Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ready or Not, Here it Comes... 2008!

Farewell, 2007:

From our "There Will Always Be an England" notebook: "After he was exposed, Lamberton told an intelligence officer that he had thrown himself into a 'frenzied' round of 'gardening and debauchery' to get over the fact that he had lost a three-year battle over the use of his father's title." Washington Post

If only The Decider had been forced to turn to gardening instead of .....
****

In this divisive primary campaign year, Jupiter the African lion demonstrates how we all need one another, lovingly showing that we can cross the most ingrained barriers to join in common cause. Raspberries to our beastly Congress and veto-pen-wielding Lyin' King for acting like political animals instead of working for the best interests of the country.

Give yourself a New Year's warm and fuzzy by watching this touching video of Jupiter hugging his rescuer Ana Julia Torres... YouTube video

****
And, just a reminder of why it is important that our next leader well..... have a clue. Oliphant-WaPo

VOTE! IT MATTERS!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Huckabee's Nose Grows

Presidential GOP candidate Mike Huckabee said of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan that we send "our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan" and referred to the "continuing" martial law there.

By his recent statement, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has once again demonstrated not only his lack of understanding of Middle Eastern affairs, but his "slick" side.

This glib preacher who has delivered numerous sermons and consoled the grieving said he misspoke..... that he meant to say "sympathies" not "apologies" and had a long explanation for why he thought that the martial law had not been lifted by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf when in fact it had.

The truth, something with which Huckabee seems to only have a nodding acquaintance, is that he is weak on foreign affairs, although he tries mightily to flim-flam.

In his rush to capitalize on the tragedy and divert the discussion to the safer waters of domestic affairs, Huckabee linked the Pakistan situation to the dangers of illegal immigration in the United States, arguing Friday that "we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border."

When pressed on the numbers.... looking like a deer caught in the headlights.... Huckabee fumbled around asserting that he thought they were CIA or immigration numbers. Actually, Homeland Security reports for 2006 show that many more illegal immigrants living in the United States came from India, Korea, China and Vietnam than Pakistan.

And, while on the subject of Huckabee's tough campaign stand on illegal immigration, let's take a look at his record.

The Washington Times ran an article by Stephen Dinan in which he said in the first paragraph: "Mike Huckabee is overselling his record of cracking down on illegal aliens as governor, claiming he ordered his state police to arrest illegal aliens when in fact he never signed the agreement with federal authorities that would have allowed it."

Huckabee's web site, however, boldly twists the facts.... "As governor, I ordered my state troopers to work with the Department of Homeland security to arrest illegals and enforce federal immigration laws." But he never signed an agreement with Homeland Security that would secure the training needed before federal immigration laws can be enforced by state police.

When called on this inaccuracy, his excuse was that he just ran out of time to get the agreement with Homeland Security.... the dog ate his Homeland Security agreement so to speak.

Yet, Huckabee had more than 20 months left in office to work out an agreement with Homeland Security for training, something his successor undertook in 12 months.

Huckabee at campaign rallies in Iowa exhorts voters to caucus for him.... "do something different that would utterly confound the political ruling class in this country"... deliver a "seismic shock."

An Iowa caucus win for Huckabee would be more like shock and horror.

Haven't we had enough talking the talk, but not walking the walk? Hopefully the Republican voters will examine Huckabee's record and deliver their shock to the huckstering Huckabee campaign on January 3.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Biden Walks the Walk

Brent Budowsky at The Huffington Post tells it the way it is regarding the Pakistan crisis:

"It was Joe Biden and Joe Biden alone among the presidential candidates in both parties who warned, and warned again about the dangers of Pakistan, who offered constructive proposals to get out of Iraq, and opposed the Iran hysteria of Lieberman-Kyle."

Come lately to the party, Chris Dodd, is now claiming he warned. Rudy Giuliani is saying his post 9/11 moves make him a Middle East expert.... but, as Biden so aptly pointed out, Rudy's campaign rhetoric boils down to three words, "a noun, a verb and 9/11."

The other candidates offer pithy platitudes.... the sound and the fury, signifying nothing.

Anyone paying the least bit of attention knows the one candidate who isn't just campaign hot air on foreign policy is Biden, the current Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Iowans, remember this on January 3.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Biden Pakistan Warnings Prophetic

Regardless of the saber-rattling of The Decider against Iran, presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has been warning that the hot spot in the Middle East isn't Iran, but Pakistan.... a country rife with al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and bristling with nuclear weapons.

Today in Rawalpindi, Pakistan's instability was tragically validated with the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto who headed up a party in opposition to President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest just before a suicide bomber detonated explosives near her car as she was leaving a campaign rally. At least 20 others were also killed by the bombing.

Also today in Rawalpindi, a rooftop sniper opened fire at the rally of another political foe of Musharraf, the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, killing four supporters.

It's just 12 days until the Pakistanis are supposed to vote in national parliamentary elections.... the party with the most legislative seats determines who is prime minister. Will Musharraf now call off these elections and reimpose a state of emergency, leaving him in power and the push for democracy nowhere?

U.S. military officials said last week that the terrorist group al Qaeda is increasingly focusing its efforts in Pakistan.... considered the most dangerous country in the world..... a nuclear-armed country quickly plunging into chaos.

Ask yourself who do you want in the White House as the situation in Pakistan becomes ever more dangerous.... the candidate who is highly respected and experienced in foreign affairs, who understands the gravity and complexity of the situation in the Middle East, knows its leaders, and serves as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

That presidential candidate is Democrat Senator Joe Biden.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Dog Days of Mitt and Huck

Seems the campaigns of two top GOP presidential candidates are going to the dogs....

.... As, when it was learned that Mike Huckabee's son David was involved in the hanging of a stray dog when Huck was governor of Arkansas. David was dismissed as camp counselor and the local prosecuting attorney wrote a letter to the Arkansas state police seeking help investigating whether or not state animal-cruelty laws were broken.

