Archive for June 23rd, 2008

The More Things Change…

Over three years ago, I was urging Democrats to lay some groundwork to ensure that Republicans couldn’t turn a terrorist attack or other disaster (this was several months before Katrina) into an undeserved political windfall:

Another thing that the Democrats must keep in mind is the very high probability that Republican policies will lead to a financial or terrorist-inflicted disaster. An electoral scandal and constitutional crisis is also a possibility: I believe there are limits to just how large a margin election “gaming” and fraud can cover up without leaving behind a gun too smoky for the media to ignore. What happens if that threshold is exceeded, at least to the point where the election outcome is severely in doubt? What mechanisms do we have for resolving such a situation?

In theory, Democrats should be able to capitalize on any of these negative outcomes, as they can all be laid clearly at the doorstep of the Republicans. In reality, they would be pilloried by the Republicans and the media for opportunistically “politicizing” a national tragedy.

Therefore, what I’m advocating is that the Democrats get out in front and periodically raise a big stink (and for the love of God, don’t capitulate!) about the various ways that the 100% Republican-controlled government has made us vulnerable…

(…)

[M]y point is that the Democrats need to be vocal about these issues in advance, so that everyone knows where they stand before the unthinkable occurs. It’s very easy to denounce terrorist attacks or stock market crashes after they happen, and both sides of the aisle will be doing exactly that. But the Democrats will be on the record as having warned of disaster, while the Republicans will be on record as steamrolling and shouting them down. This will give the Democrats standing and credibility to point the finger of blame after the fact.

(…)

Am I rooting for catastrophe? Of course not. I think it is highly probable, if not inevitable, but I desperately hope to be proven wrong.

What I am rooting for is that the Democrats will not let the Republicans get away with saying, “Well, these things happen, no-one could have seen it coming, we must all pull together now and do whatever we say,” as they did after 9/11. They must be held accountable for their willful refusal to protect America from harm.

Well, here we are three years later, and (as I predicted in that same post), the Democrats haven’t really gotten that message across, much to RJ Eskow’s dismay (and mine):

I’ve been privately warning Democrats for some time that Obama and the party need emergency preparedness plans. Major events between now and November could change the course of the election – especially a U.S. strike on Iran, or a terror attack against Americans at home or abroad.

We’re not seeing any signs of such plans. Not that we should -except that one outcome would be to explain now why Americans are much less safe as the result of GOP policies.

If it seems crass to weigh political considerations in the face of war or tragedy, remember that the future safety of civilians here and elsewhere will be greatly affected by this election. And they – the Republicans – are certainly thinking politically. When McCain’s chief political advisor, lobbyist Charlie Black, said yesterday that a terror attack “would be a big advantage for him, his biggest mistake was excessive honesty. That’s one of the few imaginable scenarios that could lead to a McCain victory in November.

(…)

So what should Obama and the Democrats be doing about these two possibilities? Some of their planning should be invisible – for the speeches that Obama might gave, the surrogates (military and otherwise) that would appear on Democrats’ behalf. But we should be seeing some groundwork being laid now, and we’re not.  So, what should be happening?

[Main bullet points only – check out Eskow’s post for the meat behind them]

Guanatanamo and Abu Ghraib should be described as Bush-created “terrorist factories.”

Democrats should explain that torture is un-American, that it breeds terrorists — and that it doesn’t help catch bad guys.

If we surrender our freedoms, the terrorists win.

…Democrats owe it to themselves – and more importantly, to the nation – to start telling the real story immediately. There should be no equivocation and no calculation.

Their motto should be: Hope for the best, plan for the worst, and do what’s right in the meantime.

I still believe that something terrible is going to happen, that the Republicans’ criminal mismanagement of, well, everything, has made it inevitable.  Indeed, some pretty terrible things have already happened, like Katrina and the subprime meltdown.  But when the next terrible thing happens, if Democrats haven’t already shown (or, better yet, tried to fix) how the Republicans have left us vulnerable, they will be unable to fight off the Republicans’ this-is-why-you-need-a-strong-daddy narrative.

(h/t Elliott)

June 23rd, 2008 at 09:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Iran,McCain,Obama,Politics,Prisoners,Terrorism,Torture

This Just In: Don Imus Still Racist

Lovely:

Wolf: “Defensive back Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys. Here’s a guy suspended all of 2007 following a shooting in a Vegas night club.”

Imus: “Well, stuff happens. You’re in a night club, for God’s sake. What do you think’s gonna happen in a night club? People are drinking and doing drugs, there are women there, and people have guns. So, there, go ahead.”

Wolf: “He’s also been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.”

Imus: “What color is he?”

Wolf: “He’s African-American.”

Imus: “Well, there you go. Now we know.”

Yeah, putting him back on the air was a brilliant move.  He totally learned his lesson and stuff.

(h/t Jason Rosenbaum)

June 23rd, 2008 at 06:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Wankers

The Return Of Random Urban Photoblogging

More random photos with no theme whatsoever:

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Yes, it’s a sexy green dumpster. Hubba hubba!

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Saksworkers.

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Some nice distorted reflections-within reflections.

June 23rd, 2008 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Monday Media Blogging

Just because:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=mWwyjmSbJPs

It’s raining men, yeah!

June 23rd, 2008 at 07:10am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging


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