Sunday, August 31, 2008

Look at these two goofballs. This was taken the day Katrina hit New Orleans.

Dead, dead, dead...I hope, I hope, I hope...

'Reagan coalition'
Published: Aug. 31, 2008 at 3:57 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- As Republicans gather in Minnesota for their 2008 national convention, they face a new era in which the so-called "Reagan coalition" is gone, analysts say.

The broad alliance of social conservatives, small-government activists and pro-military hawks that elected U.S. President Ronald Reagan twice in the 1980s -- and which has mostly held together in the intervening years -- has splintered for good, analysts told McClatchy Newspapers Sunday.

"The coalition that elected Reagan is no longer there," William Lacy, a political director in the Reagan White House and now director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, told the news service. He said that in foreign policy, "neoconservative" interventionists have alienated many Republicans who believe nation-building is a mistake.

"Neocons are willing to throw out some of the principles of conservatism," he added... /
Gustav – A Divine Plague against the Self Proclaimed God Party ?

By Steven Leser

Republicans are always falling all over themselves to try to pander to the evangelical vote. Assuming the existence of God, you would think that if this emphasis by the GOP on the ecclesiastical were genuine and appreciated, you would see the effect in terms of all kinds of divine preferential treatment. The Old or Hebrew Testament talks about God leveling mountains, sending plagues and destroying entire opposing armies in favor of those who worshipped Him. At the very least, if the GOP were God’s own, wouldn’t you at least expect to see some preferential weather on their behalf for the Republican convention and perhaps a severe thunderstorm for Obama’s speech at the end of the Democratic Convention? If not preferential weather, maybe at least non-catastrophic?

Those who read and understand the bible and are believers would almost have to draw interesting conclusions from the beautiful weather for Obama’s speech and the genesis of Gustav and its projected path at this exact moment in time. One of the worst perceived failures of the Republican Party, its policies, George W. Bush, and John McCain was the preparation for and response to hurricane Katrina. As we enter the final phase of this election campaign, a hurricane that reminds the public of the GOP’s Katrina failures has to be one of the worst things that could happen to Republicans. The fact that the landfall of the hurricane coincides with the first two days of the Republican convention and would completely disrupt it and take away needed coverage is an unbelievable coincidence.

As someone who went to several years of Hebrew school in preparation for my Bar Mitzvah, I’ll tell you of what this reminds me. It reminds me of the story of David and Bathsheba. After David, who already had 50 or so wives, intentionally sent Bathsheba’s husband to his death in a dangerous battle so he could have her, the Bible says that God affected the weather so that the Hebrew’s crops would not grow. This divine judgment was inflicted upon an entire people for the immoral actions of its king. George W. Bush sent the US Military into Iraq for an unjustified war that killed approximately 1 million Iraqis and over 4000 US soldiers. Part of the supposed justification for this war was the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. After 9/11 Bush used the word Crusade to talk about the response to 9/11, thus, he was claiming that what was to come, Afghanistan and Iraq, would be done in the name of God. If God exists, I don’t think he/she appreciated that.

Getting back to Katrina, Bush, McCain, and the GOP subjected FEMA, the agency that is supposed to respond to national disasters, to massive budget cuts. Prior to Katrina, Bush, McCain and the rest of the GOP refused to fund efforts to improve the levy system that protected the city of New Orleans against flooding. If God exists, I don’t think God appreciates the Republican approach of giving massive tax giveaways to the rich while ignoring the plight of the poor and defunding systems that keep us healthy and safe.

This year, many evangelicals are re-evaluating whether the GOP and its candidates really behave as the people and party of God. From a New Testament perspective, reconciling GOP elected officials and their actions with the Christian descriptions of a good person in the beatitudes is difficult. In particular, the beatitudes say “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” and “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” How much mercy was shown the people of New Orleans before and after Katrina? How much mercy was shown the women and children of Iraq when over half a million women and children were killed during the Iraq war? Speaking of ‘war’ if the beatitudes say, “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” what does that say about those who engage in an unnecessary war? The beatitudes also contain a number of curses in the form of “Woe to ….” One of them is "Woe to you rich, for you have your consolation”. This is an interesting curse for the party that favors tax giveaways to the rich and ignores the poor.

Whether you are a believer or nor, Hurricane Gustav is a poignant reminder of Katrina and how Republican policies failed to protect and then failed to rebuild the city of New Orleans. It also is a reminder of what John McCain and Bush were doing the day Katrina hit New Orleans. As you see in the picture on this page on the Huffington Post, , on August 29, 2005, the day Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, McCain and Bush were laughing, eating cake, and celebrating McCain’s 69th birthday in Glendale Arizona. Marie Antoinette would be proud...
Obama Outwits the Bloviators
Frank Rich

But was this a surprise? Hardly. No major Obama speech — each breathlessly hyped in advance as do-or-die and as the “the most important of his career” — has been a disaster; most have been triples or home runs, if not grand slams. What is most surprising is how astonished the press still is at each Groundhog Day’s replay of the identical outcome. Indeed, the disconnect between the reality of this campaign and how it is perceived and presented by the mainstream media is now a major part of the year’s story. The press dysfunction is itself a window into the unstable dynamics of Election 2008.

At the Democratic convention, as during primary season, almost every oversold plotline was wrong. Those Hillary dead-enders — played on TV by a fringe posse of women roaming Denver in search of camera time — would re-enact Chicago 1968. With Hillary’s tacit approval, the roll call would devolve into a classic Democratic civil war. Sulky Bill would wreak havoc once center stage.

On TV, each of these hot-air balloons was inflated nonstop right up to the moment they were punctured by reality, at which point the assembled bloviators once more expressed shock, shock at the unexpected denouement. They hadn’t been so surprised since they discovered that Obama was not too black to get white votes, not too white to win black votes, and not too inexperienced to thwart the inevitable triumph of the incomparably well-organized and well-financed Clinton machine.

His campaign, unlike TV’s fantasists, knew the simple truth. The New York Times/CBS News poll conducted on the eve of the convention found that the Democrats were no more divided than the G.O.P: In both parties, 79 percent of voters supported their respective nominees. The simultaneous Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also found that 79 percent of Democrats support Obama — which, as Amy Walter of National Journal alone noticed, is slightly higher than either John Kerry and Al Gore fared on that same question (77 percent) in that same poll just before their conventions.

The main reason McCain knuckled under to the religious right by picking Palin is that he actually believes there’s a large army of embittered Hillary loyalists who will vote for a hard-line conservative simply because she’s a woman. That’s what happens when you listen to the TV news echo chamber. Not only is the whole premise ludicrous, but it is every bit as sexist as the crude joke McCain notoriously told about Janet Reno, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
The Obama campaign has long been on board those digital locomotives. Its ability to tell its story under the radar of the mainstream press in part accounts for why the Obama surge has been so often underestimated. Even now we’re uncertain of its size. The extraordinary TV viewership for Obama on Thursday night, larger than the Olympics opening ceremony, this year’s Oscars or any “American Idol” finale, may only be a count of the horses. The Obama campaign’s full reach online — for viewers as well as fund-raising and organizational networking — remains unknown.
The 'media' is owned by gazillionaires. Gazillionaires love tax cuts. The media has a massive right wing bias.

Connect 'the dot', people. Stop being stupid.

This is what Palin brings to the ticket...

Theocratic Sect Prays for Real Armageddon

By Casey Sanchez, Southern Poverty Law Center
Posted on August 30, 2008, Printed on August 31, 2008

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Todd Bentley has a long night ahead of him, resurrecting the dead, healing the blind, and exploding cancerous tumors. Since April 3, the 32-year-old, heavily tattooed, body-pierced, shaved-head Canadian preacher has been leading a continuous "supernatural healing revival" in central Florida. To contain the 10,000-plus crowds flocking from around the globe, Bentley has rented baseball stadiums, arenas and airport hangars at a cost of up to $15,000 a day. Many in attendance are church pastors themselves who believe Bentley to be a prophet and don't bat an eye when he tells them he's seen King David and spoken with the Apostle Paul in heaven. "He was looking very Jewish," Bentley notes.

