Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

June 4, 2008

RE: The Millennials Are Coming

Filed under: culture, media — Tags: , , — codesmithy @ 9:24 am

Morley Safer is old, real old. I understand 60 Minutes speaks to an older audience. However, there comes a time to retire. Safer wholly demonstrates his ripeness in a piece called “The Millennials Are Coming.” Instead of examining the socio-economic factors that lead to many of the conditions he obviously bemoans, he focuses on the changing cultural landscape as if that were the important issue.

It is typical for old people to see the younger generation as stupid and lazy. As with any assessment, there is some basis to it. However, this is the country that re-elected George W. Bush. It is going to take some work for the Millennials to match that blunder from the baby-boomers.

The over-arching fact of the millennials is that they live in an information economy, not a manufacturing economy. Ignore for the moment that this information economy is largely built on debt. What we still have is a service sector. This service sector used to take a lot of internal infrastructure. With the advent of information technology, much of that internal infrastructure has been eliminated. This has in turn polarized the working landscape. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that someone who hasn’t looked for a job in over 35 years is completely ignorant of this fact. Nevertheless, there are two, very distinctive sides of this economy: the perspective of the winners and the losers.

The winners have it relatively good. They get the good paying jobs at Google, Microsoft, etc.. These companies understand getting the right people and keeping them is paramount. There are well documented order of magnitude productivity differences between high-end and low-end performers. Little perks like free soda or free lunch hardly make a difference in the big scheme of things. The important thing is to keep the good people at the company and cull the bad.

On the other hand, the losers have it bad. There are few manufacturing jobs left. Wal-mart is the largest employer in the United States. The jobs that are left are menial. This is why there is a great push for people to go to college, and get educated. Market pressures encourage universities to pass this influx of job seeker (if they don’t then students will go to a university that will). However, a degree ceases to mean anything if everyone has one. Again, the productivity differences will exist. Combined with the fact that unions have been severely weakened over the past few decades, middle class prosperity is something that many will no longer be able to achieve.

This doesn’t stop employers from advertising “fun”. However, this remains mostly veneer to cover for the fact that benefits and opportunities are largely non-existent. This aspect does more to explain why corporations are embracing “fun” than anything proffered by Safer’s reporting.

Safer also ignore the biggest losers by far, the millennials getting butchered in Iraq as we speak. We don’t see Safer talking to the millennials getting killed, injured, stop-lossed, or suffering from post traumatic stress and other mental health issues. The core of the morale problems can be measured in the grizzliest of statistics: suicides.

However, if there is anything that demonstrates Safer’s impeccable credentials as a corporate journalist it is his ability to ignore all this. Thereby cementing his status as an upstanding denizen of the United States of Amnesia; everything is new on Monday morning. In this respect, the obvious aspects of his senile dementia might actually be an asset.

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June 3, 2008

New York Post Goes After Olbermann

Filed under: media, politics — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 9:16 am

The Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post ran a story about Keith Olbermann’s personal corporation, Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc. owing $2,269.50 in back taxes.  This is part of a larger feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly which the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz has documented.

The “story” itself is largely a string of ad hominem attacks.  However tasteless, and petty that may be, where the piece crosses the line is by listing where Olbermann lives down to his apartment number.  Olbermann already chastised Mike Stark for resorting the tactics that the New York Post employs and tacitly enables.  Is there really no low Murdoch-owned media will not stoop to?

May 29, 2008

Charlie Gibson: Stupendous Tool of the Bush Adminstration

Filed under: culture, media — Tags: , , , , — codesmithy @ 9:11 am

Matt Lauer from the Today Show sat down with the three major corporate network news anchors, Brian Williams, Katie Couric, and Charlie Gibson. They were promoting “Stand Up to Cancer” but while Lauer had them in studio he asked them to respond to McClellan’s charges that the media was too deferential in the run up to Iraq.

Here is the result. (h/t Glenn Greenwald)

Couric’s assessment was fair but a bit lacking. The Bush administration is media savvy. They knew how to bully reporters. Her claim was a little bit narrow in that she felt like it didn’t effect her coverage, but admitted that she felt that it affected the coverage in the media generally. In all fairness, Lauer poked her in that direction also, ensuring she did not impugn the integrity of the news organization she worked previously.

