Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama = Britney = Paris. Say What?

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/20080730_mccain_accuses_obama_of_heiress_like_behavior/

Posted on Jul 30, 2008

Do you think that when John McCain helped craft the legislation requiring “I approved this message” at the end of political ads he could have envisioned himself attaching his name and approval to this silliness? Behold, McCain’s attempt to elevate the discourse ... by likening his opponent to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Watch it: Vid at link above.
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Here's the deal on McSame.

His foreign policy advisors are 'regime change/project the American hegemon/PNAC/neo-con' nutjobs. His campaign is now full of 'Rovians'.

IT'S ALL THE SAME--IT'S JUST MORE OF BUSH.

If you like Bush, vote for McSame. If you don't, don't.

It's really not much of an election is it?

The only question is: can the fascistic rethuglicans steal enough votes to have another 'selection' like with Bush? Can they suppress enough of the vote of the under-classes to keep the numbers close enough to make the theft less obvious?

Everything important about this election is invisible to you & I.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Right-Wing Pathologies Revealed After Adkisson Shooting at Unitarian Church

By John Dolan, AlterNet
Posted on July 29, 2008, Printed on July 30, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/93198/

A classic drama full of hatred, ignorance and irony played out this week in the forum section of right-wing Web site Free Republic, as "Freepers" tried to make sense of a church shooting in Tennessee that killed two parishioners and wounded many others. The grotesque irony of the FR discussions is that, after early posters had indulged all their bigoted guesses about the identity of the killer, they found out the gunman was actually straight out of their own demographic: a 59-year-old white man named Jim Adkisson, who left a four-page letter ranting against liberals, was known by his acquaintances to hate "blacks, gays and anyone who was different from him," left a pile of books by O'Reilly, Savage and Hannity behind in his car, and even wore a red-white-and-blue shirt to his church killing spree.

It's morbidly fascinating to watch the FR threads as the posters wriggle and bluster to try to accommodate this most inconvenient truth. And if you have the stomach to read them, you can learn a lot (perhaps more than you'd like) about the pathology of the contemporary American Right. For myself -- and I realize this will be the most profound heresy to progressives committed to the populist line -- reading these posts is a timely slap in the face, a painful reminder that maybe, just maybe, heartland Americans aren't such wonderful people at all. What you see in these posts is the oldest, deepest and meanest strain in American culture: the Ulster America founded by violent sectarians who moved westward again and again, from Scotland to Northern Ireland and then to the southern United States, then again westward into the American continent, to find a place where they could hone their hair-trigger intolerance without fear of interference from warmer, more humorous people. But that's me, and I'm often accused of "cynicism," whatever that means. At any rate, I'll present a little background on the site and then discuss a few of the posts. Make of them what you will.

For those who want to do their own analyses before reading on, here are the Web addresses of the three FR threads discussing the Tennessee shootings, in the order they appeared:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/search?;s=tennessee%20church

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2052204/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2052590/posts

For those unfamiliar with online right-wing culture, Free Republic is a far-right Web site established in 1996. It soon found a huge, loyal audience among the right wing's most rabid, ignorant and openly fascistic voices -- or as FR calls them, "grassroots conservatives." Even other right-wing Web sites shun FR, and you'll often observe posters to these sites worrying, when online discussions become openly racist or fascistic, that they're becoming too much like "the Freepers," as FR's ranting posters proudly call themselves.

The same hatred of "liberals" that drove the Tennessee killer is on display, with unconscious irony, in the house advertisement appearing at the top of one of the forums on the church shooting. A bald eagle stands before an American flag, with the caption, "Driving liberals crazy and having fun doing it!"

The first posts reacting to the church shooting are smug gloats. Many posters were absolutely certain that the gunman would turn out to be a Muslim:...[Open in new window]

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Some people, especially those that only watch TV rather than have actual lives, don't know how crazy the hard-core 'conservative' base is. This article is a good start for disabusing them of their ignorance.

I have no idea how anyone could be a Republican these days. The party is just full of raving idiots.

Bush Accused of Tyranny and Murder: House Justice Committee Hears Kucinich Resolution


By Michael Collins


"Scoop" Independent News
Washington, DC Part 1

(The Intelligence Daily) -- Today's hearing on the abuse of presidential powers before the House Committee on the Judiciary turned into a devastating political ambush by Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), committee Democrats, and the extraordinary panel of witnesses.. At least 12 Democratic Committee members were present plus the Chairman while only four Republicans bothered to show up.

Belying their casual appearance in the committee chambers, the Democrats presented a well coordinated, hard hitting case against President George W. Bush. This led to a double climax in the form of surgically erudite testimony by conservative legal scholar Bruce Fein, a former Reagan administration official, and former Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi's stunning summary statement. The best the Republicans could offer was inappropriate humor by Rep. Dan Lungren (D-CA) and a request to clear the chambers when the audience cheered Mr. Bugliosi's remarks.

The hearing resulted from the non stop campaign for the impeachment of President George W. Bush by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). That effort received an overwhelming endorsement last week with the votes of a 238 majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 229 Democrats and 9 Republicans voted to refer the single count impeachment bill to the House or Representatives Committee on the Judiciary chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).

The Kucinich Resolution - H.R. 1345 outlines the case for the impeachment of President Bush. Specifically, as president, Bush:

"Deceived Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization for the use of force against Iraq and used that fraudulently obtained authorization, and then acting in his capacity under Article II, Section II of the Constitution as Commander in Chief, to commit US troops to combat in Iraq."

There was speculation prior to the hearing that the Republicans might scuttle the entire process due to House rules that prevent disparaging comments about the president. Apparently they failed to read the entirety of House Practice, Sec. 25 which lists a number of negative comments that House members have used in the past and makes clear that they're available in the present.
...
[Open in new window]

Strategy Against Al-Qaeda Faulted: Rand Corp. Report Says Effort Is Not a 'War'

The Bush administration's terrorism-fighting strategy has not significantly undermined al-Qaeda's capabilities, according to a major new study that argues the struggle against terrorism is better waged by law enforcement agencies than by armies. The study by the nonpartisan Rand Corp. also contends that the administration committed a fundamental error in portraying the conflict with al-Qaeda as a "war on terrorism." The phrase falsely suggests that there can be a battlefield solution to terrorism, and symbolically conveys warrior status on terrorists, it said....

***

The study was based in part on an analysis of more than 600 terrorist movements tracked over decades by Rand and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Jones and Libicki sought to determine why such movements ultimately die out, and how lessons from recent history can be applied to the current struggle against al-Qaeda.

The researchers found that more than 40 percent of terrorist movements fade away when their political objectives are met -- but that this outcome occurs only when groups are secular and have narrow goals....A roughly equal number of terrorist groups die when their key leaders are arrested or killed. In the vast majority of instances, this is accomplished by local law enforcement, the study notes. "In most cases, military force isn't the best instrument," said Jones, a terrorism expert and the report's lead author....