Tattooed across his sternum are military dog tags that read "Joel's Army." They're evidence of Bentley's generalship in a rapidly growing apocalyptic movement that's gone largely unnoticed by watchdogs of the theocratic right. According to Bentley and a handful of other "hyper-charismatic" preachers advancing the same agenda, Joel's Army is prophesied to become an Armageddon-ready military force of young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian "dominion" on non-believers.

"An end-time army has one common purpose -- to aggressively take ground for the kingdom of God under the authority of Jesus Christ, the Dread Champion," Bentley declares on the website for his ministry school in British Columbia, Canada. "The trumpet is sounding, calling on-fire, revolutionary believers to enlist in Joel's Army. ... Many are now ready to be mobilized to establish and advance God's kingdom on earth."

Joel's Army followers, many of them teenagers and young adults who believe they're members of the final generation to come of age before the end of the world, are breaking away in droves from mainline Pentecostal churches. Numbering in the tens of thousands, they base their beliefs on an esoteric reading of the second chapter of the Old Testament Book of Joel, in which an avenging swarm of locusts attacks Israel. In their view, the locusts are a metaphor for Joel's Army.

Despite their overt militancy, there's no evidence Joel's Army followers have committed any acts of violence. But critics warn that actual bloodletting may only be a matter of time for a movement that casts itself as God's avenging army.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin: Dominionist Stalking Horse

Sarah Palin's connections that McCain doesn't want you to know about

There are quite a number of extremely troubling links between Sarah Palin and neopentecostal dominionists--enough that, in truth, she may be ultimately as much of a "dream candidate" for the dominionist movement as Mike Huckabee was. Even worse, she's running in a manner that has been frighteningly successful for dominionist groups since the early 80's--specifically, as a "stealth candidate".

snip: In a trend that has been recently documented by no less than Southern Poverty Law Center (in its recent report on the Joel's Army movement), the church operates a Seven Project-esque targeted recruitment campaign aiming at teens (this is common across the Assemblies and across "Joel's Army" groups in general; fully a third of the documented national-level front groups operated by the Assemblies target teens).

And...believe you me, Palin's church is definitely "Joel's Army".

Mike Rose, pastor of Juneau Christian Center (Palin's church), is noted to be connected with the "Third Wave Movement"--a movement in neopente dominionist circles that is the major theological home of "Joel's Army". In fact, he's quite closely connected with Rodney Howard-Browne, a major (in fact, for some years, the major promoter) of "Third Wave" neopente dominionism, and actively promotes this insanity in his church:

snip:" It also appears that Sarah Palin is a member of a misnamed group called Feminists for Life. FFL in fact engages in "cultural appropriation" of women's suffrage icons to promote a very woman-unfriendly agenda that--despite attempts to sound "not like those crazies in Operation Rescue"--would not only criminalise abortion but the IUD and hormonal birth control methods, and potentially everything outside the rhythm method (the term "abortifacient birth control" is a codephrase in the dominionist "pro-life" community for hormonal birth control--partly due to a unique urban legend claiming "the pill" and other hormonal birth control causes abortion and partly because of a unique definition of pregnancy beginning at conception rather than at implantation (the latter is what most mainstream OB/GYNs use) and thus making anything preventing implantation potentially "abortifacient").

snip:"One of the big things FFL promotes is deceptive "pregnancy counseling centers"--where pregnant teens are forced to essentially listen to an altar call on how "abortionists want to murder their children" whilst a pee-stick test clears--and if she tests "yes", she gets a hard-sell to keep the child or to check herself into a dominionist-run "halfway house for teenage moms" where she will ultimately be forced to sign her kid over. (Yes, there is an entire private adoption industry in the dominionist community--mostly focusing on adopting out the infants of poor teenage mothers who have been forced to give their kids up and who have been either scared into it or checked into such facilities by their parents.)

Ironically, FFL itself is rather a "stealth" organisation in and of itself--yes, even the dominionists admit this. Interestingly, despite their claims of being more "moderate" than most anti-abortion groups, very few real solutions are offered on how they intend to fund such things (which can be boiled down to "CHOOSE TO BREED").

Palin's links with Campus Crusade frontgroups

Palin's linkages don't stop there. In Kaylene Johnson's book Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down (2008, Epicenter Press) it's mentioned that Palin was head of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes branch in her school--up to and including leading team prayers.

It is helpful to know a bit of FCA's past history to know why this is a matter of concern. FCA is, in fact, a known frontgroup of the coercive dominionist group Campus Crusade for Christ--yes, the selfsame Campus Crusade that has such close links to the Assemblies of God that it can be described as a "conjoined twin" of the Assemblies and the same one documented as having links to an ever-widening prosyletisation scandal in our Armed Forces. FCA also gets quite a lot of cash from de facto Assemblies funding-front Hobby Lobby--a chain, of note, that has bailed out a neopente university and has even funded paramilitary "Joel's Army" groups targeting teens.

The links between FCA and a particular Hobby Lobby frontgroup, Bearing Fruit Communications, are particularly close. At least one member of Bearing Fruit's board of directors (T. Ray Grandstaff) is a former Senior VP for Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Regarding FCA itself, the group has been linked to dominionism in numerous ways; they are well known for "bait and switch" evangelism (in fact, they and Athletes in Action are among the two groups most frequently banned from public school campuses due to bait-and-switch "altar calls" marketed as anti-drug talks to the school administration). More info here. (Such tactics are a favourite of dominionist groups explicitly targeting youth.) It's also well known (and, apparently, explicitly by design) that Fellowship of Christian Athletes rather aggressively "dominionist-ises" any team they are let into (this tends to be bad even within the NFL, but even more so within FCA groups run in colleges and high schools).

Of particular note, FCA has close links with the US Air Force Academy religious coercion controversies (and is but one of multiple Campus Crusade frontgroups documented by Military Religious Freedom Foundation as involved in military religious coercion scandals), and the ACLU has had to fight them since the 60's because of religious coercion (in particular, Jewish people tend to be targeted, according to the anti-cult group Rick Ross Foundation); in addition, it is explicitly supported by dominionist groups, and explicitly partners with other dominionist groups targeting youth (including Chi Alpha (an Assemblies of God frontgroup), Campus Crusade for Christ, and even scarier groups like "See You At The Pole" (infamous for, among other things, nailing people's names to crosses and "praying" over them to essentially curse people in the name of Christ to convert or suffer) and Council for National Policy)."
Why CIA Veterans are Scared of McCain

Four years ago, the candidate called the CIA a "rogue organization;" now he’s advised by a former Chalabi promoter and Agency-basher. No wonder the spooks are spooked.

By Laura Rozen
August 29, 2008

This is part 1 of a two-part series on the main presidential candidates’ intelligence policies. Next week we'll look at Barack Obama.

Tall, broad-shouldered, mustached, Michael Kostiw looks like the former oil man and CIA case officer in Africa he once was. Now, as Republican staff director for Senator John McCain on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, Kostiw, 61, is probably the closest top former CIA official to the Republican presidential candidate, and is discussed as a possible candidate for a senior intelligence position should McCain win the presidency. But his relationship with his former Agency is complex. Standing in his large office in the Senate Russell building on a quiet day during August Congressional recess, Kostiw shows off a pair of wooden statuettes that were given to him by an African nation's ambassador—and long-time top official in his country’s government—to Washington. The envoy, Kostiw says, is an old contact that he proposed trying to recruit two decades ago when he was a CIA case officer in the country. But his Agency boss at the time waved him off the recruitment, saying "that guy isn't going anywhere."

