Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GORE BACKS OBAMA: "THIS ELECTION AFFECTS THE FUTURE OF OUR PLANET"

IN THIS ISSUE: Boy Scout Heroes, Midwest Floods, Gore Backs Obama and Father's Day with Emperor Qin's Terracotta Army...

And if you missed our riveting interview this morning with U.S. Attorney David Iglesias who was fired by Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department (on orders from Karl Rove?) in the 'Attorney-Gate scandal' please go to Basham and Cornell Show and click on Audio Archives.



After seeing the above video, I've changed my mind. I'm voting Republican.

This the most important election of our time. Nobel Laureate, award-winning environmentalist, peacemaker and international statesman Al Gore gives an outstanding speech on the failures of the Bush Administration and shows us what could have been, and what will be. We will change the world with our new President. If McSame wins, it will be a McShame.


"I intend to do whatever I can to make sure Obama is elected." - Al Gore (HuffPo)

Could Justice finally catch up with criminal corruption and treason? House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a subpoena Monday morning to the Attorney General Michael Mukasey demanding he turn over the FBI’s interview transcripts of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney who were questioned in 2004 about the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame.

And don't forget, on June 12, Cheney lied and his own party busted him! In a speech before the Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney – the former CEO of the oil services company Halliburton — called for a substantial increase in domestic drilling for oil and other natural resources. "Oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida," the vice president said. "We're not doing it, the Chinese are, in cooperation with the Cuban government. Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to high prices is more supply."

Armed with maps and reports, Sen. Mel Martinez – a Florida Republican who served in Bush’s cabinet – took to the Senate floor to dispute Cheney’s claim: Despite what is cited as fact here in the Senate and in other places, China is not drilling off the coast of Cuba. … Reports to the contrary are simply false. … So any talk of using some fabricated China/Cuba connection as an argument to change U.S. policy, in my view, has no merit.


BOY SCOUT HEROES
A week of tragedy and heroism. Four young Boy Scouts lost their lives this week in a freak tornado that wrecked their camp. God Bless these poor families who are grieving. And Rest in Peace, Tim Russert. My heart goes out to Russert's widow, Maureen Orth and son Luke.

The Scouts lived up to their motto. “We were prepared.”
“All four of the young men who were killed are Scouts.“ These young men, these Scouts, were the most outstanding leaders in their communities. We’ve very proud of those young men. They responded as quickly as they could. Think lives were saved. They were the real heroes of this story.”

“We knew that shock could happen. We knew to put tourniquets on wounds that were bleeding too much. We knew we needed to apply pressure and gauze... We knew about this. We knew how to do it.”


NBC News and news services
updated 3:09 p.m. PT, Thurs., June. 12, 2008

BLENCOE, Iowa - Boy Scouts who survived a twister that killed four of their friends described the fear followed by the quick action to help the injured that followed the tragedy Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service said it was an EF3 on the 1-to-5 Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado intensity, with an estimated wind speed of 145 mph. Meteorologists said the twister cut a path about 14 miles long.

When the howling winds finally died down, the Boy Scouts — true to their motto, "Be Prepared" — sprang into action.

Putting their first-aid training to use, they applied tourniquets and gauze to the injured. Some began digging victims from the rubble of a collapsed fireplace. And others broke into an equipment shed, seized chainsaws and other tools, and began clearing fallen trees from a road.

Scouts were at leadership training
Dozens of the boys, ages 13 to 18, were hailed for their bravery and resourcefulness Thursday.

"There were some real heroes at this Scout camp," Culver said, adding that he believes the Scouts saved lives while they waited for paramedics to cut through the trees and reach the camp a mile into the woods.

The 93 boys, all elite Scouts attending a weeklong leadership training session, had taken part in a mock emergency drill with 25 staff members just a day before the twister hit.

"They knew what to do, they knew where to go, and they prepared well," said Lloyd Roitstein, an executive with the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Killed were Aaron Eilerts, 14, of Eagle Grove, Iowa; and Josh Fennen, 13, Sam Thomsen, 13, and Ben Petrzilka, 14, all of Omaha, Neb. Roitstein said the four were in one of three buildings where Scouts sought shelter.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff toured the camp and said it appeared that the Boy Scouts "didn't have a chance" and that the tornado came through the camp "like a bowling ball."
From Wisconsin to Missouri, officials in the flood-ravaged Midwest were frantically sandbagging, watching weakened dams and rescuing residents from water that in some places rose knee-high, while storms threatened more damage in the Upper Plains.



FLOODS IN THE MIDWEST

Officials in Wisconsin were monitoring dams and high water in Indiana burst a levee, flooding a vast stretch of farmland. In Minnesota and North Dakota, strong winds closed a highway and even sent a cow into the air, a witness said.

Tornadoes touched down in eastern Nebraska and southwestern Minnesota, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.

Along the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois, the National Weather Service was predicting the worst flooding in 15 years. Outlying areas could be inundated, but most of the towns are protected by levees and many low-lying property owners were bought out after massive flooding in 1993, officials said.
______________________

On Father's Day we went to see the most amazing exhibition of Emperor Qin's Terracotta Army at the Bowers Museum. The life-size terracotta figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by several local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. Here's a photo of me on Sunday - with a "walking statue."


“China’s First Emperor, the boy king who united the country in 221 B.C. and began construction of the first Great Wall, was not only obsessed with building but also a fanatic about death. After experimenting with potions to prolong his life, the megalomaniac king resigned himself to death on his own terms. He would build a standing army of 7,000 soldiers to enforce his rule over the afterlife.”

Sound like anyone you know? Well, actually, these and other imperial traits sound like a bunch of people we know. - The OC Weekly, Ted B. Kissell


Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

145 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. Some weird things are happening with the weather and the earth. Its scary.

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  2. I like when you say that we should keep our thoughts on joy and love. Maybe that will change our reality, instead of worrying all the time and being fearful.

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  3. Yes, that is what I mean by "God" - the consciousness of love. If we keep our thoughts on the good, the beautiful and the true — we will experience these things in proportion to our thoughts.

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  4. and your thoughts directly affect your physical reality. We can also get through really hard times with grace and a minimum of suffering when we are thinking the right way - seeing the smallest thing to be grateful for.

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  5. I just discovered your website on google and thought it should be checked out. So happy you are still active and being creative. I wish you much peace and happiness.

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  6. Chelsea - thank you!
    xo
    Lydia

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  7. Lydia--
    The most egregious mistake mankind has made, is creating God in their own image, instead of the other way around.

    God is not some big, bearded, robed fellow, sitting on a physical throne somewhere. God is Spirit. The Koine Greek word was, 'pneuma', meaning literally, 'breath'. He dwells in all of mankind. He is like the wind; you can feel it, and see the effects of it, but know not where it comes from, or where it goes.

    God is not proprietary to any single group, race, or religion. Mankind belongs to God. ALL mankind --- Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, et al. And yes, even atheists. Anyone who disagrees with that is limiting an omniscient and omnipotent force.

    When Jesus preached, "Love thy neighbor as thyself", the Koine word used, was 'plesion', meaning, 'fellow-man'. It is much wider and inclusive than the English word, 'neighbor'.

    I have been taking a brow-beating over this kind of stuff. You may find this interesting

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  8. Father's Day Special: What Legacy Are You Passing On To Your Children?

    By Terry Real

    Each year at this time, we celebrate fathers, and in doing so we can't help contemplating our relationships with our own fathers as well as the kind of dads we have become.

    In a family, the roles we pass from generation to generation can be like a fire in the woods, taking down everything in its path until one person has the courage to stand and face the fire.

    That fire is the legacy of esteem for oneself and for others that is learned from the family dynamic. I always say that the best gift you can give your children is a healthier you. Even the most apparently well-adjusted and gracious families host elements of ill health and disconnection behind their closed doors.

    When psychologists talk about learning to live relationally, we refer to picking up a new way of living. That includes doing the work not just to benefit yourself, but for your marriage, your children and your children's children. That means examining the legacy you bring into your relationships, to heighten the positive elements and redefine the negative ones.

    We've all heard the saying, "Do as I say, not as I do," and we all know it's baloney. The reality is that children do as you do; they learn what they live.

    Examining your legacy is a transformative experience aimed not at changing you and your spouse as individuals, but literally changing the course of your entire family. You have the chance to identify the essential messages you received as a child about how to be a grown up, the unspoken cues on how to live. Each of those messages has positive and negative aspects.

    WHAT'S YOUR LEGACY?

    For example, if you grew up in a family that valued being stoic and uncomplaining, the positive aspect is that you probably became a person who can be counted on, someone who is strong and stalwart. On the other hand, you probably also learned to despise vulnerability in your self and in others.

    The positive of that legacy is that you are tough and you can suffer thru a lot of adversity. The negative consequence is that you have contempt for any sign of human weakness; you're perfectionistic, unforgiving and perhaps even kind of cruel to yourself and others. Some one who has this legacy might think that they are toughening up their kids, but they can be unsympathetic when they do a less than perfect job. They might not mean to do those things, but they would just come out. This type of behavior can lead to depression - in the parent who is never satisfied and in the child who can never satisfy the parent.

    Another example is what we call the "Boundary-less Family". The positive aspects of this dynamic are that the family is very expressive and demonstrative about their love for each other. On the flip side, such families usually yell and scream a lot, often to the point of being abusive. Such persons pass on to their children a sense of entitlement that yelling and screaming is just a means of expressing yourself and that shameless behavior is acceptable. These families usually have a mixture of "ragers" and passive-aggressives who duck for cover and retaliate in more subversive ways.

    WHAT'S NEXT?

    After examining the core legacy passed down to you from your family of origin, the next step is to take a good hard look at yourself. Determine how you are passing the positive and negative messages you received from your family down to your children.

    While you can reap rewards from doing this work individually, it works unbelievably well if you work on this as a couple or as a co-parenting partnership. There is a real turning point that happens when the the light bulb goes off and things that your and your partner have been trying to get thru to each other for 20-30 years finally gets thru. This exercise enables you both to finally "get" what each other has been doing that is off-base and over which you have both been tearing your hair out. This is that thing that you've been fighting about for years while neither of you have been able to listening. In the mean time, your kids have been in the middle of your competing legacies, and even worse, they've been watching and learning from it.

    In a Legacy Workshop, you have experience the miraculous moment of watching your partner get it. And you also have the sobering experience of getting it yourself.

    HOW TO FORGIVE AND FORGET

    After all of this deep self-examination, there is a big reward. You get a chance to thank your parents for the positive legacy they have given you, and you get to confront them about the costs of the negative aspects you learned. Don't worry, this is a virtual exercise. (If you choose to do this in person, we have a couch ready to help you get over that trauma!)