Brian Williams was establishment enabling as always. It was basic apologetics. The media wanted to verify the administration’s claims, but it was just too hard.  Iraq is on the other side of the Earth you know.

Then along comes Gibson and demonstrates what being a complete and utter douche is all about. He thinks the media did a terrific job, couldn’t have done any better. He was a grizzled veteran of the administration’s tactics, but he stood up to them. The media questioned Powell’s U.N. presentation. Gibson was a fine example of such skepticism.  Here is an example of him asking those hard-hitting questions he asked in the run-up to the war from Glenn Greenwald’s update:

On February 6, 2003 — the day of Powell’s speech — Gibson had on as guests former CIA Director James Woolsey and Terence Taylor of the International Institute For Strategic Studies to analyze Powell’s claims. Here are some of the super-tough, skeptical questions Gibson asked:

* Terence Taylor, let me start with you. Specifically, of all the biological and chemical weapons that he outlined, and the means of delivery, what’s the most frightening? Should be the most frightening?

* Question number two that was in my mind. James Woolsey, he showed intercepts, he showed photo intelligence. He talked about human resources that we had. How much intelligence was compromised?

* On a scale of one to 10, one being the most sanitized of intelligence information and 10 being laying out all our intelligence ammunition, where was he yesterday on the scale?

* Terence Taylor, as I look at some of the pictures that we were talking about just a moment ago with James Woolsey, the pictures dramatic in that they show Iraqi trucks pulling away from sites virtually as the, as the inspectors trucks are pulling up. How compromised are the inspectors there? Are they totally infiltrated by Iraqi intelligence?

Here’s how the segment ended:

CHARLES GIBSON

James Woolsey, the Iraqis immediately challenged a lot of what was shown, said it was altered, said it was doctored. The international community — do they know that stuff was genuine?

JAMES WOOLSEY

Oh, anybody who is objective about this I think does. The people who now doubt whether or not Saddam really has WMD programs, chemical and bacteriological, in particular, are really of two types, either they work for Saddam or they’re doing a human imitation of an ostrich. There really are, I think, no other possibilities.

CHARLES GIBSON

James Woolsey, former CIA Director, Terence Taylor, former weapons inspector, I thank you both.

Again, I have to ask, how would Pravda be any different?

Although, Gibson already proved his credentials as Republican water-carrier as he jokes about the crowd turning on him at the Democratic debate that ABC hosted.

I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised.

May 28, 2008

Bush Gets Whacked By Former Press Secretary

Filed under: books, media, politics — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 9:22 am

The Politico has a review of Scott McClellan’s scathing memoir “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.” The story of how Politico got the book before its publication date is a little bit of a mystery. Apparently, they purchased it from a Washington bookstore. What was said store doing selling the book before its publication date? I imagine the publisher is pissed. Regardless, McClellan apparently gives his insights into the Plame leak, the run up to the war, and his general feeling about the administration.

McClellan said that Bush ran his administration like a campaign. As the Politico notes:

McClellan repeatedly embraces the rhetoric of Bush’s liberal critics and even charges: “If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.

“The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

It is one thing for the disenfranchised left to complain about the lack of anti-war voices in the run up to the war and how the mainstream media left many of the administration claims about Iraq go unchallenged. Coming from McClellan, it is hard to call his endorsement of such views anything other than “blame the victim.”

We sometimes forget the incredible amount of national unity the United States had in the wake of 9/11. The need for unity; the need to put disagreements aside and work together for a common purpose in the name of our collective safety was real, is real. Like McClellan, I have no doubt Bush is an “authentic” and “sincere” man. I have no doubt he believed he was doing the right thing and felt he had a messianic purpose to lead this nation. However, he did something that was unforgivable. He cooked the books, excluded those who disagreed, kept the whole story secret and filtered facts to build the case for his desired purpose.

In short, he used us. He didn’t rule by consensus. He ruled by marginalizing all those who disagreed. He never started administrating. He just continued campaigning. Anyone who dared question his proposed course of action stood accused of helping the terrorists. The disaster he caused, with his war of choice, is larger than that caused by the terrorists he demonized. Despite Bush’s views on the matter, criticism and informed public debate is essential. It helps vet the thinking and ferrets out the bad ideas and mistaken assumptions. Bush wanted none of it. Of course, what should we expect from a failed oil man?

