Thursday, August 14, 2008

For Those Of You Just Joining Us...'re probably asking what this whole WOLVEREEEEEEEENS thing is is about. The gang at Shakesville explains.

Great minds think alike.

We're Not Sure, See If His Blood Forms "666" When Spilled On A Bible

This just in, Barry is probably not the Antichrist...
Despite months of Antichrist chatter on the right, from the questions posed on the talk show of popular conservative host Glenn Beck to the horned-O coffee mugs, stickers and T-shirts for sale from conservative Web site, the McCain campaign says its ad is being taken too seriously.

"This is absurd. It's obviously a lighthearted ad having some fun with Senator Obama's tendency to get carried away with audacious statements," campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said today in an e-mail.

The debate over the debate has gotten so intense that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the authors of the "Left Behind" series, issued a statement clarifying that Obama is likely not the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation. "I've gotten a lot of questions the last few weeks asking if Obama is the Antichrist," Jenkins told Christian Newswire. "I tell everyone that I don't think the Antichrist will come out of politics, especially American politics."

This just in, Vladimir Putin may in fact be the Antichrist...

The Audacity Of Dramatically Different

My first thought was "Grandpa Simpson pic or Red Dawn pic? Both work."

Since the crisis began, the entire episode has reinforced McCain's doubts about the intentions of the Russian government. McCain said the rise of Vladimir Putin, Russia's powerful prime minister and former president, has revealed Russian ambitions for a "restoration of the old Russian empire."

The military clashes, set off by disputes in two pro-Russian secessionist regions of Georgia, have triggered echoes of old Cold War-era tensions between Moscow and Washington, which has strongly backed Georgia's democratically elected President Saakashvili.

In recent days, the English-speaking Georgian leader has talked with President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as well as with McCain. All three have expressed support for Georgia and called on Russia to withdraw its troops. President Bush sent humanitarian aid and dispatched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Tbilisi for talks with Georgian leaders.

McCain, speaking with U.S. News en route from Birmingham, Mich., to Eagle, Colo., said there would not be a return to the Cold War but there would be a "dramatically different relationship" between the United States and Russia unless Moscow's behavior changes. "It is not acceptable behavior in the 21st century," McCain argued.
Allow me a chance for a rebuttal, Senator.


Man, this is fun. And easy. Even you can do it. Remember that come November, you can successfully counter 95% of McSame's foreign policy, economic policy, and energy policy arguments with that one word. (The other 5% require you to use that one word and then end with "you asshole.")


You Play Peoria to Peoria...

Now's here's a piece of smart work: rolling out a convincing argument for Obama's tax plan in the Wall Street Journal, couched in the language of, well, the kind of folks that would read the WSJ.

Overall, Sen. Obama's middle-class tax cuts are larger than his partial rollbacks for families earning over $250,000, making the proposal as a whole a net tax cut and reducing revenues to less than 18.2% of GDP -- the level of taxes that prevailed under President Reagan.

Both candidates for president have proposed tax plans. But they are starkly different in their approaches and their economic impact. Sen. Obama is focused on cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, and investing in key areas like health, innovation and education. He would do this while cutting unnecessary spending, paying for his proposals and bringing down the budget deficit.

In contrast, John McCain offers what would essentially be a third Bush term, with his economic speeches outlining $3.4 trillion of tax cuts over 10 years beyond what President Bush has already proposed and geared even more to high-income earners. The McCain plan would lead to deficits the likes of which we have never seen in this country. It would take money from the middle class and from future generations so that the wealthy can live better today.

Sen. Obama believes a focus on the middle class is appropriate in the wake of the first economic expansion on record where the typical family's income fell by almost $1,000. The Obama plan would cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families with a tax cut of $500 for workers or $1,000 for working couples. In addition, Sen. Obama is proposing tax cuts for low- and middle-income seniors, homeowners, the uninsured, and families sending a child to college or looking to save and accumulate wealth.