    There are many ways to undertake this exercise. It can be in the form of a letter, be done in front of a mirror or you can even speak to your imaginary parent sitting in an empty chair in front of you. The idea is to give voice your discoveries and acknowledge the positive and negative aspects of the legacy. For example, "Dad, you taught me to... As a result, I've become a strong, independent, driven person, and I'm able to excel at my career and provide a great life for my family. On the other hand, the negative messages you gave me have cost me the following: I learned that vulnerability is to be despised, and you taught me that anything less than perfection is not to be tolerated. As a result, I'm always striving, everything is not enough and I never feel happy.

    Another example from the boundary-less family could be, "Dad you gave me the gift of being able to share my love and affection with my family. My kids know that I love them no matter what. On the other hand, the negative side is that like you, I don't hold back when I'm angry. I fly into a rage. I've made it O.K. for us to yell and scream at each other, and I hate that sometimes I make my kids and my wife cry. Even if I'm not raging, I can act like a jerk and push people away when I don't get my way.

    Once you have taken this step, it's time to give the negative legacy back to your parent(s). You give voice to your forgiveness, accept the generosity of the positive things you received from them and forgive them (and give back) the negative legacy.

    This is a very cathartic experience for everyone who does it, and if it is in the context of a group workshop, the reverberation is palpable, especially in the third and final step which helps you to forge ahead in good health.

    HOW TO FORGE ONWARD

    It is one thing to come to a deep realization. Once that is achieved, the key is to figure out what you're going to do with it. We don't feel like the legacy work is complete until the parents as individuals and as a couple make a pledge to change. This requires giving voice to specifically how you are going to behave differently. Again, this can be done virtually by speaking to pictures of your children. We think it is especially important for your spouse or co-parenting partner stand beside you in support as you make this pledge.

    The pledge might sound something like this: Son, these are the things I've been doing to pass on the negative legacy I learned from my parents on to you. Here is one concrete change I'm going to make in my behavior. From now on, I will welcome you when you come to me in vulnerability. If you don't play a perfect game, I'll be happy for the great job you did, and if you want, we'll work on improving your swing or pitch for the next game together.

    A pledge from the boundary-less parent might sound like this: Son, from now on I'm going to watch my temper, and I'm not going to act as if yelling and screaming and carrying-on is acceptable under any circumstance. Instead I'm going to give myself a time-out, and I'm going to let you know how I feel in a way that treats you and the family with respect.

    Don't get me wrong. Keeping these pledges is not easy. While we do believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, it takes a whole lot of practice and support to do that. That's why the very last step of the legacy work is to agree to do one thing to sustain their pledge. For some that might mean getting into regular therapy. For others it might mean joining a parenting group.

    The point is to become aware of the legacy you inherited, identify how it is affecting your life at home and at work, and to take steps to rectify the negative and enhance the positive.

    In our experience, 60% to 70% of people who take these pledges go home and behave in radically different ways. After a year they report back that not only did they experience an immediate result, but the entire family dynamic had positively shifted and they had achieved permanent results.

    So this week, while you're celebrating dad, think about the legacy you inherited, how you want to live now and the legacy you want to pass on. It's never too early to be a better, healthier person.

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  9. My Father's Gift of Tecumseh

    By Gina Telaroli

    I was a pretty lucky kid. I grew up with a father who had an interest in Native American history. And despite the inherent contradiction that my father also influenced me to be an avid Cleveland Indians fan, I've always been thankful that he brought an awareness of Native American history into my life. We would go on cross country trips out west and when I was about 14 we drove on down to Southern Ohio to see what remains my favorite theater experience to this day, "Tecumseh!". The play was based on one of my father's favorite books, Allan W. Eckert's "A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh."

    "Tecumseh!" is about the tragic Shawnee chief of the same name and is told in what I remember to be a breathtaking outdoor amphitheater with real horses and gunpowder. It was awe-inspiring, even for a fourteen year old who thought she was too cool to go on vacation with her family. And while I'm sure my critical thoughts on the piece are influenced by my age and ignorance of all things theater at that time, I think I can safely say that the story was amazing, the tragedy of which has always stayed with me.

    Tecumseh, for those unfamiliar, had a great plan to unite all of the different tribes against the incoming white men, and in the early 1800's he set out to do this. He was close to success when his brother, known as "the prophet" (he was a false one of course) got jealous and more or less ruined any chance of a unified front. And thus, here you and I are today. Of course it's more complicated, but I've always wondered what would have happened had Tecumseh been successful.

    Native American history, especially stories like that of Tecumseh, are not something we spend much time on in this country. Outside of quick history lessons in grade school and the like, it seems there is a general wish to forget what our being here means. And worse, beyond our lack of study of the past, almost no effort is paid to the current circumstances of Native Americans in this country.

    That lack of attention is why my recent viewing of films like Beth and George Gage's American Outrage and Randy Vasquez's Something's Moving got me pretty excited. Dialogue on the issues they deal with is so necessary and the prospect of that dialogue is in turn quite inspiring.

    American Outrage focuses on the Dann sisters and their fight to keep their Western Shoshone lands. In 1863, the Shoshone signed a treaty with the US allowing them to pass on their lands. That treaty, The Treaty of Ruby Valley, was a treaty of good faith and in no way signified that the Shoshone were giving up their lands. However, in 1974, Mary and Carrie Dann, elderly Shoshone grandmothers, found themselves accused of trespassing on their own land. The lengths that the government went to to remove the Dann sisters and their livestock from their property is astounding.

    As it turns out, the Dann's land was on top of a gold mine, making their removal very profitable for some of the world's largest gold companies. The film points also points out the great irony that as the US was taking Shoshone lands for their gold, they were also distributing the new Sacajawea coin. Sacajawea, the woman who led Lewis and Clark safely across the West, was also a Shoehone.

    Vasquez's Something's Moving on the other hand, a shorter version of a feature he hopes to make, deals with something less tangible and more rooted in the past, Catholic Indian boarding schools. The schools, as Vasquez himself found out, have caused years of psychological trauma for Native Americans:

    "I'd been open to learning more about contemporary Native issues and I read a book by Ward Churchill regarding boarding school history and the lingering effects in Indian country today. I remember reading it on a plane and being shocked.

    That was early 2003 and I've been educating and broadening myself on the subject ever since, talking to former students all over the country. My research led me to post traumatic stress disorder as it related to boarding school survivors and through a Harvard psychologist I was introduced to Walter Littlemoon in Wounded Knee. He agreed to work on a documentary about his experience at boarding school and it all started from there."

    His film now focuses on many different regions but what remains at the heart of it is the need to speak, the need to bring certain things to light, which seems to be happening given the reactions that Vasquez has seen:

    "The reaction to the fundraising trailer has generally been, by non-natives, 'I never knew about this' complete with slack jaw. A lot of Native people just nod and say 'yeah, the boarding schools...whoa.' Much of the younger generation though don't know about them either."

    And while both the situation of Littlemoon and the Dann Sisters are no doubt depressing, what's exciting and inspiring is that both projects exist and that both are being seen. Something's Moving is a part of the Media That Matters Film Festival, an online collection of films that travel the country and promote taking action, and American Outrage is featured in the upcoming New York chapter of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival.

    And while I wish every little girl (and boy) could go and see" Tecumseh!" and witness firsthand a story that has never left me, I'm also fully aware that Ohio will never be a hot spot vacation destination. Which in turn makes the work of the Gages and Vasquez that much more important. I'm glad that as technology continues to develop and allows us to delve deeper into unheard stories, we are beginning to consider what happened all those years ago and how it continues to affect Native American populations today. Giving a voice to those who had theirs taken away, along with so much more, is a step in the right direction.

    It's interesting to see, as I get older, how things like "Tecumseh!" have shaped who I am, and in many ways I have my father to thank for the good that I know came from that theatrical experience. Though, luckily for me his fascination with all things Tecumseh came after my birth, as he once told me that given the chance he would have made my middle name Tecumapese, in the spirit of Tecumseh's sister.

    Gina Tecumapese Telaroli, now thats a mouthful.

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  10. Danny Thomas to Daughter Marlo: 'Run Your Own Race, Baby'

    By Marlo Thomas

    Looking back, I think the most amazing thing about my father as a parent was how he included his children in his work. Most men of that era left their home and kids and went off to their jobs. Not my father. He would often take us to work at the studio with him. He let us sit in when the writers gathered for meetings in our home. He shared his passion for his work with us, and we knew he genuinely enjoyed our company.

    I can still remember sitting on the floor, watching story conferences, as he and his comedy writers shaped his nightclub act or knocked around ideas for an episode for his series. Sometimes I’d laugh out loud at a joke and he’d say, “You like that?” He’d get such a kick out of my getting the joke.

    My father was truly interested in his children. He wasn’t at all a “kids-are-supposed-to-be-seen-and-not-heard” kind of guy. Unusual for a powerful man.

    Growing up around all of this made my entry into the business so much easier. By the time I started working, it wasn’t a foreign land to me. I knew the lingo; I had learned how to shape a good story. And I understood the most important thing about comedy: As my father would say, “The audience will go down any yellow brick road with you, as long as you don’t lie to them. Don’t veer off that road of truth to get a laugh. Have respect for the audience, and they’ll stay with you.”

    There’s a story I’ve told before about my relationship with my father that dramatizes how he influenced me and helped to shape my life:

    When I was a little girl, around seven or eight, my father made a movie with Margaret O’Brien. It was summertime and he often took me to the set with him. I would cue him on his lines as we drove to MGM, with the car windows open and the heady mix of Old Spice and a Cuban cigar swirling about us. On the set I would play jacks with Margaret between takes, and when the bell rang I would join the crew in their silence as the cameras rolled and the boom mic moved into position to record the dialogue I knew by heart.

    I was in awe of my father and sinfully envious of Margaret O’Brien. I wore pigtails. I wanted freckles. I wanted to be Margaret O’Brien. Ten years later, at age seventeen, I got my chance.

    I played the lead in Gigi in a summer stock production at the Laguna Playhouse south of Los Angeles. The excitement of finally being a real actress was painfully short lived. All the interviews and all the reviews focused on my father. Would I be as good as Danny Thomas? Was I as gifted, as funny … would I be as popular? I was devastated.

    I loved my Dad, my problem was Danny Thomas. So I went to him and said, "Daddy, please don’t be hurt when I tell you this. I want to change my name. I love you but I don’t want to be a Thomas anymore."
    I tried not to cry during the long silence that followed. Then he said, "I raised you to be a thoroughbred. When thoroughbreds run they wear blinders to keep their eyes focused straight ahead with no distractions, no other horses. They hear the crowd but they don’t listen. They just run their own race. That’s what you have to do. Don’t listen to anyone comparing you to me or to anyone else. You just run your own race."

