Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kaine

I don't think Governor Timonthy Kaine's associates did him any favors if he wants to be Senator Barack Obama's running mate. The presumptive Democraticc Party's nominee doesn't want to be pushed into anything. Moreover, Senator Obama, as the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, would probably want to control what information will be released at the appropriate time so as to maximize the political bump he would expect once the news comes out.

The Political Heretic, of course, would be thrilled if the senator from Illinois picked his colleague from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware), as his running mate, given that he is the Democratic Party's leading spokesperson on war and national security. Biden was, it should be noted, the Political Heretic's first pick for the Democratic nomination.

An Endorsement He Could Do Without

Did Senator John McCain pay this guy to endorse his rival, Senator Barack Obama?

Nanny State

What's next? Shall the mayor feed Los Angeles residents from the spoon? Forget responsibility. The state has you covered.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Real Way to Shore Up Marriages

Matthew Yglesias may be on to something though one of the commentators had an even better idea banning third-time divorces and another one of the commentators raised a point of obvious concern - the rise of King Henry VIII-inspired copycats.

One Egregious Example From the Justice Department Report - Candidate 1

An internal Department of Justice investigation that was originally established to look into the firing of US attorneys blames Monica Goodling for considering one's political affiliations and ideology when hiring DOJ personnel.

Her fanaticism knew no bounds. Note, this case, which involves the consideration of an applicant for a national security-related detail on pages 48-50 of the report:

"On September 6, 2006, EOUSA notified all USAOs that it was seeking a detailee to work on counterterrorism issues. The notice stated that applicants must have counterterrorism prosecution experience, and that 5 years of criminal prosecution experience was preferred.

On September 19, 2006, an AUSA sent Voris his application for the counterterrorism detail. EOUSA Director Battle's calendar shows that the AUSA was interviewed by video-teleconference on September 29, 2006.

The candidate had been an AUSA since 1987. He was an experienced terrorism prosecutor and had successfully prosecuted a high-profile terrorism case for which he received the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service. He had also litigated several other terrorism cases and prosecuted major criminal cases. The candidate also served as chief of the anti-terrorism unit in his USAO, working with two joint terrorism task forces containing multiple agencies and agents, and he had communicated frequently with senior Department leadership with responsibility for terrorism issues."


The ideal candidate? Well, Battle thought so.

"Battle stated that Voris told him that the candidate was head and shoulders above the other candidates who had applied for the counterterrorism detail. Battle agreed with that assessment, stating that the candidate was the best applicant for the detail. John Kelly, the EOUSA Deputy Director and Chief of Staff, stated that he and Battle wanted to hire the candidate because he was one of the leading terrorism prosecutors in the country and a very talented attorney."

There was, however, a problem - his accursed wife.

"The candidate's wife was a prominent local Democrat elected official and vice chairman of a local Democratic Party. She also ran several local Democratic congressional campaigns. The candidate was at times a registered Independent and at other times a registered Democrat.

Notwithstanding the candidate's outstanding qualifications and EOUSA senior management's desire to hire him, Goodling refused to approve the detail."

Why? It's obvious. Democrats and Independents can't fight the war on terror. They are not patriotic enough. You must be a Republican to fight the war on terror, or so Goodling thought.

"Battle, Kelly and EOUSA Deputy Director Nowacki all told us that Goodling refused to allow the candidate to be detailed to EOUSA solely on the basis of his wife's political party affiliation. Battle said he was very upset that Goodling opposed the detail because of political reasons. Nowacki told us that Goodling informed him that the candidate's wife was a Democrat, and Nowacki believed Goodling refused to allow the detail because of this fact. Similarly, Kelly told us that Goodling refused to allow EOUSA to hire the candidate because his wife was active in Democratic politics."

So who took the position? Someone who already had a position within the EOUSA was asked to fill-in, even though he/she did not have the qualifications the EOUSA was looking for:


"Because EOUSA had been uanable to fill the counterterrorism detail after Goodling vetoed this candidate, a current EOUSA detailee was asked to assume EOSUSA's counterterrorism portfolio. This replacement detailee had been an AUSA since Setember 4, 2004, after having served as an assistant district attorney for 3 years. He had been detailed to EOUSA in 2006. He had no counterterrorism experience, and had less than the minimum of 5 years of federal criminal prosecution experience required by the EOUSA job announcement.

Battle, Nowacki, Kelly, and Voris all said they thought he was not qualified for the position, since he had no counterterrorism experience. The replacement candidate was a registered Republican who Goodling had interviewed and approved before he was selected for his EOUSA detail."


Well, I guess this guy married the right woman or, failing that, at least off-set his mistaken "family values" by supporting the Bush administration in some other endeavor.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Weekend Preview

Presidential candidates on this week:

Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) on "Meet The Press"
Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) on "This Week" and "Late Edition Sunday with Wolf Blitzer"


I. THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW SHOWS


1. "FOX News Sunday" on FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):

Topics This Week - Obama's trip abroad, McCain's swing state tour, Rove on the state of the race in the swing states, VP speculation from the panel, look back at classic power player Ben Stein.

(a) The Surrogates on the Campaign: Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) on Senator Barack Obama's trip abroad and Senator John McCain's attacks on Obama's Iraq troop surge position and Afghanistan. Did Obama establish his foreign policy credentials? Did McCain successfully shift the media's spotlight away from Obama?


(b) The State of the Race:
Karl Rove offers his latest political analysis on closing polls on the potential swing states.

(c) FOX News Panelist: Brit Hume of FOX News, Mara Liasson of National Public Radio, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, and Nina Easton of Fortune Magazine offer their predictions and opinions of the potential vice presidential running mates.

(d) Classic Power Player: a look back at classic power player of the week Ben Stein.

This show, which is hosted by Chris Wallace, is repeated on the FOX News Channel at 2:00 PM ET and 6:00 PM ET.

2. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topic This Week - interview with a presidential candidate.

Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois, for the full hour, on his trip overseas, and the campaign for the White House.

This show, which is hosted temporarily by Tom Brokaw, is repeated on MSNBC at 2:00 PM ET and 6:00 PM ET.


3. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topics This Week - Senator McCain interviewed, this week's top political stories.

(a) On The Trail: Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) on his campaign for the White House.


(b) Roundtable:
Matthew Dowd, Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and George Will on the Democratic nominee's trip to the Middle East and Europe, the polls, and McCain's campaign in the states.

(c) In Memorium: list of notable celebrities, politicians, distinguished Americans, and U.S. troops that died.

(d) Sunday Funnies: excerpts from the late night talk shows relating to the political news of the week.

This show is hosted by George Stephanopoulos on Sunday mornings.


4. "Face The Nation" on CBS (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):


Topics This Week - nothing posted for this weekend.

This show is hosted by Bob Schieffer on Sunday mornings.




5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET):


Topics This Week - interview with the Republican presidential candidate, Democratic presidential candidate answers questions in live forum.

(a) The Republican Candidate: Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) on the struggling economy, Iran and Iraq.

(b) The Democratic Candidate: Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) answers questions from reporters in a live forum.


II. THE WEEKEND POLITICAL TALK SHOWS


1. "The Beltway Boys" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:00 PM ET):

Topics This Week - nothing posted for this weekend but expect some talk about Senator Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Europe.

Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard and Morton Kondracke of Roll Call offer their opinions on the major political stories of the week.



2. "FOX News Watch" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:30 PM ET):

Topics This Week - press coverage surrounding the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees for the White House.


(a) Obama Overseas: panel looks at the media fascination and potential saturation surrounding Senator Barack Obama's (D-Illinois) trip to Europe and the Middle East.

(b) McCain and the Media: whether Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) won his battle to make the headlines while Senator Barack Obama went overseas.

The regular panelists for this show which airs on Saturday evenings are Jane Hall, Cal Thomas, Rich Lowry, Jim Pinkerton and host Jon Scott.


3. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):

Topics This Week - Obama as the risky candidate, Obama and the Jewish vote.

(a) Obama New: Do Americans believe that voting for Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) is too risky?

(b) Obama and the Jewish Vote: whether Senator Barack Obama can win over the Jewish vote by November.

Panelists will include Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, Elizabeth Bumiller of The New York Times, Gloria Borger of US News & World Report, Joe Klein in Time Magazine and host Chris Matthews.


4. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):

CNN does not offer potential viewers with a preview of this one-hour show which is hosted by Howard Kurtz on Sunday mornings.

The Question Not Asked

Yesterday the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee conducted a hearing concerning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the current policy concerning the employment of gay Americans in the military. This policy, which was instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, allowed gay Americans to serve in the military provided that they were neither caught nor open about their sexual orientation.

Elaine Donnelly
of the conservative Center for Military Readiness was, in Dana Milbank's view, the star witness for anyone looking for comical relief for she used her (warning - PDF File) opening statement and question-and-answer period to cast gays in general as potential sexual predators and spread the HIV virus in a system that would favor them against self-declared victims. (The other statements can be found here).

Armageddon would start when the armed forces mandates a quota to promote diversity (the gay affirmative action program) and imposes sensitivity training programs in the military.

Embedded within these outrageous accusations designed to vilify gay soldiers was a plausible argument for upholding the ban in the military - the privacy argument. American soldiers sleep, strip naked, and shower together. Men and women, as it is, do not like to strip together on a regular basis and most would, for obvious reasons, feel uncomfortable stripping in front of a person who may look at them with sexual interests in mind.

The Political Heretic does not believe this obstacle to be insurmountable. Department of Defense personnel could, using statutes passed by Congress (were to they be passed) mandate sexual orientation disclosure at the start of the one's enlistment and segregate gay and bisexual men and gay and bisexual women from their straight counterparts as they have done with respect to the segregation of men from women. The costs associated with the implementation of this program should not match the costs associated with the enrollment of women into the military (the Pilitical Heretic deliberately uses "should" since the potential for no-bid contracts is strong in any bureaucratic endeavor) since the gay recruitment pool would be far smaller (2-10% of the population is gay or bisexual) than the woman recruitment pool.

In the alternative, military units could have its gays and straights of each gender shower in their gender-designated locations at different times.

As the Political Heretic noted, the other charges which Donnelly raised lack merit.
No gay quota would be mandated if the ban was merely lifted. Nondiscrimination statutes (and the lifting of the ban would require that) forbid actions; they do not mandate actions. Nondiscrimination statutes merely forbid business managers, supervisors, and boards from using the specified identifiable personal characteristics in their employment practices. Quotas do the opposite. Once quotas are imposed, businesses seek out for special consideration those with a specified and identifiable personal characteristic.

Lifting the ban does not mean lifting the ban on sexual predators. Gay Americans, like their straight counterparts, can distinguish between consensual and forced sexual behavior and military personnel can always discharge and charge those who sexually assault their comrades in a military court of law. Mrs. Donnelly was engaging in character assassination, pure and simple when she attributed to all gays, the predatory attributes of the few who engaged in sexual assaults.

The Democratic Congressmen and Representative Chris Shays (R-Connecticut) distanced themselves from her remarks. Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) said he found it insulting that Donnelly doubted the professionalism of soldiers forced to serve with their gay counterparts. Shays questioned the relevance of one's sexual orientation and Representative Vic Snyder (D-Arkansas) deemed her HIV threat claim "inappropriate."

While their statements of support are deeply appreciated, the congressmen missed a great opportunity to discredit Elaine Donnelly's argument. Mrs. Donnelly, for all intents and purposes, had lumped all gay Americans together as sexual predators. The congressmen on the panel should have challenged that assertion by asking her if she she thought Captain Joan E. Darrah and Staff Sergeant Eric Alva were sexual predators. Her answer in the negative or her silence would have undermined her argument.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pretty Good Cartoon

About McCain's age and control of the facts.

Absurd Policy Should be Repealed

"Last year, the Army gave moral waivers to 106 applicants convicted of burglary, 15 of felonious break-ins, 11 of grand-theft-auto, and 8 of arson. It also admitted five rape/sexual-assault convicts, two felony child molesters, two manslaughter convicts, and two felons condemned for “terrorist threats including bomb threats.”

“The Army seems to be lowering standards in training to accommodate lower-quality recruits,” RAND Corporation researcher Beth Asch observed at a May 12 Heritage Foundation defense-policy seminar in Colorado Springs.

Conversely, expelled military personnel include Arabic linguists and intelligence specialists who help crush America’s foes in the War on Terror. “Don’t Ask” has ousted at least 58 soldiers who speak Arabic, 50 Korean, 42 Russian, 20 Chinese, nine Farsi, and eight Serbo-Croatian — all trained at the prestigious Defense Language Institute. Al-Qaeda intercepts need translation, and Uncle Sam may need people who can walk around Tehran with open ears. Yet these dedicated gay citizens now are ex-GIs."
Deroy Murdock in The National Review

So, when a friend of ours talks abotr about the men and women supposedly worried about their fully-clothed gay men and women in the same fox hole, remind them of the rapists who get moral waivers.

And what makes this even more absurd?

Murdock said it best:

"While gay couples and same-sex parents might disagree, gay service members generally are less likely to have spouses and kids awaiting them stateside. Therefore, pro-family conservatives should decry a policy that strips a childless gay soldier of his uniform, but keeps a straight GI in his body armor, far from his wife and kids, on multiple combat tours in Baghdad. Since 2003, NBC News reports, the Pentagon involuntarily has redeployed 58,000 such “stop-lossed” servicemen and women."

Privacy Violation Watch

Apparently, we lose our right to privacy when we travel. customs agents can check our cell phone records upon our return from trips abroad. The Political Heretic does not object to body searches at airport terminals and at the borders we share with our neighbors for the obvious reasons. We don't want a terrorist to come in with a nuclear device unhindered. We don't want the terrorist boarding a plane to have the weapons he or she needs to hold the other passengers hostage.

But the search into the contacts we keep on our cell phones so they can see who our friends, business associates, and spiritual advisers are seems overly intrusive and a grave violation of our Fourth Amendment rights concerning search and seizure.

Rangel

As I said, Representative Charles Rangel (D-New York) should step down from his position as the Ways and Means Committee's chairperson until a thorough investigation is completed.

Quote of the Day

Novak, who was on his way to work when the incident occurred, said the bicyclist was "shouting at me that I couldn't just hit people and drive away. But I didn't know I'd hit him. I really didn't have any idea it happened until they flagged me down and told me." - Robert Novak about his citation for hitting a bicyclist. It just doesn't sound right.

Ten Best Villains

But what about Michael Myers from Halloween or Jason from Friday the 13th?

Obama's Luck and His Strategic Vision

"McCain's frustration at the turn of events is something he cannot conceal. The domestic economy was always going to be a problem for him -- even before gasoline hit $4 a gallon. But he had a credible position to argue on national security issues and a record that was consistent and in some respects prescient.

But now the ground has shifted -- and his opponent was right where he needed to be to capture the advantage. July has been a cruel month for McCain."
- David Broder in The Washington Post

Yes, Senator Barack Obama was lucky to have Senator John McCain's positions on the war in Iraq and negotiations with Iran undermined both at home by President George W. Bush and abroad by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki but, as liberal columnist Harold Meyerson notes, Obama deserves some strategic planning:

A
good president has to know which battles to fight militarily and which diplomatically, which battles are primary and which secondary. By these measures, Obama -- who always viewed the Iraq fight as a distraction from hunting down al-Qaeda and who understands that peace in Iraq depends on a political accommodation among Iraqi groups -- is clearly the better strategist.