The Obama plan would dramatically simplify taxes by consolidating existing tax credits, eliminating the need for millions of senior citizens to file tax forms, and enabling as many as 40 million middle-class filers to do their own taxes in less than five minutes and not have to hire an accountant.

Sen. Obama also recognizes that small businesses are the engine of job growth in the economy. That is why he is proposing additional tax cuts, including a tax credit for small businesses that provide health care, and the elimination of capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups. The vast majority of small businesses would face lower taxes under the Obama plan than under the McCain plan. In addition, Sen. Obama supports reforming corporate taxes in a manner that would help create jobs in America and simplify the tax code by eliminating distortions and special preferences.

Sen. Obama believes that responsible candidates must put forward specific ideas of how they would pay for their proposals. That is why he would repeal a portion of the tax cuts passed in the last eight years for families making over $250,000. But to be clear: He would leave their tax rates at or below where they were in the 1990s.

Clever stuff here. After all, it's not the Mother Jones crowd Obama needs to convince. Going after the fiscally conservative Chamber of Commerce Republican on their home turf is a very solid idea...oh, and Obama's tax plan is pretty good too. It's certainly an improvement over what Bush did to Clinton's surplus, but I'm guessing most of you have picked up on that whole "Inflation at 17-year high" thing if you've bought, oh, FOOD or GAS in the last 6 months.


Oh god, somebody woke up Grandpa Fred Thompson.

All the while, in Eastern Europe some of America’s staunchest friends are watching to see what the reaction of the U.S. and the west will be to Russia’s latest gambit. The U.S. and others use the word “unacceptable,” undoubtedly with the same effect that we get when we use it with the Iranians. So do we threaten Russia with denial of the membership in the World Trade Organization that it so covets? Do we expedite Georgia and the Ukraine’s entry into NATO? Do we cut off the tens of millions that we send into Russia to – hopefully – provide for security of nuclear materials? Everything should be on the table.

But the one thing we must not do is allow Russia to feel it can get away with, let alone feel rewarded for, this invasion of a sovereign democratic nation that has also loyally supported coalition efforts in Iraq.

While this crisis plays out we should also note that these events give evidence of a larger reality: the next American President is going to face an international landscape that is more difficult and treacherous than we have ever faced. By now most Americans appreciate the dangers of international terrorism and the fact that a small number of people can wreck unimaginable havoc upon our country and our people if they get their hands on the right kinds of weaponry. What is less understood is that some of the older, traditional kinds of threats are still very much with us, only heightened because of the increasing availability of nuclear weapons and other weapon technologies.

You damn Commies get off my lawn or I'll...I'll...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...

But What About The Other Guy's Veep?

McSame? Yeah. Well, if he really, really wanted to win, he'd go with people like, Joe F'ckin Lieberman or Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. Recently Tom Ridge has come up as a strong choice for him as well. Let's face it, the only possible way he can win is the depressingly Village-centric bi-partisan angle. All three of those folks would give him centrist maverick anti-Bush cred, plus gynocracy points for Snowe or super bi-partipoints for Joe.

Of course, the fact that any of these three would cause the right winger heads to explode (Ridge is pro-choice, Snowe is pro-choice AND voted against impeaching Bill Clinton, and Joe F'ckin Lieberman is really a mole planted by his former master Al Gore) has nothing to do with it.

Le Sigh

And so the narrative of the Democratic National Convention begins to take shape:
Still sore from an epic primary battle, some of Hillary Rodham Clinton's supporters aren't buying the unity theme planned for the Democratic National Convention.

They weren't mollified when nominee-in-waiting Barack Obama gave prime-time speaking slots to Clinton and her husband, the former president. Instead, they're itching for a fight and plan to wage one in Denver.

One group intends to paper the city with fliers, promote a video detailing what they contend were irregularities in the nominating process and unleash bloggers to give their take on the proceedings. Another group has purchased newspaper advertisements demanding that Clinton be included in a roll-call vote for the nomination.