    The next night as the crowd filed into the theater, the stage manager knocked on my dressing room door and handed me a white box with a red ribbon. I opened it up and inside was a pair of old horse blinders with a little note that read, "Run your own race, Baby."

    Run your own race. He could have said it a dozen other ways. “Be independent.” “Don’t be influenced by others.” But it wouldn’t have been the same. The words he chose touched my heart and have remained with me all through my life. Whenever I’m at a crossroads, I ask myself, “Am I running my race or somebody else’s?” What a gift he gave me. I give it to you: Run your own race and … Happy Father’s Day.

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  11. Happy Father's Day to all of my fellow-Dad's out there!



    MCH

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  12. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments.

    And HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the dads out there.

    I miss my dad. God Bless you and love you.

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  13. Lydia
    Robert Rouse just did an excellent video you and everyone here has to see and get seen. so I am directing you there

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  14. McCain doesn't pick up on Michelle Obama joke

    So a man finally got a question into McCain and he had a very different sort of question.

    The questioner noted that he had been educated at Princeton and Harvard and made more than $300,000 a year.

    "How can I be proud of my country?" he asked.

    Get it — he was mocking Michelle Obama and her statement earlier this year that her husband had for the first time in her life made her proud of her country.

    Well, McCain either missed the joke or decided to ignore it and answer the question literally. I think it was the former because the individual asking the question had a thick accent that sounded to be either Indian or Pakistani, perhaps suggesting to McCain a recent immigrant grappling with America's image abroad.

    "I’ll admit to you that it’s tough, it’s tough in some respects," McCain said, seeming to lend credence to Michelle Obama's observation.

    McCain said America needed to be "more humble, more inclusive."

    War Lover McCain isn't proud of the America he seeks to keep at war.

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  15. Questions from the media prompted Republican John McCain to cancel a fundraiser at the home of a Texas oilman who once joked that women should give in while being raped.

    The Texan, Republican Clayton "Claytie" Williams, made the joke during his failed 1990 campaign for governor against Democrat Ann Richards. Williams compared rape to the weather, saying, "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it." He also compared Richards to the cattle on his ranch, saying he would "head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt."

    Williams' comments made national news at the time and remain easy to find on the Internet. Even so, McCain's campaign said it hadn't known about the remarks.

    "These were obviously incredibly offensive remarks that the campaign was unaware of at the time it was scheduled," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. "It's positive that he did apologize at the time, but the comments are nonetheless offensive."

    The campaign said it would not return money Williams had raised for McCain. Williams told his hometown newspaper, the Midland Reporter-Telegram, that he had raised more than $300,000 for McCain.

    The Washington Post said the campaign, when it initially was contacted by the Post and ABC News, questioned why the story was newsworthy; later in the day, the campaign canceled the fundraiser, which had been scheduled for Monday.

    Those Republicans just seem to show their true innerselves.

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  16. More On Tim Russert

    By Chris Cillizza

    The death of NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert continues to dominate the worlds of politics and journalism.

    The Fix is on the way to Las Vegas for a few days (and, as a result, posting will be light) but thought we'd share a few of the best pieces penned about Tim's life and legacy by some of our colleagues.

    * David Broder, who appeared on "Meet the Press" more than any other guest in history, wrote of Russert: "Family came first, but he took the time for friendships, and he nourished them. That is why his death yesterday leaves such a large void in this community."

    * Dan Balz, who puts big moments in politics and journalism into a larger context better than almost anyone in the country, penned a tribute to Russert's doggedness on and off the campaign trail.

    *David Remnick, a former Washington Post reporter and now the editor of the New Yorker, offered his own thoughts in a piece for the magazine: "Russert was defined as much by what he was not as by what he was," wrote Remnick. "He was not lazy or lax, he was not an ideologue or a cynic. Beyond his family, Russert's passion was politics, and he cared enough about the game to try to keep it, and its players, honest."

    * NBC News political director Chuck Todd, a Fix friend, offered his own heartfelt thoughts on Russert.

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  17. From the latest Harris Poll:

    President Bush’s latest ratings are 24 percent positive and fully 75 percent negative. Previously, his worst numbers were 26 percent positive and 72 percent negative in April of this year.

    Vice President Cheney’s ratings are even worse, 18 percent positive and 74 percent negative, compared to his previous low of 21 percent positive, 74 percent negative last July.

    Secretary of State Rice’s ratings are much better than those of the President and Vice President, but also have fallen to their lowest point ever, 39 percent positive and 54 percent negative, compared to 42 percent positive and 51 percent negative last October.

    Only 14 percent of the public think the things in the country are going in the right direction and fully 80 percent think they are on the wrong track. These compare to the previous worst numbers in President George W. Bush’s term, 75 percent thought things were on the wrong track in April. The highest number of people who said the country was on the wrong track was 81 percent in June of 1992 during the term of the first President Bush.

    The Devils Trio are Hated By All.

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  18. Those Boy Scouts were real heroes and it makes me proud that I was in scouting for so long - such a very long time ago (whew!). I really missed Tim Russert this morning. Part of my Sunday morning routine has been removed forever.

    Also, Lydia and Larry, thanks for dropping by and commenting on my latest video. Your words and support are much appreciated.

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  19. The flooding is worse in the midwest and Sunday wasn't the same without Tim Russert but still you leave a positive tone in your approach Ms Cornell

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  20. This has to be a sad fathers day for thousands of troops and their families who have to have doubts they will ever be reunited

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  21. Hope you were able to spend the day with your family Lydia and that it was as special for you as you made it for them.

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  22. Edwards Has Not Ruled Out V.P. Run

    ABC News' Mary Bruce reports: 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards this morning left open the possibility of a second run for the position. "I'd take anything he [Obama] asked me to think about seriously," Edwards explained in a "This Week" interview with George Stephanopoulos.

    The former 2008 presidential candidate was quick to clarify, however, that he is not actively pursuing the job. "But obviously this is something I've done and it's not a job that I'm seeking."

    As the veepstakes continue to heat up, Edwards said Obama should be left to make an independent decision. "Senator Obama ... has earned the right to make this decision for himself. I think he has enormous choices available to him, really great choices available to him. And I think he'll go through this process in a thoughtful, orderly way, and he'll decide who he wants to be his running mate. And that's exactly how it should be done."

    Here is some good news!

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  23. With Tim Russert’s Death, NBC News Must Replace a Man of Many Roles

    By BILL CARTER and JACQUES STEINBERG

    The sudden death of Tim Russert has left the management of NBC News, for the moment at least, at a loss to contemplate how to replace him.

    Mr. Russert was not only the moderator of “Meet the Press,” television’s most successful political talk show, he was also the chief of NBC’s Washington bureau, responsible for the hiring of staff members and directing its operations. More significantly, he was NBC’s public face on politics, appearing regularly on the network’s full range of programs, including the “Today” show, NBC’s “Nightly News,” and on its cable news channel MSNBC.

    “It’s going to take four or five people to replace Tim,” said Bob Schieffer, Mr. Russert’s competitor for two decades on CBS’s Sunday program, “Face the Nation,” in a telephone interview from a barge in the Burgundy region of France, where he was vacationing.

    “They’ve got to find a moderator for ‘Meet the Press.’ They’ve got to find a manager for that bureau. They’ve got to find someone who understands as much about politics as Tim does and there aren’t many people who do. They’ve got to find someone who is willing to get up in the morning and go on the ‘Today’ show and do the ‘Nightly News’ and then stay up late to go on MSNBC.”

    Jeff Zucker, the president of NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC News, said the network was well aware of the issues it faced going into a pivotal presidential election.

    “Nobody should even think about replacing Tim Russert,” he said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “What someone will need to do is find the next way to do ‘Meet the Press’ and provide political analysis. Anybody who thinks they can replace Tim Russert is kidding themselves.”

    Any open speculation about whom NBC might turn to was muted out of deference to Mr. Russert and his family. One manifestation of NBC’s reluctance to engage in any planning for its future was the network’s decision not to name a host for next week’s edition of “Meet the Press.” The former NBC anchor, Tom Brokaw, filled in on Sunday, hosting a show devoted to a celebration of Mr. Russert’s career.

    But the list of potential names to assume the moderator role on “Meet the Press” is already well known. From inside NBC, the potential candidates include the evening news anchor, Brian Williams, who would be doing double duty (as Mr. Schieffer did for a time at CBS), correspondents David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC hosts like Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough and Keith Olbermann. Several of those names are already lightning rods for critics, however.

    NBC could smooth the transition by offering the post on a temporary basis to Mr. Brokaw, who stepped down as the network’s anchor in 2004. Because of past associations both with NBC and Mr. Zucker, Katie Couric will also very likely be mentioned as a possibility, with her tenure as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” widely expected to end sometime in the next year.

    In planning election coverage without Mr. Russert, NBC has him to thank. He was widely regarded as a good judge of talent and a good mentor at the network, and the list of successors includes many people, including Ms. Couric and Gwen Ifill of PBS, whom he recruited or encouraged.

    On Sunday, the network was also preparing for funeral services and memorials. A public wake for Mr. Russert will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at St. Albans School in Washington, with a private funeral mass and burial on scheduled for Wednesday morning. A private memorial service, to be televised live on MSNBC, will be held Wednesday afternoon at the Kennedy Center.

    Mr. Russert had led “Meet the Press,” the oldest continuous program on television, since 1991. Under Mr. Russert, “Meet the Press” had become a source of prestige for NBC as the premier place for newsmakers and political candidates to make their case to the nation. It also provided financial value for the network, generating tens of millions in profit every year.

    Mr. Zucker said, “Tim gave us an enormous advantage that was not quantifiable.” That advantage had been re-emphasized during the intense interest in the current political year — and his absence is sure to alter the network’s plans leading up to the November presidential election.

    Just last week, NBC News began for the first time to describe its plans for covering the Republican and Democratic conventions: at least three hours of live prime-time coverage during each convention on NBC, and 20 hours a day on MSNBC. In both instances, Mr. Russert was set to be a constant presence, as an analyst alongside Brian Williams on NBC, and as an analyst and sometime host on MSNBC during its many hours of coverage.

    For Mr. Russert, that sort of around-the-clock service on multiple platforms was hardly unusual. On June 3, the night of the final Democratic nominating contests in Montana and South Dakota, Mr. Russert was up late on MSNBC, offering commentary on the speeches of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The next morning, he got up early to appear on “Today,” then crossed the street for an appearance on “Morning Joe,” the morning political talk show on MSNBC.

    Mr. Russert’s willingness and even eagerness to supply NBC News with every ounce of political expertise he could summon was something of a legend at the network.

