Thursday, March 20, 2008

FOCUS ON THE GOOD

Is JOHN McCAIN showing his age? (unretouched photo)
Interesting tidbit: In every U.S. presidential election, the taller candidate has always won — except in the case of George Bush and John Kerry... but in that case, Bush didn't win, AL GORE did.


THE CORRUPTION OF A CAREER POLITICIAN

Independents beware: McCain, when he thought it would help him politically, tried desperately to jump ship and leave the Republican party when he ran against George Bush for the nomination in 2000. He would have done anything to become a Democrat. Then when Republicans gained favor by hook and by crook, McCain began to curry favor with the most bizarre cast of characters, from Falwell to Hagee to the devil himself. He even switched his stance on torture, embracing it — because he knew it would win him the nomination. Remember, this is a man who had an affair while married to his first wife — only when he saw the opportunity to snare a woman of great wealth who could put him back into power in Arizona. Then, in the Keating scandal, McCain proved his corruption. Make no mistake about it: McCain is only looking out for McCain.

Take care of your mother
And remember to be kind,
when the pain of another will serve to remind..
That there are those who feel themselves exiled,
On whom the fortunes never smiled,
And upon whose life the heartache has been piled…
Jackson Browne, "The Only Child"


Obama’s luster may seem to have worn off temporarily, but the truth is often in the spaces — in the time between.

IT'S ALL GOOD
We may not be talking to the leaders of Middle Eastern Countries, but at least we’re talking to each other ABOUT talking to the leaders of other countries. We’re having a national psychology session for the whole world to sit in on. The media repeats every flaw, foible — and embarrassingly racist, misogynistic, nationalistic, patriarchical, fear-based, greedy thought we have. And we let the whole world listen in on our national pathology. And at least we’re thinking out loud and letting every racist fear be known. It’s like free therapy for all Americans.

In any event, it’s all good. Communicating about how racist we are and how bad the media is, can’t be bad.

But does America seem narcissistic? Our arrogance makes us assume we are the most important country on the planet. Do we hear everything going on in France? Does France and the rest of the world listen in on all this bickering between the parties — and all these sex scandals?

Last week in Santa Monica with my wonderful mom and sister.

Stop watching the news. Stop listening to the pundits tell us we are defeating ourselves. There is no reason to fear or believe McCain can ever win the upcoming presidential election. He is proving to be a clone of Bush and Cheney — and more about his character is being revealed. In June, the entire matter of the Democratic candidate will be decided and the nominee will have plenty of time to make the case for truth, hope and goodwill in front of the People. In the presence of truth, anything unlike truth, has to come up for healing. The process involves purging the old and brining in the new.

SPRING is a rebirth — and with spring, comes new life. My son and I were hiking at my mom's house yesterday, and a rabbit with a white tail hopped across our path. It must have been the Easter bunny. Bel Air Pres had a beautiful service at the Hollywood Bowl. On Saturday we went to a reenactment of the Resurrection at Vasquez Rocks — a spectacular natural park where they once filmed Star Trek. The rock formations are out of this world.


_________________________________________________________
SNOOP GATE: SECURITY BREACH ON OBAMA'S INFO

SHOCKING! On three separate occasions, three separate State Department contractors illegally accessed Obama's private records -- including his Social Security number, his travel itineraries, passport number and passport history. The breach was leaked to the Washington Times, a highly partisan Moonie-owned, Bush-backing newspaper. The Inspector General did not seem to know about this until today (!!) Who's idea was it to keep it secret, and why was there no investigation? And when exactly were the first two employees fired? It appears that now that these employees have been fired, they are under no obligation to answer any questions. Astounding.

Looking at Obama's File Gets Two Fired
By Glenn Kessler Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 21, 2008

The State Department said last night that it had fired two contract employees and disciplined a third for accessing Sen. Barack Obama's passport file.

Obama's presidential campaign immediately called for a "complete investigation."

State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the employees had individually looked into Obama's passport file on Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14. To access such a file, the employees must first acknowledge a pledge to keep the information private.

The employees were each caught because of a computer-monitoring system that is triggered when the passport accounts of a "high-profile person" are accessed, he said. The system was put in place after the State Department was embroiled in a scandal involving the access of the passport records of then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992.

"The State Department has strict policies and controls on access to passport records by government and contract employees," Casey said.

The department uses contract employees to help with data entry, customer service and other administration tasks. The employee involved in the March 14 incident has only been disciplined so far, because the probe of that incident is continuing, an official said.

Though the workers were caught by a computer system that focuses on high-profile people, Casey said that a computer report is generated on every access to passport records and that spot checks are taken to ensure that employees are not violating the Privacy Act.

"This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement. "This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama's passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach."

___________________________

If you missed our amazing interview with NBC Bureau Chief and award-winning foreign correspondent Martin Fletcher yesterday, you can listen in the archives to one of the best interviews we've ever done.




Award Winning Foreign Correspondent Guests on Basham & Cornell Radio Show...

Martin Fletcher is one of the most respected foreign correspondents in television news. He has covered almost every conflict and natural disaster in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for thirty-five years, winning five Emmys, a Columbia University Dupont Award, several Overseas Press Club awards, and a cameraman’s award from Britain’s Royal Society of television. Fletcher and his wife, Hagar, have raised three sons. He is currently based in Israel, where he is NBC News bureau chief in Tel Aviv.

If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John & Elizabeth Edwards, Pat Buchanan, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Senator Tom Daschle, Senator Lincoln Chaffee, Naomi Klein, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website: Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

206 comments:

  1. You know, the same thing happened to Brittany too.

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  2. Anyone else been hearing good things about this movie "Stop Loss"?

    I've been hearing its the movie to see.

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  3. This is quite strange. If they can do this too Barack, it means they can do it to any of us without a second thought!

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  4. Octavian said...
    This is quite strange. If they can do this too Barack, it means they can do it to any of us without a second thought!"

    EXACTLY.........I sincerely hope this gets us to look harder at our Constitutional freedoms, liberties and privacy's that have been destroyed by the Bush fascists in their obsesion with transforming America into a police state.

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  5. thanks for posting on this- unreal....and a Presidential leading Candidate with Secret Service Protection should not be having his International Pass Port files rooted through.....and on three very very sensitive dates...after three very tough Primary Rounds....Someone was Looking for a Reason...and Someone Covered It Up....

    ( I am blogging the hell out of it...it has Watergate written ALL over it...I see Nothing Innocent about it...."imprudent curiousity"????)

    BTW Some Good News: Richardson is endorsing Obama today....Finally ;-)

    Hope all are well here.....take care....

    ( okay off to listen to the Fletcher Interview- what an interesting guy...saw him on Colbert too..he is an excellent interview....)

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  6. Webb: McCain Refuses to Co-Sponser GI Bill for Post 9/11 Vets

    By Ali Frick,

    On his first day in office in January 2007, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007, intended to be “a mirror image of the WW II G.I. Bill.” A new version with broad bipartisan support was introduced in February to help fund education for service members who had served in active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. Veterans would receive education benefits equaling the highest tuition rate of the most expensive in-state public college or university and a monthly stipend for housing.

    The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America hailed Webb’s bill, calling educational benefits “the military's single most effective recruitment tool” and emphasizing that “an expanded GI Bill will play a crucial role in ensuring that our military remains the strongest and most advanced in the world.”

    Today, The Hill reports that Webb is still waiting for an important co-sponsor who could help push other Republicans to approve the bill: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):

    "McCain needs to get on the bill," Webb told reporters after a Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting on Wednesday. He said legislation mirroring the post-World War II GI bill should not be considered a "political issue." […]

    Webb's bill has 51 co-sponsors, including nine Republicans. Webb, a former secretary of the Navy, said he may have to get 60 co-sponsors to ensure Senate passage, but then added that many more Republicans could vote for the bill if McCain endorsed it.
    McCain prides himself on being “a tireless advocate of our military.” Yet this is hardly the first time that Webb has taken McCain to task when it comes to veterans’ advocacy. In September, McCain refused to support Webb’s bill to ensure service members get adequate time at home between deployments. McCain castigated the effort, declaring he “hoped” Congress would reject the bill because it “would create chaos.”

    McCain boasts on his website that he “fought to extend the availability of G.I. bill education benefits for Vietnam veterans.” Yet he has been notably silent on extending those same benefits to today’s veterans. Perhaps, like the Pentagon, he is resisting the bill “out of fear that too many will use it.”

    McCain has repeatedly voted to funnel billions of dollars to fund the war in Iraq, whose costs along with the war in Afghanistan, according to some experts, have already totaled more than $3 trillion. By contrast, the cost of the new G.I. bill is projected to be about $2.5 billion a year — roughly the cost of U.S. operations in Iraq for one week.

    Another Republican war-monger who really despises the troops.

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  7. Update on Passportgate:
    Stanley Associates, Of Arkansas one of the Contractors, just had their Current Contract renewed for 570 MILLON dollars$$$$$, on March 18th - last week.....the last Breach was March 14th, and that Employee was merely "reprimanded for imprudent curiousity"

    ( I looked up the Stanley group- as of 7am- it was proudly put on their website)

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  8. It sounds like no candidate was spared. Interesting stuff. Makes you wonder who was looking for what.

    On an unrelated note, is there any chance I could talk one of you who blog here into joining the Blogswarm Against Theocracy? Believer and skeptic alike are at risk in a theocracy/ This is an issue of the utmost importance as to the future direction of our country.

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  9. After 8 years of uncle Cletus and the Corndog Crusaders this country is about as far from becoming a Theocracy as is France.

    An "Idocracy" perhaps, but not a Theocracy.

    Unless something happens to change the current course, we're on our way to being enlightened again.

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  10. On March 21, 1965, more than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

    If they tried it today, they would wake up in Gitmo.

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  11. Don't get me wrong JollyRoger. I'm well aware we were well on our way to becoming a Theocracy. In fact, in many ways, we had become one back in 2003 when the so called spiritual warriors sent their armies into the middle east to cleanse the Holy Land and plunder their resources. We simply labeled them "the bad guys" and walla.

    The entire Christian right, and much of the Christian left cheered on the little war just as Sam Clemens predicted over a century ago. So we definatley had many of the products of a theocracy, not to mention the mindset.

    But I think that times past. The country is "hungry" for more than change. The country is hungry for reason and level headed democracy, just like the Europeans have.

    One thing this mess has done for us is educate much of middle America as to whats "really" out there, in the other countries folks like Bush and Cheney are always mocking.

    Clem and Corrine Cadiddlehopper in Bumfuk Indiana just found out that folks from Quebec to Tuscany can just walk into a clinic and get an operation without paying a cent, and they're pissed, cause they just took out a second mortgage on the double-wide to pay for Clems hip replacement, when they could have just driven to Ontario to visit their 3rd cousins and gotten it done for free. So like millions of other middle America families, they're done voting republican for a while.

    Especially with Clem Junior coming of draft age next summer.

    I'm not saying we're out of the woods yet, but I think we're coming up to a clearing.

    I'll put it this way. I live in Inbreedia, and all I see are Obama signs on any yards. I haven't seen one McCain sign or bumper sticker ANYWHERE.

    :|

    Thats pretty good for Inbreedia.

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  12. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, our country, right or wrong, and urge on the little war.

    Mark Twain, 1906

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  13. THIS can't be good;

    Dollars tough to sell:

    The U.S. dollar's value is dropping so fast against the euro that small currency outlets in Amsterdam are turning away tourists seeking to sell their dollars for local money while on vacation in the Netherlands.


    I wonder when China is gonna do this?

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  14. Wanna see just how much Bush LIES about Iran?

    This is from Juan Coles blog;

    Just to give you an idea of how wrong Bush is, here is what Ahmadinejad actually said in a recent interview in the Spanish newspaper, El Pais:


    ' Throughout its history, Iran has always been a peaceful country. We have not attacked anybody. Everything we are doing is aimed at defending the country. We think that the age of nuclear weapons is over. If they were useful, the United States would not have the troubles it currently has and the Soviet Union would not have disappeared. The Zionists have atomic bombs, but they are failing against HAMAS. We not only think that the age of nuclear weapons is over, but we are also not interested in building them, because we consider that they are against human rights and dignity. Our security doctrine is a defensive doctrine. '

    Who looks more intelligent, the person who sees Nuclear weapons can't solve a countries problems, and wants something different or the liar who can't understand that basic truth?

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  15. I prefer to ignore the financial news for now, and instead focus on weathering the storm.

    The economy will improve in direct proportion to the closer we get to the elections.

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  16. Bartlebee some are not so sure the economy "will improve";

    Lehman sees risk of double-dip U.S. recession

    Investors already coming to grips with the prospect of a looming U.S. recession face the even bleaker notion of a "double-dip" economic downturn, U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers said on Thursday.

    The persistent slump in housing will continue to drag on consumers and growth while tight credit conditions, a weakening job market and record energy costs are also taking a toll on the economy, according to economists at the bank.

    Double-dip recession last hit the United States in the early 1980s and sent Japan's economy reeling for much of the 1990s.

    Lehman economists predicted the U.S. economy will contract 0.5 percent in the first quarter and 1.0 percent in the second quarter, followed by a rebound in the second half. "We expect a feeble recovery in 2009, with the economy threatening to fall back into recession," Lehman economists Michelle Meyer and Ethan Harris wrote in a research report.


    World trade decelerates almost to a standstill

    Global trade slowed almost to a standstill over the new year, threatening to shrink for the first time since the US economy went into recession in 2001.

    An indicator produced by the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, a Dutch research institute, showed that in the three months to January world trade in goods rose at annualised rate of 0.2 per cent over the previous three months.

    The equivalent growth rate in the three months to October was 6.9 per cent.

    "This is a substantial deceleration," the institute said. "World trade volume growth is on a downward trend." Trade figures tend to be volatile but even on a longer-term smoothed basis, comparing the three-month average with the same period a year earlier, the growth in goods trade is at its lowest since 2003.

    The data appear to provide further evidence that global economic activity is slowing, as growth in emerging markets has failed to compensate for weaker demand in the US.

    The last time annual growth in trade went negative was in 2001, when the shallow US recession that followed the bursting of the technology bubble and the shock of the September 11 attacks caused global commerce to contract.


    US economist calls financial crisis worst since 1930s

    The current financial crisis is the worst the world has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s and the US Federal Reserve move to cut interest rates will not make much difference, the Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said on Wednesday.

    "It will have some impact - it will do a little bit to stem the blood - but it's not addressing the fundamental problems underlying the collapse of the financial sector," Joseph said.

    Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001, is a former chief of the World Bank and chaired former US president Bill Clinton's council of economic advisers. He is in New Zealand on a lecture tour.

    He said the Federal Reserve's move to cut its funds rate by three-quarters of a percentage point was "just trying to ease the economy down rather than try to address the underlying problems."

    Stiglitz said the main problem was the fact that an estimated 2 million Americans were going to lose their homes because they could not repay mortgages which exceed the value of their property as house prices fell dramatically.

    "As people walk away from their mortgages there will be more and more defaults - that undermines the whole financial system," he said.

    Stiglitz said the Bush administration was bailing out banks, but accused it of refusing to do anything to help poor people stay in their homes which would stabilise the housing market.

    "It's very easy to do something about it," he said, suggesting the administration could give assistance to write down mortgages to about 90 per cent of the value of a house which would enable people to stay in their properties.


    I don't see the economy doing as well as you do.

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  17. I didn't say I see it doing well. I said I think it will rebound on the arrival of a Democratic President.

    As we get closer to the elections, confidence will improve for investors as the real likelyhood of a democratic president becomes obvious. Just like the Stock Markets climbed on the word that Bill Clinton had been re-elected in 1996, so too will they climb as we get nearer to bringing in someone "smart" who will actually do something to help us recover from 8 years of republican bungling.

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  18. One things for sure. All that doom and gloom isn't helping.

    Everytime an investor reads another doom and gloom prediction, his spinchter tightens that much more.

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  19. "can't you dig how beautiful it is here.. can't you say something righteous, and hopeful for a change?"

    Oddball
    Kelly's Heroes

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  20. woof woof

    thats my other dog impersonation.

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  21. I wouldn't un-cork the champagne just yet. Obama calling the white grandmother that raised him a racist didn't help much.

    As much as it pains me to say, McCains numbers are up compared to both dems.

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  22. Oh and clif?

    Nice to see you believe everything Ahmadinejad says.

    "Who looks more intelligent, the person who sees Nuclear weapons can't solve a countries problems, and wants something different or the liar who can't understand that basic truth?"

    I REALLY hope that comment doesn't come back to bite you...

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  23. lol, and then of course theres the last few holdouts of Narnia, like Voltron, who think they're going to elect the Cryptkeeper king, and plunder the middle east for another 8 years.

    Fortunately the 8 year brainfart that was the Bush presidency has pretty much woken up most of the country, even much of those otherwise prone to voting for local officals named Buford.

    The vain babblings of the Volksturm and their trivial minutia won't turn back this tidal wave. Obama is a cool head in a cesspool of muckrackers like Voltron and his fiends at Fox news, and the cool head will prevail.

    McCain will be lucky to stay out of a nursing home.

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  24. The country's ready for a sane person again.

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  25. The liars like Voltron will try and convince people to be small minded, like themselves, and paint the truth as something racist by quoting it out of context, and focusing on one only 2 or 3 words out of context from an entire speech, and playing them over and over.

    Obama speaks the truth, and its like holy water on a vampire to the neocons.

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  26. Finally someone in a high place just laid it all out, put the political correctness bullshit away and spoke to us like adults.

    But the kiddies can't handle it.

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  27. Obama is a deeply Christian man. In fact, he is one of the few political leaders who behaves as a real Christian, and practices the principles Christ taught.

    The hardest thing for me sometimes is to forgive Bush, Cheney and the others for their crimes, but I have to. It's wrong to get so upset to the point I am boiling over.

    This is from an article by a writer who had to learn to forgive his enemies too:

    "Our prayer uncovered many things that needed healing. The first was the necessity of loving everyone, even if I didn’t agree with their views. I realized I had been holding some deep-seated anger about certain politicians.

    I didn’t realize that my opinions had gradually snowballed from mild criticism into a mountain of animosity. I found I had to dig deep into my understanding of God’s love and saving power to forgive those in authority, as well as myself.

    I thought a lot about a Bible passage: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; even for kings, and for all that are in authority.” I realized that these politicians are my brothers. We are all created by God and are all His children.

    I knew that I would never allow myself ever to feel such hatred toward any of my own siblings, and that if I really wanted to demonstrate Christianity, even in the slightest degree, I needed to love everyone equally, including all who are “in authority.”

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  28. What I love about Obama is that he truly "hated the sin but loved the sinner."

    I wish we would all reach out to prisoners and stop judging them. Many prisoners are there on drug charges and should be in rehabilitation, not prison.

    Did you hear about the man whose 10-year old daughter is dying, and they won't let him out to be at her bedside as she begged to see him before she dies?

    He is in prison on drug charges.

    We are far from a Christian nation as the religious right proclaims we're supposed to be.

    Pray for the prisoners and for this man and send an email to Senator Tim Johnson, whose district this is in. He finally healed from his brain hemorrhage and this little girl has a brain hemmorhage too.

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  29. Voltron said...
    I wouldn't un-cork the champagne just yet. Obama calling the white grandmother that raised him a racist didn't help much."

    You know i'm sick and tired of the retarded lying fools screeching blah blah blah HE CALLED HIS GRANDMOTHER A RASCIST.......blah blah blah HE HATES HIS COUNTRY........blah blah blah HE ISNT A PATRIOT because he doesnt wear a stupid lapel pin...........blah blah blah he's playing the rascist card.......blah blah blah he wont really end the war you cant trust.........blah blah blah HE HATES HIS COUNTRY.

    WERENT these same assholes claiming ONLY they are moral and love their country and are patriots the same treasonous assholes who have been deasd wrong about EVERYTHING for the last 7 years.

    I find it amazing that these clowns CLAIMING sole posession of patriotism, morality, loving their country and supporting the troops are the same ones sending the troops to die without proper equipment and denying them pay raises and adaquate healthcare when they return, supporting treasonous wars and violations of the Constitution and molesting children when they should be protectin them.

    THESE ARE THE LAST PEOPLE ON EARTH that should be saying what patriotism is or........or using demogogery to smear their opponents as hating their country or not supporting the troops.

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  30. BARTLEBEE said...
    Finally someone in a high place just laid it all out, put the political correctness bullshit away and spoke to us like adults.

    But the kiddies can't handle it."

    David Gergen said that last night and you are both right..........the MSM is out to destroy Obama but good men like Gergen, Roland Richardson etc..........are stepping up to defend him..........they read Anderson Cooper the riot act last night and stood up for Obama they said the MSM good stand up and do their job and take the high road and the Demacratic party can hold Clinton accountable for going negative and running a smear campaign or let her destroy the party.

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  31. LydiaCornell said...
    Jolly Roger, I'll check out that blog on theocracy. Do you still feel the religious right is as powerful as it once was? I think they are seeing the light, but with McCain ASKING for Hagee's endorsement, maybe that will all change.

    Bartlebee - I love that Mark Twain quote.

    Clif - it's important to keep our eyes on the good that is happening, no matter how miniscule. It's a law: our thoughts create our reality. Whatever we focus on is what actually becomes bigger. Collectively we must focus on improving the economy with the new green industries which will create fortunes and goodwill in the world. And we must keep our eyes on the prize.

    Volt: EVIL does not win in the end. There are no two bigger liars than Bush and McCain. Bush LIED and twisted the truth out of whole cloth today and the past 7 years. IRAN NEVER SAID IT WANTED TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON ANY NATION...

    And by the way, PETTY TYRANT Ahmadinejad NEVER SAID HE WANTED TO WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP. THIS HAD BEEN MISQUOTED. HE WANTED THE ZIONIST REGIME, THE CURRENT LEADERS TO VANISH. OBVIOUSLY IT'S THE SAME AS BUSH SAYING HE WANTED SADAAM HUSSEIN TO BE KILLED, NOT THE IRAQI PEOPLE.

    AHMADINEJAD HAS JEWISH PEOPLE IN HIS VERY OWN CABINET.

    IT IS DESPICABLE THAT YOU AND THESE WAR CRIMINALS BUSH AND CHENEY PERSIST IN LYING TO THE WORLD IN ORDER TO FOMENT WAR.

    We showed the exact quote on our show, with the expert's analysis, and he never said what you think he said. This was the lie heard round the world.

    Nothing could be more dangerous for American than another falsely trumped up war.

    Cheney and Bush should be in prison for life."


    Great post, the Repugs and the MSM and Cllintons are resorting to any slimy tactic they can think of to slime and smear obama and scare the American people but at the end i think Obama will be the last person standing and he will dismantle the Owellian media sorcery machines and put us on the right track.

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  32. LydiaCornell said...
    What I love about Obama is that he truly "hated the sin but loved the sinner."

    I wish we would all reach out to prisoners and stop judging them. Many prisoners are there on drug charges and should be in rehabilitation, not prison.

    Did you hear about the man whose 10-year old daughter is dying, and they won't let him out to be at her bedside as she begged to see him before she dies?

    He is in prison on drug charges.

    We are far from a Christian nation as the religious right proclaims we're supposed to be.

    Pray for the prisoners and for this man and send an email to Senator Tim Johnson, whose district this is in. He finally healed from his brain hemorrhage and this little girl has a brain hemmorhage too."


    What I love about Obama is that he REALLY does want to unite us as a people and end all the divisiveness...........one of the first things i said on this blog is i was turned off to religion at an early age because of all of the divisiveness it causes same for all the rabid phony patriotism and nationalism the Reich Wing preaches.......nothing turns me off more than their saying that anyone who criticizes something the USA does wrong hates their country or those that dont support the war arent patriotic and dont support the troops.

    i'm sick and tired of the gender and racial divisions where woman automatically support someone just because they are a woman or African Americans support someone just because they are an African American, Christians are blindly loyal to Christians, jews are blindly loyal to jews.

    Obama's speech was amazing we are ALL human beings..........gender, race, religion, nationality arent even factored into the equation when i think about a candidate i want the best person for the job those other factors are all issues to divide us and bias us and prejudice our thinking/.

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  33. LydiaCornell said...


    The hardest thing for me sometimes is to forgive Bush, Cheney and the others for their crimes, but I have to. It's wrong to get so upset to the point I am boiling over.



    You can't forgive someone until they acknowledge and turn from their errors.

    To do so prematurely is to help perpetuate their sin, and thus condemn them to remaining in it.

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  34. I see nothing contrary to the teachings of Christ in "boiling over" at the transgressions of a couple of bloodsucking warmongering inhuman butchers.

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  35. BARTLEBEE said...
    LydiaCornell said...


    The hardest thing for me sometimes is to forgive Bush, Cheney and the others for their crimes, but I have to. It's wrong to get so upset to the point I am boiling over.



    You can't forgive someone until they acknowledge and turn from their errors.

    To do so prematurely is to help perpetuate their sin, and thus condemn them to remaining in it."

    I have to asgree with Bart on this.......they have to STOP sinning first and ackknowledge it second.

    to do so prematurely like he says does condone and perpetuate it.

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  36. Obama's speech was great because he talked to us like adults.

    He just said it like it is, and trusted that we are capable of comprehending reality.

    Its the silly children like Voltron who giggle and try to paint it into something other than what it was.