Bush was also helped by Fox News. If the “liberal” media failed to report something, they risked being scooped by Fox and the only thing worse in mainstream media than being wrong, is getting beat to a story.

Bush remains sure that history will vindicate him. I highly doubt that it will. The Iraq War will forever be Bush’s War in much the same way Vietnam was President Johnson’s. If Bush doesn’t have his foreign policy record to hang his hat on, it is hard to imagine the range of domestic crises throughout his presidency would bolster his record. Years from now, I think will be to pull a McClellan, blame others in the administration and ultimately those who elected him. He may have a point, although it doesn’t change the fact we were betrayed.

Update: Glenn Greenwald has more about the McClellan revelations.

May 27, 2008

RE: The new American segregation

Filed under: culture, media, politics — Tags: — codesmithy @ 7:02 am

Gregory Rodriguez wrote an “op-ed” in the Los Angeles Times on “the new American segregation.” It shares a similar editorial slant coming from other dead-tree and ink proprietors, bemoaning the rank partisanship that dominates political discourse. Rodriguez revels in his role as a Cassandra-esque hand-wringer about what what this might mean for democracy.

Rodriguez points out that there is a link between political participation and partisanship. Rodriguez asserts:

In other words, a healthy democracy needs the uncommitted middle, the fence straddlers and the apathetic as much as it the firebrand activists. Indeed, in a nation so torn by the passions of partisans, it is those of us who aren’t all that enamored of either side who give politicians the room to compromise, which, of course, is the art that politics is supposed to be all about.

First of all, the percentage turnout of the voting-age population in the U.S. has never been as high as it was in 1960 at 63.1%. So, presumably the society is less partisan than it was in an earlier era. Second, there are a number of countries that enjoy higher turnout percentages and they haven’t imploded.

Country Turnout
Australia 95%
Italy 90%
Sweden 86%
Norway 81%
Israel 80%
Canada 76%
Japan 71%

(source)

So, even if voter turnout were 70% (which I think is well beyond most people’s predictions for the 2008 election), predicting the demise of democracy as a result seems to be directly at odds with the reality in other countries.

Rodriguez then goes on to bemoan the shrinking numbers of “skeptics and the uncommitted.”  I assert this is more of an artifact of the issues we are facing as a country.  We are occupying a foreign country.  We are torturing people.  There is good evidence to say that the government is illegally spying on American citizens.  The president commuted the sentence of one of his own staff; a crime the staff member committed to stonewall an investigation into other members of the administration.  The list goes on.  What compromise is there between those of us who say the United States should abide by the Geneva Conventions and those who think they can dance around those principles with impunity?

Rodriguez then goes on to cite Bill Bishop’s thesis that it the plethora of media choices which are tearing us apart.   Similarly, people are clustering in like-minded communities meaning they don’t have to interact with people who don’t share their world view.

From my perspective, the real problem is there isn’t a shared culture of consensus building.  Put another way, there isn’t a shared recognition of a superior argument, or broad understanding of arguing something on the merits.  There might be such a culture, but it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone.  Instead, people resort to a number of logical fallacies or sloppy thinking to defend what they believe.  In certain cases, that is the only way a world view survives.

Hence, the unstated premise becomes clear.  The presumption is that some world views are equally valid as others.  This is the core of the centerist doctrine and it is also incorrect.  In an information age, with a great variety of information sources we would expect a split to take place.  The previously apathetic are now awash with more than enough information to make up their own minds about any particular issue.  The superior world view spreads in the communities where it can.  As for inferior world views, they have to circle the wagons and introduce filters in order for their world view to survive or else it would simply disappear.

In short, this isn’t the end of democracy; it is the new beginning.  We may be establishing a truer consensus now than at any other time in our past.  In the meantime, the centerist doctrine is one of the world views I cheer towards extinction.

May 21, 2008

Summer of Terror, South Korea 1950

Filed under: history, media, politics — Tags: — codesmithy @ 8:37 am

The AP is running a story of the mass graves recently found in South Korea. Experts estimate 100,000 people killed by the U.S.-backed regime. The people executed were suspected leftists or hapless peasants. We are told that the South Korean dictatorship was concerned that the people they ended up executing might reinforce the North Koreans if the area was taken over. Regardless of the reason, extermination of civilians is a crime against humanity.

CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

A couple points are worth noting.  The AP ran another story explaining why it took so long for the truth to come out titled: “Fear, secrecy kept 1950 Korea mass killings hidden.”  However, we find near the end of the article that “[s]cattered reports of the killings did emerge in 1950 — and some did not.”

It is important to note that people at the time dismissed the atrocities at the time as fabrication and almost charged those who spread the stories with treason.

Earlier, correspondent Alan Winnington reported on the shooting of thousands of prisoners at Daejeon in the British communist newspaper The Daily Worker, only to have his reporting denounced by the U.S. Embassy in London as an “atrocity fabrication.” The British Cabinet then briefly considered laying treason charges against Winnington, historian Jon Halliday has written.

For those who dismiss this as some academic exercise left to the distant past.  Here is an example of the U.S. getting rid of Al Jazeera in Fallujah.

The U.S. military responded by ordering Al Jazeera out of Fallujah, so that the killing could continue without witnesses.  Gen. Mark Kimmitt declared, “The stations that are showing Americans intentionally killing women and children are not legitimate news sources.  That is propaganda, and that is lies.”  Four days later, on April 15th, Donald Rumsfeld said that Al Jazeera’s reporting was “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.  It’s disgraceful what that station is doing.” (pg. 194 Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People who Fight Back – Amy Goodman and David Goodman)

There is also considerable evidence the U.S. military specifically targeted Al Jazeera as one can glean from watching “Control Room.”  There are also some other cases documented in “Static” leading to the conclusion that “[t]he penalty for presenting unofficial truths soon became apparent: U.S. bullets and bombs were ultimately trained on Al Jazeera.” (pg. 197 Static)

A framework for understanding these issues is offered by Noam Chomsky.  Chomsky presents three types of terror: constructive, benign, and nefarious.

It takes a while for him to lead-in to it, but it is about 2:15 minutes in.

A “constructive” form of terror is what McCain advocates by bombing Iran.  We never put it exactly in those terms, but it is exactly what we are doing.  It is usually hidden behind some euphemism about “showing Iran” or giving them a black-eye or bloody nose.  It masks the fact that we are planning on destroying parts of Iranian infrastructure and indifferently killing some of the citizens of that country.  “Benign” forms of terror are mostly irrelevant for purposes of discussion.  “Nefarious” forms of terror are what the other-side does.  These are typically seared into the national psyche such as Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, etc.

As Chomsky notes, we are more responsible for the atrocities of governments that we support than those that we oppose.  However, what I hope is clear is that the government cover-ups or downplays the actual effects of our violence or by our proxies and their human cost.  The mainstream media is frequently complicit in that portrayal.  The few who speak the truth to power are frequently branded as treasonous or unpatriotic.  These few are later vindicated.

It is my sincere hope that citizens in the United States will be able to recognize and react to these atrocities when they occur and help bring them to a close.  The first step to winning the true “War on Terror” is to end the acts of terrorism our own country engages in.

May 18, 2008

Keeping Tabs: Amy Goodman

Filed under: media — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 9:58 am

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, was on the Colbert Report back in 2006 promoting “Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People who Fight Back” that she co-authored with her brother David Goodman.

Here are the two parts to the interview 1 and 2 (pops) as such.

Unfortunately, Amy’s interview is notably short. Chomsky called it “concision.” Luckily, Amy and David Goodman went to Google and to promote their new book “Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times” where we piece together the fragments of what she was able to express before.

May 15, 2008

Ralph Nader @ Google

Filed under: media, politics — Tags: — codesmithy @ 9:57 am

Ralph Nader was in California talking civics with Google employees.

Nader raises the question of whether the information revolution, and Google specifically, made society better?  The premise of the question is no.  However, the answer to the question is an inconvertible yes.  Information technology has led to dramatic rises in worker productivity.  It has led to dramatic improvements in information exchange.  Citizens now have direct access to government reports and resources, direct access to thinkers who don’t make it through traditional media filters, great works, and huge collaborative efforts at our finger tips.  Nader’s own inability to see progress in this arena is more of a result of his willful ignorance than the strength of the case against him.  What used to require a research project in a library is now, literally, a few clicks away.