The request was denied because according to John Bailey, Huck's then director of Arkansas state police, he was leaned on by the governor and his personal lawyer to deny the prosecutor's request. Seven months later Bailey was terminated by Huck who cited as one of the reasons, "I couldn't get you to help me with my son when I had that problem."

According to I.C. Smith, the former FBI chief in Little Rock, "Without question [Huckabee] was making a conscious attempt to keep the state police from investigating his son," and called Bailey a "courageous" and "very solid" professional.

As disturbing as the incident was.... the Animal Legal Defense Fund got an anonymous fax that summer that alleged that David and another youth had been involved in the hanging of a stray dog at the camp and the defense fund report reads, "Boys confessed & were fired".... as always, it's the cover up that is so telling about the ethics of the self-professed "Christian Leader" candidate Huckabee who turned the screws to hush things up.

Then there is Mitt Romney's treatment of man's best friend, his Irish setter Seamus.... Romney put poor Seamus into a dog carrier and strapped it to the roof of his station wagon in 1983 for a 12-hour trip from Boston to a cottage on Lake Huron, Ontario. When the terrified dog made bads all over the car, why old Mitt the problem-solver hosed down the dog and car and then continued on his merry way.

Empathy doesn't seem to be Romney's long suit. Although that wasn't one of the reasons stated in the unheard of anti-endorsement of Romney by the Concord Monitor last Saturday. They boldly stated that Romney is a "disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped."

It's the flip-flop thing on such issues as gay rights, abortion rights, stem-cell research and anti-tax pledges that led the Monitor to an unimpressed.... "you're left to wonder if there's anything at all at his core."

Or, maybe we should just ask..... "How would Seamus the Irish setter vote?"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Are Two Clinton's Better?

On the whole, does former president Bill Clinton help or hurt his wife's campaign?

Seems like Hillary had a lot more wind in her sails until Bill stepped in to add his hot air. Like, his telling people while campaigning for Hillary in Iowa on November 27 that "I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers."

This is so wrong, on so many levels.... the first being he didn't oppose the Iraq war, he's just trying to rewrite his history on back of Hillary's campaign. Second... in just one sentence on her campaign stop he used "I" three times, Hillary zero times.

His campaigning for Hillary is all about Bill, his presidency, his opinions..... all of the time. Mentions of Hillary sound like well-drilled rote lessons, like his parrot repetition of "Hillary is an agent of change." When he strays from the campaign script it's all "me, me, me, me, me, me, me."

As Alice Roosevelt Longworth said of her attention-demanding legendary father, Teddy Roosevelt.... "he wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening."

Teddy reborn in Bill.


Is it that Bill just can't help himself, or is there something more insidious going on.... an "I'm the best president" power struggle. Even if Hillary can grab enough attention to somehow win the nomination, then what is Bill's roll? The more he raises his profile, the more the GOP "vast conspiracy" will be motivated to squelch Hillary.

And, if Hillary somehow manages to win the presidency, will Bill then be undercutting her Secretary of State and other advisers?.... cranking up the media circus that follows him around like dust on a dirt road. These questions bring back to the voters the seamy side of Bill's White House life.

Some things are best viewed at a distance.... in this case it's Bill Clinton's presidency.

Rather than being the wind under Hillary's campaign wings, he's likely to become the draft drawing her off course. The old Clinton formula of "two for the price of one" could be.... and perhaps should be.... Hillary's undoing.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

White House Christmas: Then, Now and....


A picture can be worth a thousand words.... so hope you enjoy this little jaunt through White House Christmas cards and wishes past, present and..... please, say it isn't so.... the future?

The Blue Room of the White House was the theme for the greetings sent by Presidents Lyndon Johnson in 1967 and Bill Clinton in 1995. Above is the Johnson card, a reproduction of Robert Laessig's painting, and below the Clinton card with the artistic image "Fantasy Blue Room" by Thomas McKnight.


The first President George Bush used the image of artist Kamil Kubik's impression of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse for their striking 1992 Christmas card.


However, proving that political good taste doesn't reproduce itself, The Decider turned his 2007 greetings into a sermon, in keeping with the GOP push to turn our country into a theocracy. The biblical message reads (and I'm not kidding)....

"You alone are the LORD, You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. NEHEMIAH 9:6 (NIV)"

"May the joy of all creation fill your heart this blessed season 2007."

Below are the front of the Bush 2007 card with this year's holiday "theme".... our national parks and natural history. And, depicting this "Holiday in the National Parks" is the 2007 Holiday Program, and on the inside back cover, (really, I'm not kidding) is Mama Bush's portrait regally lording over a terrra cotta replica of our Mt. Rushmore worthies.... Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.



If you love the creationist thrust of The Decider's 2007 Christmas message, then you'll love a President Mike Huckabee who calls himself the "Christian Leader" and espouses the teaching of creationism in our public schools. This Huckabee family Christmas card is from when The Huckster was governor of Arkansas, before he embarked on becoming our Ayatollah in November 2008...


Think you can see the direction our country is heading unless you stand up for the separation of church and state, and for keeping American free for all Americans.

Ring in the New Year by supporting the candidate who offers "Peace on earth and good will to all men".... regardless of belief, or lack thereof.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Biden Takes Aim

Truth telling. That is Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) way to campaign for the presidency.

For instance, Biden defends the role of the CIA in the administration's decisions on Iran, especially their recent reports about Iran's nuclear weapons capability.... "It's not been so much that we've gotten bad intelligence, but that what we've gotten is manipulation of that intelligence by the president."

Ba-ba boom!

Further, Biden explains, the CIA is "tired of being manipulated by a president who in fact uses the information they produce to do things that do not justify what the report says."

He continues to remind us that while Iran may be a problem in the future, it is Pakistan that is "bristling with nuclear weapons."

