Weekly World News > World Net Daily

World Net Daily has gone further over the top, reporting that Barack Obama is developing facial tics, and how Michaelle is all disraught. They plagiarized a quote by some Doctor, representing the quote as if it came in an interview. Their fiction isn’™t nearly as entertaining as Weekly World News, but the whack jobs on the right are eating it up.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

World Net Daily is reporting that Michelle Obama is disraught! Disraught, I say! She is worried about the stress and its effects on Barack Obama. Evidently, according to WingNutDaily, and no other credible source, Barack Obama has developed a facial tic because of the stress. Oh Noes! From WingNutDaily:

The strain of the long campaign and a frenetic transition period is beginning to wear on the face of President-elect Barack Obama, who has developed a facial tic under his right eye.

The tic on the lower part of his right orbital bone is clearly visible in his recent interview with ABC’™s Barbara Walters. Campaign insiders say it first emerged during the primary season and has now become chronic.

A facial tic is a repetitive, spasmodic movement often involving the eyes and facial muscles. The cause of tics is unknown, but stress appears to increase their severity.

‘œThe patients I’™ve treated with tic disorders had one thing in common: They knew that the tics worsened when they were under stress,’ said Dr. Robert T. London, a psychiatrist with the New York University Medical Center.

. . .

London says studies show that simple tics disappear during sleep, which suggests that a relaxation treatment, such as hypnotherapy, might work better than medication to calm the misfiring nerves during the day.

One guage of how real this story is would be a simple google search. When one performs one for ‘œObama’ and ‘œfacial tic,’ one gets many results from right wing sites, all quoting the WingNutDaily story. A similar search of google news reduces the results substantially, with no American news agency picking up the story at all. It appears WingNutDaily simply made the story up.

I’™m all fascinated by this Robert London they used as their ‘œexpert.’ A quick look at his background shows London to have graduated with his MD from the University of Miami in 1971. Let’™s be generous and say the guy did so at age 25. That puts him at 62 years old or so. He serves now as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, with his office in Bellevue. 62 years old and only an Assistant Professor? Wow! I’™ve half a mind to email the guy and see if he really said what he said. But why do that? Let’™s just take the string of the sentence WingNutDaily quoted and see where they plagiarized it from. Remember, they made it look like the good Doctor was commenting via an interview with WingNutDaily’™s reporter. They certainly didn’™t credit July’™s edition of Clinical Psychiatry News. No, this isn’™t just dishonest about Obama potentially having a tic, but it is dishonest to use Robert London’™s work without citing the source.

Weekly World News uses the same tactics, citing real Doctors as if they were commenting on the fiction Weekly World News weaves around the story. But Weekly World News is far, far better and has far more journalistic integrity than WingnutDaily. They’™ve got Bat Boy gobbling up a whole turkey, and aliens out shopping on Black Friday. Hey, it could happen! And it is far funnier than any of the fiction WorldNetDaily puts out.

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Repubs Want Another Helping of Palin

The anticipated field for 2012 was tested by Gallup, and whole bunches of Republicans want Sarah Palin to run. If they’™d polled Democrats she would have gotten even more support, as we know, if the Republicans do not, that she’™s unelectable.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The latest Gallup poll of Republicans and self-identified Republican ‘œleaners’ is out. They asked the respondents who they wanted to run for President in 2012. Sarah Palin was the runaway winner. Here it is from Tampa Bay Online:

No sooner had Barack Obama won the presidential election than pundits started looking to 2012 and possible Republican challengers. A Gallup Poll asked people to rank the top 10 candidates they would like to run. Topping the list: Sarah Palin (67 percent), Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Second to last: Gov. Charlie Crist (23 percent), one below former Gov. Jeb Bush (31 percent). The telephone poll was taken Nov. 5-16 and included 799 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Perhaps the Republicans who responded to this can understand Palin’™s sentences, while the rest of us just stare in wonder as she speaks. Or maybe they are concerned for Tina Fey’™s livelihood?

I suppose what is most interesting here is the poor quality of the rest of the named field. Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush? Both have substantial problems getting nominated. Otherwise, this list is a rehash of this last election and primary, a whole bunch of uninspiring choices.

