GOP Attacks Pearl Harbor with Robocalls

The GOP is getting blasted for voting against the largest middle class tax cut in history, so they’re launching Robocalls. Among their targets is Neil Abercrombie (D-Honolulu), the Congressman who has known Barack Obama since childhood. Since Abercrombie won 70% of the vote in 2008, this Robocall attack is really aimed at Obama.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Let slip the dogs of war. For Republicans, that means the Robocalls.

Barack Obama just ordered the Treasury to follow through on tax cuts for 95% of all Americans. It’s part of that stimulus package the GOP voted against en masse. Of course, the GOP, after supporting the largest deficits in history during the Bush Administration, think they can play gotcha because the stimulus package involves deficit spending. So they’re taking off after a Democratic Congressman who they think is vulnerable, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii. They’re setting loose their prime weapon, the Robocalls! Here it is from the Honolulu Advertiser:

The recorded “robocalls” mention Abercrombie’s vote for “nearly a trillion dollars in wasteful spending” but do not say that the reference is to the stimulus legislation.

Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the committee, says the calls were being made because Honolulu Councilman Charles Djou’s 2010 campaign for Abercrombie’s seat has shown “early signs of success.”

What we seem to have here is a severe lack of judgement. Just four months ago there was an election in Hawaii where Mr. Abercrombie captured 70% of the vote. That’s not the usual statistic that prompts political advisors to think “target.” No, going after Neil Abercrombie makes no sense, not that the Republicans have been oozing competence lately or anything.

So I’m betting this is an attack on Barack Obama back wehre he grew up. You see, Neil Abercrombie holds the distinction of being the only member of Congress to have known Barack OBama as a child. Indeed, Neil Abercrombie knew both of Barack Obama’s parents back in the day. This is, then, the GOP Robocall Pearl Harbor attack on Barack Obama.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Scalia, Thomas, WingNutDaily: Is There a Difference?

There’s not much difference between Antonin Scalia/Clarence Thomas and WingNutDaily as concerns supporting partisan divisiveness and whackjobbery. You can see that in the fake controversy and conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama’s US citizenship, to which Thomas and Scalia are giving tacit credit.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Last week I wrote about how the right wing pretend news magazine WorldNetDaily was using the phony issue of Barack Obama’s citizenship to bilk its readers. First, they pretend there’s a big issue, then the issue goes to Conference at the SCOTUS, then they ratchet up the need for all their oh-so-concerned readers to send notes to the SCOTUS members, while WingNutDaily makes a profit. The Donofrio case, which had been brought to conference by Clarence Thomas, was turned down for review without comment yesterday. In the meantime, Antonin Scalia has moved another case, Cort Wrotnowski v. Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut secretary of state, to conference, which, according to Donofrio himself, makes the exact same argument as the Donofrio case, which just got turned down.

Be that as it may, the interesting thing here is not the old news that WingNutDaily is still milking this issue in order to bilk its readers. We know already that WingNutDaily will push any conspiracy theory to serve their need for making money. What we didn’t know is that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia appear to be in on the act. At the very least, since they brought these bogus cases to conference, it is hard to tell the difference between them and the most extremist and whacked out of the right wing. There’s a little of that frustration peeking out in the reporting by Tampabayonline, but mostly there’s wonderment at the shear whackjobbery of the people who so fervently believe in the conspiracy theories about Obama’s citizenship. Read some of this:

The slim chance the Supreme Court might act on this issue was enough reason for Bredow, 49, an affable Internet publisher, to drive 10 hours from Bethlehem, Ga.

He had received hundreds of thousands of hits and messages of encouragement while questioning Obama’s citizenship on his Web page,, and in a video he posted on YouTube.

“People started pounding on me, saying, –What are you going to do?’ ” Bredow said. “And I said, –Well, okay, why don’t we do a march on the 5th up in Washington?’ And so here we are.”

All 19 of them.

His fellow skeptics included a mom and her teen daughter from Williamsburg, Va., a retired Marine from Virginia, a pilot from South Florida, and Pam, a young black woman from Texas who said she never bought the story that Obama was from Hawaii. “I have never heard him say –Aloha,’ ” she said.