How refreshing.... a hard-hitting opinion. About a real problem. Not religious pandering or interest group targeting.

Because of his grasp of the issues, his breadth of experience and his straight-forward commitment to resolve our thorniest issues .... Biden would be a sound choice for thoughtful Iowa caucus goers on January 3.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Huckster Huckabee

Ordained Baptist minister Mike Huckabee has hit upon an effective strategy in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.... keep the focus on religion.... this pleases the religious right base and keeps the talk away from his record.

Like his ethics problems when he was governor of Arkansas..... 16 complaints before the Arkansas Ethics Commission resulting in five violations including using campaign funds to pay for a Gospel Fest event, or cash that was received and unreported.

Or, paroling a rapist whose guilt Huckabee questioned, pressuring the parole board for his release. Huckabee, shaving the truth, says the parole board members were appointed by his predecessors. He fails to mention that he reappointed two board members, one just days before he voted with three other members to set the rapist free. The rapist subsequently murdered a woman in Missouri.

As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee issued more commutations and pardons.... over 1033 during his nearly eleven years in office..... than all of the six neighboring states combined including the usually never reduced sentences of murderers serving life without parole.

And, Huckabee's recent strong stand on illegal immigration is counter to his record. He battled conservatives in his own party who were pushing for stricter state-level measures. He opposed proof of legal status when applying for state services and proof of citizenship when registering to vote.... calling these requirements un-Christian and accusing the sponsors of drinking a different "Jesus juice."

He also tried but failed to make children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded scholarships and in-state tuition to Arkansas colleges.

Huckabee also touts that he cut taxes, but fails to point out that he raised fuel and sales taxes and other state charges leading him to be nicknamed "Hucka-fee."

But.... how is he presenting his record? He crusades under the label "CHRISTIAN LEADER" with the mantra "Faith doesn't just influence me, it really defines me."

Huckabee's stump speech is more sermon mixed with homilies and crowd pleasing political promises. At campaign stops, his introductions include, "Here's a guy who fears God."

It's pure praise God and pass the plate.... and vote for me, Huckabee.

Opponent Mitt Romney has been indulging in own God talk, assuring Iowans that God loves them. Perhaps most jawdroppingly, in a speech on his Mormonism in early December, Romney preached that "freedom requires religion," proclaiming his allegiance with "any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty."

This brought the boogieman response from Huckabee that Mormons believe Jesus and the devil are brothers. Very Christian.

All of this political preaching has led WaPo's Dana Milbank to ask and answer, "Is This Heaven? No, it's Iowa."

We say unbelievably, "Are these revival crusades? No, they are presidential campaigns."

But, as long as the GOP hucksters aren't called out for placing belief front and center.... obscuring their records and agendas... it'll be all God, all of the time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Keeping the Faith Honest

If you have nothing to hide....

Despite vigorous protests from the secretive White House, "Secret Service Logs of White House Visitors Are Public Records, Judge Rules."

Administration lawyers have been arguing that the logs recording visitors to the White House or the vice president's residence are presidential records and outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. But the decider on this issue is U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth who ruled they are "agency records" subject to disclosure.

Records of the visits of nine conservative Christian leaders including James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Gary Bauer are ordered to be released.... and Lamberth will also rule on visits by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Now, Judge Lamberth, how about the names of the attendees at VP Cheney's stealth energy policy gathering....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lieberman Hawks McCain

Foregoing his usual skulking around the halls of Congress in his "Independent" sheep's clothing, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (CT) exposed his Benedict Arnold underbelly today by endorsing GOP presidential candidate John McCain (AZ).

Never one to miss an opportunity to support anyone who supports the war in Iraq, Lieberman extolled McCain as no ordinary candidate, while McCain made assurances that Lieberman would be one of his closest presidential advisers.

It's telling that Lieberman, Al Gore's Democratic vice presidential running mate in 2000, has strayed so far into the GOP "ends justify the means" swamp that Lieberman supports putting another war-promoting, religious-pandering, illegal-immigration-favoring Republican in the White House for four more years.

If Lieberman wonders if we'll still respect him after he prostitutes himself yet again for his narrow pro-Israel Middle East agenda, let us hasten to assure him that we don't respect him now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sanity in Democratic Discourse

Des Moines Register Editor, Carolyn Washburn, the moderator of today's Democratic presidential candidate debate, redeemed herself.... no more Nurse Ratched.

Or, perhaps the high caliber of the candidates simply raised the level of discourse without the undignified tension evidenced between the GOP candidates and Washburn yesterday.

Today, no one preached, or claimed that God was on their side.... no blatant religious pandering. No one tried to justify torture or scoff at global climate change or continue the push for lower taxes in the face of the country's Bush-engendered crippling deficits.

Refreshingly, today the Democratic candidates answered the questions put to them, they didn't run over their time requiring Washburn to constantly try to keep unruly debaters on track, and they were respectful both to her and their fellow candidates..... there was no need to struggle to maintain control of a Cuckoo's Nest.

Six Democratic candidates debated.... Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson. No Democratic candidate won, and no candidate lost. You were left with the feeling that you could entrust the country to any of these candidates. So in the end.... the Democratic party won.... big time.

GOPers In the Cuckoo's Nest

One down and one to go in the Des Moines Register's Nurse Ratched-hosted presidential campaign debates. Not much to comment on except for Fred Thompson trying to project a macho Reaganesque "I paid for this microphone" display by refusing to take his hand-raising medicine.

Look for a lobotomy on Thompson from the Register before the caucuses despite their make-nice front pager in this morning's paper.

More after the Democrats go to bat today.... although the baseball steroid-users list will probably knock the debate's general media coverage back to the cheap seats.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Biden: "Tapegate" Special Counsel

During his confirmation hearings before Congress, Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to describe waterboarding as torture. We now know why.