    Mr. Zucker recalled a conversation with Mr. Russert from the days after the presidential election in 1992. At the time, Mr. Zucker was the executive producer of “Today,” and Mr. Russert was already augmenting his jobs on “Meet the Press” and running the Washington bureau by making frequent guest appearances on “Today.” How frequent? Mr. Zucker recalled calling Mr. Russert at one point to say, “You’re not going to believe this, we’re going to put you on for the 40th day in a row.”

    Mr. Zucker asked Mr. Russert if he wanted a break. “Jeff,” Mr. Zucker recalled Mr. Russert replying, “you’ve got to give the people what they want.”

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  24. John McCain: War Hero or North Vietnam's Go-To Collaborator?

    By DOUGLAS VALENTINE

    If you have no idea what war is about, thank your gods. It is not what you see in Mel Gibson movies, nor is it hidden within the Big Lie Big Brother tells you about Pat Tillman’s heroic “Army of One” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    When my father was in New Guinea with the 32nd Division in 1942, his fellow American soldiers would point their long Springfield rifles skywards and shoot at American pilots flying overhead.

    “Glory Boys,” the long-suffering ground troops called them.

    The pilots had comfortable quarters beside the airstrip in Port Moresby. When orders for a mission came down, they’d climb in their planes, rattle down the runway, and soar over the Owen Stanley Mountains with the clouds in spotless uniforms, breathing fresh clean air. The Glory Boys weren’t trapped in the broiling jungle, in the mud and pouring rain, their skin rotting away, chewed by ghastly insects, bitten by poisonous snakes, stricken with cerebral malaria, yellow fever, dysentery, and a host of unknown diseases delivered by unknown parasites.

    If the Fly Boys perished, it was in a blaze of glory, not from a landmine, or a misdirected American mortar, or a Japanese bayonet in the brain.

    One day my father and his last remaining friend, Charlie Ferguson, were walking through the jungle up to the front line. One the way they passed a group of bare-chested Aussies in khaki shorts sitting round a grindstone sharpening their knives. Every once in a while one of the Aussies would hoist his rife and casually put a bullet into a Japanese sniper who had tied himself into the top of a nearby tree. Not in any place that would outright kill him, but some place painful enough to make the point.

    A little further toward the front line, my father and Charlie came upon Master Sergeant Harry Blackman, an adult man in his forties, regular army, a grizzled combat veteran. A few days earlier in a fight with the Japanese, a young lieutenant, a “90-Day Wonder,” had curled up in a fetal position when he should have been directing mortar fire. As a result, US mortar rounds landed on several US soldiers. Blackman, in front of everyone, took the lieutenant behind a tree and blew his brains out.

    As my father and Charlie waked through the jungle they saw Harry Blackman perched on the lower limb of a huge tropical tree, babbling incoherently among the butterflies and flowering vines, driven stark raving mad by sorrow and jungle war with the Japanese.

    Several days later my father was sent on a patrol into Japanese held territory. He was the last man in a formation moving single file through the jungle. Plagued by malaria and exhaustion, he kept falling behind. Around noon, a group of Japanese soldiers sitting high up in trees dropped concussion grenades on the patrol. As he lay on the ground, unable to move, my father watched the Japanese slide down the trees. Starting with the point man on patrol, they pulled down the pants and castrated each man, before clubbing him to death with their rifle butts or running a bayonet into his gut.

    War. If you’re a Glory Boy like John Sidney McCain III, you really have no idea what it is. You drop bombs on cities, on civilians, maybe on enemy forces, maybe on your own troops. Glory Boys like John McCain rarely get a taste of the horror they inflict on others. Their suffering rarely extends beyond the high anxiety that they might get shot down and that some bombarded mob on the ground might take its revenge.

    Magically, my father was spared that day when his patrol was slaughtered. Against regulations, he had stolen a cross-swords patch and sewn it on his shirt sleeve. At the age of 16, he thought it looked cool. On the morning of the patrol, when the new “90-Day Wonder” told him to take it off, my father said “Sure.” He and the lieutenant stared at each other for a while and then the lieutenant moved away. Insubordination was the least of anyone’s worries. No one expected to survive the patrol, anyway.

    When the Japanese who had ambushed the patrol got to my father, they stood poised to mutilate and kill him. Then they saw the cross-swords patch. They apparently felt that dear old dad was an important person with inside information about American forces. Instead of killing him, they took him prisoner. When they realized he was just a stupid kid, the Japanese sent him to a POW camp in the Philippines.

    Being a POW is what my father and John McCain have in common; although their experience as POWs was as different as their class and their character.

    Class indeed has privileges, and while the government refused to provide my combat-veteran father with medical benefits for his malaria, McCain, who spent ten hours of his life in mortal danger, was decorated with the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

    And thus the “war hero” myth was born.

    McNasty
    In the fall of 1967, Navy pilot John McCain was routinely bombing Hanoi from an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. On October 26, he was trying to level a power plant in a heavily populated area when a surface-to-air missile knocked a wing off his jet. Banged-up John McCain and what was left of plane splashed into Truc Bach Lake.

    A compassionate Vietnamese civilian left his air raid shelter and swam out to McCain. McCain’s arm and leg were fractured and he was tangled up in his parachute underwater. He was drowning. The Vietnamese man saved McCain’s sorry ass, and yet McCain has nothing but hatred for “the gooks” who allegedly tortured him. As he told reporters on his campaign bus (The Straight Talk Express) in 2000, “I will hate them as long as I live.” (1)

    Americans have to hate people, and dehumanize them as “gooks” or “rag-heads” in order to drop bombs on them. Stirring up such hatred is the forte of the US government, as witnessed by its Israeli-driven PR campaign against Arabs and Moslems. That’s why Bush and his media minions tied “brutal dictator” Saddam Hussein to 9/11 – so Americans would hate Iraqis enough to kill and abuse them in a thousand ways, everyday, for five years. Or, according to McCain, for 100 years if necessary.

    The flip side to the equation is that people generally hate those who drop bombs on them. When the Germans dropped bombs on London, the Allies called it Terror Bombing. The French resistance especially hated the Germans, especially after the Gestapo set up shop in occupied France in 1940.

    Likewise, Iraqi and Afghani resistance fighters hate the Americans (who more and more resemble the Germans of 1940) for occupying their countries. They especially hate our Gestapo – the CIA – and its torturers. But that’s War for you, and John McCain is lucky the locals didn’t eat him alive – like Uzbek nationalists trapped in a horrid prison camp in Afghanistan nibbled on CIA officer John “Mike” Spann shortly after Spann summarily executed a prisoner. Spann was killed in the ensuing riot, shortly before the CIA and its Afghan collaborators massacred the remaining Uzbek prisoners on 28 November 2001.

    The Vietnamese had good reason to hate McCain. On his previous 22 missions, he had dropped God knows how many bombs killing God knows how many innocent civilians. “I am a war criminal,” he confessed on “60 Minutes” in 1997. “I bombed innocent women and children.” (2)

    If he is sincere when he says that, why isn’t he being tried for war crimes by the U.S .Government?

    In any event, the man who rescued McCain tried to ward off an angry mob, which stomped on McCain for a while until the local cops turned him over to the military. McCain was in pain, but suffering no mortal wounds. He was, however, in enough pain to break down and start collaborating with the Vietnamese after three days in a hospital receiving treatment from qualified doctors – something no other POW ever enjoyed.

    War is one thing, collaborating with the enemy is another; it is a legitimate campaign issue that strikes at the heart of McCain’s character…or lack thereof.

    There are certainly degrees of collaboration. As a famous novelist once asked, “If you’re a barber and you cut a German’s hair, does that make you a collaborator?”

    Being an informant for the Gestapo, or its stepson the CIA in Iraq, and informing on the resistance and sending them to their death, is different than being a barber. In occupied countries like Iraq, or France in World War Two, collaboration to that extent is an automatic death sentence.
    The question is: “What kind of collaborator was John McCain, the admitted war criminal who will hate his alleged torturers for the rest of his life?”

    Put another way, how psychologically twisted is McCain? And what actually happened to him in his POW camp that twisted him? Was it abuse, as he claims, or was it the fact that he collaborated and has to cover up?

    Covering-up can take a lot of energy. The truth is lurking in his subconscious, waiting to explode. A number of US officials, including Andrew Card, have commented on McCain’s inexplicable angry outbursts.

    In a July 5 2006 NewsMax.com article, former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), was quoted as having said about McCain: “I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues.... He would disagree about something and then explode.” Smith called it “irrational behavior. We've all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I've never seen anyone act like that."

    So, you say, McCain has a short fuse behind the plastered TV smile. So he calls his colleagues assholes and shit-heads. In high school they called him “McNasty.” That’s just how he is. Always was, always will be.

    Well, maybe. And maybe it’s not a quality we want in a president. And maybe that repressed anger actually has its roots in a Vietnamese POW camp, where John McCain betrayed his forefathers and his country.

    The Admiral’s Bad Boy

    In the forced-labor camp where my father was tortured by the Japanese, the POWs killed anyone who collaborated. Indeed, the ranking POW in my father’s camp, an English Major, made a deal with the Japanese guaranteeing that no one would attempt to escape. When four prisoners escaped, the Major reported it. The Japanese sent out a search party, which found the POWs and brought them back to camp, where they were beheaded on Christmas morning 1943.

    The POWs held a war council that night. They drew straws, and the three who got short were given a mission. A few hours later, under cover of darkness, they crept to the major’s hut. My father had gotten one of the short straws and kept watch while the other two POWs strangled the Major in his sleep.

    That’s how it happens in real life.

    McCain, in his carefully prepared statements, claims he was tortured while in solitary confinement, and that is why he signed a confession saying, “I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died and the Vietnamese people saved my life, thanks to the doctors.” (3)

    However, on March 25, 1999, two of his fellow POWs, Ted Guy and Gordon "Swede" Larson told the Phoenix New Times that, while they could not guarantee that McCain was not physically harmed, they doubted it.

    As Larson said, "My only contention with the McCain deal is that while he was at The Plantation, to the best of my knowledge and Ted's knowledge, he was not physically abused in any way. No one was in that camp. It was the camp that people were released from."

    Guy and Larson’s claims are given credence by McCain’s vehement opposition to releasing the government’s debriefings of Vietnam War POWs. McCain gave Michael Isikoff a peek at his debriefs, and Isikoff declared there was “nothing incriminating” in them, apart from the redactions. (4)

    McCain had a unique POW experience. Initially, he was taken to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp, where he was interrogated. By McCain’s own account, after three or four days, he cracked. He promised his Vietnamese captors, "I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital."

    His Vietnamese capturers soon realized their POW, John Sidney McCain III, came from a well-bred line of American military elites. McCain’s father, John Jr., and grandfather, John Sr., were both full Admirals. A destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, is named after both of them.