This just goes over the top. Someone born in Hawaii evidently has to prove that fact by saying “Aloha” once in a while? These folks are completely whack. I mean, seriously, look at the reaction from a guy named Bredow, who had traveled from Alabama to the Supreme Court to march with 18 friends before the Donofrio conference the other day. Even though Donofrio was denied without comment, this guy still has hope:

The word came down midmorning Monday: denied. No explanation, no comments.

Bredow got the news back in Bethlehem. He spent a couple of hours reading the court’s rules, in search of an explanation.

“Donofrio wasn’t what you would call a constitutional lawyer. He might have just goofed something up on the application,” Bredow suggested.

Members of Congress still could call for hearings, he said. And he has heard about some anonymous fraternity brothers in Hawaii on the hunt for Obama’s birth records.

“According to these guys – I guess they have to protect themselves legally – but according to these guys, they went to all nine hospitals in Honolulu, and they have not found Obama’s name,” he said. “So there’s still other little things floating around there.”

He stakes his hope on the work of some anonymous frat boys. Of course, he stakes that hope on Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the two most vocal conservative Justices in a long, long time. Let’s get serious here. The Supreme Court rarely overturns the elected decisions of the people. This election this year was pretty decisive. Of course, the fact of Barack Obama’s mother being a natural born citizen makes him one, too, but besides that, there are seven people on the Supreme Court who do not look at the world through such partisan eyes that they’ll credit such whackjobbery. Only Scalia and Thomas are willing to give this whackjobbery legs.

Which brings us to the question in the title of this post: what’s the difference between WorldNetDaily and the Scalia/Thomas wing of the SCOTUS? Only profit motive. Both WingNutDaily and Scalia/Thomas seek to roil up the whack jobs and undermine our duly elected President. WingNutDaily and Scalia/Thomas seek to ratchet up partisan divisiveness. Sure, we know the role of SCOTUS does not include partisanship, but Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas seem bent on proving us wrong on that score.

Friday, February 20th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Bryan Lentz and the Coffin Flag Controversy

Bryan Lentz is a veteran and a young Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Today the right wing Philadelphia Inquirer asked Lentz to defend the policy of nt allowing press photographs of the flag draped coffins of servicemen on their return to the US. Lentz failed logically in presenting his arguments.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Barack Obama recently said his people would be reviewing the policy of not allowing photographs of soldiers coffins, draped in American flags, to be photographed by the press as they return to Dover from wherever that soldier died. As the proud owner of the flag that draped my father’s coffin, I believe we should honor all of our soldiers, their commitment and their service, by noting, with solemnity. I just don’t see how photographing the coffins impedes that goal. But the Philadelphia Inquirer, in its neverending pursuit of defending George Bush’s policies, has brought in Bryan Lentz, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, to defend that policy. Lentz shows just how weak he is at structuring an argument in said defense when he discusses the notion of free speech and how it impacts the ruling.

Here’s the offending paragraph from Bryan Lentz in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

For those who say the First Amendment requires unfettered public access, I say – in this limited case – the First Amendment be damned. Free-speech protections don’t encompass yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and they shouldn’t include intruding on mourning military families.

There’s a world of nonsense in Lentz’s words here. First, the yelling “Fire” example is an example of one area where we may limit speech because yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater can be a major safety hazard. There is no safety hazard to taking press photos of flag draped coffins. Lentz’s analogy is simply stupid. If Lentz can find precedent where free speech is inhibited in order to spare the feelings of mourners, then he might find the proper precedent, but there’s no evidence in these cases that photographs of flaf draped coffins harms anyone’s ability to mourn. Indeed, there are no names on the coffins, and thus there is no privacy violated when photos are taken of those coffins.

Bryan Lentz has put up some straw men arguments to defend a Bush policy that helped sanitize a war where Bush asked for no sacrifice from the American people, then tried to shield our view from the ultimate sacrifices he did require. Americans in general were impeded under the Bush Administration, through a limitation of free speech, to take part in a national mouring in a significant way. We were not required by Bush to sacrifice, and we were limited by Bush in experiencing the sacrifice of others.

I respect Bryan Lentz’s service to our country. Indeed, and in the interest of full disclosure, I have touted his campaigning in the past, for instance here, where I touted his plan to challenge Curt Weldon a few years ago. Bryan Lentz may have heartfelt reasons to want the coverage of flag draped coffins of servicemen to be stifled, and I can respect those heartfelt reasons. I just can’t respect his use of faulty logic in defense of those policies.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Pete Sessions (R-TX) Learns from the Taliban

Pete Sessions compares the Republican obstructionist position concerning the stimulus bill to the insurgency of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Really, he did! Well, we successfully pinned the “culture of corruption” tag on the GOP a few years ago, and Sessions opens us up to coining another tag. How about “The American Talibanskis?”