The videotaped interrogations of two suspected terrorists were purposely and cynically destroyed by the CIA.... and in our heart of hearts we know why.... undoubtedly they showed our government using torture, almost certainly waterboarding, on these suspects.

Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) has called for a special counsel to investigate this perversion of justice so "everyone will know what the truth is;" and, candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) regrets that the destruction of the videotapes "harms the credibility and the moral standing of America in the world again."

However, applying the Bush administration manipulative standards of justice, Mukasey's Justice Department and the CIA announced that they will conduct the joint inquiry into the matter.... the "fox guarding the hen house" analogy was never more apt.

While we endured the White House's corrupting "the ends justify the means" decadent policies, we did see a ray of hope.... now dashed by "tapegate".... that our new attorney general would uphold the rule of law and start to restore our national honor.

It's now clear, until we can install leaders with a political moral compass.... not a Trojan horse administration blathering religious platitudes that are disconnected from their power-grabbing agenda.... nothing will change.

Take this lesson to your caucus or primary next year. Real moral political leadership.... not religious political rhetoric cloaking the condoning of torture and the destruction of evidence.... matters. We must not be fooled again.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Only the Faithful for Romney

The question must be considered.... are we electing a president, or are we ordaining a preacher-in-chief.

Which matters more, experience in the affairs of the pulpit, or experience in foreign affairs? And what about non-believers.... are they to be sidelined as second-class citizens? Is there now a religious litmus test for the presidency

GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, spoke Thursday in defense of his Mormon religion, recognizing all peoples of faith and advocating the premier role of religion in our country.... and, taking it even further, obliterated the wall of separation between church and state by flatly stating that "without religion there is no freedom." Excuse me?

The very freedoms he, and all of the religious-pandering presidential candidates, so loftily proclaim they want to protect are fundamentally undermined by this "we're all the children of God" mantra.

What about freedom from religion? It is just a short step from interjecting religion in the public square to dominionism.... placing religious dogma above the constitution.

By singling out those who "seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgement of God" as citizens to be mocked for the "religion of secularism," Romney divided Americans into believers and non-believers.... the non-believers having no place at a President Romney table.

No one said it better than founding father James Madison in 1785.... "What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruin of the civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people."

Amen.

Monday, December 03, 2007

One Dictator Checked, One Empowered

Democracy wins in Venezuela while Russia's fate lies with Putin's dirty-gray soul that The Decider gushed over a seeming lifetime ago.

"Venezuelans Deny Chavez Additional Authority"..... as voters yesterday blocked proposed constitutional changes that would have sped the country toward socialism and allowed President Hugo Chavez to stand for reelections indefinitely. A hopeful sign in our dangerous back yard.

At the same time a half a world away, "Pro-Democracy Groups Call Russian Election Unfair"..... as the United Russia party headed by President Vladimir Putin won the parliamentary elections by 64 percent. European observers called the election "the merging of the state and a political party."

An example of the skewed results.... in Chechnya United Russia received 99.36 percent of the vote with a turnout of 99.5 percent. Chechnya is currently led by a Putin strongman, and their elections were not monitored.

Putin's United Russia now has 315 of the 450-member State Duma.... enough to change the constitution to allow Putin to remain in power beyond the current limit of two consecutive terms. Putin opponents called the vote a "disgusting" repeat of Soviet practices, while Putin said he was pleased with the results.

There seems little doubt that the empowered Putin will continue to consolidate his dictatorial powers, while the The Decider and his Russia "expert" the dithering Secretary of State Rice, watch their soulful Russia policy ice over like a Siberian winter.... or a cold war.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Purple Panthers on the Prowl

The weather outside is frightful (ice storm), but the fire is so delightful, and since we've no place to go..... it's the perfect day to veg in front of the TV and watch the UNI Panthers (12-0) try to keep the Delaware Blue Hens (9-3) couped up in their own territory.

That will be a tall order since Delaware's running back Omar Cuff has the FCS single-season record 33 touchdowns on the ground.

So, at 1pm today (Mediacom Channel 22 in the Des Moines area) pop a big bowl of popcorn and settle in to cheer on Northern Iowa in the Football Championship Subdivision playoff quarterfinal at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.... let UNI roll, let them roll, let them roll.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bad News Teddy Bear


Let's face it, this isn't about Mohammad.... "Crowds demand Teddy bear teacher is shot".... this whole sorry episode in Sudan is about religion-inspired hatred of the West, in this instance, the British.

This molehill made international incident is but a glimpse of the lunacy fostered by power-hungry religious fanatics .... "Thousands of people wielding clubs and knives marched through Khartoum after Friday prayers denouncing what they termed the lenient sentencing of a British teacher for insulting Islam and calling for her to be shot..... and 'Shame, shame on the UK.' "

All because her students named the class teddy bear after the most popular student.... Mohammad..... the crowd wants the teacher killed.

This medieval anger is being fueled by a leading cleric, Sheikh Abdul Jalil Karuri, who accuses the school teacher of naming the teddy bear Mohammad "with the intention of insulting Islam."

Ridiculous, you say? We in the West shake our heads in disgust.... yet, are our own religious fanatics any different?

The ones who say 9/11 was God's punishment for homosexuality and abortions. The ones who interfere with a husband's right to make decisions for his brain-dead wife. The ones who picket the funerals of our soldiers shouting obscenities and waving hate signs in the name of their God. The pass-the-plate religious charlatans who bilk the savings of widows?

No different. Because you see, it's not about religion at all.... it's about power. Who will wield it, keep it, and profit from it. And, the government that allows its laws to be superseded by such religious dogma.... dominionism.... becomes nothing more than a pathetic, and dangerous, sham government.

Our slide toward dominionism has been set in motion by The Decider. We must not allow the God-over-Constitution candidates running for president to bully us over the "teddy bear" cliff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Actually, the South is Heading Here

Talk about your double meaning, the Washington Post headline reads.... "Signs Are Pointing South on Wall St."