"I am a very realistic woman," said Diane Mantouvalos, co-founder of the Just Say No Deal Coalition. "I don't think that anything is going to change, but I do think it is important to be heard, and this is our way of doing it."

Some of the disaffected Clinton supporters are open to supporting Obama; many are not.

Obama needs Clinton's supporters to beat Republican John McCain. Polls show that he has won over most of them. But some simply don't like Obama or still feel Clinton was treated unfairly during the primaries.

Understand that the Village needs this narrative to survive. If the narrative goes off message to say, the country being disaffected and disgusted with the GOP to the point where a Black Democrat freshman Senator from Illinois will most likely be our next President then the Village would have to admit the whole change thing, and the whole change thing means getting rid of the Village.

So, the most unprecedented party convention in the long history of the United States gets reduced to "Women hate Obama LOL HILLARY'S REVENGE!" because catty sniping and backbiting and bitchiness is much better for the American political process than that stupid hope change and new idea garbage. You should think what the Village tells you. It's just easier this way. Hillary's a bitch (but you can't call her that), Obama's uppity for a black man (but you can't say that about him), and John McSame my friends is a maverick hero for all time (which must be said at every given opportunity.)

UPDATE: Another piece of that Village narrative is that the troops hate Obama and love McSame the War Hero. They hate Obama enough to donate six bucks to Barry for every one to McSame because of course Johnny Mac will get so many votes from the troops, that they feel the need to make it a fair fight among the civilian voting populace.

They Instill Us With Confidence With Their Incompetence

When Digby's not kicking ass over at Hullabaloo, dday is. (Boldness from myself:)
First of all, this gaping hole in the case, the lack of any physical evidence putting Ivins at the crime scene, has been obvious from the moment the FBI closed the case. In fact, they're STILL looking for additional evidence, which should tell you something about how secure they are in their determination that Ivins acted alone. They're basing the entire case on the remote belief that Ivins checked out of his lab with just enough time to spare to drive 4 hours to Princeton for pretty much no reason and mail the letters. Except the postmark on the letters reflects the day after it would according to the FBI's own timeline. (The FBI doesn't even talk about the other letters mailed; presumably they have no evidence tying Ivins to those locations, either). And now this - the hair samples don't match. That's really only one of the many questions remaining in the case. The FBI has checked Ivins's car, his house, his locker, and his safety deposit box and found no traces of anthrax spores. The evidence of the particular strain of anthrax could have been in the hands of up to 100 people, and anyway the DNA testing does not point to any individual. There is just nothing in what the FBI has presented that is in any way conclusive - in fact, more pieces point AWAY from Ivins than toward him. Meryl Nass has the definitive rundown of the Swiss cheese-sized holes in the case.
Seven years, in perhaps the single most important case of unsolved domestic terrorism in US history, and we instead get something a tenth-grader would be loathe to turn in.

It really cannot be stressed enough how much the Bush Administration is insulting the American people, and how much contempt the FBI has for, well, pretty much the entire universe. They aren't even trying to hide at this point that the Ivins case is a massive cock-up because they know that Bush and AG Michael Mukasey won't do anything, that Congress won't do anything other than hold hearings to say "Hey guys, the FBI is up to something, let's get evidence" In which case Mukasey will say "We're conducting an investigation" and Bush will say "I cannot comment on this ongoing investigation" and they'll wait out the clock.

There is an incredible preponderance of evidence here that indicates the Ivins case is a complete sham and that the FBI either drove him to suicide or had a hand in his death to keep him quiet, and although the guy was strange, that doesn't make him a terror mastermind. Not even the right wingers in the Village Media are trumpeting this case, because even they have the good grace to remember that the anthrax scare was fed to them as propaganda to attack Iraq.

The government is complict, the media is complicit, Congress was complicit probably...and if everybody's guilty, who is going to expose the truth?