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Pete Sessions is a a Representative from Texas. Waco. Maybe that explains it. He’s also Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The other day he likened the House resistance to the stimulus plan to Taliban insurgency. I’m thinking there are no lessons one wants to learn from the Taliban, but Sessions went there, really he did. From Hotline:

Frustrated by a lack of bipartisan outreach from House Democratic leaders, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said House Republicans – who voted unanimously last week against the economic plan pushed by President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – will pitch a “positive, loyal opposition” to the proposal. The group, he added, should also “understand insurgency” in implementing efforts to offer alternatives.

“Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. “And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban – I’m not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that’s not what we’re saying. I’m saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with.”

What this is is a pouty Republican whine gone wrong. No, I don’t think Sessions means that the Republican Party is just like the Taliban, but it is clear he has learned the lessons of the Taliban, lessons the Bush Administration did not learn, thus failing to wipe them out. Maybe Sessions sees himself as a glorious freedom fighter who when he takes charge will force women into bhurkas. Heck, I don’t know. The guy really pulled a stupid one here.

But this really is just a whine. His poor party was not invited to control the legislation. Barack Obama invited all sorts of Republican leaders to the White House, travelled to and made unprecedented trips to the House and Senate to consult with Republicans, and Sessions is whining that he and his fellow insurgents couldn’t control the election. Hey, maybe if they hadn’t supported Bush as he trashed the constitution, ran up record budget deficits, ruined the economy (I could go on), then Sessions and his cohorts wouldn’t have lost so many seats in the House and Senate. After all, that’s the real reason they aren’t controlling the legislative agenda. That’s how it works in our democracy, after all, the ones who got the votes run things. Hey, Pete – tough!

But let’s be clear. Sessions’ statements about running his Party as if it were the Afghanistan-based Taliban insurgency is in fact the new core value of the Republican Party. Obstruction is the word of the day, and has become the core ethic for the GOP. As Eric Cantor describes it, it is the political strategy of “Just say NO!” Here it is from the Washington Post:

Three months after their Election Day drubbing, Republican leaders see glimmers of rebirth in the party’s liberation from an unpopular president, its selection of its first African American chairman and, most of all, its stand against a stimulus package that they are increasingly confident will provide little economic jolt but will pay off politically for those who oppose it.

After giving the package zero votes in the House, and 0with their counterparts in the Senate likely to provide in a crucial procedural vote today only the handful of votes needed to avoid a filibuster, Republicans are relishing the opportunity to make a big statement. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban, and the GOP these days does have the bravado of an insurgent band that has pulled together after a big defeat to carry off a quick, if not particularly damaging, raid on the powers that be.

“We’re so far ahead of where we thought we’d be at this time,” said Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), one of several younger congressmen seeking to lead the party’s renewal. “It’s not a sign that we’re back to where we need to be, but it’s a sign that we’re beginning to find our voice. We’re standing on our core principles, and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty. That was the tallest pole in our tent, and we took an ax to it, but now we’re building it back.”

The second-ranking House Republican, Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), put it more bluntly. “What transpired . . . and will give us a shot in the arm going forward is that we are standing up on principle and just saying no,” he said.

We succeeded in the last several years in attaching the phrase “culture of corruption” to the GOP brand. Now it is time to find a new phrase. The “Architects of Obstruction?” There’s a good one. But I’m thinking you all can do better. Think of it as thinking up a band name for a punk rock group. It has to be offensive and descriptive at the same time. “The American Talibanskis” might be a good name. But I’m never any good at this. You all feel free to come up with some suggestions, willya?

Monday, February 9th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

“Journalist” Needs an Editor: Writes About Obama Fantasies

The New York Times hits a new low. Columnist Judith Warner writes about the fantasies she and her friends have involving the Obama family. Yes, that is journalism today. This isn’t about Obama working on our economy, sparring with Putin, or even about him christening a new Aircraft Carrier. She wrote about Obama fantasies.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

OK, some will claim that a blogger employed by the New York Times is still a blogger, not a journalist. I don’t agree. The woman is a professional writer published by the New York Times web site, and evidently has a contract to write one blog a week, but since Judith Warner’s called a blogger I guess it’s all OK that she writes about her fantasies of Barack Obama. OK, I don’t want to come off as a prude or something, but spare me!