Had we left Saddam Hussein to his own devices, we'd (a) have more leverage in negotiations with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs or (b) have the needed reinforcements to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan while looking for Osama bin Laden. The Pakistanis, seeing our commitment to the war in Afghanistan, would not have signed onto any cease-fire accords with the Taliban. Now, they take our military aid with impunity, whether it is used to fight the terrorists hiding in mountains or not.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Separation of Marriage and State

Charles C. Haynes of The First Amendment Center once again shows us how we can disentangle ourselves from the culture wars.

The Libertarian Nominee Makes It In The Newspaper

Lest we think there are only two competing visions for this country's next direction The Los Angeles Times profiles the candidate who won the Libertarian Party's nomination.

Vice Presidential Picks

Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) and Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indianaa). So says Chris Cillizza at "The Fix"

I could see the logic behind Romney's rise in the vice presidential selection process. He was, after all, a successful businessman who would know a thing or two about the economy - something the presumptive Republican nominee admitted was a weak point (this understanding doesn't mean that I like it).

But Evan Bayh? Please. He may be the safe moderate, white American running mate but he really doesn't add to the Obama ticket that much. Senators Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) and Joe Biden (D-Delaware) seem to offer the senator more, particularly with their expertise in foreign policy.

McCain's 100 Years and Kirkuk

Well, since Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) says we have to stay until our mission in Iraq is completed, he has the burden of answering this question. What should be done about Kirkuk? Our gains, though significant, can be reversed, he and the supporters for a continued occupation note.

The presumptive Republican nominee says he can fight wars but can he negotiate peace agreements?

Karadzic

"The fatigues-wearing leader of the Bosnian Serbs was unrecognizable in a guise that was part guru and part Santa Claus." - excerpt from The New York Times

The Santa Claus of death, more like it.

The accused mass murderer many deem responsible for the first of two genocidal wars in the Balkan States will have his day in court. That, sadly, could not be said for those held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"The [Imaginary] Iraq/IPakistan Border"

To be fair, Senator John McCain might be referring to the future Iraq/Pakistan border after he's dealt with Iran.

Conservative Newspaper Comes Out Against Don't Ask Don't Tell

for the obvious reason

Janet Jackson

I never quite understood how exposure to something like this corrupts children when they will, naturally and eventually be drawn to it. The Appeals Court panel did the right thing though their ruling, unfortunately, is boo narrow. Then again, we can't blame them when the Supreme Court upholds laws banning obscene material.

"by the end of 2010,"

Please, get us out. The Iraqis don't want us there. Our troops can't do much over there. We don't want our troops there. Send them to Afghanistan where commanders on the ground are asking for reinforcements and where they are needed.

Disgusting

A nightmare no one wants to think about when in the hospital.

Deal With Palestine or Syria?

Interesting primer on peace negotiations in the Middle East. It can be found in its entirety, in The Los Angeles Times.

But here's the assertion I want to focus on. Bold-faced letters my emphasis:


"Syria wants a return of the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War. Israel wants Syria to stop aiding Hamas and Hezbollah. Direct talks can begin if the United States agrees to facilitate them, but that would require a decision to stop isolating Syria. If you favor the idea, you must then decide which set of talks holds more promise -- Israeli-Syrian or Israeli-Palestinian -- and make it a priority."


Personally, I think the incoming president should convince the Israelis to work towards an Israeli-Syrian peace accord. Let the Palestinians get their internal affairs in order. The Palestinians are divided, with Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and the moderates in control of the West Bank. The Palestinian moderates have largely failed in their effort to marginalize and/or co-opt Hamas.

A peace accord with Syria can ultimately lead to a better peace deal with the Palestinians. Getting the Syrians to cut their ties to Hezbollah and Hamas for the return of the Golan Heights would be a great feat - one that will undermine their terrorist clients' reign in the Gaza Strip and ultimately bolster the Palestinian moderates' negotiating position in the long run.

California's Gay Marriage Amendment: The Response to Love: Ignore the Love

What got the ball running on California's marriage amendment? Well, in part, a mayor's decision to stand by his gay daughter and sign onto the city council's statement declaring support for gay marriage:

Instead he called a news conference, and within seconds of ascending to the podium, he was choked up.

"My opinions on this issue have evolved significantly," Sanders said. "I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important . . . less deserving of the rights and responsibilities . . . simply because of their sexual orientation."

His voice continuing to shake, he said his daughter Lisa and several of his senior staff members were gay or lesbian.

At the end of his five-minute speech, Sanders said, "I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand.

He was right.

While some viewed the mayor's decision as moving and heartfelt, others were outraged.

It turned out to be the boost Protect Marriage needed.

A few weeks later, about 200 pastors gathered in San Diego County to "respond to the mayor's about-face," according to Skyline's pastor Jim Garlow.

The pastors began energetically collecting signatures to get Proposition 8 on the ballot. Led by their effort, Protect Marriage coalition members said, the coalition amassed half a million."


San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican no less, was nearly in tears and what was the response from the social conservatives? To get mad at the man who apparently betrayed them (mind you, for his daughter), and to rile the base up for a marriage amendment. Seems like a despicable, heartless and hate-filled response to me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stop the Food Police

"Raise your hands above your head and step away from the doughnut." , editorial from The Los Angeles Times

Credit them for endorsing a better approach - mandating nutritional disclosure, as opposed to outright prohibition.

Two Suggestions for MCain on Pick

David Broder all-but suggests Mitt Romney while the liberal Frank Rich opts for Mike Bloomberg.

Liberals: Be Careful What You Wish For

Harvard law professor Lani Guinier hopes to get scholars, as well as judges, to rethink the role of a Supreme Court justice, a role she describes as "the justice as a teacher in a national seminar, an educator."

"They're not just making laws and delivering those tablets from Mount Olympus," Guinier said. "The project of being a Supreme Court justice is also a project of being an important citizen in a democracy."

While Guinier said she would not necessarily argue that the next president should nominate a politician, she said it was important to "make the court more democratically accountable."
excerpt from The Washington Post

Gee, and I thought the liberals were for protecting civil liberties and rights, even when a democratic majority denies the unpopular minority that right. Would tGuinier's justices uphold a school's decision to ban gay clubs on campus or to impose school prayers in public school classrooms across the country?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

McCain's Gay Marriage Freudian Slip

Much had been made of Senator John McCain's stated opposition to gay parenting in his interview with Adam Nagourney and Michael Cooper in The New York Times and the the spokesperson-issued "clarification" referring to the supposed right of each state to decide this issue differently but what does one make of this excerpt from the interview concerning gay marriage?

"In other words, if the state of Massachusetts recognized marriage between man and --- had allowed same-sex marriage, that does not mean that that decision can be imposed on the state of Arizona. The state of Arizona will make that decision. “

Boldfaced my emphasis.

Freudian slip? Purposeful intent to muddy up his position?

McCain has consistently opposed any measure supportive of gay rights and were he to be elected to the White House the Political Heretic believes he would veto every gay-inclusive employment non-discrimination and hate crime bill that reaches his desk. He bases his opposition to any federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the thoroughly-discredited belief in "states' rights."

Nevertheless, for reasons that are known only to himself, his family, and his closest advisers, McCain appears to be uncomfortable whenever topics relating to gay rights are brought up. The Political Heretic saw it on the "Hardball tour" when he first appeared tolerant before his gay affirming audience by offering his respect for the right of two people to hold private ceremonies and then, after the commercial break and probably after speaking to an adviser, stated his opposition to the legal recognition of those relationships.

We see it again here in the interview when his opposition is not stated in a way directly opposing gay people. The Political Heretic isn't sure if this should be attributed to homophobia, a desire to court the liberal press, an act of decency to the gay populace (be respectfully disagreeable), or his way of appealing to middle-of-the-road independent voters.

Whether his motives are pure or not, McCain may spare gay Americans from the worst of his party's demagoguery.