Of course, they mean the south of a serious downturn in the U.S. economy.... the subprime-fueled housing crisis, worsening credit crunch, stock market plunge, weakening dollar, soaring oil prices, and the gutting of U.S. manufacturing... not to mention the monstrous trade deficit and national debt devouring our national solvency.

However, the south could also point to much of the cause of the downturn.... the invasion in the millions of cheap labor across our southern border by demandingly needy illegal immigrants.... lowering wages, and taking jobs U.S. citizens will do, while gobbling up taxpayer-funded health, education and social services.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that our economy is collapsing at about the same rate as our culture as it plunges toward Third World status, bulldozing our economy in order to meld into The Decider's dream of a borderless North American Union.... formerly known as the nations of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

So as you watch the dollar collapse along with your portfolio and way of life, remember that you have the political moral squalor in D.C. to thank for our national decay.

Vote to purge the country of the corporatist, neoconservative ideologues. While we still have a country.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trent Folding His Tent

Shocking.... sudden.... even stunning....those were the reactions when GOP Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi announced today that he will retire from the Senate effective late December. (WaPo)

Many are asking why is he leaving barely a year after winning re-election to a six-year term.... especially after rising from his "stupid remark" eclipse as Senate majority leader to the position of GOP whip, the number two post in the Senate leadership.

Lott went out of his way to reassure everyone that he has no health issues. He leaves the impression he is resigning out of disgust for the get-nothing-done political infighting on both sides of the aisle.

After 35 years in Congress Lott says, "It's time for us to do something else." Translated.... make some real money. At least he didn't say he wants to "spend more time with his family." That remark usually portends a forced resignation.... which Lott's isn't.

There is a little matter of the New Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (S.1) which places lobbying restrictions on former members.... as of January 1, 2008 a Senator must wait two years before lobbying Congress, and his staff must wait a year.

Lott denies his timing has anything to do with these new "cooling-off" period limitations.... and, if you believe that you must be skipping down a yellow brick road.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

1986: When U.S. Was Arming Iran

For those of you who only hear the GOP rewriting of history.... especially the Ronald Reagan presidential-greatness fable.... today is a perfect time to shine some sober light on the myth.

On this day 21 years ago.... November 25, 1986.... Reagan finally fessed up in a press conference.... he had not been in full control of his administration's Iran policy, and as a consequence up to $30 million intended to pay for American arms had been secretly diverted to rebel forces in Nicaragua. (NYTimes)

At the same time, another now mythical figure was also outed as Reagan announced that Lieut. Col. Oliver North had left his post after "serious questions of propriety had been raised."

Yes... Reagan's administration had been shipping clandestine arms to Iran and the money from this sale of arms to Iran was diverted to the Nicaragua contras.... even though Congress had barred military aid to them.

Attorney General Edwin Meese, Reagan's Alberto Gonzales, was quick to shield Reagan, announcing that "The only persons in the United States Government that knew precisely about this--the only person--was Lieut. Colonel North,".... but when asked if he would name a special prosecutor to examine the matter Meese answered with a quick "no."

Meese contended that the first United States-sanctioned arms shipment to Iran took place in 1985 without Reagan's knowledge and was approved by the president only after the fact.

A distinction without a difference it would seem to all but the White House.

A tense Reagan devoted less than four minutes to this revealing and explosive press conference and then briskly walked out of the briefing room, leaving Meese to field questions.

Here ended the Reagan fairy tale.... and, our country did not live happily ever after Reagan's "shadow government," budget-busting administration.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Iowa's Purple Passion


Today Iowa shows New Hampshire how it's done.

No, it's not time yet for the caucuses.... that contest is still five+ weeks away.

It's time for the #1 seeded University of Northern Iowa (11-0) to host the #17 University of New Hampshire (7-4) at the UNI-Dome for the NCAA Football Championship Division playoff opener.

Kickoff is at 6:30pm.... in the Des Moines area you can watch it on Mediacom Channel 22. So, tune in and watch Northern Iowa's first round in their quest for the national prize.... go Panthers!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Stopping the Religious Lash....

She is 20 years old. She and a male acquaintance were sitting in a car, they were kidnapped from the car and gang raped by 7 men. She and her companion were convicted on morals charges and sentenced to receive 90 lashes for being alone in the car.

After her lawyer, Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem, objected to her sentence, both victims sentences were increased to 200 lashes and six months in prison. Lahem's license has been revoked, accused of "belligerent behavior, talking to the media for the purpose of perturbing the judiciary, and hurting the country's image."

The country is Iran? Wrong. Afghanistan? Wrong. Pakistan? Wrong.

No, it's the country of The Decider's great oil buddies, Saudi Arabia.... an absolute monarchy where the official Wahhabi religious establishment follows a strict interpretation of Islam, and the country follows Islamic law... many of which are not codified, giving judges wide latitude in sentencing.

As a Saudi human rights lawyer, Lahem has been fighting against this medieval judicial system. Defending clients whom other lawyers refused.... a school administrator suspended for criticizing the religious establishment, a man convicted of promoting homosexuality for saying it was genetic, three political reformists seeking a constitutional monarchy, and the first Saudis suing the country's powerful religious police.

The lesson. In Saudi Arabia you see the consequences of allowing religious laws supremacy.... or dominionism.... and the difficulty in confronting and ridding a country of the grip of nationalistic theology.

The sentencing fourth-century-throwback Saudi court told this woman the reason for her increase in punishment was because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

WHTMC would nominate Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem for Time's "Man of the Year"... for risking everything to defend those who are victimized by Saudi Arabia's all-powerful monarchy and their religious laws. But, such a move might only increase the harsh treatment of the 20-year-old gang rape victim.

