Thursday, November 20, 2008

Walk Hard - Talk Loud

Advice for Obama


One of the Republican right's most successful inventions has been liberal media bias. Even as the "mainstream" press has trended rightward, the liberal-bias trope has had two big advantages in keeping the party faithful, well, faithful. First, it allowed devotees to reject any and all information at odds with GOP dogma. Second, it preserved the sense of victimization essential to the right-wing world view. In reality, the Washington political media have been functionally pro-Republican for years. The so-called Gang of 500 long ago abandoned journalistic ethics for those of the entertainment industry. They're celebrities, and as such would-be insiders and front-runners. Liberal media ? During the Clinton administration, this cohort flogged the make-believe Whitewater scandal for years. They went hysterical over Bill Clinton's sexual sins and sustained false derogatory stories about Al Gore during the 2000 election (invented the Internet, "Love Story," etc. ). After that, the nation's premier newspapers, specifically The New York Times and The Washington Post, got suckered into running single-source, frontpage propaganda about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. The embedded mainstream media treated the subsequent invasion of Iraq as the world's biggest Boy Scout jamboree until chaos in Baghdad became impossible to ignore.

So was it shocking after Barack Obama's election to find pundits on TV with warnings such as that America remains a conservative country and he must "discipline" the "ardent activists" who elected him by engaging "interests that usually ally with Republicans" ? That was the estimable Ron Brownstein's advice on MSNBC.

Newsweek editor Jon Meacham cautioned that despite Obama's win, "we're still a center-right nation." On CNN, the network that conservatives view with horror, correspondent John King allowed that "the electorate voted for Barack Obama, but still perceives him to be a liberal." Having made "inroads in communities that not too long ago voted Republican," King said, "the last thing you want to do if you want to keep them four years from now is to alienate them with a liberal agenda." Did Obama get largely favorable press coverage during the campaign ? He did. Largely, I think, because he was so clearly winning. Undying Clinton hatred also played a part during the primaries. My friend Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler Web site is only half-joking when he says the Gang of 500 finally found something they cared about: their own shrinking 401 (k ) s.

So should Obama heed them now ? Not if he wants to be a successful president.

The Man Behind Proposition 8

Among the local ballot measures to be decided on Election Day, California's Proposition 8 is perhaps the most fiercely contested. Backers of the proposition to ban same-sex marriage in the state cast their campaign in apocalyptic terms. "This vote on whether we stop the gay-marriage juggernaut in California is Armageddon," born-again Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Chuck Colson told the New York Times. Tony Perkins, the president of the Christian right's most powerful Beltway lobbying outfit, Family Research Council, echoed Colson's language. "It's more important than the presidential election," Perkins said of Prop 8. "We will not survive [as a nation] if we lose the institution of marriage."

The campaign for Prop 8 has reaped massive funding from conservative backers across the country. Much of it comes from prominent donors like the Utah-based Church of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic conservative group, Knights of Columbus. Prop 8 has also received a boost from Elsa Broekhuizen, the widow of Michigan-based Christian backer Edgard Prince and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of the controversial mercenary firm, Blackwater.

While the Church of Latter Day Saints' public role in Prop 8 has engendered a growing backlash from its more liberal members, and Broekhuizen's involvement attracted some media attention, the extreme politics of Prop 8's third largest private donor, Howard F. Ahmanson, reclusive heir to a banking fortune, have passed almost completely below the media's radar. Ahmanson has donated $900,000 to the passage of Prop 8 so far.

That dead lady could be you from the future

News Groper: These Blogs Are Not Real


More post-election reaction this week from the faux-blogosphere. Sarah Palin started a rumor of her own and Obama started making some plans. And then there was Paula Abdul, who figured out that the dead woman found outside her home was herself from the future.

Barney blog! by Laura Bush


The News Groper Editors

Two New Petition Sites Started to Repeal Bush Administration Amendments to Endangered Species Act

Press Release from Pomona College Organic Farm                                                                                                                      November 5th 2008
Re: Status of Endangered Species Act

"..that though we cannot relieve all the distressed we should relieve as many as we can."
- Thomas Jefferson
"For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime
Barack Obama: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century