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  37. LydiaCornell said...
    What I love about Obama is that he truly "hated the sin but loved the sinner."

    I wish we would all reach out to prisoners and stop judging them. Many prisoners are there on drug charges and should be in rehabilitation, not prison.

    Did you hear about the man whose 10-year old daughter is dying, and they won't let him out to be at her bedside as she begged to see him before she dies?

    He is in prison on drug charges.

    We are far from a Christian nation as the religious right proclaims we're supposed to be.

    Pray for the prisoners and for this man and send an email to Senator Tim Johnson, whose district this is in. He finally healed from his brain hemorrhage and this little girl has a brain hemmorhage too."


    There is a big difference praying for and forgiving the oppressed and doing so for the powerful and evil men STILL murdering and oppressing in our name.

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  38. Obama showed he's a reasonable and honest individual capable of facing difficult and contraversial issues like race, and dealing with them in a refreshing and mature manner.

    And thats got the little kiddies worried.

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  39. Mike said,

    I have to asgree with Bart on this.......they have to STOP sinning first and ackknowledge it second.


    Not to be picky but first they need to acknowledge it. Just look at the twelve steps. You have to "admit" you've got a problem before you can begin addressing it.

    If you don't think you have a problem then you can't correct it.

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  40. Look I dont know if you guys watch CNN or not, until last night i thought Anderson Cooper was ok.........wasnt a huge fan but didnt dislike him either..........i lost all respect for him last night he is noting more that a Reich Wing shill out to destroy Obama..........he was paroting all the Reich Wing talking points that he hates his country isnt patriotic, is cloaking himself in the flag to appear patriotic is playing the race card............he was Trying to twist obama's every word playing that soundbite over and over saying his campaign is over or is imploding and asking leading "so how many times did you beat your wife" type questions.

    I've never seen a more biased hack that wasnt on Fox News......it was a disgrace and i'm just glad the panel called him and the rest of the MSM on it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Bush just said this week that he believes invading Iraq was the right thing to do and it will "always have been the right decision".

    He can't repent of that decision if he can't acknowledge it was wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I don't watch much news these days Mike.

    Too depressing.

    I'm just working hard and waiting for November.

    ReplyDelete
  43. BARTLEBEE said...
    Mike said,

    I have to asgree with Bart on this.......they have to STOP sinning first and ackknowledge it second.


    Not to be picky but first they need to acknowledge it. Just look at the twelve steps. You have to "admit" you've got a problem before you can begin addressing it.

    If you don't think you have a problem then you can't correct it."


    Ok point taken............i was thinking more if they were removed from power and tried at the Hague rather than stopping on their own............I realize neither scenario is likely but a guy can dream right?

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  44. Lydia.....
    I read what you said about Forgiving Bush/Cheney....and it has been rolling around in my head....Here is the thing...I don't think you have to....or even have to think of Forgiveness...Here is why......

    At this point Bush and Cheney have to face Justice for what they have done...and that Justice will determine the level of their crimes against Humanity and their Punishment....They are power hungry, war mongers, and hate mongerers...They feel that they are empowered and entitled to the Pain and Agony they have wrought upon millions....There is NO Conscience there...No Remorse.....

    It will be Up to Other Entities to decide their Fates and the Penalties and their Punishments.....

    If later when they have faced their Fates, and have come forward to express remorse or ask Forgiveness.....then you can decide if you will or wish to forgive them....

    But here is the thing...if they have NO remorse and are not asking for Forgiveness....you don't have to Forgive them.....They will have to at some point face a Higher Power for what they have done....

    We all will spend years trying to Heal this mess...and letting the World know we are Sorry, and showing them Our Remorse and that we are a Just and Kind and Humane Country....there are many that view this country AS BUSHCO...that is where will need to put our focus to heal this world....and we are the ones to do that....

    With Healing...and Justice and refound Humanity and Empathy....perhaps the World can see us in a different light and also maybe it can set a path for Peace....

    *********************

    ( Both Bush and Cheney have been purchasing land in Places they can not be extradited....this is not an accident...they will have to Face War Crimes Charges...and Crimes Against Humanity.....it is coming..)

    *********************
    About the little girl wanting to see her dad...we as a Country do have an Empathy Deficit and Compassion Defecit...Hopefully as we end this warmongering Police State Phase of our History we can find our way back to empowering entities that rule with Compassion....Compassion needs to start at the Top....raining down on all of us....spreading from person to person...

    I am so tired of the LockUp Mentality we are seeing daily....I think many are tired of this...Our Culture is due for a Complete Conscience Overhaul...Prisons are not the Solution...and the Mindset they have created in abundance...

    thanks for letting me say all that ..hope it made sense.....

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  45. I've been watching a couple hours of CNN.......but I think i might be finished watching AC.

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  46. Great post Enigma.......it echoes my feelings completely.

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  47. Yea that made sense Engima.

    And I knew you knew that Mike.

    When a parent has a misbehaving child, they don't encourage the bad behavior by being nice and happy.

    They get mad, and discipline the kid. Thats the only way the kid has of knowing whats acceptable in society and whats not.

    Forgiving Bush and Cheney of their crimes against humanity while they're still comitting them, is not only wrong, it can't be done.

    You can't forgive them for crimes of this scale. Who are any of us to presume the power to forgive someone for slaughtering a million people in their homes? Who?

    We don't have such power. Thats going to be up to the million people he's ordered killed, and the million more waiting in the wings.

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  48. By the way the last part of my post was directed to Lydia.

    ReplyDelete
  49. If folks want to feel compassion for anyone these days, how about starting with the people who's country we've blasted back into the stone age?

    Theres a million Iraqi's dead, and 20 Million mourning them, while they wallow in the mire that we've created of their home.

    Jesus.

    How can any of us escape damnation?

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  50. Bush has slipped into the "Bunker mentality", and he's slowly losing it. From what I can tell he's "hopped up" on something, most likely anti depressants and stimulants. The nervous fidgeting he displays now, the dishoveled appearance, loss of weight, all dead giveaways.

    They did the same thing to Hitler towards the end too. Doped him up to keep him going, like a little propaganda making energizer bunny.

    Bush can't even believe what he's saying now. He's just saying it, because he doesn't know the difference.

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  51. McCain Spiritual Guide Accused Gov't Of Enabling 'Black Genocide'

    This past week, Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright has come under heavy fire in part over comments that suggested the U.S. government had introduced AIDS into black communities.

    But it turns out he's not the only religious confidant to a presidential candidate who thinks the state has targeted black populations with death and disease.

    Reverend Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, Ohio -- whom Sen. John McCain hails as a spiritual adviser -- has suggested on several occasions that the U.S. government was complicit in facilitating black genocide.

    In speeches that have gone largely unnoticed, Parsley (who is white) compares Planned Parenthood, the reproductive care and family planning group, to the Klu Klux Klan and Nazis, and describes the American government as enablers of murder for supporting the organization.

    "If I were call for the sterilization or the elimination of an entire segment of society, I'd be labeled a racists or a murderer, or at very best a Nazi," says Parsley. "That every single year, millions of our tax dollars are funding a national organization built upon that very goal -- their target: African Americans. That's right, the death toll: nearly fifteen hundred African Americans a day. The shocking truth of black genocide."

    He goes on.

    "Right now our own government is allowing organizations like Planned Parenthood to legally take the innocent lives of precious baby girls and baby boys and even footing the bill for it all with our tax dollars, turning every single one of us into accessories to murder," he says. "You know who their biggest fans must be, that must be the Klu Klux Klan, because the woman who founded this organization detested black people.... African Americans were number one on Margaret Sanger's list. So this 'Lady MacDeath,' as I like to call her, studied the works of Englishman Thomas Robert Malthus, and embraced his plan of eugenics."

    Unlike Wright's statements, Parsley's are more accepted in conservative circles, in which a strict anti-abortion sentiment is not only tolerated, but applauded. Moreover, as a white pastor expressing anger on behalf of black populations, Parsley's testimony may come off as more sympathetic and less conspiratorial than Wright's.

    However, there are issues with Parsley's stats. While black populations in America do have higher abortion rates than white populations, there are far more abortions among white mothers than among blacks. Meanwhile, Sanger, who founded the American Birth Control League (which eventually became Planned Parenthood), was an advocate of both birth control and eugenics. And while she did not publicly denounce Nazi Germany's eugenics program, privately she expressed deep concern.

    This is the second time that controversial remarks by Parsley have surfaced on the campaign trail. Last week, David Corn of Mother Jones reported that the televangelist "called upon Christians to wage a 'war' against the 'false religion' of Islam with the aim of destroying it."

    The relationship between Parsley and McCain is, to be sure, far less personal -- and more political -- than that of Obama and Wright. In late February, McCain attended a rally in Cincinnati, in which the Arizona Republican was praised as a "strong, true, consistent conservative."

    The endorsement, Corn writes:

    ... was important for McCain, who at the time was trying to put an end to the lingering challenge from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a favorite among Christian evangelicals. A politically influential figure in Ohio, Parsley could also play a key role in McCain's effort to win this bellwether state in the general election. McCain, with Parsley by his side at the Cincinnati rally, called the evangelical minister a "spiritual guide.'

    Another prime example of a deranged old warmongering moralists living for the next mass grave of tomorrow.

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  52. Mayhem At Fox News: Anchor Walks Off Set, Wallace Rails Network For "Obama-Bashing"

    Fox News' very own anchors are speaking out — and walking off — over what they perceive to be "Obama-bashing" on their network.

    This morning on "Fox and Friends," Brian Kilmeade walked off the set after a dispute with his co-hosts Gretchen Carlson (she who celebrates deadly floods) and Steve Doocy over Obama's comment that his grandmother is a "typical white person." Kilmeade argued that the remark needed to be taken in context and eventually got so fed up with his co-hosts that he walked off set.

    Later, "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace came on the show and railed against "Fox and Friends" for what he called "Obama-bashing."

    Are we supposed to believe these two racist freeloaders have suddenly got a conscious?

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  53. Bartlbee and Mike, and Lydia ( Clif, Jolly and Larry too)

    What I meant was I would not be shocked at All, if the World or UN or Some World Entity decided to Hold Bushco accountable, responsible, or have them tried for War Crimes.....and I don't think that we have the ability to undo what Bushco did....but they would have to face Justice...and we have so many relationships to repair around the world...but we also have much work to be done at home...and even as a country it is time for us to work together and try to take care of all of us.....

    we all know that we are facing OUR 1930's....our Depression....that means we must pull together...and take care of each other....Our Country is fragile after 8 years of Hell, and tattered and shredded....there are too many hurting and disenfranchised, and we are the ONEs that we have been waiting for...there is no one else...Our Future is in our hands....

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  54. Are Evangelical Voters Abandoning the Republican Establishment?

    By Kate Sheppard,

    Rev. Joel Hunter might not seem like an obvious progressive. He's the pastor of Northland Church, a 12,000-member evangelical congregation just north of Orlando, Fla. He's staunchly pro-life and was an outspoken supporter of Mike Huckabee's bid for the presidency. But Hunter has emerged as a leader among the growing bloc of evangelicals who are concerned not just about abortion and homosexuality, but also global warming, healthcare and poverty -- issues traditionally associated with progressives. And these "new conservatives," as Hunter calls them, aren't necessarily going to be faithful to the Republican Party they've called home for so many years.

    There has been evidence of this divide among evangelicals in the primaries this year. While it's difficult to pin down exact figures, as exit pollsters don't ask Democrats if they identify as evangelical, surveys have found that Republicans no longer have a monopoly on these voters. A new survey released last month by the Barna Group, the country's leading evangelical polling group, found that 40 percent of all "born again" adults who plan to vote in November said they would choose a Democratic candidate, while just 29 percent said they would vote for a Republican. Faith in Politics also commissioned its own exit polls in Tennessee and Missouri on Super Tuesday, which found that one in three white evangelicals there participated in the Democratic primary. Huckabee's long run of success in the primaries evidenced this split, as he was the only Republican candidate talking extensively about issues like poverty and the environment.

    Over the past few years, Hunter has blazed a trail for these "new conservatives." He serves as the spokesperson for the Evangelical Climate Initiative and is part of a coalition of more than 20 major religious groups calling for government action on climate change. In 2006 he served as the president-elect of the Christian Coalition of America, the hard-right political advocacy organization founded by Pat Robertson, but stepped down from the post following disagreements with the coalition's board of directors over expanding their agenda to include issues like poverty and the environment -- which Hunter says should also be considered "pro-life" concerns.

    He's released two books on this growing schism. His 2006 book Right Wing, Wrong Bird is a guidebook for evangelical Christians who feel like the Religious Right's narrow focus ignores these other concerns. His new book, A New Kind of Conservative, released in January, calls for a conservatism not solely concerned with morality, small government and lower taxes, but a larger range of issues traditionally associated with progressives. These new conservatives, Hunter believes, must force change in the Republican establishment -- or abandon it.

    While in Florida, I caught up with Hunter at his church to talk about his support for Huckabee's campaign, expanding the evangelical agenda, and whether this new movement creates inroads for progressives with a group that has long been seen as out of reach.

    Kate Sheppard: A lot of these the issues that you talk about and that Mike Huckabee was talking about in the primary, issues like climate change and poverty, haven't been discussed by any Republican candidates in recent years.

    Joel Hunter: It is something that's new, but it's something that's very needed. Unless Republicans take up these issues that are important to everybody, they're really going to lose the elections. People really do care about everybody having their basic needs met. I'm not talking about a socialist society here. I'm just talking about basic policies that would help people who are really trying. I think that the general population of America is not interested in trying to run the rest of the world by force or trying to buy the rest of the world by a superior economy.

    KS: Do you worry that this divides the conservative coalition that has been created over the past decades?

    JH: I see it as a great benefit that it divides the coalition. I want for the coalition to broaden. [There is] a certain section of the coalition that says we're going to keep focused on the issues that got us to the dance, so we want small government, we want less taxes, we want strong military. But I think that there's a growing number of conservatives that say, "No, we want a government that is effective in helping people out. It's not the answer, but it's not the enemy either. Yes, we'd love to have lower taxes, but we'd love even more for the government and private industry and the faith communities to be able to cooperate to help people in need with support systems that really make a difference. Whether or not taxes are lowered is not the real question. The question is how well are we assisting people who really have needs.

    KS: What are your hopes of electing a Republican that cares about issues like the environment, since that's been a big one for you?

    JH: I'm not sure I'll vote for a Republican that doesn't care about the environment. For me, to stay consistently pro-life is to care for the vulnerable outside the womb as well as the inside. I know that our record on abortions in this country is horrible, but I know that lives will be lost due to climate change. As we face the floods and droughts brought about by climate change, we will face starvation because of the lack of ability to make produce out of the land. We will face wars because of the scarcity of resources. We will face disease because of the mosquito-borne illnesses. The literally millions of lives that will be lost because of climate change is also a pro-life issue.

    KS: The environment is an issue that has separated you from other conservatives, but do you think that the conservative movement is coming around on this topic?

    JH: I know it is. Part of it is that the accumulating evidence more and more marginalizes those voices that say, "Well, science is still divided." Science is not divided on this. The other reason that this is changing is because people of [the younger] generation are just coming out of the woodwork on this. And they don't care about evangelical, not evangelical, left, right, Republican, Democrat. They care about solving problems. And they know this is a problem to be solved. So there is this huge tsunami of the younger generation that says, "Quit debating this thing. Let's do something about it."

    KS: Do you see any possibility of the people you're talking about voting for a Democrat if there isn't much of a change within the Republican Party?

    JH: I do. [Abortion and gay marriage] will always be core issues for us, but I think that many evangelicals and many Republicans are now looking for a broader agenda, and they're looking at pro-life not just as whether we can get Roe v. Wade overturned. That's a rather limited approach to stopping abortion, because the decisions would come right back to the states, many of whom would still be pro-choice. It's just not a good strategy, and I think as people become more sophisticated politically, they understand that in order to be pro-life when it comes to abortion, you have to affect the heart. Many of the Democratic candidates say they want to lessen abortion. I think that this broader agenda will make Republicans have to work harder for a broader constituency base, and I think if they don't do that, many evangelicals will vote for a Democrat.

    KS: It seems it's mostly the big religious and conservative organizations that are pushing the idea that marriage and abortion are your only two issues. Do you see those institutions changing?

    JH: I see it changing not because they're changing, but because people are sick of hearing it. People are so tired of this caustic condemnation. The reason that it's been effective up until now is because the easiest way to raise money is through fear and hatred. And it's worked. But I think people are writing that off now. I think that generally there's a shift from those very accusatory voices to the visionary voices. I don't think there's any surprise that Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee have gotten the kind of political traction they have, because their voices have been positive. Nobody can tell what the future will bring, but it's a sign that people are ready for something else.

    Poor John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Pat Robertson and Little Falwell. Your flock is leaving as your continued hatred shines through.

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  55. Inflation Hits the Poor Hardest
    No Income Group Is Untouched, but Staples Are Rising Fastest

    By Neil Irwin and Alejandro Lazo

    Inflation is walloping Americans with low and moderate incomes as the prices of staples have soared far faster than those of luxuries.

    The goods and services Americans consumed in February were 4 percent more expensive than they were a year earlier. But there is a big divide in how much prices are climbing between the basic items people need to live and get to work, and those on which they can easily cut back when times are tight.

    An analysis of government data by The Washington Post found that prices have risen 9.2 percent since 2006 for the groceries, gasoline, health care and other basics that a middle-income American family has little choice but to consume. That would cost such a family, which made $45,000 on average in 2006, an extra $972 per year, assuming it did not buy less of such items because of higher prices. For a broad range of goods on which it is easier to scrimp -- such as restaurant meals, alcoholic beverages, new cars, furniture, and clothing -- prices have risen 2.4 percent.

    Wages for typical workers, meanwhile, have been rising slowly. In that same time span, average earnings for a non-managerial worker rose about 5 percent. This contradiction -- high inflation for staples, low inflation for luxuries and in wages -- helps explain why American workers felt squeezed even before the recent economic distress began.

    "It just doesn't seem like anything is cheap these days," said Faith Tyler, 41, a personal trainer from Baltimore who has reacted to the higher prices for necessities by cutting back on luxuries. "I don't eat out very much, no vacations, nothing extravagant unless it's on sale."

    Inflation is not occurring because labor markets are tight or because the U.S. economy has been overstimulated; if that were the case, wages would be driving inflation up, leaving ordinary households in decent shape and doing more damage to those who lent money at fixed interest rates.

    Instead, this inflation is driven by global commodity markets. China, India and other developing countries' thirst for oil has been growing faster than producers can quench it, sending the price of oil up about 60 percent since 2006. Prices for oil and other commodities fell yesterday though they remain very expensive by any historical standard.

    Expensive crude oil has translated into higher costs to heat a house or drive to work. The average middle-income household must spend $378 more per year on gasoline than it did in 2006 if it consumes the same amount, and an extra $38 on fuel oil.

    The rapid growth of developing nations, combined with the increasing use of land to produce ethanol, has led demand for food to outstrip supply. That middle-income family is spending $253 more each year on groceries than it did two years ago, assuming it did not change its buying patterns.

    The price for dairy products has risen 15 percent since 2006; fruits and vegetables are up 10 percent. Even routine cereals and bakery products are up 8 percent. Tyler, the personal trainer, complained that soy milk is more expensive: "Why is it going up from $3.49 to $4.10 for a gallon? It comes from a bean, not a cow."

    A deeply rooted set of problems in the system has caused health-care costs to rise faster than those of most goods, costing that middle-income family $204 more compared with 2006.

    "This is what's at the core of the middle-class squeeze," said Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. "The idea that you can understand the kind of budget constraints that middle-class families face by looking at overall inflation is wrong. You have to look at the core items a middle-class family buys."

    The rise in the basic cost of living means that inflation disproportionately affects those with modest incomes. For example, in 2006, the top 20 percent of households by income spent about twice as much on staples as households in the lower-middle bracket. But the top-earning families had almost six times as much income.

    In the Washington area, this has been hardest on families with modest to low incomes whose members have to drive long distances to work. However, incomes here are much higher than the national average, so more families are in the top 20 percent of earners nationwide -- those with more than $89,000 in income in 2006 -- and are better able to handle the higher prices.

    The pinch of inflation from energy, food and health care is a significant factor in softening consumer spending, which in turn is the reason economic growth is slowing sharply this year. It is not the only reason consumers are pulling back, however. Lower home prices, less credit availability and dropping stock market values are other likely factors.

    Those different sources of weakness are affecting different groups of consumers. Poor and middle-income people are suffering the worst from inflation, middle- to upper-middle-income families are bearing the brunt of the softer real estate market, and the affluent are pinched the most by problems in financial markets.

    "There's really no segment of consumers that are escaping the slowdown right now," said Scott Hoyt, director of consumer economics at Moody's Economy.com.

    The fact that inflation is being driven by commodities has made it tricky for the Federal Reserve as it tries to prevent the downturn from becoming a deep recession. The Fed's interest-rate cuts, for example, have contributed to a decline in the value of the dollar, which is one reason for higher prices. The central bank forecasts that prices for fuel and food will level off this year, but that could prove wrong. But in the Fed's view, there is not much it could have done to prevent the run-up in prices for working-class Americans over the past year, given the international origins of the inflation.

    For now, the inflation in staples is forcing people to adjust.

    "Everything is going up," said Ren¿ Chavez, 72, of Wheaton, speaking Spanish and sitting in the food court at the Wheaton Mall. "I have a car but now I take the bus, even if it is cold . . . my money now has less value," he said. "I go into a store with $6 and, imagine it, it isn't worth anything."

    "Everything has gone up, eggs, milk, everything is very high, and we don't have a remedy," he said. "We have to eat."

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  56. Larry:
    Did you see the tapes of it ( Huffpost and C&L have it)...it was pretty amazing..I guess 2 people there have Consciences....that is Something....the First Tape with Brian- he was upset- there was something Different in his eye...( Very Un-foxlike)....and then Chris really let them have it....

    This WHole thing the Divisions are about Old Wounds and sadly New Wounds....and it is not just DEMS...it is Repugs too...really sad....it should never ever have come to this...this is a great Moment in History....we should be excited...instead certain forces have torn us apart....

    How we get past these Divisions is up to each of us....If we want to beat McCain in the fall, Richardson is right, we need to start Uniting Now....it is the only way....

    I will never forget that he made his decision at 3am last night..that is when it was released publicly....at 3:01......

    Lot of Restless Sleepless nights...people worried...but atleast we are worrying together.....

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  57. U.S economy is a war casualty

    Barbara Lee

    This month marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the U.S. occupation in Iraq, which has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen and wounded more than 28,000 others. Tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children have been killed, more than a million Iraqis have fled their homes and live as refugees, and hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced.

    Before the vote to enter into this senseless war, I introduced an amendment in October 2002 that would have renewed nuclear inspections and prevented this debacle. But sadly, my amendment did not pass and the nation is now entering the sixth year of an occupation that grinds on with no end in sight. Republicans, most notably Sen. John McCain, plan for the United States to be in Iraq for the next 100 years. What are they thinking?

    We have already spent nearly a half trillion dollars on a country that had not attacked us. And a recent analysis by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and budget expert Linda Bilmes estimates the occupation will cost American taxpayers at least $3 trillion. No question, America's economy has become the latest casualty of the occupation.

    When you consider that 37 million people live in poverty in America and more than 47 million are without health insurance, $12 billion a month for a failed foreign policy is incomprehensible. The reality is the cost of the war is crippling our economy, urgent domestic priorities have gone under-funded, poverty has increased, and the gap between the super wealthy and everybody else has grown at an alarming rate. Under the Bush administration, a disproportionate amount of funding has gone to the Pentagon and to providing tax cuts for the wealthy. Earlier this year, the Bush administration presented Congress with a budget that sharply cuts vital safety-net programs but contained the highest defense spending request since World War II.

    The recession is hitting the most vulnerable especially hard. As co-chair of the Progressive Caucus and co-founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, I recently introduced a resolution (HR1019) detailing the economic impact of the war and calling upon Congress to redeploy our troops and military contractors so we can redirect the billions we waste each month in Iraq and invest it in vital domestic priorities such as health care, education, securing our ports and rebuilding our infrastructure. This would save taxpayers at least $135 billion over the next 18 months.

    Republicans, however, continue to debate whether the economy is in or headed toward recession. President Bush has characterized the recession as a "rough time," dismissing the grave reality of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, the increasing unemployment rate and the tanking economy. But there is nothing to debate for America's families who are struggling daily with the economic consequences of the occupation in Iraq. They know that since the launch of the war, the price of a barrel of oil has nearly quadrupled, topping $100 dollars. Even more alarming, a single parent earning the minimum wage must work at least 10 hours just to earn enough to fill up the gas tank. This is unacceptable and the American people will not stand for it any longer.

    According to the latest AP-Ipsos poll, more than 3 in 5 Americans believe the country is in recession now and has been for some time, while 68 percent of Americans believe that exiting Iraq would help fix the country's economic problems.

    The most important thing we can do to is to end this disastrous occupation and bring our brave U.S. servicemen and servicewomen home. I joined with Reps. Lynn Woolsey, D-Marin, and Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, last month to introduce the Fully-Funded U.S. Military Redeployment and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act, which seeks to change the course of U.S. policy in Iraq and redeploy all U.S. troops and military contractors within one year. The consequences of the continued occupation of Iraq are too great. Funding for the war needs to be redistributed to domestic and international priorities that will actually help our nation to become more secure.