The McCain interview Posted

here

Maliki Says He Supports a 16-Month Time Withdrawal With Maybe Some Modifications

I guess Senator Barack Obama has some new support - from the Iraqi Prime Minister no less. This has to be somewhat embarrassing for our president who now insists upon a "time horizon" with no commitments.

Now Obama can go to the people and say that we are not alone in calling for a U.S. troop withdrawal - the Iraqis themselves don't want us there. So what does the president and Senator McCain say now? No? The Iraqis' wishes don't count? Do they now discredit Iraq's prime minister? Marginalize him for being a Shi'a prime minister as opposed to an Iraqi prime minister? Hmmm.


Whether it is in our nation's interest or not, Obama wins political points with this. I wonder how Senator John McCain will react.

Brandenburg Gate: Its Importance

Scathing, maybe too much so, but the Political Heretic agrees with the concern regarding Obama's arrogance. Obama is the visitor and as such has no say as to where he will speak in a foreign country. He cannot presume, now or even when he is in a somewhat stronger position as the president (assuming he wins) that he can speak to the people in the hosting country.

Obama promises to sit down and work with allies and foes alike. The international community is waiting for a leader who will reject President George W. Bush's arrogant "cowboy diplomacy." Fulfilling that promise will require the humility that was not shown in his push to speak at Brandenburg Gate.

Iraq Timetable: "Aspirational Goals"

In the area of security cooperation, the President and the Prime Minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals -- such as the resumption of Iraqi security control in their cities and provinces and the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq. The President and Prime Minister agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal. - from the press secretary

As the Political Heretic noted earlier this week, nothing in here suggests we are about to withdraw our forces in the near future. If the Iraqis wanted to, they could publicly insist upon the complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and the president would have no real choice but to do so. The Iraqis are probably divided. Some obviously us to stay and some want us to leave. Expect most Sunnis to press for more support while the Shi'a, for the most part, press for our departure.

However, the Iraqi push for and the president's acquiescence to a "time horizon" undermines Senator John McCain's call to fight this war to its end. The current Iraqi administration clearly wants us to leave at some point in the future. Senator Barack Obama can use this "time horizon" to renew his call for a troop withdrawal from Iraq. The Iraqi push for our withdrawal at some point over the "horizon" undermines the claim that we have an obligation to the people to stabilize their country since they, through their legitimate representatives, are relieving us from that task.

Stupid Law No Longer Popular

Even conservative, evangelical Republicans oppose this law? Wow. I'd certainly hope so. This law hinders our ability to fight wars on two or three fronts. We have to divert our forces from Iraq to fight for the war in Afghanistan and this even though our Department of Defense had to loosen its standards by granting moral waivers to those convicted of misdemeanors and felonies.

I guess they realize how dumb it is to turn down one's desire to put his or her life on the line for the country, whether they consider that person's private conduct to be immoral or not.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"It's Gonna be a bloodbath"

"It's gonna be a bloodbath," he told his father, Kurt Zwilling, on the phone, in what would be their last conversation.

McCain's Contradiction

“I am happy to stand in front of you to tell you that this strategy has succeeded. It has succeeded. It has succeeded,” - Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) as quoted by FOX News

Oh?

“The success that we have achieved is still fragile and could be reversed, and it’s still — if we do what Senator Obama wants to do, then all of that could be reversed and we could face again the chaos, increased Iranian influence and American loss and defeat,” - Senator John McCain in the same speech as quoted by FOX News.

So then can we speak of having succeeded in Iraq? Well, I guess one can, in his defense, say that we have succeeded in achieving a benchmark (namely stability) but even that is a bit iffy since as he admitted, this peace is "still fragile and could be reversed."

He's Right

"It is unconscionable to ask a parent to watch as his child is stuck in a failing school or district, and ask him to bank on a politician coming up with more funds to improve the situation. Fine, call vouchers a short-term solution to a long-term problem, but I'd rather have a child getting the best education -- now -- rather than having to hope and pray down the line." - Roland Martin, who usually sides with Obama

Either that or something along the lines of what Reihan Salam proposed, in which each school would be allowed to experiment a little in how they teach mandatory topcis.

The Weekend Preview

Note: The Political Heretic will not be around this weekend so he would like to apologize to any readers expecting an update on the preview. He advises you to check abcnews.com for an update concerning "This Week" and cbsnews.com for "Face the Nation."

I. THE SUNDAY TALK SHOWS


1. "FOX News Sunday" at FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):

Topics This Week - the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama's trip to the Middle East, media bias surrounding the trip to Germany, bringing WWI veterans to memorials.


(a) The Joint Chief of Staff Chairman on the Wars in the Middle East:
Admiral Michael Mullen on the war in Iraq and the growing threat from Afghanistan.

(b) Surrogates on Senator Barack Obama's Trip to the Middle East: Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) on what Obama hopes to gain from his visit to Iraq and how it will affect how stance on the war in Iraq.


(c) FOX News Sunday Panel:
Brit Hume of FOX News, Jill Zuckman of The Chicago Tribune, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, and Juan Williams of National Public Radio on potential pro-Obama media bias surrounding the network anchors' trip to Germany.

(d) Power Player of the Week:
Honor Flight founder Earl Morse on his effort to bring World War II veterans to "their" memorial.
This show, which Chris Wallace hosts, is repeated on the FOX News Channel at 2:00 PM ET and 6:00 PM ET.

2. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topics This Week - Al Gore interview, political roundtable.

(a) Interview: former Vice President Al Gore (D-Tennessee) in his first "Meet The Press" interview since the 2000 presidential campaign.

(b) Political Roundtable: David Gregory and Chuck Todd of NBC on the race for the White House.

This show, which Tom Brokaw is temporarily hosting, is repeated on MSNBC at 2:00 PM ET and 6:00 PM ET.

3. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topics This Week - nothing posted yet.

This show is hosted by George Stephanopoulos on Sunday mornings.

4. "Face the Nation on CBS (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topics This Week - nothing posted yet.

This show is hosted by Bob Schieffer on Sunday mornings.


5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET):

Viewers can expect at least the following in no particular order:

(a) Foreign Policy: Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the race for the White House.


(b) The Economy:
Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson on the the stock market, Fannie Mae, the mortgage crises, gas prices and the economy in general.

(c) The Speaker: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) will offer her opinion on various political topics. Expect a follow-up to her assertion that President George W. Bush is a "failure," and questions concerning oil drilling, a Fannie Mae bailout, and a troop withdrawal "time horizon."

(d) The Minority Leader's Perspective: House Minority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) will offer his perspective on the same questions asked of Speaker Pelosi.

(e) Roundtable: punditry from unknown panelists.

This two hour show is hosted by Wolf Blitzer on Sunday mornings.


II. THE WEEKEND TALK SHOWS


1. The Beltway Boys on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:00 PM ET):

Topics This Week - nothing posted as of yet.


Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard and Morton Kondracke of Roll Call host this show, in which they offer their insight of the major political news stories of the week.



2. "FOX News Watch" on FOX (Sunday at 6:30 PM ET):

Topics This Week - The New Yorker cover cartoon, economic news, potential Tony Snow character assassination.

(a) Media Firestorm: outcry following The New Yorker's cartoon depicting Senator Barack Obama in Muslim guard.


(b) More Bad Economic News:
what the media is saying about the bad economic news.


(c) Tony Snow Hitjob?:
are some in the media slamming Tony Snow before he is even buried?


(d) Quick Takes:
the columnists offer quick takes on the other news stories this week.

Co-panelists include Cal Thomas, Rich Lowry, Jane Hall, Jim Pinkerton, and host Jon Scott.


3. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):

Topics This Week - McCain as the change agent, McCain as Bush's legacy booster.


(a) the change agent:
whether Senator McCain can sell himself as the agent of change.


(b) Bush's legacy:
whether President George W. Bush needs Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) to win in order to bolster his legacy.

Chris Matthews' guests for the week have not been posted as of yet.

4. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):

CNN does not offer its potential viewers with a preview of this show which is hosted by Howard Kurtz on Sunday mornings.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Washington Post has it Wrong

The editorial writers at The Washington Post endorsed President George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq five years ago and have consistently opposed measures designed to impose upon the president a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq. Yesterday they criticized Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois), the Democratic presidential nominee, for supporting such measures when we were winning and losing the war in Iraq.

Reasonable people can disagree with Senator Obama's call for a 16-month U.S. troop withdrawal. The civil war might reignite as soon as our troops leave, and the competing factions. Iraq's neighbors may be drawn into a regional war as that country's competing factions solicit aid from their patrons and the growing body count will be attributed to our decision to leave before Iraq's political disputes are resolved.

The Political Heretic, himself, made these arguments before and had only recently and reluctantly come to the conclusion that the investment we'd need to make in Iraq hinder our efforts to bring Iran into compliance with its nuclear enrichment program and to find, locate, and destroy Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Asking the American taxpayers to foot the bill for the indefinite future seems unwise, particularly when that money is desperately needed to shore up the entitlement programs, fund education and bail out the homeowners most at risk at losing their homes. Tying U.S. troops down in Iraq hinders us from prosecuting the war in Afghanistan effectively. As it is our forces are over-extended and the Department of Defense had to sign moral waivers to allow convicted felons serve overseas. National Guard troops which can be utilized to provide for disaster relief in the United States and control our borders are now fighting in Iraq.

At times, however, the writers at The Washington Post appear to be confused. First they undermine Obama's foreign policy credentials by referring to Obama's apparently errant prognostication concerning the troops' ability to halt the violence and the Iraqi troops' willingness to fight for themselves. Then, they chastise him for holding to a rigid time table regardless whether we leave or not.

They can't have it both ways. If, as the writers assert, the Iraqi troops are proving themselves capable of fending for themselves, then Senator Obama can legitimately say he is calling for the a withdrawal with minimal risks. He could point to the British withdrawal from Basra as the kind of success story that is only possible once the "training wheels" come off.

As it so happens, their criticism could not have come at a worse time for them, for the president himself, feeling pressured from war commanders on the ground in Afghanistan, is withdrawing troops from Iraq and General David H. Petreaus is expected to recommend further withdrawals when he speaks before Congress in September.

When the president said he would push for a troop surge one and a half years ago, the Political Heretic supported it with some reservations. He believed then as of now, that the increase in troops was a necessary but insufficient means to stabilize Iraq. The Bush administration had to press repeatedly for concessions from the Maliki administration on the political front so that Iraq's warring factions would have a reason to sustain the peace once our forces were withdrawn.

Violence is down but success on the political front has been severely limited. To date Iraq's factions haven't agreed on Kirkuk's political status, oil revenue distribution, or the incorporation of Sunnis into Iraq's predominantly Shi'ite-manned armed forces. Sunni tribal leaders were enlisted to fight against the insurgents but they have not been recognized by the Maliki administration as of yet.

The Post's writers note that Obama delivered his speech before he met with the generals on the ground and before he went to Iraq and use that to bolster their claim that his promise is irresponsible. They say he is sending everyone the message that he is "ultimately indifferent to the war's outcome."

The over-the-top rhetoric that one would expect Vice President Richard Cheney to employ mis-characterizes Obama's position with respect to war's outcome. To Obama, the war in Iraq can only be won by the Iraqis. Our troops could do no more. Their limited potential at healing the wounds that afflict this country is mistaken for Obama's "indifference."

Obama should and eventually will, go to Iraq but as others have already noted, these visits have but little revelatory value. Visits are staged so that the troops on the ground, acting upon orders they received from higher up, show what they want to show and hide what they want to hide. Obama's main point, however, does not rely upon anything he would get from his visit from Iraq since, as he sees it one fact stands out above all the rest: the Iraqis must fight for the country they believe in and we cannot hold the peace into the indefinite future without causing greater harm to our interests elsewhere.

Iran

President George W. Bush is moving toward Senator Barack Obama's position on Iran, albeit slowly. The undersecretary of political affairs will be meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.

I wonder if this is designed to fail to bolster the suspicions of those who think negotiations are futile. If the Iranians do not appear to be flexible in their negotiating position, Senator McCain would some evidence he could use to counter Obama's argument for negotiations with the Iranians.

JibJab Returns!

Jabs taken at Clinton, Obama, and McCain, and the current president.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dumb "Criminal" Alert

Guy high on marijuana dances poorly. Security officer calls police. Glass pipe, marijuana cigar, and 2.6 grams of marijuana found.

Good Political Cartoons

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-07/40687544.jpg



http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-07/40687532.jpg


http://media1.suntimes.com/multimedia/071108higgins.jpg_20080711_03_12_14_3-282-400.imageContent

Oops

How did school staff miss this?

Larry King Should Retire

a. Dumb Question Alert

"All right. Let's turn to Iraq. Do you go, by the way, with any kind of agenda?" Larry King, proving once again he should retire.

"Why yes Larry King. I do have an agenda. I will meet with Moqtada al-Sadr in person. We'll give each other a fist bump, then sing "Death to America," worship at a mosque of his choosing (I know what they are like) while wearing a Somali outfit. After that, I'll speak to Nouri al-Maliki, who will offer me a stake in Iraq's oil field production push for our surrender in Iraq." - what Larry King thought Obama might say.

Or, how about this?

"Why yes Larry King. I bought the Left wing peacenik and "I hate America" Chomskyite vote with my call for a 16-month withdrawal from Iraq. Now those idiots and left wing loons are mad because they think I first supported and now am abandoning them for the sake of political expediency. You know what, they're right. I do try to have it both ways. I will say anything to get it right."

Hello. What was Larry King thinking when he asked this question? What did he expect Obama to say?

Here. How about this.

"You know, well, my agenda is making sure that we have a strategy to keep America safe and to meet our long-term national security interests. And the speech I gave today, Larry, really tried to describe what I think is the central difference between myself and John McCain."

Duh.

or, maybe, just maybe, to visit the troops stationed there?


b. Larry King not Listening

Senator McCain said that he will get bin Laden and bring him to justice.

How far would you go? Would you go -- would you go into Pakistan to try to get him if you knew he were there?

OBAMA: Well, as I've said before, Larry, I said this last August. I think it is extraordinary, the failure of this administration, to roll up al Qaeda leadership in a serious way. We know they're based now in Pakistan. And I've said that if we had actionable intelligence on those high-value targets, then we should go after them.

Now, I think that we're -- in order for us to be effective in dealing with the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban as they use Pakistan -- the northwest provinces -- as a sanctuary, we've got to have a stronger relationship with the Pakistani government -- the new Pakistani government.

We had put all our eggs in the Musharraf basket. President Musharraf has lost credibility with his people. And what we need to do is to form an alliance with the Pakistani people, saying that we're willing to significantly increase aid for humanitarian purposes, for schools, for hospitals, for health care. We want to support democratic efforts in Pakistan.

But in exchange, we've got to have some firmness about going after al Qaeda and Taliban, because it's not good for American security, but it's also not good for Pakistani security.

KING: But would you go in? Would you go in to Pakistan, militarily, to get him?

OBAMA: As I've said before, I would use -- if I had actionable intelligence, we would go after bin Laden.


c. Where is He Going with this question?


If president, you're the commander-in-chief.

How will you perceive dealing with your generals, your chiefs of staff and the like?

Are they -- their impact important, very important, deciding?


"Well, Larry. I will listen to what they have to say. By that I mean what they say will go in one ear and out the other."

Here's what Obama really said.

"Well, I think they're critically important. And developing a strong relationship with our top military officers is critical for any commander-in-chief. And I've been so impressed with the work that they have done consistently, even when they've been handed a very difficult and, in some cases, misguided mission, they've still executed with extraordinary skill and precision."

Food for Thought

I meant to link this earlier this week which I originally found posted on The National Review's web site.