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Bobby Jindal and the GOP Love of “Post-Racial”

Bobby Jindal is the darling of the Republican Party, especially the extremists on the religious right. They see him as competent, as socially conservative and as an example to themselves that they are beyond race. The GOP hasn’™t adequately parsed its difficulties with race, and some of their members might see Jindal as Apu of the Simpsons.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I was talking with my friend Jeff the other day. He’™s a Pastor of a mainstream denomination church in a conservative part of California. I made a comment like. . . ‘œIt isn’™t that all Republicans are racist, of course,’ formulating thoughts as I went along. Then Jeff finished the statement quite well ‘” ‘œit’™s just that for so many white people for whom race is an issue, they’™re Republican.’ I think you might be able to say the same about the issue of immigration, too, that the anti-immigration nativists tend to be Republicans, and many of them are so because they see white people becoming the minority in this country. All that said, it seems to me the Republican Party has a hugely complicated problem with race in its ranks. So the powers that be in the GOP end up presenting us with Bobby Jindal.

Everyone, though seems a bit coy about Jindal on the subject of race. The news media often talks about Barack Obama as a black man, or as an African American. The Washington Post this morning, in a profile piece of Jindal, calls him ‘œnonwhite.’ (Time’™s profile of a few years ago refers not to race but to Jindal’™s ‘œethinicity’) They catalog Jindal’™s supporters, who include Grover Norquist among the fiscal hawks of the GOP, and Tony Perkins from the social conservative wing of the GOP, all the while touting Jindal’™s bona fides for governance in Louisiana and also his extremist social conservative stances:

The record is still evolving, like the rest of him. But social conservatives like what they have heard about the public and private Jindal: his steadfast opposition to abortion without exceptions; his disapproval of embryonic stem cell research; his and his wife Supriya’™s decision in 1997 to enter into a Louisiana covenant marriage that prohibits no-fault divorce in the state; and his decision in June to sign into law the Louisiana Science Education Act, a bill heartily supported by creationists that permits public school teachers to educate students about both the theory of ‘œscientific design’ and criticisms of Darwinian evolutionary concepts.

He voted with his caucus in Congress 97% of the time and gets a 100% pro-life voter rating from the National Right to Life Committee, and also a 100% rating from the NRA, and 0% on lgbt issues from the Human Rights Campaign. (Wikipedia) It is pretty clear that Bobby Jindal has worked hard to appeal to the extremist religious wing of the GOP on those issues, but it just might be that those issues are the real Bobby Jindal. It just may be that Bobby believes that the life of a woman is not as important and the life of the child she is carrying. Certainly Jindal’™s religious record reflects the kind of zeal on often sees in converts (he is converted to Catholocism from the Hindu beliefs of his parents). What’™s that? Jindal wrote an article on witnessing spiritual possession? That demon over on the left is the illustration that goes with the Jindal article about exorcism in the Oxford Review. I think it can be safely said that Bobby Jindall has made himself in the Christian conservative ranks.

But has Jindal unmade his ethnicity enough? Sure, Bobby renamed himself at the ripe old age of four after Bobby Brady on the Brady Bunch. How cute. But in India, where they are very proud of Jindal, they insist he is still Piyush, with all the ethic baggage that carries with it. They claim Jindal uses ‘œPiyush’ on all official documents, for instance. So he’™s not hiding his race. No. Not at all. And the Republicans who love Bobby Jindal, they’™re sure not counting on their constiuency to be ‘œpost-racial,’ are they? Not so fast, not so fast.

I suppose that’™s the issue that niggles at me. In today’™s Washington Post, Krissah Williams Thompson notes that she’™s not post-racial, that the campaign trail this year wasn’™t ‘œpost-racial,’ even on the Democratic side, and that even the Barack Obama campaign does not give credit to this ‘œpost-racial’ notion:

In his speeches, Obama has never defined the kind of unity he seeks. It was commentators who dubbed his campaign a post-racial one and who have now declared that we live in a post-racial America. As Obama puts together his Cabinet, blogs and message boards are going crazy with discussions of whether he should be expected to appoint a team that’™s more racially diverse than were those of his recent predecessors. Others argue that his ‘œpost-racial’ campaign should not succumb to such quotas.