OK, here’s the scenario. Judith Warner, the writer in question, had a friend. They both fantasized about Barack Obama. As Warner notes, “two anecdotes are just one short of a national trend,” so she emailed all her friends in search of a third anecdote. It all seems like a story out of Sex in the City or something, and thankfully Warner doesn’t give us the graphic details of her own fantasy, except for the shower scene. . .

I’m trying to wonder what in the world would make a manufactured trend about people fantasizing about Barack Obama a trend. Sure, the feminist movement taught us that “the personal is political,” but that says nothing about journalism, does it? And, sure, Judith Warner chronicles some fantasies that just aren’t sexual, like a woman wanting to invite Michelle Obama, Sasha and Malia over for tea and cookies. (No, none of that’s euphemistic.) So the fantasies here are not exactly sexual. Warner’s point is that people in general think of Barack and Michelle Obama as approachable, someone they could be friends with. Gosh, there’s a journalistic hook, eh?

Let me get one thing straight. From 2000 through 2008 we had a President selected because he was supposedly someone you could drink a beer with. It was good old boy leadership. I don’t want that anymore. George Bush brought with him too much incompetence, corruption and mismanagement, and we’re paying for it now. I want a man who knows more than I do, who can dissect complicated issues far better than I, who can be decisive and who people listen to. I don’t have any room there for a guy who shows up in my shower in my dreams. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as they say. And I want serious journalism out of my New York Times!

Look, NYTimes editors, I can do you a flavor. I promise to write you three columns a week for the price Judith Warner is charging you for one column. I promise two of them will include my deepest fantasies. I’m thinking right now of the diaper elf who will sweep into my bedroom at 4:30 in the morning and change my son, feed and burp him, and return him sleeping whilst I continue sleeping. Hey, that’s a fantasy, isn’t it? There are a few million parents who have the same freaking fantasy, I GUARANTEE, so by Judith Warner’s logic that makes a story, right?

Good God, I’m thinking the New York Times needs to go under. That troubles me more than I can express. I’ve been reading newspapers daily for 41 years, ever since I started that newspaper route when I was 11. I have bought the Sunday Times every week for nearly thrity years, enthralled by the entertainment section, entrapped by the commentaries, and puzzled by the Sunday crossword. Even through the Judith Miller Fiasco I was not one to call for the dismantling of the New York Times. Hey, even great old gray ladies make mistakes. But I am sure saddened today, when the New York Times actually pays someone to chronicle her friends’ fantasies about rubbing elbows with the Obama family. Man! I just want to tear my eyeballs out or something.

Sunday, February 8th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Capitalism At The Crossroads: Time To Wing It?

History has long recorded humanity’s dabbling in the elaboration of the latest “ism”. Rarely do we recognize the demise of one “ism” in the midst of the emergence of its replacement. While America debates the Obama administration’s stimulus plan, we seem reticent to discuss the merits of capital “ism”. Doing so could be an important step towards embracing the underlying humanism we frequently ignore.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

In Beckett’s “Waiting For Godot”, time is both passed and suspended in anticipation of arrival. Neither the passage of time or the thoughtless suspension of its value is a worthwhile endeavor…yet so much of the human condition is spent accordingly.

Fortunately, the ebb and flow of life frequently compensates for this miscalculation and we are rarely forced to face the futility of our allegiance to being unaware.

At the same time, history, in retrospect, has meticulously recorded such periods of ambiguous angst with the application and affirmation of a seemingly all-encompassing “ism” of merit. Sadly, we humans rarely understand our migration from one “ism” to the next…at the moment it transpires…frequently leaving us in the same suspect and suspended scenario as those waiting for the transformational Godot to arrive.

America, in its quaint yet quixotic commitment to the courtesan we call capital “ism”, is being confronted with such a stretch of meaningless moments…waiting anxiously and aimlessly for the arrival of someone or something to remove the paralysis that permeates our propensity to participate in the chain letter economics that powers our Ponzi scheme psyche…even though we “share” in the ironic experience of watching our pyramid collapse under the weight of its own egocentric and ignoble ideations.