***

The authors call for a strategy that includes a greater reliance on law enforcement and intelligence agencies in disrupting the group's networks and in arresting its leaders. They say that when military forces are needed, the emphasis should be on local troops, which understand the terrain and culture and tend to have greater legitimacy. In Muslim countries in particular, there should be a "light U.S. military footprint or none at all," the report contends....

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

McCain camp compares Obama to Spears, Hilton

By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer 9 minutes ago

AURORA, Colo. - John McCain 's presidential campaign on Wednesday released a withering television ad comparing Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, suggesting the Democratic contender is little more than a vapid but widely recognized media concoction...[Open in new window]

McCain also reminded the vast throng of dozens of confused old people of his foreign policy experience of bombing civilian women & children from 35,000 feet in the air & the fact that he got his sorry ass shot down while doing it.

"Where do you think we are?". he screamed, "In Czechoslovakia or the Iraq-Pakistan border?" Before the men in white coats came to take him away.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sometimes the Israel-firsters & the war profiteers are the same people.

WSJ:
Iraq War Advocate
Denies Taking Part
In a Consortium


Influential former Pentagon official Richard Perle has been exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan, according to people with knowledge of the matter and documents outlining possible deals.

Mr. Perle, one of a group of security experts who began pushing the case for toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein about a decade ago, has been discussing a possible deal with officials of northern Iraq's Kurdistan regional government, including its Washington envoy, according to these people and the documents.

It would involve a tract called K18, near the Kurdish city of Erbil, according to documents describing the plan. A consortium founded by Turkish company AK Group International is seeking rights to drill there, the documents say. Potential backers include two Turkish companies as well as Kazakhstan, according to individuals involved.

AK's chief executive is Aydan Kodaloglu, who, like Mr. Perle, has been involved with the American Turkish Council, an advocacy group in Washington. She didn't respond to requests for comment. Phyllis Kaminsky, who identified herself as the U.S. contact for Ms. Kodaloglu, said she herself was aware of the drilling plan but referred questions about it to Mr. Perle.

"Richard would know the most," Ms. Kaminsky said. "He is involved, I know that."

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121729971113092303.html...

Some of us knew it all along. The rest of you are stupid.

"I've been here from the beginning, and have never seen a White House "talking points." -- And I don't know anyone else who's seen one either. I asked senior management if they have ever seen a White House talking points. No one had." Bill O'Reilly reacting to Dan Rather's accusation that FoxNews gets White House Talking Points. 12/06.

"There were (FOX) commentators and pundits who were useful to the White House." Former Bush White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, Hardball, 7/24/08

Talking Point: An idea which may or may not be factual, meant to provide the most effective attack to saturate discourse and frame a debate. When used politically, the purpose is to propagandize by continuous repetition within media outlets until accepted as fact.

Similar to how the Communist news outlet, Pravda, and Nazi propaganda chief, Josef Goebbels, offered information to the Folks™, Scott McClellan admitted that Bush White House used Fox commentators as their spokespeople feeding them what they wanted the Folks™ to believe. At least that's what Scott McClellan now has acknowledeged.

For those of you not as politically savvy as your typical FoxNews viewer, here's the technical way talking points work: The Bush White House told Fox News what to say and Fox News said it.

For example, let's say the Bush White House wanted to lead the Folks™ to believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. They would send a note to Fox News and...READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE.

Steve Young blogs at steveyoungonpolitics.com





THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE TEXAS GOVERNOR; Bush Would Use Power of Persuasion to Raise Oil Supply
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
Published: June 28, 2000


Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.

''I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply,'' Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. ''Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot.''

Implicit in his comments was a criticism of the Clinton administration as failing to take advantage of the good will that the United States built with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Also implicit was that as the son of the president who built the coalition that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Mr. Bush would be able to establish ties on a personal level that would persuade oil-producing nations that they owed the United States something in return.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A03E4D7...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity on accused shooter's reading list

Police found right-wing political books, brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes and a handgun in the Powell home of a man who said he attacked a church in order to kill liberals "who are ruining the country," court records show.

...

Adkisson told Still that "he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office."

Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because "he expected to be killed during the assault."

Inside the house, officers found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.

Read more: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/jul/28/church-shootin... /
These people need to be taken off the air, 'their' books need to be confiscated & burned, the profits from them need to be recovered.
It's a matter of protecting the mentally handicapped. That's their primary audience & that audience should be protected from the spew of irrational hate. It gets them too excited. They run out & do stupid stuff like vote rethuglican.

Police: Killer targeted church for liberal views

2 people killed, seven hurt, after man opens fire in Tennessee church

NOXVILLE, Tenn. - The man accused of shooting dead two people and wounding seven others at a church apparently selected the congregation because of its liberal social stance, the city's police chief said Monday. Chief Sterling Owen said police found a letter in the car of Jim Adkisson, who was tackled and held by members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church after the Sunday morning attack.

Owen said Adkisson was apparently frustrated over being out of work and had a "stated hatred of the liberal movement."

The church is known for advocating women's and gay rights and founding an American Civil Liberties Union chapter...

...'He was saying hateful things'
Kemper said the gunman shouted before he opened fire.

"It was hateful words. He was saying hateful things," she said, but refused to elaborate...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25872864

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In other words, it was just another typical conservative.

I wonder what his favorite radio program is?

I bet it's the one hosted by the pedophile junkie.

They all have the same opinions. That's weird isn't it? It's like they don't really do any thinking. They just repeat what they hear.

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Hate Crime Investigation After Cops Say Church Shooting Suspect 'Hated' Gays, Liberals

Source: Fox News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Authorities on Monday said the man charged with murder in a Tennessee church shooting left a four-page letter that detailed his frustration at being unemployed, his hatred of gays and liberals, and his expectation that he would be killed by responding police.

"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement,” Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said at a press conference Monday.

No children were harmed. Members said they dove under pews or ran from the building when the shooting started.

"He did express that frustration that the liberal movement was getting more jobs," Owen said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,392081,00.html

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It's going to drive these people wild when Obama is president. Better start rounding them up now. They're easy to spot. Let's 'gitmo-ize' 'em while the gettin' is good.

We could start with pResident. He's a noted right wing moron. Maybe that would act as a deterrent to the other violent goobers.

The Military-Industrial Complex
It's Much Later Than You Think

By Chalmers Johnson

..............................

Wolin writes:


"The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture, from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributory elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled." (p. 284)

...

Mercenaries at Work

Several inferences can be drawn from Shorrock's shocking exposé. One is that if a foreign espionage service wanted to penetrate American military and governmental secrets, its easiest path would not be to gain access to any official U.S. agencies, but simply to get its agents jobs at any of the large intelligence-oriented private companies on which the government has become remarkably dependent. These include Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), with headquarters in San Diego, California, which typically pays its 42,000 employees higher salaries than if they worked at similar jobs in the government; Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the nation's oldest intelligence and clandestine-operations contractors, which, until January 2007, was the employer of Mike McConnell, the current director of national intelligence and the first private contractor to be named to lead the entire intelligence community; and CACI International, which, under two contracts for "information technology services," ended up supplying some two dozen interrogators to the Army at Iraq's already infamous Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. According to Major General Anthony Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib torture and abuse scandal, four of CACI's interrogators were "either directly or indirectly responsible" for torturing prisoners. (Shorrock, p. 281)

...

