Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Closing Gitmo: A Return to Ethics in the U.S.

As many of you are probably aware, one of Barack Obama’s campaign promises was to close the detainment camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Apparently, that promise is about to come to fruition. According to one of the president-elect’s advisors, he may issue the order as soon as he takes office. The biggest stumbling block remains what to do with the detainees.

This is one of the most hopeful statements I’ve seen in quite some time.  Of the many things I grew up believing about our country, one in which I always took pride was “The United States does not torture. The United States  abides by the Geneva Convention.” I took that belief with me into the military, and what happened at Guantanamo made me feel that the uniform I wore was disgraced because of it. Hopefully that disgrace is coming to an end.

The last eight years have been, if not enjoyable, very instructive. I’ve seen a side to my countrymen that I would have previously denied. While I believed that we were a little tarnished, I never thought we would stand by and not only watch, but cheer, while our government perpetrated horrible offenses against our Constitution.  As with most problems, it’s going to take far longer to correct it than it took to let it go wrong. We have so many problems we don’t even know where to start. Our economy is in ruins, civil rights have been slashed, our health care is a joke, and we are seen as arrogant bullies with big mouths on the world stage. I can only take comfort in the fact that with President-elect Obama’s inauguration, the world finally sees that we DO want to change for the better.

Guantanamo Bay detainment camp is a dark spot on our country’s history. Let us not forget how far we can go down the road of fascism. At the same time, let us celebrate the beginning of our walk back toward reason and ethics. Let us once again become the beacon of democracy and protectors of the weak that we believe ourselves to be.

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Joe Scarborough’s Domestic Terrorist Glass House

 

Joe Scarborough, for those of you who do not know, is the anchor of MSNBC’s morning television show “Morning Joe.” He is a former US Congressman, having represented the 1st district of the state of Florida in the House of Representatives, a fact he makes sure to insert into his program at least once a day (usually along the lines of “well, y’know, ‘Mika [MSNBC’s answer to Alan Colmes], when I was in office back in 1998, here’s how we did it…”).

Mr. Scarborough has gone a long way to furthering the concept that not only are Barack Obama and William Ayers any more than casual acquaintances who served together on a committee, but that William Ayers is STILL a terrorist (even though he performed one act, has paid his debt to society, and now tries to right that wrong by serving his community) and that Obama’s campaign “started in his living room.” And implying that Barack Obama, by that association, must be okay with terrorists. Mr. Scarborough, of all people, should know precisely why such misrepresentations are damaging to a career, and why members of the press should be called on those misrepresentations.

Just for fun, let’s use actual events from Mr. Scarborough’s life using the same spin he placed on the relationship between Sen. Obama and William Ayers.  Unlike Joe, I’ll actually follow up the sensationalism with facts and try to show why objectivity is necessary in reporting. Ready? Here we go:

I’ve recently received information that Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” has ties to domestic terrorists and religious extremists. Apparently, Mr. Scarborough helped Michael Griffin, a man who shot and killed a doctor at his clinic in full view of many innocent patients, to obtain an expensive attorney, then shielded Mr. Griffin’s family and downplayed the issue to the press. Of course, we don’t have all the details, so we probably shouldn’t be discussing this in depth, but doesn’t it speak to Mr. Scarborough’s character that he’s willing to protect a homicidal maniac who believes God told him to shoot doctors? Mr. Griffin is unrepentant about his crime.

While we’re on the subject of Mr. Scarborough’s character; what does it say that he left office just a few short months after being elected? That he essentially abandoned his constituency, pursued a divorce, divested himself of all the responsible positions he held, and then, amidst rumors of infidelity, one of his interns was found dead in his office?

28 year old Lori Klausutis, an intern in the congressman’s Florida office was found dead of a massive blow to the head by visitors to the congressman’s deserted office. Apparently, she’d been dead for some time, and Mr. Scarborough himself was in Washington at the time she was found.

Isn’t that salacious? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next juicy detail? Let’s compare that tell-all, celeb gossip style story to the actual facts.

Mr. Scarborough was a young civil law attorney when he was approached by Mr. Griffin’s family. He was unable to represent Michael Griffin, who was charged with (and eventually convicted of) shooting and killing a physician who performed abortions. The story can be found here (scroll down for story). Mr. Scarborough had a reputation for pro-life causes, and helped the family find an attorney for Michael and spoke with the press on their behalf pro bono (Most lawyers are required to do a certain number of pro bono hours).

Mr. Scarborough was elected to four terms in the House of Representatives. However, some months after his third re-election, he divorced his wife and retired from his seat, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children. The timing was considered dubious, as a clerk in his Florida Office, Lori Klausutis, 28, was found dead, and there had been rumors of infidelity. The matter was not considered sufficiently resolved by many, as there were questions about the head trauma Lori suffered which was (according to the coroner) caused by a coronary event, ending in her accidental death. Mr. Scarborough’s attitude toward the incident when speaking of it on Don Imus’ radio program sparked further internet furor.