It's a small but telling anecdote in an almost two hour conversation with a man whose career trajectory from CIA Soviet East Europe division operations officer to Texaco oilman to co-chair of the International Republican Institute to top Porter Goss and McCain Senate aide may signal what a McCain presidency would mean for the intelligence community—and why many from the CIA are quietly worried about a McCain presidency. The Bush years have been brutal for the CIA, which was pilloried for getting Iraq intelligence wrong while accused of downplaying and withholding intelligence from the White House that would have justified military action. Many current and former US spies expect a McCain administration guided by neoconservatives to treat them with hostility and mistrust. They also say McCain would likely weaken the CIA by giving broad new spying authorities to the Pentagon, which the CIA officials believe is more amenable to giving policymakers the intelligence they want, while being subject to less Congressional oversight.

These critics point especially to the McCain campaign's top national security advisor Randy Scheunemann—who ran a front group promoting war with Iraq and the fabrications of controversial Iraqi exile politician Ahmad Chalabi, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and who has lobbied for aggressive NATO expansion. Scheunemann's record, they argue, encapsulates everything wrong with the past eight years of Bush leadership on intelligence issues, from a penchant for foreign policy freelancing and secret contacts with unreliable fabricators to neoconservatives' disdain for the perceived bureaucratic timidity of the CIA and State Department, to their avowed hostility for diplomacy with adversaries. If McCain wins, "the military has won," says one former senior CIA officer. "We will no longer have a civilian intelligence arm. Yes, we will have analysts. But we won’t have any real civilian intelligence capability."

"McCain would be an absolute disaster," says a second senior recently retired US intelligence operations officer. "He is prejudiced against the CIA. The day after the 2004 election when Bush won, McCain came on TV and gave an interview in which he said something to the effect of, 'The CIA tried to sabotage this election. They’ve made their bed and now they have to lay in it.' … I used to like McCain but he is inconsistent." Columnist Robert Novak quoted McCain in November 2004 as saying, "With CIA leaks intended to harm the re-election campaign of the president of the United States, it is not only dysfunctional but a rogue organization."


Read more:
Jimmy Carter Conspicuously Absent From Podium

By Brett Lieberman and Nathan Guttman

28/08/08 "The Forward" -- - Denver — Former president Jimmy Carter’s controversial views on Israel cost him a place on the podium at the Democratic Party convention in late August, senior Democratic operatives acknowledged to the Forward.

Breaking with the tradition of giving speech time to living former presidents, convention organizers honored Carter with only a short video clip highlighting his work with Hurricane Katrina victims and a brief walk across the Pepsi Center stage.

The sidelining of Carter was driven by recognition in the Obama camp and among Democratic leaders that giving the former president a prominent convention spot might alienate Jewish voters.

“What more could we do to diss Jimmy Carter?” said a Democratic official who was involved in deliberations on how to handle the former president’s presence at the convention. The treatment Carter received, the official added, “reflects the bare minimum that could be done for a former president.”

Although Carter says limiting his presence at the convention was his idea, denying him a speaking opportunity ends a two-year struggle for the party over how to deal with the controversial former president. Since Carter published a book in November 2006 accusing Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinians, Democrats have been trying to distance themselves from the former president and to convince Jewish activists that he does not represent the party line.

Carter’s status at the convention was an issue for the Democratic leadership going back to the early preparation stages, a party official said. The solution to what one Democratic official referred to as “the Carter problem,” however, was not found until the final run-up to the Denver convention.


Friday, August 29, 2008

There was a funny right wing nut caller to C-SPAN'S Washington Journal this morning.

He started out proclaiming that Democrats weren't "even Americans".

Then he got weepy & started muttering, "we're gonna lose...we're gonna lose".

I bet he's not the only one in such despair. These people have the memories & attention spans of poodles. They can't conceive of or remember a pre-GWB world. They totally 'drank the kool-aid'.

I hope that , instead of 'going postal' (unless it's at a right wing nut gathering), they 'go Kervorkian'.

I'm sorry, maybe I'm callous, but who the fuck needs people like this? We have enough right wing cranks, the ranks of cranks need thinning.

Halliburton and Human Trafficking... wow...

Not this should surprise anyone, given the Blackwater, et al level of lawlessness, but it is still incredibly disturbing:

Thirteen Nepali men were recruited and held against their will for thirteen months in a human trafficking scheme engineered and perpetrated by Halliburton and its Jordanian contractor, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in California federal court.

The Nepali men, each between the ages of 18 and 27, were allegedly hired as kitchen staff by the then-Halliburton subsidiary KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud & Partners. Once they arrived in Jordan, however, their passports were seized and they were dispatched to Iraq.

"Tragically, as the men were being transported to Iraq, a car containing twelve of the men was stopped by members of the Ansar al-Sunna Army, an insurgent group," the Washington lawfirm Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll writes. "The 12 men in the car were taken hostage and executed by the insurgents. The executions were filmed and posted on the Internet. The Inspector General for the United States Department of Defense investigated and confirmed the facts related to the fate of the 12 men, which led to increased enforcement of anti-trafficking measures by the United States."

Let me guess, the argument goes something like this. We - Halliburton - are simply getting people to do the jobs that the Iraqis won't do and Americans are demanding too much pay. Is that about it? Kind of like the massive NOLA contracts that KBR got suddenly went toward NOT employing Americans who had lost their homes and jobs, but toward buying illegal immigrants.

I wonder if President Cheney will make sure Halliburton is not remotely held accountable? Any guesses?[Open in new window]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Joel's Army and The Call

Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008
What Bush Taught McCain By JOE KLEIN

Most people don't care about the consultants a candidate hires — very few handlers achieve the celebrity status of a Karl Rove or a James Carville. Most voters who supported McCain in 2000 but not this year have more obvious gripes: they don't like the way he's shaved his policy positions to approach Republican dogma. They may remember that he opposed the Bush tax cuts before he favored them. They may remember that he was more moderate on social issues like abortion in 2000, decrying the extremists on both sides and saying that "people of good intentions" could come to some understanding. They may be surprised by his free-range bellicosity, rattling sabers from Iran to Georgia. All of which is summed up in a single image: McCain hugging — no, nuzzling up to — George W. Bush. And yet, as the venture capitalist pointed out, the most disheartening aspect of McCain's 2008 campaign is not his embrace of Bush's policies but of the Bush style of campaigning.

We have just now completed the month of August, which is the cruelest month for Democrats, the month when Republicans go for the jugular, trotting out arguments — some valid, most scurrilous — that paint their Democratic rivals as weak, élite or unpatriotic. This is a relatively new phenomenon in American politics, the Bush family's gift to the process. Ronald Reagan never staged an ugly August. He attacked his opponents, but on the high ground of policy. His most famous advertising gambit was a balm: "Morning in America," a series of ads filled with gorgeous American images that didn't even mention Reagan's 1984 opponent, Walter Mondale. But then Reagan was operating at the beginning of a political pendulum swing, utterly confident that his ideas were better than the tired industrial-age liberalism and post-Vietnam pacifism of the Democrats.

George H.W. Bush — or rather, his designated sleazeball Lee Atwater — gave us the first truly ugly August, in 1988. Atwater had conducted a series of focus groups among blue collar Democrats in Paramus, N.J., in May and found all sorts of fodder: Michael Dukakis was "against" the Pledge of Allegiance. More substantively, Dukakis ran a weekend prison-release program in Massachusetts that allowed an African-American felon named Willie Horton to go on a killing spree. But what was most distinctive was a new tone: a derisive, sarcastic negativity that predicted, and enabled, Rush Limbaugh's brilliant, destructive trade.

