US Election

The American President on the ACLU

I think I’m going to spend an hour or two finding interesting stuff on YouTube.

From The American President.

The ACLU is the American Civil Liberties Union. I’ve been sparring with some of the idiots over at a blog called Stop the ACLU (I’m not giving them any google juice, they delete my comments as soon as it becomes obvious that they’re losing, so they don’t deserve any credit), and kept remembering this clip. I can’t help wondering what’s wrong with them that they so hate an organisation set up to defend one of their country’s most noble ideals, or, for that matter, why such an organisation is needed in the first place. And it comes down to pretty much what Aaron Sorkin scripted here, they’re afraid of the truth and want to make up things for the electorate to be scared of instead.

Here’s the speech, as transcribed at IMDB (my paragraph breaks)-

President Andrew Shepherd: For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character, and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I’ve been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character.

For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren’t you, Bob?

Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, folks, then you’re smarter than I am, because I didn’t understand it until a few hours ago.

America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”.

I’ve known Bob Rumson for years, and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President’s girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she’s to blame for their lot in life, and you go on television and you call her a whore.

Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through school, represent the interests of public school teachers, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, ’cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.


President Andrew Shepherd: I’ve loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer, and I lost the other ’cause I was so busy keeping my job I forgot to do my job. Well, that ends right now.

Tomorrow morning, the White House is sending a bill to Congress for its consideration. It’s White House Resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a 20 percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I’m throwing it out. I’m throwing it out writing a law that makes sense.

You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I’m gonna convince Americans that I’m right, and I’m gonna get the guns. We’ve got serious problems, and we need serious people, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you’d better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I’ll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I *am* the President.

John McCain’s supporters roll on into fantasy land

The US elections are like a big, scary soap opera. They’d be more entertaining if they weren’t so important. So far all the best stories have come from, or been generated by, the Republicans.

The polling figures are so poor, and John McCain’s campaign so dire, that the right wing bloggers and commenters have descended to grabbing any fantasy solution that comes near them and holding on tight. Over the weekend I saw reports that Barack Obama was about to be arrested as part of someone else’s corruption scandal, that he had an affair (the details of that one look a lot like one of the plots from the first season of 24, they have a hard time with original thought on the right it would seem) and that he was somehow knee deep in an invented voter registration scandal involving a group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

I’ve done a little research into the ACORN “scandal” and it looks like a smear. The organisation is accused of voter registration fraud (cut down to voter fraud as part of the smear so that it can sound like an attempt to steal the election) because they turned in dubious or duplicate registration forms. ACORN hands over every registration form its workers generate, as they are required to, so if an individual gives them something fraudulent they’d be breaking the law if they discarded it. In fact, ACORN points out that they separate suspicious registrations out and flag them for the electoral commissions to investigate.

Meanwhile, Republican organisations are trying to remove people from the electoral roll. Specifically the sort of people who would be more likely to vote for Obama- the poor, blacks, people who have lost their homes as part of the mortgage meltdown. It’s a familiar story, basically the same methods they’ve used to steal the last two elections.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin- whose husband was a member of a political party that wanted Alaska to break away from the United States- is accusing Obama of wanting to destroy the country because he worked with a reformed- if unrepentant- former member of the Weather Underground. This has struck such a chord with certain McCain/Palin supporters who prefer not to think that they’ve started parroting “terrorist”, “traitor” etc. at rallies. It’s got so bad that the people who started the name calling are now asking them to shut up and getting booed for it.

Whichever way the election goes it looks more and more like the USA wants to be two countries.

This post was inspired by an article on the Daily Mail website. It’s an expansion upon the comment I left there, which I expect, based upon past experience, won’t be published.

Man shot for wearing Barack Obama T-shirt

The scary thing is, this happened in London. A man wearing a Barack Obama t-shirt was harassed whilst shopping by a man who later came back with an airgun and shot him. The attacker was obviously an unhinged racist looking for a reason to attack someone, but the Obama-hate is the sort of thing I expect to see more of from the right wing nuts in the US. All the morons currently going all Godwin and equating him to Hitler will go into full on armed uprising fantasies if (when? please make it when) he wins the election.

Why does the US election matter so much to a Brit?

British servicemen dead in Iraq.

British servicemen dead in Afghanistan. Whilst I’ll concede that there was a point to invading Afghanistan as part of a campaign to destroy a particular band of terrorists, any chance of success was removed when Bush decided that Iraq was more important.

Violence in Iraq. It’s quite damning that there are no official figures for civilian deaths in Iraq. Even if the true figure is close to the 80,000+ minimum it’s far too high.

The United States is the one country that refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, setting back any progress we could hope to make.

A McCain presidency would see a continuation of Bush’s dumb and dangerous policies, on top of which, McCain has said he wants to bomb Iran. Which is obviously going to solve so many problems.