What the president-elect said about race eight months ago in a speech in Philadelphia, which he called ‘œA More Perfect Union,’ was much more complex than any cliched notion of unity. He described the country as being at a racial stalemate. ‘œContrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle,’ Obama said.

Cassandra Butts, a senior Obama adviser who is African American, told the Wall Street Journal in the closing days of the campaign that she doesn’™t consider Obama ‘œa post-racial’ politician. ‘œWhen people say that, they seem to suggest that we are beyond the issue of race, that issues of race don’™t matter,’ she said. ‘œI don’™t think that is necessarily the case. I don’™t think Barack considers himself post-racial in that way. He will tell you he thinks race does matter.’

I agree. For me, the goal has never been negating race through colorblindness ‘” to do so would take a healthy discussion of existing racial disparities off the table. My aim is not for us to be post-racial but to embrace our cultural heritages while refusing to be confined by them.

That last bit is the part I think Bobby Jindal and the Republicans are ignoring. This isn’™t about colorblindness. Color in our society has some pretty shameful connotations, certainly, but we can also celebrate color. I need not reflect on chains and on fire hoses when I think of black, but can also think of Odunde, of beauty. It isn’™t our job to ignore racial difference, but to value it. ‘œPost-racial,’ then, is a bit of a bunch of crap if one thinks of it as ‘œbeyond’ racial distinction. And that appears to me to be how Bobby Jindall has packaged himself, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Jindal is no longer Piyush, for instance, but Bobby. He is no longer a worshiper of those strange Hindu Gods, but is a very conservative Catholic in the Rick Santorum mold. He talks in a folksy bayou lilt, and never seems to refer to his racial background or ethnicity. I’™m thinking that’™s not what won people over for Obama, and it isn’™t any kind of reflection of what we’™ve got going on in this country today as far as race relations are concerned. there were many, many people on the right for whom race played a vital role in their not voting for Barack Obama. At least some of those Republicans are going to see through the Jindal disquise and see him as Piyush, the dark-skinned man who has a very white wife.

What is interesting, I suppose, is the standard evaluation that racism as a factor in voting is more prevalent in the South. The Republicans must be thinking that Jindal won in Louisiana, so race must not be a handicap for him, and besides, his name is ‘œBobby.’ If that’™s how they’™re thinking, my gut tells me they have it wrong, that they haven’™t adequately guaged the racism that lurks within their own party structure. I’™m thinking Bobby Jindal as GOP nominee for President in 2012 is a train wreck waiting to happen, that a whole bunch of the Republican rank and file are not going to see Jindal the good politician but Jindal the convenience store owner who is married to a white woman, and they just might reject that image. Were I Jindal, I’™d try 2016. The man is instead giving speeches in Iowa. Still, he’™s not a stupid man, so maybe he’™ll avoid testing the Republican constiuency until they mature just a bit more.

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

The Dirty McCain Campaign, Violating Ethical Standards One Day at a Time

The campaign is ugly all over, with threatened assault in Florida, for instance, and Chris Shay, a McCain Campaign Co-Chair, denouncing McCain’™s dirty campaigning. Worse is the blatant appeal by McCain and Palin for the LA Times to violate journalistic ethics in an attempt at another smear of Obama. They are playing for the xenophobia vote again.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Rep. Chris Shays (R-New England) is co-Chair of John McCain’™s Presidential campaign in Connecticut. That didnt stop him yesterday from commenting on the tenor the Palin/McCain campaing has taken this year. He also predicted an Obama win for next Teusday. Here’™s his words from CNNPolitics.com:

New England’™s lone House Republican appears to have publicly broken with his party’™s standard-bearer, saying John McCain has not run a clean campaign and is likely to lose his bid for the presidency.

‘œI just don’™t see how [McCain] can win,’ Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays told the Yale Daily News earlier this week. ‘œHe has lost his brand as a maverick; he did not live up to his pledge to fight a clean campaign.’ Shays, who in 2006 became the only Republican congressman from New England, perennially finds himself in a heated re-election race.

