Good thing Obama finally fired that psychotic general

(photo: US Military)

Stanley McChrystal is more than just twisted and distorted by the effects of a military career, more arrogant than one merely basking in the privilege afforded generals in this war-mad country. He is a dangerous, murderous psychopath who helped cover up the intentional killing of Pat Tillman by troops under his command, worsened the strategic situation in Afghanistan in the last few months, and systematically worked with the intention of undermining civilian command of the U.S. military forces.
I remember seeing an article last October about McChrystal trying to set policy for Afghanistan by giving a public speech, in London, which sought to undermine Barack Obama’s review of Afghan policy going on at the time by narrowing the options to only escalation. The fact that McChrystal would open his filthy, bloodthirsty mouth on his own was dismaying–and the fact that Obama didn’t fire him right away (and perhaps try him for sedition) was much more dismaying.
So he had to step way too far out again, but McChrystal finally forced the crisis that led finally to his firing when he and his staff gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine, in Paris, and the arrogant and traitorous bile that would spew forth set in motion the chain of command crisis. After that, the normally timid Obama had no choice at all–so he dismissed this dangerous figure.
Now it’s time to leave Afghanistan–it’s the only logical move–but it’s hard to know what spark is needed to light up Obama’s sensibilities on that.

California continues its slide

For a long time, no one seemed willing to call out the abysmal record and predictable failure of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governorship of California. Voted in on a wave of moronic, Bush-era fake-populist outrage against state deficits, Schwarzenegger came in with a lot of talk and no plan to fix the problem. It was obvious for a long time, but few seemed to grasp the implications for the state. Now it is easy to blame the governor–he has been one of the worst in the state’s history–but the problems unfortunately go much deeper: California is seeing the results of Prop 13 and its bizarre direct democracy model where all decisions seem to go through the ballot box without the cooling and compromise of legislative deliberations. This is what the state is facing, according the New York Times:

“Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is threatening to eliminate the Healthy Family Program, the state’s health insurance program that covers over 900,000 children and is financed with state and federal money, as well as the state’s main welfare program, known as Cal-Works, which provides temporary financial assistance to poor families and a caregiver for the severely disabled. The $1 billion in cuts to programs for the poor would be met with $680 million in new cuts to education and a 5 percent salary reduction for state employees, many of whom are already enduring furloughs. These proposals, as well as those that would make cuts to state parks, the prison system and other state agencies, are winding their way through Sacramento now, where they will be voted on by committees and eventually the full Legislature.”

While the situation could be addressed by raising taxes, getting that through would be nearly impossible and it seems likely that California will see something like the unprecedented cuts that have been proposed.

Vote Obama podcast #30

I’ve been a Barack Obama supporter for a while, and now the election is only weeks away. With the conventions over and a serious financial crisis facing the country due to George W. Bush’s policies, everyone seems to know that change needs to happen.
So who represents real change? Is it the computer-illiterate, regulationhating, lobbyist-loving, rage-fueled liar who has been endorsed by one of the worst presidents in American history and offers a laughable commission idea as the solution to the problems in the markets?
Or is America ready for new leadership from Barack Obama and new ideas about the economy?
Make sure to get out to the polls this November and vote Obama!

Bush's punks get ready for a government takeover of the housing debt market

Well now we’re about to see a government bailout the likes of which Lee Iacocca could only have imagined. Indeed, we are seeing the triumph of high-stakes government control of America’s economy.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those bizarre government boondoggles who again are being cited for shaky accounting and that I have criticized before, are about to be taken over (temporarily, supposedly!!) by the federal government. Of course this represents the logical conclusion of their path–what else but a cashing-in of their “implicit government guarantee” given the moral hazards involved?

This situation represents a true summation of the moronic regime of George W. Bush–a high-handed fake capitalist, who learned long ago that those holding high corporate positions or government connections in modern America fail upward without regard to results–and so it is with the stupid Henry Paulson and the dim-witted Ben Bernanke, those creeps that Bush put in charge of the U. S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve respectively, who are meeting now in preparation for announcing the massive government bailout of those collapsing GSE mortgage market meal tickets, Fannie and Freddie, which the Chinese are fleeing faster than the floodplain of the Three Gorges Dam.

FISA is bad, but I'm still backing Obama

[photo via]

As I noted in my latest podcast, I know that Barack Obama is going to try to win as many votes as possible, and since at least the 1950s the conventional wisdom in American politics has been to try to appeal to the median voter on the left-right scale, that magical “+1” of the fifty percent plus one that is needed to take a majority of the popular vote. Of course this is a simplified way of looking at things, and watching “undecided” voters ask questions at public forums often reminds one of the stupidity and confusion of many people who participate in the process. But this is how the two-party-duopoly system works, and Obama is playing the game as well as he knows how. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to offer liberals some good things.

The recent uproar in the blogosphere about the new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that passed the Senate with Obama’s help seems to have crystallized the view that the candidate is moving remorselessly to the “political center,” that snake pit long populated by loud-mouthed opportunists like Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Chuck Hagel. But before everyone in the Democratic coalition panics and prepares to throw Barack overboard, let’s first remember that the alternative (in this 2-party system) is considerably worse, a son of a bitch that shouldn’t even be allowed to greet at Wal-Mart let alone decide whether to strike with nuclear weapons. And let’s also look at some of the nuances of the FISA debate.

