Discourse and Assassination: McCain/Clinton vs Obama

Hillary Clinton’s assassination quote is far more problematic than I originally thought.

Frankly I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt in the light of what I felt where more serious offenses, but I think I was wrong to do so. Kevin noticed some interesting trends in terms of how people responded to her quote:

At the primarily white blogs, there is much debate over whether or not what she has said is offensive (I won’t bother repeating it here since it’s been posted everywhere) and yet when you look at black bloggers, and other bloggers of color, there is an almost unanimous agreement that her remarks were reprehensible. I also noticed that in the links being provided by blog authors and commentators at the primarily white blogs, to support their agreement or disagreement with the offensiveness of Sen. Clinton’s statements, all are to other primarily white blogs and white bloggers. I find this problematic because I’ve seen a lot of comments on these blogs to the effect of “anyone who thinks that her statement was truly offensive is paranoid, a nut case, delusional, incapable of rational thought, etc,” and this leads me to think that a lot of people just aren’t taking into consideration, let alone even reading and listening to the black and other bloggers of color that Clinton’s statement has affected not only on a political level, but on a deeply personal level.

As I was writing a comment, I saw something I hadn’t seen before. In spite of whether or not her quote had ill intention behind it, or whether she was referring to herself or Obama as RFK, her comment has helped push the idea of assassination further into mainstream discourse. Fox is apparently making cracks along the same lines (although they are decidedly more “fringe” in terms of content, in terms of reach they are effectively mainstream).

The other problem with Clinton’s remark is that it shares something reprehensible in common with John McCain’s jabs about who he imagines Hamas would like to see elected. The one thing that was utterly clear and unmistakable about Hillary Clinton’s comment was that she was saying we should structure our primaries based on the possible actions of violent racists. That we should be moved to action by fear, that is the lowest sort of pandering. It is the lowest sort of pandering because it debases us. It reduces us to animals, to prey, scrambling to avoid the predators without any care for who we scratch, bite, or leave behind in the process. It appeals to our feral nature.

When it comes down to it Barack Obama began as a candidate of convenience for me, the person I judged least likely to utterly betray Democratic ideals (and given his past support (with Clinton) of Lieberman during his primary, I was quite wary). But the man is doing what he can to elevate the national discourse. What Hillary ignores and McCain *sometimes* pretends to do, Barack Obama accomplishes.

When I think of the notions of liberty, and what it means to be an American, I think of bravery and an unwavering commitment to human rights and ethical principles. I don’t ascribe to the “what it should mean to be an American” school on this. This is what it has always meant to be an American, even if only a relative few people throughout history have seen it and lived it. If ever anything was un-American, it is an appeal to be ruled by fear. It is that appeal, in both McCain’s Bush-like “the terrorists want you to vote Democrat” and Clinton’s “we should have a backup candidate in case one is shot”, that is offensive on a visceral level.

We can do far better than that. We can appeal to hope and raise up our spirits and our innate courage. And we can win.

[Edit: Oops, the post was written by guest blogger Kevin, not Nezua.]

Hillary Clinton Must Go

She shouldn’t be given a leadership position as a “consolation prize”.  She shouldn’t be bailed out by Obama or the party.  It has gotten to the point where Hillary and her supporters have showed their true colors, and the resulting picture is a nasty one.

Hillary Clinton’s threatening civil war within the party if she isn’t offered something.  In return for what?  There’s certainly value in ensuring Hillary’s supporters are listened to, especially in such a close race.  But the candidate herself is doing everything to make this a painful and damaging process for everyone.  That should not be rewarded, it should be condemned.

Arguments to make the vote “count” in Florida and Michigan are beyond cynical.  As Greg Saunders points out, her position utterly disregards the will of the voters, the integrity of the process, and the impact of her divisive actions (emphasis mine):

It’s stunning to me that Hillary Clinton supporters would have the audacity to claim that the popular vote is a metric that we should be using to determine who should get the Democratic nomination while at the same time insisting that Obama shouldn’t receive a single vote for Michigan. I’m ambivalent about whether or how the MI and FL delegates should be seated, but if you’re going to hold yourself up as a champion of voting rights and insist that the popular vote is a more legitimate way to gauge voter intent, then it’s pretty craven to chase a strategy whose only purpose is to cut into Obama’s lead with the implicit conclusion that not a single person in Michigan supports Barack OBama.

