Saturday, July 31, 2010

Media Matters: Celebrities on the Right, Celebrities on the Left

Angles and Rushes; Newts and Mitts & just plain old-fashioned cold, hard, unforgiving silly putty Steele.  Almost as inanimate[no offense intended to the living Newts] between their ears as their noun namesakes tend to be.  Bachman, Boehner or Beck; Rand or Ron; Sarah or Sharrrrron--what do they all have in common besides those trademark Republican easy-to-read EEG graphs?  Aside from meager minds, what they all have in common is celebrity status and their party registrations. Like it or not, they are the superstars of politics.  The man on the street is more likely to know their names than any Democrats still qualified and with any potential for the Presidency in the nation, with the possible exceptions of Hillary and Barack.  Like it or not, in 2010 A.D. America, celebrity matters.
The Republicans have capitalized on this theme much more so than the Democrats for a long time, launching celebrity candidates into extremely high office with no prior career in politics for decades now.  Eisenhower.  Reagan.  The Governator.  Even the late Sonny Bono.  We've gotten Al Franken in, I suppose, but I don't like saying that publicly a whole lot.  Now even famous radio disk jockeys and stand-up comedians like 'head Rush' and 'the Beck stabber' are ruling the party and giving right wing media the ratings they need to propagandize the middle class.
Besides our Secretary of State and the incumbent President, we Democrats have no future national figures of consequence with any name recognition whatsoever(with the exception of Speaker Pelosi and possibly Harry Reid--neither of whom is at all a likely future candidate for Pres. or VP). 
And as we approach this November the danger now is that as the voters approach the polls, the only other Democratic name they'll recognize outside their own state or district will be Wrangling Charlie Rangel, fresh off his Ethics Committee live reality TV show trial.
For the good of his principles and his party, Rep. Rangel needs to step aside for 2 years right now.  Congressman, you've done much good in your career thus far.  Money corrupts everyone at some point in their lives.  The last person to resist its temptation throughout childhood and adulthood hasn't really been visible for 2,000 years or so.  No shame there in admitting it and moving on.  With the election so close an Ethics hearing will certainly impact the election nationwide, and eliminate any chance of passing a Green bill, a jobs  bill for the poor and middle class, keeping the unemployed in unemployment compensation, civil rights progress and more for the next two years at least.  You've lost your Ways and Means Chair, and seniority doesn't matter at this point. 
You've accomplished historic things, and have more personal sway with your colleagues than most.  That doesn't go away.  If you step aside and don't run for re-election this term, in 2012 you will win the nomination and election in your district again hands-down and everyone knows that.  And then you can resume your good works, and if "legacy" is an issue for you, it's the way to take care of that, too.  For the sake of the poor, the disadvantaged, the trod upon and the party, please consider this alternative.
The same week Charlie was 'indicted' by the Ethics Commitee, two other NY state pols stepped up and need to be saluted.  Attorney General Andrew Cuomo got some excellent and well-deserved ink and air-time for his challenge to Prudential Insurance's deceptive profiteering off of the life insurance pay-offs they are supposed to make to the families of teens and tweens in uniform who die for us in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Voters still remember Andrew's father Mario quite warmly. 
And then there is of course the gentleman from NYC, Representative Anthony Weiner who went from city celebrity and cable news celebrity to viral video and principled superstar with one floor speech!  Here are two individuals who we need to advance for the future, big time!  Great people doing great things, and with style, class and star potential.
Here in CT we had such a media romance for decades with Atty. General and inevitable U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal that I felt he had just that kind of future star power until he started publicly confusing legitimate opposition to the Vietnam War and draft avoidance by accepting help from the very good-guy Daniel Patrick Moynihan to get into the reserves, with dodging Viet Cong knives and bullets in the Mekong Delta.  He'll get elected to anything in Connecticut for as long as he lives, no further. 
However I submit that every Democrat in the nation owes Ned Lamont, currently in a primary for Governor here in this glorious blue state[despite being the land of CEO's].  Please remember him beating Lieberman in the primary for Senate 4 years ago and earning the Dem nomination only to have the election stolen by Joe, and all the fits he's caused for us as an "independent" turncoat since.  Ned was able to beat a super popular Senator who is the only CT native to even touch a national ticket in 3 or 4 lifetimes.  And Ned beat him in the same decade that Cheney and Bush stole the Vice Presidency from Lieberman.  Ned's a great guy with clear star power.
The talking heads, pols and anyone who can generate ink need to start developing major leaguers for 2016 and beyond, and grooming minor leaguers for the years beyond that.  Otherwise we may be looking at a Limbaugh/Beck inauguration one January 20th not very long from now.  Peace...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Missile Madness: Private First Class Singled Out By Pentagon For Wikileak