Two events provide perspective on our predicament – one a calamity and the other a harbinger of hope. The former, 9/11, brought us together long enough to offer consolation and condolences before scurrying out the door with our credit cards and the cash created by our homage to home equity high jinks…in hopes of perpetuating perceptions rather than recognizing realities.

The latter, the safe landing of an aircraft on the Hudson river and the preservation of every single passenger’s life, allowed us to reconnect with the principals and perseverance associated with the mythical America and the essence of the collective spirit that had come to define it…all of which evaporated so quickly following 9/11.

Here’s the problem. Today, Captain Sullenberger’s landing on the Hudson is no longer just a job well done or an act of American stick-to-itiveness; rather it must be morphed into an extraordinary act of unexpected hero “ism”…a deed beyond the pale…an act of selflessness in a society all about the self. In America, tragedy is synonymous with litigation and triumph with accolades…both of which have material enrichment as their expected outcome. Hence American decency is but a function of fault or fame…not an intrinsic component of character.

As such, in this dark hour of economic uncertainty, the core constructs of capital “ism” still trump our actual ability to embrace the noble identity that gave it life. Like spectators at a Gladiator match, we sit on the sidelines of our “Super Bowl” society admiring the exceptional athlete or the precise pilot…ever focused on the means and methods to our own nascent notoriety…never mindful of the inevitable intersection of motivation and moral maturity.

Let me be clear, when I mention moral maturity, I am not invoking an absolutist ideology or an adherence to religion; rather I’m imploring us to understand the essence of our shared humanity. Moral maturity is not the means to superiority…it is the simple act of enabling and embracing equality in lieu of cachet and celebrity. In fact, doing so not only fosters an appreciation of altruism over the accumulation of assets, it disarms the drive for deification by substituting the satisfaction of service for the seemingly endless search for the satiation of selfishness.

Should there be any doubt as to the dubious nature of our situation, and therefore our ever expanding and suspect sense of entitlement, look no further than the latest Gallup Poll on the merits of the President’s stimulus plan. Only 38% of respondents believe the stimulus plan should be passed as proposed by Barack Obama. Another 37% are in favor of a stimulus plan but they believe it must include major changes.

While the majority of Americans favor Congress’ passing some type of stimulus plan, there is remarkably little confidence on the part of the public that the plan would have an immediately positive impact on the U.S. economy. Americans are also pessimistic about the plan’s potential positive impact on their own families’ financial situations.

There’s only one way to interpret these numbers. Self-interest is the primary motivation that drives debate in America. Confronted with the worst economy since the Depression, and an uncertain future, most Americans cannot view the stimulus plan absent the bias of the status quo…and most of our elected officials must be included in this group. The shortsightedness is astounding.

A comparison may help explain my concerns as well as my contention that capital “ism”, in its current form, is no longer viable. Let’s start by assuming that our economic situation is dire. If so, then one should be able to construct a scenario to evidence the gravity of this moment as well as the complacency that has grown out of our commitment to the tenets of capital “ism” as they have existed since the Watergate years.

For this exercise, let’s assume that NASA has identified an asteroid heading towards earth in ten years and that its trajectory puts the U.S. at great risk. Now suppose that in response, our government decides to establish safe shelters in all major metropolitan areas. Logically, one should be able to presume that Americans will get behind the effort and pitch in to insure that the country is prepared for the worst. One should also be able to expect that individuals will put self-serving objectives aside in hopes of achieving maximum safety and survival. In other words, while some people might feel slighted by the placement of shelters…or other aspects of any response plan…the gravity of the situation undoubtedly dictates that such concern is set aside in order to work towards a collective solution to an anticipated crisis.

Notwithstanding, I’m of the opinion that our adherence to a “me first” mentality may well preclude our ability to react effectively to this or any other plausible threat. Therein lies the inability to visualize the risks of maintaining our seemingly insolent and intransigent mindsets. You see; the instincts we momentarily demonstrated in the aftermath of 9/11 still exist. Unfortunately, the fact that we so easily slipped back into more of the same doesn’t portend well for addressing the current economic crisis…a crisis that is more than a glitch in the U.S. economy…a crisis that won’t be solved by imploring Americans to go shopping…a crisis that is the leading edge of a reordering of the world and the manner in which we humans serve as stewards of this earth…and therefore whether we will be purposeful proponents for the ongoing existence of humankind.