And if McCain were to win, this person would be one unhealthy old man away from the most powerful position in the world-

Vote Obama. That’s all I’m saying.

Where can I get Sarah Palin and John McCain masks?

US elections are on November the 4th. Bonfire night is November the 5th (or the nearest Saturday as the tradition has become). Whichever way the election goes I think the burning of McCain/Palin effigies will be appropriate.

Also, as Trick or Treat has become so popular, where can I get a Ghostbusters costume so I can chase away annoying children at the end of this month?

Barack Obama = Adolf Hitler? 2

What’s the internet law about every discussion eventually citing Hitler?

I just read a pathetic whine from some right wing US blogger about how terrible it is that Obama is so popular and looks set to win the election. Irony free he blathered on about the terrible damage that will be done to America if McCain loses before likening himself to a citizen of Weimar Germany watching the rise of Adolf Hitler.

My prediction for the October Surprise- RIP Track Palin

I mentioned this in the pub last night and said I wouldn’t put it on the blog. Well, like so much else about the McCain campaign for an opportunity to finish wrecking the USA, that turned out to be a lie.

The October Surprise is a US election cliche. From the wikipedia page on the October Surprise

An October surprise is American political jargon describing a news event with the potential to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the presidency. It is so called because the presidential elections are held in early November, and therefore events that take place in October have greater potential to swing votes. “Historically, news outlets avoid investigative pieces critical of candidates within days of an election to avoid appearing partisan.” Particularly since the 1980 election, the term has been pre-emptively used to discredit late-campaign news by one side or the other.

The term usually applies to the acts of a sitting president, especially in military or foreign policy matters. But it can also apply to news stories unfavorable to the incumbent administration.

The McCain Wreck is looking worse every day. His popularity is dropping and the Palin bump is going down as more and more people realise how dangerous it would be to give her any sort of responsibility. But a really cynical and evil campaign manager could still use Palin to get a last minute boost.

Palin’s son Track went off to serve in Iraq earlier this month. I can just see someone in the McCain Wreck team wondering how much of a sympathy vote Governor Sarah would get if her eldest son were to be killed in a firefight with “al-Quaida”, and just how they could go about making it happen. “That’ll get the mothers’ vote” they’ll be thinking, “And the warmongers’ vote too!”

I hope that I’m just a bad person for thinking up scenarios like this, but I bet that some in the Republican party are waiting for the martyring of Track Palin because they think it will win them the White House.

Sarah Palin is the sort of feminist who hates women

I know I rarely post this much about British politics, but there’s something gruesomely addictive about the pitch black farce that is this year’s US elections. The Republican candidate for Vice President of the most powerful country in the world is the sort of scum who would allow rape victims to be charged for the tests that might catch and convict their attacker.

Despite denials by the Palin campaign, new evidence proves that as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin had a direct hand in imposing fees to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams conducted by the city to gather evidence.

Palin’s role is now confirmed by Wasilla City budget documents available online.

Under Sarah Palin’s administration, Wasilla cut funds that had previously paid for the medical exams and began charging victims or their health insurers the $500 to $1200 fees. Although Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella wrote USA Today earlier this week that the GOP vice presidential nominee “does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test…To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice,” Palin, as mayor, fired police chief Irl Stambaugh and replaced him with Charlie Fannon, who with Palin’s knowledge, slashed the budget for the exams and began charging the city’s victims of sexual assault. The city budget documents demonstrate Palin read and signed off on the new budget. A year later, alarmed Alaska lawmakers passed legislation outlawing the practice.

via Feministe

McCain Wreck- Don’t make fun of the Republicans, they’re sensitive souls

So Russell Brand presented an MTV awards ceremony and did a little bit about Bush and Palin-

His delivery, as usual, is piss poor, so it’s not as funny as it could have been. But a few people were horribly, deeply offended by it, including the commenters at the thread I dropped into here, who want foreigners to go away and stop messing in the affairs of other countries. There’s a comment about Americans and irony in there, I just can’t quite remember how it goes……..

Then Obama made a remark in a speech where he repeated the message about the phoniness of the McCain/Palin “change” rhetoric, whilst using a common phase to mock Palin’s asinine description of herself.

And the McCain camp start crying about how he’s being so insulting. If the prospective president and vice president can’t handle it when the other guy has a better way with words, how can they possibly hope to survive in international pollitics?

Watching the McCain Wreck a bit more closely

Because I’m a masochist, and I don’t have enough ways to waste time already, I’ve subscribed to a few US political blogs. At least until November.

Daily Kos– premier liberal blog.

Michelle Malkin– right wing loon.

Talking Points Memo– liberal blog with occasional investigative stuff.

Little Green Footballs– last time I visited this place it was full of racist idiots. Maybe it’s better now. But I doubt it.

