Sunday, March 23, 2008

A couple of things

First, the dust up about Obama and his former minister (the man retired from the church last year - a point that people tend to overlook). From an atheist's standpoint, the belief in the supernatural of any sort is to be rather, well, "touched in the head". Therefore, whether Obama agreed with his minister's position or not, the very fact that he's attending church makes him no worse or better than Clinton or McCain. There's no reason to differentiate between the degrees of craziness in religions. As to the minister's political views? Some of defensible, many are not. But how that makes Obama any more susceptible to them as opposed to JFK following the Pope or Romney following his elders (weren't Republicans going to great lengths recently to calm the electorate about possibly nominating a Mormon?) or McCain following Robertson and crew, I don't know. It's just political/media theater.

Secondly, regarding the Obama/Clinton/McCain passport mess. What I want to know is why aren't there safeguards - not just for the candidates, but everyone - to prevent this stuff? Why are contracters allowed to see this data in the first place? Why are trainees allowed access to even read live data, particularly during a training session?

Finally, this from the Washington Post - not surprising, but still alarming:

In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat.

The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting "bitterness" and "deep mistrust" in Washington's relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, Heraldo Mu¿oz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations, writes in his book "A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons," set for publication next month.

"In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished" for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein's government, Mu¿oz writes.

But the tough talk dissipated as the war situation worsened, and President Bush came to reach out to many of the same allies that he had spurned. Mu¿oz's account suggests that the U.S. strategy backfired in Latin America, damaging the administration's standing in a region that has long been dubious of U.S. military intervention.

Now playing on VLC: Olivia Ruiz - Paris
via FoxyTunes


Albatross said...

Hey man! I gotta remember to send your URL to my work address, I'm working (requested) 55 hour weeks and never get to browse the web at home.

Anyway, on the latest political stuff, let me clarify a couple of things:

1) The passport incidents went like this: first the Bush Administration assigned some flunkies to snoop into Clinton and Obama's records. Then they discovered they were caught (the safeguards worked, that's why we found out about this), so they also fixed the records so that McCain was snooped on too, that way it would look "even handed." An interesting test would be to see if any of the former candidates passports were snooped, and if not, to ask how the snoopers new in advance who the three political survivors would be in March.

2) First the Bush Adminisration tapped Eliot Spitzer's phone, discovered the hookers, THEN they built the case against him retroactively.

This all ties back into the fact that the Bush Administration has been inspecting everyone's everything since 2001.

Hope you're well...

B.D. said...

Thanks, albatross! That's an interesting take on the passport issue. I hadn't considered that about who the survivors would be although it was pretty clear that Clinton would be one. As to the safeguards - yea, they worked in that the person was logged and tracked, but they still shouldn't have been able to access that data in the first place - not contractors and not trainees. The person implicated in the Hillary breach was reportedly a trainee who was asked to look at their own passport or a family member's during a training session. Who the hell let's trainees work with live data like that?!!?

Spitzer was caught up in the Patriot Act - no doubt about that. It's bogus and so are prostitution charges. I lack empathy for the man because of his hypocrisy in the same way that I lack empathy for Senator Craig, Vitter, or the mayor of Detroit. If he wasn't so damn sanctimonious about his prosecutions, then I wouldn't care. Hell, his successor admitted to having an affair that lasted several months and I don't care about that either. Sex, and positive attitudes about it are the real victims of Spitzer's behaviour.

Albatross said...

Oh I totally agree that Spitzer got what he deserved. I think it's just time we start getting really skeptical regarding well-timed anti-Democrat prosecutions, revelations, and accusations. The Right has absolutely no intention of relinquishing power to anything so bourgeois as elections, and they'll resort to domestic and foreign violence to hold on to it.

It's a pity that the media is owned by the corporations, because it would be wonderful to see some of these well-timed media sensations investigated as the evidence of illegal domestic spying that they are...