But, you might argue, Obama chose to take his name off the ballot and therefore his lack of support is just the result of his own choices. Well, if we’re going to follow the rules to the letter and punish candidates for their choices, then it bears repeating that the rules state that Michigan and Florida don’t count and that the Clinton campaign made the choice to agree to the DNC sanctions against these states. If you’re only going to recognize the rules that help Hillary Clinton win, just drop the self-righteous bullshit about your sterling commitment to democracy and be honest enough to admit that you’re only interested in Florida and Michigan because you think Clinton is a better candidate.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and all of the other Democratic candidates competed under the same rules and Clinton lost. Now she’s trying to work the refs and is trying to change any rules that might keep her from winning. That’s understandable, but when you wrap your attempts to move the goalposts in a veneer of moral superiority and question the values of your opponents (specifically, questioning whether or not Obama supporters believe in voting rights), don’t be surprised if you piss a lot of people off.

I’m willing to give Mrs. Clinton the benefit of the doubt on her RFK gaffe.  But she’s literally tearing the party apart when we desperately need to pull together to undo years of structural damage to the foundations of our government and way of life.  And all to satisfy this intense sense of entitlement that smells more like Lieberman’s independent run than the underlying commitment to our nation’s deepest issues she showed during the NH primary.  Its a huge waste of talent.  This primary should not have been a “last shot” to the NY Senator.  But with the way she’s bungled things and the misplaced priorities she’s shown, it looks like it is.  The more she gnashes her teeth and lashes out at Democrats, the more I am ok with that.

Seasteading: Ocean Micro Nations Ahoy!

Apparently there are people investing in seasteading.  The Seasteading Institute plans on creating practical housing on the sea, and maybe spurring some micronations.  I love this quote (emphasis mine):

“There’s a history of a lot of crazy people trying this sort of thing, and the idea is to do it in a way that’s not crazy,” said Joe Lonsdale, the institute’s chairman and a principal at Clarium Capital Management, a multibillion-dollar hedge fund.

That would be key.

We Shouldn’t Bail Out Hillary Clinton

Why? Because from the start her campaign was one afforded momentum mostly by her own sense of entitlement (and to a lesser degree by the novelty of being a female candidate). Because she’s staying in when the fight is clearly over. Because she’s hurt our chances in November by initially suggesting McCain would be a better president than Obama, just to further her chances in the primary.

Finally, there this piece of pure outrage (Pandagon). Hiam Saban bribed and threatened young super delegates to vote for Hillary:

But this isn’t just bribery. It was backed up, it seems, with an implicit threat. Basically, gangster negotiations.

Members of the Young Democrats agonized about the potential fallout of Saban’s call; his financial offer represented one-third of the group’s 2008 budget. Democratic officials and fundraisers were consulted about how to respond, and at times the discussions were “emotional,” one participant said. “It is scary for them, Haim is very powerful, he has great influence over donors who give to them.”

Another source said that Hardt and others were acutely aware of Saban’s status within Democratic circles and were concerned that their organization would suffer long-term harm if they declined his offer or if news of the proposal became public.

“I said I thought that the appropriate response was to call Haim back and say thank you but we are not interested,” said the source. “I also said that it was surely the case that this story would get out because it is too interesting not to and they should think about how to deal with it. It was a day or two [before they responded]. They felt afraid. They were like, ‘Holy shit, this is Haim Saban.’”

They were afraid. I’m so angry right now I’m spitting. This is how we treat young people who are interested in electing Democrats now?

I can’t emphasize how much my decision to go with an Obama endorsement over a Clinton endorsement has to do with remaking the campaign strategies of the Democrats. All other issues are pretty much moot if we can’t win. And part of what’s going to move us towards more winning is getting the millennial generation to consider themselves loyal Democrats. There’s a ton of them , and Obama’s campaign has done a bang-up job of getting young people on board. If he wins with this strategy, then people who want to employ it will have a lot more leverage in the future.

Hillary couldn’t raise funds and used her personal wealth to force her sense of entitlement on the Democratic party. We shouldn’t expect the party or its leaders to waste resources being responsible for her hubris when we could use those same funds to win vital elections.

McCain’s Strategist Impacts Obama

Mark McKinnon promised to leave McCain’s campaign rather than face Barack Obama, a man he deeply respects.  His departure sends some strong signals.  Those are obvious.  What is interesting to me is that he chose now to do it.  It is certain at this point Obama will become the nominee.  That said, McKinnon’s departure still strengthen’s Obama’s standing, and implicitly lightly knock’s McCain’s, despite his promises to continue to support the Arizona Senator.

Its a small movement, and one likely to be lost as the Clinton campaign dies noisily and McCain struggles to distance himself from parts of Bush’s administration while aligning himself closely with other aspects.  But its a very interesting one.  Especially as his foreign policy is criticized.  Obama is a natural Diplomat, in marked contrast to McCain.

Lieberman Asks Youtube to Remove Terrorist Videos

No word yet on whether or not the videos are under copyright.  From the article:

In a blog posting, YouTube said it welcomed the dialogue with Lieberman but noted that “most of the videos” his office had drawn to their attention “did not contain violent or hate speech content” and had therefore not been removed from the site “because they do not violate our Community Guidelines.”

