The Final Rounds

January 25, 2008

Battle of the Black Presidents -- The Clintons took a chance, made a decision to bring Bill Clinton down into the trenches to fight against Obama on behalf of Hillary, and it may have backfired. Bill has lost his sheen as ex-president and his appeal as a streetfighter is not so great. According to the Washington Post many Blacks have become disillusioned with him as a result. The article quotes Bill Clinton in a comment that is a perfect example of political doublespeak: "I never said anything disparaging about him or the reality of his campaign. It's a brilliant campaign, and this is an example of how brilliant it is. It rests on a false premise. I wasn't trying to be sneering or derisive. I was trying to think of a kinder characterization of his argument." How can it not be disparaging to say Obama's campaign rests on a false premise. He's saying, I'm not saying anything disparaging about the "reality" of the campaign, only the false premise upon which it rests. Ah politics!
  • Robot Candidate -- On this clip of Mitt Romney during the recent debate, a prompt is audible before Romney answers the question. The video clip was posted on MSNBC and people posted comments about the apparent prompting, but MSNBC then took down the video. Why? You can still see it at
  • Votes Don't Count Anyway -- Mitt Romney told Tim Russert, "I'm not concerned about the voters..." Yes, it's an out-of-context remark, but it does point to a larger truth.
  • Zogby Gives Obama 20% -- Zogby shows Obama 20 points ahead of Hillary Clinton in South Carolina. But what will happen with the voting machines?
  • How Merck Brought AIDS to the US -- An interview that was cut from the aired version of the documentary.

    January 26, 2008

    Mechanical Mitt May Have Some Splainin' to Do -- reported on the mysterious whisper during the recent Republican debate when it appeared that Mitt Romney was being prompted before he answered a question posed by Tim Russert. Afterdowningstreet said, "The sound of Romney's prompter was in the original broadcast. MSNBC even blogged about it, but has since removed the post." People posted comments on the site, many wondering if this incident would get covered up and unrecognized in the major corporate media as did similarly strange events when Bush debated Kerry in 2004. Now apparently MSNBC is not trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube any longer and the questions are considered on an MSNBC web page by NBC employees. NBC’s political researcher Domenico Montanaro writes, "After some of the confusion today, we are putting it back up for those that haven’t seen it. As far as figuring out the mystery of who or where it came from, that is being worked on, and we hope to have an answer soon. It puzzled us here too, and we’re looking through tape of other candidates to see if it was one of them. We’ll let you know." Then MSNBC posts an update, that is presented as an explanation, but sounds at best like a wild guess and certainly does not put the question to rest. It says, "After reviewing the tapes, NBC determined that an open mic picked up a whisper from the audience. It is unclear who it is that says it, but it was not said by any of the candidates, was not heard in the hall and, more importantly, not heard by the candidates." Well then. There are some interesting bits on this on,, and
  • Ask the Ones Who Know Him -- New York Times editorial in endorsing McCain writes, "Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL? That man is not running for president. The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square. Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges. The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign."

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Giuliani: The Fraud Revealed -- Although Giuliani lied about it with a smiling face on a TV interview (see Robert Greenwald's The Real Rudy: The Command Center), he put the emergency command center at the World Trade Center Seven in defiance of extensive and detailed warnings against it by the police department, and others including his terrorism expert. The New York Times disclosed a memo from a panel of police experts aided by the Secret Service, enumerating the reasons why "Seven World Trade Center is a poor choice for the site of a crucial command center for the top leadership of the City of New York." As they warned, the command center was useless when the attack came, which was one reason why Giuliani was walking the streets for TV cameras that day instead of coordinating things from the command center. The building collapsed that day, and no official explanation for it has ever been presented. But the Times has removed any doubt that Giuliani located the command center there against advice of the experts. Not only is Giuliani not a hero of 9/11 as he promotes himself to be, he has the blood on his hands of many firefighters who died as a result of his misjudgments, usually made as part of political deals.