Epic Unsigned Editorial Fail

WaPo on Georgia:
"If a democratically elected Ukraine chooses not to join NATO -- and Ukrainians are divided on the question -- NATO will not force itself on Ukraine. But if Ukrainians -- or Georgians, Armenians or anyone else -- recoil at Russia's authoritarian model and choose to associate with the West, should the United States refrain from "egging them on"? Since the days of the Soviet Union, when the United States never abandoned the cause of "captive nations," American policy has been that independent nations should be free to rule themselves and shape their future. How, and how effectively, the United States can support those aspirations inevitably will vary from case to case and from time to time, and supporting those aspirations certainly won't always involve military force. But for the United States to counsel a "realistic" acceptance of vassal status to any nation would mark a radical departure from past principles and practices."

...epic fail.

So Which One Is The Capitalist Oppressor Known As Gilligan?

As Josh Marshall points out:
Watching the Bennetts and the Krauthammers get all jazzed up about Georgia as the new Afghanistan, with all the painfully awkward nostalgia and excitement of an 80s era Gilligan's Island reunion flick is entertaining. But much less so when you realize these jokers might be running the government in six months.

Biden His Time?

Taylor Marsh puts forward the case for Delaware's Joe Biden based on his statements on the Russo-Georgian Conflict.
He then calls on Russia to stand down, for the country's own sake: The only hope for preventing this crisis from becoming a calamity for Russia’s relationship with the west is for Moscow to immediately ceasefire, pull back its forces and agree to negotiations brokered by the international community – all steps that the Georgian government has agreed to. If the fighting continues, this moment could emerge as a turning point in the west’s relationship with Moscow, and deny Russia the international standing it seeks.

Can Tim Kaine offer this analysis? Can Evan Bayh? Not without conjuring up his Joe Lieberman, neocon committee roots.
Well, okay. I can see Biden too, but as BooMan points out (Biden is MUCH lower on his list at 12)
I hear he is now the front-runner for the VP position. I have always liked Joey Biden more than most of my progresive colleagues, but he has diarrhea of the mouth. He shares this fault with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. Biden is qualified and he is smart as a tack. But he has left too much ammunition lying around from all his media appearances. I have some qualms about Biden's judgments, but I have more qualms about his reliability. Biden is too risky.

My take on Biden is while he's certainly qualified as a foreign policy wonk, he's a dead giveaway that Obama would be trying to purposely cover his ass on that, Nameless One style (I have a similar problem with Jack Reed and military matters, it's admitting the weakness is large enough to qualify as having to have your Veep there just to cover it.) And BooMan really does have a point about Biden running his mouth, and he's made some bad decisions in the Senate recently. Still, he's had Obama's back publicly.

Least he's not Bayh...or Hillary.

Of course, I'm not either, and I'd probably make a lousy Veep. Obama would probably realize this after the first time I used the power of the office to call in my parents' local Congressman The Odious Patrick McHenry and ask him why he suddenly has 37,184 parking tickets since last Thursday. I'm sure Obama can find a better person. I'm not old enough yet anyway.


Georgian territorial integrity at 73% and falling, Captain.
Explosions were heard near Gori on Thursday as a Russian troop withdrawal from the strategic city seemed to collapse. A fragile cease-fire appeared even more shaky as Russia's foreign minister declared that the world "can forget about any talk about Georgia's territorial integrity."

The declaration from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came simultaneously with the announcement that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was meeting in the Kremlin with the leaders of Georgia's two separatist provinces.

"One can forget about any talk about Georgia's territorial integrity because, I believe, it is impossible to persuade South Ossetia and Abkhazia to agree with the logic that they can be forced back into the Georgian state," Lavrov told reporters.

"Your analysis, Commander?"

At this rate, Georgian territorial integrity will fail in approximately...real damn soon, sir.

Perhaps now would be a good time to send in a research team or two.

Clean Them Up, Clean You Out

McClatchy reports that China's massive effort to clean up Beijing's pollution by closing factories and blocking truck traffic is going to have a heavy America.