    While his son was held captive in Hanoi, John McCain Jr., from 1968 to 1972, was the Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Pacific Command; Admiral McCain was in charge of all US forces in the Pacific including those fighting in Vietnam.

    One can only wonder when the concierge at the Hanoi Hilton started taking calls from Admiral McCain. Rather quickly, one surmises, for the Vietnamese soon took John Boy McCain to a hospital reserved for Vietnamese officers. Unlike his fellow POWs, he received care from a Soviet doctor.

    “This poor stooge has propaganda value,” the Vietnamese realized. The Admiral’s bad boy was used to special treatment and his captors knew that. They were working him.

    For his part, McCain acknowledges that the Vietnamese rushed him to a hospital, but denies he was given any "special medical treatment."

    However….two weeks into his stay at the Vietnamese hospital, the Hanoi press began quoting him. It was not “name rank and serial number, or kill me,” as specified by the military code of conduct. McCain divulged specific military information: he gave the name of the aircraft carrier on which he was based, the number of US pilots that had been lost, the number of aircraft in his flight formation, as well as information about the location of rescue ships. (5)

    So McCain leveraged some details to get some medical attention. That’s not anything too contemptible. And who among us civilians is to judge someone in the position?

    On the other hand, according to one source, McCain’s collaboration may have had very real consequences. Retired Army Colonel Earl Hopper, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, contends that the information that McCain divulged classified information North Vietnam used to hone their air defense system.

    Hopper’s son, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Earl Pearson Hopper was, like McCain, shot down over North Vietnam. Hopper the younger, however, was declared “Missing in Action.” Stemming from the loss of his son, the elder Hopper co-founded the National League of Families, an organization devoted to the return of Vietnam War POWs.

    According to the elder Hopper, McCain told his North Vietnamese captors, “highly classified information, the most important of which was the package routes, which were routes used to bomb North Vietnam. He gave in detail the altitude they were flying, the direction, if they made a turn… he gave them what primary targets the United States was interested in.” Hopper contends that the information McCain provided allowed the North Vietnamese to adjust their air-defenses. As result, Hopper claims, the US lost sixty percent more aircraft and in 1968, “called off the bombing of North Vietnam, because of the information McCain had given to them.” 6

    The Psywar Stooge

    McCain was held for five and half years. Collaborating during the first two weeks might have been pragmatic, but he soon became North Vietnam’s go-to collaborator for the next three years. Given the quality of the military information he allegedly shared, his situation isn’t as innocuous as the pragmatic French barber who cuts the hair of the German occupier. McCain was repaying his captors for their kindness and mercy.

    This is the lesson of McCain’s experience as a POW: a true politician, a hollow man, his only allegiance is to power. The Vietnamese, like McCain’s campaign contributors today, protected and promoted him and in return, he danced to their tune.

    Not content with divulging military information, McCain provided his voice in radio broadcasts used by the North Vietnamese to demoralize American soldiers.

    Vietnamese radio propagandists made good use out of McCain. On June 4, 1969, a U.S. wire service headlined a story entitled "PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral.” (7)

    The story reported that McCain collaborated in psywar offensives aimed at American servicemen. "The broadcast was beamed to American servicemen in South Vietnam as a part of a propaganda series attempting to counter charges by U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird that American prisoners are being mistreated in North Vietnam."
    On one occasion, General Vo Nguyen Giap, the top Vietnamese commander and a nationalist celebrity of the time, personally interviewed McCain. His compliance during this command performance was a moment of affirmation for the Vietnamese. His Vietnamese handlers thereafter used him regularly as prop at meetings with foreign delegations.

    In the custody of enemy psywar specialists, McCain became what he is today: a professional psywar stooge.

    It is impossible to prove exactly what happened to McCain short of traveling to Vietnam and tracking down his captors, and picking up thee trail where it begins. According to The Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain, McCain says he only collaborated when he brutally tortured by his Vietnamese captors and a wicked Cuban he referred to as Fidel. (8)

    He says his confession led him to a suicide attempt.

    “In the anguished days right after my confession,” McCain said in his autobiography Faith of My Fathers, “I had dreaded just such a discovery by my father.”

    But as McCain discovered, dear old dad did know.

    “I only recently learned that the tape I dreamed I heard playing over the loudspeaker in my cell had been real; it had been broadcast outside the prison and had come to the attention of my father,” McCain said. “If I had known at the time my father had heard about my confession, I would have been distressed beyond imagination, and might not have recovered from the experience as quickly as I did.”

    But wait! McCain did not commit suicide. In fact, he’s alive, running for President on the “war hero” ticket, and promoting more war everywhere. The new McCain feels no distress at having been a collaborator or a war criminal – if he ever did.

    According to Fernando Barral, a Cuban psychologist who questioned McCain in January 1970, “McCain was "boastful" during their interview and "without remorse" for any civilian deaths that occurred "when he bombed Hanoi." McCain has a similar recollection, writing in his [autobiography] that he responded, "No, I do not" when Barral asked if he felt remorse.” (9)

    McCain told [Barral] that he had not been subjected to “physical or moral violence,” and “lamented in the interview that ‘if I hadn't been shot down, I would have become an admiral at a younger age than my father.’”

    “Barral said McCain boasted that he was the best pilot in the Navy and that he wanted to be an astronaut.” The Cuban psychologist concluded that McCain was [a] ‘psychopath.’” (10)

    "He felt superior to the Vietnamese up there in his plane, with all his training," Barral recalled.

    Psychopath McCain emerges, now, as a contemptible elitist, stewing in the crucible of his class conscience, the ultimate right wing psywar stooge.

    McJekyll and McHyde

    There are no public records from other POWs to confirm McCain's self-aggrandizing claims, but his detractors, like fellow POWs Ted Guy and Gordon "Swede" Larson, and Colonel Hopper, have yet to be discredited or silenced by McCain’s PR team.

    Hopper, Guy and Larson are part of a larger movement concerned with the fate of the 2,000 American veterans still missing in Vietnam. They’ve been pressing McCain to own up to his POW experience, drop the “war hero” posturing, and do more to provide a full accounting of the POWs and MIAs who were not as fortunate, privileged, or willing to collaborate as the would-be president.

    McCain’s supporters are trying to quiet detractors by ignoring them. "Nobody believes these idiots. They're a bunch of jerks. Forget them," said Mark Salter, McCain's chief mythologist. Salter is credited by casting McCain as a modern Teddy Roosevelt, “the war hero turned domestic reformer.” (11)

    By in large the Salter strategy has worked. The American media accepts McCain’s “war hero” myth as gospel and, in so doing, bolsters the “straight talk” image so essential to his success in politics. In a recent TV interview with John Kerry, victim of the Swift Boat Heroes for Truth Movement in the last election, another “fortunate son,” Chris Wallace, actually took umbrage when Kerry criticized McCain. Son of media admiral Mike Wallace, Chris made Kerry admit that McCain was a hero.
    When it comes to psywar, the Vietnamese have nothing on the good old USA.

    McCain learned his lesson well from the Vietnamese propagandists who used him for their psywar projects. But it’s not the collaboration that makes John McCain unfit for office; it’s the fact that he has managed to rewrite his collaboration into political capital. “He’s a war hero, respect him, or die.”

    As a pedigree, the McCain family’s stature rests on the status and prestige of its achievements in the military: rank, medals, and most importantly to John McCain’s presidential campaign, the image of warrior masculinity: the straight talking maverick of the Republican Party, the 21st century rendering of Teddy Roosevelt.

    Not exactly. In his current presidential campaign, he’s cozying up to the hate-mongering Christian right he once criticized. He’s reversed positions on so many issues that his Democratic rivals have assembled his contrasting statements into “The Great McCain Versus McCain Debates. (12)

    Underlying the Jekyll-Hyde reversals is McCain’s hidden past of collaboration. Somewhere in the unplumbed human part of John Sidney McCain III, he knows his POW experience contradicts the war hero image he projects. This essential dishonesty, this lie of the soul, is a sign of a larger lack of character - like the major in my father’s POW camp, but without the come-uppance.

    McCain is not some principled leader, not a maverick cowboy fighting the powerful. He’s a sycophant. He believes in nothing but power and will do anything to attain it. He explodes in anger when challenged because, when a criticism hits to close to home, it goes to straight his deep-seeded shame.

    McCain’s handlers have turned his unspeakable reality into a myth worthy of Teddy Roosevelt. No wonder the Glory Boy has stuck around Washington so long.

    The Real John McCain: The Collaborator

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  25. Worse Than Fascists: Christian Political Group 'The Family' Openly Reveres Hitler

    By Lindsay Beyerstein,

    Did you know that the National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by a shadowy cabal of elite Christian fundamentalists? Jeff Sharlet's new book, "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," offers a rare glimpse of this remarkable network, which is known variously as the Family, the Fellowship and the International Foundation.

    The Family was founded 70 years ago by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant evangelist based in Seattle. In 1935, Vereide said, God appeared to him in a vision and revealed where Christianity had gone wrong: preoccupation with the poor, the weak and the suffering.

    The down-and-out were in no position to bring about the Kingdom of God, Vereide realized. Some Christians believe that the rapture is imminent, but not the Family. They're convinced that Jesus won't return until we get our collective house in order. If they were to wait for the down-and-out to remake the world in God's image, we could be here forever.

    Besides, in Seattle in the 1930s, union agitators were making a play for the down-and-out. Christianity promised rewards in the hereafter, but workers in the Pacific Northwest were starting to wonder why they had to wait so long. Instead of competing for market share with the Industrial Workers of the World, Vereide sought a different niche.

    His new plan was to target men who were already powerful and turn them to God -- and wouldn't you know it, God hated unions, too.

    Through personal relationships and small group encounters, Vereide united captains of industry and politicians as a Biblical bulwark against the increasing power of organized labor.

    In the late 1940s, the Family helped roll back key pro-labor provisions of the New Deal. Later, the Family did its part for the Cold War by cultivating anti-communist strongmen around the world, including repressive leaders like Suharto of Indonesia and Jonas Savimbi of Angola.

    The roster of current and former Family members includes senators, congressmen, Fortune 500 CEOs, generals and at least one Supreme Court justice. The Family does not publish membership lists, and its members are sworn to secrecy, so a full accounting is impossible.

    Sen. Hillary Clinton has been involved with the Family since 1993 when, as first lady, she joined a White House prayer circle for political wives. Clinton has also sought spiritual counseling from the current head of the Family, Doug Coe. Sharlet argues that Clinton's longtime association with the Family has helped her forge working relationships with powerful religious conservatives such as Family member and anti-abortion crusader Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.

    The Family nurtures the next generation of prayer warriors in suburban dormitories. Sharlet spent nearly a month living at Ivanwald, a dormitory in Virginia where sons of the Family are sent to immerse themselves in Jesus and clean the toilets of congressmen and senators.