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  58. Lone superpower is on the wane

    RUPERT CORNWELL

    Even now, here in the U.S., if you turn off the radio or television blaring the latest news of financial apocalypse, you can pretend that it's still business as usual.

    Incredibly, those unsolicited loan and credit card offers continue to pop through the mailbox, offering the American dream on the never-never. Do you feel it's time for that oft-postponed home improvement, or that richly deserved holiday you've been putting off? Or are you simply having trouble getting credit? Just call this number and within 15 minutes a qualified officer can approve a loan of $30,000 for you, interest free for the first three months.

    Of course, what sounds to be too good to be true, is. But you used to have to wade through the fine print on the back to discover that. Now you just turn the TV back on.

    To say so out loud would be an offence against American optimism, but the unspoken truth is that the good old days are gone, probably for a very long while. Like its predecessors, this particular financial meltdown has brought fear verging on panic. The difference, however, is that it is destroying not only wealth. It is also destroying illusions.

    The U.S. has long inhabited a world of make-believe -- of a war that demands no sacrifice, of a consumer boom that demands no payment, of a power and prosperity that seemed America's birthright, whatever events in the real world. Now those fantasies are yielding to the truism coined by Herb Stein, a top White House economic adviser in the 1970s. If something can't go on forever, it won't.

    You have to be in your 80s to have a real memory of the 1929 crash and its devastating consequences. Today, however, the specter of the Great Depression is everywhere -- and not just because the housing market bust that provoked the current crisis is the most severe since the Depression.

    As for George W. Bush, he now jostles at the bottom of the league table of American presidents, not only with Richard Nixon, but Herbert Hoover as well.

    In a sense, Bush's misbegotten war in Iraq and today's financial earthquake complement each other. Both are evidence of how the world's lone superpower is losing its dominance. Iraq has shown the limits of American military power. The limits of U.S. economic power are visible in the tumbling dollar (now looked on askance even in countries where it recently served as a second currency) and in the inflation to which the dollar's decline contributes.

    Ultimately, great powers are brought down not by military defeat, but by economic weakness. Take, for example, Tibet. Once Washington might have kicked up a serious economic fuss -- but not when China is the biggest U.S. creditor, and when a major bond market sell order by Beijing could send U.S. monetary policy reeling.

    Paradoxically, if China did want to retaliate in that fashion, the most powerful argument for it not doing so is the Bear Stearns argument, that the ruin of USA Inc. would bring the ruin of the global economy, China included.

    But even if the U.S. is "too big to fail," this wrenching crisis will have huge consequences nonetheless. A backlash against the moguls of Wall Street -- so greedy in good times, so quick to plead for the state's safety net in bad ones n is already starting. The tide of deregulation will be reversed, and government, so often branded the enemy, will again be regarded as a friend. Financial mayhem, in other words, will hasten the leftward shift in America's politics. But here, too, comforting illusions are being stripped away.

    For a while at least, the gripping 2008 election campaign is a sideshow, an exercise in make-believe. While politicians claim credit for economic prosperity, in reality, as everyone knows, they have scant influence on matters. Rarely, however, has the sham been as brutally exposed as now.

    Take the competing Clinton and Obama healthcare plans, costing $120 billion, or $150 billion, depending on the expert you believe.

    But, assuming one of them is elected, where will the money come from?

    Either sum is dwarfed by the $200 billion-plus line of credit the Federal Reserve has already extended to Wall Street, with goodness knows how much more to follow, courtesy ultimately of the U.S. taxpayer.

    On the Republican side, John McCain inhabits a similar fantasyland. In its current circumstances, can the U.S. really continue to spend $12 billion a month on a war that has already cost $600 billion -- when even that sum may pale beside the federal bailout of Wall Street and subprime mortgages? Engagingly, McCain admits that economics is not his strong suit. But even he understands that, just as with those loan offers still arriving on the doorstep, sooner or later the piper must be paid.

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  59. NEW REPORT: McCain Adopts ‘Entire’ Norquist Agenda, Will Double The Bush Tax Cuts

    Everyone knows that John McCain has reversed himself on the Bush tax cuts, which he once said came “at the expense of middle-class Americans.” What’s not yet well known is that McCain has offered his own massive tax cuts, mostly for corporations, that are as costly as Bush’s tax cuts and even more regressive.

    McCain has won the heart of far-right tax activist Grover Norquist, who only three years ago was calling McCain “the nut-job from Arizona” and a “gun-grabbing, tax-increasing Bolshevik.” But here’s what Norquist says about McCain now:

    [John McCain] campaigned on being very good on taxes in this election cycle… that he will continue to make [the Bush tax cuts] permanent, that he will veto any tax increase, period, that he wants to cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, that he wants to have full expensing, that he wants to abolish the AMT …. In addition to being the Americans for Tax Reform’s entire agenda, that is a very pro-growth set of policies he has put forward, and he articulates why they are important.

    The McCain plan may please Norquist, but what does it mean for middle-class families? According to a new analysis released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain’s new proposals would do the following:

    – Double the size of the Bush tax cuts, costing more than $2 trillion in their first decade.

    – Do virtually nothing for the middle class: only 12 percent of the tax cuts will go to the bottom 80 percent of households, while 58 percent will go to the top 1 percent of households.

    – Follow Norquist’s blueprint that’s been called a “stealth approach to tax reform” – and that aims to abandon progressive taxation in favor of a wage tax imposed mainly on low- and middle-income households.

    This deranged old man should finish off the economy by listening to Norquist.

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  60. Hagee, in 'NYT' This Sunday, Says McCain Sought His Endorsement

    By Greg Mitchell

    In an interview that will appear in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, controversial televangelist Rev. John Hagee declares, "It's true that [John] McCain's campaign sought my endorsement."

    McCain has attempted to distance himself from some of Hagee's views, much as Barack Obama is doing in relation to Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But unlike McCain, Obama has not stood on stage with Wright and accepted his accolades this year.

    Interviewed by Deborah Solomon, Hagee refused to discuss his statement that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for a gay rights parade in New Orleans, calling it "so far off-base." He claims, "Our church is not hard against the gay people. Our church teaches what the bible teaches, that it is not a righteous lifestyle. But of course we must love even sinners."

    He also said that charges that he had bashed the Catholic Church ("false cult system," etc.) have been "grossly mischaracterized....I was referring to those Christians who ignore the Gospels."

    Asked what he thinks of Obama, he answers, "He is going to be difficult to beat, because the man is a master of communication. If he were in the ministry, he would make it in the major leagues overnight."

    That "straight talker" is nothing more than a deranged warmongering old liar.

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  61. U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel writes in a new book that the United States needs independent leadership and possibly another political party, while suggesting the Iraq war might be remembered as one of the five biggest blunders in history.

    "In the current impasse, an independent candidate for the presidency, or a bipartisan unity ticket ... could be appealing to Americans," Hagel writes in "America: Our Next Chapter," due in stores Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy.

    The Nebraska Republican, who announced last year he wouldn't seek a third term or the GOP presidential nomination, had been widely mentioned as a running mate on an independent ticket with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg said last month he wouldn't run.

    'Reckless foreign policy'
    Hagel said that despite holding one of the Senate's strongest records of support for President Bush, his standing as a Republican has been called into question because of his opposition to what he deems "a reckless foreign policy ... that is divorced from a strategic context."

    Hagel, who's been a harsh critic of the war since 2003, writes that the invasion of Iraq was "the triumph of the so-called neoconservative ideology, as well as Bush administration arrogance and incompetence."

    The Vietnam veteran said he had hoped the lessons from that war would give the nation's leaders perspective before troops were sent to Iraq.

    "To the astonishment of those of us who lived through the agony of Vietnam, these lessons were ignored in the run-up to the Iraq War," he writes.

    Hagel said Vice President Dick Cheney and others "cherry-picked intelligence" and used fear to intensify "war sloganeering."


    During visits to the Middle East in December 2002, Hagel said, Israel's top security officials asked, "Do you really understand what you are getting yourselves into?"

    Hagel said Bush personally assured him that he would exhaust diplomatic avenues before committing troops to Iraq. The senator said he voted for the war resolution based on those assurances, but regrets the vote because it's now clear that lawmakers were presented with lies and wishful thinking.

    Last year, Hagel was the only member of his party on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support a nonbinding measure critical of Bush's decision to dispatch an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq.

    "There is no strategy. This is a pingpong game with American lives," Hagel said at the time.

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  62. In February, the month before he became the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain raised $11 million, which was slightly less than he had raised in January and reflects the thinness of his financial backing, even as he headed toward a certain nomination.

    Mr. McCain, whose ability to raise money has risen and fallen with his political fortunes, has embarked on a nearly daily schedule of fund-raising since March 4. But, in February, as he racked up one primary win after another, his attention focused more on gaining delegates than dollars. The $11 million he raised that month was less than the $11.7 million raised in January. At the same time, his campaign maintained the same amount of bank debt as before, slightly under $5 million.

    Poor old warmonger. Even his fellow warmongers won't donate to a worthless cause.

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  63. The U.S. military says a roadside bombing has killed two American soldiers and two Iraqi civilians northwest of Baghdad.

    Another party in the Bush white house.

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  64. As of Friday, March 21, 2008, at least 419 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department.

    Didn't Bush claim he had already won that war?

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  65. No less an authority than former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan wrote this week that "the current financial crisis in the U.S. is likely to be judged as the most wrenching" since the end of World War II.

    It's the faltering Bush economy.

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  66. Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows

    ABC's "This Week" — Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.

    CBS' "Face the Nation" — Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Jack Reed, D-R.I.

    NBC's "Meet the Press" — Journalists round table.

    CNN's "Late Edition" — Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Evan Bayh, D-Ind.; Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie; Gov. Janet Napolitano, D-Ariz.; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Laura Tyson, former economic adviser to President Clinton.

    "Fox News Sunday" — Govs. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., and Ed Rendell, D-Pa.; former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers; Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers; Eli Manning, New York Giants quarterback and member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

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  67. Courteney Cox and David Arquette have a challenge for their famous friends: help raise $1 million in two weeks for Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare skin condition that primarily affects children.

    Joining Cox and Arquette in the awareness- and money-raising effort are Jennifer Aniston, Orlando Bloom, Kate Beckinsale, Rashida Jones, James Marsden and Eva Longoria Parker. All will lend their famous faces and financial support to the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, where Cox, Arquette and Aniston serve on the honorary advisory board. (Brad Pitt, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale are also members.)

    "EB is very personal to me so I'm happy to be a part of this $1 million challenge," Cox said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Now is such an important time to put the spotlight on EB and ensure that research can continue at a fast pace."

    Epidermolysis Bullosa is a debilitating genetic disorder that causes the skin to blister and break at the slightest touch. Victims are often covered in burn-like sores that never heal and most don't live beyond age 30.

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  68. Enigma I don't think Bush and his cronies will ever be held accountable for any deplorable thing they have done, or evber will do.

    The money elite runruin the country and they run/ruin the world.

    Bush in one of their chosen few.

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  69. Science, Bible Agree: Giving Is Better

    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID

    AP Science Writer

    AP The Bible counsels misers that it's better to give than to receive. Science agrees. People who made gifts to others or to charities reported they were happier than folks who didn't share, according to a report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

    While previous studies have shown that having more money can increase happiness, the researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University wondered if the way people spent their money made any difference.

    Turns out, it does.

    Lead researcher Elizabeth W. Dunn, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, said she wasn't surprised that doing something for others made people happy.

    But she was struck by how big the effect was and that how people spent money was more important than how much money they had.

    "This work suggests that even making small alterations in how we spend money on a daily basis can make a difference in happiness," Dunn said in a telephone interview.

    "That doesn't mean go get a high paying job so you can spend tons of money on others. The message is, given what you have, how can you make little alterations to do something for others," she said.

    And, she added, "there's nothing special about money," giving can involve time or special skills to help other people.

    The report didn't surprise Sue Citro, senior digital membership manager for the Nature Conservancy:

    "We do hear from our members and our supporters that the do get a real feeling of satisfaction from knowing their giving is doing good," she said.

    Andrea Koslow, director of advertising at the American Red Cross, said: "The act of helping has its own profound effect."

    "People need a humanitarian outlet ... feeling that they make a difference ... that's very motivating," Koslow said.

    The good feeling associated with giving is why workplace charity opportunities can engage employees and lift morale, added Kristine Templin, director of corporate partnerships at the American Red Cross.

    The researchers started by asking a sample of 632 Americans, 55 percent of whom were women, to rate their happiness on a scale of 1 to 5, the higher the number the happier.

    Then they asked the participants to report their annual income and estimate how much they spent on paying bills, buying gifts for themselves, buying gifts for others and giving to charity.

    The first two were considered personal spending and averaged $1,714-a-month, the second two were termed "prosocial" spending and averaged $146-a-month.

    "Personal spending was unrelated to happiness," said the researchers. "But higher prosocial spending was associated with significantly greater happiness," they found.

    Not content with that, they then studied 16 employees of a company in Boston, asking about their happiness one month before and six to eight weeks after each received a profit-sharing bonus from their employer.

    In the second interview they also asked about personal and prosocial spending and once again those who spent more on others were happier.

    "The manner in which they spent that bonus was a more important predictor of their happiness than the amount of the bonus itself," the researchers found.

    Finally, 46 Canadian students were asked to rate their happiness and then each was given a random envelope containing money, ranging from $5 to $20. Some were instructed to spend it on themselves, others were told to buy a gift for someone else.

    At 5 p.m. that day, they were called together again and asked to rate their happiness.

    The amount of money had no impact on happiness, but those assigned to buy something for another person reported greater happiness than those told to get something for themselves, the researchers said.

    A separate study published in 2006 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the same parts of the brain that produce the good feeling when a person receives a reward also respond when they give to someone else.

    Indeed, researchers led by Jordan Grafman at the National Institutes of Health found the reward areas were more active when giving a gift than when receiving one.

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  70. You can't forgive someone until they acknowledge and turn from their errors.

    To do so prematurely is to help perpetuate their sin, and thus condemn them to remaining in it.


    I believe Christ said something along these lines, if I remember correctly.

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  71. Lydia,

    The mass of evil charlatans I refer to as "Jesusistan" are down, but they're far from out, and Chimpy has been inserting them into the civil service at a breakneck pace. They may well wind up as Chimpy's most damaging "legacy" of all.

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  72. Enigma I don't think Bush and his cronies will ever be held accountable for any deplorable thing they have done, or evber will do.

    The money elite run/ruin the country and they run/ruin the world.

    Bush in one of their chosen few.


    People need to make themselves aware of (1.) Chimpy's purchase of 90,000(+) acres in Paraguay, (2.) the proximity of a Moonie ranch to Chimpy's spread, and (3.) the recent activity of Neil Bush in Paraguay. Chimpy is getting the exits ready.

    ReplyDelete
  73. I don't blogwhore as a rule, but I am seeing great stuff in the blogswarm and wish to bring it to your attention.

    Our TomCat of Politics Plus brings us The Fruit of Theocracy. Excellently written, and a nice history piece to boot.

    We offer up Theocracy Is WAR.

    Unscrewing the Inscrutable presents Sex! Sex! Sex!

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  74. You can not trust anyone today. When they first announced this about Obama i said it figures. Then as is standard for this mis-Administration I figured they only said it was done to Hillary and McCain to cover they they were digging for dirt on Obama.
    Then today they said owners of the companies are on Hillary and Obama's campaign. Once again I don't know what to hell to think. They confuse us on purpose. I just hate this crap!

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  75. I want to direct your attention to a fabulous post by Heidi at the Virus Head blog. I'll stick a few lines of it here:

    The drive to “christian” theocracy is a profoundly destructive force. Participation in it leads to the corruption of one’s individual spiritual path by power-mad group-think. Such a will to power and domination can never lead to the fruits of the spirit, but can only undermine and finally destroy one of the most beautiful aspects of our country - the freedom of religion (with its corollary guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom from persecution).

    I believe that such group-think strangles the intellect, encourages hysteria, and promotes cruelty. It creates dynamics that become the very opposite of kindness, humility, ethics, collaboration, and cooperation - the opposite of every virtue and especially the virtues we need to confront the actual problems facing the people of this country.

    There is also the matter of idolatry. Human individuals or groups that insist upon conformity to their own flavor of religious belief attempt to put themselves in the place of God. Beware of any claim that any group or person represents deity or is the voice of God on this earth.

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  76. Four American soldiers were killed near the capital in the past two days, the military said Saturday, and north of Baghdad an American attack helicopter killed six people who the Iraqi police said were pro-American Sunni militia fighters.

    Six people were killed in an American helicopter attack north of Baghdad on Saturday. Details of the episode are in dispute.

    Three soldiers were killed when militants attacked their patrol with a roadside bomb northwest of the capital on Saturday, the military command in Baghdad reported. Two Iraqi civilians also died.

    The fourth American soldier was killed south of the capital on Friday by indirect fire, which normally refers to mortar shells or rockets. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack, according to a military statement, which did not provide any more details.

    How many cold ones did you and Pickles knock down in celebration of this news King Bush?

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  77. The Army's manpower squeeze

    The service is being held together by lowered standards and bonuses.

    But for how much longer?

    Everyone knows the U.S. Army is overstretched by the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The dirty little secret is that nobody knows how much longer it can keep it up before its fighting capability declines. A year? Probably, with lowered recruiting standards and big bonuses. Three years? No one in Washington will answer that question. But recent indicators are making some tough generals queasy.

    First, the good news. The Marine Corps and the Air Force are doing fine. They continue to attract capable young people, and they're managing to retain their top officer talent. And all of the services, including the Army, met or exceeded their recruitment goals for February, no small feat given the near certainty that those who enlist now will soon be sent to Iraq.

    But a closer look shows just how far the Army has had to lower its standards to keep itself in soldiers. The following "metrics" -- data the military collects to assess its strength -- were compiled from open sources by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

    In 2006, the percentage of Army recruits who were high school graduates (82%) was the lowest since 1981, and their scores on the military's aptitude test were the worst since 1985. The number of "moral waivers" issued to those with criminal records more than tripled since 1996, to 8,500 in 2006. Worse, the number of recruits with felony convictions was up 30% in 2006 compared with 2005. And the Army apparently stooped to social promotion: 94% of recruits graduated from basic training in 2006, compared with 82% in 2005.

    Keeping the all-volunteer Army at full strength in wartime hasn't been cheap, either. The cost per troop soared to $120,000 in 2006 from $75,000 in 2001. And to keep reenlistments up, the Army had to pay retention bonuses of $735 million in 2006, up more than eightfold from the $85 million paid in 2003. Even so, officer shortages are a problem, and at the rank of http://http:\\ www.tinyurl.com/369jse "> www.tinyurl.com/369jse , the backbone of the command structure, the Army is at 60% strength in Iraq. Moreover, for the last year it hasn't had the 3,200 troops needed to fill a brigade designated as militarily "required" for Afghanistan.

    Senior officers who remember when the Army did break during the Vietnam War say they're amazed by how brilliantly the volunteer force is performing, despite stop-loss orders and brutal schedules of up to 15 months' deployment and just one year home before another tour. The Army believes that soldiers should deploy no more than one year in three, to keep stress on family life manageable. The fear is that if the stress becomes too much -- as measured by soldiers going AWOL, refusing orders or declining en masse to reenlist -- it will be too late to rescue morale.

    This is relevant now because the presidential candidates are making campaign-trail promises they may not be able to keep. Republican John McCain, judging the risk to U.S. national security of Iraq unraveling to be far greater than that of the Army unraveling, has said he would keep troops in Iraq for 100 years if necessary. But will there be enough volunteers in the sixth year of the Iraq war? If not, would he contemplate the political anathema of a draft? Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton think breaking the Army is riskier than withdrawing from Iraq, and Obama also promises to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan -- a position advocated by this page. But if the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates -- and there are signs that it could -- where would we get the manpower to "surge" there?

    On the campaign trail, it's bad politics to admit that there are limits to U.S. power. But failure to warn voters that the looming military manpower shortage may limit our foreign policy options could well come back to haunt the next commander in chief.

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  78. Jolly Roger those were good articles you linked to on the Blogs of Theocracy.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Check out the new position Joe Lieberman has Applied for.

    How Insane Is John McCain

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  80. Happy Easter All..Larry....Lydia....Mike..Cliff...Suzy....Bartle...jolly...Christopher....Patriot....

    I hope you all have much sun...warmth...good fols round you....and chocolate...and some kind of scrumptious food....

    namaste.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Check out Jolly Rogers Blogs of Theocracy articles.

    Jolly has a unique way of describing our world today.

    Reconstitution

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  82. HAPPY EASTER ENIGMA!

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  83. HAPPY EASTER LYDIA!

    ReplyDelete
  84. The blogswarm has been fantastic this weekend. I'll be several days visiting all of them :)

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  85. Time to update the cover story.

    The guy peeking at everyones files turned out to work for Obama.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Happy Easter Enigma, Lydia, Larry, and everyone! Haven't been around yet just got in from spreading the Love at the Nursing Home!

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  87. Happy Easter everybody

    ReplyDelete
  88. BARTLEBEE said...
    Time to update the cover story.

    The guy peeking at everyones files turned out to work for Obama."

    Lydia needs to let the article stay exactly the way it is.....it doesnt need updating unless she wants to set the Reich Wing spin straight,

    LOL, Bartlebe, you NEED to start watching the news again and stop listening to Reich Wing/Clinton spin and dishonest propaganda.

    The guy who hacked into Obama's passport record DIDNT work for the Obama campaign, the CEO of the company Brennan did.........just like our entire country doesnt deserve to be held responsible for the rogue actions of a few treasonous fanatics the CEO Brennan and the Obama campaign likewise shouldnt be held responsible for the rogue actions of a lowly employee acting on his own.......god knows the Bush administration and their Reich Wing minions use this argument to defend their treasonous actions yet hippocritically try to slime Obama with this lie.

    People exercise free will so a rogue employee acting on his own provides no link to the CEO advising the Obama campaign..........further all these men were caught as they should have been so CLEARLY the system worked and this is NO reflection whatsoever on Obama's judgement or National Security credentials for picking Brennan regardless of what the Reich Wing slime, lies and disinformation machine says.

    Sorry if this sounded harsher than i meant it to but i am just totally fed up with the McCarthy/Nazi like propaganda campaign that is being waged to destroy Obama and is not based on facts at all.

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  89. an average patriot said...
    You can not trust anyone today. When they first announced this about Obama i said it figures. Then as is standard for this mis-Administration I figured they only said it was done to Hillary and McCain to cover they they were digging for dirt on Obama.
    Then today they said owners of the companies are on Hillary and Obama's campaign. Once again I don't know what to hell to think. They confuse us on purpose. I just hate this crap!"


    I think you are absolutely right they are trying to muddy the waters and create confusion to cover their tracks...............clearly they didnt hack into Obama's record to help him.

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  90. And for the record i'm not taking sides or being biased here.............an impartial independent investigation NEEDS to occur and if Hillary's or McCrazy's redords were hacked into as well then we need to know why and the proper actions need to be taken for EVERYONE who had their rights violated..........and i'm not just talking about the candidates when i say this.

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  91. Dont get me wrong, i'm no fan of Brennan's at all he has close connections and ties to the Bush Admin and is with them on many policy issues i strongly disagree with..........but that doesnt me he should be held accountable for what a rogue employee does with virtually no evidence to link him or Obama to what happened.

    This just shows we need regulation of the media, we NEED to bring back the Fairness Doctrine and implement a truth clause that holds them accountable for lying and smearing people with no facts to support their positions........we also need to break up the media empires to promote diversity of opinion rather than allowing the few elite media moguls to use media sorcery to shape and influence public opinion and deceive the weak minded.

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  92. Yea, thats right. The guy worked for a consultant to Obama.

    But I was just saying update the story, as it is relevant, but I understand how you don't want it to cast a shadow over Obama himself, which it probably would with a lot of middle America dunces.

    I personally don't see any particular tie to Obama, or even Brennan for that matter at this point. Its quite possible the guy was just nosy.

    Its also possible there is a ulterior motive here we haven't uncovered, but for now, its just some flunkies snooping around at work because they got bored.

    At least thats how I see it.

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  93. You know I support Obama.

    I was ok with Hilary making it for a while there, but I jumped on the Obama band wagon about a month back. His recent speech just took that and solidified it.

    Because it wasn't a speech. It was just honest, adult dialogue. He talked to us like we were adults, and had brains, and THATS what we need soooooooooooooo badly.

    I want Obama to win this election so bad it hurts.

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  94. Happy Easter.........and for the record your last two posts are so right on that i couldnt agree more Bart..........about 2 months ago i would have supported Hillary and although she wasnt my first pick i would have been ok if she got the nom...........its the Rovian campaign and McCarthy/Nazi like propaganda, fear mongering, lies and smears that have burned a bridge with me ..........i could NEVER support a candidate who resorts to that.

    Until Yesterday i thought Bill Clinton merely diminished his legacy in my eyes and my opinion of him went down but was still positive overall.............but he burned a bridge with me yesterday with his Joe McCarthy like talk implying McCain is somehow a real patriot and really loves his country and Obama doesnt..........i'm sick of that Reich Wing retard talk about "hating your country" or not being patriotic or hating the troops because you dont agrere with the war or surrendering in iraq or not wanting victory what ever the hell that is...............after yesterday i have nothing but contempt for BOTH the Clinton's, i loathe and despise those pathetic divisive corrupt people.