The fact that so many of us latched onto the “Miracle on the Hudson” as a tangible measure of the enduring human spirit serves to illustrate the paradox we seem so unwilling to acknowledge. On the one hand, we marvel at the fact that a trained pilot was able to land an airplane on water…yet we forget that absent years of training…a concern by the flight crew for the safety of their fellow man…and finally…the presence of wings…it not only couldn’t have successfully landed on the water…it would have been unable to support and sustain the 155 individuals who stood upon those wings while waiting (and believing) that kind and compassionate passers-by would come to their aid.

America is a plane in trouble…but our fate need not be dependent upon the heroic acts of a select few. At the same time, we must be wise enough to listen to those who may have more insight. This plane of ours will never achieve a safe landing if each of its passengers demands their turn in the cockpit…regardless of ability. The role of being a good citizen is also an act of hero “ism”…even if it means sitting quietly in coach while the pilot brings us to safety or helping an elderly passenger make their way onto the wing once the plane has landed.

America can no longer wait for our Godot to arrive. We needn’t a savior or a heroin…we needn’t aspire to the adulation we believe accompanies a seat atop the pyramid…we needn’t support or negate our leaders based upon political ideology…Godot is every man and every woman…Godot is merely a belief in each other predicated upon the notion that we grant the humanity we seek…Godot need not come if he is already here…Godot does not exist if we need him…humanity does not exist if we betray it.

If we humans are too survive, it’s time for us to wing it…which is nothing more than believing that the service of humanity floats all boats…as well as the plane in which we are all passengers. Fighting over the stimulus plan while the plane is crashing is absurd. Human “ism” may lack the glitter and glamour of capital “ism”…and it may mean less in a few pockets but more in most…but it may well be the only remaining “ism” of consequence.

Its merits will never be fully known if its value is never fully affirmed…yet it has always been there for us to accept. If it isn’t adopted in the here and now, history will fail to recognize and record it. You see, in the absence of humanity, there is no future. If there is no future, there will be no history. In the end, all “isms” lead to the same destination. We can travel willingly or we can jeopardize our very existence. The waiting must end…the wings exist. There’s room for everyone.

Cross posted at Thought Theater

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 by Daniel DiRito |

Next Right Wing Conspiracy Theory: Obama’s Hitler Oath

The latest conspiracy is forming in Right Blogistan, combining Hitler and Obama. They say Obama is forcing soldiers to take an oath that swears allegiance to him rather than to the constitution, just like Hitler forced on the Wehrmacht. They didn’™t notice the oath already swears obedience to the President, and has for a long, long time.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The Freepers are freeping about it, and they are talking about it all over the right wing whack job side of the blogzome. Here, here, here and here, for instance. Supposedly the story begins with a writer named Michele Chang at Jumping in Pools, but it is an awfully tangled web of whackjobbery to untangle.

The gist of the whole whacked out story is, and let’™s remember this is pure fiction, that Barack Obama has proposed that soldiers take an oath to him, not to the constitution. Yikes! Watch out for the black helicopters! Get your wives and sisters and daughters in the house and bar the door! Here’™s the alarming text from Ms. Chang, or a segment of it:

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is extremely frustrated with orders that the White House is contemplating. According to sources at the Pentagon, including all branches of the armed forces, the Obama Administration may break with a centuries-old tradition.

A spokesman for General James Cartwright, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states that the Obama Administration wants to have soldiers and officers pledge a loyalty oath directly to the office of the President, and no longer to the Constitution.

‘œThe oath to the Constitution is as old as the document itself.’ the spokesman said, ‘œAt no time in American history, not even in the Civil War, did the oath change or the subject of the oath differ. It has always been to the Constitution.’

Chang later calls the action equivalent to the oath the Wehrmacht took to Adolf Hitler. My, my, that’™s scary. Well, it would be if Michelle Chang had bothered to give us a source here, name a spokesman, or give any facts that could be followed up. Particularly odd is her quote saying the soldier’™s oath has never been changed in our history. Gosh, the US Army’™s own web page about the history of that oath mentions how it has evolved. You’™d think they’™d know, wouldn’™t you? Or maybe they are in on the conspiracy, eh? Yeah, that’™s it, the US Army is in on the conspiracy headed by Barack Obama, a conspiracy whereby all soldiers are forced to take this oath:

‘œI, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.’ (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Look, look! Obama didn’™t even have to argue with Secretary Gates! The military is already required to take an oath to obey the President! It was George Washington who started this conspiracy, knowing all about how the Wehrmacht would steal the oath and also knowing that Barack Obama, a Kenyan or Indonesian or Manchurian or something, would come along and, just like all the other Presidents in our history, have regular soldiers take this oath.