With China dominating global production of many goods, U.S. consumers will likely see higher prices if not outright shortages for products such as mobile telephones manufactured in the affected areas. The Olympics restrictions will also affect world supplies of auto parts, semiconductors, Vitamin C, steel and domestic Chinese supplies of cement and aluminum.

"We have a pretty good idea that the restrictions will slow things down, but we won't know the true impact until September," said Richard Brubaker, managing director of the Shanghai-based consulting firm China Strategic Development Partners. "Because of the Olympics and other factors, there'll no doubt be higher prices."

For foreign investors, the Olympic restrictions, coupled with rising energy and labor costs in China, have shaken confidence in the country's reliability as a world supplier, sparking searches for other sources of cheap labor, said Steve Keifer, vice president of product and industry marketing for GXS, which is a Maryland-based firm that helps companies streamline their supply chain.

Keifer said U.S. companies could move production lines to Mexico, Costa Rica and even Argentina to replace China, and European companies could go to Eastern Europe. Soaring fuel costs have also thrown into question the wisdom of producing goods so far from their markets.

"(The Olympics' impact) is one of a number of things happening associated with China to make companies rethink their sourcing strategies," Keifer said. "It's adding to the larger psychological effects of risk associated with working in China."

You'd think China would have come up with a more cost-effective, long-term solution considering they have 1.3 billion people. China's out, Mexico's in, and a lot closer. One would have to think providing additional jobs in Mexico would be a good thing.

Until those production lines get moved to whatever country's cheapest this year. But that's the global economy.

Fastest Voting In Ohio

So, a law that allows thousands of new voters to register and then immediately cast absentee ballots in a crucial swing state in Ohio would make both sides happy, right?

Hells no, bra.
Republicans are raising concerns about Ohioans registering to vote and immediately casting absentee ballots during a five-day window after absentee voting starts Sept. 30 and before the deadline for registration Oct. 6.

Normally, there's time to process a new registration before voting starts. The GOP is expressing concern that ineligible voters will be allowed to fraudulently register and cast ballots on the same day during that five-day period.

The GOP is REALLY pissed off however because Obama is polling way ahead in the youth/college vote in Ohio. Thousands of new voters in Ohio this year would be overwhelmingly for Barry O and not McSame.

So of course, instead of encouraging more young people to vote, we have the GOP assuming all these young people can't possibly be voting for a Democrat, it must be voter fraud. Young people would naturally vote Republican, you see. So the Ohio GOP is considering a lawsuit. Of course, the GOP would never try to disenfranchise voters in a swing state to win a Presidential election....

A Tragic Act

The chair of the Arkansas Democratic Party who was shot yesterday, Bill Gwatney, did not survive the injury.

Chairman Bill Gwatney died at 3:59 Wednesday afternoon after a gunman entered his Little Rock office and shot him several times in the upper body, Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings said.

Authorities confirmed the news shortly after former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton released a statement expressing their condolences.

"We are deeply saddened by the news that Bill Gwatney has passed away," the former governor and first lady of Arkansas said. "His leadership and commitment to Arkansas and this country have always inspired us and those who had the opportunity to know him."

The shooting suspect, a white male in his fifties, also died Wednesday afternoon after a police chase ended in gunfire, Hastings said.

Authorities are working to confirm his identity, but Hastings said there was no indication that he was a former employee. He said police were investigating possible motives, as well as why the suspect went into the Arkansas Baptist State Convention brandishing a gun.

CNN affilliates KARK and KTHV identified the gunman as Timothy Dale Johnson, 50, of Searcy, Arkansas.

Another tragic incident involving violence for political purposes...but not a "terrorist attack".

UPDATE: Malkinvania denies all responsibility for the shooting and retaliation against liberals in general by posting the full name and email address of a person who blamed her for it and that you should by no means retaliate against this person, winkwinknudgenudge say no more.

Veep Veep!

The BooMan's analysis of who *should* be Obama's veep is scary good, as usual. In lieu of me trying to do anything, just read his take. Anyone in his top five would be a home run, considering the rest.