The Pomona College Organic Farm, of Pomona College, will take the civil initiative and continue to collect signatures online to repeal two recent Bush Administrative directives amending the Endangered Species Act.  In spite of  the closing of the 30 day and extended 30 day public comment period on these proposed consultation and formatting directives the "Farm" will continue to keep the pressure on to repeal these top-down administrative changes to the Endangered Species Act.
According to law Section 43 of CFR Part 14 –PETITONS FOR RULEMAKING allows the filing of petitions under the Administrative Procedure Act. That any person may petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule (5 U.S.C. 553(e)). The petition will be addressed to the Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 20240.  It will identify the rule requested to be repealed or provide the text of a proposed rule or amendment and include reasons in support of the petition.
The petition will be given prompt consideration and the petitioner will be notified promptly of action taken.
And finally that a petition for rulemaking may be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER if the official responsible for acting on the petition determines that public comment may aid in the consideration of the petition.
The first online petition REPEAL ENDANGERED SPECIES SECTION 7 CONSULTATIONS collection site can be found at:


The second online petition REPEAL the ENDANGERED SPECIES FORMATTING site can be found at:


Both sites are cross linked under the LINKS section.

Any questions please contact Michael Keenan at

Happy Trails and to the Watch Tower!
Claremont, California

Baked Alaskan

Obama Commemorative Cover: Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job (2008)


Obama Commemorative Cover: Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job (2008)The Front Page You'll Never Forget

Own this historic Onion front-page from the day America came together, eradicated racism forever, and saved the future of mankind. Featuring award-winning coverage of the most important election in the last 232 years, this special edition captures the indomitable and cloyingly optimistic national consciousness as it was on Nov. 5th, 2008.

Framed and Matted: 16" x 20"
Unframed (print only): 10" x 12"

An unpardonable use of power

If President Bush cares about his place in history, he should think twice before issuing pardons that call his judgment, and the integrity of the rule of law, into question.

By Sen. Russ Feingold

NewsNov. 20, 2008 | A departing president probably can't help thinking about the judgment of history.  At the end of eight years, President Bush likely isn't any different.  With the nation's attention focused on his successor, it may seem as if there is little opportunity left for the current president to affect how he will be viewed.  But there is one power left -- the power of the pardon -- that could, if it's abused, create a controversy that both the president and the public could live without.

The power of the pardon is close to absolute.  Short of interfering with their own impeachment, presidents can pardon whomever they choose.  At the end of his term, however, this president should think twice before issuing pardons that call his judgment, and the integrity of the rule of law, into question.

If President Bush were to pardon key individuals involved in the misdeeds of his administration, from warrantless wiretapping to torture to the firing of U.S. attorneys for political reasons, the courts would be unable to address criminality, or pass judgment on the legality of some of the president's worst abuses.  Issuing such pardons now would be particularly egregious, since voters just issued such a strong condemnation of the Bush administration at the ballot box.  There is nothing to prevent President Bush from using the pardon in such a short-sighted and self-serving manner -- except, perhaps, public pressure that may itself be a window on the judgment of history.  Everyone who can exert that pressure, from members of Congress to the press and the public, should express their views on whether it would be appropriate for President Bush to use his pardon power in this way.

Is Henry Paulson Stupid or A Robber Baron Doppleganger?

Smirking Chimp
That is a rhetorical question because the overall effect of what Henry Paulson has done so far benefits the financial market and makes it pretty clear that he is not stupid. What it makes just as clear is that Paulson is not concerned with the common good of the people of America. If he is concerned, as he claims, about the taxpayers:

Why is it that Britain's Gordon Brown got voting rights at the banks that they bailed out, seats on the boards, and 12 percent dividends for UK taxpayers, but Hank Paulson got no voting rights, no seats on the board, and only 5 percent for US taxpayers?

Why is it that Gordon Brown got it in writing that the banks had to start lending the money they got, but Henry Paulson, didn't get it in writing, and the banks are not lending?

Why is it that we know investment in high risk complex financial instruments created this economic meltdown but Henry Paulson is not telling banks that the bailout money is contingent on their agreement to desist from such risky investments?

Why is it that we had to bailout some banks because they were too big to be allowed to fail, and then Henry Paulson pushed through a tax windfall for banks that encourages them to buy other banks which creates even bigger banks?

Why is it that Treasury is supposed to be handling the bailout but is actually outsourcing the job to the Bank of New York Mellon, essentially privatizing our Treasury?

Why is it that the taxpayers were promised transparency in the bailout but rather than making information available, things like the amount paid to the Bank of New York Mellon for handling the mechanics of the bailout and the hourly billing rate of the law firm contracted for the equity deals, are blacked out in documents available to the public?

Raise your hand