A repentant Atwater died of brain cancer before he could slice and dice Bill Clinton in 1992, and Bob Dole was too honorable to try in 1996. But the arrival of George W. Bush and Rove — an Atwater protégé — brought August back with a vengeance in 2000 and, spectacularly, with the "independent" Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry in 2004.

This summer McCain has waged a nonstop assault — from the derision of his "celebrity" ads comparing Barack Obama to Paris Hilton, to McCain's own filthy attack on Obama as someone who would "rather lose a war than lose an election." (Obama has tried to strike back, but creative personal attacks just seem foreign to the Democrats' DNA.) The Republican Convention will doubtless be another assault on Obama, featuring McCain groupies like Joe Lieberman and Rudy Giuliani as attack dogs. Some of these attacks — those criticizing Obama's inexperience — are well within the bounds of traditional politics, but the uninterrupted gush of negativity has successfully diverted the media's attention from the fact that 80% of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction.

Michael Crowley of the New Republic recently observed that the McCain campaign was the most sarcastic in memory. He's right: sarcasm comes naturally to the fighter jock. He disdains all those — his colleagues in the Senate, his political opponents — who aren't as courageous as he thinks he is. But McCain has proved a selective maverick, surrounded by special-interest lobbyists who shape his foreign and fiscal policies. In fact,I suspect that this year's McCain is closer to the real thing than the noble 2000 version. This one is congenitally dark, the opposite of Reagan — not confident enough in the substance of his ideas, especially on domestic policy, to run a campaign that features them. Instead, his natural sarcasm has enabled him to perfect the Bush way of politics. He is, sadly, Mr. August.,8599,1836890,...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Photo: (from left) Adolf, Gartrell and Johnson were charged with gun and drug violations.

Nazi link in 'plot to assassinate Obama'
--In the back of the vehicle, officers found two high-powered rifles, one with telescopic sights, a spotting scope, a flak jacket, camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest, boxes of ammunition, three fake identity cards, two wigs, two walkie-talkies and a quantity of the drug methamphetamine, a form of speed known as crystal meth.
27 Aug 2008 The three men arrested over a reported plot to kill the US Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, have ties to the white supremacist group Aryan Nations, police said last night. Shawn Robert Adolf, 33, Nathan Johnson and Tharin Gartrell are all said to have links to the group. Adolf – his real name according to police – and the others were arrested on weapons charges after an apparent move to assassinate Mr Obama during his party's convention in Denver this week. The US authorities are playing down the ability of the arrested men to carry out an assassination amid tight security. Prosecutors yesterday said they had evidence to charge the three men only with drugs and firearms offences. (Why weren't these alleged TERRORISTS charged under any of Bush's 9 million TERRORISM laws?! If you're a Muslim, you're arrested for viewing 'radical' webpages on your seized laptop. Reichwing TERRORISTS get a free pass from the Bush regime. --LRP)

Found here.

America Against The World

By Andrew Sullivan

...John McCain is making it quite clear what his foreign policy will be like: tilting sharply away from the greater realism of Bush's second term toward the abstract moralism, fear-mongering and aggression of the first. Not just four more years - but four more years like Bush's first term. If the Democrats cannot adequately warn Americans of the dangers of a hotheaded temperament and uber-neo-con mindset in the White House for another four years, they deserve to lose. If Americans decide they want a president who will be more aggressive and less diplomatic than the current one, then they should at least brace for the consequences - for their economy and their security.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Whoops Top Republican Admits That GOP Is Running "Ministry Of Truth" Against Obama

Wow -- a leading Republican appears to have just inadvertently admitted that the GOP's spin machine set up to counter Barack Obama during the convention is a propaganda machine spewing nothing but lies.

The GOPer in question is Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, who accidentally made the admission when describing the GOP's war room in Denver set up to hammer Obama during convention week.

Wadhams described the GOP's outfit thusly to the Denver Post: "Just consider this the Ministry of Truth."

Um, as anybody who has ever read George Orwell knows, the Ministry of Truth exists to disseminate false propaganda about how great the ruling regime is, continuously rewriting both history and the present-day facts in order to maintain total control over the population.
I believe there is a simple answer to this question.
Dick Cheney is a demented war profiteer.

Why was Cheney's guy in Georgia before the war?

What was a top national security aide to Vice President Dick Cheney doing in Georgia shortly before Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's troops engaged in what became a disastrous fight with South Ossetian rebels -- and then Russian troops?

And yes, Joseph R. Wood, Cheney's deputy assistant for national security affairs, was in Georgia shortly before the war began.

But, the vice president's office says, he was there as part of a team setting up the vice president's just-announced visit to Georgia. (It is common for the White House to send security, policy, communications and press aides to each site the president and vice president will visit ahead of the trip, to begin making arrangements and planning the agenda.)

The White House disclosed on Monday that Cheney would hurry over to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Italy next week, almost immediately after addressing the Republican National Convention on Labor Day.

And so it was that a team from the vice president's office, U.S. security officials and others were in Georgia several days before the war began.

It had nothing to do, the vice president's office said, with a military operation that some have said suggests a renewal of the Cold War.

The McSame base is evaporating into jail cells & nuthouses.

If all the nuts shooting guns in front of their trailers are detained, who will vote for McSame?

Pasco man shootin' mad after Obama speech, authorities say

The man stood outside his RV, yelling and shooting a gun into the air. When Pasco sheriff's deputies confronted him, he ran inside and wouldn't come out.

That started a six-hour standoff late Monday night between the man, whose name was not released, and authorities, Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said.

SWAT team units arrived later and surrounded the RV, Doll said. As the situation entered the early hours of this morning, SWAT team members fired riot gas into the man's home. He still wouldn't come out, Doll said.

Finally, about 5 a.m., he exited his RV and was taken into custody. The cause of his displeasure, according to Doll, was Michelle Obama's speech last night at the Democratic National Convention.

Doll said the man will undergo a psychological evaluation.

Nomaan Merchant, Times Staff Writer

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Palestinian Wife

By Charley Reese

Every now and then, the rumor arises that I have a Palestinian wife. Some of my kin were highly amused by a debate on that subject that was being conducted by letters to the editor in their local paper recently.

Apparently, it does not occur to anyone simply to ask me. As a matter of fact, I don't have a wife. I'm a widower, and the one wife I had was a sweet Midwestern girl of Methodist, German and Swedish extraction. I don't have a Palestinian mistress or girlfriend. I don't even have a Palestinian bowling pal.

The recurring Palestinian wife rumor, I believe, is a result of some people finding it impossible to believe that an American would have any sympathy for the Palestinian people without an ulterior motive. That is a credit to the effectiveness of the Israeli propaganda machine, which has, for more than 50 years, stereotyped Palestinians as a wild, violent people. It is a stereotype helped greatly by the news media, which rarely reports in depth on anything foreign, and by Hollywood, where lately the venerable Nazi has been replaced as the chief villain by the Arab terrorist.

Actually, Palestinians are a gentle people. If you get to know some and hear their side of the story, you will feel sympathy for them, too, unless you have a flint heart. The Palestinians were run over by history. I know that various ethnic groups in the United States fiercely contend for the title of victim, but the Palestinians had it imposed on them.

There was nothing they could do when the Ottoman Empire absorbed their land. There was nothing they could do when the British Empire took their land away from the Ottoman Turks at the end of World War I. There was nothing they could do when the British Empire created the Palestine Mandate. There was nothing they could do when the British Cabinet, for reasons historians still argue about, decided Palestine would make a nice national home for European Jews when and if the British Empire ever decided to give up its occupation of Palestine.

That it did in 1947, after considerable encouragement by Jewish terrorist organizations – the Irgun, led by Menachem Begin, and the Stern Gang, led by Yitzhak Shamir. Yes, Jews used terrorist tactics against the British occupation, and now Palestinians are using terrorist tactics against the Israeli occupation.