    The Family also runs a house on C Street in Washington, D.C. The C Street Center has housed a number of federal legislators, including Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. Residents allege that the center is just a cheap place to live, but as an Ivanwald brother, Sharlet saw firsthand that the center is a religious community. As far as the IRS is concerned, the C Street Center is a church.

    Members will tell you that the Family is just a group of friends. As Sharlet discovered, 600 boxes of documents at the Billy Graham Center Archives tell a different story.

    AlterNet writer Lindsay Beyerstein recently sat down with Jeff Sharlet at a Brooklyn coffee shop to discuss the Family.

    Lindsay Beyerstein What is the Family?

    Jeff Sharlet: It's an international network of evangelical activists in government, military and business. The Family is dedicated to this idea that Christianity has gotten it all wrong for two thousand years by focusing on the poor, the suffering and the weak.

    The Family says that instead, what Christians should do is minister to the up-and-out -- as opposed to the down-and-out -- to those that are already powerful. Because if they can win those people for Christ, they win the whole deal. That's what this network is dedicated to. It includes nonprofit organizations, it includes think tanks, it includes various ministries.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: Where did they get the idea that they should be ministering to the up-and-out? There doesn't seem to be a lot basis in Christianity for that view.

    Jeff Sharlet: Two places. The founder of the Family, Abraham Vereide, would describe it as his "new revelation" that came to him in the middle of the night, very literally: in a vision from God in 1935 in response to the Great Depression and, more particularly, to a series of very successful labor strikes that he saw as challenging God's sovereignty. So, God comes and gives him this new revelation to say, "This is what I really meant …"

    Early on, Vereide and the Family weren't actually talking about scripture, but as time went on they began invoking more and more a particular verse of Paul's Letter to the Romans, which is popular among fundamentalists, Romans:13: "The Powers that Be are Ordained of God." And it goes on to say that if you resist those powers, you're in a lot of trouble. Interpreted literally, this is the key text in authoritarian Christianity. So, that's where they're getting it.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: In "The Family," a lot of subjects explicitly state their admiration for Hitler and other authoritarian political figures. How much of that is admiring their style, and how much is admiring their substance?

    Jeff Sharlet: I'd argue that there isn't a hell of a lot of difference. I spent a lot of time living with these guys, and I remember at one point asking them, "What's the deal with all this Hitler talk?" And they'd say, "Oh, it's not the ends, it's the means." But to most of us, the means seem pretty bad, too. The means are authoritarianism.

    It's pretty close to the substance because it grows out of this very broad movement in the 1930s of elites concluding that democracy has run its course, that democracy was a temporary phase in world history. And so, these people were experimenting with all sorts of different alternatives. And remember, before World War II it was considered a perfectly legitimate and acceptable position to endorse fascism.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: When I read the book, I found myself thinking about Umberto Eco's essay, "Eternal Fascism," which provides a kind of checklist of the essential characteristics of fascism. How many of those criteria does the Family meet?

    Jeff Sharlet:The book I find helpful as a succinct guide to fascism is a book by historian Robert Paxton. He'll boil it down into five principles or ten principles. The Family's always hovering around 80 percent, but never all the way.

    And that's an important distinction to make. I think many progressives want to reduce everything bad to fascism. There's more than one kind of bad under the sun. One of the arguments in this book is that these guys aren't fascists; they're ultimately something worse. They're not fascists because they don't explicitly revere violence. Lots of violence occurs through various dimensions, but in fascism, violence is thought to have redemptive power.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: So, they don't literally believe in physical conflict when they describe themselves as warriors for Christ?

    Jeff Sharlet: Oh, no. (They think) that's fine, but they don't love violence the way that fascism did. Their leader, Doug Coe, says that the Bible is filled with mass murderers. And it is. The difference is that European fascism was based on this idea that you can only become truly human through violence. The Family will say, oh no, we're pursuing peace. Hitler wasn't pursuing peace. The goal was this constant redemptive violence.

    The other thing is they differ in the strictness of their nationalism. The Family is an American ideology, and it has a lot of American ideology involved, but still it was founded by a Norwegian immigrant. It's more pluralist than European fascism that was about cleansing the blood. The Family is an imperial ideology, which is why I think it's ultimately worse than fascism. Since the Second World War, fascism hasn't been a very powerful ideology, but imperialism has.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: What kind of empire do they envision?

    Jeff Sharlet: They envision the empire that we have. Doug Coe says, "We work with power where we can and build new power where we can't." Usually they can work within power. Rob Shank, another Christian right activist in Washington, says, "The Family is into living with what is."

    In the immediate postwar era, they were talking about Christian D-Day and Washington as the world's Christian capital. And World War Three, they were very excited about that, all full-steam ahead. But they sort of subsided and were subsumed into the American Cold War project, which ended up becoming an imperial project.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: What did the Family have to do with a B-movie called "The Blob"?

    Jeff Sharlet: The best illustration of the Family's involvement in the Cold War was something that I stumbled on by accident: The 1958 film "The Blob." It began at the 1957 National Prayer Breakfast. "The Blob" was a famous horror movie that was a metaphor for Communism. This is their imagination of how Communism spread. At the time, the American imagination couldn't grasp ideology, so it had to be an actual goo that globs more and more people and grows and becomes expansive. As I recall, they have to blow up the town at the end. The logic of "The Blob" is that we must destroy the village in order to save it. That's the logic of Vietnam.

    The project actually began at the National Prayer Breakfast. This filmmaker who had been making fundamentalist films, Irvin "Shorty" Yeaworth, was on the lookout for someone to make this film. (The writer) Kate Phillips was a B-movie sci-fi actress. Not a Christian Right person; (she was) there as a guest of a friend of hers. She's there at the breakfast and they become friends. They end up making this movie.

    "The Blob" was paralleled with this other movie. This other movie that comes out of the Prayer Breakfast is "Militant Liberty." John Groger, on Family payroll and on the Pentagon payroll, he was obsessed with making these kooky films that were almost too weird for the Pentagon, like "Operation Abolition," because it was so trippy and so bent on blaming the spread of Communism on Japanese youth culture.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: On Japanese youth culture?

    Jeff Sharlet: Don't forget, there was a pretty powerful Japanese communist movement after the Second World War. Japan would have been a communist country had it not been for us buying their political system wholesale.

    So, that's "The Blob." The whole approach represents their understanding of Communism and the way America responded. Tim Weiner, in "Legacy of Ashes," has a devastating critique. The real issue is incompetence -- they never understood who they were fighting. You might say, "Hey, I'm down with anti-communism" -- but they were always bent on fighting with these crazy schemes and networks. That's not the way to combat Stalinism, which is an evil ideology.

    It's just as true now, when I look at what the Family does today in the Central Asian Republic. The 1999 Silk Road Strategy Act, sponsored by Sam Brownback, and Rep. Joe Pitts renewed it in 2006. Combat militant Islam in Central Asia by pouring American aid into dictatorial regimes. This same kind of top-down aid.

    Thugs have always understood that they could use the Family. … When you see Suharto getting down on his knees and praying to Jesus with members of the Family -- he's Muslim, technically, but he's not even really that; he's a dictator.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: Sort of like Daniel Plainview in the movie "There Will Be Blood"? (Plainview is the cynical oil man who makes a big show of converting to Christianity at a revival meeting to consolidate his power in town.)

    Jeff Sharlet: Daniel Plainview had more integrity. That's a nice comparison, I hadn't thought of that. Some of these central Asian dictators are not drinking the Kool-Aid.

    (At some level, the Family understands.) One member says that he'd rather let in a few wolves then keep out one sheep. I just want to know: When is the sheep getting here? Because all they've got are wolves.

    The more interesting analysis is to view it not as cynicism but as a logical outcome of a theology that reveres power. This is not their system not working; it's their system working.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: Does this attitude have to do with the Family's unusual theology? In the book you say that they teach a kind of ultrasubjectivism, stripping away all history, doctrine, institutions and all rituals until "religion" is just what pops into your head.

    Jeff Sharlet: This is very important. It's a seductive idea for many on the left as well. These attitudes go back to 1930s. It was part of the feeling that democracy had run its course.

    Whenever you strip away history, you are stripping away accountability. The irony is that sometimes people on the left make the same kind of noises, like, "We're not going to get all caught up in institutions and religions" -- leaving aside the history of that rhetoric in anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism.

    Whenever you strip away history, you are stripping away things you wish you hadn't done, and accountability for that. When people say that "we're not going to get all caught up in the law and the rules," they mean anti-Semitism. They may not know they mean that that's the history of it.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: They think it's bad even to know about history?

    Jeff Sharlet: They just don't care. One of the ironies of this book is that now they're in my debt. I know more about the history of their movement than they do. (That's why they were so casual about what ended up in the Family's records at the Billy Graham archives.) It didn't even occur to them that anyone would find anything wrong there, including various government documents that shouldn't have been there.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: There's a story in the book that says a lot about how the Family operates, the one about the South African secrecy memo …

    Jeff Sharlet: My favorite document in the entire archives. This was, I think, sometime in the '80s, the Family was very involved in South Africa supporting a right-wing black movement lead by Mangosuthu Buthelezi. They were part of a group of white South Africans cultivating him. A Family operative wrote a letter to a colleague saying, "You've got to be very careful, those outside we don't understand. That's why we do things through networks and friendships and travel around. Never put anything too specific on paper." The guy wrote back: "I understand, I've made copies of this for all my co-workers." I don't know whether he was passive aggressive, or just dumb as a brick.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: In the book you say that the Family treats powerful women like Hillary Clinton as if they belonged to a kind of "third gender" that's female but not subordinate like ordinary women …

    Jeff Sharlet: When I was at Ivanwald, I'd see these young women as servants. They came from wealthy families. They were women who have a lot of privileges in life. You'd have expected to have gone on to great things because they started with a big push [LB Note: But the Family had them scrubbing floors and serving coffee.] Then a woman political leader would come around and it would be a whole different story.

    There are wives like Grace Nelson, wife of conservative Democrat Bill Nelson. Bill was an astronaut -- still has a spacesuit. He still wears it for occasions.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: The suit still fits?

    Jeff Sharlet: He's quite trim, I'll give him that. But Grace is obviously the political mover and shaker in that couple. She served on board of the Fellowship Foundation. Still, she's just the wife, secondary. Same with Joanne Kemp. Jack Kemp is a pretty aggressive leader, but it was Joanne who brought Christian ideas to Washington to start the Schaeffer Foundation nonprofit for the study of these ideas.