It's being reported today that a Private First Class has been singled out by NATO and the Pentagon as the source of the 90,000 Afghanistan documentation of the horrors going on in country, and that he has arrived in the U.S., having been in Europe at the time of his arrest.  Ironically the only government official to speak out about the specific Private and his charges has been the uniformed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullens. Our civilian leadership has made no specific comment.
The argument coming from the Pentagon has been that even though the leaked information is all prior to 2010 and no current positions are revealed, and that even though the documents document Pakistani government policy over a year ago and that the current administration's efforts have influenced Pakistani policy for the good, that somehow American troops have been endangered by the release of these documents and that the leakers are "traitors" and such.
Given the alleged sensitivity of this "intelligence" in that it risks our troops lives, one would think that only high level personnel would have access to it.
It appears that today the Pentagon is trying to have their cake and eat it too. The word leaking out of the Defense hierarchy today is that the Wikileaks documents were actually not highly classified, and that a Private First Class would not only have access to the 90,000 documents that allegedly "put our troops at risk", but that he and maybe another one or two low-level accomplices are totally responsible.
It's not too surprising that low-level fall guys are being sought for potential trials and courts martial, nor that the Pentagon under Secretary Gates is trying to have it's cake and gobble it up, as well. What's really disturbing, however, is that it's a uniform(Mullens) who is prejudging the specific case against this Private publicly. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago another uniformed General officer was talking too much and trying to do ends-around civilian leadership?

Media Matters: Media Lets Wikileaks Spill Out of It's Field of Vision

When the 90,000 or so graphic field reports and other previously classified and secret documents eminating from NATO from Afghanistan became public on Sunday following their release that day by The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian of London, on Monday the mainstream media trumpeted their arrival as huge news. And certainly they are!
Wikileaks and the individuals within the uniformed or non-uniformed ranks either within NATO, the U.S. military, or the intelligence community who were involved in obtaining and releasing this vital information took risks and deserve kudos. The link for Wikileaks is and pouring over these documents is educational to say the least, and obligatory for anyone with a stake in ending war, and we found can actually be addictive.
President Barak Obama is a well motivated man to be respected and admired by those of us on the left. He's done massive good in short order; from TARP, to Strategic Arms Reductions with Russia, to Health Care and Unemployment extension, to the overhaul of our Nuclear Weapons strategy! However as the ever increasing NATO, American and Afghan casualty figures emerge for the month of July this weekend, we must at least begin to finally come face-to-face with the folly that is General McChrystal/Petraeus'[are they really different people?] and Defense Secretary Robert Gates' counterinsurgency "strategy."
The Wikileaked documents demonstrate, more so than the duplicity of the Pakistanis, the absurdity of the risks our teens are taking at these remote forsaken outposts we are sticking them into. The desperation of the field reporters is often dramatic, and sickening. Again, I say, must reading. Far from treason, Mr. President, the individuals involved here, have taken huge risks for the cause of peace.
The Teflon Defense Secretary has been prosecuting this undeclared "war" for 3 and a half years with notable incompetence. General Petraus' "surge" in Iraq worked[I submit, temporarily] not because of increased troop strength or military might or building infrastructure, but because the opposition leaders--especially in Baghdad itself--were bought off with hard currency and the oppositon groups themselves effectively beheaded and disorganized. The principle is totally non-applicable in Afghanistan. The Petraus strategy that's worked in Baghdad is bribery, and is temporary, unfortunately. Both he and McChrystal, neither of whom I believe have any respect for civilian control of the military, sold this defective set of goods to the Teflon Defense Secretary Robert Gates--who can do no wrong, even as far as most major liberal media outlets are concerned. And then Gates, McChrystal, Petraus and the Joint Chiefs sold it to President Obama.
Under Gates we've had the last three and a half years of the soon-to-be 9-years war, with only miserable military failure and death to show for it! The obscenity that was the unhealthy and inhumane conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital! And now the fiasco of hundreds, maybe thousands of lost remains at Arlington National Cemetary! I ask my fellow lefties: Why are we keeping hands off the Teflon Defense Secretary???
The Wikileaked documents provide fodder and rationale for finally ending the Afghan nonsense and doing so in a way that the right cannot avoid dealing with the emotional drama of our teenagers in uniform being so much at risk. Mr. President, please go to yourself and hear the terror in the writings in real time of your field commanders as they write their field reports in desperation. And please dismiss Secretary Gates promptly. I recommend Senator John Kerry as a more than suitable replacement. Let's cut that $700 billion Defense Department budget down to size, and eliminate this overdrawn gang violence we continue to engage in within the sovereign borders of Afghanistan.


The Unabashed Left has arrived @ 7:18 am, Friday July 30th, 2010 Anno Domini. The Unabashed Right, also known as the "Tea Party" and with the AKA "The Republican Party" has much to fear as of this moment. Purpose and Mission Statement to follow shortly.  Peace to one and all. Pacifism and European style Socialism are not four letter words!