Man, the right wingers are stupid.

Friday, January 30th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

The Real GOP Whiney Fear: Pledge of Allegiance, to Obama?

The next case of whiney GOP panic is going to be about both the pledge of allegiance and Barack Obama. This will likely show up at the right wing blogs in a day or so, then FoxNews will pick it up. For now, it is obscure and stupid instead of mainstream and stupid. Either way, it is GOP whining at its best.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Well, there’™s always periodic GOP panic over the word ‘œGod’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. And there is extremist GOP panic about nearly everything concerning Barack Obama, including his religion and his name and his birthplace. The next panic will combine both of these issues, and it will make its way to the national spotlight within a couple days. As for now, it is on the Daily Blaze, here on the internets:

A parent in the Clark County School District of Las Vegas, Henderson area reported today that his son, who is in 1st grade, came home yesterday saying that he didn’™t want to go back to school anymore.

When asked why, the boy said that during the Pledge of Allegiance the teacher put up a large image of Obama next to the flag.

Thinking that the boy might be exaggerating, the man asked his son if he was sure, and suggested that by ‘œlarge’ he might mean an 8–—10 photo of the president. The boy apparently said ‘œNo, it is a large picture of Obama and when we are done, the teacher turns off the image.’

Yes, the whine is that all American children are soon going to be forced to pledge their allegiance directly to Barack Obama. Perhaps there also will be secret radio waves checking to make sure the children are sincrere in their pledge, the first step in making the children Obama Zombies.

Of course, as is usual with the nascent GOP whiney case of panic, there’™s something that rings false here. Sure, marketing would say that the notion of ‘œcaring for the children’ is a good excuse to act, but please don’™t tell me a first grader was scared by a picture of Barack Obama. No, that part of the story doesn’™t ring true. What does that make this? It makes this whole potential case of GOP whiney panic based on the exploitation of a child. No SCHIP for Republicans, but if they can falsely enlist their children in the cause, then that’™s OK.

The only other mentions of this story is on a right wing blog called Red County, and also on right wing whack job Alex Jones’™ web site, Prison Planet. I expect this fake controversy to spread until people start wearing their stupid lapel flag pins again.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Blogger’s Butt: May be a Hoax

The dreaded condition Cello Scrotum has been officially debunked today, and doubts have been shed on Guitar Nipple. Here’™s hoping that Blogger’™s Butt is also a hoax, as such news will be welcome around the globe. Stock in pajama manufacturers are expected to go through the roof with this news.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Blogger’™s Butt is a condition widely discussed on the internet, so much so that there’™s advice here and here on how to prevent it. But after today’™s revelations about Cello Scrotum, one wonders whether Blogger’™s butt is actually a hoax. For the latest information on Cello Scrotum, we go to Yahoo News:

‘œCello scrotum,’ a nasty ailment allegedly suffered by musicians, does not exist and the condition was just a hoax, a senior doctor has admitted.

Back in 1974, in a letter to the British Medical Journal, Elaine Murphy reported that cellists suffered from the painful complaint caused by their instrument repeatedly rubbing against their body.

The claim had been inspired by reports in the BMJ about the alleged condition guitar nipple, caused by irritation when the guitar was pressed against the chest.

But Murphy, now a Baroness and a former Professor of Psychiatry of Old Age at Guy’™s Hospital in London, has admitted her supposed medical complaint was a spoof.

‘œPerhaps after 34 years it’™s time for us to confess we invented cello scrotum,’ she wrote with her husband John, who had signed the original letter, which was published in the BMJ on Wednesday.

I must confess to a fear of Blogger’™s Butt, and last year entered into an exercise regime where I do sit-ups while cradling my laptop in my arms. Lately I’™ve been doing Jack curls while feeding the little one, too. I can be sure, there’™froe, of not developing ‘œBlogger’™s Butt, but now, since it has been shown that Cello Scrotum is a hoax, conditions such as Guitar Nipple and Blogger’™s Butt may come under scrutiny.