Instead, let's examine the pronouncements of some of our presidential candidates regarding their fundamentalist beliefs.... denouncing homosexuality, rights to privacy, evolution.... in government, education and the courts.

Whether it's the assault on science from global warming to evolution battles, the tearing down of the constitutional protections to privacy or the wall separating church and state.... relentless religious radicalism is on the march our country.... after being given almost unfettered political, legal and monetary advantages by The Decider.

But, unlike the tyranny in place in Saudi Arabia, Americans can still do something to halt the authoritarian ambitions that lie behind the moralistic posturing of the religious right. If you cherish your freedoms, deny them a place at the table.

As Tocqueville said in 1840: "Various forms of religious madness are quite common in the United States".... but still he thought that democracy could contain the danger.

It can... but only if you exercise your freedoms and vote. Otherwise, you or your children could someday feel the lash.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Scotty Beams Up....

Not only are the rats deserting the Ship of State, but some are squealing once safely away.

The latest, and maybe loudest, squeal comes in the form of a pre-publication excerpt from a memoir by former White House press secretary, Scott McClellan.... "WHAT HAPPENED: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington," to be published next April....

"I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

"There was one problem. It was not true.

"I had unknowingly passed along false information, and five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

McClellan says he was in that position because he trusted the president: "The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

Restore the credibility of The Decider and the White House by suggesting to the press day after day that Rove and Libby had no involvement in the publication of the name of covert CIA operative Valarie Plame.

While McClellan did finally take this baby step toward full disclosure.... these events happened in the summer of 2003. He's coming forward only now, after the Plame investigation and Libby's conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice, and after Bush pardoned Libby. Where's Scotty been?

This story just broke, the shock waves are just hitting. It's impact while as yet unknown could very well affect the upcoming elections and end careers. Stay tuned....

Turkey Pardons Turkey


It's sad really, The Decider spares a turkey the usual sentence of the season, while allowing two U.S. Border Agents to remain wrongfully imprisoned.... even though an enraged public has been clamoring for their pardons.

At least the Mexican drug smuggler the agents were trying to apprehend, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, is finally under arrest, and now facing charges for smuggling drugs into our country numerous times.... even during the agents' trial using the immunity border pass issued to him by U.S. Attorney Sutton for his testimony against the agents.

So, until the agents' appeal is heard, and this travesty is overturned, remember these few things to be thankful for:

"Snowflake" Defense Secretary Rummy got the axe.

Political manipulator Rove flew The Decider's coop.

Attorney General Gonzo no longer gobble-gobbles for his White House dinner.

And, be especially thankful that starting next January we set into motion the means to rid ourselves of the "foul" Bush.

Wishing all a hopeful Thanksgiving.

Polls... Reflecting or Affecting?

Here's the problem with, "For Democrats, Iowa Still Up for Grabs" based on a recent Washington Post/ABC News Poll calling it close for the three top contenders, Barack Obama (30%), Hillary Clinton (26%), and John Edwards (22%)..... only 500 likely caucus voters were polled, and no one owning just a cell phone was polled, i.e., a large group of voters under 40 were ignored!

In a word.... can one trust these polls?

Will cell-phoners support Clinton or Obama? Seems like that edge would go to the younger Obama supporters.

Is illegal immigration the third-rail this election, or of little importance as the liberal-sponsored poll suggests. Many reports say it's a wedge issue, at least in Iowa. Just ask Obama who was skewered on this issue at a recent campaign stop. Or, any candidate taking unscripted questions from Iowans railing against illegal immigration.... emphasis on "illegal."

Is 4th place Bill Richardson actually polling better than Joe Biden? Especially on Iraq, an issue on which even the other candidates defer to Biden who shows up in 5th place.... and, especially since Iraq is the number one issue with the voters, according to the "polls." Doesn't add up.

It's an old trick, using polls to try to shape public opinion.... no use supporting such and such a candidate, he doesn't have a chance.... no one thinks such and such an issue matters, no use deciding based on that issue. Mind games.

Even naming the top three candidates the year before the caucuses.... who decided that? Big media, big money... and "polls."

Forget the polls. Forget front runner and second tier slotting. Support the best candidate for the job.... the one whose values and policies best reflect you. Otherwise, the pollsters and kingmakers decide.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Queen Hillary's Been Bzzzzzy

In last week's Democratic presidential debate, when her opponents questioned Hillary Clinton's record, she used her most-punishing imperial disdain to accuse them of "throwing mud."

Well, she should know.

The Saturday Robert Novak column carried this tidbit, "Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party's presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed."

Talk about mud-slinging.... from ambush with unidentified sources, even an unidentified "scandal."

Of course, Novak.... who readily lent his column to the GOP outing of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame whose husband tried to shine light on the Bush administration's murky slog toward the invasion of Iraq.... has shed any pretence of being a journalist, and is willing to be used as a plant, no matter the cost.

So we can dismiss Novak's implied "scandal," but should take seriously the skulduggery coming from the Clinton hive.

In the same underhanded, mud-slinging vein, "Truth Hunter" was push-polled Sunday.

That is the polling technique whereby among the political polling questions being asked are ones designed to throw a negative light on a candidate. In this instance after being asked a lot of leading questions about the adverse impact of trade agreements and corporate favoritism on our economy, there came this ringer, "Did you know that Barack Obama voted for a trade agreement this year...."

I can think of only one campaign that would feel a need to conduct a negative push-poll against Obama.... Queen Hillary and her busy bee operatives.

Well, Queen Hillary, here's the latest buzz. While you may be hurting Obama, you're hurting yourself more. You're reminding us of the eight nation-rending "scandalous" Clinton years, which were followed up by seven more destructive and divisive years presided over by "the ends justify the means" Bush administration.

Really, we've had enough. Enough slick campaigns with an army of handlers, planted questions and dirty tricks. Enough special-interests bought-and-sold, business-as-usual candidates.

