Monday, May 22, 2006

Gore Is Up, Hillary Is Down


He has a new movie out and a mouthful of hard-hitting rhetoric. The left is clamoring for the mother of all comeback, the much-rumored presidential candidacy of Al Gore. This cover story in the June New York Magazine details the why and the how on Gore's possible emergence from the political wilderness.

The answer seems to be no, according to the story in the New York Observer. Could all the Gore for President talk be stemming from Hillary's propensity for hemming and hawwing like Gore, circa 2000?

Illegal immigration is the new gay marriage. Is there more to Bush's border plan? Joshua Holland at the Alternet believes the administration's contempt for the little-known Posse Comitatus Act, which forbides the domestic use of the military, may be used at the Mexican border as a precedent for controlling Americans in the future.

Gen. Michael Hayden, Bush's nominee to the CIA, is supposed to be so bad, but why wasn't he grilled by members of Congress for many poor decisions and possible illegal programs while at the helm of the NSA?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tar Baby! Why Stop There! How 'Bout Porch Monkey?


Newly-minted White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, at his first and maybe last press briefing

When watching the clip of Tony Snow utter what surely will become an infamous line, "I don't want to hug the tar baby", it's notable that he doesn't flinch or show any inkling of what he said despite audible gasps and nervous chuckling from the White House press corps.

Did Snow misspoke? The White House is saying nothing but some are quickly taking a contrarian stance by highlighting an alternate meaning to the phrase tar baby. It ironically means putting yourself in a sticking situation, but the unfortunate use of the term quickly conjures a grostesque connotation, but, this is not the first time Snow has use this term.

In a 1999 column, now posted on the website of the Jewish World Review, Snow used the term referring to President Bill Clinton and the Balkan Wars.
Most congressional Republicans are guilty of appalling cynicism and silence. They figure Clinton has hugged the tar baby in the Balkans and they want to watch him writhe.

The term originates from "Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby" seen here. For those who find the term and its imagery acceptable note the unfortunate appearance of Uncle Remus.

Could this mean that in a single press conference, Snow has raised the bar of ineptitude over that of his predecessor, Scott McClellan, who had the poise not to refer to the African-Americans surrounded by floodwater in New Orleans as "porch monkeys".

It may be surprising that someone of Snow's stature and genteel temperament could casually use such a term, but it also points to an administration that at times, has been openly and unapologetically hostile to blacks. The thing is that the Bush White House has this demeanor regardless of skin color. The only difference here, is with a shocking 90% of the demographic voting against Bush in the last election, blacks are the only one's wise to it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Politics Of Poor Poll Numbers


That the President's poll numbers are astonishingly low is quite a curious fact, but the reality of such unpopularity is playing out today in Washington.

Isn't it peculiar that the confluence of national security and civil rights comes together the same week that the President nominated Gen. Michael Hayden to lead the CIA? It's more telling that the USA Today is being credited with rehashing three-month old news. In this AP story that is leading many local newspapers, the headlines blare that millions of Americans were snooped upon by a NSA-led covert action devised by the very same Gen. Hayden.

That AT&T/SBC, Verizon, BellSouth handed over phone records just after 9/11 was a national furor over three months ago. The difference? Low poll numbers combined with a collective resignment in Washington that Congress may well switch hands come November.

When President Bush picked Gen. Hayden, under the presumption that he was a Pentagon-friendly nominee, the impetus to take action by Republicans in Congress against such a perceived defender of abusing civil rights has become one of very few plays for the GOP to play. Not only did they allow the President to drag us into this Iraq quagmire, but they also let this guy listen to our private conversations?

To hear once loyal Republicans openly question whether a military man leading an important civilian job would have seemed treasonous (it may actually become literally treason if things continue as they are) a mere six months ago.

This is what happens to politicians that stake their livelihood on the heels of a hollow, yet once-popular President. When the winds of change swirl around their hands they jump ship like the rats they are. If such rational thought lied within the GOP back in 2001 and after, controversial legislation like the Patriot Act, highly dubious forays into Iraq and covert plans to snoop on Americans would have been honestly debated, instead of forwarded with a wink and a smile.

Instead, the impending Democratic majority will have a crowded aisle of opportunistic Republicans come November, calling for ethics in government and a return to the America of old (presumably, for Republicans, when they could get away with anything).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

HUD Chief Has A 'Disconnect' With Democracy


If Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson really did withhold a government contract because of the applicants political beliefs against President Bush then the Republic's future is in doubt.

The story on the Raw Story website and the calls for an investigation by two Democratic Senators is troubling on many fronts. So much so that it may encompass everything that many feels is wrong with our government since Bush took office five years ago.

Is the procedure for gaining access to the Republican controlled leadership in Washington so brazen that the HUD Secretary feels comfortable enough to volunteer this story?
"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'

"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe.

This backward logic somehow made sense to this African-American Secretary of the HUD. It never crossed Jackson's mind that this sort of patronage afflicts blacks and many minorities everyday?

Above all, these sort of comments from a high-ranking government official should cause the highest alarm among Americans. What Jackson did is clear-cut political censorship and should not be tolerated in the least bit before it becomes the de facto law of the land.

A Defense Secretary who incompetently leads the military into quagmire is deemed a patriot, but a little-known black secretary of the HUD who says stupid things is easily expendable.