As numerous studies have, by now, made clear, the abject failure of the American occupation of Iraq came about in significant measure because the Department of Defense sent a remarkably privatized military filled with incompetent amateurs to Baghdad to administer the running of a defeated country. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (a former director of the CIA) has repeatedly warned that the United States is turning over far too many functions to the military because of its hollowing out of the Department of State and the Agency for International Development since the end of the Cold War. Gates believes that we are witnessing a "creeping militarization" of foreign policy -- and, though this generally goes unsaid, both the military and the intelligence services have turned over far too many of their tasks to private companies and mercenaries.

When even Robert Gates begins to sound like President Eisenhower, it is time for ordinary citizens to pay attention. In my 2006 book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, with an eye to bringing the imperial presidency under some modest control, I advocated that we Americans abolish the CIA altogether, along with other dangerous and redundant agencies in our alphabet soup of sixteen secret intelligence agencies, and replace them with the State Department's professional staff devoted to collecting and analyzing foreign intelligence. I still hold that position.

Nonetheless, the current situation represents the worst of all possible worlds. Successive administrations and Congresses have made no effort to alter the CIA's role as the president's private army, even as we have increased its incompetence by turning over many of its functions to the private sector. We have thereby heightened the risks of war by accident, or by presidential whim, as well as of surprise attack because our government is no longer capable of accurately assessing what is going on in the world and because its intelligence agencies are so open to pressure, penetration, and manipulation of every kind.

much more at:
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174959

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Front page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal:

UNRAVELING REAGAN
Amid Turmoil, U.S. Turns Away From Decades of Deregulation
By BOB DAVIS, DAMIAN PALETTA and REBECCA SMITH
July 25, 2008; Page A1

WASHINGTON -- The housing and financial crisis convulsing the U.S. is powering a new wave of government regulation of business and the economy. Federal and state governments alike are increasingly hands-on in their effort to deal with failing businesses, plunging house prices, worthless mortgages and soaring energy prices. The steps add up to a major challenge to the movement toward deregulation that has defined American governance for much of the past quarter-century since the "Reagan Revolution" of the early 1980s. In fact, some proponents today of a bigger oversight role for government are Republican heirs to the legacy of President Reagan....

***

The debate over Washington's hand in the economy is at the heart of the presidential campaign. Both major-party candidates are endorsing proposals to create new, Federal Reserve-style commissions to limit greenhouse-gas emissions and decide how to spend billions of dollars on energy-efficient technology....Public opinion is shaping the response. By a 53%-to-42% margin, Americans want government to "do more to solve problems," according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday. A dozen years earlier, respondents opposed government action by a 2-to-1 margin....

***

The degree of change will depend on who occupies the White House next January. Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic candidate, has talked about a sharp increase in taxes on wealthy Americans, and a windfall-profits tax on oil companies. Republican rival Sen. John McCain would cut taxes on corporations.

Still, powerful industries are facing greater pressure for regulation than they've seen in a generation because of concerns about the safety of the products. Drug makers are being pressed by congressional Republicans and Democrats alike, who want stricter oversight by the Food and Drug Administration and new regulations that would mandate tougher safety standards and import controls. In the case of the food industry, the food processors and other companies -- fearing a public backlash -- have been urging Washington to ratchet up its oversight of imported foods and ingredients, reversing the industry's usual hands-off approach....

The bigger role for government is being driven in part by fallout from the housing crisis. The beating suffered by financial institutions has required the kind of quick, large-scale financial intervention that only the Federal Reserve can provide. At the same time, the success of the Fed in recent years at whipping inflation and limiting the depth of recessions has had the side effect of enhancing the reputation of government agencies. That's prompting politicians to try to use that model to solve other problems....

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121694460456283007.html...

Bush hearing features 13 witnesses


Kucinich, Barr, Bugliosi among those testifying

The House Judiciary Committee has released a witness list for its hearing to examine "the imperial presidency" of George W. Bush. Testifying Friday morning will be Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has introduced several resolutions calling for President Bush's and Vice President Dick Cheney's impeachment; former Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian presidential candidate who led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998; Vincent Bugliosi, author of the just-released book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder; and 10 other current and former members of Congress, constitutional experts and human rights activists. "Americans have been waiting for Congress to hold the President accountable for his long list of misdeeds and misrepresentations. This hearing is a long overdue first step," Kucinich said. "Congress enacted legislation authorizing the use of force against Iraq based on representations made by the White House. We now know that these representations were false and that the White House knew them to be false." The hearing, which was announced last week, seems to be the one Judiciary Chairman John Conyers promised to Kucinich after he introduced his second impeachment resolution aimed at Bush earlier this month. Any action on Kucinich's articles of impeachment still seems unlikely, but the Ohio Democrat has previously said he just wants to be able to present his case. Late Thursday afternoon, the committee released the full witness list, broken down into two panels. Panel One

The Honorable Dennis Kucinich, Representative from Ohio
The Honorable Maurice Hinchey, Representative from New York
The Honorable Walter Jones, Representative from North Carolina
The Honorable Brad Miller, Representative from North Carolina

Panel Two

The Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, Former Representative from New York
The Honorable Bob Barr, Former Representative from Georgia, 2008 Libertarian Nominee for President
The Honorable Ross C. 'Rocky' Anderson, Founder and President, High Roads for Human Rights
Stephen Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law
Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General, 1981-82, Chairman, American Freedom Agenda
Vincent Bugliosi, Author and former Los Angeles County Prosecutor
Jeremy A. Rabkin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
Elliott Adams, President of the Board, Veterans for Peace
Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
Conyers (D-MI) previously laid out six areas the hearing would explore:

(1) improper politicization of the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys offices, including potential misuse of authority with regard to election and voting controversies;

(2) misuse of executive branch authority and the adoption and implementation of the so-called unitary executive theory, including in the areas of presidential signing statements and regulatory authority;

(3) misuse of investigatory and detention authority with regard to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, including questions regarding the legality of the administration’s surveillance, detention, interrogation, and rendition programs;

(4) manipulation of intelligence and misuse of war powers, including possible misrepresentations to Congress related thereto;

(5) improper retaliation against administration critics, including disclosing information concerning CIA operative Valerie Plame, and obstruction of justice related thereto; and

(6) misuse of authority in denying Congress and the American people the ability to oversee and scrutinize conduct within the administration, including through the use of various asserted privileges and immunities.
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A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
by Meg White

[Open in new window]


...At one point, both concerns over what should be done about the situation and what has been done in the past converged.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) proposed the formation of a modern-day Church Committee to start an inquiry, independent of the administration shift that will take place in January, into possible illegal actions in the Bush Administration. Schiff's proposal is based on a Senate committee that investigated the Nixon Administration.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The Rude Pundit: Why Bill O'Reilly Ought to Be Sodomized with a Burning Cross

Because the Fox "news" commentator and a man who masturbates on all things chick pea-based, in his latest "Talking Points" segment, actually says about a certain left-wing organization, "It is not a stretch to say MoveOn is the new Klan."

