Archive for April, 2008

How much should national autonomy factor into the presidential race?

Monday, April 7th, 2008

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A modest proposal for ex-presidents

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Clearly being an ex-president is good work if you can get it. But should it really be quite this good?

(AP) Clintons made nearly $109M since 2000

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton made nearly $109 million since they left the White House, capitalizing on the world’s interest in the former first couple and lucrative business ventures.

The Clintons reported $20.4 million in income for 2007 as they gave the public the most detailed look at their finances in eight years. Almost half the former first couple’s money came from Bill Clinton’s speeches.

“I have absolutely nothing against rich people,” Hillary Clinton told North Dakota Democrats at their party convention Friday night in Grand Forks. “As a matter of fact, my husband — much to my surprise and his — has made a lot of money since he left the White House doing what he loves doing most, talking to people.”

This, of course, is all perfectly legal — yadda yadda yadda. Nothing wrong with it — yadda yadda yadda. There are more important things to worry about — yadda yadda yadda.

But, I mean, jeepers. As I said on this same subject a few months ago;

This isn’t the sort of thing I normally get worked up about, but, I’m sorry, while I don’t expect Bill Clinton to conduct himself like Jimmy Carter, the money he has been raking in for speeches is nothing short of obscene. It’s also a little troubling when one considers that the special interests that have been paying him these sky high honorariums have, one might assume, not been entirely unmindful of the fact that his spouse (and the co-beneficiary of these payments) may soon be moving into the Oval Office herself.

Anyway, a friend of mine made an interesting suggestion today. What we should do, he proposed, is to create a new public office to be called “The Office of the Ex-President.” All ex-presidents would be eligible, and it would pay one million dollars a year. But here’s the kicker: ex-presidents would be strictly prohibited from accepting private honorariums of any kind.

In that way, instead of these very valuable human resources spending their time selling the notoriety they’ve gained through an office of public trust, they could be kept available for good will trips, clearing trash from the freeway and other worthwhile endeavors.

Personally, I think it’s a keeper.

The bad news for John McCain

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

You could fill an ocean with the tears being shed by Democrats these days — tears of anguish and tears for opportunity lost. Here we stand, in all of our lefty glory, having been handed a historic opportunity to not only reclaim the presidency, but to rewrite the (right wing tilting) genetic code that’s been controlling American politics for almost two generations.

So what are Democrats doing with this great opportunity? Well, by most accounts (including some by me), we’re fu*king it up royally. Far from pushing our considerable advantages over the Republicans to there fullest, we’re allowing the increasingly nasty campaign between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to tear the party apart.
A full 28 percent of Clinton supporters tell pollsters they’ll vote for McCain if Obama gets the nomination, while 19 percent of Obama supporters similarly threaten to abandon the party if their “horse” doesn’t win. Meanwhile, McCain, the GOP nominee in waiting, is free to travel the world looking presidential — or at least as presidential as someone can look while imitating a puppet sitting on Joe Lieberman’s lap. 
Could things be any more hopeless for the Democrats?
Well, yeah, actually they could: in fact, without in any way minimizing the damage that’s being done to the party by the bitterness of the primary campaigns, things actually don’t look all that bad for Democrats right now.

So, perhaps we should take a break from drowning our sorrows in vodka spiked lattes, to take note of something sort of important that isn’t happening to John McCain. He isn’t pulling significantly ahead of the prospective Democratic candidates. Indeed, according to the latest polls, McCain doesn’t appear to be running much better than a dead heat with both Clinton and Obama.
I won’t pretend to speak for Republicans (please, Lord, don’t I have enough to be ashamed of already?), but if I were running John McCain’s campaign, I think this might make me more than a little nervous. These, after all, are his golden days: the press still loves him, the Democrats, distracted as they busily gouge each other’s eyes out, are largely leaving him alone and wayward Republicans appear to be drifting home.
For John McCain, this is as good as it’s going to get: yet, according to the poll numbers, at least, things actually aren’t going nearly as well for him as one might have expected, given all of the circumstances. Put another way (and I like putting it this way), for John McCain, it’s all downhill from here.


China sincerely flatters Bush in Tibet

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, then China is flattering George W. Bush in a big way right now. In fact, you’d almost think they’ve copied his mantra from the “war on terror” word for word.
Just label your opponents as terrorists, Bush clearly has taught them, and you can get away with doing just about anything to them.

China Alleges Tibet ‘Suicide Squads’

BEIJING (AP) - China escalated its rhetoric against supporters of the Dalai Lama on Tuesday, accusing the Nobel Peace laureate’s backers of planning suicide attacks.

The Tibetan government-in-exile dismissed the allegation, saying it remained dedicated to the nonviolent struggle long promoted by their Buddhist leader.

“Tibetan exiles are 100 percent committed to nonviolence. There is no question of suicide attacks. But we fear that Chinese might masquerade as Tibetans and plan such attacks to give bad publicity to Tibetans,” said Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the government in exile in Dharmsala, India.

Public Security Ministry spokesman Wu Heping said searches of monasteries had turned up 176 guns, 13,013 bullets, 19,000 sticks of dynamite, 7,725 pounds of unspecified explosives, two hand grenades, and 350 knives.

He provided no details or evidence.

Now, that was darn convenient, wasn’t it? I mean, the Chinese have been taking a pasting in the world press for their actions in arresting and killing monks for the “crime” of peacefully protesting: something that’s especially inconvenient right now as they prepare to host the Olympic Games. For some crazy reason, it turns out that it’s hard to get the maximal PR benefit from all that torch carrying, swimming and track and field when, at the same time, you’re beating the crap out of innocent people.
Ah, but thankfully, the great teacher, Master Bush, has all the answers they need.
“All you need to do, grasshoppers,” he metaphorically advises the adoring Chinese leaders, “is to call the monks and other protesters terrorists . . . perhaps you can even accuse them of planning to carry out suicide attacks.”
“But how will we respond, Master Bush,” asks one of the Chinese leaders, “if world leaders start demanding to see the evidence?”
“Evidence?” laughs Bush derisively. “Evidence is for wimps. Just tell them that the monks are terrorists because you say they’re terrorists. That’s all the evidence they need. Surely, as the leaders of a dictatorship . . . and by the way I envy you for that . . . you guys believe in the unitary executive.”
“But we must confess, oh great master,” one of the Chinese leaders says quietly, “sometimes our treatment of prisoners can be harsh and some of our interrogation practices might be considered torture . . .”
Bush interrupts, “These are terrorists we’re talking about here, remember? None of that prissy Geneva Convention crap even applies. I tell you what: I’ll have John Yoo give you a call.”
“But we’ve also been known to hold prisoners in secret,” another of the Chinese adds, “keeping them locked away without access to lawyers or even their families. Surely that will cause us problems.”
Bush smiled. “Let me say just two beautiful little words to you . . . Guantanamo Bay. Don’t sweat it boys. You’ll be just fine.” 

Bowing deeply, Chinese President Hu Jintao, speaking for his group, respectfully says, “Thank you so much, Master Bush, I don’t know what we would do without you.”
Bush returns the bow. “Well, it would make your job a hell of a lot harder. That’s for sure.”
*  *  *
(A note from Steve: A cafe reader has started a new website dedicated to the Tibetan situation. Give it a look.)

I always thought Hillary was more like Bullwinkle

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

(AP) Clinton likens herself to ‘Rocky’

Or perhaps I’m missing her point.

(Explanatory link for the non age challenged)

By the way, this is just a “joke”: no deep meaning to look for.

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