Okay, maybe Barack Obama should have waged a high-profile campaign of grandstanding against the FISA bill, as Chris Dodd did, but it wouldn’t have made the difference that was needed anyway. So maybe he was better off picking a different battle.

Besides, the vocal opposition to the bill from many quarters masks this basic problem–the anti-FISA coalition would never be able to agree on an alternative course. The more intelligent, liberty-minded faction of this anti-new-FISA-bill group might have railed against any FISA at all, and in favor of repealing the entire 1978 law and all its successors and amendments. Fourth Amendment should mean 4th Amendment, after all.

But it seems that many of the people opposing this bill take the squishy position that yes, there is such an enormous threat from those Men in Caves that we need some to give up privacy for some sort of surveillance, some sort of FISA revision, but this particular bill is not the right way. A good example of this “oh yeah there are sooo many terrorists and they are soooo scary but you need to make the new law just the way I want it it” attitude can be found in this Glenn Greenwald passage:

“It is theoretically possible that there are modifications to the FISA warrant process that are justifiable, but the administration has left no doubt that this is not their true objective.”

The position that accepts that the old FISA is okay (it is not–it is a secret court that is no way accountable to the public, a complete end-run around Article III, and it was run not long ago by that stupid judge that let Microsoft off the hook [with Bush’s encouragement] for being held accountable after being convicted of illegal anti-competitive behavior) and that maybe even more onerous laws could “theoretically” be needed is almost as disingenuous as that of the people supporting the bill.

And as far as telecom immunity, what exactly can be done about this? Companies that rely on government rents via regulation are totally captive to the system. I appreciate the idea of getting a foot in the door for forcing accountability on the government’s part with those lawsuits, but the only reason that this is important is that courts have consistently denied standing to those being spied on again and again with the bizarre catch-22 of having to prove that the secret spying is happening, and then even when they do prove it, they’re told that they cannot use classified information in courts. But that’s not the fault of the telecommunications companies.

This is not to say that George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping was not an enormous violation of federal law, for which that dim-witted Texas oil industry puppet should be prosecuted and imprisoned. A court decision just this month made this fairly clear. Also, many of the telecommunications companies did commit a series of ethical lapses in supporting the eavesdropping program. And Barack Obama probably should have voted against the new FISA bill. But it’s not enough to make me forswear support for Obama.

The debate about the bill has become bogged down in ridiculous rhetoric. Bloggers’ outrage and indignity over it is getting a little old, and starting to lose a sense of proportion. Dave Winer provides a good example:

“If you recall our country was founded in revolution. The problem is we don’t recall. Some of us hoped (there’s that word again) that Obama would lead us some place worth going.”

Please spare us–the ideals and habits of liberty were already well-enshrined in British society when America declared independence in 1776. The revolution was fought by two liberal countries over money and power. Maybe it’s good we that we “don’t recall” perfectly and instead make up our own myths about it.

It’s hard to even measure the astronomical proportions of what people are expecting of Obama. Perhaps “some of us” were hoping for a utopia to rise up from the wreckage of the “ownership society.”

Well, we’ve all got different expectations. Mine is just to get Barack Obama elected so the broad direction of the country’s policies moves back toward that of a functioning modern democracy. We’ve got a long way to go for that, and Obama probably won’t get us the whole way there. For now, even he’s got to play the electoral game. But hey, he’s already changed the system to some extent, and we should wait and see if he can really be a game changer.

I know I don’t have influence of any sort, and it really doesn’t matter, but I’m still an Obama supporter.

Barack Obama's the nominee; Hillary Clinton is finished!

2008 Democratic Primary Recap

Barack Obama will now be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. It’s so excellent to see Hillary Clinton finally, definitively vanquished. I have viewed her as a dangerous maniac and a fake Democrat for a long time, and Bill Clinton’s behavior during this primary season has been disgraceful.

Listed below are most of the blog posts that I made about this race during the course of the long primary season.

How dangerous is Hillary Clinton?

John Edwards’s lackluster reply – from a January letter

Barack Obama’s fading campaign – supporters, including me, are wondering what’s next after months of trailing…

photo of Dennis Kucinich at his district office, Lakewood, Ohio

Fake questioners scandal – Is Hillary Clinton finished? 16 – Endorsing Obama before the Iowa primary

Barack Obama can still get the nomination – New Hampshire is a conservative state–the only one in the northeast to vote for George W. Bush in 2000, for example–and its voters only narrowly went in favor of Clinton over Obama in yesterday’s Democratic primary… 18 – As the Democratic Party’s South Carolina primary leads into the major February 5th “super Tuesday” series of primaries, Barack Obama has the advantage…

Good news – a warmonger fascist hates Obama 19 – Barack Obama supporters and liberals in general would have a difficult time ever supporting or voting for Hillary Clinton…

Wow, Chelsea – you’re just another Clinton liar and fantasist

Barack Obama‘s campaign has been effective and inspiring, and I am hoping that he can keep the momentum through the general election against John McCain. As for Hillary Clinton, she should concede soon and it will be good to see her go.