Now the Rude Pundit's had his problems with some of the actions and even the concept of MoveOn.org (a joke he was once fond of telling: "MoveOn.org - the least you can do for democracy," but that's sooo 2004), but he's been to a fundraiser or two and a meeting or so, and he can pretty much state, without fear of contradiction, that not only was nobody wearing robes, not even presumptive Grand Wizard Eli Pariser, but he didn't hear a thing about racial purity or any purity of any sort. There were a lot of white people there, but most of them were pretending to be less white than they actually were.

He's pretty sure that all he's ever heard from MoveOn is that people should be allowed to vote and everyone should be treated equally. That's pretty much the opposite of the Klan, unless some fantasy new Klan is all about the civil rights. Oh, yeah, and MoveOn wants the motherfucking war to end, a position that enjoys national support of around two-thirds of the population, an approval rating the Klan never had even in its heyday.

So, yeah, all that and, well, shit, lynching.

O'Reilly's whipped hisself into a mad dog froth this time because MoveOn dared to protest outside Fox "news" studios about its racism towards the Obamas. Said O'Reilly, "The latest smear from MoveOn is telling their Kool-Aid drinking, zombie followers that FOX News is smearing Barack Obama and is a racist concern." Zombie followers? Irony and self-awareness are to Bill O'Reilly what antibiotics are to super-streptococcus.

Ever making himself the story, O'Reilly prattled on, "Obama must condemn organizations like MoveOn and Daily Kos if he truly wants to run without a race component. These are the people that are dividing Americans along racial lines." You got that? O'Reilly has said here's the standard, Barack Obama, and you must meet it or Bill O'Reilly will fuck your shit up. Good thing O'Reilly doesn't have anyone who he thinks will do whatever he says, like, you know, zombie-ish beings.

And the idea that if you call someone "racist" is to demonstrate that you yourself are sowing racial division is the kind of logic that'd make Aristotle say, "Oh, fuck this" and burn his books himself. You see how that works? See, when blacks in the South in the 1950s were saying that laws telling them where they could live and work and go to school were racist, they were actually fucking up because...oh, fuck, the Rude Pundit can't even get his head around this...because they made white people feel bad?

After his trollish battle screech was done, O'Reilly had on race traitor Juan Williams, one of the go-to guys whenever white people wanna prove that there's a black dude who's cool with their racism. Williams assured Whitey O'Reilly that he was a good white man and all those who say he ain't best step back.

Later: The Rude Pundit's taking a vacation next week, and he's got another awesome line-up of guest bloggers.

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Exposing Bush's historic abuse of power

Salon has uncovered new evidence of post-9/11 spying on Americans. Obtained documents point to a potential investigation of the White House that could rival Watergate.

Editor's note: This article is part of a Salon investigative series on spying inside the United States by the Bush administration. Research support for the article was provided by the Nation Institute Investigative Fund.

By Tim Shorrock

July 23, 2008 | WASHINGTON -- The last several years have brought a parade of dark revelations about the George W. Bush administration, from the manipulation of intelligence to torture to extrajudicial spying inside the United States. But there are growing indications that these known abuses of power may only be the tip of the iceberg. Now, in the twilight of the Bush presidency, a movement is stirring in Washington for a sweeping new inquiry into White House malfeasance that would be modeled after the famous Church Committee congressional investigation of the 1970s.

While reporting on domestic surveillance under Bush, Salon obtained a detailed memo proposing such an inquiry, and spoke with several sources involved in recent discussions around it on Capitol Hill. The memo was written by a former senior member of the original Church Committee; the discussions have included aides to top House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, and until now have not been disclosed publicly.

Salon has also uncovered further indications of far-reaching and possibly illegal surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency inside the United States under President Bush. That includes the alleged use of a top-secret, sophisticated database system for monitoring people considered to be a threat to national security. It also includes signs of the NSA's working closely with other U.S. government agencies to track financial transactions domestically as well as globally.

The proposal for a Church Committee-style investigation emerged from talks between civil liberties advocates and aides to Democratic leaders in Congress, according to sources involved. (Pelosi's and Conyers' offices both declined to comment.) Looking forward to 2009, when both Congress and the White House may well be controlled by Democrats, the idea is to have Congress appoint an investigative body to discover the full extent of what the Bush White House did in the war on terror to undermine the Constitution and U.S. and international laws. The goal would be to implement government reforms aimed at preventing future abuses -- and perhaps to bring accountability for wrongdoing by Bush officials.

more:
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/07/23/new_church...
The Greatest Threat America Has Ever Faced: the GOP?
The Mother of All Messes
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
(Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.)

We must get the Republicans totally out of power, or we will have no country left for the Democrats to mess up.

I say this as a person who has done as much for the Republican Party as anyone. I helped to devise and to get implemented an economic policy that cured stagflation and that brought Republicans back into political competition after Watergate. If I could have looked into a crystal ball and seen that under a free trade banner, Republicans would enable corporate executives to pay themselves millions of dollars in “performance pay” for deserting their American work forces and hiring foreigners in their place, thus destroying the aspirations and careers of millions of Americans, I never would have helped the Republicans. If a crystal ball had revealed that a neoconned Republican Party would launch wars of naked aggression against countries that posed no threat to the United States, I would have shouted my warnings even earlier.

The neoconned Republican Party is the greatest threat America has ever faced.

Judging by their behavior, a number of Democrats go along with the neocon view. Thus, the Democrats don’t offer a greatly different profile. They went along with the views that corporate profits and the war on terror take precedence over everything else. They have not used the congressional power that the electorate gave them in the 2006 elections.

Traditionally, Democrats objected whenever policies resulted in a handful of rich people capturing all of the income gains from the economy. There might still be a few such Democrats left.

Read the entire article at:
http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts07232008.html
Cheney Must Be Very Angry
Jim Lobe

If, as I do, you believe that the writings of the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes reflect the views of Dick Cheney, particularly on matters having to do with the “Axis of Evil,” then you would have to conclude from the lead editorial in this week’s edition that the vice president is really, truly angry about the drift of U.S. policy toward the Axis’ two surviving charter members, especially Iran. “Stunningly Shameful” is the name of the piece written by Hayes on behalf of the editors, which also, of course, includes Bill Kristol.