Think Progress

That should do it, but I’ll probably dip into one or two more. It should be fairly obvious to you which way I’m biased here. The last thing the world needs, let alone the USA, is another four years of essentially the same idiots trying to destroy the planet so they can bring about the Rapture, or whatever their secret plan is. If you are an American who has happened across Spinneyhead and only take one thing away from my humble blog please let it be that you really need to vote for Obama.

The McCain Wreck is secretly funding Obama

This is interesting- when Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin got up and aimed a few bad attacks at Barack Obama, donations to the Democratic campaign rocketed up.

Digs by John McCain’s running mate – who calls herself ‘a pitbull in lipstick’ – had the unintended effect of prompting an outpouring of money to the Obama campaign from more than 130,000 donors.

‘We’re up over the previous record and the number is still climbing the more Palin’s attacks are covered on cable and network news,’ an Obama spokesman said.

Watching the McCain wreck from a not safe enough distance

Yes, it’s the US elections again. And, just like last time, I’m getting sucked in. Why is a Brit so interested in another country’s elections? Because of the damage the current idiot has inflicted and the danger that his replacement could be as bad or even worse. It’s also a lot like that old cliche about slowing down to stare at a car crash or, as it rhymes with McCain and sounds more like an Americanism, a train wreck.

Even whilst bored of the protracted Democrat primaries I could see that this was going to be a messy and nasty election. I couldn’t have predicted that the first victim of a smear was going to be a Republican.

John McCain announced his running mate at the end of last week- Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska- and almost immediately all the factors that make her an awful choice were forgotten amid speculation about her family. Conflating some absurd- and some say dangerous and irresponsible- behaviour around the birth of her 5th child earlier this year and what turned out to be the current illegitimate pregnancy of her eldest daughter people started inventing a cover up. Palin, it was alleged, had faked her own pregnancy and claimed her bastard grandson as her own.

It certainly has the melodramatic air of the fifties hypocrisy the candidate would like to see return, but the convenient timing of her real bastard grandchild pretty much kills it. Palin, unfortunately, is an advocate of abstinence only sex education, which has worked wonders with her own family. Wonder if she’ll mention it at all in the campaign?

Ignoring Palin’s family issues it’s obvious she’s a cynical pick to try and appeal to Hilary Clinton supporters and religious fundamentalists at the same time. The Republicans are going to cry about sexism every time her ability and ideology are questioned, despite the fact that she stands against pretty much every advance for women of the last fifty years or so. She has a son who’s off to serve in Iraq, something none of the warmongers in Bush’s gang could claim last time I checked. And she’s one of those frightening “holier than thou” politicians the right wing loves, with membership of a church with links to an armageddon cult.

I’m a little scared. But, if anyone wanted to put me up for a while either side of the election, I’d be all for flying over there with a laptop and writing about it as it happened.

No links in this post, because I could lose the rest of the afternoon digging them out. I promise that next time I rant about the US elections (and I will) I’ll try to include a few links.

Barack Obama answers 14 questions about science issues affecting the USA

A large collective of American scientists have got together and, through a process of arbitration and editing, generated 14 questions they want to as the two main candidates for President. So far Barack Obama has answered them, though John McCain says he will get around to it.

A sample answer-

2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on the following measures that have been proposed to address global climate change—a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, increased fuel-economy standards, or research? Are there other policies you would support?

There can no longer be any doubt that human activities are influencing the global climate and we must react quickly and effectively. First, the U.S. must get off the sidelines and take long-overdue action here at home to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. We must also take a leadership role in designing technologies that allow us to enjoy a growing, prosperous economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. With the right incentives, I’m convinced that American ingenuity can do this, and in the process make American businesses more productive, create jobs, and make America’s buildings and vehicles safer and more attractive. This is a global problem. U.S. leadership is essential but solutions will require contributions from all parts of the world—particularly the rest of the world’s major emitters: China, Europe, and India.

Specifically, I will implement a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. I will start reducing emissions immediately by establishing strong annual reduction targets with an intermediate goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A cap- and-trade program draws on the power of the marketplace to reduce emissions in a cost- effective and flexible way. I will require all pollution credits to be auctioned.

I will restore U.S. leadership in strategies for combating climate change and work closely with the international community. We will re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate change problem. In addition I will create a Global Energy Forum—based on the G8+5, which includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa—comprising the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. This forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues. I will also create a Technology Transfer Program dedicated to exporting climate-friendly technologies, including green buildings, clean coal and advanced automobiles, to developing countries to help them combat climate change.

I’m not so sure about clean coal as a technology, but otherwise a positive and sensible answer. It’s particularly good that the economic benefits of creating a renewable energy industry are mentioned.

I look forward to reading McCain’s response. That is, if he thinks it’s important to reach out to sensible, intelligent people and can take a break from courting the fundamentalist vote.