    Two ways third gender works in the Family: There are these very strong wives who oftentimes are very strong-willed people. I'm just reading Katherine Joyce's book on Quiverfull … And the other are women like Hillary Clinton, who's just a man as far as they're concerned.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: What's Hillary's involvement with the Family? What is she getting out of it?

    Jeff Sharlet: As I was researching the book, I knew Hillary had this strange connection. I didn't think much of it until I was reporting on Sen. Sam Brownback. Everyone knew I was a reporter from "Rolling Stone," probably more liberal than they were. So, a way that a lot of Family people would reach out to be friendly was to tell me that Hillary Clinton was OK with them. They'd tell me that HRC was going for regular spiritual counseling with Doug Coe.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: Is she still getting counseling from him?

    Jeff Sharlet: This was in 2005, and she refused to say anything about this. When NBC questioned her about this, her only answer was that (she's) not a member and (she) has never given Doug Coe money -- which was a strangely parsed kind of answer.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: The Family has some strange ideas about what it means to be chosen by God. Tell me about the incident in the book when Doug Coe's son, David Coe, dropped by Ivanwald to give the brothers instruction on chosenness.

    Jeff Sharlet: David Coe used to be the heir apparent in the Family. He's still involved in ministry to congressmen, and at the time he was also meeting with Hillary. He'd come around to talk to the young guys at Ivanwald to talk about his vision of Biblical leadership. One day he says to brother Beau: "Suppose I heard you'd raped three little girls, what would I think of you?" Beau, being a human being, says, "That I'm pretty bad?" But David Coe says: "No, no, I wouldn't. Because you're chosen … like King David."

    Lindsay Beyerstein: Does the Family have a different perspective on sexual morality than mainstream fundamentalism?

    Jeff Sharlet: In one sense, their sexual morality is a very restrictive, traditional, fundamentalist morality. Yet one of their major influences was Frank Buchman of Moral Re-Armament in the 1930s. He was all but "out" as gay. But he was also one of the early architects of anti-gay invective on the Christian right. He even wrote a pamphlet on how to spot gay men: their green shoes and their affection for suede.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: Explicit sexual confession in small groups is a big deal in the Family, right?

    Jeff Sharlet: Yes. I started paying attention when I visited Westmont College, a major recruiting base for the Family. Some of the professors are very concerned about the focus on small group sex confessions: Parents are spending $80,000 to send their kids to college, and they go off to become a driver for Doug Coe. Then they tell their parents that they sat in a circle and talked about masturbation. Of course, they don't do that sort of thing at the weekly prayer meeting in the Senate.

    Sam Brownback told me, there are two functions of sexual confession: You confess, and they help you. You say, "My girlfriend and I almost held hands the other day." And they say "Don't do it, brother!" It's also a way of creating a bond in the group: If I have had gay thoughts and I tell the group, then they have something on me. And if you say you've cheated on your wife, they have something on you.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: Kind of a mutually assured destruction?

    Jeff Sharlet: Yeah.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: An interesting paradox comes through in the book. The Family is both revolutionary and elitist. They see themselves as warriors fighting to remake the world, but really they are the establishment.

    Jeff Sharlet: All that revolutionary rhetoric serves a very status quo version of the world. The real threat of the right is not what they're going to do, but what they've done. You have to consider what happens in America, which is part of the empire, versus what happens in the rest of the world. Here, they think things should stay as they are. Like rolling back FDR's New Deal. FDR came along and said, "Let's change things." The Family said no.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: So, you have to consider what happens in America, which is part of the empire, versus what happens in the rest of the world.

    Jeff Sharlet: All that revolutionary rhetoric serves a very status quo version of the world. The real threat of the right is not what they're going to do, but what they've done. You have to consider what happens in America, which is part of the empire, versus what happens in the rest of the world. Here, they think things should stay as they are. Like rolling back FDR's New Deal. FDR came along and said, "Let's change things." The Family said no.

    Abroad, Suharto was supporting very violent revolution that reasserted hierarchical control. People had gotten out from under colonial yoke; if they go democratic, they might choose socialism or whatever. But Suharto came along and reasserted the hierarchy.

    Lindsay Beyerstein: So, the Family loves the revolutionary rhetoric, but they're really about keeping things the way they are?

    Jeff Sharlet: It's about the co-optation of cool by Madison Avenue. Counterculture is cool, and it's the bestselling tool ever. Capitalism has always had this understanding that we could use this counterculture rhetoric (as an alternative to communist rhetoric). In the 1950s, Eisenhower recognized that the rhetoric of communism was much more appealing to the average person than rhetoric of capitalism. "Everyone's going to share" is more appealing than "If you're lucky, you'll make a living, and if you're not lucky, it's your own damned fault and you'll suffer."

    So, the government in a big way turns toward the Religious Right to market capitalism. It flopped. So, they tried spreading people's capitalism by focusing on the love part.

    The right understood that in a way that the left doesn't. A left that organizes itself solely in a reactionary way is missing something. You can't just say: "Look, another corrupt Bush official!" No. What's needed is a much more joyful politics.

    Just how many of the leading politicians are a part of this "sick family."

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  26. its a real tragedy what happened to those boy scouts and what happened to Tim Russert............Russert was one of the better guys in the Media.

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  27. Lets look forward to a more hopeful time.........and on that note i have to ask what would be your first 10 moves if you were Obama after becoming President..........here's mine in no particular order

    1) Fire Michael Mukasey the Attorney General

    2) Fire Kevin Martin the stooge thats head of the FCC and NEVER met a mergher he didnt like

    3) Fire Chris Cox the stooge thats head of the SEC and NEVER met a merger he didnt like

    4) Fire Ben Bernanke the stooge thats head of the Federal reserve and is like a deer in the headlights and is using inflation to help the wealthy bankers at the expense of the working class.

    5) Get rid of Petraeus and replace him with a honest guy that puts US interests ahead of his career and being a yes man and stooge for the Bush thugs.

    6) Get rid of the head of CENTCOM and replace him with a honest guy that puts US interests ahead of his career and being a yes man and stooge for the Bush thugs.

    7) Fire the head of the CIA and replace him with someone who values and respects the US Constitution, personal freedoms and privacy.

    8) Fire the head of Homeland Security and replace him with someone who values and respects the US Constitution, personal freedoms and privacy.

    9) Fire the head of the FBI and replace him with someone who values and respects the US Constitution, personal freedoms and privacy.

    10) Appoint a cabinet level position to help the working class and insure they have afforable healthcare, good paying job opportunities, afforable educational opportunities and are protercted from corrupt predatory lenders.

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  28. I'll go one step further amend the Constitution to put limits on Presidential pardons........so the repugs cant run this country like a treasonous criminal empire when the steal the elections to become president.

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  29. Mike - so glad to see you! And you have some great thoughts, thank you.

    I totally agree on your 10 things Obama should do first. I also love the way Obama is focusing on the Constitution and the mandate that all Americans should be able to feel safe and secure, meaning HEALTH INSURANCE must be a mandate for a secure, safe, happy, peaceful society.

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  30. Did you all hear Gore is coming out for Obama tonight at 8? Plus Things are happening too damn fast! I just heard Bush wants Bin Laden caught before his time is up! I say often that we know where he is and Bush is waiting just for this and he will deflate the Dems plus does that mean Bush is one way or the other going into Pakistan? This is really ramping up quick between Pakistan, Afghanistan, us and everything else. UNfriggen real!

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  31. Isnt it refreshing to think positively of all the good things that can happen once all the criminal thugs in the bush administration are gone.

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  32. Did an yone see CNN last night, they said that Americans are woefully ignorant and misinformed and that has allowed evil men like Bush/Cheney/Rove to get away with their treasonous agenda......... i believe.they said that only 1 in 5 could point out Iraq on a map, only 1 in 7 knew there were 100 Senators and the majority of Americans thought that Saddam and iraq were involved with attacking us on 9/11 (a lie put forth by the Bush administration) which is why the majority of Americans innitially supported attacking and invading Iraq until they learned better.

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  33. Mike,

    I run into ignorance like this all the time. A couple of months ago I heard someone mention that Hillary was a Democrat running against the Republican Obama. I informed her that both were Democrats who were vying to be their party's nominee. She sounded relieved and said she was happy that George Bush was still the Republican nominee. I stood there in dumbfounded silence for all of ten seconds before I shook my head and walked away.

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  34. an average patriot said...
    Did you all hear Gore is coming out for Obama tonight at 8? Plus Things are happening too damn fast! I just heard Bush wants Bin Laden caught before his time is up! I say often that we know where he is and Bush is waiting just for this and he will deflate the Dems plus does that mean Bush is one way or the other going into Pakistan? This is really ramping up quick between Pakistan, Afghanistan, us and everything else. UNfriggen real!"


    Hey Patriot good to see you...........as for Bush Finally capturing Bin Forgotten "deflating' the Dems..........not so much.........Bush looks like an imbecile letting Bin Forgotten and the guys who ACTUALLY attacked us on 9/11 t(Al Qaeda and the Taliban) escape while he invaded a country that had nothing to do with attacking us to enrich himself and his oil cronnies and defense contractor buddies while saying Osama doesnt matter and he doesnt think much about him for the last 7 years.

    Think about that one for a minute 9/11 has been the justification for EVERYTHING these treasonous criminals have done as is fighting terrorism yet they said they dont really care about getting the guys who actually attacked us..........no after 7 years of his idiocy Bush cant redeem himself or his party of corrupt sycophants by doing what he SHOULD have done 7 years ago.

    Yeah the Idiot in Chief is also babbling about developing alternate and renewable energy and increased fuel economy but talk is cheap and that cant make up for deeds or a lack thereof..........and on doing the right thing to insure a better future the Bush administration is a miserable pathetic failure..........i think he's "talking about helping New Orleans as well...........he's almost 3 years too late on that as well.........talk is meaningless if your actions dont back it up.........no matter what Bush does his last 6 months he will be remembered as nothing more than a pathetic failure and shameful disgrace of a man and a Presidential administration and legacy.

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  35. Robert Rouse said...
    Mike,

    I run into ignorance like this all the time. A couple of months ago I heard someone mention that Hillary was a Democrat running against the Republican Obama. I informed her that both were Democrats who were vying to be their party's nominee. She sounded relieved and said she was happy that George Bush was still the Republican nominee. I stood there in dumbfounded silence for all of ten seconds before I shook my head and walked away."


    Your right Robert, the ignorance is astounding.........but this election is actually causing many young people to actually become more involved and better informed and they say that trends like that for people in their 20's carry over for life...........so lets hope the tide is starting to turn.

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  36. John McCain cancelled a fundraiser with a texas businessman after it was revealed that the guy said women should enjoy rape.

    I heard on the news that McCain wouldn't return all the money this guy had donated.

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  37. AL GORE BACKS OBAMA! I posted a great photo and news item.