The title is taken from a quote attributed to “former adviser to Condoleezza Rice,” the principal villain of the piece about whom, you’ll remember, Hayes did a real hatchet job in a lengthy feature article in the magazine’s June 2 edition. One can speculate who that “former adviser” is — it could be someone from her National Security Council days like Elliott Abrams or J.D. Crouch or from the State Department, such as Robert Joseph or, of course, John Bolton whose complaints about the ”intellectual collapse” of the administration, if not Bush himself, has become a staple of New York Times coverage since Rice sent William Burns to the Geneva talks last weekend. In any event, I can’t imagine Hayes writing about anything of special interest to the subject of his fawning biography without the latter’s presumed or even actual approval. (The 2007 book, ‘Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President,’ is available used and new for as little as $2.79 on amazon.com.)

“It has been a dispiriting few weeks,” Hayes sighs. “Several conservative political appointees have said that they are embarrassed to be working the Bush administration.” Would that include the vice president? ... http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=172

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Bush: Economy was "drunk," now "hungover"
Houston Chronicle

That's the analysis President Bush, a Harvard MBA, offered at a closed Houston fundraiser last week. This curious video, obtained by Miya Shay of ABC News' Houston affiliate, was shot covertly at the Pete Olson event, after the president asked everyone to turn off their cameras.

"There's no question about it. Wall Street got drunk ---that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras --- it got drunk and now it's got a hangover," Bush said. "The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."
Read more: http://blogs.chron.com/beltwayconfidential/2008/07/bush...

Conservative Lawyers Urge Bush To Issue ‘Pre-Emptive Pardons’ To Officials Involved In Illegal Programs»

The New York Times reported this weekend that “[f]elons are asking President Bush for pardons and commutations at historic levels as he nears his final months in office, a time when many other presidents have granted a flurry of clemency requests.” However the Times noted that despite commuting Scooter Libby’s prison sentence, applicants “should expect to be disappointed” because Bush “has made little use of his clemency power” compared to past presidents.

Except perhaps if you participated in any illegal activity involving the Bush administration’s controversial counterterrorism programs. According to the Times, “several members of the conservative legal community” in Washington D.C. are urging Bush to issue “pre-emptive pardons” to those involved so as to “not be exposed even to the risk of an investigation and expensive legal bills”:

Such a pardon would reduce the risk that a future administration might undertake a criminal investigation of operatives or policy makers involved in programs that administration lawyers have said were legal but that critics say violated laws regarding torture and surveillance.

Some legal analysts said Mr. Bush might be reluctant to issue such pardons because they could be construed as an implicit admission of guilt...

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The ultra-sleeze factor of the Bush II administration. He's finally outdone his Father at something.

It's clear what his legacy will be.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Front group associated with Cheney calls for Bush to be dictator... for life...

By Larisa Alexandrovna

Buckle up kiddies. I am cranky and this is not making things better:

Family Security Matters a neo-conservative based think tank has published an article advocating that George W. Bush should be a dictator for life. The organization has since taken the article down, but is still viewable via this cached link.

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy: By Philip Atkinson

The article written by Philip Atkinson states that Bush would fail his country by becoming an ex-President or can achieve greatness by becoming President-for-Life Bush in order to bring sense to Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Atkinson is bluntly advocating that Bush should become dictator for life with these outrageously anti-American statements.

From the article:

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Atkinson also advocates that Bush should get rid of everyone in Iraq through military force and repopulate the country with Americans...[Open in new window]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Video: Jane Mayer on Terror Politics And War Crimes after 9/11

A Former Condi Advisor Told Her, 'Fear And Anxiety Were Exploited by Zealots And Fools'

Evidence Piles Up on Role of David Addington, 'Cheney's Cheney'

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4K73J7exXI&eurl=http://...

The fact that hardly anyone has heard of David Addington is no accident. As chief of staff to Dick Cheney, he shares his boss's fetish for secrecy. But as reporters are finally zeroing in on what Bush officials have really been up to these last seven years, evidence continues to pile up about the key role Addington has played in the skullduggery. Some are even suggesting he could be tried for war crimes for his role in approving the torture of terror suspects.

In the video above, in an interview with Steve Clemons, editor of The Washington Note, Jane Mayer discusses Addington, whom she profiled in the New Yorker last year and who plays a central role in her new book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, which Trish, my colleague at PR, wrote about this week.

The excerpt in the following transcript comes about 11 minutes into the interview. The quote mentioned by Mayer and Clemens is the last line in Mayer's book. It comes from Phillip Zelikow, a former counselor to Condoleeza Rice, who attempted to explain what went wrong within the administration after the attacks on September 11 this way: "Fear and anxiety were exploited by zealots and fools."

11:17

CLEMONS: One of the interesting things about your profile of David Addington ... is of all the players in this, he's the least known. He's not written about. David Ignatius wrote a great piece on him ... a headline on a short article, calling him "Cheney's Cheney." It's a term I like a lot.

MAYER: Perfect.

CLEMONS: But in your profile of Addington in the New Yorker, in 2006, you tell of Addington carrying a copy of the Constitution around in his pocket, but it's annotated in his views of the powers of succession.

MAYER: Yes.

CLEMONS: This is really bizarre. ... Also there's a great vignette in the opener of this piece ... about Colin Powell at a football game, hearing about for the first time ... about the warrantless wiretaps. And he says, "It's Addington ... He doesn't care about the Constitution." But nonetheless David does carry the Constitution around with him. Can you share with us a little insight into this ...?

MAYER: The thing that --- and does he care about the Constitution? This is going to be important in the coming weeks and months because there's ... a growing drumbeat now about whether or not to treat some of these people and some of their decisions as war crimes, as war criminals and criminal acts.

CLEMONS: By whom?

MAYER: By some members of Congress, members of human rights groups, some of the legal activist groups. There's sort of a burbling up going on. I would say that from the reporting I've done that David Addington believes in a different interpretation of the Constitution. It's his own understanding of it. He... these people don't see themselves as criminals. And I had a very interesting conversation with Arthur Schlesinger, the late historian ... about this. We were talking about Bush versus Nixon. And his point of view was that Bush was by far the more dangerous president, he thought, because of some of the decisions he'd made had had such terrible consequences. And in particular, he cited torture as possibly putting the United States in its worst light in its history.

But he said of Nixon, he thought Nixon had a criminal mentality, and he did not think that was true of Bush. I think that Bush and the people around him were very convinced of the righteousness of what they were doing, which is why I come back to that quote from Phillip Zellicow, because it's playing off of Louis Brandeis' quote about zealots. They were zealots. I don't think they were criminals, at least not in their own minds.

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Mayer says Arthur Schlesinger believed that, unlike Pres. Nixon's men, Bush officials did not have criminal intent when they authorized torture, wiretapped without warrants, exposed a CIA anti-WMD program for petty partisan revenge and the rest. What these fools and zealots intended when they committed their crimes might be interesting dinner table discussion, but intent is irrelevant in determining whether crime were committed.

Mayer also says there is a growing drumbeat in the capitol to charge high Bush officials like David Addington with war crimes. If so, these efforts should be directed toward the Hague, because pursuing them here will become moot later this year when Bush issues blanket pardons to all his henchmen --- probably on Christmas Eve, just as his father did in 1992, as he left office.