So Is McCain Now Naive?

SMERCONISH: "What was wrong with what Senator Obama said when he said he would take action...? I applauded him. Everybody called him naive, but I support that...."


MCCAIN: "Of course, of course I would take action if we had actionable intelligence. We just acted on some actionable intelligence and apparently we may have killed eleven Pakistani soldiers. Um, and uh, that is, obviously arouses the anger of some in Pakistan... Of course you would, if you had actionable intelligence, you would take action... unlike President Clinton when he had actionable-- actionable intelligence. I just wanna tell you it's a dicey relationship... if Pakistan turns into an anti-American country and a base for radical Islamic extremism, my friends, in the words of, I've forgotten who it is, you ain't seen nothing yet!"
an excerpt from Michael Smerconish's radio talk show as posted by John Tomasic at The Huffington Post.

Glad to see McCain now endorse Obama's approach to the war against the Taliban in Pakistan. Does that make him as naive as Senators Joe Biden and Barack Obama? Senators Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, and John McCain said Obama was naive to support targeted strikes in Pakistan.

McCain Mischaracterizing Obama's Position on Iraq

“Senator Obama will tell you we can’t win in Afghanistan without losing in Iraq. In fact, he has it exactly backwards. It is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan. It is by applying the tried and true principles of counterinsurgency used in the surge, which Senator Obama opposed, that we will win in Afghanistan.”

Nice try Senator McCain, but it doesn't work.

Senator Obama called for the surge in Afghanistan for quite awhile now. During the primary he said we needed to shift our priorities so that our troops and resources are devoted to the war where our security interests are directly impacted. The Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9-11-2008 and their protectors (the Taliban) are hiding in the Afghani and Pakistani mountains. Here, Obama believes, our military troops can have an impact.

Obama does not believe, as the Republican nominee asserts, that we must lose the war in Iraq in order to win the war in Afghanistan. He said they cannot finish the job by themselves - that is, that they cannot force onto the Iraqi people the political settlement that ends their war. The Iraqi troops must stand up and fight for their country while the leaders from Iraq's major ethno-sectarian factions resolve their remaining political disputes at the negotiating table. The Democratic nominee says we "must be more careful getting out than we did getting in." This catch-phrase is used by Obama to calm the waters by denying that he would push for a precipitous withdrawal that leads to a reignited civil war.


McCain does have a point. The surge in Iraq worked in so far as it provided the Iraqi government with the breathing space it needed to negotiate over their country's political future. The Maliki and Bush administrations squandered their political capital. Our troops bought the administrations time to negotiate over Iraq's natural resources, provincial elections, Kirkuk's future, and the incorporation of Sunni tribal men into the armed forces. Nothing to date, had been accomplished on any of these fronts.

Both candidates say we need to deploy our troops to Afghanistan but on this front Obama has the edge. He, long before McCain, had called for the troop surge in Afghanistan and he, unlike McCain, can explain how he would provide for that troop presence (McCain, unlike Obama, had committed troops to Iraq troops which can be diverted to Afghanistan).

The Racial Divide

I can't help but notice the difference in perception about the candidates' perceived favoritism towards the rich or the poor in the newly-released poll (questions 46 and 47).


A. Racial Divide over Class Perceptions


African Americans overwhelmingly (66%) believe he will treat the rich and poor equally but only a plurality of white Americans (42%) believe that would be the case. The disparity between those African Americans who believe he will favor the poor over the rich and those who believe he will favor the rich over the poor is greater (19% points) than the disparity between those white Americans who believe he will favor the poor over the rich and those who favor the rich over the poor (12%).

An even larger margin of African Americans (81%) believe McCain will favor the rich over the poor while 13% (I guess this is the typical conservative African American voters) believe he will treat both classes equally. A plurality of white Americans (49%) say McCain's policies will favor the rich over the poor though 43% think he will favor neither.

Do we attribute Obama's good showing among the African Americans to ignorance (his prescriptions would favor the poorer Americans over the rich given the tax cuts he would implement and his views on health care) or do we attribute it to what African Americans think both classes (rich and poor) are owed from the government? (In other words, do the African Americans, by overwhelming numbers, believe that the poorer should get more aid from the government than the rich?) Probably, at least in part. Nine out of ten African Americans generally vote for the Democratic nominee in any given race so they generally so an interpretation based upon what they believe is owed to both classes makes sense.

B. Divide on Race Relations

A majority (55%) of white Americans believe race relations are generally good. Thirty-four percent believe they are generally bad and 10% just don't know or haven't thought about it.

The reverse is true for African Americans (59% think race relations are generally bad, 29% believe it is generally good and 12% don't know).

Nevertheless, both, African Americans and white Americans are generally satisfied about race relationships within their own community (though again, white Americans by a higher margin). I wonder how much, if at all, this can be attributed to the African Americans' congregation in the cities where integration is stronger and their suspicions concerning the perceived anti-black racial attitudes attributed to rural white voters.

Hispanics side with the white Americans on this question.


C. Racial Perceptions Concerning Class Mobility


A related question concerns the perception each racial group has concerning their chance of getting ahead. Nearly 2/3 of the African Americans who answered the question believe white Americans have a better chance of getting ahead. A majority, albeit a small one (53%) of white Americans think both races have an equal chance at getting ahead.

For obvious reasons, the African American and Hispanic communities overwhelmingly favor Affirmative Action programs that, in their view level the playing field for disadvantaged racial groups. White Americans, by a plurality, do not. However, all three polled groups favor Affirmative Action programs targeted towards those, regardless of race, who are poor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Frivolous Lawsuit Alert

linked to from Gay News Watch

Did Bradley LaShawn Fowler ever read from any bible before? Of sp, how could he blame Zondervan, and Thomas Nelson Publishing?

Obama in The New York Times

Just in case we didn't get the message, Obama said he wants to get us out of Iraq.

By the way, "Hardball" has Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) being the #1 pick for the Democratic party's VP slot (for now) in their power rankings. Unfortunately, Governor "Hardball" gives the same honor to Governor Mitt Romney (for the Republicans).

McCain Refines His Position on Immigration Yet Again

First he co-sponsored the McCain-Kennedy incomprehensibly "comprehensive" amnesty bill. Then, during the primary, he appealed to the Republican Party's conservative base by promising to get this nation's borders under control first. Yesterday, while speaking before the pro-amnesty National Council of La Raza, he refined his position yet again when he said that he "of course" will address both, border enforcement and amnesty, in a single bill though enforcement mechanisms, I guess would be implemented first.

I wonder if the debate moderators will press either of the two remaining candidates on border control.

"Lonely Death Row Teddy"

A serial killer looking for correspondents described himself as "lonely death row Teddy . . . seeking female teddy bear who is nonjudgmental." - excerpt from The Los Angeles Times news story concerning death row inmates' web pages.

Serial killers as teddy bears. Awww. Why. The Los Angeles Times even provides us with the photos! You want to see a convicted murderer read a statement? See how well he or she held up at court? Get your pic and contribute!

Rangel's Ethical Woes

In the 38 years that I've been down here, I don't think there has ever been any challenge, real or unreal, to my integrity as it relates to fundraising," - U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel (D-New York)

I think Democrats have to remove Representative Charlie Rangel from the House Ways and Means Committee if he doesn't step aside until this matter is cleared up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Enforcment Not Working?

“The system isn't working . . . when communities are terrorized by (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) immigration raids, when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing,” - Senator Barack Obama as quoted in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Not working? Sorry Senator Obama. That's enforcement in action. The parents who don't want to see their families torn a part had a choice. Go home and don't come into this country without the proper identification. And as for Senator McCain, well, yes, he did run away from his equally egregious support for those who have and continue to flout our immigration laws but I don't know if we can characterize it as a flip-flop so much as an shift in emphasis.