As for translating into civic action, first of all I would like to state that voter turnout in the United States has not been phenomenal in the modern era.   It starts out at  63.1% in 1960 and trends downward.  In short, 1 in 3 people eligible to vote, do not.  In ’88, the general election fell below 50% and mid-terms have never been above 50% since 1960.  That is appalling.  However, the one sign of encouragement is that it is getting better.  However, that significant upward trend only started recently.  The 2004 election had the highest percentage turnout since 1968.  The 2006 mid-term election had the highest percentage turnout since 1970.  Nader also ignores the significance of organizations like MoveOn.org have in organizing people for protests and the power blogs had in shaping the FISA fight.  We have had massive protests against the Iraq War, part of that is because of Internet mobilization.

Nader bemoans the fact that we are awash with information.  Yes we are awash with information, a small percentage of it good and the vast majority bad.  However, coming to universal agreement on what is good and bad is virtually impossible.  However, having too much is a much better situation than having to little or not enough.  Those that complain about the magnitude are merely deluding themselves.  They assume the quality of information was better because there was less of it.  While the average quality might be higher, in terms of the quality between the best of the best, the former is clearly the loser because it is drawing from a smaller pool of talent.  Only those eager to believe what they are told accept the previous situation.  It is precisely the mechanism to achieve higher average information quality which is realized by filtering news through a specialized class that causes the gross distortions of coverage in the mainstream media today.  This becomes baldly apparent to all those willing to do the barest modicum of research and capable of independent thought (see Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media).

So the need arises to develop community based tools for filtering that information.  That is what sites like Reddit, Digg, Fark, Slashdot, etc. are for, filtering and digesting the mass of information that is out there.

I’m incredibly surprised that Nader brought up the FCC hearings on media consolidation.  Although, it is difficult to tell exactly what he is referencing I imagine he was talking about those covered in this Bill Moyers Journal piece called “Massing of the Media.”  As a display of civics, the meetings were a complete farce.  That type of arrogance requires the removal of those actors from elected office.  The Internet is our best hope for making those actions stick and to record the offenses of those officials into the public conscience.  Although, I am curious on how Nader thinks people became mobilized to attend those meetings, carrier pigeons?

The most extreme irony had to be Nader complaining about these issues, while telling people to go to his website and sign up on his email list.

So, how about listing things we should agree on.

  • Democracy is weak in this country
  • Democracy is starting to get stronger
  • The Internet has a lot to do with this strengthening
  • We still have a long way to go

However, the last thing that I want to point out is that much of the progressive agenda was introduced due to a historical artifact.  It was the split of the social conservatives in the South that ushered in the Republican era dominated by the likes of Reagan, Bush and Gingrich.  Their legacy will be with us for decades to come.  However, what we are seeing today is a re-establishment of a consensus.  Unlike the one that came before, this one is poised to be stronger and longer-lasting because it is based on an acceptance of principles, evidence and logic and not just historical accident.  I’m not saying that it will be easy, and it far from certain, but the potential is there.  And it does begin and end with information.  We need to change the media that people consume from a plutocracy to a meritocracy.  Make the televised debates irrelevant through innovation, then we will see some meaningful changes take place.  However, it is merely an exercise in frustration to complain about the current system without recognizing the merit and possibilities in any of the alternatives.

May 11, 2008

How Would Pravda be Any Different?

Filed under: media, politics — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 10:57 am

Glenn Greenwald covered the Pentagon’s military analyst program today.  The operative question remains the following: how would media coverage before and after the invasion of Iraq be any different if the media were directly state controlled?  The insight the Pentagon’s military analyst program gives is a resounding: not much.  The Pentagon was able to shape news coverage by controlling the media’s access to sources.  The Pentagon informed a few military analysts who the Pentagon trusted to tow the chosen line.  If one of the analysts stepped out of line then they were simply excluded from access thus risked falling into irrelevancy.  Matters were further complicated by the fact that many of these military analysts stood to gain financially in an event of a war.

