Through the Looking Glass

September 5, 2008

Now Obama is part of the establishment or so you would have thought last night. There were many very odd aspects to the Republican convention. Absent from the Republican convention were not only references to the Republican Party or the G.O.P. Compare the transcripts of the speeches in this convention with those of past conventions; proud reference to the party by name is startlingly absent.

While you are looking at those transcriptions of this past convention try to find reference to President Bush’s remarks on the first day. It is as if according to the Republican website he did not speak. In fact a foreign observer might leave the convention with the impression that Reagan was the last Republican president.

In that setting McCain attacked the establishment, which of course for 12 of the last 14 years has been a Republican Congress and for the last 8 a Republican executive. During the last 14 years the distinguishing feature of Republican rule has been the coherence of the party members in voting and even discussing issues.

Republicans have voted in a block as neither party has voted perhaps ever. This includes John McCain except for a two year period after he lost the 2000 nomination. His maverick tag is not derived from his voting record.

Consider the scope of this undertaking. A party trying to distance itself from itself and John McCain, who has been going to such extremes to solidify himself with Bush’s base, casting himself at 72 as the vehicle for a fresh change? McCain who voted with Bush on nearly everything, the 72 year old face of change?

This is not putting a spin on things; this is a tectonic shift of world view.

What utterly amazed me was McCain’s call to get special interests out of Washington. (His staff of course remains largely former lobbyists.) He skipped over his own voting record to point to Obama’s vote for big oil on the Energy Bill, as an example of the influence of money on Washington.

Obama who for months has been cast as a rabid liberal was last night cast by McCain as part of the establishment that he wants to change! Can you believe it?

McCain called for a change in our economic situation but his proposals are the same as Bush’s programs, except bigger with more spending and taxes lower than they have been. This even has The Economist troubled.

This seems to be the plan: stick with Bush’s policies in order to keep the political base, call for change, and celebrate goals. Without any policy to support the references to change, McCain will push what is called “character” (did you know that he was n the Vietnam War?) and right wing Christian values.

Ron Paul Creates his own Forum

September 3, 2008

Ron Paul, before he disappeared from the Republican Party or at least its convention, placed second or third in about 20 Republican primaries. This was significantly better than say yesterday’s keynote speaker Fred Thompson.

Paul though was not invited to speak at the convention and given what he calls only limited access to it and so had his own “counter convention,” where he spoke yesterday for a balanced budget and a curb on militarism. He gave a rather stirring speech against our war efforts and about the meaning of “patriot.” The speech can be seen here.

Bush to Say McCain Learned Lessons of 9/11

September 2, 2008

Let’s see what were those lessons.  We should have kept a cabinet anti-terrorist chair?  We should have given our anti-terrorist czar access to the National Security Adviser?  We should pay attention to what our anti-terrorist czar tells us?  We should heed warning from the FBI of an immanent attack involving planes?  That we should avoid hasty statements like McCain’s that we should invade Iraq and the war would be over in a short time.  That we should avoid quick judgments like McCain’s that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?  That we should equip our troops better? That we should better respect U.N. inspectors and their reports?  That we should have better ability to care for our injured troops?  That our military adventures can result in the increase of terrorist activity and preparedness?  That war can drive us into debt and hurt our economy?

Hold on Sarah You Were not Going to Do This

September 2, 2008

Remember the interview a few months ago in which Sarah Palin said that it was unfortunate that Hillary Clinton was complaining about her treatment in the media because she was perceived as a “whiner?”  If not not whining, what are we supposed to call this,?  Stronger words come to mind.

Two Media, Two Worlds

September 2, 2008

Today Amy Goodman was arrested.  There are videos of the arrest but right now it is not clear exactly what charges have been made.  (Here’s her narrative of events leading up to the arrest.) This was a thunderbolt through the independent media community and, because of her many awards, should at least have been noteworthy to big media.  It, however, has not merited mention in the releases of the corporate-controlled media, who are reporting an entirely different world.

Compare this report of the heroic supression of anarchists with this report of police attacks and actual interviews with the “anarchists.”  Here is a report and interesting video interview involving a gunpoint raid of a house containing independent journalists.  Here’s another uncontrolled report.  This side of things is ignored in the mainstream media’s widely reported battle between the forces of good and evil anarchists.  (Here are some pictures of the “anarchists.”)   The Washington Post to its credit presented an even-handed report of the people in the streets.

There is more local controversy about police action against independent media than the major media reports.

To report Amy’s arrest would give credence to a media that is not consonant with the major outlets.  I wonder whether any major outlet at all will make mention of this.  I seriously doubt it but I would love to be surprised.

On my way to work one day I was listening to the car radio and flipping between Democracy Now! on 91.3 FM and NPR.  I was listening to reports of the flight of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti.  NPR was reporting that Aristide had suddenly quit and was abandoning his country for places unknown.  It was interviewing Condoleezza Rice and other government officials who expressed puzzlement at what was happening.  Amy Goodman was interviewing Aristide’s driver who was present when about two dozen gunmen burst in and forced him out of his office and into a plane.  She spoke with others on the scene, all of whom said that the kidnappers were American.

Amy herself now seems to find herself in one of these parallel universes.

Amy Goodman Arrested! And Now Released

September 2, 2008

Two hours ago Amy Goodman was arrested while trying to speak on behalf of two of her producers who had been detained by the police.  Read this article and call!

The website Democracy Now! is a good place to look to keep up with this and an exceptional source of convention news coverage.

She’s now reported just released.

Image Control

August 30, 2008

The Democrats trying to clear the streets of the homeless for their convention got a fair amount of ink.  The Republicans are using their corporate influence to deny billboard space to photography by Suzanne Opton, whose pictures have appeared on billboards in Syracuse and this week in Denver.

While this is going on, Hurricane Gusav has been raised to category 4 and is scheduled to hit New Orleans on Monday, the first day of the Republican convention.  No doubt the impact will be felt in Minnesota.  Compare McCain’s readiness to delay the convention with the Bush administration’s response to identical news three years ago.

On second thought, the two responses do bear quite a bit of similarity.  McCain calls the coming storm a “near tragedy,” apparently anticipating nearly the worst.  He says that he is praying for himself, as this “near tragedy” could spoil his party.

We though know that he is made of stronger stuff.  He did not let the New Orleans disaster spoil his birthday party three years ago, why should he let this spoil and even more important party?  If Bush brings cake again for his speech on Monday it will be just like old times.

Three years ago we read that Pat Robertson and his ilk thought that Katrina was God’s vengeance on New Orleans.  I wonder what he thinks God is saying this time?