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6193#more-6193

Rendering public opinion irrelevant

One of the most striking aspects of our political discourse, particularly during election time, is how efficiently certain views that deviate from the elite consensus are banished from sight -- simply prohibited -- even when those views are held by the vast majority of citizens. The University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes -- the premiere organization for surveying international public opinion -- released a new survey a couple of weeks ago regarding public opinion on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, including opinion among American citizens, and this is what it found:

A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel's side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side...

It's a Class War, Stupid (Matt Taibbi)

Election season will be packed with distractions, but the real issue is a matter of life and death

"I am a single mother with a 9-year-old boy. To stay warm at night my son and I would pull off all the pillows from the couch and pile them on the kitchen floor. I'd hang a blanket from the kitchen doorway and we'd sleep right there on the floor. By February we ran out of wood and I burned my mother's dining room furniture. I have no oil for hot water. We boil our water on the stove and pour it in the tub. I'd like to order one of your flags and hang it upside down at the capital building... we are certainly a country in distress."
— Letter from a single mother in a Vermont city, to Senator Bernie Sanders

The Republican and Democratic conventions are just around the corner, which means that we're at a critical time in our nation's history. For this is the moment when the country's political and media consensus finally settles on the line of bullshit it will be selling to the public as the "national debate" come fall.

If you pay close attention you can actually see the trial balloons whooshing overhead. There have been numerous articles of late of the Whither the Debate' genus in the country's major dailes and news mags, pieces like Patrick Healy's "Target: Barack Obama. Strategy: What Day is it'" in the New York Times. They ostensibly wonder aloud about what respective "plans of attack" Barack Obama and John McCain will choose to pursue against one another in the fall.

In these pieces we already see the candidates trying on, like shoes, the various storylines we might soon have hammered into our heads like wartime slogans. Most hilarious from my viewpoint is the increasingly real possibility that the Republicans will eventually decide that their best shot against Obama is to pull out the old "He's a flip-flopper" strategy — which would be pathetic, given that this was the same tired tactic they used against John Kerry four years ago, were it not for the damning fact that it might actually work again. (I'm actually not sure sometimes what is more repulsive: the bosh they trot out as campaign "issues," or the enthusiasm with which the public buys it.)...[Open in new window]

Saturday, July 19, 2008


White House Accidentally E-Mails to Reporters Story That Maliki Supports Obama Iraq Withdrawal Plan
July 19, 2008 1:29 PM

The White House this afternoon accidentally sent to its extensive distribution list a Reuters story headlined "Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan - magazine."

The story relayed how Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told the German magazine Der Spiegel that "he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months … ‘U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes,'" the prime minister said.

The White House employee had intended to send the article to an internal distribution list, ABC News' Martha Raddatz reports, but hit the wrong button.

The misfire comes at an odd time for Bush foreign policy, at a time when Obama's campaign alleges the president is moving closer toward Obama's recommendations about international relations -- sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, discussing a "general time horizon" for U.S. troop withdrawal and launching talks with Iran...

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/07/white-h...

Friday, July 18, 2008


John Bolton: "Intellectual Collapse"

Rough time to be a neocon these days, what with the United States doing a nuclear deal with North Korea that will see that country off the U.S. terrorism list, a senior U.S. official about to meet with the dreaded Iranians--and even Rice herself preparing to meet with her North Korean counterpart in Asia next week.

Ah, for the days of the Axis of Evil.

We were scanning a story Wednesday by our colleague from Reuters, Sue Pleming, on the U.S. decision to have Undersecretary of State William Burns attend nuclear talks with Iran. She quoted former Undersecretary of State John Bolton, a leading hawk, as saying the move represented "the total intellectual collapse of the Bush administration."

"Intellectual collapse." The phrase seemed vaguely ...... familiar.

With the wonders of the Internet and Nexis/Lexis, we found out why. Just three weeks ago, the White House had handed another baddie--the North Koreans--a major concession. Bolton also thought that was the administration's "total intellectual collapse." Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bolton opined that at least there wasn't much time left in the Bush administration for it to make further concessions--or, as other folks might say, "engage in diplomacy."

The Iran move shows that Bolton spoke too soon. And Bush still has 185 days left in office.

Love him or hate him, at least Bolton is consistent. ... http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/nationalsecurity/20...

Iglesias: Rove Won’t Testify ‘To Keep Himself From Being Indicted’

Last week, Karl Rove ignored a subpoena and refused to testify before Congress, choosing instead to take a trip abroad. This morning, David Iglesias, one of the U.S. Attorneys politically purged under Alberto Gonzales, told MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle he believed Rove “had information that…would show illegal activity” and thus will refuse to testify “to keep himself from being indicted”:

IGLESIAS: Which I believe is the reason why he is refusing to testify in front of the Congress. He has information that I believe would show illegal activity, interfering with ongoing federal criminal investigations. So Rove is not testifying I think basically to keep himself from being indicted.

Barnicle also asked Iglesias whether Rove played a role in his firing, to which Iglesias replied, “Absolutely”:

BARNICLE: Do you think he has anything to do with your being dismissed?

IGLESIAS: Absolutely. The evidence is clear that he relayed, he took a call from Pete Domenici about me that he talk to the state party chairman here. He was very involved in something he had no business being involved in which is, you know, the oversight of a federal investigation and a federal prosecutor.

more plus video at:[Open in new window]

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Do Your Job: Stop Ignoring Scheunemann's Past

By Josh Marshall

As you can see, the McCain campaign is moving ahead with a new stab-in-the-back style attack on Obama over Iraq. But as Team McCain is raising the volume on these slash-and-burn style attacks, it's time for some coverage of the guy who's McCain's brain on Iraq. Remember, McCain's pitch on Iraq is that he was a critic of Bush, not a supporter, on the poor decisions and lies that got us into the current mess. In the McCain paradigm, he starts fresh with the 'surge'. That's where he takes ownership, as it were, of Iraq.

But look who's advising him on Iraq, who's crafting Iraq policy. That would be Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy advisor. And he's the guy who today accused Barack Obama of wanting to lead America to defeat in Iraq for political gain.

Scheunemann was a core participant in the lobbying, plotting and organized campaigns of deception that led America to war in Iraq. He was a close collaborator with Ahmad Chalabi through the 1990s. He helped draft the Iraq Liberation Act, which created the new funding stream for Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. At the start of the Bush administration he signed on as Don Rumsfeld's 'consultant' on Iraq at the Pentagon. And then when the administration started cranking up the machinery for the propaganda campaign in favor of war he went back on the outside to form and lead the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, to lead the press and lobbying campaign to make sure the war got started on schedule.