The success of this military analyst program represents a systemic failure in society.  The founders believed a free press would act as a check on government power and prevent exactly this type of abuse.  So the question becomes: why did it fail?  The simple answer is that the press relies too much on government sources, didn’t properly vet the analysts it put on the air in these particular circumstances and didn’t do enough independent fact-checking.  All these things are true, as far as they go.  However, it is telling that this particular predicament is more pronounced in the mainstream/corporate owned media.  It seems appropriate to look at the unique circumstances these institutions were placed under to better understand the failure that took place.

The first fact of the corporate owned media is that it is profit driven.  From the very outset, the goal is to produce the news that will sell for the most while keeping production costs to a minimum.  Filling a newspaper or air-time therefore becomes an externality.  It is the very nature of the corporate-owned media to fill their newspaper with as much externally produced material that sells as possible.  In this respect, the military analyst story is not an aberration in coverage, it is the expected outcome of the corporate owned media.  The military analysts represented a gravy-train for these corporate entities, the analysts’ backgrounds were unexamined for the sole reason that the only possible result from asking such questions was to disrupt this favorable flow of government subsidized information.

What is the solution?  Stop getting news from corporate sources.   Try sources like Democracy Now! or The Real News.  If the only meaningful competition for corporate media entities remains other corporate media entities, these problems will persist and very likely worsen.  Effective change starts by supporting some of the alternatives.

May 9, 2008

John McCain Repeats “The Big Lie”

Filed under: media, politics — Tags: , , — codesmithy @ 9:56 am

McCain was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The first thing to know about McCain is that he is an affable guy. For many people, it will be hard to reconcile the likable person and the brutal policies that he advocates. However, any sense of justice or empathy must consider the point of view of the victims, not the perpetrators.

From the interview with McCain, it is clear he is a candidate of endless war. First, he misrepresents the criticism of the 100 years comment. For him, the argument was on narrow grounds. The 100 years was qualified with reductions of violence. If the violence towards our troops is more severe, than lets say Japan, Europe or South Korea, then McCain assures us that he will stay to finish the job, as long as it takes, for an amount of time he leaves unspecified. However, he certainly believes it will be less than 100, but he opposes any timetable.

Therefore, McCain sees no relationship with military bases and foreign policy in the Middle East. He makes that clear by repeating “the big lie,” that the people we are fighting are some monolithic whole opposed to the concepts of a liberal democracy for inscrutable reasons. In McCain’s world, there is no relationship between the military bases built in the Middle East, America’s unconditional support for Israel’s expansionist policies, America’s heavy-handed and largely indiscriminate style of warfare, America’s use of torture, secret prisons and abject failure to respect even basic human rights, America’s continued backing of brutal regimes and historical interference in the few democratically elected government and movements in the region, America’s state of being a military occupier in Iraq, combined with the vast cultural and religious chasm that exists between our troops and the citizens in Iraq and the violence we face there. McCain knows Hamas doesn’t want him as president, because he is for more bombing, more bases, unconditional support for Israel, more “enhanced interrogation.” In McCain’s world, it is as simple as asserting “stop the bullshit.”

One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, “Stop the bullshit.”

If they don’t, then we bomb them until they do.  Obama, on the other-hand, is who Hamas would vote for.

I have to ask: really, over Nader?  Over Róger Calero, who is from my understanding the Socialist Workers Party candidate?  Obama.  How much does Hamas know about our election?  Maybe Hamas is screwing with McCain’s head.  Maybe they want an American president who is just like George W. Bush to solidify their base and aid recruitment.  Of course, the whole line of reasoning is absurd.  Who cares what would or would not make Hamas happy?  Our interests are independent of theirs, and our policy should not be as petty as to pick the candidate that promises to beat them up the most.  It is frankly insulting for McCain to bring it up.  More importantly, how in the hell does he know in the first place?  Which is the exactly the point.  McCain comes out against negative campaigning.  Yet, he refuses to repudiate and in fact, tries to justify one of the most fact-free and stupidest smears against the leading contender.

Is there anything this man does that is capable of being independently evaluated by the mainstream media?  Or will mainstream journalists just dutifully salute what ever he sends up the flagpole?

Make no mistake, McCain would be a dangerous president and would guarantee at least four more years of war with a very real possibility of an expansion into Iran or Syria.  His supposed strong suit, foreign policy, is something he consistently demonstrates functional ignorance in.  Why hasn’t he been completely discredited yet?

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