When even your own supporters are claiming that you’™ve run an awful campaign, both dirty and disorganized, you’™ve got problems. Yes, McCain has problems, and some of them are in his own camp. It appears from some comments, for instance, that Sarah Palin is using the next five days as a leg up to GOP leadership. But more important is that John McCain has lost almost every connection to objective ethics and truth. For instance, he’™s spent several weeks implying and overtly stating that Barack Obama is a socialist. Last night on Larry King he’™s asked point blank if Obama is a socialist. The answer? ‘œNo.’ Yeah, John McCain has been lying for weeks.

This last bit is not sensational or a ‘œgotcha.’ It has to do with journalistic ethics. If it gets any traction on the campaign trail, then you’™ll hear a lot more in the next couple days. Both Sarah Palin and John McCain are referring to the LA Times in their speeches, claiming the Times has a video where Barack Obama attended a party also attended by a former spokeperson for the PLO. Clearly they think they can sway Jewish voters if it turns out there’™s a picture of Obama hugging Rashid Khalidid, a friend. There are three problems here. First, this is another fishing expedition by the Palin/McCain campaign, and it is designed to make people think something more nefarious went on than a friendship. Maybe Palin and McCain don’™t understand that people actually do have friendships. Yes, even Barack Obama, who they also claim has been aiming to run for President for years with a blind ambition, stopped along the way to have friendships with people the Republicans could use for smears. Ho hum.

Second, the Palin/McCain team is contending that if the LA Times refuses to uphold journalistic ethics and the law, then they are in the tank for Obama. Yes, the Palin/McCain camp is overtly asking for violations of journalistic ethics that will get the LA Times in trouble legally. Ethics, evidently, equals ‘œliberal’ to the Palin/McCain campaing. Here’™s the LATimes on the subject of journalistic ethics:

Authorities on journalism ethics generally urge news outlets to share as much original source material with their audiences as possible. Two experts said Wednesday that The Times seemed to have gained information for its readers by agreeing to keep the tape confidential, while another expert said she would have recommended the paper push hard at the time of the original reporting to allow for it to be shared with the public.

All three said that once the agreement to keep the tape confidential had been struck, the newspaper had both ethical and legal reasons for abiding by it.

‘œThe calculus a reporter is making is: ‘What is the public good of getting the information and does it outweigh the limitations that the source wants me to put on the information?’™ ‘ said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. ‘œIn this case, knowing about this event and being able to describe it to readers seems like a pretty good trade-off for not being able to release the video.’

Bob Steele, a journalism values scholar at the Poynter Institute, agreed that the deal seemed sensible, though he advises reporters to avoid such agreements if possible.

‘œBut once you make the promise to protect a source or to protect information,’ Steele said, ‘œyou do not go against that promise, barring the most exceptional of cases, and this would not seem to be such a case.’

In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1st Amendment does not protect the media from breach-of-contract claims by sources with whom it makes confidentiality agreements.

It is not unusual, of course, that a Palin/McCain campaign with so little in the way of ethics itself would try to coerce a newspaper from violating its own code of professional ethics.

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

The Media Auto Know Better: Fueling Anti-Union Fires

The meida seems to propel the myth that the American workers, allied with those darned limosine liberals and the liberal press, are to blame for the recent crisis in the auto industry. That’s sloppy and inaccurate reporting and ethically wrong, but there’s nobody calling for a conference on news media ethics nowadays.

Commentary By: Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch

My local newspaper editor, as he does regularly, once again attacked unions as the problem in America. This is the same editor who once said “all the laziest goof-offs and goldbricks in the newsroom” where he began his career were union officials–and that the unionized New York Times editorial writers are nothing more than “limousine liberals.”

For this most recent attack, two days after Thanksgiving, he combined the economy with what he believes are greedy unions.
“[L]abor unions and their leaders are . . . distorting the truth about the American workplace,” wrote the editor.

First he set up Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, who said that “Tens of millions of Americans are working harder than ever just to stay afloat. The latest Census Bureau report shows that wages are dropping and more people lack health insurance . . . a greater percentage of the economy is going to profits than to wages.”

Then, he cut apart Stern’s statement by gleefully citing data from the pro-business pro-management U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber said that wages, adjusted for inflation, for workers rose 30 percent from 1967 to 2007. Now, 30 percent seems good–unless you do the math. That’s about three-quarters of one percent per year, far less than any executive compensation. The editor then added in about 30 percent for benefits. Of course, these benefits also include federally-mandated deductions, like social security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes.