‘F--- Fox News!’

Griff Jenkins of Fox News got a little more free speech than he bargained for after taunting, er, interviewing some antiwar protesters marching in Denver.

See the video: [Open in new window]
The Three Dumbest Neocon Predictions Since the Disaster in Iraq
By John Dolan, AlterNet
Posted on August 25, 2008, Printed on August 25, 2008 /

Now that the Beijing games have wound up, we can get on to a sporting event with real significance: a Neocon Olympics to decide the most grossly wrong, stupid prediction by a Neocon pundit post-Iraq. Of course, it's a very rich field. Being totally wrong about absolutely everything is the Neocons' job, and they've been working overtime on it. Their proudest moment had to be in the lead-up to the Iraq war when Kenneth Adelman assured America that democratizing Iraq would be "a cakewalk." Indeed, early Neocons like Adelman and Richard Perle (who predicted that Iraq would settle down "at the first whiff of gunpowder") set the bar for disastrously wrong predictions so high that some have suggested that the trophy be retired in their honor. But doing that would mean shutting out all the more recent Neocon predictions. Their little mistakes may not have cost as many trillions of dollars and thousands of lives as Adelman and Perle's, but give them time. They're doing their best to push us into more disastrous wars, and with team spirit like theirs, they may yet succeed. Here are the top contenders:

1. "The Arab Spring Is Happening Now" by Abe Greenwald, Pajamas Media.

There are many unintentionally funny aspects of this April 13, 2008, article, such as the fact that two of the countries Greenwald cites approvingly, Turkey and Pakistan, aren't Arab at all. But as with all good comedy, it's the timing that makes this article such a winner. To see the joke, you have to remember that Neocons have been predicting an "Arab Spring" for years, in which democracy, once we'd introduced it to Iraq, would spread like a weed all over the Middle East.

2. "Hail Mauritania!" by James Kirchick, Weekly Standard.

Kirchick may not be the most famous Neocon, but in one obscure column he encapsulated their key trait: arrogant predictions, based on total ignorance, which prove to be disastrously wrong. Iraq, of course, is the classic example. On May 7, 2007, Kirchick wrote a cheery, optimistic column called (believe it or not) "Hail Mauritania," in which he gushed that democracy had "bloomed" in this "remote corner of the Arab world" because they'd held "democratic elections." Then history supplied the punch line: Three months later, on Aug. 6, the Mauritanian army overthrew the winner of that glorious election, and democracy had suddenly un-bloomed. To date, Kirchick has not commented on that unexpected and irksome twist. Kirchick wasn't just unlucky in his prediction; it was absurd from the start. Nobody who knew anything about Mauritania could have imagined that simply because the local elite had cynically embraced the facade of American-style elections, the country would suddenly transform into a peaceful democracy. Only willful ignorance could sustain that notion. Obama is right; these people really are "proud to be ignorant." In fact, they're desperate to remain ignorant, especially about the fact that elections, in themselves, mean very little.

3. "The Pain Game: A Military Response to Russia's Aggression?" Stuart Koehl, Weekly Standard.

Quite a title, eh? "The Pain Game." That really says it all. The author is supposedly talking about how a Georgian insurgency could "pain" the Russian army in this Aug. 14, 2008, piece, but he may as well be cheering the unimaginable pain that such a course would inflict on the Georgian population. It's that childish callousness that makes this such a classic of Neocon prognostication: "Why don't you Georgians start a guerrilla war against the Russians? It'd be fun!" Fun, that is, for Koehl, in his living room. Koehl's advice to the Georgians is almost unbelievable in its stupidity. Like a typical Tom Clancy fan, he reduces the problem to hardware, starting with a long, loving list of the armored vehicles the Russians are using, followed by a list of U.S. weapons that will supposedly neutralize these vehicles. Then, getting really excited, he fantasizes in true Clancy style about how a few cool new weapons can force Russia out:

What's most dismally typical of Neocon thinking here is the mad nonchalance with which this suburban hobbyist urges Georgia to let itself in for the sort of slaughter that has been going on in Chechnya for years. The Chechens have lost a substantial part of their total population in a losing insurgency. And the Russians didn't defeat the Chechens by tinkering with this or that weapons system; they went in and kidnapped, tortured and killed all the young males they even suspected of being insurgents, just like we're doing in Iraq. That's how this kind of ugly war is fought. So prescribing guerrilla warfare means telling the Georgians to start a process that will lead to the death of most of their families. That's what insurgency means.
Krugman: no more knives in gunfights, please

So the Obama campaign has turned to the politics of personal destruction, attempting to make a campaign issue out of John McCain’s inability to remember how many houses he has. And the turn comes not a moment too soon.

Over the past month or so many Democrats have had the sick feeling that once again their candidate brought a knife to a gunfight. Barack Obama’s campaign, inexplicably, was unprepared for the inevitable Republican attack on the candidate’s character. By the middle of last week, Mr. Obama’s once formidable lead, both in national polls and in electoral college projections based on state-level polls, had virtually evaporated.

Mr. Obama’s waning advantage brought back bad memories of the 2004 campaign, whose key lesson was that there are no limits to the form G.O.P. character attacks can take.

You might think, for example, that a party claiming to support the troops would shy away from attacking a war hero’s military record — but back in 2004 the Swift-boat lies were enthusiastically embraced by Republican activists, and helped neutralize the advantage John Kerry was supposed to get from his biography.

And you might think that a party committed to tax cuts for the rich, a party that routinely castigates those who engage in “class warfare,” would shy away from attacking a Democrat for his wealth. But raw class envy played an important role in the attacks on Mr. Kerry, whom Rush Limbaugh described repeatedly as a “gigolo” with a “sugar daddy wife,” and G.O.P. supporters don’t seem to have experienced any cognitive dissonance.

It was predictable, then, that Mr. Obama would find himself on the receiving end of an all-out character attack, much of it nonsensical: he’s un-American because he vacations in Hawaii, where his grandmother lives? It was also predictable that responding by repeating what a great guy the candidate is, or denouncing the attacks as unfair, would be ineffective.

So now the Obama campaign has responded with its own character attack.... the world we actually live in, pro-corporate, inequality-increasing Republicans argue that you should vote for them because they’re regular guys you’d like to have a beer with, while Democrats who want to raise taxes on top earners, expand health care and raise the minimum wage are snooty elitists.

And in that world, stripping away the regular-guy facade — pointing out that everything Rush Limbaugh said about Mr. Kerry applies equally to Mr. McCain, that Mr. McCain lives in a material world few Americans can imagine — is only fair. Yes, Mr. Obama vacations in Hawaii — and Cindy McCain says that “In Arizona, the only way to get around the state is by small private plane.”

The squealing from the usual suspects demonstrates how much the Obama counterattack has the G.O.P. worried.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Joe Biden Is a Key Fighter in Dissolving Bush's 'Terror' Myths

By Andy Worthington, AlterNet
Posted on August 24, 2008, Printed on August 24, 2008

In the end, then, it came down to this: Barack Obama needed a vice-presidential candidate with well-established Washington credentials, foreign policy experience and an ability to connect with blue-collar workers.