Lieberman made a mistake.  If he was going to call for the removal of material that showed people being killed, that’s one thing.  If he’s going to use strident language and simply flag videos he does not agree with, he weakens his own argument.  Although one wouldn’t expect such a stalward supporter of the war in Iraq to understand that sometimes it isn’t wise to overreach.

Specter Calls to Finally Investigate Illegal Spying On Americans?

That’s what I first thought when I saw an opinion piece from SI.com on google news.  I quickly realized the venerable congress critter was talking about investigating a fucking football spying scandal.

The chances of anyone in the Bush administration ever seeing justice for illegally spying on Americans?  Still zero.

McCain’s Close Connection to his Radical Preachers

When Obama distanced himself, John McCain has closed the distance between himself and theocratic preachers with radical agendas.  Via Elizabeth:

With all of this coverage of Rev. Wright, why is it we never hear about John McCain’s fraternization with the radical preachers John Hagee and Rod Parsley? Hagee made headlines in 2005 for saying that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for hosting a gay pride parade. And now Mother Jones has published footage from one of Parsley’s sermons where he claims that “America was founded in part with the intention of seeing this false religion [Islam] destroyed.” Watch the whole clip:

Unlike Obama, who has tried to distance himself from Wright, McCain actively sought out the endorsements of Hagee and Parsley. He has not repudiated their bigoted remarks, and continues to make public appearances with them. And yet, not a word from the mainstream media.

That would be the John Hagee behind the crazy church visiited undercover by a reporter for Rolling Stone.

Living Liberally has a list of the “10 most outrageous quotes” from McCain’s preachers.  You’d think given McCain’s close political relationship with these men, the media could spare some time and space to report a little.

The Christian Resistence and Hot Mermaid Action

Sometimes people are abominably silly:

A Christian group called “The Resistance,” having solved all other God-related problems in the world, has turned its considerable ire toward Starbucks, which recently re-introduced its original logo from 1971 as part of an attempt to …. well, I don’t know what, really. I assume it’s to make people nostalgic when they walk in and think they’re not paying $4 for a cup of coffee. Anyway, this guy Mark Dice had this to say about the old logo …

“The Starbucks logo has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute. Need I say more? It’s extremely poor taste, and the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks.“

In addition, “The Resistance” is apparently calling for a Starbucks boycott


It appears to me that it’s a topless mermaid, holding the ends of her fins, which look somewhat like fried shrimp (mmmmmmm …..). Does anybody besides Dice look at this and see something that looks like a “prostitute”? I mean, it’s a friggin’ mermaid. The entire point of a mermaid is that she doesn’t, ya know, have legs and, thus, is incapable of spreading them. She also appears to be some sort of queen mermaid, considering that crown on her head. Either that, or she just came from Burger King and is looking for her post-Whopper frappuccino.

But can this guy possibly be serious? And is anybody buying it? And does anybody else think the mermaid actually has legs to spread? And does anybody else think the mermaid is hot?

For what its worth, I thought I saw pineapples before I saw fried shrimp.

Asif Ali Zardari Betrays Nawaz Sharif

Sharif is pulling his party out of the coalition government, and the reasons why couldn’t be more clear:

Zardari and Sharif signed a pact in March promising to restore the judges by April 30 but Sharif extended the deadline until May 12 because of Zardari’s foot-dragging.

Musharraf purged the judiciary during a brief period of emergency rule as he feared the Supreme Court could rule unlawful his re-election by the outgoing parliament in October.

The case against Musharraf could be revived if the judges are brought back, but Zardari is wary of confronting the president.

Zardari signed the pact and took no action.  Now Musharraf is stretching out on the bench:

The split in the coalition, analysts say, would be welcomed by U.S. ally Musharraf, who came to power in a 1999 coup and only quit as army chief last November. The humiliating loss of parliamentary support in February polls had left him isolated.

The questions for Zardari are, why did he sign the pact if he had no intention of following through on it?  And what is his commitment to a democratic Pakistan?

What is Hillary Clinton Doing?

As Hillary Clinton heads into a meaningless victory in West Virginia (in terms of the primary), Democrats across the nation can be heard whispering “please don’t stab us in the back!“.  Which is understandable, given her past statements that she considered McCain a better candidate than Obama!  (And we wonder why some of her supporters have threatened to vote for George W Bush’s heir).

Onetime Democratic contender John Edwards was more delicate in his warning that Clinton be careful how she campaigns in the few remaining primaries.

“She has to be really careful she’s not damaging our prospects, the Democratic Party and our cause for the fall,” Edwards said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The hilarity doesn’t stop there.  Hillary is literally shooting herself in as many feet as possible.  If she’s left standing after this election, it’ll be a testament to the cynical power of entitlement within the ruling class.