As an afterthought, the editor claimed the “poverty rate dropped from 22.4 percent in 1959 to 12.5 percent in 2007,” mysteriously trying to connect a reduced poverty level with reduced union influence. What he didn’t point out was that 1959 was a recession year, and that between 2000 and 2007, according to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate actually increased from 11.3 percent to 12.5 percent. About 37.3 million Americans are living below the federal poverty level; about 40 percent of all Americans fell beneath the poverty line at least once in the past decade.

Sounding the alarm, the editor tied together Democrats and unions. “[T]he plight of the American worker will grow more dire in the new year, as Democrats push to pass their legislation. . . . The danger is that their union-friendly legislation will hurt rather than help the American economy.” To wrap everything up, the editor of a newspaper with the median circulation of all dailies in America concluded by asking his readers to “consider the current state of the once mighty American auto industry, and ask yourself: What role did the powerful United Auto Workers play in its downfall?”

It’s the workers–and those pesky liberal Democrats–who the editor blames for America’s economic crises. Unfortunately, this editor isn’t alone in his contempt for the workers.

Dozens of columnists and TV pundits spread the myth that the average auto worker at General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler earns $70 an hour–about $146,000 a year. That figure, supplied by executives at the Big Three, reflects every cost associated with labor, including “legacy costs,” which are are costs of pensions and health benefits for retired workers. Thus, the automakers added up every conceivable cost and divided it by hours worked (pensioners, of course, don’t work) to get the inflated numbers. The reality is that the average UAW member earns about $28 an hour, about $58,000 a year, according to the impartial Center for Automotive Research. What the news media fail to report is that the UAW made significant concessions over the years, including wage cut-backs at Chrysler and a 2007 contract for all three auto makers that created a “second tier” wage level of $14.50–$16.23 per hour ($30,160–$33,758 per year, still below U.S. average wage of $40.405, according to the Census Bureau), reduced benefits, and a retirement plan now administered by the UAW not the Big Three.
Others who attack organized labor claim that UAW worker earn far more an hour than their counterparts at non-American non-unionized auto manufacturers in the U.S., and that’s a reason why the Big Three are failing. However, the reality is that the average wage at the international automakers is estimated at $24–$25 an hour, less than a $3 differential an hour for UAW first tier workers, according to Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic. Even the most casual observer understands that it costs more to live in the Detroit area than the rural areas where foreign auto makers established their plants.

In contrast to the concessions given up by the workers, Big Three executives still earn multi-million dollar incomes. Alan Mulally at Ford earned $2 million last year, plus additional compensation totaling about $21.7 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ford lost $2.72 billion last year. At GM, Rick Wagoner earned $15.7 million last year, according to the Wall Street Journal, while his company lost $38.7 billion. Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli earned $1 in salary last year, but has significant compensation package that is not publicly disclosed. Chrysler lost about $2.9 billion last year.

But, much of the media and the American public still blame workers and liberal Democrats who are favorable to the union movement for the economic crisis that led the Big Three to rev up their corporate jets and descend upon Congress to beg for a $25 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.
Are the workers and those liberal Democrats to blame for car sales being down 45 percent in October for GM, 35 percent for Chrysler, and 30 percent for Ford from a year ago?

Are they to blame for the auto industry going for the quick profit by pushing gas-guzzling minivans, SUVs, and trucks, while foreign automakers began looking at more energy-efficient cars?
Are they to blame that demand for autos has fallen off because Americans were unable to get financing in an economic crisis caused by greed of investment companies, banks, and almost every corporation that issues public stock?

Are they to blame for the auto industry executives opposing public transportation and alternative energy cars?

Are they to blame for auto executives being wrong about just about everything and for spending too much on everything from golf club memberships to private jets?

Are they to blame for the 100,000 factory layoffs in the past three years that also meant more work and no pay increases for every remaining factory worker?

Are they to blame for the auto industry outsourcing its work to countries where labor is paid pennies an hour–and then reaping huge profits by downsizing America’s workforce?