No. We have a right to regulate our borders and decide who may and who may not enter our country. We have a right to check the ID's of anyone who seeks to do business in our country. We have the right to turn down those with prior felony convictions, those afflicted with deadly diseases, those whose cultural values differ from ours, and those too poor to care for themselves (since that would require us to foot the bill for them). The Europeans, or well, at least some of them, are finally catching on in this regard. Some Brits don't want the United Kingdom to recognize Sharia law.

Obama must shift his priorities from caring about those who showed no respect for our laws to the proper enforcement of those laws.

McCain: and Privatization

Could McCain's timing be any worse? How many Americans are probably thinking what would have happened to their pensions if they bought the wrong stocks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sanford's Trouble Distancing McCain from Bush on the Economy

I wonder if Governor Mark Sanford's political stock as a potential vice presidential running mate for Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) on "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." He was asked how McCain and Bush differ with the president on the economy. So what did he use to make his first point of distinction? Free trade! I don't think so.

The Democrats must be drooling. Expect them to pounce by making an ad that somehow weaves in Sanford's stumbling with former Senator Phil Gramm's (R-Texas) whiners comment.

Most working-to-middle class Americans of course have every reason to whine. The mortgage crises, higher gas and food prices, the decline in manufacturing jobs. That's not mental, it's real, which is why they are "clinging to their guns and religion." Oh wait. That's not "Dr. Phil's" theory; that's Obama's. Never mind.

When are the legislators who infest Washington going to get it? Quit trying to analyze our behavior as if we are lab rats. Get us out of the war in Iraq, blow the terrorists in Pakistan to kingdom come and fix the entitlement programs.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Weekend Preview

I. THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW SHOWS


1. "FOX News Sunday" on FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):


Topics This Week - an alternative energy plan, Jesse Jackson's comments, foreign policy punditry.

(a) "The Pickens Plan" - Texas Oilman T. Boone Pickens on his plan to spend $58 million to prove we can't "drill our way out of oil." He calls for an investment in wind power and an increase in the use of natural gas.

(b) Jess Jackson Comments - Reverend Jesse Jackson in "the hot seat" to respond to the controversial remarks he made about Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for the White House. He will be asked if it was a verbal gaffe or if it underlines a rift within the Democratic Party.

(c) FOX News Sunday Panel
- Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Nina Easton on Fortune Magazine, Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post, and Juan Williams of National Public Radio on the establishment of a Sunni extremist base of operations in Pakistan, President George W. Bush's visit at the G-8 Summit, and the latest news from the campaign grail.


This show will be hosted by FOX News' Washington Managing Editor Brit Hume this week and it is repeated at 2:00 and 6:00 PM ET on the FOX News Channel.



2. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topics This Week - the surrogates debate, election 2008 panel.


(a) The McCain Campaign vs The Obama Campaign - RNC Victory 2008 Chair and former 2008 Hewlitt-Packard Company Carly Fiorina and Obama Campaign National Co-chairperson Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) on the economy, taxes, gas prices "and more."

(b) Roundtable - Democratic National Committee Chairman and former U.S. Representative Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tennessee), Republican Strategist Mike Murphy, and journalist
Andrea Mitchell of NBC News.


Tom Brokaw
will be hosting this show, which is repeated on MSNBC at 2:00 PM ET and 6:00 PM ET.



3. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topics This Week - an interview with California's governor, the political roundtable on politics.


(a) Sunday Interview - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California) on the voters, the devasting wildfires, and skyrocketing oil prices.

(b) Roundtable - Richard Stengel of Time Magazine, and Donna Brazile, Cokie Roberts and George Will of ABC News on this week's political headlines.

(c) In Memorium - a look back at those notable celebrities, famous people and soldiers who died this month.

(d) Sunday Funnies - excerpts of the political jokes aired on the late night comedy shows.


4. "Face The Nation" on CBS (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):


Topics for this Week - Nothing posted yet.

This show is hosted by Bob Schieffer on Sunday mornings.


5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET):


Topics This Week - Trading flip-flopping accusations on the campaign trail, Surrogate debate on the economy, interview with Iraq's national security adviser.

In No Particular Order -

(a) Flip-flopping Accusations on the Campaign Trail - Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) on the flip-flopping accusations which both candidates face on the campaign trail.

(b) Interview with a Potential Republican VP Running Mate: Governor Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) on the race for the White House, the economy, and of course, his prospects as Senator John McCain's (R-Arizona) VP running mate.

(c) Interview with a Potential Democratic VP Running Mate: Governor Janet Napolitano (D-Arizona) on the race for the White House, the economy, and her prospects as Senator Barack Obama's (D-Illinois VP running mate.

(d) The Economy and Rising Oil Prices Debated by the Campaigns' Surrogates - McCain Economic Adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer and Obama Economic Adviser Jason Furman on the state of the US economy, the mortgage crisis, and rising oil prices.

(d) the Iraqi National Security Adviser's Troop Withdrawal Comments - Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie on his comments supporting a provision for a U.S. troop withdrawal in any temporary occupation agreement.

(e) Political Roundtable
- commentators names not posted.


This two-hour show is hosted by Wolf Blitzer on CNN on Sunday mornings.



II. THE WEEKEND POLITICAL TALK SHOWS


1. "The Beltway Boys" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:00 PM ET):


Nothing posted yet.

Fred Barnes
of The Weekly Standard and Morton Kondracke of Roll Call offer their takes of the political news stories of the week.


2. "FOX News Watch" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:30 PM ET):


Topics This Week - the Democratic National Convention Stadium Announcement, Ramsey Family Cleared through DNA, Obama's daughters interviewed.

(a) Media Masterstroke - Senator Barack Obama's (D-Illinois) big convention plans, including a speech at a stadium.


(b) Ramsey Family Cleared
- the Jon Benet parents were cleared of all wrong-doing so where do the media go now?

(c) Obama's Daughters - whether it was a mistake to allow Senator Barack Obama's daughters to be interviewed on television.



3. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):


Topics This Week - Obama's Electoral Map strategy, McCain's Staff shakeup.

(a) Obama's Chance of Revising the Electoral Map - whether Obama can win states that normally vote Republican.

(b) McCain's Staff Shake-up - whether McCain's staff change represents a bad omen for his chances in November.

Panel will include Dan Rather of HD Net, Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News, Cynthia Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Institution, Howard Fineman of Newsweek and host Chris Matthews.


5. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET:

CNN does not offer its potential viewers a preview for this show, which is hosted by Howard Kurtz on Sunday mornings.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gail Collins Defending Obama on Flip-Flop Accusations

"I know, I know. You’re upset. You think the guy you fell in love with last spring is spending the summer flip-flopping his way to the right. Drifting to the center. Going all moderate on you. So you’re withholding the love. Also possibly the money.

I feel your pain. I just don’t know what candidate you’re talking about.

Think back. Why, exactly, did you prefer Obama over Hillary Clinton in the first place? Their policies were almost identical — except his health care proposal was more conservative. You liked Barack because you thought he could get us past the old brain-dead politics, right? He talked — and talked and talked — about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats.

Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?

When an extremely intelligent politician tells you over and over and over that he is tired of the take-no-prisoners politics of the last several decades, that he is going to get things done and build a “new consensus,” he is trying to explain that he is all about compromise. Even if he says it in that great Baracky way."
- Gail Collins in The New York Times

Perhaps - if we give the senator from Illinois the benefit of the doubt but why should Collins give him that benefit of the doubt when she herself accuses him of flip-flopping on campaign finance reform?

I could see where she is going, and perhaps, agree with her with respect to foreign policy. Obama did say, on prior occasions, that he is against the war in Iraq but not all wars and in fact, suggested that we might have to conduct military strikes in Pakistan if the Musharraf administration fails to go after the terrorists now using the mountainous western region of Pakistan as their new hideout and headquarters.