    Your right Obama's speech really touched me as well, he talked to us like adults and i REALLY related to what he said..........i NEVER liked how blacks, women, Christians, Jews, etc......always divisively thought of themselves as superior and talked down to those not part of their group.

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  95. I just made another donation to the Obama campaign yesterday thanks to Bill Clinton.......my 3rd one so far.

    Obama MUST win this election.!!!!

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  96. McCain Reflects on Keating Five Case
    By LARRY MARGASAK,

    AP
    Posted: 2008-03-23 13:52:57
    WASHINGTON (March 23) - Sen. John McCain's ethics entanglement with a wealthy banker ultimately convicted of swindling investors was such a disturbing, formative experience in his political career that he compares the scandal in some ways to the five years he was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

    "I faced in Vietnam, at times, very real threats to life and limb," McCain told The Associated Press. "But while my sense of honor was tested in prison, it was not questioned. During the Keating inquiry, it was, and I regretted that very much."

    In his early days as a freshman senator, McCain was known for accepting contributions from Charles Keating Jr., flying to the banker's home in the Bahamas on company planes and taking up Keating's cause with U.S. financial regulators as they investigated him.

    The Keating Five was the derisive name given McCain and four Democratic senators who were defendants in a congressional ethics investigation of their connections to Keating. McCain is the only one still in the Senate. They were accused of trying to intimidate regulators on behalf of Keating, a real estate developer in Arizona and owner of Lincoln Savings and Loan based in Irvine, Calif.

    Keating and his associates raised $1.3 million combined for the campaigns and political causes of all five. McCain's campaigns received $112,000.

    The investigation ended in early 1991 with a rebuke that McCain "exercised poor judgment in intervening with the regulators." But the Senate ethics committee also determined McCain's actions "were not improper nor attended with gross negligence."

    McCain has claimed the Keating scandal sensitized him even to the appearance of potential conflicts of interest. But in recent weeks, McCain has defended himself anew over another instance in which he intervened with federal regulators on behalf of a prominent campaign contributor - years ago but after the Keating rebuke. Again, McCain denies acting improperly.

    McCain wrote two letters in late 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications. He urged quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh, although he did not ask the FCC commissioners to approve the proposal. At the time, one FCC commissioner's formal nomination was pending before McCain's Senate committee, and the FCC chairman complained that McCain's letters were improper.

    McCain wrote the letters after receiving more than $20,000 in contributions from the company's executives and lobbyists. Chief executive Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson also lent McCain his company's jet at least four times during 1999 for campaign travel.

    In the Keating investigation, the committee said more than one year had passed - a "decent interval" - between the last contributions Keating raised for McCain and the two 1987 meetings he attended with banking regulators. McCain later paid $112,000 - the amount Keating raised for him - to the U.S. Treasury.

    None of the five senators was punished by the Senate. The harshest rebuke went to Alan Cranston, D-Calif., who accepted $1 million in contributions tied to Keating. The ethics committee said Cranston "engaged in an impermissible pattern of conduct in which fundraising and official activities were substantially linked." Cranston died in December 2000.

    The ethics committee said McCain took no further action on Keating's behalf after regulators dropped a bombshell during a meeting with the senators: They intended to recommend a criminal investigation of Keating and his savings and loan.

    "The appearance of wrongdoing, fair or unfair, can be potentially as injurious as actual wrongdoing," McCain told the AP, reflecting on what he said were his lessons from the scandal. "Also, when questions are raised about your integrity or for that matter anything involving your public career, even, for example, a controversial position on the issues, it is best not to hide from the media or public."

    Now famously accessible to reporters as a presidential candidate, McCain conducted a poisonous newspaper interview nearly 20 years ago with his hometown Arizona Republic. Flashing his quick temper, he insulted, cursed and hung up on reporters questioning him about his ties to Keating. He said he now recognizes it was the worst way to respond.

    "Taking all the questions and making your arguments is the only way you can prevent an unfair or injurious public perception becoming fixed," McCain said.

    Former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., a Republican on the ethics panel who investigated McCain, said McCain's political comeback and his personal rehabilitation from his time as a POW were his biggest personal obstacles.

    "What happened in Vietnam and the Keating Five, those two were life altering," Rudman said in an interview. "He would not put a losing campaign in the same box. But not wallowing in self pity and doing something positive, that is absolutely John McCain."

    Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi, the former Senate majority leader, said McCain's political revival after the investigation was no accident.

    "He was so upset at the charges and the impact, he felt an extra need to deal with the kind of things that led to the situation he found himself in," Lott said in an interview. "You can go away disillusioned and angry and just leave, or you can go back to work and try to compensate for it. And that's what John has been about in the years since. He just went back to work. He bent over backwards to be extra careful about ethics."

    Keating went to prison for more than four years after a federal fraud conviction. The conviction was reversed on appeal after he argued that jurors improperly had knowledge of a prior state conviction on related charges. He was to be retried in federal court but instead pleaded guilty to four federal fraud counts. Keating admitted he siphoned nearly $1 million from his S&L's insolvent parent company. He was sentenced to time he already had served.

    After prison, Keating moved to his daughter's home in the wealthy Phoenix enclave of Paradise Valley. In 2006, he quietly began work as a business consultant in Phoenix. A spokesman for Keating, reached at his office, said Keating did not want to discuss the banking scandal or McCain's presidential campaign.

    Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan sold worthless, high-risk junk bonds. Many of the 23,000 investors were elderly customers who didn't realize their investments were not federally insured. Many were left destitute while Keating maintained a lavish lifestyle. Keating also participated in the risky investments that led to the collapse of S&L's across the country.

    The U.S. government seized Lincoln in 1989, sticking taxpayers with a bailout cost of $2.8 billion. Many other thrifts collapsed, with taxpayers footing nearly $124 billion of the $152.9 billion bailout cost, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

    Depositors and politicians searched for culprits and turned up the five senators.

    Keating sought a quid pro quo from the five. He wanted government regulators, who were investigating Lincoln, off his back. And he demanded reversal of a new rule limiting an S&L's direct investment in risky ventures to 10 percent of assets.

    The banker's attitude was summed up the day a reporter asked whether his political donations to the senators encouraged their intervention.

    "I want to say in the most forceful way I can, I certainly hope so," Keating replied.

    But McCain had an additional image problem beyond the intervention and his acceptance of Keating's cash. The two former Navy pilots had become good friends, until the day Keating decided McCain wasn't doing enough for him and called the Arizona senator a wimp. Keating had flown McCain and his family on several occasions to his home in the Bahamas and other locations.

    When his company tried to take tax deductions for the trips, the IRS raised questions. McCain, who said he mistakenly thought his wife had reimbursed the cost, paid back more than $13,000 - years after the trips and after the senator knew of Keating's problems with the government.

    McCain, in his book "Worth the Fighting For," lamented that the senators "were now a two-word shorthand for the entire savings and loan debacle and the rotten way American political campaigns are financed."

    He also wrote: "My popularity in Arizona was in free fall.

    I expected a rough, and quite possibly unsuccessful re-election campaign in 1992. To the extent I was known nationally anymore, it was as one of the crooked senators who had bankrupted the thrift industry."

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  97. You just cant trust McCrazy..........he said he learned his lesson from the Keating scandal ans would NEVER do ANYTHING remotely similar then the Paxon Communications scandal comes to light and McCrazy lied about that and lied about learning his lesson from the Keating scandal.

    One more thing in light of the bank and wall street firm crisis and tax payer funded bailouts.......after to Keating 5 scandal people should REALLY think twice about a liar who sides with the bankers and wall street elites over the workingclass.

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  98. Four U.S. soldiers were killed by a bomb blast in southern Baghdad late Sunday, raising the death toll for American forces since start of the war to 4,000, according to the Pentagon.

    There will be a Bush family week long celebration at the White House over this news.

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  99. How Lethally Stupid Can One Country Be?

    Happy Anniversary, America!

    By DAVID MICHAEL GREEN

    Watching George W. Bush in operation these last couple of weeks is like having an out-of-body experience. On acid. During a nightmare. In a different galaxy.

    As he presides over the latest disaster of his administration (No, it's not a terrorist attack ­ that was 2001! No, it's not a catastrophic war ­ that was 2003! No, it's not a drowning city ­ that was 2005! This one is an economic meltdown, ladies and gentlemen!) bringing to it the same blithe disengagement with which he's attended the previous ones, you cannot but stop and gaze in stark comedic awe, realizing that the most powerful polity that ever existed on the planet twice picked this imbecilic buffoon as its leader, from among 300 million other choices. Seeing him clown with the Washington press corps yet once again ­ and seeing them fawn over him, laugh in all the right places, and give him a standing ovation, also yet once again ­ is the equivalent of having all your logic circuits blown simultaneously. Truly, the universe has a twisted and deeply ironic sense of humor. Monty Python is about as funny ­ and as stiff ­ as Dick Nixon, by comparison.

    It's simply incomprehensible. It's not so astonishing, of course, that a country could have a bad leader whose aims are nefarious on the occasions when they are competent enough to rise to that level of intentionality. Plenty of countries have managed that feat, especially when ­ as was the case with Bush ­ every sort of scam is employed to steal power, and then pure corruption and intimidation used to keep it. History is quite littered indeed with bimbos and petty criminals of this caliber. What is harder to explain is how a country of such remarkable achievements in other domains, and with the capacity to choose, and in the twenty-first century no less, allows this to happen. And then stands by silently watching for eight years as the tragedy unfolds before their eyes, all 600 million of them, hardly any of them even blinking.

    And so, remarkably, as we mark now the fifth anniversary of the very most tragic of these debacles, the most destructive and the most shameful ­ because it was the most avoidable ­ the sad question of the hour is less what is to be done about it than will anyone even notice? Not likely. And not for very long if they do. And, most of all, definitely not enough so as to take meaningful action to bring it to an end, even at this absurdly late date.

    But let's give credit where credit is due. This is precisely by design. This is exactly the outcome intended by the greatest propaganda-promulgating regime since Hermann Göring set fire to the Reichstag. It was Göring himself who famously reminded us that, "Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

    Sure worked in Germany. And it worked even better here, because these guys were so absolutely careful to avoid exposing the costs of their war to those who could demand its end. For example, by some counts, there are more mercenaries fighting in Iraq, at extremely high cost, than there are US military personnel. There's only one reason for that. If the administration implemented the draft that is actually necessary to supply this war with adequate personnel, the public would end both the war and the careers of its sponsors, post haste. For the same reason, this is the first American war ever which has not only not been accompanied by a tax increase, but has in fact witnessed a tax cut. Likewise ­ to 'preserve the dignity' of the dead, of course ­ you are no longer permitted to see photographs of flag-draped caskets returning to Dover Air Force Base. And the press are embedded with forces who are also responsible for their safety, which is just a fancy way of saying that they're so censored they make Pravda look good. It is, in short, quite easy for average Americans to get through their day, every day, without the war impacting their lives in any visible respect, and that is precisely what hundreds of millions of us are doing, week in and week out. All of this is courtesy of an administration that couldn't run a governmental program to save its own life ­ but, boy, they sure as hell know how to market stuff.

    So perhaps there is no excuse, after all, for my naiveté, for my credulousness in wanting to believe that twenty-first century America might be different enough not to follow the smallest of men ­ a personal failure and a 40-year drunkard who, unlike Herr Göring's führer, couldn't even claim charismatic eloquence as the sole virtue accounting for his power ­ to follow such a petulant child off the deep end of a completely unjustified war. Perhaps Americans and American democracy are no wiser or better than any other people or political system, even today, even after the worst century of warfare in human history, even after the mirror-image experience of Vietnam. Maybe the experience of Iraq hasn't even changed them, and they'll once again follow like lemmings when led to war by pathetic creatures such as George W. Bush, fifty years from now. Or five years from now. Or even five months from now, as the creature d.b.a Dick Cheney tees up a confrontation with Iran in order keep Democrats out of the White House, and himself out of jail.

    Sure, presidents and prime ministers, no less than kings and führers, will lie their countries into war. Sure, they're very good at it, and getting better all the time. Definitely a frightened people are more prone to stupidity than those lucky enough to contemplate in the luxury of quiet safety. Without question, it helps an awful lot ­ if you're just Joe Sixpack, out there trying to figure out international politics in-between a long day's work, helping the kids with their algebra homework, and the Yankee game ­ to have a checking-and-balancing Congress, a responsible opposition party, and/or a critical media helping you to understand the issues accurately, rather than gleefully capitulating to executive power at every opportunity. But that by no means excuses a public who were fundamentally far more lazy than they were ignorant or confused. And lazy is one thing when you're talking about a highway bill or even national healthcare. But when it comes to war, lazy is murder.

    I don't think it took a giant leap of logic to understand that this war was bogus from the beginning, even based on what was known at the time. The war was sold on three basic arguments, each of which could have been easily dismantled even then with a little thoughtful consideration.

    The first was WMD, of course. So, okay, perhaps your average American didn't know that the United States government (including many in the current administration) had actually once supplied Saddam Hussein the materiel to make these evil weapons, and had covered for him at the UN and elsewhere when he used them. Although this historical myopia is very much part of the problem, of course. Americans are so ready to denounce supposed enemies without doing the slightest bit of historical homework to become acquainted with the slightest bit of history to make sense of the situation. If you don't know that the US actually canceled elections and helped assassinate a 'democratic' president in Vietnam, of course you're going to support war there. If you don't know that the US toppled a democratically elected Iranian government to steal the country's oil and then installed a brutal dictatorship in its place, of course you're going to be angry at US diplomats being held hostage. And if you don't bother to learn the true history of Iraq, perhaps you'll find the WMD argument quite persuasive.

    But, in fact, even without the historical background information, it never made a damn bit of sense. Iraq had been pulverized by war and sanctions for over twenty years prior to 2003. Two-thirds of its airspace was controlled by foreign militaries. Its northern region was effectively autonomous, a separate country in all but name. It was in no position to attack anyone. Moreover, it hadn't attacked anyone ­ not the United States or anyone else. Indeed, it hadn't even threatened to attack anyone. Shouldn't that be part of the calculation in determining whether to go to war? Do we really want to give carte blanche to any dry (we hope) drunkard in the White House who today wants to bomb Norway ("They're stealing our fish!"), or tomorrow wants to invade Burkina Faso ("They dress funny!")?

    Too often, of course, the historical answer to that question has unfortunately been yes, we apparently do want to do that. But let's consider the massive warning signs in this case, even apart from what could be known about the administration's lies at the time. Shouldn't it have been enormously problematic that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? Even the administration never had the gall to make that claim. Wasn't it transparent to anyone that America had plenty on its plate already in dealing with the enemy we were told we had, rather than adding a new adventure to the pile? And why wasn't this thing selling throughout the world, or even amongst the traitorous half of the Democratic Party in Congress? Remember how everyone at home and abroad ­ yes, including the French ­ supported the US and its military actions in Afghanistan only twelve months before? Shouldn't it have been a warning sign of epic proportions that these same folks wouldn't countenance a war in Iraq just a year later? That the administration had to yank its Security Council resolution off the table, even after breaking both the arms of every member-state around the horseshoe table, because it could still only get Britain and two other patsies to lie down for this outrage, out of a total of fifteen, and nine needed to pass?

    And how about the logic of that whole WMD thing, after all? Did anyone ever stop to think that several dozen other countries have WMD, including some that are pretty hostile to the United States? Did anyone not remember that the Soviets once had nearly 25,000 strategic nuclear warheads pointed in our direction? What ever happened to the logic of deterrence? To mutually assured destruction? And what about the mad rush to go to war, preempting the UN weapons inspectors from doing their job? Are we really okay with the notion that instead of 'risking' whatever would have been at risk by giving the inspectors another six or eight weeks to finish up, we've instead bought this devastating war down on our own heads for no reason at all? If you stop to think about it, it makes you shudder. Which I guess explains why not too many people stop to think about it.

    The second rationale for war was the bogus linkage between Iraq and al Qaeda. The extent and ramifications of this lie are so significant that the White House, it was just recently revealed, squelched a Pentagon report showing no connections between the two. Is this sort of censorship what the Bush administration means by democracy, the remedy it's always preaching for the rest of the world but never practicing at home? Anyhow, remember how definitive Cheney and the rest were of this supposed al Qaeda linkage, based pretty much entirely on a meeting between two operatives in Prague which likely didn't even take place? Now we find out that the Department of Defense has spent the last five years combing through a mere 600,000 documents, and found zero evidence of such a link. Not some evidence. Not mixed evidence. Zero evidence.

    But you could tell even then that they had almost nothing to go on. Christ, the United States government itself has had far more interactions with al Qaeda ­ including helping to build the beast from its inception ­ than one disputed meeting between two spooks in Prague. Doesn't it seem that a decision to go to war should hang on more than a single thread like that, let alone a narrow and tattered one? And how many of us are down for attacking any country right now that might have had a single meeting between a low-level functionary and an al Qaeda representative?

    Then, once again, there's the matter of that whole pesky logic thing. Pay attention now, class. What do we know about al Qaeda? They are devoted to religious war ­ jihad ­ in the name of replacing governments across the Middle East with theocracies, or better yet recreating the old Islamic caliphate stretching across the region, right? Right. Now if this vision could have more thoroughly contradicted Saddam's agenda for a secular dictatorship seeking regional domination on his own Stalinist terms, it is hard to imagine how. You don't need a PhD in international politics to see that these two actors were about as antithetical to each other as the Republican Party is to integrity. Then again, even having one doesn't necessarily mean you have the foggiest clue about what's going on in the world, as Condoleeza Rice clearly demonstrated by brilliantly failing to anticipate that Hamas would win elections she had pushed the Palestinians to hold. For someone serving as secretary of state, this idiocy is the rough equivalent of anyone else being shocked when a dropped bowling ball hurtles to the ground, because they're not yet fully acquainted with the concept of gravity. Evidently, in Texas this is what they call 'credentials'.

    Lastly, Bush's little adventure in Mesopotamia was supposed to bring democracy to the region, remember? Never mind, of course, that there has long already been a fairly thriving Islamic democracy, right next door. Oops! It's called Turkey. And let's not forget Mr. Bush's long-standing devotion to democracy, as he amply demonstrated in the American election of 2000. Or as he has continually manifested by bravely and publically pushing the Chinese to democratize. Just as he has with his pals in Egypt and especially the family friends running Saudi Arabia, the recipient of more American foreign aid than nearly any other country in all the world. And let's not forget the several hundred thousand perished souls from Darfur, whom this great champion of human rights has fought valiantly to keep alive by... by... well, I'm sure he's done a lot behind the scenes. Sure is gonna be hard for them to exercise their precious right to vote from the next world, eh?

    What is clear is that the reasons given to the American public for the war in Iraq were entirely bogus. This much is already on the public record, from the Downing Street Memos and beyond. Even if we can only speculate on why they actually invaded ­ oil, glory, personal insecurity, Israel, clobbering Democrats, Middle Eastern dominance ­ what we know for sure is that the rationale fed to the public was a knowingly fabricated pack of scummy lies. It wasn't about WMD, it wasn't about links to al Qaeda, and it sure wasn't about democracy.

    But even if we can't identify the true motivations within the administration for invading, we can surely begin to see the costs. Probably a million Iraqi civilians are dead. Over four million are displaced and now living as refugees. Together, these equal a staggering one-fifth of the population of the entire country. Meanwhile, the remaining four-fifths are living in squalor, fear and a psychological damage so extensive that it is hard to grasp. America has lost 4,000 soldiers, with perhaps another 30,000 gravely wounded. Hundreds of thousands more will be scarred for life from their experiences in the hell of Mr. Bush's war. Our military is broken and incapable of responding to a real emergency, at home or abroad. Our economy will sustain a blow of perhaps three trillion dollars before it is all said and done. Our reputation in the world is in the toilet. We have turned the Iranian theocracy into a regional hegemon. And we have massively proliferated our own enemies within the Islamic community. That would be one hell of an expensive war, even if the reasons given for it were legitimate. It is nearly incomprehensible considering that they were not.

    This week, a man died in France, the last surviving veteran of World War I, a devastating conflict that ­ even a century later ­ nobody can still really explain to this day. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, John McCain and Joe "Make-me-SecDef-Mac-oh-please-pick-me-Mac" Lieberman parachuted into Iraq for photo-ops to sustain the war they don't have the integrity or the guts to abandon. Never mind that their visits had to be by surprise, and that they stroll around the Green Zone wearing armored vests ­ surely the most powerful measures of the war's success imaginable. Of course, to be fair, we've only been at it for five years now. Perhaps after the remaining ninety-five on McCain's agenda go by, Americans will finally be safe enough in Iraq to announce their visits in advance.

    So, Happy Anniversary, America! You put these people in charge, and then ­ after seeing in explicit in detail what they were capable of ­ you actually did it again in 2004! You stood by in silence watching the devastation wrought upon an innocent people, produced in your name and financed by your tax dollars. And you continue to do just that again, now in Year Six.

    Brilliant! Put on your party hat, America. You won the prize.

    You've successfully answered the musical question, "How lethally stupid can one country be?"

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  100. Sean Hannity, co-host of FOX News Channels popular nightly program Hannity and Colmes has for years come across as both a racist and blind ideologue. Viewers are often inundated with his incredibly extreme, and narrow minded view on situations ranging from race relations to the United States involvement in Iraq, and his take on things is often times nauseating. For a long time, legitimate media, and right minded individuals have viewed Hannity as nothing more then a blow hard neo-conservative, who championed the use of slanderous journalism. Well it seems as though recent events have provided us with further insight into what makes Sean Hannity tick, this information comes in the revelation of Hannity's long time friendship with neo-Nazi mainstay Hal Turner. Hal Turner, Hannity's close confidant, has acknowledged that indeed he has known Hannity quite well, and for many years. This comes on the heels of Hannity's initial claims that he didn't know Hal Turner, the Nazi/White Supremacist.

    On Wednesday, March 19, Malik Zulu Shabazz (a racist in his own right) of the New Black Panther Party appeared as a guest on Hannity & Colmes to discuss the Obama / Reverend Wright controversy. During that appearance, Sean Hannity asked Shabazz if Barak Obama shouldn't be judged by his past affiliations with Reverend Wright, to which Shabazz replied by asking Sean Hannity "Should you be judged by your past association with Hal Turner, a neo-Nazi?" First Hannity denied knowing Turner, then he said he had long ago banned Turner from his show. Then, in a tacit admission, Hannity said something along the lines of, "Well I'm not running for President." Below you can view the Hannity and Colmes segment from March 19th which shows Hannity's denial:

    Hannity's claim that he did not know Hal Turner came as news to a lot of people, including of course, Hal Turner. Who earlier today discussed their close friendship on his blog, Turner writes in great detail about his past with Hannity:

    I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn't know me and then went on to say that I ran some senate campaign in New Jersey. In fact, Sean Hannity does know me and we were quite friendly a number of years ago.

    When Hannity took over Bob Grant's spot on 77 WABC in New York City, I was a well-known, regular and welcome caller to his show. Through those calls, Sean and I got to know each other a bit and at some point, I can't remember exactly when, Sean gave me the secret "Guest call-in number" at WABC so that my calls could always get on the air.

    When I utlized that call-in number, Sean would very often come onto that line during commercial breaks so we could chat before I went on the air. Our off-the-air chats grew to an exchange of other phone numbers, me giving Sean my home and cellular number and Sean giving me his direct dial-in number at Fox News channel.

    In 1993, My wife got pregnant and around a month later, Sean reported that he and his wife were expecting their first child. We got to talking about things expectant dads talk about and the relationship grew.

    My wife gave birth to our son in June 1994, Seans wife gave birth to their child about a month later.
    I wonder how Hannity could have forgotten a friendship of this magnitude, I mean I suppose that if their relationship ended here, one could make an argument claiming that this was irrelevant based on how long ago their interactions took place. The only problem with that is their friendship didn't end here, it actually continued for many years:

    Over the course of the next three or four years, Sean and I spoke regularly off the air about our kids, politics and news of the day. My on-air calls to his show remained regular and welcome.

    Around 1997, Sean invited me and my then-three-year-old-son, to come to Fox News Channel to be in the studio (NOT ON THE AIR) during a live broadcast of "Hannity & Colmes". I accepted the invitation and my son and I went. We were inside the studio standing between the camera men as the show aired live. We got to speak with both Sean Hannity and Allan Colmes before the show. Like most three year olds, my son's willingness to stay quiet didn't last, so I thought it best to take him home rather than have his noise air during their show.

    Sean and I spoke by phone the next day. I thanked him for the chance to be there and he said it was a real pleasure meeting me and my son.