Are the workers and liberals to blame for the auto industry cutting health care and retirement benefits in order to maximize profits?
Finally, are the workers and those liberal Democrats to blame because Big Three executives failed to understand that they needed to cut corporate costs when maximizing profits so they could reduce their losses during a Recession–or for when their own bad business judgments would cause a catastrophic melt-down?

It may be in the best self-interest of non-unionized media to perpetuate the myth that the economic problems of America are because of the worker. However, such sloppy and inaccurate reporting isn’t in the best interest of the people.

[Dr. Brasch is the author of the recently-published Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available at amazon.com, bn.com, and numerous independent and chain stores. He is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. You may contact him through his website, www.walterbrasch.com or by e-mail at brasch@bloomu.edu]

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Walter Brasch |
Category: General,Labor,Media

Katherine Harris and Another Steaming Cup of GOP Culture of Corruption

The gift that keeps on giving is the culture of corruption Karl rove, George Bush and the GOP built over the last 20 years or so. Mitchell Wade is about to be sentenced, and there’™s some information in the documents related to his sentencing that indicates Katherine Harris and a couple others may be the next targets. Isn’™t that sweet?

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The sentencing memorandum on behalf of Mitchell Wade is in, and there’™s some indications that he’™s told some stories about yet more Republican office holders who accepted illegal campaign contributions. Among those office holders is Katherine Harris, she of the Florida vote recount that was so pivotal to giving us the failure that is George Bush in 2000. Seth Hettena has the story, as does Politico. Here’™s a bit from Seth:

Mitchell Wade, the man who bribed Randy ‘œDuke’ Cunningham and then did much to speed the congressman’™s spectacular fall, is asking a judge to sentence him to a year of home detention for all the help he provided the government. Prosecutors don’™t dispute that Wade was helpful, but they believe that four years in prison is more appropriate for $1.8 million in bribes.

Would Cunningham ultimately have been convicted without Wade? Probably, but Wade made it happen much, much faster. He was debriefed 23 times by government investigators and supplied them a searchable electronic database of 150,000 documents, including the infamous ‘œbribe menu.’ And Wade’™s cooperation didn’™t stop with Cunningham. He provided damaging evidence against several others, including his testimony at the bribery trial of his former boss, Brent Wilkes, who’™s now serving time in prison.

A 42-page sentencing memo filed by Wade’™s attorneys says he aided the government in its investigation ‘œof at least five other members of Congress’ who were under investigation for ‘œcorruption similar to that of Mr. Cunningham.’ These no doubt include Virgil Goode and Katherine ‘œPink Sugar’ Harris. Wade wanted to open facilities in their districts and made $78,000 in ‘œstraw’ contributions to grease the wheels. Neither Harris nor Goode has been charged with wrongdoing.

Prosecutors drop tantalizing hints about an even bigger, ongoing investigation. Wade was debriefed in 2006 and provided ‘œmoderately useful’ background information in another ‘œlarge and important corruption investigation’ that also has not yet resulted in any charges.

‘œLarge and important corruption investigation?’ Man, this Duke Cunningham, Wilkes, Wade thing is the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, we all expect that there will be Republicans who escape the culture of corruption web they wove, but I’™m sure we’™re all hoping Katherine Haqrris gets caught in this one. This would be true justice in pursuit of voter fraud, eh?

Saturday, November 29th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Bush Claims Values High Ground, Slips, Falls

Bush was interviewed by his sister for NPR’™s StoryCorps, and he crowed about maintaining the high values he promised before he was elected. Bullcrap, unless he touted spying on Americans, needless war, politicizing government, etc. as examples of his high values. Tens of thousands of Iraqis die to bring the freedom of which he boasts.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

George Bush, in a few words about the legacy he feels his Administration leaves the nation, had a few words to say earlier this month. The interview was done by Bush’™s sister as a part of NPR’™s StoryCorps feature. The New York Times has a little feature on the exceprts of the interivew that have been posted at the White House web site. I’™ll comment on those White House bits:

Q How do you want to be remembered, and what are you most proud of?

THE PRESIDENT: I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process. I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’™m leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn’™t going to sacrifice those values; that I was a President that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them. I surrounded myself with good people. I carefully considered the advice of smart, capable people and made tough decisions.