Bullshitting Against Feminism

In an otherwise sharp post (a professor suing students?  wtf?), hairybeast let’s loose some really smelly bull:

Back in the 1980’s, feminists ran into a scientific wall. Their assertion that the genders were equal in all things (aside from certain surface physical abilities) began springing leaks when science departments on campus (who had originally been recruited to prove the truth of this) started collecting data that belied this article of feminist faith. Like a series of underground A-Bomb tests, the controversy rumbled below the surface for years. The controversy pitted geeky science profs against hairy-legged feminists (neither likely to get laid by the opposite sex) and became so toxic that womens studies departments even picketed their own science departments. But most of the battle was conducted in faculty meetings, with feminists flexing their political muscle to squelch research projects they now knew were likely to produce results inimical to their faith, or throw heretics out of the bunker (*Cough! Larry Summers!). But the truth eventually leaked out.


The sexes (sex being physiological, gender being pyschological) do have differences.  Women have a slightly larger corpus callousum.  They don’t have a smaller forebrain.  They don’t have a shriveled husk of a hippocampus.  In short, the idea of a biological basis for any observable differences in the performance of men and women in particular fields isn’t supported.  Not by science anyway.  But pop science might have a few pointers for desperate anti-feminists.  Speaking of desperate, what’s with the hairy legged feminist stereotype?  Seriously, you’re breaking that out hairybeast?  And they have trouble getting laid?  Nice.  Way to imply this professor just needs to get laid.  Haven’t heard misogynistic tripe like that before.  Very original sir.

The only truth about differences between the sexes is the very real barriers our society constructs and heavily reinforces.  And that is a truth far too many people refuse to acknowledge, let alone tackle.

Having taken classes where a professor considered disagreement with his politics evidence of lack of effort on the part of the student, I think what this professor did was incredibly stupid and shitty.  Why couldn’t hairybeast have pointed that out without trotting out an irrational hatred of women and liberals?  (all while accusing the same of irrationality with a deeply seated irony.  Bonus.)

A Strong Case Against Hillary Clinton

Bob Harris sums up my biggest problems with Hillary Clinton superbly:

let’s review: in the wake of 9-11, it wasn’t just George W. Bush telling the world “every nation has to be either with us or against us.” It was Hillary, as you can hear for yourself.

In October 2002, during the debate about giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq, it wasn’t just Dick Cheney telling the world in that Saddam Hussein had links to Al-Qaeda. It was Hillary, as you can read for yourself.

And in February 2005, it wasn’t just John McCain claiming that democracy was taking root in Iraq, and that the insurgency was in its last throes. It was Hillary, standing physically shoulder-to-shoulder with John McCain, as you can see for yourself.


When it comes to Bush, Hillary Clinton can’t draw enough contrast with John McCain to be a viable opponent.  Barack Obama can.

Obama on McCain’s Bush Problem

Stuff like this really makes me dig Obama(emphasis mine):

Turning his rhetorical aim on Republican John McCain, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama just told cheering supporters in North Carolina that he’s running for president to prevent what he calls a “third term” for President Bush. “At this defining moment in history –- a moment when we’re facing two wars, an economy in turmoil, a planet in peril –- we can’t afford to give John McCain the chance to serve out George Bush’s third term,” Obama said

Perfectly phrased.  Literally.

Obama, Clinton, and Political Favors

If you like Obama’s whole mantra of change, this ought to piss you off(emphasis mine):

She has ruled it out, but a prompt withdrawal from the contest for the Democratic nomination offers Sen. Hillary Clinton the prospect of major rewards.

One of the most inviting is the near certainty that the Obama campaign would agree to pay back the $11.4 million she has loaned her own bid, along with an estimated $10 million to $15 million in unpaid campaign expenses.

In addition, Democrats, both those who are loyal and those who are opposed to her campaign, say the odds of her winning a top leadership spot in the Senate would improve dramatically if she gracefully conceded now. The icing on the cake includes an improved political climate, giving Hillary and Bill Clinton the opportunity to heal the rift with the black political community.

“If she leaves the stage gracefully, as Gore did in 2000, she will be able to rebuild her political capital within the party fairly quickly, and over time most of her perceived and real sins will be long forgiven and/or forgotten,” said Dan Gerstein, a Democratic consultant and Obama supporter.

Political favors, seniority, and other “business as usual” bullshit are precisely the sort of politics the Democratic party should be avoiding.  Especially if Obama, the candidate of change, wins the nomination.

Hillary Clinton has both positive and negative points, to be sure.  And the large numbers of Americans voting to her should be respected.  At the same time, she should not be entitled to increased influence in congress as a consolation prize.  Part of the problem with Hillary Clinton’s campaign is the distinct, thick smell of entitlement.  For those who value democracy, rewarding entitlement would be a glaring irony.  Unfortunately as demonstrated with Lieberman, it wouldn’t be out of character.