    January 28, 2008

    The New Bill -- Bill Clinton under the fraudulent, arguably criminal attacks of Ken Starr, or as the quiet ex-president and memory was much more appealing than this one we're seeing now. The role he's taken on as an active player in a campaign is more or less unprecedented, and the whole thing is extremely distasteful. It reminds me of the Bill Clinton of primary season 1992 and some of the less appealing aspects of his personality. On Sunday I saw a clip of him at one of his town meetings backpedaling from his attacks on Obama. "When I was running, I didn't give a [?] about what they said about me, but when it's someone you love, it's hard to hold back..." What made the statement really unpleasant to listen to was that it was delivered with the Bill Clinton "I didn't inhale" chuckle. It's a certain good-ole-boy mannerism that comes off as totally phony.

    January 29, 2008

    Bite the Bullet -- Tonight the "commander in chief" (liar) addresses the nation, the war (of choice) president will take the stage and once again spout lies and gibberish to the American people, who by now are largely hip to him. One more round.
  • Eisenhower's Nightmare Come True -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says this is the world Eisenhower warned us about, in which the military industrial complex dominates our democracy. “The U.S. traditionally was an isolationist nation,” says Kennedy. “We focused on our own hemisphere, we focused on developing our economy, not policing the world. We were Anti-Imperialist, that was part of our tradition. That was not just Jefferson, but it was Madison, Adams, Hamilton and all of them… This was an Anti-Imperialist nation! Well now, we spend $500 billion a year on arms. That’s more than the entire world put together! This is not something that is good for the American people.” Read on at
  • Long Overdue -- Former New York Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during proceedings toward Nixon's impeachment, writes in the Philadelphia Enquirer advocating the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. She says, "There is more than ample justification for impeachment. The Constitution specifies the grounds as treason, bribery or 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' a term that means 'great and dangerous offenses that subvert the Constitution.' As the House Judiciary Committee determined during Watergate, impeachment is warranted when a president puts himself above the law and gravely abuses power."
  • Inside Job -- According to a History Channel documentary the Anthrax incident of late 2001 was "an inside job with a real insider who has secrets that nobody wants to get out. It's going to be too humiliating, too embarrassing." It was a strain of bacteria that was "under the near total control of the U.S. spy defense program." Mainstream TV. See it at
  • Goodbye to the Things We Love -- Bruce Springsteen on the loss of the things about America that we love. "Over the last few years we've had to add to the American picture rendition, illegal wiretapping, voter suppression, no habeus corpus, the neglect of our great city of New Orleans and an attack on the Constitution and the loss of our best young men and women in a tragic war.

    January 30, 2008

    Bye Bye Rudy -- Now that Rude Rudy has fallen flat in Florida, the human world can breathe a sigh of relief after practically a year when that maniac was the front runner for the Republican nomination. How aimless must the Republicans have been to anoint such a worm as their front runner! When Giuliani's campaign in New Hampshire proved to earn him nothing but increasing contempt, he split quick and began focusing on Florida, which is in part a suburb of New York's retirement community, and Bush country since the early '60s when Poppy Bush was working for the CIA with Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion. After Giuliani's failure in New Hampshire, it emerged that his "strategy" was to focus his resources on Florida, where he could suddenly emerge as the come-from-behind frontrunner. The mindless newsmedia swallowed this idea and repeated it as though it made sense. But now Rudy's Florida "strategy" has proved to be no more effective than his New Hampshire strategy and 911 trick pony is fading from the scene. Thank God for it. He was a real threat. A Giuliani president is something that was actually conceivably worse than a Bush presidency. None of those fools and gutter snipes is anywhere near as offensive as Giuliani. And they are all pretty horrifying.
  • Switcheroo -- Hillary Clinton wants to change the rules on Florida and make the delegates count, since they would count for her. The Guardian
  • Democrat Wimps -- The Democrats in Congress are going to let Bush off the hook for his crimes and not hold him accountable for wrecking the Constitution and the country. Hillary Clinton wants Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush to go out together on tour like Amos and Andy. How sweet!
  • No Voting Integrity -- The chain of custody of the ballots in New Hampshire is a joke. No one knows. No one is responsible. Check out this video on YouTube.
  • How to Rig Elections -- Mark Crispin Miller explains how they do it.
  • Numbers of Lies, Dead, Wounded, Shattered People -- "Nine hundred thirty-five false statements (lies) moved this nation into a war that has resulted in 3,391 deaths so far.... There have been 30,000 troops wounded in action; 39,000 have been diagnosed with PTSD; 84,000 vets suffer a mental health disorder; 229,000 veterans have sought VA care, and 1.4 million troops (active duty and reserves) have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan so far. Estimates run between $350 billion to $700 billion needed for lifetime care and benefits for veterans."
  • American Gulag -- Don Seigelman is a political prisoner of the Bush administration.

