Tortured Logic on Torture

 Crime, Featured, Politics, Presidency, Society  Comments Off on Tortured Logic on Torture
Apr 262009

Wooden_stocks.jpgSen. John McCain was on Face the Nation Sunday morning, and the contortions he went through to let the previous administration off the hook for their illegal torturing was astounding.

He starts off reiterating that he and his (ahem) friend Lindsey Graham talked to Al-Qaeda operatives who said that U.S. torture was a main recruiting tool they used. He goes on to try claim that it was all just the result of some bad legal advice…despite being sure he took credit for passing a law prohibiting torture. So, it was important for him to get the bill passed, but not important for the Bush regime’s lawyers to read it?

They are still trying to get traction with the canard about it being all about settling political scores, and how we just move on and take care of the two wars we are in. Again, what score does Obama have to settle. He didn’t even serve a full term in the Senate, and he wasn’t running against Bush. And McCain has the gall, after the campaign he ran, to say, “We need a united nation, not a divided one.”

Early in the interview McCain makes the claim that he believes no other Administration will ever make the same mistake (of using bad legal advice…I guess), and torture again. But then he tries to use the Ford pardon of Nixon as a justification to move on. Obviously, not pardoning Nixon allowed the Bush administration to believe, as Nixon said, “if the President does it, it’s not illegal.” This is incredibly twisted logic.

But here’s the real kicker to it all. While McCain is arguing that there should be no retribution against the legal hacks of the Bush/Cheney Regime, he says (after admitting we violated the Geneva Conventions), “and by the way, those who say our enemies won’t abide by the Geneva Conventions…uh they will if they know there’s going to be retribution for their violation.”

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Nov 102008

Last Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was certainly a bittersweet time. As I’ve said before, I’m not one of the millions of Obama-maniacs, but I was glad he won. I think America will soon be in far better hands than she is now. I was even more pleased to see a good number of hateful and bigoted Republicans kicked to curb, and their nasty campaign rhetoric repudiated. Obviously though, the passage of the three anti-marriage amendments was a great disappointment.

Obama's First Press Conference as President ElectThe Big Picture

Obama was clearly the winner, and it seems he did it with a tightly run and disciplined campaign. One of the heartening parts of his campaign was that it was funded to a record-breaking level by millions of smaller donations from everyday people. They relied on thousands of volunteers, and brought an untold number of new and younger people into the political system. And I don’t mean just newly registered voters, but more important, people who made an investment of themselves into the campaign. I think that is critical in trying to restore democracy to this country. However, it means those millions have a vested interest in his success. That cuts both ways. It means he should get support, but people will expect results.

Certainly both sides ran attack ads. That is to be expected, but I found Obama’s to be a lot fewer and a lot less nasty. The McCain just went out of their way to be disrespectful to Obama, and hateful in the messages they were putting out. I saw nothing but negative ads from the McCain campaign. At various times throughout the campaign, especially from the end of September during the economic collapse and through the election, McCain gave off a very real attitude of panic and foundering. It was clear that he and his campaign were struggling to find a voice. Obama seemed to remain calm, decisive and above it all…in short, he came off as more Presidential, and I think the voters perceived that.

What Was Different

I believe there was also something of a perfect storm of events and changes in the world that made this election different. Many of these were things the Republicans could not, or didn’t, account for. In the end, I think they make our democracy stronger.  Continue reading »

Social Security and The Economy

 Election, Politics  Comments Off on Social Security and The Economy
Sep 192008

I seem to recall that George Bush was all in favor of privatizing Social Security and having us all put all of our retirement funds in the stock market. I have a 401K at work. Unfortunately the company doesn’t contribute to it, but that’s not what this post is about. I checked yesterday, and my annual rate of return on it so far this year is -24%. (Yes, that’s a minus…negative in front of it.) So where would people be who depend solely on Social Security if their accounts had suddenly taken a 24% hit.

Mr. Reformer, John McCain, voted three times with Bush to privatize Social Security, and has repeatedly stated he supports privatization. I’m glad to see the Obama Campaign calling him out on it.

Closing and Layoffs-Fundamentals Are Fine

 Business, Election, Featured, Politics  Comments Off on Closing and Layoffs-Fundamentals Are Fine
Sep 172008

If, like John McCain, I had a wife worth $100 million dollars, I guess, like him, I too would probably think the economy was just fine. I don’t have a significant other that is worth that, in fact, he like me, probably has negative net worth. Based on what I’m seeing around here with a lot of closings, the evidence is pretty strong that we’re into a major slowdown.

Some weeks back, Lay and I went to a TGI Friday’s up on Hills borough Ave., and it was closed. I now the whole chain didn’t close, but that was a surprise. Of course there was the big news of all the Bennigan’s closing suddenly, but we also had the local Hardee’s close unannounced several weeks back.

Lay called me a few nights ago from work to tell me he’d noticed that Checkers down on Gandy had closed, and then last week I turned into the Sonic on Gandy to get a sandwich, and it too is closed. Now it was kind of poorly run lately, but it seems odd that all these closings are happening so close together.

Friday night, I saw a friend who is in the packaging business. His company had laid off some people, but he thinks he’ll be OK. Jabil, a major employer in St. Pete announced they were laying off over 100 people. I was chatting with the guy at the car wash near the house. I go there with some regularity, and he said there business was way off.

I’m not sure why, but one of the saddest closings for me was the Albertson’s grocery store in Britton Plaza just around the corner from the house. We have a Publix about equal distance from here in the other direction, but I liked Albertson’s. First, they didn’t seem to move things around every week, so after shopping there for about nine years, I knew where things were, and could get in and out. It was a busy store, but never as busy and hectic as the Publix. Frankly, I don’t like Publix. They cram too much into their stores, and you can barely pass in the aisles, and the distance between the front shelf end caps and the registers is about the width of two grocery carts. On busy days, you just can’t get through that store, and the people are never nearly as nice as everyone at Albertson’s. Supposedly Publix will open in the space vacated by Albertson’s, so at least some of the crowd will get spread around, but I’ll miss Albertson’s.

We’ve seen a bunch of large financial companies crashing and burning. Layoffs are happening, and businesses are closing. I don’t mean this as a political statement, but the wild west days of the Bush administration have allowed a lot of this runaway crash happen, and now Phil Graham, McCain’s primary economic adviser says we’re all just whiners, and things are really fine, and John McCain said just yesterday that the economy was fine. Some months ago McCain admitted he didn’t know much about the economy, but he is now running ads saying he’s the person that can fix Wall Street…and people are falling for it. Go figure.

White House Still Pushing Torture

 Congress, Corruption, Crime, Politics, Society, War  Comments Off on White House Still Pushing Torture
Dec 052005

Reuters has a story saying that the White House has been meeting with Sen. John McCain in an effort to obtain an exemption so that the CIA can torture people.

I continue to find it abhorrent that we are even discussing how this country might use torture. It’s proven to be ineffective, so to what end is Dick Cheney so interested in keeping this option open.

I find it even more surprising that these supposedly evangelical Christians continue to support this administration, despite this continuing desire by the Administration to torture people. There will be a day of reckoning, and I hate to tell these people, but the God I worship is not going to be happy that we enabled torturers. It’s really not part of his plan for humankind, and he was actually pretty clear about it.