And while Joe Biden -- a 65-year old working class Irish Catholic, the Senator for Delaware since 1972, and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — has a far from unblemished foreign policy record (most notoriously in his support for the invasion of Iraq, but also, arguably, in his strenuous support for armed intervention in Kosovo, which, like that of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, paved the way for justifying war on a basis other then that of self-defense), he has since recanted his position on the Iraq war, and has, for many years, also been unafraid to tackle other excesses of the Bush administration's post-9/11 policies; in particular, through his persistent calls for the closure of the "War on Terror" prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Although he initially supported the invasion of Iraq (after trying, and failing, to persuade President Bush to first exhaust all diplomatic efforts), Sen. Biden has since become on of the war's toughest critics in the Senate. He warned of the costs of a long occupation before the war even began, and in 2006 he proposed, with Leslie Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a five-point plan for the future of Iraq, which called for a federalized system of three regional governments (Kurd, Sunni and Shiite) plus a centralized government for the management of "truly common interests" like oil and border defense...MORE:

McCain’s Warped Worldview

by Robert Scheer

The world according to John McCain is one in which America is triumphant at home and abroad thanks to the Bush legacy, rolling to victory internationally and mastering its domestic economic problems. If daily news, like reports of the 10 French soldiers killed by a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and the U.S. government’s imminent nationalization of much of the American mortgage-lending industry, would seem to deny such a rosy scenario, then that only shows skeptics lack the courage that sustained McCain as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

There you have it encapsulated, the McCain campaign for president, an irrational mélange of patriotic swagger and blindness to reality that is proving disturbingly successful with uninformed voters. How else to explain the many millions of Americans who tell pollsters they prefer a continuation of Republican rule when so many of them are losing their homes to foreclosure and the nation is devastated by out-of-control military spending?

The economy is in a downward spiral, the national debt is at an all-time high, the dollar is an international disgrace and inflation in July had the steepest rise in 27 years, driven by oil prices fivefold higher than when George W. Bush invaded the nation with the world’s second-largest petroleum reserves.

While the oil-rich Mideast nations we protect refuse to fully open the oil spigots as payback for our military efforts, McCain celebrates Gen. David Petraeus as his No. 1 hero for “victory” in Iraq. Aside from the reality that victory there is now defined as returning to the level of stability provided by Saddam Hussein, who the Bush administration admits had nothing to do with the bin Laden-led terrorists, even that goal requires the cooperation of our former sworn enemies, Iran’s ayatollahs.

Presumably McCain envisions a more favorable outcome for Georgia, to which he would commit the unqualified support of the United States with his outrageously overreaching statement that “we are all Georgians.” If Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had been in contact with the leader of a nation before and after that nation provoked a war, his campaign would be a shambles. Not so McCain, who is acting as if he is already the elected commander in chief ensconced in a reconstituted neoconservative-dominated White House. By contrast, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been reduced to a blustering bystander.

That military victory in Iraq and any other trouble spot is the key selling point of the McCain campaign is odd, because McCain’s credentials derive from participation in a war that resulted in the most ignominious defeat in U.S. history. How else to think of the loss of almost 59,000 Americans and 3.4 million Indochinese in a war that even McCain has long since not seriously tried to defend. Surely McCain accepted the notion that a Communist Party-run Vietnam was compatible with U.S. security interests when he, along with Sen. John Kerry, led the fight for U.S. recognition of Vietnam.

Wouldn’t it have been grand if McCain, who made his own pilgrimage of reconciliation to Hanoi, would have drawn the proper lesson from that sad chapter in American history-that victory isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be? Or, by extension, from the recent Olympic festivities in still-Red China, where Bush was photographed quite happily near portraits of the once-dreaded Chairman Mao, whom U.S. propaganda had long described, quite erroneously, as chief sponsor of the Vietnamese communists.

We are reminded of how brilliant Republican Richard Nixon was in rejecting the neoconservative addiction to the Cold War that McCain embraces when the late president traveled to Beijing to make peace with the man previously depicted as the bloodiest of communist dictators. It turns out that the various communist movements were nationalist above all else, and when we “lost” in Vietnam, the result was not attacks on the United States, but a war between China and Vietnam.

The lesson McCain should have learned is that the world is a complex place, that today’s enemies may be tomorrow’s negotiating partners-as Obama has at times dared to suggest-and that the neoconservative idea of a Pax Americana is a dangerous fantasy. And a costly one at that, not only in lost lives and blowback from the regions we destabilize but also in the dollars that American taxpayers must waste.

Thanks to the absurdly misdirected war on terrorism that McCain so enthusiastically supports, we spend more annually in inflation-adjusted dollars on the military than at any time since World War II, even more than during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Vote for McCain and forget about funding to solve the Social Security, Medicare and subprime mortgage disasters or for anything else that truly would make America stronger.

Robert Scheer is author of a new book, “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.”


PS: How does bombing civilians make one a 'hero'?

About That Whole ‘Keating Five’ Thing

Posted on Aug 23, 2008

What was the exact nature of John McCain’s involvement in the notorious Keating Five scandal? CNN revisited this particular chapter from John McCain’s professional past for “McCain Revealed,” the news network’s profile on the senator-turned-presidential-hopeful.

YouTube: see link


If you can't see your way clear to vote Obama/Biden then vote for the next crackhead/pick pocket/child molester/etc you run into. It will be the 'moral' choice.

Republican means 'criminal'. Look it up.


Dick Morris: ‘We Went Into Iraq At The Invitation Of The Government, Not As An Invasion’»

On Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes tonight, conservative pundit Dick Morris tried to attack Barack Obama for being inexperienced on foreign policy, but in doing so, only managed to demonstrate his own idiocy. Morris argued that Joseph Biden would be a good vice presidential selection for Obama because Obama “does not know anything” about foreign policy.

To back up this claim, Morris asserted that Obama made a major mistake this week when he referenced the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq in the context of discussing Russia’s incursion into Georgia. Obama said, “We’ve got to send a clear message to Russia and unify our allies. They can’t charge into other countries. Of course it helps if we are leading by example on that point.” Asked by Alan Colmes what is wrong with Obama’s statement, Morris explained:

Where he’s wrong is that we went into Iraq at the invitation of the government, not as an invasion.

Colmes quickly rebutted him, stating, “We went into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein.” Morris backtracked for a moment and said, “We are in Iraq now at the invitation of the government.” But seconds later, Morris repeated his false assertion:

We’re in Iraq as the result of a democracy asking for us to come in there. It’s not an invasion. It’s not a takeover. We’re not trying to annex Iraq.

Colmes again explained, “We went into Iraq originally — not at the invitation of Saddam Hussein’s government.” Watch it:

During the segment, Morris criticized Obama for “drawing a metaphor” between Georgia and Iraq. Colmes responded by noting it was John McCain who, despite having supported the Iraq invasion, made the bewildering statement that, “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.” “Isn’t there a little disconnect there?” Colmes asked a confused Morris.


Dick Morris is a toe sucker/suckee(?) & a FOX NEWS commentator. Only nutlogs like Sean Hannity & the nutlogs who believe what Sean Hannity says believe what Dick Morris says.

He's why we need the return of the fairness doctrine. We need to know who sucked who's toes so we can have equal time alotted for the point-of-view of the opposite position.

No longer can we allow only toe suckers & not people who get their toes sucked by prostitutes to monopolize the airwaves. We need fair & balanced toe sucking news & commentary. This is America, dammit!

"The Daily Telegraph reported that in order to impress the woman, Sherry Rowlands, Morris invited her to listen in on conversations with the President. The Telegraph also alleged that Morris had a preference for "toe-sucking and dominance," and that he regaled Rowlands with a version of "Popeye the Sailor Man," performed in his underpants."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rove intimidating Republicans into silence
By Wayne Madsen

(WMR) -- Buoyed by an ineffective House Judiciary Committee under the control of gatekeeping staffers working for committee Chairman John Conyers, Karl Rove has effectively curtailed any effective investigation of past election fraud, including the 2004 presidential election, as a result of threats and intimidations directed against potential Republican Party witnesses.

WMR has learned from informed sources in Ohio and Alabama, that Rove is concerned that a huge GOP technical election “flipping” operation will be revealed that will result in a series of prosecutions and at least one impeachment of a federal judge, a political ally of Rove.

Rove, according to our sources, has threatened Republican Party official Mike Connell and his wife Heather if Connell testifies about GOP computerized vote-rigging...