    January 31, 2008

  • A Sad Leveling -- As great as it is to be able to dismiss for now the possibility of a Giuliani presidency, it's sad to see Edwards drop from the running. Though he could not get the traction, his proposals were in most ways the most daring in challenging the entrenched powers that are behind the biggest problems facing America. Corporatism is really the central evil of the day, and Edwards named it and challenged it. Neither Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama have been willing to take strong positions against the corporate elite, the war machine, barely even against the Bush administration. The idea of Hillary Clinton making it one of her big symbolic gestures to send hubby Bill and Poppy Bush out on a fence-mending tour is depressing. Mending fences with the corporatists is not what the American people need. But the Clintons are well entrenched, not really particularly opposed to the Bush clan anymore, if they ever were. And Barack Obama's warm and fuzzy talk is great and inspiring, but it appears that he too is unwilling to really challenge the powers that hold the nation's neck under their collective boot. Here's a good piece on John Edwards by Eric Alterman. "The Edwards campaign was a surreal experience that should inspire a doctoral dissertation or two. He was both the most progressive candidate on issues and the most electable on paper, and yet he did not get the support of most progressives or most professionals. This despite the fact that he actually ran a terrific campaign and, more than Obama and Hillary, defined it in a positive direction."
  • Obama, On the Other Hand -- As inspiring as he is in many ways, as smooth as he has handled his errors, such as the Reagan comments, Obama's little bit of a record seems to indicate that he is dedicated to the corporatocracy and not likely to challenge it. Paul Street in Zmag reviews some of that record, quoting some cringe-inducing statements from Obama's book The Audacity of Hope, such as this one: "The result of this business culture has been a prosperity that’s unmatched in human history. It takes a trip overseas to fully appreciate just how good Americans have it; even our poor take for granted goods and services – electricity, clean water, indoor plumbing, telephones, televisions, and household appliances – that are still unattainable for most of the world. America may have been blessed with some of the planet’s best real estate, but clearly it’s not just our natural resources that account for our economic success. Our greatest asset has been our system of social organization, a system that for generations has encouraged constant innovation, individual initiative and efficient allocation of resources…our free market system." There is some truth in what he is saying, but in the present climate of abuse by the corporate state and corporate globalization, giving all credit for prosperity to the "business culture" is avoiding addressing some very serious flaws in that system that in fact detract from prosperity and even survivability for many people globally.
  • On the Other Hand -- Politics is politics and the man who aspires to be America's first Black President can hardly afford to appear to be too dangerous to the corporate masters. In 1967 Martin Luther King said, "For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society...a radical redistribution of political and economic power." In 1967, Martin Luther King said, "For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society...a radical redistribution of political and economic power." But we know what happened to him. After being relentlessly harassed by the FBI, which actually tried to blackmail him into committing suicide or be exposed in his marital infidelities, he was shot dead a year after making the statement. Obama, to his credit, opposed the war against Iraq when very few were willing to do that. As Ted Kennedy recently said, "We know the record of Barack Obama. There is the courage he showed when so many others were silent or simply went along. From the beginning, he opposed the war in Iraq. And let no one deny that truth." (See Truthdig)
  • Republican Snarling -- Republicans engaged in a back-biting brawl on TV yesterday, all fighint over who loves Reagan the most, who is most committed to the war in Iraq, a bizarre display. Someone challenged Ron Paul over whether he loved Reagan enough and he described how he was one of a very; few who supported Reagan in '76 and Reagan then campaigned for him. He wouldn't presume to say how Reagan would feel about this war, he said, but ... and he went on to talk about his own feelings about it. Then the devout Jesus-loving Huckabee took the floor and launched a thinly veiled insult to Paul, saying it would be incredibly arrogant for me to say the Ronald Reagan would support me, etc., coming one inch from just saying, Ron Paul is incredibly arrogant for what he just said. In these desperate late hours none of them is maintaining much decorum, their naked ambition is hanging out for all to see. AOL News

    -- David Cogswell

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