Remember, US intelligence later found evidence that Chalabi, in addition to foisting a bunch of bogus intelligence and lying informers on the US and pocketing a lot of US taxpayer dollars, had provided highly classified US intelligence to Iran. Scheunemann worked closely with Chalabi for years in his efforts to get the US into war with Iraq. He was also a go-between between Chalabi and McCain. Now that he's taking such a high-profile role on the Iraq issue in the 2008, Scheunemann's history with Chalabi and the use of bogus intelligence to get the nation into war is unquestionably highly newsworthy...[Open in new window]

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Here's an exception to the really lousy reporting on McCrazy from Peter Slevin at the WaPo. TV keeps talking about 'low-information voters'. Go figure. TV offers low-information. 'Liberal media', my ass.

Randy Scheunemann: McCain Adviser Campaigned for War

By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- Randy Scheunemann, the foreign policy adviser to Sen. John McCain who today accused Sen. Barack Obama of a "policy of delusion" toward terrorism, was a prominent advocate of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the lead-up to the war.

In late 2002, Scheunemann helped create The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and became the group's executive director. Its mission, pursued with the Bush administration's blessing, was to build public support for the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

McCain (R-Ariz.) was on the committee, along with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), former Secretary of State George Shultz, retired Army Gen. Wayne A. Downing and former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), who described the project at the time as "a group of people who will talk to Americans about why the liberation of Iraq is something the United States ought to do."

Scheunemann is a longtime GOP foreign policy specialist who has also worked on the staffs of former Senate Republican leaders Bob Dole (Kan.) and Trent Lott (Miss.) He was a board member of the neoconservative think tank, the Project for the New American Century, which often reflected the views of Bush administration hardliners. In recent years, Scheunemann has registered as a lobbyist for several foreign governments, including Georgia, Macedonia and Taiwan, according to published reports. His firm has also lobbied for the National Rife Association and defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

A Washington Post article in November 2002 reported that The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq was being created as the Bush administration was preparing the nation for a likely war that was ultimately launched in March 2003.

The committee's founding coincided with what administration officials called a "new phase" of briefings for foreign policy leaders, Iraq specialists and other opinion makers.

One goal was to reverse a decline in support for possible military action...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Remember, oh, TWO MONTHS AGO when Bush called people who wanted talks with Iran 'Nazi appeasers'? Well, a funny thing happened...

US POLICY REVERSAL ON IRAN

By Joe Cirincione

One week after military maneuvers raised fears of war and the price of oil, a senior US official will meet with the Iranian nuclear negotiator. A deal may be in the works.

Twenty-two years ago, former National Security Advisor Robert "Bud" McFarlane carried a cake, a bible and pistols to Tehran in a failed Reagan administration effort to trade weapons for Iranian aide to the Nicaraguan contras. Now, another senior official in a Republican administration is hoping for better luck. In a stunning announcement July 16, the White House disclosed that Undersecretary of State William J. Burns will travel to Geneva this weekend to sit face-to-face with Iranian nuclear negotiator Said Jalili.

Tests of missiles have yielded to tests of diplomacy. Burns will meet Jalili with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana serving as interlocutor. The subject will be a proposed "freeze-freeze" deal: Iran would halt further expansion of its uranium enrichment program; in turn, the US and Europe will halt further sanctions on Iran.

This is a dramatic reversal of Bush policy. Just two months ago, President Bush warned that negotiations with Iran would be "appeasement." Bush officials had said they would meet with Iranian representatives only after Iran fully suspended its enrichment program. Iran had said that suspension would be the subject of the negotiations, not a precondition.

Bush blinked. He has dropped the precondition. Suspension might still be possible, but the "freeze-freeze" could be the half-way point that allows serious negotiations to resolve this now five-year stand off.

It mirrors the shift that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice engineered in 2006 that reversed a similar policy towards North Korea. Then China served as mediator, orchestrating a meeting in Beijing between Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and the North Korean negotiator. This was exactly the face-to-face talks Korea had been asking for and the U.S. had denied. It worked. Twenty months later, North Korea is blowing up its nuclear reactor, not nuclear bombs.

The announcement also comes at the heels of major foreign policy addresses by both Presidential candidates. Sen. Obama laid out his plan for "aggressive, principled and direct diplomacy" with Tehran; Senator John McCain rejected the idea. Both the U.S. and Iran seem to be taking a page out of the Obama play book: Bush by sending Burns and Tehran by heeding Obama's warning to "negotiate now -- by waiting, they will only face mounting pressure."

Conservative hardliners are sure to scream betrayal, as they did on North Korea. But the seeming ascendance of the pragmatist approach within the administration may save President Bush from adding to an already dismal record of foreign policy failure...[Open in new window]

Twin Towers Billboard Sponsor: ‘9/11 could have been prevented if we’d had a Republican president.’»

Mike Meehan, the Orlando businessman who paid to put up a billboard displaying the burning World Trade Center next to the words “Please Don’t Vote for a Democrat,” appeared on CNN’s American Morning where he argued that the attacks of 9/11 could have been prevented had a Republican been in the White House in the late 1990s. Watch it:

Meehan has his facts wrong. During the Clinton years, al-Qaeda training sites in Afghanistan were targeted by the U.S. military, missing Osama bin Laden by just hours. The federal anti-terrorism budget tripled under Clinton, who also consistently pressed for antiterrorism legislation, even with a Congress hostile to such measures. The common right-wing myth — parroted here by Meehan — that the Clinton administration had bin Laden “in their hands” is false. In contrast, for the first nine months of the Bush administration terrorism wasn’t seen as an “urgent issue.”...[Open in new window]

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Right-wing nuts can't even understand calenders!

Why are they allowed to vote?

Bush claims privilege to withhold CIA leak records

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer 1 minute ago

President Bush invoked executive privilege to keep Congress from seeing the FBI report of an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney and other records related to the administration's leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity in 2003.

The president's decision drew a sharp protest Wednesday from Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of House Oversight Committee, which had subpoenaed Attorney General Michael Mukasey to turn over the documents.

"This unfounded assertion of executive privilege does not protect a principle; it protects a person," the California Democrat said. "If the vice president did nothing wrong, what is there to hide?"

Waxman left little doubt he would soon move for a committee vote to hold Mukasey in contempt of Congress...[Open in new window]

Seven years on, no answer from White House on anthrax attacks

07/16/2008 @ 2:28 pm

Filed by Eric Brewer

It's been almost seven years since — in the weeks immediately following 9/11 — anthrax powder sent through the mail killed five people, threatened the lives of two Democratic senators, terrorized the entire nation, and helped prod a panicky Congress into passing the so-called Patriot Act.

n the intervening years, not only has the killer remained free, but missteps in the investigation have had major negative consequences. Just last month, in fact, the Department of Justice agreed to pay $4.6 million to former bioweapons expert Stephen Hatfill to settle a lawsuit Hatfill brought against the Justice Department, the FBI, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft for destroying his reputation and career by publicly implicating him in the case. And Glenn Greenwald has pointed out that in 2001, ABC News was fed false information by several "well-placed sources" (presumably officials in the Bush administration) suggesting an Iraq-anthrax link. That imaginary link was widely cited by pro-war cheerleaders.

At Monday's White House briefing, I asked if President Bush was satisfied with the progress of the investigation into the attacks. Press Secretary Dana Perino told me that she didn't even "know if he has had an update on it."