Read more at:
Great quotes from the usual roundup of wing nut women with Adam's apples, junkie-pedophile radio hosts, etc, etc...

The right and men who live off their second wives' inherited wealth

Glenn Greenwald

What's most notable about John McCain's confusion over the number of homes he owns isn't merely that it demonstrates that, after running his campaign based on depicting Barack Obama as an out-of-touch elitist and himself as the all-American Everyman, McCain lives a life that is about as far removed from the Average American as one can get, and has done so for decades. What's notable is how McCain was able to live that way. McCain himself isn't actually rich. He just lives off the inherited wealth of his much younger former mistress and now-second-wife -- for whom he dumped his older and disfigured first wife -- and who then used her family's money to fund McCain's political career and keep him living in extreme luxury (after insisting that he sign a prenuptial agreement, which would make McCain the first U.S. President to have one).

In 2004, numerous leading right-wing pundits had many things to say about men who do that:


The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Delaware is recognized.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, our troops don't lose wars; bad policy and bad leadership lose wars. We should have the courage to stand up and tell the administration they have had a God-awful policy. They put our troops in a position that, in fact, has made it virtually impossible for them to succeed at the outset. They deserve a policy, a plan, but there is no plan.

We went to war with too few troops, we went to war unnecessarily, and we went to war with men and women who were ill-equipped, and they are coming home ill-served. It is about time we have the courage to stand up and say to the President: Mr. President, you have not only put us in harm's way, you have harmed us. You have no policy, Mr. President.

I am so tired of hearing on this floor about courage. Let's have the courage to tell the administration to stop this ridiculous policy they have.

We are taking sides in a civil war. I was there in Srebrenica. I was in Tuzla. I was in Sarajevo. I was in Brcko in the Balkans. How did we solve that? We solved that with a policy of separating the parties.

This is a cycle of self-sustaining sectarian violence that 20,000, 30,000, 50,000, 100,000 Americans will not be able to stop. This is ridiculous. There is no plan. I ask the President and everyone else who comes forward with a plan, whether it is capping or surging or whatever they have: Will it answer the two-word test: Then what? Then what? Then what? What happens after we surge these women and men?

And by the way, he said General Petraeus is one who believes. He may be the only one who believes this is a good idea. Virtually no one else thinks it is a good idea. Look, in this story about the Constitution, we gave the President specific authority, which is our responsibility. It was to take down Saddam, if need be, it was to get rid of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, and it was to get compliance with the U.N. resolution. Every one of those have been met. Saddam is dead, there were no weapons, and Iraq is in compliance with the U.N.

So if one wants to be literal about it, his mission no longer has the force of law. Everyone I have spoken with, including from the Biden-Gelb plan straight through to the Iraq Study Group, says: Look, use our troops wisely; use them wisely. What are their missions? We have the right and obligation constitutionally, and we should have the courage constitutionally, to exercise our responsibility to say: Why are our troops there?

Did anybody on this floor, did anybody count on the utter incompetence of this administration when they were getting the authority they were getting? Absolute incompetence. I stood on this floor 3 years ago saying we need another 100,000 troops before the sectarian violence became self-sustaining and warned, as others did, that once it did, all the king's horses and all the king's men could not hold that country together.

So what is our objective here? Our objective is to leave Iraq relatively stable within its own borders, not a threat to its neighbors and not a haven for terror.

What is the President and my friend from Arizona and others insisting on? What can never be: a central government that is a democracy that is going to be fair to the rest of its citizens. It is not possible, mark my words.

So as long as the President keeps us on this ridiculous path, taking us off a cliff, I ask my colleagues: Does anybody think they are going to be able to sustain keeping American forces in Iraq at 160,000 for another year and a half? What do you think? What do you think is going to happen in Tennessee, in Delaware, in Illinois? Are we going to break this man's and woman's Army? What are we going to do here? How many times do we have to ask those 175,000 marines to rotate, three, four, five, six, seven times?

And what is the President's political solution? I love this. Everyone says there is no military solution, only a political solution. Name me one person who has come up with a political solution--one--other than me and Les Gelb.

There is a political solution. It is what history teaches us. When there is self-sustaining sectarian violence, there is only one of four possibilities:

They either, one, expire, kill one another off; two, you impose a dictator; three, you have an empire; or, four, you have a Federal system.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 30 more seconds.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I am tired of hearing about courage. The only courage being evidenced in this country is by those folks out on the battlefields getting shot at, getting killed. Why are they there? Let's get on with this. This is the only rational way to move.

All this malarkey about cutting off funds--this is about the mission.

Mr. President, you are leading us off a cliff. Stop.
Corsi is a 100% fruit-loop nut-log. Republican? Of course. The GOP is right smack dab in the middle of what used to be the far, far, fringe right.

Jerome Corsi: How a Racist, Conspiratorial Crank Became a Top GOP Anti-Obama Point Man

By Max Blumenthal,
The Nation.
Posted August 23, 2008.

Corsi's success represents the apotheosis of a long, strange trip from the furthest shores of the right into the national spotlight.

These are good times for Jerome Corsi. Already notorious for his factually challenged book-length takedown of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, Unfit For Command, the 61-year-old Corsi has another hit on his hands. His new book, Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality has made Corsi a hot commodity again on the right-wing radio circuit, the bane of the Obama campaign and catapulted to the top slot on the New York Times bestseller list. With his newfound notoriety, Corsi has brought his pathographic anti-Obama narrative to hundreds of thousands of readers -- and millions on radio and TV -- just as he did with Kerry. Corsi has become the court bard of the conservative movement. "The goal is to defeat Obama," Corsi told the New York Times. "I don't want Obama to be in office."

Corsi's success represents the apotheosis of a long, strange trip from the furthest shores of the right into the national spotlight. During George W. Bush's first term, Corsi was a little-known financial services marketing specialist. In 1995, according to the Boston Globe, he coaxed twenty people into a shadowy investment venture in Poland that ultimately lost them a total of $1.2 million. "It ruined my career in the brokerage business, and it was a sad story for a lot of people," said Bradley Amundson, one of those enlisted into Corsi's bungled scheme. The FBI opened an investigation but never filed any charges.

Corsi had dabbled off-and-on the fringes of conservative backlash politics for nearly three decades. In his spare time, which he appeared to have lots of, Corsi busied himself at his computer, firing off opinions on the far-right website Free Republic, marked by their sexual and racial obsessions.

In a comment typical of the dozens he posted under the handle "jrlc," Corsi wrote, "Anybody ask why HELLary couldn't keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?" In another, he ranted, "Isn't the Democratic Party the official SODOMIZER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION of AMERICA -- oh, I forgot, it was just an accident that Clintoon's first act in office was to promote 'gays in the military.' RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters -- it all goes together." ... /

What is there to say?

Thank gawd, maybe.



Friday, August 22, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eric Alterman:

Strange things are happening these past few days in the world of television news.

There's this:

Just in time for the closing rush of the presidential election, MSNBC is shaking up its prime-time programming lineup, removing the long-time host -- and one-time general manager of the network -- Dan Abrams from his 9 p.m. program and replacing him with Rachel Maddow, who has emerged as a favored political commentator for the all-news cable channel.

Also this:

The correspondent Martin Savidge is leaving NBC News for public television, where he is to become the anchor of a new weeknight broadcast that will focus on international news. WLIW in New York, which is developing the program, is expected to announce his appointment on Wednesday.

"Worldfocus," with a start-up budget that station employees said is about $8 million, will attempt to fill what Mr. Savidge called a void in television news.

"When CNN was born as a concept, we all said: 'The 24-hour era of news has arrived; think of the topics we can cover,' " he said in a telephone interview late Monday. But, he said, 24 hours now "boils down to about six headlines repeated over and over and over," adding, "It seems that opportunity was squandered."