    In the year 2000, I sought the Republican nomination to the US House of Representatives from the 13th Congressional District of New Jersey. Since I was a candidate for federal office and since WABC served the area in which I was running for election, WABC was FORCED by federal law to accept my campaign radio ads, many of which were quite explicit. The station did not want to air the ads but the law left them no choice.
    This is in fact where the unraveling of the Turner/Hannity friendship begun to unravel, and it appears that it was not the decision of Hannity to sever ties, in fact, it was an ultimatum of sorts given to him by his then employers John Mainelli and Phil Boyce:

    At about the same time, WABC changed program directors from John Mainelli to Phil Boyce. It seems to me that Mr. Boyce objected vehemently to my campaign commercials and political beliefs and I suspect he told Sean Hannity that I was not to be welcomed on WABC anymore. Since Boyce had the power to fire Hannity, it appears to me that Hannity did what he was told. From that point on, Sean Hannity never spoke to me again. Not on the air or off.
    It seems as though everything is coming together on this one, and finally there is a rhyme to Hannity's reason, that makes it easier to understand where he gets his often asinine arguments and assumptions. Now, the story does not stop here, oh no, Turner reveals quite a bit into the psyche of Sean Hannity, his beliefs, and their personal friendship:

    I can tell you from my firsthand, personal experience that Sean Hannity does, in fact, agree with many of my political and social views. You can figure that out easy enough on your own! Suffice it to say that my recollection is that when Sean and I spoke by phone, while no one else was listening, he and I exchanged the kinds of views that most White, Irish-Catholic guys hold, but won't speak in public.

    In my opinion, based on my first hand experience, I believe Sean Hannity is, in fact, a Hal Turner sort of guy. It seems to me that a big difference between Sean and me is that I am willing to say publicly what I think about savage Black criminals, diseased, uneducated illegal aliens and the grotesque cultural destruction wrought by satanic jews while Sean and many others keep quiet to protect their paychecks.
    If this doesn't answer any question regarding Sean Hannity I do not know what will. Turner then goes on to threaten anyone who uses their past relationship as means of an attack on Hannity, which has enticed me to email this silly mongrel a copy of this piece once it's completed. That said I think it is important to point out that Hannity seems to be slowly going off the deep end, this is evident in his odd, and somewhat disturbing obessesion with Obama's relationship with Reverend Jerimiah Wright, an obsession that has gotten so bad even Newt Gingrich was chastising him the other night over his relentless focus and slander of Rev Wright.

    Just a typical Republican friendship.

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  101. McCain Pursued Hagee Like a Dog In Heat
    By Bruce Wilson,

    As someone who was over a year ago covering McCain's snuffling after the power that issues from John Hagee & his fundament I feel a special glee that pastor Hagee has opted to reopen the controversy, over his endorsement of McCain, by getting interviewed by a New York Times Magazine reporter concerning Hagee's views on gays, the Catholic Church and other hot-button positions. It's like watching nude mud wrestling, while a mob tries to catch a greased pig, at a monster truck rally.

    The under appreciated Greg Mitchell, of Editor and Publisher Magazine, has just reported on an interview Pastor John Hagee has granted, due to show up this Sunday in the New York Times Magazine, that will confirm the obvious - that John McCain pursued John Hagee's political endorsement like Hagee was a bitch in heat called politicized apocalyptic fundamentalism. As readers would have picked up last year, in February, had they read my Talk To Action post on the McCain-Hagee tie. Mitchell showcased one critical point: Barack Obama didn't call a national press conference to trumpet a political endorsement from his ex-pastor, Reverend Wright. McCain chose to splash Hagee's endorsement across the national media landscape and therein lies all the difference. Vive le difference, and one day our mainstream media may just get up the jeuvos to underline that point.

    Recently, I interviewed George E. Lowe a man who worked with John McCain's father, Admiral John McCain who, Lowe told me, "would be turning over in his grave" at his son's pursuit of political endorsements from men like John Hagee. Lowe says he and Admiral McCain were in a secret navy intelligence "cabal" which fought would-be fascists of the day, both religious and secular, and this does not mean that Admiral McCain was somehow a liberal. Far from it. It's simply that he would have been appalled, Lowe tells me, at his son's courtyard of people like Hagee (whose "thrilling worldview" I've covered at length). John McCain's father was, among other things, a man of this century and would have been sorely disappointed, it seems, at his son's apparent choice to regress, politically and culturally speaking, hundreds of years - back to the Sixteenth Century.

    Now, if the apocalypse were a dog in heat chained up somewhere in Madison Wisconsin, John Hagee would no doubt be able to smell it from clear down in San Antonio. That's his predilection. By the same token, John McCain could smell the odor of power, wafting from John Hagee's perspiring forehead and quivering, powerful wattles as the good pastor whooped and hollered before his Cornerstone flock and called for them to brandish their dollar bills to the heavens, from all the way across the country in Washington DC, even swaddled in an air conditioned Capital Hill office and laid low with a bad head cold.

    McCain's got a nose for power, it's his predilection. John Hagee is flush with the sort of power McCain lustfully sniffs out and Hagee has come by that power the good old fashioned way - he's earned it by building up a huge flock of pseudo-Israelites at Cornerstone (which is organized into 12 subdivisions each named for one of the Tribes of Israel, as if Hagee fancies himself Moses - Joe Lieberman has in fact compared Hagee to Moses), erecting his own broadcast network (no self-respecting word-faith preacher is without one), then building his own personal political machine, CUFI, which in its own fashion could be likened to this decades' answer to the Moral Majority of the 1980's or the Christian Coalition of the 1990's except that CUFI is, as an innovation, quite unique ; it's the first non-lobbying lobby group (CUFI, a nonprofit, merely teaches its members to lobby) organized to foment war and reduce large swaths of the Mideast to vitrified glass in order for the Christian Zionist fundamentalist Christian faithful to be vacuumed up to heaven with God's mighty hoover which has an "on" switch called The Apocalypse (sometimes the Tribulation too) and an "off" switch called "Mideast peace".

    Hagee, is a man of many appetites - known to be an artful showboat of a fundamentalist word-faither with a firm lust for publicity, power and, not the least, money. And food. Anecdotal reports from one San Antonio resident, who reported watching the spectacle of Hagee and his family, who all tend towards the stout end of the spectrum except for Hagee's wife who, it seems, is watching her figure or simply possesses a faster metabolism, suggest John Hagee and his kin can pack away astonishing (or appalling) amounts of all-you-can-eat buffet.

    Hagee simply has a lust for life but not of the Iggy Pop style. Rather, Hagee's lust for life is in the fashion of Baudelaire and except that Baudelaire did not also lust for ICBM's to rain down fiery death upon much of the Earth's surface area, and especially upon gays and Catholics, liberals and liberal Jews, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, and more or less anybody else who doesn't conform to the jolly pastor's ideological stricture. Watching Hagee try and make nice with, of all things, a New York newspaper is truly, hideously delightful.

    Gregg Mitchell's laconic cover of the impending New York Times Magazine interview masterfully captures the utter absurdity of Hagee trying to wiggle through the eye of the needle that leads to the mainstream respectability which the rotund pastor so obviously craves.

    But Hagee, as a camel, would not be at all slender let alone slim and the farce of his attempt to jamb his magnificent bulk through the framework of decades of what in many countries (but not so much in the US) would be considered "hate speech" is both awesome and ridiculous to behold. Like a sumo wrestler, in loincloth, at an anorexic debuttant ball, or a fish on a bicycle, Hagee is cringefully out of his element among the world of the cooked. Hagee is raw and probably should make his peace with that.

    It is an entertaining thing, as Mitchell puts it:

    "unlike McCain, Obama has not stood on stage with Wright and accepted his accolades this year.

    Interviewed by Deborah Solomon, Hagee refused to discuss his statement that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for a gay rights parade in New Orleans, calling it "so far off-base." He claims, "Our church is not hard against the gay people...

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  102. Almost four months before New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in a sex scandal, a lawyer for Republican political operative Roger Stone sent a letter to the FBI alleging that Spitzer “used the services of high-priced call girls” while in Florida.
    The letter, dated Nov. 19, said Miami Beach resident Stone learned the information from “a social contact in an adult-themed club.” It offered one potentially identifying detail: The man in question hadn’t taken off his calf-length black socks “during the sex act.”

    “…The governor has paid literally tens of thousands of dollars for these services. It is Mr. Stone’s understanding that the governor paid not with credit cards or cash but through some pre-arranged transfer,” the letter said.

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  103. Could the Bush Recession Turn Into the Bush Depression?

    By Howie Klein, Down With Tyranny!

    I don't know anyone who thinks we're not in a recession and I don't know anyone who says we're on the brink of a Depression. Most people have no reason to think we won't have a Depression; they just think "it can't happen here" or "now" or "to me." It shouldn't either. Nor should have George Bush. The most unlikely of morons to assume the presidency he's done everything that anyone could do to bring on a financial calamity. This morning's Paul Krugman column, Partying Like It's 1929, gets right to the point: right wing ideology is toxic. The "banking crisis of the 1930s showed that unregulated, unsupervised financial markets can all too easily suffer catastrophic failure." Krugman claims the hard-learned lessons were "forgotten" as the decades passed. I'm less generous.

    To the laissez fairies of the extreme right Krugman's carefully regulated and supervised financial markets are communism. Anything that impedes absolute greed and selfishness in pursuit of the general good is treason. And along came Bush and his merry band of agenda-driven Mayberry Machiavellis.

    Krugman is so logical and generous in his understanding of how markets work. I don't think he used the words "greed" or "selfishness" once in his column-- or even implied the base instincts behind them. But that is what has driven us to the brink of disaster-- and he knows it. He explains what made a garden variety recession of 1929 into the Great Depression of the 1930s and how society-- or at least the New Deal (imagine only 17 Republicans in the 1937 Senate)-- dealt with it. "And we all lived happily for a while-- but not for ever after."

    Wall Street chafed at regulations that limited risk, but also limited potential profits. And little by little it wriggled free-- partly by persuading politicians to relax the rules, but mainly by creating a "shadow banking system" that relied on complex financial arrangements to bypass regulations designed to ensure that banking was safe.

    For example, in the old system, savers had federally insured deposits in tightly regulated savings banks, and banks used that money to make home loans. Over time, however, this was partly replaced by a system in which savers put their money in funds that bought asset-backed commercial paper from special investment vehicles that bought collateralized debt obligations created from securitized mortgages-- with nary a regulator in sight.

    As the years went by, the shadow banking system took over more and more of the banking business, because the unregulated players in this system seemed to offer better deals than conventional banks. Meanwhile, those who worried about the fact that this brave new world of finance lacked a safety net were dismissed as hopelessly old-fashioned.

    In fact, however, we were partying like it was 1929-- and now it's 1930.
    The financial crisis currently under way is basically an updated version of the wave of bank runs that swept the nation three generations ago. People aren't pulling cash out of banks to put it in their mattresses-- but they're doing the modern equivalent, pulling their money out of the shadow banking system and putting it into Treasury bills. And the result, now as then, is a vicious circle of financial contraction.
    Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues at the Fed are doing all they can to end that vicious circle. We can only hope that they succeed. Otherwise, the next few years will be very unpleasant-- not another Great Depression, hopefully, but surely the worst slump we've seen in decades.

    Even if Mr. Bernanke pulls it off, however, this is no way to run an economy. It's time to relearn the lessons of the 1930s, and get the financial system back under control.

    Problem is there's another lesson Americans haven't learned-- or have forgotten. Calvin Coolidge is about to finish his second term, the worst presidency ever. And too many Americans seem more than willing to vote for Herbert Hoover.

    Interestingly, this morning's Washington Post reports on the long overdue re-evaluation of the over-hyped Alan Greenspan, a kind of financial markets J. Edgar Hoover. "Perhaps," Steven Mufson's article begins, "the Maestro composed some discordant notes after all." Not that he gave two craps about the non-rich, but the Post also reports on how his policies are-- predictably-- hurting the poor and middle class hardest. "Inflation is walloping Americans with low and moderate incomes as the prices of staples have soared far faster than those of luxuries. Overall, inflation may only been up by 4% from last year, but for staples like groceries, gasoline, health care and other basics it's approaching 10%. That's real inflation that hurts people who live on budgets.

    The record of longtime Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan -- worshipped by business leaders and dubbed "Maestro" in a 2000 biography by the Post's Bob Woodward-- is getting a critical look as his successor Ben S. Bernanke wrestles with problems that began on the Maestro's watch.
    Many economists blame Greenspan for lax bank supervision and for keeping interest rates too low, too long from mid-2003 to mid-2004. That, the theory goes, fueled the housing bubble and spawned subprime and adjustable-rate mortgages for low-income people, vast numbers of whom can't make their payments now. Banks bought those mortgages in bundles that are worth far less than they originally were. That has led to big write-offs, shaking the entire financial system.

    And I don't think continuing Bush's economic policies-- as McCain has already been doing-- is going to help do anything to solve any of the problems... at least not for America. McCain and Bush seem to think exporting American jobs abroad is sound policy. They're incorrect-- although the French might disagree with me:

    UPDATE: OLD LINE GREED & SELFISHNESS REACTIONARIES ARE TURNING ON BUSH BIG TIME

    Steve Forbes is fuming at the ineptness of the Bush Regime's response to what he calls a financial panic. "Not since Jimmy Carter has the U.S. had a President so oblivious to the damage done by an increasingly feeble greenback."

    The Bush administration must take two steps immediately to quickly halt the unending, enervating credit crisis: shore up the anemic dollar and, for the time being, suspend "marking to market" those new financial instruments, such as packages of subprime mortgages.
    The weak dollar is pummeling equities, disrupting the economy, distorting global trade and giving hundreds of billions of dollars in windfall revenues--through skyrocketing commodity prices-- to our adversaries such as Iran and Venezuela.

    ...The Federal Reserve can rally the markets for a day or two by finding some new mechanism through which to lend more money to banks and other financial institutions. But this is the proverbial Band-Aid for a patient who is beginning to hemorrhage.

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  104. The Republican Right's Moonie Problem

    By David Neiwert,

    A number of folks -- notably Ezra Klein and Glenn Greenwald -- have already pointed out quite adroitly that while the media have had little compunction about whipping up a phony controversy about Barack Obama's "pastor problem", there's almost nothing that white evangelical pastors can say that might bring down similar approbation. John McCain's "spiritual advisers" Rod Parsley and John Hagee really are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this.

    As Glenn puts it:

    The phrases "anti-American" and "America-haters" are among the most barren and manipulative in our entire political lexicon, but whatever they happen to mean on any given day, they easily encompass people who believe that the U.S. deserved the 9/11 attacks, devastating hurricanes and the like. Yet when are people like Falwell, Robertson, Hagee, Inhofe and other white Christian radicals ever described as anti-American or America-hating extremists? Never -- because white Christian evangelicals who tie themselves to the political Right are intrinsically patriotic.
    But the Republican right's biggest problem with having "America haters" as leading exponents of movement conservatism is someone who not only has claimed to be a spiritual mentor but is also a major financier of Republican causes: the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

    As John Gorenfeld explains in delightful and excruciating detail in his new book Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right and Built an American Kingdom [which we'll be discussing in greater detail tomorrow for the FDL Book Salon], Moon has a long history of saying ugly things about the United States and about Americans.

    And yet simultaneously, the largesse he spreads about the conservative movement has won him all kinds of friends, influence, and defenders, if not followers. Certainly, there is no one in the mainstream media who bothers to mention this, let alone play endless tape loops.

    Here are some of the things Moon has said over the years, as Gorenfeld has detailed:

    The whole world is in my hand, and I will conquer and subjugate the world. I will go beyond the boundary of the U.S., opening up the toll gate, reaching out to the end of the world. I will go forward, piercing through everything ...

    When we are in our battle against the whole nation of the U.S. -- if you are truly in love with this nation, and if you love this nation more than anyone else, this nation will come into God's possession, and Satan will have nothing to do with it. ... With that as the bullet, we can smash the whole world.
    Individualism is what God hates most, and Satan likes best.
    God likes the idea of a monarchy, because it removes the cycles of election after election which can obscure the focus and direction of the nation.
    The whole world is in my hand, and I will conquer and subjugate the whole world.

    The time will come when, without my seeking it, that my words must serve as law.
    We will be able to amend laws, articles of constitution, if we wish to do so.

    Telling a lie becomes a sin if you tell it to take advantage of a person, but if you tell a lie to do a good thing ... that is not a sin ... Even God tells lies very often.

    I have met many famous, so-called famous, Senators and Congressmen; but to my eyes they are nothing. They are weak and helpless. We will win the battle. This is our dream, our project. But shut your mouth tight.
    After the demise of communism and the destruction of democracy, all that will remain will be the True Family and True Children system, centered upon True Parents [Moon's title for himself and his wife]. That is what is happening now.
    America may boast of its virtues to the world, but look, democracy is now reaching the end of its rope. People thought democracy is the final anchor of the free world, but it is reaching its end. So what is left? America has been telling the weaker nations that they have to accept democracy, forcing them to receive so-called democracy. But look at America. It is rotten, top to bottom. There is nothing to be proud of, not their way of walking or talking or thinking.
    When you hear me putting America down, your ears are not pleased. But if we continue living in this hub of the satanic world, this New York-DC area, we are in the darkness.
    When Clinton and his policies come into being, the first opposition must come from Christianity. But Christianity has lost its center and its hope. For that reason, they have lost their power, and that is why Clinton was allowed to win the election. It was the failure of Christianity. This nation which is supposed to be Christian has been turned into almost a model nation for Satan, losing everything precious. People are losing their own identity, losing brotherhood, losing their own parents, and losing God. This nation has really become a playground for Satan.
    Those "patriotic" conservatives have not fled screaming from Moon for saying these kinds of things. They have not denounced him. They have not even discussed them -- nor, for that matter, have the media.

    No, they not only continue to sturdily defend him and his many operations -- most notably the Washington Times Moon's newspaper, which has employed many leading conservative pundits -- they positively embrace him, mostly because of his money. The most significant of these has been his embrace by the Bush family.

    George H.W. Bush has appeared at major Moon-sponsored events and taken large sums of his money. Neil Bush has toured with him and also enjoys his considerable largesse. And President Bush has gone so far as to name a former Unification Church leader -- Josette Sheeran -- as his undersecretary of state for economic, business, and agriculture affairs.

    But have the mainstream media dealt with any of this? Er, no. In fact, when the subject of the Bush clan's ties to Moon have come up, people like the New York Times' David Brooks -- who got his start as a pundit at the Washington Times -- call it a "bizarre assertion" and an instance of the "paranoid style in American politics."

    Obviously, you don't get to watch Moon's "hateful" and "anti-American" remarks being replayed endlessly on CNN and Fox, nor watch every media outlet in the nation obsess over whether Republicans should repudiate him.


    Funny how that works, isn't it?

    Isn't Moon one of Bush's buddies?

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  105. Check out the latest in the saga of the deranged old man John McCain.

    How Insane Is John McCain

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  106. An Election Without Meaning


    By Peter Phillips

    Will November 2008 bring a meaningful change to America? Will getting rid of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney without impeachment or indictment really make a difference? Will a 600 billion dollar war/defense budget be cut in half and used for desperately needed domestic spending? Will the ninety-three billion dollars profits in the private health insurance companies¬¬—those parasitic intermediates between you and your doctor—be used instead for full health care coverage for all? Will Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus be restored to the people? Will torture stop and the US withdraw from Iraq immediately? Will all students in public universities be able to enroll for free? Will the US national security agencies stop mass spying on our personal communications? Will the neo-conservative agenda of total military domination of the world be reversed?

    The answer to these questions in the context of the current billion dollar presidential campaign is an absolute no. Instead we have a campaign of personalities and platitudes. There is a race candidate, a gender candidate and a tortured veteran candidate, each talking about change in America, national security, freedom, and the American way. The candidates are running with support of political parties so deeply embedded with the military industrial complex, the health insurance companies, Wall Street, and corporate media that it is undeterminable where the board rooms separate from the state rooms.

    The 2008 presidential race is a media entertainment spectacle with props, gossip, accusations, and public relations. It is impression management from a candidates’ perspective. How can we fool the most people into believing that we stand for something? It is billions of dollars of gravy for the media folks and continued profit maximunization for the war machine, Wall Street, and insurance companies no matter who is determined the winner in November.

    We must face the fact that the US government’s primary mission is to protect the wealthy and insure capital expansion worldwide. The US military—spending more than the rest of the militaries of the world combined—is the muscle behind this protect-capital-at-all-costs agenda, and will be used against the American people if deemed necessary to support the mission.

    Homeland Security, the North American Command, mass arrest practices with the FALCON raids, new detentions centers, and broadened “terrorism” laws to included interference with business profits are all now in place to insure domestic tranquility through extra judicial means if needed.

    The two party corporate political system is having a HOMELAND presidential campaign—Hillary, Obama, McCain, Election, Lacking, Actual, National, Debate. It is time for real change, but it will only come with a social movement of reform in the tradition of the progressive, labor, civil rights, anti-war movements of the last century. We need to use all of our activist, legal, and political resources to reverse these threats to freedom. Naomi Wolf says it is not too late to prevent totalitarianism, but we have to act fast.

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  107. Oh yes, the Moonies are quite friendly with the monkeys. They even travel and purchase land together.

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  108. The Iraq war has reached another grim milestone,

    4000 young American lives wasted by Bush and Cheney based on their lies for greed,

    4000 people who will never come home to fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, children, brothers and sisters; just because Bush and Cheney can't admit they LIED and screwed up;

    As Neil Young asks in the song Ohio,

    "How many more?"

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  109. FIVE WRONG YEARS

    Hey, I just posted a summation of McCain's corruption.

    We have to ignore the bad news media and put out focus on winning this election.

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  110. Happy Anniversary, America!
    How Lethally Stupid Can One Country Be?

    By David Michael Green

    Watching George W. Bush in operation these last couple of weeks is like having an out-of-body experience. On acid. During a nightmare. In a different galaxy.

    As he presides over the latest disaster of his administration, (No, it’s not a terrorist attack - that was 2001! No, it’s not a catastrophic war - that was 2003! No, it’s not a drowning city - that was 2005! This one is an economic meltdown, ladies and gentlemen!) bringing to it the same blithe disengagement with which he’s attended the previous ones, you cannot but stop and gaze in stark, comedic awe, realizing that the most powerful polity that ever existed on the planet twice picked this imbecilic buffoon as its leader, from among 300 million other choices. Seeing him clown with the Washington press corps yet once again - and seeing them fawn over him, laugh in all the right places, and give him a standing ovation, also yet once again - is the equivalent of having all your logic circuits blown simultaneously. Truly, the universe has a twisted and deeply ironic sense of humor. Monty Python is about as funny - and as stiff - as Dick Nixon, by comparison.

    It’s simply incomprehensible. It’s not so astonishing, of course, that a country could have a bad leader whose aims are nefarious on the occasions when they are competent enough to rise to that level of intentionality. Plenty of countries have managed that feat, especially when - as was the case with Bush - every sort of scam is employed to steal power, and then pure corruption and intimidation used to keep it. History is quite littered indeed with bimbos and petty criminals of this caliber. What is harder to explain is how a country of such remarkable achievements in other domains, and with the capacity to choose, and in the twenty-first century no less, allows this to happen. And then stands by silently watching for eight years as the tragedy unfolds before their eyes, all 600 million of them, hardly any of them even blinking.

    And so, remarkably, as we mark now the fifth anniversary of the very most tragic of these debacles, the most destructive and the most shameful - because it was the most avoidable - the sad question of the hour is less what is to be done about it than will anyone even notice? Not likely. And not for very long if they do. And, most of all, definitely not enough so as to take meaningful action to bring it to an end, even at this absurdly late date.

    But let’s give credit where credit is due. This is precisely by design. This is exactly the outcome intended by the greatest propaganda-promulgating regime since Hermann Göring set fire to the Reichstag. It was Göring himself who famously reminded us that, “Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. …Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    Sure worked in Germany. And it worked even better here, because these guys were so absolutely careful to avoid exposing the costs of their war to those who could demand its end. For example, by some counts, there are more mercenaries fighting in Iraq, at extremely high cost, than there are US military personnel. There’s only one reason for that. If the administration implemented the draft that is actually necessary to supply this war with adequate personnel, the public would end both the war and the careers of its sponsors, post haste. For the same reason, this is the first American war ever which has not only not been accompanied by a tax increase, but has in fact witnessed a tax cut. Likewise - to ‘preserve the dignity’ of the dead, of course - you are no longer permitted to see photographs of flag-draped caskets returning to Dover Air Force Base. And the press are embedded with forces who are also responsible for their safety, which is just a fancy way of saying that they’re so censored they make Pravda look good. It is, in short, quite easy for average Americans to get through their day, every day, without the war impacting their lives in any visible respect, and that is precisely what hundreds of millions of us are doing, week in and week out. All of this is courtesy of an administration that couldn’t run a governmental program to save its own life - but, boy, they sure as hell know how to market stuff.

    So perhaps there is no excuse, after all, for my naïveté, for my credulousness in wanting to believe that twenty-first century America might be different enough not to follow the smallest of men - a personal failure and a 40-year drunkard who, unlike Herr Göring’s führer, couldn’t even claim charismatic eloquence as the sole virtue accounting for his power - to follow such a petulant child off the deep end of a completely unjustified war. Perhaps Americans and American democracy are no wiser or better than any other people or political system, even today, even after the worst century of warfare in human history, even after the mirror-image experience of Vietnam. Maybe the experience of Iraq hasn’t even changed them, and they’ll once again follow like lemmings when led to war by pathetic creatures such as George W. Bush, fifty years from now. Or five years from now. Or even five months from now, as the creature d.b.a Dick Cheney tees up a confrontation with Iran in order keep Democrats out of the White House, and himself out of jail.