But that wouldn't explain why he was shifting his position on the war in Iraq itself. He thrived in the primary in part, because he, unlike Senator Clinton opposed the war from the start so the Democrats considered him the more credible of the candidates calling for a troop withdrawal. Yes, he said he would talk to the generals but he did not back down from his two brigades a month plan so long as he had a rival for the nomination. Now the senator was forced to hold two press conferences in one day when it seemed he was emphasizing the part about meeting the generals.

No. I think Gail Collins and Obama's latest detractors are both right. Democratic primary voters were deceiving themselves if they thought of him as a left-wing hero. He did offer the more pragmatic and conservative health care plan of the remaining two candidates (though Biden and Dodd favored another, more limited health care expansion). But, yes, his detractors on the left are right. He did flip flop.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

FISA

I guess the Democrats want to give Obama the same potentially tyrannical powers Bush claimed for himself

Senator McCain, says Obama is less principled than his former rival Senator Clinton. I guess he wants to play upon the split within the party. This blogger would dispute that contention. She flip-flopped on immigration, flip-flopped on the war in Iraq, dodged questions concerning social security, and flip-flopped on trade. Obama seems to be flip-flopping on FISA and trade.

The Response to Iran from the Candidates

“Channels of communication have been open and will remain open, but the time has now come for effective sanctions on Iran,” he said. “Diplomacy plays a key role … but history shows us when nations embark on paths that can jeopardize the security of the region and the world then other action besides diplomacy has to be contemplated and taken, and that’s why meaningful and impactful sanctions are called for at this time.”
“I would want to talk to the national security team to find out whether this indicates any new capabilities on Iran’s part. At this point, the reports aren’t clear. It’s still early,” Obama told CBS’ “Early Show.”
Senator John McCain, while calling for tougher sanctions now.

full response here.

question: what does Obama mean by "aggressive diplomacy?" What would he entail aside from divestment? What sanctions would he push for and what would he do if the Russians and Chinese do not get on board?


“But I think what this underscores is the need for us to create a kind of policy that is putting the burden on Iran to change behavior. And, frankly, we just have not been able to do that over the last several years. Partly because we’re not engaged in direct diplomacy ...,”

...Now is the time to work with our friends and allies, and to pursue direct and aggressive diplomacy with the Iranian regime backed by tougher unilateral and multilateral sanctions. It’s time to offer the Iranians a clear choice between increased costs for continuing their troubling behavior, and concrete incentives that would come if they change course.”
Senator John McCain

full response here

Question: so what happens when the Russians and Chinese vote against new sanctions? Did anyone bother to ask that obvious follow-up?


report here. Not know if this is defensive or not.

Yet Another Post from The National Interest

"Still, it is Obama who threatens to steal from the traditional Republican playbook in vowing to break with the Bush era. Obama’s pragmatic approach, I suspect, probably has more in common with cautious Republican realists than many Democrats may realize. But it’s also the case that Democrats and Republicans alike, in the wake of Iraq, are beginning to take a fresh look at realism. McCain, who used to espouse tenets closer to realist thought, might also want to join them. Otherwise, the real problem with McCain might not be that he’s too conservative in his approach to international relations. It could be that he isn’t conservative enough." Jacob Heilbrunn at The National Interest

This definitely rings true to the Political Heretic. The neoconservative wing of the Republican Party may dismiss Obamaa's push for negotiations as the logical offspring of the peacenik movement but he was one of the first Democratic nominees (Senator Joe Biden being the other) to offer a hawkish response to a question concerning military strikes in the mountainous regions along the Afghani-Pakistani border.

Food for Thought: Obama Misstep

"Obama’s misstep points to several larger questions: is Obama’s trip to Europe and the Middle East, including possible stops in Iraq and Afghanistan, really going to shore up his foreign-policy credentials? Or might it dent them? And is the candidate who says he’s going to restore America’s foreign policy to its previous luster really up to the job? Certainly his foray abroad has the potential to upend his campaign as much as it does to boost it. The big question hovering over Obama’s campaign is whether he’s backtracking on his promise to pull out of Iraq: his hemming and hawing on the issue is likely to cause even more consternation in Europe than in the United States. Small wonder that Obama wants to move in and out of London as quickly as possible: rabid protesters there would be likely to show up with placards either beseeching him to adhere to his promise or denouncing him for already breaking it.

In Germany, where much of the population adores him, Obama probably won’t run into as much flak, which is why it’s the only place where he’s apparently scheduled to hold a public meeting. ...

... More substantial problems, however, exist than simple atmospherics. A trip to Israel would probably push Obama to the right on the question of settlements and a peace treaty with the Palestinians, unless Obama is prepared to face a fresh wave of criticism in the United States about his supposed antipathy to Israel. Iran would loom large as well, given Tehran’s test-firing of nine missiles today. Does Obama really believe that Tehran can be sweet-talked into giving up its nuclear aspirations, or is it something that he will simply accede to, given that the efficacy of a military operation is uncertain and a catastrophic rise in oil prices is not. What’s more, Afghanistan raises the thorny question of how best to stabilize the country: a question that Obama hasn’t persuasively answered. In Iraq, he would be confronted with questions about a timetable for withdrawal."
from Jacob Heilbrunn at The National Interest

What Some Russians Think of Our Missile Defense Pact with the Czech Republic

brought to you from The National Interest, a conservative-leaning scholarly foreign policy journal whose writers generally adhere to the realist school of thought.

Full-disclosure - The writers tend to be pro-Russian, which helps explain why Dmitry Rogozin appeared at The Nixon Center, where many of them work. That should not, however dissuade anyone from taking what they have to say at face-value. Their pro-Russian slant allows the rest of us some insight into the current administration's state of mind.

Does this mean we must sacrifice our national interests whenever they conflict with Russia's? Of course not. We must think of our economic and security interests first but when they do not necessarily conflict we should not go out of our way to exacerbate tensions with those whom we need to work with on other occasions. Trade-offs have to be made every now and then if this nation seeks a good working relationship with its neighbors and potential allies.

This led the Political Heretic to oppose NATO expansion into the former Soviet Republics. Incorporating the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia into NATO provided the alliance with virtually nothing of military or political value while offending the Russians. He opposed, for similar reasons, the harsh rhetoric our president employed when then Russian President Vladimir Putin brutally suppressed the rebellion in Chechenya. And of course, he opposed this trial balloon (one would hope it was that at worst) offered recently.

Even when the Political Heretic sided with the Ukrainian nationalists who won the presidency from the Kremlin-backed administration in an election, he cautioned against efforts to admit (which he supported) the Ukraine into the NATO alliance.

The Political Heretic believes we need Russia's assistance. Their people, like ours, face the same emerging Islamo-fascist threat we faced nearly seven years ago. They, too, will face the threat of nuclear proliferation but as long as they think we are the threat they will react accordingly. What follows confirms what he thought long ago:

"Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin explained many of the reasons underlying Medvedev’s comments in an extended discussion at The Nixon Center two days earlier. Introduced by Richard Burt, a former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Rogozin argued that America’s missile-defense plans would serve only to raise barriers between Russia, on one hand, and Poland and the Czech Republic, on the other. And although this agreement between the Czechs and the Americans is signed the Ambassador pointed out that Poland had yet to agree to host American interceptor missiles and sought billions of dollars in assistance from the U.S. to upgrade its air defense system. “Against whom?” Rogozin asked. Notwithstanding U.S. and NATO claims, he said, Poland for its part is making clear that it sees missile defense as creating a new security threat from Russia and is demanding American compensation. Thus despite assurances that the anti-missile system is not directed at Russia, Rogozin said, “we feel that we are being deceived,” especially because Russia does not believe that the Iranian threat justifies such a system. Even if it did, he argued, Israel would always check Tehran’s power—via military strikes, if necessary. Rogozin also expressed surprise that the U.S. would invade Iraq because of concerns over Baghdad’s nuclear ambitions only to respond to a similar problem with Iran by deploying missile defense in Central Europe rather than direct military action."