In recent days, he said, the conflict between Georgia and Russia was heavily covered by television news media in the United States, but not the economic downturn in Europe, Iraq's nearly unspent budget surplus from oil sales or the assassination of one of Syria's top generals. "There were other events happening in the world that most Americans heard nothing about," Mr. Savidge said.

It's worth saying that for all the silliness that does exist on television, there's also great stuff out there that heightens the civic discourse (Moyers, Frontline, NOW, The Daily Show, virtually all of HBO's original programming, and so on). And while I would never say a trend towards better programming is emerging, certain conventions are being challenged. As Ezra Klein writes, about Maddow's show and its announcement online by Keith Olbermann: "You know, when I was young, this world had rules. And standards. And liberals did not get TV shows. And liberals who had TV shows did not write on DailyKos. And liberals who had TV shows and wrote on Daily Kos did not get TV shows for their even more liberal guest hosts." The audience for this stuff is out clearly out there, and let's hope the bosses finally act accordingly. In the meantime, God bless TiVo ...
McCain's Ties to Neocon Hard Lines

By Jason Leopold
August 21, 2008

Randy Scheunemann, one of John McCain’s top foreign policy advisers, represents a key link in neoconservative strategy that seeks simultaneously to remove hostile regimes in the Middle East and to box in Russia through an expanded NATO that incorporates former Soviet bloc countries.

Scheunemann has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for his past lobbying work on behalf of the government of Georgia, even while he was advising McCain who vowed to bar lobbyists from his campaign.

Scheunemann’s company, Orion Strategies, has received about $750,000 from Georgia, with payments as recently as May.

After the Aug. 7 outbreak of fighting between Georgia and Russia over Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia, McCain – advised by Scheunemann – led a crescendo of tough rhetoric warning of a possible new Cold War and demanding harsh penalties against Moscow.

But Scheunemann's advice on the Russia-Georgia conflict only captures part of his role in shaping McCain ’s neoconservative foreign policy.

Scheunemann merges two key prongs of a neocon global strategy for permanent U.S. military dominance: the simultaneous projection of U.S. power into the Middle East and the elimination of Russia’s dream of reestablishing itself as a major international player.

Operating mostly behind the scenes, Scheunemann has long worked to unify former East Bloc states into an anti-Moscow alliance and to apply regime-change tactics against U.S. adversaries in the Middle East, such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the mullahs in neighboring Iran.

In that regard, Scheunemann was one of the neocon operatives who helped promote bogus intelligence about Iraq in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion. He also has said the U.S. government has not been tough enough in dealing with other “rogue” nations, such as Iran.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
John McCain's sadistic North Vietnamese homosexual captors
John Aravosis (DC) · 8/19/2008 03:56:00 PM ET

Where did McCain get the notion that his captors were gay if they never hit on him? Were there any openly gay North Vietnamese soldiers in 1970? I'm going to guess no.

McCain's first personal account of his captivity and torture, for US News & Report.
They posted it online in January, but maybe it's because we're all so familiar with his tale at this point that no one noticed, until now, the bit where he says all his captors were homosexuals who got off on whipping him. No, that is not made up. /

US News & Report.
Now I don't hate them any more—not these particular guys. I hate and detest the leaders. Some guards would just come in and do their job. When they were told to beat you they would come in and do it. Some seemed to get a big bang out of it. A lot of them were homosexual, although never toward us. Some, who were pretty damned sadistic, seemed to get a big thrill out of the beatings.

Yes, ok. What?? How did POW McCain know they were gay if they weren't gay "toward him"? Were the homosexuals the ones who enjoyed the beatings or were the sadists a separate category? We have lots of unanswered questions here. Like—how come he mentions how gay the North Vietnamese were but leaves out that inspiring tale of the cross on the floor he mentioned last weekend?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Editor’s Note: To many Americans who expected better from John McCain, the surprise of Campaign 2008 is that the Republicans are operating almost exactly the same as they have in previous presidential election cycles -- relying on personal attacks, wedge issues, tough-guy talk, and media complacency.

In this essay, former Democratic congressional aide Brent Budowsky ponders this disturbing reality:

As Campaign 2008 unfolds, it is increasingly clear that the Republicans are a party with little left but hate, anger and the politics of slandering their opponent.

John McCain has become a candidate reduced to doing a Karl Rove imitation as a sleazy, divisive campaigner, while making bellicose pronouncements about war reminiscent of the childish Confederates at the beginning of “Gone With the Wind,” drinking their brandy and smoking their cigars with fantasies about the glorious war that they hunger to fight.

Now, right on cue, comes the latest Swift Boat attack book from one Jerome Corsi, the great white hope of modern Republicanism who has published a new book tearing down Barack Obama, much like he did four years ago in producing the thoroughly discredited Unfit for Command to demean John Kerry’s heroism in Vietnam.

In other writings, Corsi also called Pope Paul II “senile” and referred to Hillary Clinton as a "lesbo." So enough of Corsi. He deserves no more camera, ink or bandwidth than noting his history of slanders.

There is a much larger issue than a punk like Corsi. It is that John McCain, who promised to run a civil campaign, has become an embarrassment to the notion of civil discourse in public life.

As the campaign has worn on, John McCain speaks less and less about himself and his policies and more and more about Obama, attacking his Democratic opponent in the most personal, derogatory and often slanderous ways...[Open in new window]

Christians United for Israel and Attacking Iran

Dedrick Muhammad and Farrah Hassen | August 18, 2008

Though the national sentiment favors wrapping up the Iraq War, there exists a small but powerful movement for starting a new military conflict with Iran. The bipartisan drumbeats for aggression reverberate throughout the corridors of Congress. House Resolution 362 and Senate Resolution 580, for example, call on the United States to prevent Iran from "acquiring a nuclear weapons capability through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means."

The House's Iran resolution, sponsored by Representative Gary Ackerman (D-NY), demands the president impose "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran." This legislation effectively requires a blockade on Iran which is considered by international law as an act of war. The Senate's Iran resolution, sponsored by Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), would require a ban on "the importation of refined petroleum products to Iran." Neither resolution offers evidence on Iran's alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Both neglect to mention any sanctions against the only country known to actually have developed nuclear weapons in the Middle East: Israel.

Evoking Orwellian 2+2=5 logic, both Congressmen have offered sanctions as the means to avoid war by applying economic pressure on Iran. Yet sanctions rarely achieve their intended objective. For instance, unilateral U.S. sanctions failed to topple the Cuban, Iraqi and Libyan governments. They punished (and in Cuba's case, continue to punish) civilians instead.

The "squeeze Iran" and "confront Iran" positions are strongly encouraged by the increasingly powerful Zionist Christian Fundamentalist community. About 5,000 people from across the United States attended the third annual Washington-Israel Summit, organized by Christians United for Israel (CUFI). There, the "Iranian threat" loomed as a pervasive theme.

"What do you do with a maniac like Ahmadinejad? I'm not sure diplomacy works," Gary Bauer, President of American Values and a CUFI executive board member, told the crowd during the July 22 "Middle East Intelligence Briefing." Another panelist, Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), urged the attendees to make their support for HR 362 known to their members of Congress.

We attended this "the Rapture" meets "Clash of Civilizations" session – on the only day open to the press. We listened to the never-ending chorus from Bauer, Pence, Representative Elliot Engel (D-NY), and The Weekly Standard editor William Kristol who kept telling the assembled crowd why Americans must fear "Islamo-fascists"/"Islamo-radicals"/"death worshippers," and their other scary names for Muslims. Panels curiously closed to the press at the three-day conference included "Iran: Eye of the Storm," "Radical Islam: In Their Own Words" and "How to Stop Funding the Enemy: Divestment, Sanctions and Boycotts."