shot down over North Vietnam and a prisoner of war for five years.

    But if say, oh I don't know, a valedictorian at West Point who is a Rhodes Scholar and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO should wonder what being shot down has anything to do with running for president, or if say a former Secretary of the Navy would ask that you tone down trying to equate military experience to political qualifications, then criticize those who would dare to speak ill of such a war hero and make sure you pound the falsehood that they're belittling your war record as a POW.

    Don't worry about the McCainstream Media, they'll gladly shill for you and fail to mention that both these commenters repeatedly praised McCain for his sacrifice and bravery. And when you have weasels like Lindsey Graham repeating the same talking points, you know it's just a bunch of bullshit.
    “I do think Gen Clark has made a huge mistake here,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham. “No matter how he sugar coats it, he is attacking John McCain’s military service. … Yesterday, [the Obama campaign said it’s inappropriate. Today they’re pretty quiet when he reiterates that attack.”

    Once again I ask, "What attack?" I'm still waiting for someone to name one thing that Clark said that was incorrect or disingenuous. The way they've got his back covered, the last thing the watchdogs in the press should be doing is worrying about St. McCain.

    UPDATE (7/2/08 3:55pm): Read DDay - Off Stride
    An ABC reporter gave John McCain the opportunity to discuss Wes Clark's comment - the ACTUAL remarks - and McCain went apeshit.

    Music Break! Bela Fleck (and Aaron Copland!)

    I haven't had one of these in a while. Cool version of "Hoedown" composed by Aaron Copland.

    Obama On Patriotism

    By the way, in case you missed it on the McCainstream Media due to phony outrage over Gen. Clark's comments, Barack Obama gave a pretty good speech today on patriotism.

    Also, I'm a little bit disappointed in Obama's "rejection" of Clark's comments. Although we all know it was necessary for political purposes, can anyone explain to me what Clark said that was so wrong? He praised McCain's service and sacrifice while questioning what it had to do with his qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief.

    And speaking of "Commander-in-Chief", how noble of him to take credit for the new G.I. Bill as well as thanking McCain when both of them were opposed to the bill from the outset and McCain didn't even bother to vote on it. What a putz.

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    Gen. Clark Tells It Like It Is

    It's a shame so many others are backing away from this type of talk.

    On Face The Nation this past Sunday, Bob Scheiffer was in mid-interview with Gen. Wesley Clark and challenged Clark on the issue of experience. Clark didn't hold back, nor should he have.

    And he's absolutely right. Since when does having served in the military, let alone getting shot down and being a prisoner of war, a qualification for the presidency. And let's not forget, Clark's answer was in response to Scheiffer challenging him on comparing McCain's experience to Obama's with the qualifier "...nor has [Obama] ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down." But I suppose it's a quality Republicans like in their leaders since George H.W. Bush has also been shot down.

    Of course, the McCainstream Media flips out about the whole thing and equates Clark's statements with swiftboating. This even after he prefaced his "controversial" remarks by calling McCain a war hero to millions. Here's the exact quote:

    "...I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. .."

    And Scheiffer is flummoxed sounding like Jack Benny with an incredulous, "Really!" after hearing Clark's response to an idiotic statement such as qualifying being shot down as experience to be president.

    I challenge anyone out there to prove one thing Clark said during the interview that was incorrect, disingenuous or akin to swiftboating. I'm not holding my breath. We need to stop giving McCain the benefit of the doubt and sweeping everything under the rug on the basis of his military service.

    Also read - Jon Soltz: Right On, General Clark. Do Not Back Down. and sign his petition.

    (H/T C&L)

    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    Bill Clinton Can "Kiss My Ass"

    Time's up, Bill. You've had your run and it's time to step aside and fade into that good night. If this "kiss my ass" comment is true, then that's how I feel about Bill Clinton. For all he has done for, and in some cases to the detriment of, the Democratic Party, it's better off that he stay as far away from the Obama campaign as possible.

    A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support.

    A second source said that the former president has kept his distance because he still does not believe Mr Obama can win the election.

    ..."He's saying he's not going to reach out, that Obama has to come to him. One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support.

    "You can't talk like that about Obama - he's the nominee of your party, not some house boy you can order around.

    Now of course Bubba is upset over perceived racial comments made while on the campaign stump for Hillary. But the "house boy" line by the unnamed aide really gives one pause, doesn't it?

    Stop Solar But Keep Drilling

    This is the ultimate slap in the face.

    From David Sirota:

    A few weeks back, I wrote a New York Times magazine article about the populist uprising against unbridled oil and gas drilling in the Mountain West. The article highlighted a major theme in my new book, THE UPRISING. In the article, I discussed how the Bush Bureau of Land Management has thrown the principle of environmental caution overboard by opening up a huge amount of federal land to drilling. So it is with more than a little bit absurd to read this New York Times story today:

    "Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years. The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states."

    Look - I agree that we need to do a better job of measuring environmental impacts of all proposed energy development - whether that development is solar, oil or gas. But what's so incredible about this story is that the BLM is working to curtail solar development in Western states by citing environmental concerns while at the same actively accelerating oil and gas drilling in Western states - drilling that is way, way worse for the environment than solar energy, from both an emissions perspective and a land-use perspective.

    This kind of government fealty to the rapacious fossil fuel industry is precisely what the energy-related populist uprising in West is revolting against.

    How ridiculous do these Bush "policies" have to become in order for the McCainstream Media to report the truth of this administration's inanity? Only two years ago, the top criminal in the White House stated the US was "addicted to oil" and that we had to do something about it. Curbing solar energy while advocating offshore drilling doesn't sound like a step in the right direction.