    Sure, presidents and prime ministers, no less than kings and führers, will lie their countries into war. Sure, they’re very good at it, and getting better all the time. Definitely a frightened people are more prone to stupidity than those lucky enough to contemplate in the luxury of quiet safety. Without question, it helps an awful lot - if you’re just Joe Sixpack, out there trying to figure out international politics in-between a long day’s work, helping the kids with their algebra homework, and the Yankee game - to have a checking-and-balancing Congress, a responsible opposition party, and/or a critical media helping you to understand the issues accurately, rather than gleefully capitulating to executive power at every opportunity. But that by no means excuses a public who were fundamentally far more lazy than they were ignorant or confused. And lazy is one thing when you’re talking about a highway bill or even national healthcare. But when it comes to war, lazy is murder.

    I don’t think it took a giant leap of logic to understand that this war was bogus from the beginning, even based on what was known at the time. The war was sold on three basic arguments, each of which could have been easily dismantled even then with a little thoughtful consideration.

    The first was WMD, of course. So, okay, perhaps your average American didn’t know that the United States government (including many in the current administration) had actually once supplied Saddam Hussein the material to make these evil weapons, and had covered for him at the UN and elsewhere when he used them. Although this historical myopia is very much part of the problem, of course. Americans are so ready to denounce supposed enemies without doing the slightest bit of historical homework to become acquainted with the slightest bit of history to make sense of the situation. If you don’t know that the US actually canceled elections and helped assassinate a ‘democratic’ president in Vietnam, of course you’re going to support war there. If you don’t know that the US toppled a democratically elected Iranian government to steal the country’s oil and then installed a brutal dictatorship in its place, of course you’re going to be angry at US diplomats being held hostage. And if you don’t bother to learn the true history of Iraq, perhaps you’ll find the WMD argument quite persuasive.

    But, in fact, even without the historical background information, it never made a damn bit of sense. Iraq had been pulverized by war and sanctions for over twenty years prior to 2003. Two-thirds of its airspace was controlled by foreign militaries. Its northern region was effectively autonomous, a separate country in all but name. It was in no position to attack anyone. Moreover, it hadn’t attacked anyone - not the United States or anyone else. Indeed, it hadn’t even threatened to attack anyone. Shouldn’t that be part of the calculation in determining whether to go to war? Do we really want to give carte blanche to any dry (we hope) drunkard in the White House who today wants to bomb Norway (”They’re stealing our fish!”), or tomorrow wants to invade Burkina Faso (”They dress funny!”)?

    Too often, of course, the historical answer to that question has unfortunately been yes, we apparently do want to do that. But let’s consider the massive warning signs in this case, even apart from what could be known about the administration’s lies at the time. Shouldn’t it have been enormously problematic that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? Even the administration never had the gall to make that claim. Wasn’t it transparent to anyone that America had plenty on its plate already in dealing with the enemy we were told we had, rather than adding a new adventure to the pile? And why wasn’t this thing selling throughout the world, or even amongst the traitorous half of the Democratic Party in Congress? Remember how everyone at home and abroad - yes, including the French - supported the US and its military actions in Afghanistan only twelve months before? Shouldn’t it have been a warning sign of epic proportions that these same folks wouldn’t countenance a war in Iraq just a year later? That the administration had to yank its Security Council resolution off the table, even after breaking both the arms of every member-state around the horseshoe table, because it could still only get Britain and two other patsies to lie down for this outrage, out of a total of fifteen, and nine needed to pass?

    And how about the logic of that whole WMD thing, after all? Did anyone ever stop to think that several dozen other countries have WMD, including some that are pretty hostile to the United States? Did anyone not remember that the Soviets once had nearly 25,000 strategic nuclear warheads pointed in our direction? What ever happened to the logic of deterrence? To mutually assured destruction? And what about the mad rush to go to war, preempting the UN weapons inspectors from doing their job? Are we really okay with the notion that instead of ‘risking’ whatever would have been at risk by giving the inspectors another six or eight weeks to finish up, we’ve instead bought this devastating war down on our own heads for no reason at all? If you stop to think about it, it makes you shudder. Which I guess explains why not too many people stop to think about it.

    The second rationale for war was the bogus linkage between Iraq and al Qaeda. The extent and ramifications of this lie are so significant that the White House, it was just recently revealed, squelched a Pentagon report showing no connections between the two. Is this sort of censorship what the Bush administration means by democracy, the remedy it’s always preaching for the rest of the world but never practicing at home? Anyhow, remember how definitive Cheney and the rest were of this supposed al Qaeda linkage, based pretty much entirely on a meeting between two operatives in Prague which likely didn’t even take place? Now we find out that the Department of Defense has spent the last five years combing through a mere 600,000 documents, and found zero evidence of such a link. Not some evidence. Not mixed evidence. Zero evidence.

    But you could tell even then that they had almost nothing to go on. Christ, the United States government itself has had far more interactions with al Qaeda - including helping to build the beast from its inception - than one disputed meeting between two spooks in Prague. Doesn’t it seem that a decision to go to war should hang on more than a single thread like that, let alone a narrow and tattered one? And how many of us are down for attacking any country right now that might have had a single meeting between a low-level functionary and an al Qaeda representative?

    Then, once again, there’s the matter of that whole pesky logic thing. Pay attention now, class. What do we know about al Qaeda? They are devoted to religious war - jihad - in the name of replacing governments across the Middle East with theocracies, or better yet recreating the old Islamic caliphate stretching across the region, right? Right. Now if this vision could have more thoroughly contradicted Saddam’s agenda for a secular dictatorship seeking regional domination on his own Stalinist terms, it is hard to imagine how. You don’t need a PhD in international politics to see that these two actors were about as antithetical to each other as the Republican Party is to integrity. Then again, even having one doesn’t necessarily mean you have the foggiest clue about what’s going on in the world, as Condoleezza Rice clearly demonstrated by brilliantly failing to anticipate that Hamas would win elections she had pushed the Palestinians to hold. For someone serving as secretary of state, this idiocy is the rough equivalent of anyone else being shocked when a dropped bowling ball hurtles to the ground, because they’re not yet fully acquainted with the concept of gravity. Evidently, in Texas this is what they call ‘credentials’.

    Lastly, Bush’s little adventure in Mesopotamia was supposed to bring democracy to the region, remember? Never mind, of course, that there has long already been a fairly thriving Islamic democracy, right next door. Oops! It’s called Turkey. And let’s not forget Mr. Bush’s long-standing devotion to democracy, as he amply demonstrated in the American election of 2000. Or as he has continually manifested by bravely and publicly pushing the Chinese to democratize. Just as he has with his pals in Egypt and especially the family friends running Saudi Arabia, the recipient of more American foreign aid than nearly any other country in all the world. And let’s not forget the several hundred thousand perished souls from Darfur, whom this great champion of human rights has fought valiantly to keep alive by… by… well, I’m sure he’s done a lot behind the scenes. Sure is gonna be hard for them to exercise their precious right to vote from the next world, eh?

    What is clear is that the reasons given to the American public for the war in Iraq were entirely bogus. This much is already on the public record, from the Downing Street Memos and beyond. Even if we can only speculate on why they actually invaded - oil, glory, personal insecurity, Israel, clobbering Democrats, Middle Eastern dominance - what we know for sure is that the rationale fed to the public was a knowingly fabricated pack of scummy lies. It wasn’t about WMD, it wasn’t about links to al Qaeda, and it sure wasn’t about democracy.

    But even if we can’t identify the true motivations within the administration for invading, we can surely begin to see the costs. Probably a million Iraqi civilians are dead. Over four million are displaced and now living as refugees. Together, these equal a staggering one-fifth of the population of the entire country. Meanwhile, the remaining four-fifths are living in squalor, fear and a psychological damage so extensive that it is hard to grasp. America has lost 4,000 soldiers, with perhaps another 30,000 gravely wounded. Hundreds of thousands more will be scarred for life from their experiences in the hell of Mr. Bush’s war. Our military is broken and incapable of responding to a real emergency, at home or abroad. Our economy will sustain a blow of perhaps three trillion dollars before it is all said and done. Our reputation in the world is in the toilet. We have turned the Iranian theocracy into a regional hegemon. And we have massively proliferated our own enemies within the Islamic community. That would be one hell of an expensive war, even if the reasons given for it were legitimate. It is nearly incomprehensible considering that they were not.

    This week, a man died in France, the last surviving veteran of World War I, a devastating conflict that - even a century later - nobody can still really explain to this day. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, John McCain and Joe “Make-me-SecDef-Mac-oh-please-pick-me-Mac” Lieberman parachuted into Iraq for photo-ops to sustain the war they don’t have the integrity or the guts to abandon. Never mind that their visits had to be by surprise, and that they stroll around the Green Zone wearing armored vests - surely the most powerful measures of the war’s success imaginable. Of course, to be fair, we’ve only been at it for five years now. Perhaps after the remaining ninety-five on McCain’s agenda go by, Americans will finally be safe enough in Iraq to announce their visits in advance.

    So, Happy Anniversary, America! You put these people in charge, and then - after seeing in explicit in detail what they were capable of - you actually did it again in 2004! You stood by in silence watching the devastation wrought upon an innocent people, produced in your name and financed by your tax dollars. And you continue to do just that again, now in Year Six.

    Brilliant! Put on your party hat, America. You won the prize.

    You’ve successfully answered the musical question, “How lethally stupid can one country be?”

    Need we say more?

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  111. Pardon my extended absence, please. I've been ill.

    When will Dems stop helping McConJob?

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  112. TomCat, Glad you're feeling better. I love your blog Politics Plus, and I will FINALLY be able to visit you more often after March 31!

    Love,
    Lyd

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  113. Check out the photo of McCain I just posted. And please read the good news.

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  114. Lydia there ain't very much good news if your a troop stuck in Iraq about now;

    Iraq coming apart at the seams: ‘al-Sadr’s civil disobedience order’

    Kyra Phillips of CNN paints a grim picture of the fracturing situation in Basra and Iraq at this time. The army offensive in Basra may threaten the fragile cease fire against US forces being observed by most of al-Sadr’s fighters. You know what that means. it could be temporary or it could really blow up. Let’s see John McCain take another stroll to the market.

    Video

    via Ilan Goldenberg: Potentially very bad:

    So, the news from Iraq today isn’t good.

    Iraqi forces clashed with Shiite militiamen Tuesday in the southern oil port of Basra and gunmen patrolled several Baghdad neighborhoods as followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered a nationwide civil disobedience campaign to demand an end to the crackdown on their movement.

    Explosions rang out across central Baghdad as rockets or mortars fired from Shiite areas targeted the U.S.-protected Green Zone for the second time this week.

    The violence was part of an escalation in the confrontation between the Shiite-run government and al-Sadr’s followers — a move that threatens the security gains achieved by U.S. and Iraqi forces. At least 22 people were killed in the Basra fighting…
    read on

    Siun has an amazing post on FDL which tells us what five years in Iraq buys.

    It’s all very sad indeed.

    See about the time Bush and Petraeus were LYING and claiming a successful surge, al Sadr enacted a cease fire to use the political process to make gains in the elections he thought would be held.

    But the Hakim forces who control quite a bit of the Shiite territory don't want those elections because they fear an al Sadr victory and the loss of power which comes with that.

    Hence like the neo-cons who back them they are trying dirty tricks to keep democracy from the Iraqi people like the repugnants here use dirty tricks to steal elections.

    At the same time Petreaus was bribing Sunnis NOT to attack Americans by giving them millions of dollars and more guns and ammo,

    The liars on the gutless side were touting a success which is falling apart.

    That success took the Iraqi civilian casualties back to the extreme violent 2006 levels, but with al Sadr's people fighting the Maliki Government which is backed by Iranian backed Hakinm forces, and the Sunni's starting to back out of their agreement with Petreaus bribery of them, Iraq is set to become very violent again.

    And that is never "good news" if your held hostage in Iraq by George W Bush for his ego.

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  115. One of my sons is there flying and one of his Brothers is EOD and right now training to go back there. I told him it was going to blow and then spread as Bush is blaming Iran and will be attacking so be prepared!

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  116. BTW here is more about how bad it is in Basra, (where most of the US ground convoys need to travel thru.)

    On Monday Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived in Basra at the head of a big security force, at the beginning of the major security sweep of that city that produced Tuesday's fighting.

    It is being rumored, al-Hayat says, that the prime minister is planning to remove the military commander in the city, Gen. Mohan Hafiz al-Furayji, as well as the police chief, Major-Gen. Abdul Jalil Khalaf. UPI says that he will attempt to institute a tighter command and control structure in the city. Although the US had been putting pressure on Britain to send some of its troops from the airport back into Basra city, Gordon Brown appears to have resisted Washington's blandishments in this regard. The US military is concerned that if security collapses in Basra, it could cause the center-north to unravel, as well (this calculation is correct).


    Looks like the "surge" failed to prevent the Shiite vs Shiite civil war didn't it?

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  117. Update on the fighting around Basra from Roads to Iraq;



    The situation right now has nothing to do with “Iraqi government” or “Iraqi Army”, it is a Shiite-Shiite war, Mahdi Army with primitive arms and “Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution” [formed by Iran] with an army and supported by the Americans.

    Remember the so called Iraqi government can not start this campaign without taking accord from Iran and the U.S., I told about the there is some kind of agreement between [The U.S. and Iran] few posts before.

    Just few hours ago the Sadrists issued a new statement, signed by Al-Sadr himself and it says an initiative for peace contains six points:

    - To distribute Quran and olive branches on police and army check points, and ask the security forces to not involve in this fighting trick used by the occupation.

    - All the political, social and religious figures to take their responsibilities to stop these attacks

    - Tribal chiefs to not to be involved in the fighting and to remember that they are the grandsons of 1920 revolution

    - Iraqi parliament to stand beside the Iraqi people who chose them

    - Political Parties to be beside the Iraqi public and not beside the occupation

    - Call for all Iraqis to demonstrate, the next step is public disobedience, as for the third step then it will be announced in later time.

    As for the last point [the public disobedience], the government announced that disobedience will be charged with terrorism law, the Sadrists representatives in the parliament announced they will start the procedures to withdraw their confidence in Maliki if this law put in practice.
    The fights

    Mahdi Army start to attack Badr and SCIR offices in Baghdad [the media reported that the attacks are in Sadr city only but according to my mother the attacks are everywhere at least in Risafah part of Baghdad].

    Mahdi Army managed to control few neighborhoods in Kut city, Al-Mahmoudiya, Al-Yousfiyah.


    This one is very scary, in it's implications;

    News: Mahdi Army arrested 17 American soldiers

    Reported, Abu Al-Khasib another city close to Basra, now under Mahdi Army control, Iraqi government calls special forces from Karbala led by Maliki’s “brothers in law” to move to Basra.


    Just reported from Alwasatonline reporter in Basra, Mahdi Army managed to arrest 17 American soldiers, and seizes 7 hammer military vehicles, because of these developments the Iraqi government offered to negotiates with MA but Muqtada Al-Sadr refused any negotiations, also 250 Iraqi soldiers gave themselves up to Mahdi Army.

    Key bridge, connecting Basra city to Al-Kurnah is destroyed by Mahdi Army.

    Sotaliraq reported that Maliki refused to meet Basra’s mayor “Mohammad Al-Walili [from Al-Fadhilah Party], the mayor threaten if he removed from his position as mayor he will burn all the oil wells around Basra.

    There is also reports about American warplanes involvement in the fights, and the Green Zone was bombed again at 8 O’clock p.

    There are fighting in Al-Shurta neighborhood in Baghdad in the Karkh part [East, across the river]


    If very much of this is true, the surge is an absolute failure, and war is gonna explode in ways it has not up to now.

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  118. Nice picture Lydia you look just like your Mother!
    You may be right about McCain but we have other problems with Iraq blowing again as expected and Bush blaming Iran.
    I think the right knows McCain will get defeated by the insurgents and Bush to keep control of his new order mess will attack Iran and soon! The excuse will be manufactured like in Iraq!

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  119. Thanks AP, and Clif. I know all about this "Bush has his hands on the nukes aimed right at Iran and that's why Cheney went over there to prepare Saudi Arabia for a nuclear attack....

    But I refuse to believe anyone would be so stupid, even Chimpy -- as to kill over 3 million people with radiation poisoning all the way to India (nevermind Israel and Iraq!)

    We have to see Bush doing the right thing; we have to change our view and see the Christ Truth in these people who are so sadly misguided. If you ever understood anything about prayer and the power of miracles, now is the time.

    And focusing on our fear and dissecting every bad thought, is actually counterproductive -- because what we focus on grows. It really, really does.

    We have to remove our attention from the anger and fear -- and see through the eyes of love. BELIEVE ME, IT CHANGES EVERYTHING.

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  120. A McCain Moment: Do You Want Four More Years of This?

    By Arianna Huffington,

    If our polarized country can agree on one thing, it's that the greatest danger facing America over the next decade will not be Islamic extremism and instability in the Middle East, but rather Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. That's just "common knowledge," right?

    So it only makes sense that the media have focused non-stop on this looming threat while paying scant attention to the fact that the presumptive Republican nominee for president apparently doesn't have a clue about what's going on in the Middle East.

    And with the U.S. death toll hitting 4,000 (with 25 American soldiers killed over the last two weeks, the deadliest fortnight for our troops since September 2007), and with another 57 people killed in Iraq yesterday, John McCain's tenuous grasp on what is happening in the region becomes all the more worthy of attention.

    For those who were too busy watching Rev. Jeremiah Wright damn America for the 10,000th time to hear about McCain, let's review: at a stop in Jordan last week, McCain made the ludicrous claim that Al Qaeda insurgents were being trained in Iran*. Asked again about it, he dug in deeper, claiming it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known."

    A few moments later, McCain's chief lady in waiting, Joe Lieberman, leaned forward and whispered in his ear. McCain promptly offered a quick rewrite: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

    Now, it's been widely reported that, heading into the Iraq war, George Bush had no clue about the differences between Sunni and Shia. But that was 2003, and it was George Bush. This is five years later and we're talking about John McCain. But it turns out this acclaimed foreign policy expert doesn't know the difference between Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Sunni insurgents, Iran and Syria. Or, perhaps more charitably, he's doesn't care to know.

    Yes, John McCain is a war hero, and yes, we're all grateful for his service during the Vietnam war. But as McCain's embarrassing foreign fact-finding fiascos make clear: having acted heroically in a foreign war does not magically translate into foreign policy expertise and judgment.

    Yet every time McCain packs a suitcase, the press automatically anoints him as "presidential." They dutifully did it on this latest trip, even though it came just under a year after McCain's clownish stroll through a Baghdad market, which he declared proof that one could "walk freely" around Baghdad -- while being guarded by three Blackhawk helicopters, two Apache gunships, and 100 armed soldiers.

    The fact that the presumptive Republican nominee doesn't grasp the general outlines in Iraq would seem to be a big story. But not to the mainstream media. As soon as they heard that the Straight Talk Express had run off the road, they sprang into action to get the wreckage out of view. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

    To the Washington Post, it was just a "gaffe." CNN let stand the McCain campaign's assertion that he had just "misspoke." Brit Hume, senior member of the McCain Support Team, brushed it off as "blip," and a "senior moment." (Of course, Hume had a very different take on "senior moments" when it came to Jack Murtha.)

    Not content with excuses, one of McCain's foreign policy advisors, Max Boot, decided to tout the "misstatement": "What gaffe?" Boot asked, going on to claim, "there is copious evidence of Iran supplying and otherwise assisting Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni terrorist groups (including Al Qaeda central). The 9/11 Commission itself noted a number of links between Iran and Al Qaeda." And McCain senior foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann claimed there is "ample documentation" for this.

    This would be news to Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno. In July, Odierno, then the No. 2 commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said, "We don't see any evidence, significant evidence, that shows that [Iranian-controlled] groups that are funding and providing arms to Shia extremists are directly related to al Qaeda."

    No matter, because as Brit Hume says, "we all agree that McCain has understanding and knowledge of world affairs."

    Sorry, Brit, but we don't all agree. In fact, we don't all agree at all.

    Yes, McCain loves to talk about war. He loves to talk about "service," and "character," and "sacrifice" -- which are all great things. But McCain's version of foreign policy is simply rah-rah melodrama. It's like watching a John Wayne movie.

    This was no gaffe. A gaffe would be something that was out of the ordinary. This is the opposite of a gaffe. This is evidence. And it's evidence we should not ignore. We already know what it's like to have a president who just assumes that whichever way he wants things to be is "common knowledge." It turns out that it's not just George Bush's war that McCain wants to continue; it's George Bush's approach.

    Does the country want another George Bush in the White House? Voters should at least be given all the facts so they can make that decision for themselves. The problem is that the media have got an image in their creaky narrative machines about John McCain and they're sticking to it. It's much easier to just present the tried-and-true version of McCain that that has prevailed since 2000 instead of presenting the new McCain as he's become: cavalier, dismissive, and lazy about the facts.

    John McCain doesn't need surrogates. He's got the media. Which is why his "gaffe" wasn't bigger news. Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief of the L.A. Times explained it this way on Face the Nation yesterday (as Harry Shearer noted on HuffPost): "Iraq wasn't what was on voters' minds." Unlike the sermons of Jeremiah Wright.

    Sometimes, the reason why McCain's dangerously tenuous grasp on the facts doesn't strike the media as odd is because they believe the same thing.

    I know one thing that might have made the media play McCain's "misstatement" bigger: if it had been uttered by a Democrat. As NBC's Chuck Todd pointed out, if Clinton or Obama had said such a thing "this would have been played on a loop, over and over."

    And it's hard to claim it's all just because the public is bored with Iraq and prefers a good story about incendiary pastors. If that's true, why was there no feeding frenzy about Rev. John Hagee, the bigoted minister who endorsed McCain, partly because McCain's foreign policy fits neatly into Hagee's apocalyptic (and I'm not speaking metaphorically) worldview? Again, the media rushed to let McCain off the hook, even though, as Hagee himself said in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "McCain's campaign sought my endorsement."

    You can count me as one who actually does have Iraq on my mind and who wants the next president to have a mind capable of understanding it -- and a thirst to do so. As his trip to Iraq makes clear, McCain is not a candidate who has crossed that threshold.

    * This sentence originally read "...at a stop in Jordan last week, McCain made the ludicrous claim that Al Qaeda insurgents were being trained in Syria." Thanks to the Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb for pointing out my "senior moment," which led to a copy editing lapse. McCain did mention Syria, but it was his repeated claims about Iran that were ludicrous.

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  121. America’s Ruling Clique

    By Charles Sullivan

    Neoconservatives derive much of their political strength from the portrayal of big government as the enemy of the people: a belief that plays only too well in America. Big government is indeed the enemy of the people when it does not serve the people’s interests, or when it betrays them.

    Where the neoconservatives and the chicken hawks have been spectacularly successful is in the field of perception management. The super rich—or the ruling clique—constitutes no more than 0.1 percent of the US population. Yet they control the mainstream media, every branch government, the electoral process and the country’s major financial institutions.

    Thus, 99.9 percent of the people are being manipulated and cannibalized by a tiny but powerful minority. It is the interests of this powerful minority that are served by government and it is their interests that are defined as the national interest or as national security; and it is hardly benign. Robbing the poor to pay the rich causes irreparable harm to the victim.

    There is a continual conflict between the super rich and the remaining 99.9 percent of the people in this nation. Not only is democracy subverted when a tiny minority rules over a large majority, the majority is diminished and betrayed, and social and economic servitude is instituted. The relationship is not only adversarial; it is fundamentally unequal and unjust. You have a situation where a large majority suffers all of the hardships and makes all of the sacrifices but the small minority reaps the reward, without incurring any risk themselves. One should never call this intolerable and immoral situation a democracy.

    Through subversion, coercion, and intense perception management the ownership class always gets what it wants, and almost always at the expense of the working class. We pay the price and someone else reaps the financial reward.

    Consider, for example, the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States military and who has benefited financially. The military, comprised almost entirely of working class women and men, is being used to secure Iraq’s nationalized oil fields and turning them over to private firms and foreign investors. Those firms have profited from the theft of Iraqi oil by the United States armed forces without running any risks themselves.

    The armed forces ran the risks for them, and turned the profits over to private oil companies who subsequently realized record profits. The entire country has been similarly privatized by a host of corporate predators. War is a form of corporate welfare cloaked in patriotic language. One need only follow the money to understand what it is really about.

    Similarly, George Bush is not fighting a war against terrorism as he purports: he is committing unconscionable acts of terrorism against innocent people, and his cohorts in congress are providing him the funds to do so. It is not Islamic terrorists that are spying on law-abiding citizens and intercepting their emails or tapping their phone lines; it is the United States government, authorized by Bush.

    The president behaves like a fascist dictator because he is a fascist dictator representing the interests of the ruling clique, while masquerading as a protectorate of the people and the national interest. Never lose sight of the fact that Bush is an emissary for the ruling class to which he belongs and it is on their behalf that he is acting, not ours.

    Consider also the fact that thousands of no bid contracts were awarded to private corporations with connections to the Bush White House—such as Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater during the occupation of Iraq. Thus, it is evident that terms such as free trade and free markets are not only misleading, they are disingenuous and fraudulent.

    Not only is the ruling clique stealing the wealth of other nations through overt militarism, they are simultaneously bankrupting our nation’s economy. Their intent is to privatize government in hopes of changing it from a service oriented entity into a for profit body. Their goal is to eliminate all social spending in order to further facilitate the ruling clique’s personal wealth creation, and to finance future military invasions; to impose capitalism on the world by means of brute force and coercion.