Is he saying that his values included torture before he was elected? That those values included spying on Americans, included putting politics before justice, included appointing friends to positions of vital importantce and then standing there while a Brownie completely fucked up his job? Is Bush saying that his values measure Ashcroft and Gonzales and Rumsfeld and Brownie and all the incompetents he brought in as ‘œsmart? One thing can be certain about the Bush Administration, that he faced some severe challenges. The way he responded to them was to send the constitution to the shredder, attack others at random, and then alienate our allies around the world. There’™s no value there that I’™d be proud of, but Bush evidently follows a different notion of ‘œvalues,’ such as here, the very next sentence of the interview:

I’™d like to be a President (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace. . .

Evidently freedom for Bush is a value that far outweighs the torture of thousands and the deaths of tens and tens of thousands of innocent men women and children in Iraq. He doesn’™t mention any deaths in the interview. Perhaps senseless death fits just fine into Bush’™s sense of freedom. It is claer also that Bush has had seven years to confront terrorism, and here we have a massive terrorist attack in India just a week or two after he makes this statement.

The man claims his values have been consistent and he hasn’™t bent to political winds. To my mind that means Bush’™s values were defective from the get go. I imagine I’™ve got many Americans and peoples throughout the world who would agree.

Saturday, November 29th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

This Week’s Political Fiction/Yawner: Tweety Running for Senate

Arlen Specter’™s seat in the Senate is going to be challenged by none other than Chris Matthews of Hardball? Now there’™s a Celebrity Death Match I’™d yawn through. To be serious, we’™ve got a lot more urgent issues in this country than this potential race between Mr. Single Bullet theory and the wienie who is Chris Matthews.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Is he going to run against the Dinosaur Arlen Specter? Will Pennsylvanians get to see a real live celebrity coming to their town to campaign? Will someone finally make the single bullet theory a campaign issue? Will Tweety be able to keep his big yap shut and act like a politician, or will that even cancel out his celebrity? All good questions, and the web is in a tizzy the last few days over the possibility of Chris Matthews gearing up to run for Senate in 2010 in PA. Sorry, I’™ve been more productive those last two days yawning and such. Is the latest news from the center of the state of PA, Patriot News? I suppose so:

Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC’™s ‘œHardball,’ isn’™t ready to say he’™s running for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, but he continues to talk with top Democrats about the possibility.

Matthews met with state Democratic Party officials this week to talk about challenging Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010. He met with Democratic State Committee Chairman T.J. Rooney and executive director Mary Isenhour in Washington, D.C., to discuss the logistics involved in a Senate run.

Isenhour said she left that meeting convinced Matthews has not made up his mind about running.

This story of Chris Matthews coming back to PA to run for Senate is capturing the hearts and minds of nearly everyone. Man! Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and Huffington Post is giving advice on how Tweety could beat Specter. Quinnipiac has run a poll pitting Matthews against Specter. Fivethirtyeight.com is running a story about how Chris Matthews is staffing up for a Senate run, and Talkingpointsmemo is running a story with a Matthews nondenial denial about staffing up. There’™s a frenzy going on, and if I were smart I’™d just stay out of it.

I’™ll settle on a yawn. First, the PA Senate seat isn’™t so important. Arlen Specter will be running for his last term in office, he’™ll be in the minority and during a Democratic Presidency to boot. I don’™t mean to praise Mr. Specter any, but the Republican Party has changed mightily since he first ran for Senate, and while he’™s not been all that mavericky, GOP values are not Specter’™s values. One imagines that he’™s tired of having felt the whip these last few years as the Republicans forced him into line time and time again. All this is to say that I’™d not concentrate any national money here in an effort to unseat Specter, as there are plenty of other Republicans I’™d rather see get the boot. Sure, SPecter has done some dispicable things while Bush is in power, but now a Democrat is in power, and I fully expect Specter to turn into the wind a bit. All this is to say I don’™t see this seat as a huge priority.

Matthews? Why would we want Matthews as a Senator? He hardly makes a good TV talking head. If it weren’™t that Matthews was a God in comparison to his counterparts over at FoxNews, we’™d think Matthews was some kind of numbnut hick who couldn’™t report work a pile of crap. Matthews has already got the world in the palm of his hands anyway, what with the Chris Matthews Show and Hardball. He’™s the darling of all the talking heads and the heir to the Russet mantle. Why the heck would he want to go to the Senate, assuming he could beat Specter?