The Good Picks

1. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius- If Obama can open up a decent gender gap, he can cruise to victory and open up avenues for downticket upsets all across the country. Rarely have we had a female prospect as strong as Sebelius. She is a staunchly pro-choice Catholic with roots in the Cincinnati area. She is a very popular red-state governor. She has executive experience and a record of working across party lines. There are no candidates that better fit in with Obama's post-partisan brand. We don't need a national-security running mate that a la Dick Cheney mainly serves to highlight Obama's thin resume on those issues. We need someone that reinforces his style of governance.

2. Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed- Sen. Reed is a soft-spoken veteran of the 82nd Airborne that serves on the Armed Services Committee. He has the kind of military bearing that Wesley Clark so conspicuously lacks, but he also has one of the best voting records of any member of the Senate. He won't upstage Obama, even on national security, but he will help provide a comfort level that the Obama administration will be well-led. Reed is a staunchly pro-choice Catholic with a 4-star personal story. His father was a World War Two vet who made his living as a janitor and whose son earned a spot at West Point and went on to get a Harvard Law Degree and become a U.S. Senator. Jack Reed is like a more progressive, more accomplished, more inspirational version of Rep. Patrick Murphy.

3. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown- Sen. Brown is a freshman or he would be higher on my list. As a former member of the House Progressive Caucus, he is the most ideologically desirable member on this list. Brown has a rough, workingman's gravelly voice and is a champion of labor unions and the lower middle class. His main attraction, however, is his ability to deliver not just Ohioan votes, but the most needed kind of Ohioan votes. The main knocks on Brown are his lack of experience and the perception that is too liberal. I'd be happy to take our chances.

4. Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd- I'm hearing rumblings that Dodd is out of the running, but he is a very attractive choice who has a few strong downsides. No one was a stronger voice on FISA than Chris Dodd. He is another staunchly pro-choice Catholic. He's fluent in Spanish. No one can dispute his experience. A history of carousing as a younger man and the recent revelations that he enjoyed some seeming preferential terms on a home mortgage (while serving as chair of the Banking Committee) make him somewhat of a risk. He's also getting up in age, he doesn't make any obvious contribution to the Electoral College, and the Republican governor of Connecticut would appoint his replacement. I'd be personally honored to go into battle with Chris Dodd, but there are enough negatives to push him down the list.

5. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer- Schweitzer is running for reelection. His selection as running mate would throw the Montana gubernatorial race into turmoil. He also lacks foreign policy experience and would enter Washington as an inveterate outsider (for good and ill). Yet, better than any other candidate, Schweitzer's candidacy would announce the arrival of the Democrat's intention to rebrand themselves as the party of Civil Libertarian-Democrats. If we want to isolate the Republicans to the Deep South and Border States, this is the pick to further that goal.

Living here in the Cincy area, seeing Sherrod Brown up there is pretty nice. It's helpful that Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is taking most of the heat for Ohio liberals and not Brown. Hell, Brown keeps winning awards people like him so much, and he *would* put Ohio in Obama's camp. With Russ Feingold out of the picture (sigh) I'd like to see Brown, Sebelius, or Chris Dodd get the nod, but the more I read about Jack Reed and Brian Schweitzer, the more I like about them too. As I said, any of BooMan's top five would be an asset to the ticket and the country.


  • Russian tanks are still kind of milling about Georgia smartly, detonating unexploded ordnance so they can clear out. The Georgians seem to believe that ordnance is being detonated...inside their various remaining military vehicles.
  • Murder charges against seven NOLA police officers have been tossed out because the only people more disorganized and sloppy after the NOPD in post-Katrina Nawlins are the DA's.
  • Julia Child -- Chef, TV Star, Super Spy?!?!
  • Bank foreclosures almost tripled this July from last July. Home prices are down almost 16% from this time last year. Next year I expect things to actually be worse.
  • The Uberphone, one month later? Nope, still a lot of work Apple needs to do. Should you buy one? That's your call...
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