I’™m sure this is good news for some of you. Now it is off to change out of these pajamas for me.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Obama Acts, Cornyn Whines, Specter Snivels

Barack Obama denounced torture in his Inaugural speech, and now he has signed four executive orders helping to end the practice by US personnel. John Cornyn, on the other hand, is holding up Eric Holder’s AG nomination because Holder won’t swear not to prosecute torturers, or those who gave the orders. Specter is with Cornyn.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Surely it should have dawned on Senator John Cornyn Tuesday that there’s a new regime in town and that Barack Hussein Obama will not tolerate torture. Surely he hard this section in Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

Maybe Cornyn didn’t understand the Inaugural address, and that’s why he’s holding up Attorney General nominee Eric Holder’s confirmation? Well, if Senator Cornyn did not understand Barack Obama’s stand on torture, then the executive orders Barack Obama signed today just might get through Cornyn’s thick skull. Heck, maybe Cornyn needs some help from George Bush to understand this, after all, Cornyn is thought to be one of the stupidest Senators in the Senate. But back to Obama’s executive orders today. He is closing Gitmo within a year, forming a commission to figure out what to do with the inmates at Gitmo, some of whom are dangerous, eliminate torture by US personnel by requiring the strict adherence to the US Army Field Manual, and special circumstances concerning Ali al-Marri. Sounds to me like there’s a new sheriff in town.

But Senator Cornyn wants to leave that sheriff without his chief officer, the Attorney General. Why does Cornyn oppose Eric Holder’s nomination? Holder has yet to say whether he will or will not prosecute cases of torture perpetrated by US personnel. Cornyn is defending those who have tortured on the floor of the Senate. He’s taking up the cause Bush didn’t have the stones to do when he failed to give a blanket pardon to all who tortured in Bush’s name.

Senator Cornyn isn’t the only one who wants the torturers and those who ordered them to go scot free. Here’s a bit from the Washington Post report:

But even as Cornyn was getting out of the way of one appointee to President Obama’s Cabinet, he raised new questions about another. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided yesterday morning to delay a vote to send Holder’s nomination to the full Senate while lawmakers attended the morning National Prayer Service with Obama. The hearing was rescheduled for yesterday, but Republicans then requested a one-week delay on the nomination that Democrats were required to grant under committee rules.

. . .

Holder has generated more controversy than any other Obama nominee and was sharply questioned in an appearance before the committee last week. Many senators, including some Democrats, said they were troubled by his role in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich in the final days of the Clinton administration.

Led by the ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), GOP lawmakers also said they had more questions for Holder about whether he would favor prosecuting Bush administration officials for their involvement in warrantless wiretapping and harsh detainee interrogation practices. Cornyn said he would press for Holder to take a stand on the Military Commissions Act, which the Texas Republican described as providing interrogators with immunity from prosecution if they believed they were acting legally.

So Snarlin’ Arlen is right there with his buddy John Cornyn. I’m sick of Arlen Specter. He may have a reputation for bipartisanship, but Arlen Specter failed to protect us from Bush’s authorization of the use of torture, he failed to protect us from Bush’s politicization of the Justice Department, he failed to prevent domestic spying, and he now looks to be a failure in tracking down just how the Bush Administration instituted its regime of lawlessness. Maybe he’s got a magic waterboarding theory or something that makes everybody immune.

OK, I’m angry at Arlen Specter once again. If there is any man in the US Senate who knows his own complicity in allowing the Bush Administration destruction of the Department of Justice, it should be Specter. And if Specter has a hope in Hell of negotiating his way to victory in 2010 against Allyson Schwartz or Pat Murphy or Joe Sestak, then he needs to show that he understands that the rule of law is important. Murphy and Sestak, at least, will pound him on the issue, and they’ve both got battlefield cred. Any of those candidates will use this opposition to Eric Holder as Specter trying to give one last bone to Bush, who abused the constitution far worse than any President we have had in years. For Specter’s own sake he needs to get behind Holder immediately.

I know someone who is having lunch with Mr. Specter tomorrow. OK, I know several someones, and I just might pass along a question and see if one of the folks, Specter donors all, will ask it. Give me some suggestions, please, but make them politic, something that can be asked in a roomful of people who know the constitution well and are dedicated to defending it.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |
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