OK, ok, I know Matthews has a long history in politics, that he wrote speeches for Carter, worked for Tip O’™Neill, b lah, blah, blah! Yeah, I’™ve watched Hardball enough that I know the stories by heart. A strong bio does not make a candidate, a hot gossipy news story, or even anything all that interesting. There is a simple bottom line.

Look, Arlen Specter huffed and puffed and threatened to stand in the way of the Bush Administration spying on American citizens. Then he backed down and let the Bushies abuse our sivil rights. Bad Boy, Arlen. Tweety won a Media Matters of America Award for ‘œMisinformer of the Year’ in 2005. It’™s not like we’™d be replacing Specter with the higher priced spread or something. In fact, this would be like replacing day old white bread with day old whole wheat. Still day old, still not all that much nutritional vale, and both of them would be squashed by poltiical pressure as easily.

This is a stupid issue for all sorts of folks to be getting excited about.

Saturday, November 29th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

“All My Rowdy Friends” Are Senators?

There is talk that Hank Williams, Jr., the man with the scraggly beard and sunglasses who plays to tens of thousands of drunken fans, may be a Republican candidate for Senate in Tennessee in a couple years. Williams would be challenging GOP incumbent Bob Corker. What next, Ted Nugent to run for Congress?

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Hey, he’s got Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander in his pocket, does Hank Williams, Jr., or so it is reported by Country Music Television. The word out there is that Hank Williams, Jr. is going to run for Senator Corker’s seat in Tennessee in 2010. No word on whether he will be using this picture for campaign material.

My goodness. Yeah, Williams is bound to appeal to the base there in Tennessee, but the Republicans sure are scraping the bottom of the barrell here. It isn’t just the hard partying image Williams has nurtured for 30 years that they might want to avoid at all costs. It isn’t even those pictures of Hank with naked women, or the videos that are bound to come out of extreme drunken fans at his concerts. The guy seems nuts to me! How could a party be so irresponsible as to run a nut for Senate? I mean, come on! The guy reworked his song that celebrates drug and alcohol abuse, as well as family, “Family Tradition,” into a song of praise for the McCain/Palin campaign – that isn’t what I’d call good political instincts.

To set the record straight, Real Clear Politics is reporting that there’s been no decision made as to whether Hank will actually run for the Senate in Tennessee:

It was reported recently that country music singer Hank Williams Jr. plans to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee in 2012 – the next time a Senate seat is up in the state. An intriguing notion to say the least, but no announcement has been made yet, according to Williams’s publicist.

When reached for comment by RealClearPolitics, a spokesman for Williams’s publicist, Kirt Webster, said Williams “has talked about it, but no announcement has been made.”

That this story actually made the light of day is a measure of the kind of desperate straights the Republicans are in. Very, very desperate.

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 |

Whack Job Scenario: SCOTUS to Decide Election

The whack jobs are trying to get the Supreme Court to review whether Barack Obama was really born in the US. They will fail, but they’re all excited. Clarence Thomas accepted the challenge to the conference of the SCOTUS, which pretty much seals his reputation as a partisan hack. It’ll be fun to watch regardless.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

WingNutDaily is reporting today that the Supreme Court has accepted the Philip Berg challenge to Barack Obama’s citizenship for conference on December 5th. It appears the case was first submitted to Justice Souter, who denied the request. When resubmitted to Justice Thomas, one of the Justices who helped decide the 2000 election, the petition was accepted. The hearing will be December 5th, 10 days before the Electoral College meets on Decemeber 15th.

The right wing whack jobs are going all nutso over this one. Philip Berg, a whack job from here in Philly, is the lead on this action, and his web site, www.obamacrimes.com, is going nuts. (Isn’t it odd that they have a web site devoted to crimes by Obama a full two months before he is inaugurated?)

Let’s just say this. If the Supremes, in their infinite wisdom, decide to invalidate documents recognized by the State of Hawaii, when this Supreme Court has been steadfastly behind the notion of state’s rights, then there will surely be riots in the streets. That this case was accepted for review by Clarence Thomas seals his dismal legacy.

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |
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