Here is our exchange:

Q Is the president satisfied with the progress of the investigation into the anthrax attacks?

MS. PERINO: I don't know if he has had an update on it. But obviously this is something that the FBI is doing. We don't do the investigation from the White House.

Q Well, is he following the progress?

MS. PERINO: You know, I'm sure he -- he gets updated by Director Mueller once a week on a variety of issues. And if that comes up, I'm sure he gets an update.

Q You don't know if he's satisfied with the progress?

MS. PERINO: I don't.

One reason I thought the White House might need to be reminded of this issue is because as recently as last January, in his 2008 State of the Union address, the President appeared to have completely forgotten about the attacks, stating, "We are grateful that there has not been another attack on our soil since 9/11." The anthrax letters, of course, were postmarked on September 18 and October 9, 2001, one to four weeks after 9/11. In his radio address to the nation on November 3, 2001, Bush called them "a second wave of terrorist attacks," and promised that "we will solve these crimes, and we will punish those responsible."

But just a few months later, the White House was already stalling. Asked about the pace of the investigation on February 25, 2002, then-Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said, "The President would like to get this, obviously, resolved as quickly as is possible. The pace of justice is a methodical one...the President believes the FBI is doing a good, solid job."

The question didn't come up again at a White House briefing until more than three years later, when a reporter asked Scott McClellan, "Why have we not found the person or persons responsible for the anthrax attacks of 2001?" Scott's reply: "That's a matter that remains a priority. It remains under investigation. The FBI continues to pursue it."...[Open in new window]

FBI probes possible home-loan fraud at IndyMac
Wednesday July 16, 5:22 pm ET
By Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press Writer

FBI investigating possible home-loan fraud at defunct IndyMac Bancorp WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI is investigating failed bank IndyMac Bancorp Inc. for possible fraud, an official said Wednesday of the government's latest target following the collapse of the nation's subprime mortgage market.

It was not immediately clear how long the FBI's probe of the bank has been ongoing -- or whether it was opened before last Friday's takeover of IndyMac by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The investigation appears to be is focused on the company and not individuals who ran it, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

IndyMac Bank's assets were seized by federal regulators after the mortgage lender succumbed to the pressures of tighter credit, tumbling home prices and rising foreclosures.

The bank is the largest regulated thrift to fail in the last 20 years, regulators said...[Open in new window]

Turning the Tables
on the Israel-Firsters
by Michael Scheuer

Now that the dust has settled in the spat between journalist Joe Klein and the ideologues at Commentary, it is time to regret the ink spilled over the non-issue of "dual loyalties." The idea that there are U.S. citizens who have equal loyalties to the United States and Israel is passé. American Israel-firsters have long since dropped any pretense of loyalty to the United States and its genuine national interests. They have moved brazenly into the Israel first, last, and always camp. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Norman Podhoretz, Victor Davis Hanson, the Rev. Franklin Graham, Alan Dershowitz, Rudy Giuliani, Douglas Feith, the Rev. Rod Parsley, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, Bill Kristol, the Rev. John Hagee, and the thousands of wealthy supporters of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) appear to care about the United States only so far as Washington is willing to provide immense, unending funding and the lives of young U.S. service personnel to protect Israel. These individuals and their all-for-Israel journals – Commentary, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the Wall Street Journal – amount to nothing less than a fifth column intent on involving 300 million Americans in other peoples' religious wars, making them pay and bleed to protect a nation in which the United States has no genuine national security interest at stake...[Open in new window]

The motivation for blocking investigations into Bush lawbreaking
By Glen Greenwald

Harper's Scott Horton yesterday interviewed Jane Mayer about her new book, The Dark Side. The first question he asked was about the Bush administration's fear that they would be criminally prosecuted for implementing what the International Red Cross had categorically described as "torture."

Mayer responded "that inside the White House there [had] been growing fear of criminal prosecution, particularly after the Supreme Court ruled in the Hamdan case that the Geneva Conventions applied to the treatment of the detainees," and that it was this fear that led the White House to demand (and, of course, receive) immunity for past interrogation crimes as part of the Military Commissions Act of 2006...[Open in new window]

The Real Legacy of the ‘Reagan Revolution’


By Robert Scheer

McCain campaign co-chair Phil Gramm is right: We have “become a nation of whiners.” But who is whining more than the bankers that former Sen. Gramm’s financial deregulation legislation benefited? The very bankers who now expect a government bailout, such as those at UBS Investment Bank, where Gramm found lucrative employment.

As chair of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, Gramm engineered passage of legislation that effectively ended the major regulatory restraints applied to the financial industry in response to the Great Depression. The purpose of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act—co-authored by Gramm, passed in 1999 by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton—was to liberate the banks, stockbrokers and insurance companies from restraints imposed on their activities more than seven decades ago. It was legislation that the financial community, which contributed heavily to Gramm’s campaigns in the previous five years, desperately wanted and obviously has abused. So why now bail these institutions out?

Hows about some “tough love” for those bankers suddenly in trouble? You know, the sink-or-swim approach of “welfare reform” that Gramm and Clinton applied to poor people to end their addiction to government handouts. Or, perhaps a heavy dose of “faith-based” personal responsibility initiatives to get those knaves who messed up our entire housing market back on the straight and narrow. Sounds ridiculous I know, because nothing but the bleeding-heart, big-government, throw-money-at-the-problem approach will do when it comes to salvaging corrupt corporations.

That is the real legacy of what has been ballyhooed as the “Reagan Revolution,” which Clinton went along with, but which found its full flowering in the administration of George W. Bush. The bookends of the Bush years are the Enron debacle and the federal bailout of bankers drunk on their own greed. And no two people in this country are more responsible for enabling this sordid behavior than the power couple Phil and Wendy Gramm...[Open in new window]

Day of Reckoning? Super Rich Tax Cheats Outed by Bank Clerk
Technician in Liechtenstein Turns Over Names of Americans With Secret Bank Accounts

ABC News
By BRIAN ROSS and RHONDA SCHWARTZ

Hundreds of super-rich American tax cheats have, in effect, turned themselves in to the IRS after a bank computer technician in the tiny European country of Liechtenstein came forward with the names of US citizens who had set up secret accounts there, according to Washington lawyers investigating the scheme.

Heinrich Kieber, a bank computer technician in Liechtenstein came forward with the names of US citizens who had set up secret accounts there, according to Washington lawyers investigating the scheme. He has been branded a thief by the government of Liechtenstein for violating the country's bank secrecy laws.

The bank clerk, Heinrich Kieber, has been branded a thief by the government of Liechtenstein for violating the country's bank secrecy laws. He is now in hiding but scheduled to testify to the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Thursday via a video statement from a secret location, according to Congressional investigators.

Aides for committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) are scheduled to provide reporters with a background briefing later this morning in Washington on the committee's investigation of tax haven banks in Liechtenstein and Switzerland...[Open in new window]