There you have it. Two stories. The first (were it about any Democrat you’d care to name) would have Mr. Scarborough and any Republican howling for blood. The second was at least an attempt at objective reporting; something far too many at Fox News and Mr. Scarborough himself scoff off as “liberal media.”

Here’s what Mr. Scarborough, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and their slavish followers just don’t get: a story reported without bias (or with as little as possible) is necessary in journalism. The entire premise is to report the FACTS and allow people to make up their own minds. But for some reason, people want to be led. Joe Scarborough and reporters like him with their constant stream of innuendo and misinformation have killed journalistic integrity. Journalism is not about opinion. It’s about reporting the facts of the day’s events. And if Mr. Scarborough expects to consistently report his biased views as facts, perhaps he should be reminded of just what the press can do with a little skewed information.

John “Moody” McCain and the Very Bad, No Good Week.

I have an intense girl-crush on Rachel Maddow. I’m woman enough to admit this publicly. She’s smart, she gets politics better than quite a few of her male counterparts, she does irony very well…all these things add up to one savvy, sexy lady. Last Friday night, she summed up Sen. McCain’s bad week very succinctly:

From “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” to Carla Fiorino, to asserting he would fire the SEC chairman if he were president (Constitutionally impossible), to Sarah Palin calling it a Palin/McCain administration to his handlers saying John McCain invented the Blackberry …. the John McCain camp just couldn’t seem to open their mouths without their feet jumping up into them.

This has to be frustrating for the senator from Arizona. He was FINALLY getting some love from the evangelicals, Barack Obama was finally on the defensive, and the base was PUMPED, BABY! Republican bloggers were claiming victory, life was sweet. And then….

What happened, John? Can ya tell us? “Stupid economy. Stupid George f*%$in’ Bush. Stupid congress. Can’t keep the damn country running til November. Now I have to actually talk ISSUES, instead of just pointing at my babe-alicious running mate and calling liberals stupid. This election may actually be work.” John failed to grumble, but was probably thinking.

Poor guy. Gotta feel for him. On the other hand….I’m not an heiress. I don’t own 7 houses. And I work for a living. For now.

See, the thing is…no matter WHO ends up in the White House come January 23rd 2009…we’re in trouble. We better stop caring about the distractions and start caring about what’s really important fairly soon. And from what I’ve seen so far this past week? John McCain isn’t prepared to deal with it. This past week is what our next president will be dealing with for probably their entire administration. How can we trust a man whose first response is not “how do we fix it?” but “who can I fire for it?”

Letting go of Palin

The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things….

For a couple weeks now, the neocon faithful have been giggling like school girls on meth that Karl Rove’s tactic to use Sarah Palin as the GOP poster child has worked. And it has, brilliantly. Dems have been completely thrown off message by John McCain’s running mate.

Fortunately, Sen. Obama has recovered fairly quickly. Whether the rest of the party responds is yet to be seen, but it cannot be stressed enough: Sarah Palin is not important. No, really. She isn’t. Slimy she may be, and Dick Cheney in a skirt…but she isn’t important. John McCain is the candidate on whom we should be focusing. He’s so desperate to keep us from focusing on him, he’s giving us this shiny thing (Sarah Palin) to look at…and we’re doing it. Why?! We need to knock it off. It’s time to let it go.

Repeat after me: Sarah Palin is not important. Yeah, I know, but it’s true. She isn’t. The only thing Sarah Palin represents is John McCain’s total cluelessness when it comes to female voters. Time we went back to what this election is supposed to be about: beating John McCain. That’s easily doable.

Paris, Politics, and Perception.

There was a time that I actually admired John McCain. I admired his ethics, his integrity, his centrist policies. I found him to be honest and a Republican in the true sense of the word; the kind that, were there more like him, I might actually vote for.

Sadly, all that changed with the 2000 presidential election. There are many reasons to loathe Karl Rove, and what he did to John McCain is near the top of the list. John McCain learned Rove’s lessons all too well. His most recent attack on Barack Obama is a depth to which I would have never guessed he would sink.

Paris Hilton? REALLY?!? Honestly, Mr. McCain, what were you thinking? Quite aside from pissing off a couple of your key contributors (Paris’ mommy & daddy) and the fact that Paris has not one single thing to do with public policy or Barack Obama, you, sir, PUT THAT SKANKY HO BACK IN THE PUBLIC EYE, and that is unforgivable.

“Pffft,” you say, “She won’t last long.” I wish I could believe you. But the fact of the matter is, the woman is like a social disease. Purile, embarrassing and proliferates (in the media) faster than prophylactics can keep up. She’s already put out her own ad in response. All I can do is sit and cringe. GAH!! It’s on BBC News as I sit here typing this! NO!! Look at what you’ve done, McCain! At least Chlamydia responds to antibiotics. I’m going to be stuck enduring Paris Hilton in the news again til the end of the election cycle, you insidious bastard! For that alone, you should lose the election.