In Iowa next January 3, Queen Hillary may feel the caucus-goers' sting.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Dollar is Teetering....

Why are we worrying about Iran getting nukes.... they don't need them. They can destroy our county from within.... through our Bush-decimated economy.... and are making moves in that direction.

The first paragraph, in "Saudi minister warns of dollar collapse" in the current issue of London's The Business Magazine, is chilling.... "The dollar could collapse if Opec officially admits considering changing the pricing of oil into alternative currencies such as the euro, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister has warned."

He didn't mean to warn.... but Prince Saud Al-Faisal's microphone was accidentally left on during a private meeting at an oil cartel conference in Riyadh.

What he said in part was... "My feeling is that the mere mention that the Opec countries are studying the issue of the dollar is itself going to have an impact that endangers the interests of the countries.... we don't want the dollar to collapse instead of doing something good for Opec."

Besides the dire warning, it's instructive to hear that The Decider's good Saudi friends interest in our well being is simply self-serving good business, not in our survival as a nation.

Opec members Iran and Venezuela are the ones pushing for oil to be denominated against a "basket of currencies."

Meanwhile, the dollar and the British pound continue to weaken. Bush's monstrous policies have led us to the precipice....

Friday, November 16, 2007

What Happens in Vegas....

Most post-debate political commentators focused on the fireworks last night between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during the start of the CNN Democratic fracas in Las Vegas, but the real "gotcha" moment came near the end of the debate.

Clinton: I do not want to fix the problems of Social Security on the backs of middle class families and seniors. If you lift the cap completely, that is a $1 trillion tax increase. I don't think we need to do that.

Obama: Hillary, I've heard you say this is a trillion dollar tax on the middle class by adjusting the cap. Understand that only 6 percent of Americans make more than $97,000 -- so 6 percent is not the middle class-- it's the upper class.

And you know, this is the kind of thing that I would expect from Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani-- where we start playing with the numbers..... No, no, no, no, no. This is too important.

Hillary, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, was rescued by a favorable audience who hooted, even booed, any of her opponents who dared catch the Queen in parse, or fudging mode.

And, that was the biggest problem with this debate. It was conducted like a high school football game complete with cheers and unruly fans, and Clinton was the home team. The visiting team was Obama, while John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd were the sidelined second-stringers, and Dennis Kucinich the ignored water boy.

Referee Wolf Blitzer lost control of the debate at the git-go when Clinton and Obama scrapped like cats in a bag, ignoring Blitzer's attempts to redirect the action. It set the tone for a rowdy night. When cornered on her record, like her vote recently to support Bush on his Iran policy, or Edwards' accusation that she is a corporate Democrat, Clinton stiff-armed with accusations of "mud slinging."

Biden gave his usual strong performance on foreign policy.... instead of giving Bush the Clintonian wink-and-a-nod on his Iran ambitions, he revealed that he told The Decider privately that if he went to war against Iran he would move to impeach him. Kucinich unsuccessfully tried an impeachment maneuver in the House last week.... but, such a threat from a no-nonsense Biden is a different matter.

Biden also scored on the issue of Supreme Court appointments, and Roe vs. Wade as settled law, saying that he would "not appoint anyone who did not understand that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment and the Liberty Clause of the 14th Amendment provided a right to privacy."

It's difficult to watch Richardson debate. He seems to have some difficulty expressing himself, so he tries to make up for this with continuous expansive gestures as he tries to articulate. It seemed at any moment he would take flight.

While Hillary won the "supporters in the audience" edge, she lost the "sartorial splendor" award. Hillary.... ditch that "asbestos" Tinky-Winky-designed pantsuit. Truly, what was worn in Vegas should stay in Vegas.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Deadly Middle East Meddling

Here we go again!

Regime change to solve a problem.... like the U.S.-supported shah of Iran. And, we all know how that turned out. Iran now has a radical Islamic controlling party and the United States is the enemy.

Learning nothing from history, The Decider tried regime change in oil-rich Iraq. So far what that has gotten us are countless U.S. and Iraqi casualties, a virtual tsunami of national debt, and an unstable warring nation bordering on, and largely politically controlled by, neighboring U.S.-unfriendly Iran. With no good resolution in sight.

The United States had one "friend" in this Middle East cluster, military-coup president Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. He "supported" the Iraq invasion while dealing with very unstable Islamic elements in his own country.... obviously not very successfully as al Qaeda and The Taliban relocated and revitalized their command and control operations to Pakistan's mountainous northwestern region, even infiltrating and overrunning some cities.

So..... a meddling Bush twisted Musharraf's arm to allow exiled former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan in order to forge a power-sharing government. A government pleasing to the United States. This set the stage....

When those negotiations not surprisingly broke down, rather than relinquish his dual role as president and head of the military, Musharraf declared a national emergency.

You see, the "term of Pakistan's current government expires on Thursday, and it also would have been the final day of Musharraf's current stint in office had he not extended it by declaring emergency rule." WaPo

So now, this nuclear-armed nation is coming apart at the seams, and rival leaders are under detention or have been "carted off by the police." NYTimes

Opposition politician Imran Khan, a popular former cricket player, appeared at a university anti-Musharraf protest Wednesday. You probably saw the media accounts.... signs that read "No to Emergency" and "Go Musharraf, Go." Not the "Go" rallying cry of football games, but the "Go" of leave office now.

What you may not have seen were the students at the protest affiliated with the radical Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami who were chanting slogans against President Bush and the United States. Kahn was seized by students belonging to Islami Jamiat-e-Talba, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami. They detained him until he was arrested by police.... obviously the radical Islamics are emboldened by recent events.

So, here is the "shah of Iran" showdown once again.... and Musharraf, by aligning himself with the United States, is the enemy of the radical Islamists, but has also alienated the Pakistani moderates with his suspension of the constitution and national-emergency strong-arm tactics....