    If they are successful, those with enough money to buy services that are now provided by the government will continue to enjoy those services. Those who cannot afford to pay: the poor, the elderly, the sick or injured, the unemployed and uneducated, will just have to suffer and die. They will be forced to subsist on whatever they can beg, barrow, or steal and slip into the realm of non-persons. It is worth noting that the infrastructure for delivering those goods and services were created with public funds. As always, we are talking about socializing costs and privatizing profits.

    Paradoxically, neoconservatives and their media cohorts have succeeded in persuading working class people of modest incomes, conservative and liberal alike, into supporting a wide range of policies that are detrimental to their class, especially those with the lowest incomes.

    That is the role that neoconservative icons like Rush Limbaugh plays in the corporate propaganda apparatus. While actually part of the ruling clique, Limbaugh has persuaded his followers that he and his economic brethren are on their side. In reality, Limbaugh and his class are preying upon the fears and prejudices of his followers while accruing tremendous personal wealth from their support, much like George Bush. Such is the power of disinformation, fear, and propaganda.

    Limbaugh’s mindless blathering is like the kiss of Judas. He and his kind are impervious to scientific fact and without empathy for the people they so ruthlessly exploit.

    Leaving no economic stone unturned, the ruling clique is even privatizing the military. The average soldier assigned the rank of private first class receives a yearly salary of about $40,000; whereas a mercenary working for Blackwater—a private defense contractor—doing the same job in the same place, earns about $400,000. The mercenary soldier costs tax payers ten times more than the government soldier for the same services and is not accountable to anyone.

    The privatization of the military began under former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and it continues to this day. Private contractors have such close ties with government these days that it is difficult to tell where the private sector ends and government begins. There are revolving doors that continuously sweep corporate executives into government and government officials into corporate board rooms. That is how fortunes are made in Washington: through crony capitalism and theft.

    Rumsfeld, a man who sanctions torture, has long deified Milton Friedman, of the Chicago School of Economics; and it is Friedman’s economic and social theories that are being put into practice. Lest anyone think that the disciples of capitalism are limited to the neocons, they aren’t. Every contending presidential candidate is a Friedman disciple. The president, his entire cabinet, and virtually every member of congress are disciples of Milton Friedman; and that is why voting does not often significantly change policies: the ideology behind them remains the same, regardless of who is in power.

    That is where this country is heading but most Americans are sitting on their hands and allowing it to happen. The people need to know what is being done to them and who is responsible. We the people must organize and mobilize to protect ourselves from the ruling cabal or we will be forever cannibalized by them.

    Like it or not, we are all in this together and long term survival will depend upon our ability to organize and to cooperate with one another. It will require long term economic boycotts, strikes, work slow downs, dramatically curtailed consumption, civil disobedience, sustained protests, self-education and personal sacrifice. The key is to get organized as quickly as possible.

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  122. On March 26, 1979, the Camp David peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the White House.

    And that is how a TRUE patriot and intelligent president achieves PEACE in the middle eats instead of the childish fooles we have now fomenting more and more war.

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  123. phew...I am so behind here...thanks for all the news Larry....

    Lydia; how nice to see you with your mom and your sister...lovely....so nice to connect to the women in your life and that you shared them with us....

    New post up....and I agree I am trying to write more postive posts..otherwise it gets too overwhelming...too many years of tracking dirt has left some of us tired....worn out...anyways...come back by.....when you have time....( I also have been trying to link better writing music....to the titles....as you work on your book....and I wrestle with mine.....hang in there)

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  124. Do ya thunk the new Pakistani government is telling Bush's minions to shut the f--k up and leave Pakistan out of their attack all brown people in the name of terra?

    New 'sheriff' in Pakistan, US told



    WASHINGTON'S two top policy planners on Pakistan were given a "public dressing down" in Islamabad yesterday and left in little doubt that the country's involvement in the war against terrorism was set to change.

    US President George W. Bush phoned Pakistan's new Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, after he was sworn in on Tuesday to express a willingness to work with him and extend an invitation to visit the White House.

    Despite the friendly overture, Pakistan's new civilian rulers made it clear in a series of meetings with US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher that major changes were under way in relations between Washington and a country many regard as a linchpin in the war on terror.

    "To use an American expression, there is a new sheriff in town," Pakistan People's Party foreign policy spokesman Hussain Haqqani said yesterday, after the two US envoys met PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

    "The Americans have realised that they have perhaps talked with one man (president Pervez Musharraf) for too long."

    Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N), which is a major component in the new coalition, was more forthright.

    Mr Sharif said he told the US envoys there was "no longer a one-man show in Pakistan" and the new parliament - elected in February polls that dealt a crushing defeat to Mr Musharraf's allies - would decide how Pakistan should approach Islamic extremism.

    "I have told (the) US officials that the Government wants to see peace in the world but does not want to turn Pakistan into a murder house. Pakistan cannot be made a killing field for the interest of others," he said.

    "If America wants to see itself clean of terrorism, we also want our villages and towns not to be bombed," he said, alluding to recent airstrikes near the Afghan border apparently carried out by US and allied forces.

    Last night, commentators in Islamabad said there was no doubt the US envoys had been given "what amounts to a public dressing down" by Mr Sharif.

    Even the timing of the visit has caused widespread resentment in Islamabad. The two men flew into the capital on day one of the new government, arriving only hours before Mr Gilani was formally sworn in.

    Yesterday, Mr Sharif described the diplomatic visit as "ham-handed" while English-language newspaper The News, in an editorial headlined "Hands off please, Uncle Sam", said: "Washington must realise it has no moral or political right to attempt to intervene in the internal decisions made within any other country. Its belief that it can eliminate the militants by moving in on a larger scale into Pakistan is dangerous."

    The US envoys also met Mr Musharraf and army chief Ashfaq Kayani.

    Many Pakistani analysts say the anti-American feeling sweeping Pakistan - including among urban, educated people - is born of years of close collaboration with the Musharraf regime and Washington's refusal to dump the dictator.

    Even yesterday, Mr Negroponte and Mr Boucher were said to be arguing for the new democratic leadership to work with Mr Musharraf rather than force him to quit.

    "They put all their eggs in one basket. They treated Nawaz Sharif with contempt while he was in exile and disregarded him. They attempted to seduce Benazir Bhutto into supporting Musharraf. When the entire country was in uproar, supporting the reinstatement of the chief justice and the judges, Washington remained silent," local commentator Ahmed Khan said last night.

    Meanwhile, Mr Gilani's new Government announced yesterday it would formally ask the UN to launch an investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto similar to the probe into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

    The new Government believes the inquiry could uncover evidence of the involvement of the former regime's intelligence agencies.

    Mr Gilani also announced the new parliament would pass a resolution apologising for the "judicial murder" in April, 1979, of Ms Bhutto's father, the former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.


    If so that would eb good news, for the people of Pakistan and every one who dislikes arrogant bullies.

    I wonder if Georgie wants to attack Pakistan now?

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  125. The Chimpromised MSM may be in love with McCavein, but his record speaks for itself. Normally this would be a problem for Johnny, but.... the Chimpromised MSM loves him.

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  126. They partied like it was 1929;

    American Banks Face Collapse

    Central Banks have injected hundreds of billions of dollars of liquidity into the banking system since last August. Despite this, the financial position of US and investment banks continues to deteriorate. This conveys a serious message; banks are becoming increasingly insolvent. It is a message that few in equity markets seem to understand.

    This loss of liquidity is a result of the market for securitised bank assets and syndicated loans drying up. So assets that were previously sold on for cash now have to be retained on balance sheet. The only buyer in the market now is the Fed. Bizarrely, many stock-market investors see these ever larger injections of liquidity as positive. Time and time again the market spikes up on their announcement.

    The fact that banks NEED all this liquidity is a clear and unequivocal sign that banks are becoming increasingly insolvent and that the problems they face are getting worse. Indeed many would now be insolvent were it not for the support of Central Banks. If the ailing banks were seen in human terms, as a patient requiring increasingly large transfusions of blood to stay alive instead of capital, I wonder how many investors would conclude that the patient’s health was improving. One pint of blood on Monday, two on Tuesday, six on Friday. Is the patient’s health improving or are they dying?

    The current situation in the US banking market is without precedent. Never before in a time of near full employment and record corporate profitability have we seen such huge levels of bad debts. By our own estimates bad debts in the US banking market are likely to rise to somewhere in the order of $300bn to $450bn. Other estimates set the figure much higher. This is important because the bad debts that have been incurred so far are entirely due to poor underwriting as opposed to a downturn in economic activity.

    However, a downturn in economic activity is now occurring and, if the US economy is heading for recession as we forecast in 2007, it will give rise to a huge layer of additional bad debts. One that it simply cannot shoulder. It is perfectly conceivable that bad debts may rise to somewhere in the order of $500bn. To put the scale of these losses into perspective the total equity of the US’s top 100 banks stood at $800bn at the end of the third quarter 2007. Losses of $500bn would wipe out 63% of their capital bases and leave many of them insolvent.


    Where O where are all the reichwing trolls telling us everything is just fine?

    Looking for a bailout of their own perhaps?

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  127. I wonder if FF's head is exploding?

    The rescue of Bear Stearns marks liberalisation’s limit

    Remember Friday March 14 2008: it was the day the dream of global free- market capitalism died. For three decades we have moved towards market-driven financial systems. By its decision to rescue Bear Stearns, the Federal Reserve, the institution responsible for monetary policy in the US, chief protagonist of free-market capitalism, declared this era over. It showed in deeds its agreement with the remark by Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, that “I no longer believe in the market’s self-healing power”. Deregulation has reached its limits.

    Mine is not a judgment on whether the Fed was right to rescue Bear Stearns from bankruptcy. I do not know whether the risks justified the decisions not only to act as lender of last resort to an investment bank but to take credit risk on the Fed’s books. But the officials involved are serious people. They must have had reasons for their decisions. They can surely point to the dangers of the times – a crisis that Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, calls “the most wrenching since the end of the second world war” – and the role of Bear Stearns in these fragile markets.

    Mine is more a judgment on the implications of the Fed’s decision. Put simply, Bear Stearns was deemed too systemically important to fail. This view was, it is true, reached in haste, at a time of crisis. But times of crisis are when new functions emerge, notably the practices associated with the lender-of-last-resort function of central banks, in the 19th century.

    The implications of this decision are evident: there will have to be far greater regulation of such institutions. The Fed has provided a valuable form of insurance to the investment banks. Indeed, that is already evident from what has happened in the stock market since the rescue: the other big investment banks have enjoyed sizeable jumps in their share prices (see chart below). This is moral hazard made visible. The Fed decided that a money market “strike” against investment banks is the equivalent of a run on deposits in a commercial bank. It concluded that it must, for this reason, open the monetary spigots in favour of such institutions. Greater regulation must be on the way.

    The lobbies of Wall Street will, it is true, resist onerous regulation of capital requirements or liquidity, after this crisis is over. They may succeed. But, intellectually, their position is now untenable. Systemically important institutions must pay for any official protection they receive. Their ability to enjoy the upside on the risks they run, while shifting parts of the downside on to society at large, must be restricted. This is not just a matter of simple justice (although it is that, too). It is also a matter of efficiency. An unregulated, but subsidised, casino will not allocate resources well. Moreover, that subsidisation does not now apply only to shareholders, but to all creditors. Its effect is to make the costs of funds unreasonably cheap. These grossly misaligned incentives must be tackled.


    Are ronnie raygun and milty fraudman spinning in their graves, hopefully so, because then we can just hook up a dynamo to them and get free energy for a while.

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  128. I do have a question,

    If the mouth piece for the security plan in Baghdad is kidnapped does that mean the security in Baghdad ain't so good?

    ReplyDelete
  129. A certain group of fundamentalists just might have a harder time selling creation, er intelligent design or what ever they are calling the crap junk science they try to sell, after LOSING the Dover case.

    Seeds of Life Found Near Saturn


    This I see as good news because more life even if on other planets or other solar systems is never a bad thing.

    ReplyDelete
  130. KKKarl loses another one but the vote in this one was a much smaller group, and KKKarl couldn't rig any ballots;

    Ex-Governor of Alabama Is Ordered Released

    Donald Siegelman, former governor of Alabama, was ordered released from prison on Thursday by a federal appeals court, pending his appeal of a bribery conviction that Democrats say resulted from a politically driven prosecution.

    In its order, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, said Mr. Siegelman had raised “substantial questions” in his appeal of the case and could be released on bond from the federal prison in Oakdale, La., where he has served nine months of a seven-year sentence. The order did not say what those questions were, but his lawyers have argued for months that the bribery charge on which he was mainly convicted revolved around a transaction that differed little, if at all, from a standard political contribution.

    Mr. Siegelman’s lawyers maintained that — as is standard in many white-collar crime cases — the veteran Democratic politician never should have been imprisoned in the first place while he appealed his conviction.

    “He should not have been manacled and taken off in the night,” said his lawyer, G. Robert Blakey, also a professor at the University of Notre Dame, citing the ex-governor’s immediate imprisonment after his conviction, a point of contention for his supporters.

    The chief prosecutor in the case, Louis Franklin, told The Associated Press that he was “very disappointed” by the order but hoped to eventually prevail.

    Mr. Siegelman’s case has been cited by Democrats here and in Washington as Exhibit A in their contention that politics has influenced decisions by the Justice Department, which prosecuted the former governor. In addition, Mr. Siegelman’s conviction in June 2006 here sharply polarized the political climate in this state, and suggestions by his supporters and others that the former Bush White House political director, Karl Rove, may have been involved have only increased the tensions.

    Republicans have angrily denied the accusations of politics, but Mr. Siegelman has picked up some outside support for his claims of political prosecution. The House Judiciary Committee has held hearings on his case, and 44 former state attorneys general, Democrats and some Republicans, signed a petition last summer urging Congress to look into the conviction.


    Wanna bet this one ends up with somebody else beside Gov Seigleman being prosecuted?

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  131. Lydia said TomCat, Glad you're feeling better. I love your blog Politics Plus, and I will FINALLY be able to visit you more often after March 31!

    Thanks Lydia. While not yet well, I'm on the mend. I'll hold you to that. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  132. Clif, that's great news. I can't wait to hear Siegelman’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Another crook in the4 bush administration has had to resign because he stole money from the American people.

    Bush aide quits; funds misused

    Why doesn't Bush hire anybody but crooks and conmen?

    Oh right because that is all Bush really is, a petty crook and conman.

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  134. The surge is NOW officially a total failure, hear me George W Bush?

    Areas of Baghdad fall to militias as Iraqi Army falters in Basra

    Iraq’s Prime Minister was staring into the abyss today after his operation to crush militia strongholds in Basra stalled, members of his own security forces defected and district after district of his own capital fell to Shia militia gunmen.

    With the threat of a civil war looming in the south, Nouri al-Maliki’s police chief in Basra narrowly escaped assassination in the crucial port city, while in Baghdad, the spokesman for the Iraqi side of the US military surge was kidnapped by gunmen and his house burnt to the ground.

    Saboteurs also blew up one of Iraq's two main oil pipelines from Basra, cutting at least a third of the exports from the city which provides 80 per cent of government revenue, a clear sign that the militias — who siphon significant sums off the oil smuggling trade — would not stop at mere insurrection.

    In Baghdad, thick black smoke hung over the city centre tonight and gunfire echoed across the city.

    The most secure area of the capital, Karrada, was placed under curfew amid fears the Mahdi Army of Hojetoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr could launch an assault on the residence of Abdelaziz al-Hakim, the head of a powerful rival Shia governing party.

    While the Mahdi Army has not officially renounced its six-month ceasefire, which has been a key component in the recent security gains, on the ground its fighters were chasing police and soldiers from their positions across Baghdad.


    Well now we know Bush Cheney and McCain are lying about how good Iraq was going AGAIN, because the whole country seems to be erupting in violence right after McCain and Cheney visited.

    Seems all they can do is screw up.

    BTW if this sounds familiar, read up on the TET offensive during the Vietnam war .............


    For the repubies who don't do real history or facts; that was when the Viet Cong attacked to prove Gen. Westmoreland and Lyndon Johnson hadn't been telling the truth about the Vietnam war.

    It seems Motaqa al Sadr is laying bare the recent lies of Bush Cheney and McCain, ...... quite well BTW.

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  135. For the libs who don't do real history or facts;

    Militarily TET was a defeat for the communists, and they were killed by the thousands.

    What we LOST was the PR war at home.
    (much like you're attempting to duplicate here)

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  136. NO dolt, TET proved both Johnson and Westmoreland's claims victory was at hand in Vietnam and the Viet Cong were defeated was NOT true,

    (Especially while they were occupying the US embassy in Saigon)

    Which is why Walter Cronkite made the statement he did after TET.

    And also why Lyndon Johnson knew TET doomed his re-election campaign.

    Also why the US army replaced the less then honest Westmoreland with Creighton Abrams in command of US forces in Vietnam.

    Just like the current fighting in Iraq has shown the surge did NOT do what Bush and McSame claimed it did,

    Especially after some Baghdad neighborhoods have been controlled by al Sadr's people after this latest fighting began.

    Try some truth and the real facts out of Iraq instead of fox lies spin and disinformation€ and of course Rush's total ignorance of anything connected with the truth ....

    Maliki is fighting for control of the country and he is using Iraqi forces backed by the Hakim controlled Badr corps (which have NO connection to al Sadr) and Iran backed SCRI to do that.

    Sort of an Iraqi version of dis-enrollment of Iraqi voters who aren't gonna vote they way they want, they haven't gotten to caging, using dishonest lists to illegally dis-enroll people who won't vote their ways, they try to drive them away.

    But they are learning the slimy tactics of the repugnants quite well.

    There is NO "extremists" fighting in this current Shiite battle, but the Iraqi version of a primary to decide who controls the Iraqi government at the local levels.

    To LIE about this is just the latest repugnats disinformation campaign about the illegal war they started.

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  137. BTW dolt try reading the "pentagon papers", you know the pentagons OWN version of what happened in Vietnam from 1954 to 1968,( the one Nixon tried but failed to keep secret) it just might dispel some of the myths you keep spouting.

    But you prefer GOPer dishonest revisionary history, from the gutless chicken hawks who refused to serve there .... to the truth written by those who actually served at the time they served.

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  138. By the Clif,

    Your biker buddies from Patriot Guard were in Berkeley protesting Code Pink and the city's treatment of the Marines.

    I know you were there with them right?

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  139. No dolt I had better things to do then support bush's illegal war and the war crimes of bush, cheney, rumsfeld et al .....

    BTW are YOU ever gonna go to Iraq like YOU said in the spring of 2006 or do you use your government paid for granny hips as the excuse for remaining a gutless chicken hawk?

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  140. Didn't you hear Clif?

    He's just a cheerleader, like his lord and master Herr Busch.

    :|

    They prefer to offer their warrior efforts in the form of "words of encouragement" for the "other people" who have to fight the wars they start.

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  141. He is a great little cheerleader though.

    :|

    Or is it "pom pom girl"?

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  142. Dickwad Cheney said Bush suffers more than anyone because of Iraq.

    :\

    That one makes mee head hurt.

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  143. Its going to cost more than a Trillion dollars to rebuild our army, once Bush is through playing with it.

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  144. Bob Brinker, the astoundingly brilliant host of MONEY TALK said today that if you think what the Swift Boat veterans did to Kerry was bad -- which everyone believe lost Kerry the election in Ohio by 69,000 votes -- THEN WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHAT THE NEW SWIFT BOAT CAMPAIGN AGAINST OBAMA will be in the general election.

    He said this with glee. He says, they are saving their worst attacks for Obama during the general election - to make sure he can't possibly win, and there are some horrifying new Reverend Wright videos and speeches they are keeping under their belt to destroy Obama with.

    I heard this on the radio with my own ears, and this man Bob Brinker -- is a civilized money man, not a flame thrower -- but he does not think any Dems listen to his show. He thought it was safe to say this because only Republicans listen to his show.

    What will happen? Do you think Obama will get the nomination?

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  145. LydiaCornell said...
    Bob Brinker, the astoundingly brilliant host of MONEY TALK said today that if you think what the Swift Boat veterans did to Kerry was bad -- which everyone believe lost Kerry the election in Ohio by 69,000 votes -- THEN WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHAT THE NEW SWIFT BOAT CAMPAIGN AGAINST OBAMA will be in the general election.

    He said this with glee. He says, they are saving their worst attacks for Obama during the general election - to make sure he can't possibly win, and there are some horrifying new Reverend Wright videos and speeches they are keeping under their belt to destroy Obama with.

    I heard this on the radio with my own ears, and this man Bob Brinker -- is a civilized money man, not a flame thrower -- but he does not think any Dems listen to his show. He thought it was safe to say this because only Republicans listen to his show.

    What will happen? Do you think Obama will get the nomination?"

    I DO think Obama will get the nomination, as for them "SAVING" THEIR best attacks for Obama to try to destroy him later.........heres my take on this...........the repugs would MUCH rather run against Hillary and a bitterly divided Democratic party than run against Obama and a united Dem party, and for THAT reason they are supporting Hillary in the Dem primaries and letting Hillary divide the party by attacking Obama......they would MUCH rather face Hillary in the general election but they wouldnt be heart broken if Hillary divides the party with her slimy smear tactics and lies and they could use that to discredit Obama and divide the democrats.

    Personally I dont think the knuckle dragging Orwellian fascist "you hate your country, you arent patriotic, you hate and dont support the troops, you are treasonous cowards crowd would vote for Obama anyway..............those people are like brainwashed cult members who loathe facts and truth and just parrot talking points and rhetoric like robots and cant think for themselves anyway........ they blindly support, idolize their little dictators and justify whatever they do or say whether they be Bush and Cheney or Hillary or Bill.

    Theirs is a blindly loyal belief system based much like Atheism or cult groups.........those beliefs are based on talking points and rhetoric and defy factual evidence and logic for the most part.

    but to answer your question again Lydia, I think the repugs would MUCH rather face Hillary than Obama but they will swiftboat and smear WHOEVER the Dem candidate is........I think the talk that they will destroy Obama later is fear based talk to get people to support Hillary ( the weaker less electable candidate)

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  146. More Democratic Convention.... CHAOS!!!!!

    I went to the Democratic County Convention since I was a delegate for Obama and more chaos and questionable happenings.

    OK as stated several weeks ago I went to the Caucus and was elected a delegate for Obama, i spent 8 hours there and didnt get out till the wee hours of the morning because the Precinct Chair and both candidates campaign chairs did EVERYTHING by the book..............well i went to the Convention today to support Obama and my name wasnt on the list as a delegate and although i lean towards incompetence over outright conspiracy and election fraud i do find this HIGHLY questionable and suspicious since the Precinct Chair and Obama campaign chair did EVERYTHING by the book and I myself witnessed them both write down my name as an elected delegate right next to the others who were there and on the list and since i got a letter CONFIRMING i was a delegate.

    Now here's what happened........I spent the first 1/2 hour looking for my precinct and fellow delegates what allowed me to find them was I overheard a guy and girl talking about chaos and a near brawl breaking out and being there almost 8 hours and i then said you must be Precinct X........AHH!!!! .i had found my precint.........the girl then laughed and said i remember you, you were the guy that pushed that fat guy that assaulted you and the Obama Campaign Chair and told him to go home if it was past his bedtime right before the bench clearing brawl almost started...that was awesome.

    Ok now after meeting my fellow delegates i proceeded to wait in line with them to sign in for about 2 hours at which time i found my name was not on the list, after talking to one of the convention workers i was told despite showing them a written letter stating i was an elected delegate that there was NOTHING i could do other than trying to contact the Precinct Chair and i should just go home.

    I was initially shocked and taken aback and told my fellow delegates what had happened and was contemplating going home in disgust when i resolved i was NOT going to allow this to stand and was not going to allow some shmuck to disenfranchise me or cheat Obama........I pushed my way through the chaotic crowd went behind the table where the Convention workers were signing people up and forcefully with a raised voice told the guy that told me to go home that I had waited at the Caucus for 8 hours without dinner and was elected a delegate and had a written letter stating that and i was NOT going to allow him to disenfranchise me........he then raised his voice and repeated his rhertoric that there was NOTHING he could do and said i should go home and then he bellowed IS THAT CLEAR...........at that point ( its near Easter time and i guess i was channeling Jesus overturning the money changers table LOL) I said that was an unacceptable answer and threw the pamphlets he was handing out on the floor and grabbed the sign in sheets and in a raised and forceful voice said for once your actually right that theres nothing you can do because your not going to sign in another damn person until you get this resolved IS THAT CLEAR!

    He looked taken aback like a deer in the headlights and didnt know what to do, after he collected himself he asked me to go to the back of the line again and said he would notify the person in charge of the convention and see how she wanted to handle it...............I then angrily said I allready waited in line 2 hours i'm NOT going to do it again because of your incompetence, you can sit here looking like a dope until this is resolved but your NOT signing in another person till it is.

    At this point 2 Obama campaign Chairs walked up, asked what the problem was, and thanked me for what i was doing.......one told the guy what needed to get done the other immediately got the person in charge of the Convention and within 5 minutes got me on the list and made me a pending delegate.