But this Pakistan showdown is deadly different from Iran's uprising..... for whoever controls Pakistan controls a nuclear-armed nation.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

American Ayatollah Chooses Rudy

He was a Republican candidate for president in 1988, winning the Iowa caucus. An influential evangelical guru to the religious fundamentalist movement who espouses the "dominion" mandate.... that Christians are called on by spiritual warfare to "Christianize" the country's social and political institutions.... his fevered vision as laid out in his book The New World Order.

And, that barely scratches the surface of the Old Testament Biblical law agenda of this seemingly grandfatherly founder of the Christian Coalition of America.... Pat Robertson.

Today, Robertson endorsed the candidacy of GOP former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.... who, ironically has broken many of the Biblical laws Robertson says are so important to him. But, not as important, evidently, as standing front and center with the perceived Republican nominee for the presidency.... power trumps all.

This pretty much wraps up Robertson's ayatollah-take on governing... "Individual Christians are the only ones really -- and the Jewish people, those who trust God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- are the only ones that are qualified to have the reign, because hopefully, they will be governed by God and submit to Him." (Robertson in his address to his American Center for Law and Justice, November, 1993.)

Ah... but not just any Christians.... "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist." (Robertson on his "The 700 Club" program,January 14, 1991.) He doesn't like Masons either, referring in The New World Order to freemasonry as a Satanic conspiracy.

After the 2004 election, Robertson proclaimed that "George Bush has the favor of heaven." And he recently reaffirmed his belief that judges appointed by Democrats are a greater threat to the United States than Al Qaeda, Nazi Germany, or the Civil War.

And, this from a fundraising letter, 1992.... "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

Robertson's take on marriage.... God's pattern is for men to be the leaders, both in the church and in the family.... "Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them." (From his book Bring It On, quoted in the New York Times, February 28, 2004.)

Just in case you're still not scared, here is Robertson's "law" in action regarding what should happen if a Christian blows up an abortion clinic or kills a doctor who performs abortions. In a September 1984 edition of The 700 Club, he suggested that a special church tribunal should be called, and if it could be determined that the perpetrator had received an authentic word from God which compelled him to break the civil law, then the church tribunal would have the civil authority to provide immunity from prosecution.

This is the arguably dangerously-unbalanced religious fanatic who today endorsed Giuliani. Really, Rudy, you have no shame.

The next chapter of this political season's endorsement farce, failed Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback.... who espouses creationism and champions homophobia.... is slated to endorse GOP candidate John McCain today.

Supporting these wingnut panderers in their crawl toward the presidency will only encourage this theocratic nonsense. We can do better.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bush's Foreign "Friends"

So grandiose is The Decider's opinion of himself, and his influence on other world leaders, that he has based much of our foreign policy on his so-called personal relationships with those leaders, leaving the good of the people of those nations, and ours, to choke on the effluvia of his egomaniacal "spreading of Democracy" rhetoric.

The Decider's "good friends" like.... Mexico's former president Vincente Fox who described The Decider as the cockiest man he ever met and speaks Spanish like a fourth grader; Russia's president Vladimir Putin who is grabbing Soviet-style power while Bush is gazing into Putin's soul; and Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki who is firmly lodged in Iran's back pocket while pimping American lives and treasure.

Or, nuclear-armed Pakistan's president Gen. Peverez Musharraf who is ignoring the admonishments of the White House to stop his martial-law-enforced grip on power. These leaders are at the ready for Bush photo-ops, but their actions scream their disdain.

Bush gets no respect, because he's earned no respect.

The dangerous oligarchs lying in wait just beneath the surface of nations.... usually restrained by a commanding president of a strong U.S.... have taken arrogant Bush's measure and judged that as long as they give lip service to The Decider's neoconist worldview crusades they can unleash their dictatorial ambitions without retribution.

The perfect example is Pakistan. Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999 with promises of a civilian government. Because The Decider wanted Musharraf's support for his "war on terror," he looked the other way... and slipped Musharraf a mostly unaccounted for nearly $11 billion. Musharraf tested him by repeatedly breaking promises to move toward democracy, forcing his rivals into exile, being vindictive, and intimidating anyone who tried to stand up to him.

Now Bush's dependence on his perceived "relationship" with this man has blown up in his face.... Musharraf has suspended the constitution, is rounding up judges, beating and jailing lawyers and journalists, arresting members of his opposition, and has silenced the media.

Moves that will embolden extremists in The Decider's war on terror like Al Qaeda and the Taliban who are resurgent on Musharraf's northern borders, while fueling anger and mistrust among Pakistani moderates.

Musharraf said his actions were necessary to preserve Pakistan, and compared himself to Abraham Lincoln during our civil war. Please.

The truth of the matter is that after "winning a sham ballot last month, General Musharraf was awaiting a Supreme Court decision on whether his election, while still serving as army chief of staff, was legal.... he asserted military powers after getting word that the court would rule against him." (New York Times)

It's plain....Musharraf is preserving his power.... although he did throw the bone of a "promised" election in January. Will there be another "emergency" to stay that election? Elections held by a tyrannical government have but one outcome.... either no election, or the "election" of the tyrant.

Just as we have watched world leaders gutting their sham democracies while seizing unlimited state powers, we have also watched The Decider, by virtue of presidential directives and an acquiescent attorney general and lawmakers, vastly expanding the powers of his office.

Is Pakistan's perilous state just a chilling preview of November 2009?

The answer may lie in whether or not The Decider takes strong measures to restrain Musharraf by plugging his U.S. piggy bank, protecting the popular former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and insisting on open elections.... a real foreign policy effort, not a nod-and-a-wink accommodation for his "friend."

Could it be that the most dangerous leader is the one elected to office for the national common good, who instead uses it to undermine individual rights while pursuing his ego-directed globalist ideology.