    Things ran way late just like the Caucus, and while i dont want to be a conspiracy theorist since the way BOTH the Caucus and Convention were handled certainly makes incompetence a plausible scenario, i find that curious since both the Precinct Chair and Obama's Campaign Chair took 8 hours and did EVERYTHING by the book crossing evert T and dotting every I, plus I hung out with the Obama Campaign Chair most of the night and personally witnessed him write down my name as an elected delegate for Obama next to all the others that WERE on the list.

    The Obama supporters were all very friendly nice interesting and helpful while the majority of Hillary supporters were very hostile, haughty and arrogant and rude, and i'm not just talking about to the Obama people.

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  147. Here's the way I see this campaign shaking out.................and people at the Convention agreed with my reasoning.................Hillary Wins Pennsylvania, then Edwards endorses Obama after Pennsylvania but BEFORE Noth Carolina that way he gets the most bang for his buck since his endorsement and delegates will nullify any delegates Hillary gets from winning Pennsylvania, plus give Obama momentum going into North Carolina Edwards home state...........after that there arent many big states left to win and i think the Super delegates FORCE Hillary to see reality and get out for the good of the Party!

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  148. BARTLEBEE said...
    Its going to cost more than a Trillion dollars to rebuild our army, once Bush is through playing with it."


    It will cost AT LEAST a trillion to repair the Military, and more to care for all the disabled Vets.........it will be at least another Trillion or several trillion to repair our economy and infrastructure............when all is said and done Bush will be remembered as a cross between Hoover, Nixon, Stalin, McCarthy, Hitler, and Gilligan!

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  149. Mike you oughta email that story to Keith Olberman.

    He's usually interested in that sort of stuff.

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  150. BTW, i have a theory on what "COULD" be going on in Texas...........and the more i consider this theory the more it makes sense.

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  151. BARTLEBEE said...
    Mike you oughta email that story to Keith Olberman.

    He's usually interested in that sort of stuff."

    yeah i thought of going a route like that as well Barlebe........i need to give it more thought though.........if i find any factual evidence to confirm my theory i will most definately come forward and contact people like Olberman.

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  152. You know if I was reporting about the latest development in Iraq;

    Police in Basra taking off their police uniforms BUT keeping their US supplied weapons and training as they go over to the Mahdi Army's side in the battle between them and Maliki's militia,

    The fact Maliki has to extend his dead line and tries to bribe people to stop fighting him,

    The fact that the Madhi army is holding it's own three days after the start of the fighting,

    The fact that the US can't even keep the "green Zone" safe, so special instructions are made to US personnel in that heavily fortified place in central Baghdad,

    The fact fighting is breaking out in Nasiriya, Karbala, Hilla, Thi Qar, Kut, and Diwaniya as well as Basra and Baghdad,

    The fact that the fighting also did damage to Iraq's infrastructure, as well as to oil facilities and pipelines, damage that might run into the billions of dollars.

    The fact that the Mahdi Army used its position near Nasiriya to attack government troops attempting to go south to join the effort in Basra, and is said to have inflicted substantial casualties on them,

    The fact that in Baghdad, Mahdi Army fighters clashed with government forces in 31 districts,

    I might be tempted to question Bush, Cheney and McCain's statement the surge is a success.

    I might be tempted to ask them to explain if they have had so much success in Iraq why does the fighting keep breaking out in place after place.

    Why can't the Iraqi military handle this fighting after four years of training and billions of dollars spent on that training.

    Why aren't the Sunni groups Petreaus is paying being brought in to defend Iraq from the extremists? (according to Cheney, Bush and McCain)

    Why aren't any Kurdish units involved?

    Might this actually be just a fight between separate Shiite factions as to whether the Maliki-Hakim Iran-US backed militias ie the Badr Corps dominate the Shiite areas, or will al Sadr, and his Madhi Army who wants both the US and Iran out of Iraq to become the leader of the Shiites?

    But since al Sadr won't do the neo-cons bidding like Maliki will I guess bush ET Al will continue to lie about what is happening there, and the corporate owned conservative MM will tout the dishonest party line instead of reporting the real facts about Iraq and the real reasons so many people in Iraq (over 80%) want the US troops out and the neo-cons influence in their country ended.


    Too bad US troops are dying because Bush ET AL can't tell the truth and the MSM can't tell the difference between the lies of Bush ET AL and the truth.

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  153. Hey Mike,

    I wonder if there were "operation chaos" delegates there?

    I hear there are many Republican crossover voters in Texas that have been elected Democrat delegates.

    Does it bother you that the guy next to you at the convention may be a Limbaugh plant?

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  154. Might This be one reason the Iraqi people are dissatisfied with the US occupation?

    ReplyDelete
  155. Does it bother you that the guy next to you at the convention may be a Limbaugh plant?

    Only because that gutless chicken hawk is Hiding in the democratic party caucus instead of signing up and fighting the war they support, but they are probably as gutless as YOU are.

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  156. Voltron said...
    Hey Mike,

    I wonder if there were "operation chaos" delegates there?

    I hear there are many Republican crossover voters in Texas that have been elected Democrat delegates.

    Does it bother you that the guy next to you at the convention may be a Limbaugh plant?"

    like i said several weeks ago, the democrat to repug turnout at the caucus was like 30 to 1 this told me a very large amount of repugs were in the caucus voting for HILLARY, plus i saw and heard repugs admitting the same.

    Now as for your statement of those repugs being elected delegates they certainly WERENT elected delegates for Obama, number one they were ALL supporting Hillary, and number two the Obama campaign had a great grassroots effort to make sure the people elected delegates were loyal to Obama...........trust me ALL the people elected delegates at my precinct were loyal to Obama of this i have no doubt whatsoever.

    Now were some of the Hillary delegates repugs that will vote repug in the General election..........maybe, but thats a moot point since they clearly supported Hillary anyway...........them being Hillary delegates is irrelevant the issue is they were voting in the opposition primary with the sole purpose being to compromise and damage the integrity of the process and have the least electable candidate win the nomination so their candidate has a better chance of winning in November.

    And no Volt my theory of what happened yesterday at the Convention doesnt involve the repugs at all...........they allready did their damage by voting in the democratic primary on March 4th for a candidate they clearly wont support in November just to compromise the integrity of the process and help the least electable candidate win.

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  157. Like Clif said those gutless chickenhawks shouldnt have been hiding in the democratic party rather than fighting the war the crave and "CLAIM" to support............at my precinct they almost got their heads knocked in, the Obama supporters would have clearly kicked the crap out of the repugs and Hillary supporters if we actually would have fought...............and the military guys were ALL on Obama's side VOLTY...........so dont even start with your peacenik you hate the troops and dont support them BS Nazi talk.

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  158. Volt said "Does it bother you that the guy next to you at the convention may be a Limbaugh plant?"

    Like i told you before i can assure you that the guy sitting next to me at the convention was not a limbaugh plant and was 100% without a doubt loyal to Obama................nice try though trying to muddy the waters and attack my credibility by throwing BS conspiracy theories out there and hoping i'd bite and you could reel me in.............boy you clowns REALLY have nothing left and are desperate.

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  159. Its a mystery to me how republicans look in the mirror in the morning without wanting to kill the face looking back at them.

    How does a man keep telling himself he's good, when his entire days plan is one of dishonesty and corruption?

    Imagine, thinking yourself good, when your job that day is to go vote in the other party's primary to try and depose their nominee.

    Boggles the mind.

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  160. Mike, here is why dolt and the rest of the gutless repugnants like shillary;

    Cash-strapped Clinton fails to pay bills

    Hillary Rodham Clinton’s cash-strapped presidential campaign has been putting off paying hundreds of bills for months — freeing up cash for critical media buys but also earning the campaign a reputation as something of a deadbeat in some small-business circles.

    She is proving to be as big a deat beat when it comes to paying the bills she runs up as ronnie raygun, poppy bush and the stupidest F**ker to ever crap on the white house.

    Repugnants seem to LOVE people who can't pay the bills they run up. they keep asking for them to run.

    (also probably why Dolt got somebody else to pay fir his granny hips.)

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  161. It looks like Bush's puppet LOT in Basra;

    Sadrists and Iraqi government reached an agreement in Basra…update…Mahdi Army keeps the arms

    ……Update….

    Press conference on Iraqi TV right now by the Sadrists, they insist that Mahdi Army still keeps its arms and will not hand them over to the government. [when he said this TV cuts the broadcast]

    The Iraqi government sent a delegation [from Badr Brigade, Al-Adib and Al-Amri] to Qom - Iran to negotiate Al-Sadr before the truce declaration, notice the Al-Sadr demands are the same and the government accepted them. [even before the violence started their demands are to stop the raids, to end the arrests of the Sadrists].

    ……End update…..

    After the killing of Maliki’s security adviser “Hassan Al-Kadhmi” by Mahdi Army in Basra today and according to Wasat Online, the Iraqi government and the Sadrists reached an agreement of nine points [Image if the Al-Sadr statement including the 9 points], no details reported about the details of these points [that will be expected in the coming 2 hours in an official statement], the newspaper says that among the points is the withdrawal of the Iraqi and American forces from Basra, stop the raids against the Sadrists, Maliki to return to Baghdad in 48 hour followed by the ministers [Defense and Interior].


    Nice, Bush Cheney and McSame call for attacking "extremists, Maliki does it and fails as bad as Diem ever did in Vietnam.


    I wonder how the stupid neo-cons and their pathetic trolls are gonna spin THIS LOSS?

    Maliki accomplished NOTHING, and Sadr is MORE popular then ever.

    The fighting between factions of the Shiite sects has resulted in the US hand picked puppet looking ineffectual and incompetent, Just like Bush does here.

    Must SUCK to have to defend these incompetent morons day in and day out.

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  162. It should bother Doltron more that his glorious leader has the IQ of a PLANT.

    ReplyDelete
  163. Dith Pran has passed away.

    We know him from the movie The Killing Fields, (with Sam Waterston playing Sydney Schanberg).

    Pran was a translator for NYT reporter Sydney Schanberg in Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge took over.

    Incredible movie of human strength, which the right wing neo-con bed wetters (like the trolls here) LACK.

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  164. Is Hillary joining the "vast right wing conspiracy" or do they see her as their best choice in this election year?

    Richard Mellon Scaife now says he has a "very favorable" impression of Sen. Clinton.

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  165. SO OBAMA REALLY WON TEXAS AFTER ALL

    Caucuses Guarantee Obama Win In Texas

    AUSTIN - With more than 56% of the results tallied from today's 284 Democratic district conventions across Texas, Senator Barack Obama currently is projected to earn a 38-29 pledged delegate win in the Texas caucuses, exactly as projected on the day after the March 4th precinct caucuses. The nine delegate margin in the caucuses means Obama will gain a net margin of five pledged delegates from Texas because Senator Clinton narrowly won the Texas primary by only four delegates, 65-61.

    "Despite the Clinton campaign's widespread attempts to prevent many Texans from participating in their district convention, the voters of Texas confirmed Senator Obama's important delegate win in the Lone Star State," said Obama spokesman Josh Earnest. "Today's record-shattering turnout sends a clear message that the American people are ready for change in Washington and new leadership in the White House that will stand up for working families."

    The Obama campaign will release a more detailed tally of the results tomorrow.


    I wonder if the corporate owned MSM is going to report how Texas really turned out or just ignore one more thing which doesn't fit the propaganda desires of their corporate owners?

    BTW Mike, Kudos to sticking to your guns down there.

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  166. Looks like the yellow bellied bed wetters who followed the fat drug addicted lying pedophile's advice FAILED in Texas, because

    OBAMA WON TEXAS


    Suck on that one dolt.

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  167. A very good run down on what happened in Iraq this past week and WHY;

    Serving Patriot on Maliki's Motives

    COL,

    You noted to arbogast: "Maliki may have started this on his own trying to strengthen his own hand for the Autumn elections." Methinks there is a lot to this line of thought. Maliki, along with all the other Iraqi "patriots" in the Green Zone, must read the tea leaves as well as we do back home. Irrespective of November's winner, the US cannot sustain its current level of commitment in "Mess"-opatamia. Its army is breaking down and wheels will really begin to fly off by the end of 2008. So, there is no time like the present (and maximum strength) to drag your partner's army into an effort to knock off your chief rival and *his* army. No doubt we were and remain surprised by the obvious -- Maliki acting in his own self-interest -- but, we are yet again surprised by Iraqi actions, and probably not for the last time... Maliki knows he'll be left to the mobs in the near future. While holding off the Sunni and Kurds may be possible with the support of his co-religionists, he cannot do so while simultaneously fighting Sadrists (nationalists) for control of the key prizes (Baghdad, Basra and southern oil). As much as we vastly underestimate White House stupidity and arrogance, I think we also vastly underestimate Sadr's game, his power among the dispossessed Shi'i, and his appeal to Arab Shi'ism (vice Persian). I'm sure the Iranians support both sides of the Shi'i split in Iraq - mainly to keep their most feared foe divided and non-threatening. But, when push comes to shove, I think they will cut off Sadr's support in favor of their buddies in the SCIRI/Badr/Dawa groups. (Then again, in a country like Iraq were hundreds of thousands of small arms, light weapons and explosives are "missing," how decisive will the lack of direct Iranian support be?) Its an intriguing four way game: 1- Sadr wants all foreign occupiers out and Iraq for (Shi'i) Iraqis, 2- Iran wants quiet and influence on its western border, strategic depth from the hated Sunni and Jewish enemies and a bridge to their long lost cousins in Southern Lebanon (tweaking America along the way is like whipped cream on the sundae), 3- US desperate to extricate itself from their Iraqi tar-baby while simultaneously weakening the ascendant Persians (whose rise is fueled by continued its own ground presence and blinkered search for “victory” in the hunt for global jihadists!), and 4-Maliki, whose neck is stretched if/when he's left to his own devices by this American (overlord) protectors. No wonder the British want out so bad. It’s a race for the last lifeboat and those left on deck face some mighty cold waters...

    Serving Patriot"


    Wanna bet dolty boy don't "get" this one?

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  168. On March 29, 1973, the last United States troops left South Vietnam, ending America's direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.

    Some day soon, US troops will leave Iraq ending the worst strategic mistake ever made by the US and the illegal war started by George W Bush (w stands for War criminal) think of that next time you see one on a SUV.

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  169. It looks like Hillary's campaign is falling apart financially, and super delegates with political campaigns of their own are hitching their futures to Obama;

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Endorsing Obama


    Barack Obama is set to pick up the endorsement of freshman Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) tomorrow, the Wall St. Journal reports. Klobuchar's home state already voted back on Super Tuesday, giving Obama a 2-1 victory in its caucuses.

    By our count, this now makes Obama tied with Hillary Clinton for endorsements from their fellow Senators, at 14 supporters each.


    and;

    Meanwhile, North Carolina's seven Democratic House members are poised to endorse Sen. Obama as a group -- just one has so far -- before that state's May 6 primary, several Democrats say.

    Which would mean Obama just picked up 7-8 more super delegates, to add to his total. Hillary not so much.(the ditto heads should suck on that one).

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  170. clif, here's my take on what happened last week.

    Spin this any way you want to-Moqtada wins AGAIN. This ought to do wonders for his prestige in Iraq.

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  171. Ya know when the Iraqi Fiasco is finally over, and the bed wetting gutless chicken hawks wanna put up a cold stone memorial to their cowardliness for allowing others to fight in their place;

    HERE is my suggestion.

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  172. Not good news if your gonna claim you don't do lobbyists;

    Two top McCain advisors lobbied for predatory lender

    Two top advisors for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) represented one of the nation's most aggressive predatory lenders, contradicting McCain's "straight talk" about America's collapsing housing market.

    "I will not play election-year politics with the housing crisis," the GOP presidential hopeful declared last week when unveiling his response.

    "John Green, the senator's chief liaison to Congress, and Wayne Berman, his national finance co-chairman, billed more than $720,000 in lobbying fees from 2005 through last year to Ameriquest Mortgage through their lobbying firm," disclosure forms reviewed by the Daily News show.


    No wonder why the senile old foole "claims" he doesn't know crap about the US economy, because if he admitted he knew as much as most right wingers, or kindergarten children, he would have to admit what they did was morally wrong.

    But like all right wingers morality is wearing little flag lapel pins, and yellow magnetic car stickers to show they are too gutless to go themselves, NOT doing what Jesus told us to do.

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  173. McCain is absolutely looking out for himself. That will translate into disregard for what Americans want too, should he win.

    He doesn't have a compassionate bone in his body. McCain didn't just cheat on his first wife and subsequently divorce her, he did so after she suffered a serious auto injury while he was a POW that left her disabled for life. It's been reported that he wasn't happy about her condition and the weight that she gained as a result of her limited mobility. I'm not sure about the extent of her injuries, but she wasn't bedridden. She could still get out and about.

    Anyway, if McCain didn't show respect or compassion for his own wife, he sure won't care about Americans without health care, jobs, food, shelter, etc.

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  174. Kathy, McCavein just did what every other red-blooded American "family values" Gopper does. Newt set that standard when he served his wife with divorce papers while she was taking chemo. And you can't really blame him; after all, the draft was over, so what did he really need her for anymore?

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  175. Ya know things are bad when a right wing pundit proposes this;

    [George] WILL: Can I propose Will’s Law? We can all agree on this. Three liberals and Will. Will’s Law is that no company, such as JPMorgan now, or BearStearns, that is getting substantial subvention from the federal government shall be allowed to pay any of its executives for than the GS-15, that’s $124,000. That would stop the run to Washington.

    Robert Reich added this;

    REICH: Let me say one other thing. I think the Will’s Law ought to be expanded to include oil companies should not get extra money from the government, pharmaceutical companies should not have their research and development subsidized by the government. We should have no corporate welfare, at all in this country.

    and George will said;

    WILL: For it.

    I see no problems with it, IF US corporations want Government handouts, they need to reign in the extravagant salaries of those who make those corporations beggars in Washington for corporate welfare.

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  176. BTW with Georgies stellar economic conditions, he is going to set a new record for a sitting president;

    MOST PEOPLE RECEIVING FOODSTAMPS

    28 million at the present or about 1 out of 10 Americans.

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  177. 28 million at the present or about 1 out of 10 Americans.

    And those are hard to get. Although my income is well below the poverty line, if I applied, I could only get $10/month.

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  178. Well I guess the first amendment is dead anyway after Bush's assault on the US constitution, so this is to be expected;

    Police arrest anti-war protester, 80, at mall

    An 80-year-old church deacon was removed from the Smith Haven Mall yesterday in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War.

    Police said that Don Zirkel, of Bethpage, was disturbing shoppers at the Lake Grove mall with his T-shirt, which had what they described as "graphic anti-war images." Zirkel, a deacon at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch, said his shirt had the death tolls of American military personnel and Iraqis - 4,000 and 1 million - and the words "Dead" and "Enough." The shirt also has three blotches resembling blood splatters.

    Police said in a release last night that Zirkel was handing out anti-war pamphlets to mallgoers and that mall security told him to stop and turn his shirt inside out. Zirkel refused to turn his shirt inside out and wouldn't leave, police said. Security placed him on "civilian arrest" and called police. When police arrived, Zirkel passively resisted attempts to bring him to a police car, the release said.

    But Zirkel said he was sitting in the food court drinking coffee with his wife Marie, 77, and several others when police and mall security officers approached and demanded they remove their anti-war T-shirts.

    The others complied, but Zirkel said he refused, and when he wouldn't stand up to be removed and arrested, authorities brought over a wheelchair. "They forcibly picked me up and put me in the wheelchair," said Zirkel, a deacon at one of the poorest Catholic parishes on Long Island, where a devastating fire recently destroyed the rectory and storage areas.

    Zirkel was charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. He was released on bail. A spokeswoman for mall owner Simon Property Group did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

    Generally speaking, a mall has the right to control what happens on its property, said John McEntee, a Uniondale commercial litigation lawyer.

    Activists with dueling opinions had gathered to support and oppose America's five-year campaign.

    As Zirkel was being wheeled to the police car, the crowd chanted "We shall not be moved!" Moments later, they moved; police and mall security had ordered them off the property. Many joined a larger anti-war crowd assembled by the mall's entrance, off mall property, on Veterans Memorial Highway.

    They were complemented nearby by protesters saying the Iraq war is vital for security.


    I guess people no longer have the right to express their opinion in this formerly great country.

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  179. The surge has been soooo successful that;

    American embassy to move into a secret place.

    With this morning attack on the Green Zone claimed by the “Muslimeen Army” = part of Jihad and Reform Front [Sunni resistance group, contrary to the American claims saying “Mahdi Army”, the group also claims all the attacks at the last three days], al-Arab reported that the American ambassador gave his instruction to the embassy staff since Saturday to move the embassy into a “secret place” at the west of Baghdad.

    Major General Faisal Al-Asafi, head of the Green Zone security guards said that this is a temporary measure until the coalition forces stop the attackers from firing the mortars on the Green Zone, He pointed out that probably the British and Australian embassies to take the same decision in the coming hours.


    So some of the groups Gen Petreaus was trying to bribe, to allow the occupation of their country to continue, NOT the Madhi army has been attacking the Green Zone, while the Madhi army kicked the US backed puppet and his Iranian backed militia all over southern Iraq.

    Bush and McSame call this a success?

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  180. Oh and in case you didn't know Iran brokered the cease fire between Maliki and al Sadr, making Bush even more useless then he already was.

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  181. Oh and in case you didn't know Iran brokered the cease fire between Maliki and al Sadr, making Bush even more useless then he already was.

    What's more, the individual who brokered it is the general in charge of the Quds force. He is on the US terrorist watch list.

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  182. We just had Paul Waldman from Media Matters and his new book FREE RIDE: McCAIN AND THE MEDIA on our show.

    Amazing info about McCain and upcoming Obama smears.

    Please listen in the archives.


    clif and tomcat - please tell me more about this Maliki and Sadyr peace deal????

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  183. If anyone here really wants to get peeved at McCain and his underhanded scumminess even as a POW which I was not aware of check out polishifters
    I refuse to believe he can even run or this has not been capitalized on. I am sure with Rove and Bush about, the truth will again be labeled a lie and those speaking the truth about a false hero will be labeled anti American and traitors. Unbelievable!

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  184. 'George W Bush Sewage Plant' Proposed In San Francisco

    April 2, 2008 08:44 AM
    HuffingtonPost.com

    "Looking to honor the forty-third President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, the recently formed Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is looking to change the name of the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Facility. It seems the group would like to rename the SF Zoo adjacent facility to the 'George W Bush Sewage Plant,' SFist reports.

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  185. The George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

    :D

    Has a nice ring to it.

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  186. Of course, it is sort of insulting.

    :|

    To Sewage Treatment Plants.

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  187. Having a Sewage Treatment Plant named after him will fulfill two presidential historical requirements.

    :|

    It will serve as both a national monument and an official portrait.

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  188. And they'll save money on putting in public restrooms,... since it is a public restroom.

    :|

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  189. Although I doubt the cafeteria will do much business.

    :|

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  190. And I wouldn't want to see the reflecting pool.

    :|

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  191. And where they're getting the funding for this project I'm not sure, but I hear that they're currently accepting donations.

    :|

    In denomonations of either "number one" or "number two".

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  192. When asked by the press about the proposed site for this memorial Mr Bush commented; "..its sort of like Hershey Park...just don't eat the samples...".

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  193. Lydia, Juan Cole posted THIS a couple of days ago;

    McClatchy provides a lot of important detail about Sunday's surprising developments regarding the fight between the Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army. A parliamentary delegation from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's own coalition (mainly now the Da`wa Party and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) defied him by going off to the holy seminary city of Qom in Iran and negotiating directly with Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr and with the leader of the Quds Brigades of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Qasim Sulaymani.

    As a result of those parleys, Muqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to stand down, though I read his statement as permitting continued armed self-defense, as at Basra where the Iraqi Army is attacking them and the US is bombing them. Significantly, he calls on the Mahdi Army to stop attacking the HQs of rival political parties. That language suggests that the parties are suffering from such attacks and are worried that party infrasture is being degraded ahead of the October 1 provincial elections. The southern parties have essentially defied al-Maliki and Bush to make a separate peace.

    The entire episode underlines how powerful Iran has become in Iraq. The Iranian government had called on Saturday for the fighting to stop. And by Sunday evening it had negotiated at least a similar call from Sadr (whether the fighting actually stops remains to be seen and depends on local commanders and on whether al-Maliki meets Sadr's conditions).


    and this;

    The NYT notes the irony here that the al-Maliki government is dependent on Muqtada al-Sadr to pull its fat from the fire:

    'Many Iraqi politicians say that Mr. Maliki’s political capital has been severely depleted by the campaign and that he is now in the curious position of having to turn to Mr. Sadr, a longtime rival and now his opponent in battle, for a solution to the crisis.'



    Lets see Maliki has to turn to Iran and his political enemies to help him out with problems Bush and Cheney created,

    Tell me AGAIN why we can't bring our troops home and let the locals figure this one out, JUST LIKE THEY JUST DID.

    What is this years LIE to keep the war going?

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  194. What is this years lie to keep the war going ......

    would make a good bumper sticker.

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  195. Lydia, O/T please check today's second article at PP. It should interest you personally.

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  196. TomCat - THANK YOU!!!

    I wrote a comment at your wonderful blog Politics Plus...

    And CONGRATULATIONS to you!!!

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  197. .....tap tap tap.... is this thing on?

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