    Watch live as the elder statesman and one of the most important world figures endorses Obama!

    What a ticket they would make!!!

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  38. "This election will affect the future of our planet."

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  39. Hello Lydia, after watching the speech of Gore I would have to agree his presence in the campaign would be thrilling.

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  40. I agree Chelsea! By the way, I adore Chelsea Handler!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. John McCain’s Chilling Project for America

    By Dr. Elliot Cohen

    John McCain has long been a major player in a radical militaristic group driven by an ideology of global expansionism and dominance attained through perpetual, pre-emptive, unilateral, multiple wars. The credo of this group is “the end justifies the means,” and the end of establishing the United States as the world’s sole superpower justifies, in its estimation, anything from military control over the information on the Internet to the use of genocidal biological weapons. Over its two terms, the George W. Bush administration has planted the seeds for this geopolitical master plan, and now appears to be counting on the McCain administration, if one comes to power, to nurture it.

    The Road Map to War

    The blueprint for this “new order” was drafted in February 1992, at the end of the George H.W. Bush administration when Defense Department staffers Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis Libby and Zalmay Khalilzad, acting under then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, drafted the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG). This document, also known as the “Wolfowitz Doctrine,” was an unofficial, internal document that advocated massive increases in defense spending for purposes of strategic proliferation and buildup of the military in order to establish the pre-eminence of the United States as the world’s sole superpower. Advocating pre-emptive attacks with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, it proclaimed that “the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.” The document was also quite clear about what should be the United States’ main objective in the Middle East, especially with regard to Iraq and Iran, which was to “remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region’s oil.” The Wolfowitz Doctrine was leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post, which published excerpts from it. Amid a public outcry, President George H.W. Bush retracted the document, and it was substantially revised.

    The original mission of the Wolfowitz Doctrine was not lost, however. In 1997, William Kristol and Robert Kagan founded The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a nongovernment political action organization that sought to develop and advocate for the militant, geopolitical tenets contained in the Wolfowitz Doctrine. PNAC’s original members included Wolfowitz, Cheney, Khalilzad, Libby, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld, William J. Bennett, and other soon-to-be high officers in the Bush administration.

    McCain’s Ties to PNAC

    John McCain’s connection to PNAC can be traced back to before its formation in 1997. In fact, he was president of the New Citizenship Project, founded by Kristol in 1994. This organization was parent to PNAC, and served as its chief fundraising organ.

    McCain also worked cooperatively with PNAC and Wolfowitz in attempting to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. In 1998, he co-sponsored the Iraq Liberation Act—drafted by PNAC—which decreed “regime change” in Iraq to be U.S. policy, and which appropriated $97 million in U.S. military aid to the Iraqi National Congress (INC). The INC was a group of anti-Hussein Iraqi militants whose purpose was to instigate a national uprising against Hussein. It was led by Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi informant whose subsequent faulty intelligence—claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaida—was used to sell the Iraq war to the American public. In 2004, in response to accusations that he deliberately misled U.S. intelligence agencies, Chalabi glibly stated, “We are heroes in error.”

    McCain also was co-chair (with Sen. Joseph Lieberman) of The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI). Established by PNAC in late 2002, this committee continued to finance Chalabi’s INC with millions of taxpayer dollars, until shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when it was discontinued. In 2004, McCain became a signatory of PNAC, ironically signing on to a PNAC letter condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy for its return to the “rhetoric of militarism and empire.”

    McCain has accordingly been a foot soldier for PNAC from its inception, and, although this organization is no longer in existence, its ideology and its signatories (many of whom now serve as advisers to the McCain presidential campaign) are still very much active.

    The Master Plan

    In September 2000, prior to the presidential election that year, PNAC carefully formulated its chief tenets in a document called Rebuilding America’s Defenses (RAD). This document, which was intended to guide the incoming administration, had a substantial influence on the policies set by the Bush administration and is likely to do the same for a McCain administration if McCain becomes president. Here are some of the recommendations of the RAD report:

    Fighting and winning multiple, simultaneous major wars

    Among its core missions was the rebuilding of America’s defenses sufficient to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.” And it explicitly advocated sending troops into Iraq regardless of whether Saddam Hussein was in power. According to RAD, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

    The RAD report also admonished, “Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region.” Therefore, it had both Iraq and Iran in its sight as zones of multiple, simultaneous major wars for purposes of advancing “longstanding American interests in the region”—in particular, its oil.

    McCain’s recent chanting of “bomb, bomb, bomb; bomb, bomb Iran” to the beat of an old Beach Boys tune, his suggestion that the war with Iraq might last 100 years and his recent statement that the war in Afghanistan might also last 100 years—all of these pronouncements are clearly in concert with the PNAC mission to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.”

    RAD also stressed the need to have additional forces equipped to handle ongoing “constabulary” duties such as enforcement of no-fly zones and other operations that fell short of full theater wars. It claimed that unless the military was so equipped, its ability to fight and win multiple, simultaneous wars would be impaired. Along these same lines, McCain has recently stated, ‘’It’s time to end the disingenuous practice of stating that we have a two-war strategy when we are paying for only a one-war military. Either we must change our strategy—and accept the risks—or we must properly fund and structure our military.’’

    Designing and deploying global missile defense systems

    RAD also emphasized, as an additional core value, the need to “transform U.S. forces to exploit the ‘revolution in military affairs.’ ” This included the design and deployment of a global ballistic missile defense system consisting of land-, sea-, air- and space-based components said to be capable of shielding the U.S. and its allies from “limited strikes” in the future by “rogue” nations such as Iraq, North Korea and Iran.

    Along these lines, McCain has maintained that a ballistic missile defense system was “indispensable”—even if this meant reneging on the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 at the expense of angering the Russians. Unfortunately, while RAD acknowledged the “limited” efficacy of such a weapons system (presumably because it cannot realistically provide a bulletproof shield, especially against large-scale missile attacks), neither it nor McCain addressed the problem that deployment of such a system could be destabilizing: It could encourage escalation, instead of de-escalation, of ballistic missile arsenals by nations that fear becoming sitting ducks, and might even provoke a pre-emptive strike. Further, there is still the question of whether the creation of such costly, national defense shields is even technologically feasible.

    The use of genocidal biological warfare for political expediency

    Not only did RAD advocate the design and deployment of defensive weaponry, it also stressed the updating of conventional offensive weapons including cruise missiles along with stealthy strike aircraft and longer-range Air Force strike aircraft. But it went further in its offensive posture by envisioning and supporting the use of genotype-specific biological warfare. According to RAD, “… advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.” In this chilling statement, a double standard is evident. In the hands of al-Qaida, such genocidal weapons would belong to “the realm of terror,” but in those of the U.S., they would be “politically useful tools.”

    Rejection of the United Nations

    PNAC’s double standard is also inherent in its rejection of the idea of a cooperative, neutral effort among the nations of the world to address world problems, including the problem of Iraq. “Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality,” states the RAD report. “The preponderance of American power is so great and its global interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these missions demand forces basically configured for combat.” Accordingly, a McCain administration founded on a PNAC platform of self-interested exercise of force would oppose giving the United Nations any central role in setting and implementing foreign affairs policy.

    Control of space and cyberspace

    PNAC’s quest for global domination transcends any literal meaning of the geopolitical, and extends also to the control, rather than the sharing, of outer space. It also has serious implications for cyber freedom. Thus the RAD report states, “Much as control of the high seas—and the protection of international commerce—defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new ‘international commons’ be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the ‘infosphere’ will find it difficult to exert global political leadership. ... Access to and use of cyberspace and the Internet are emerging elements in global commerce, politics and power. Any nation wishing to assert itself globally must take account of this other new ‘global commons.’ ”

    There is a difference between protecting the Internet from a cyber attack and controlling it. The former is defensive while the latter is offensive. But RAD also advocated going on the offensive. It stated that “an offensive capability could offer America’s military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner.”

    However, state control of cyberspace for political purposes can have serious implications for the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. The Bush administration has already engaged in mass illegal spying on the phone and e-mail messages of millions of Americans through its National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program. As a result of copying these messages and depositing them into an NSA computer database, it began to assemble a massive “Total Information Awareness” computer network. The FBI has also begun to develop and integrate such personal data with a biometric database that includes digital iris prints and facial images. Combine this with other computerized databases including credit card information, banking records and health files, and the result is an incredible ability to exercise power and control over anyone deemed by a political leader to be an “adversary”—including journalists, political opponents and others who might not see eye to eye with the administration.

    In concert with the PNAC mission of control over cyberspace, McCain has supported making warrantless spying on American citizens legal. When asked if he believed that Bush’s warrantless surveillance program was legal, McCain responded, “You know, I don’t think so, but why not come to Congress? We can sort this out. ... I think they will get that authority, whatever is reasonable and needed, and increased abilities to monitor communications are clearly in order.”

    Consistent with his conviction that such extended powers should be granted to the president, McCain has also recently voted for Senate Bill S.2248, which vacates substantial civil liberties protections included in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In contrast to the 1978 FISA, S.2248 would allow the president, acting through the attorney general, to spy on the phone and e-mail communications of Americans without individual court warrants or the need to judicially show probable cause.

    Despite the fact that McCain has said that Bush’s NSA spying program was not legal, he has also supported granting retroactive legal immunity to the telecommunication companies (such as AT&T and Verizon) that helped Bush illegally spy on millions of Americans. This means that he has openly admitted that the Bush administration acted unlawfully in eavesdropping on Americans’ phone and e-mail messages, while at the same time opted for taking away their legal right to redress this violation. And this unequivocally means that McCain is prepared to allow executive authority to trump the rule of law.

    Meet the McCain Team

    Given John McCain’s firm allegiance to the core missions of PNAC, it should come as no surprise that many of the old PNAC guard have shown up as foreign policy advisers in McCain’s current presidential campaign, and are likely re-emerge as high officials in his administration if he becomes president. Here are snapshots of some of these potential members of a McCain Cabinet, giving their PNAC profiles, their advisory capacities in the McCain 2008 presidential campaign, and their politics.

    William Kristol
    Editor and founder of Washington-based political magazine, Weekly Standard.
    PNAC co-founder.
    Foreign policy adviser.
    Has consistently been wrong in his foreign policy analyses regarding Iraq. For example, on March 5, 2003, he stated, “I think we’ll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq.”

    Robert Kagan
    Served in State Department in Reagan administration on Policy Planning Staff.
    PNAC co-founder.
    Foreign policy adviser.
    Has defended global expansionism by claiming it is an American tradition: “Americans’ belief in the possibility of global transformation—the ‘messianic’ impulse—is and always has been the more dominant strain in the nation’s character.”

    Randy Scheunemann
    Former adviser to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
    Co-director and executive director of Committee for Liberation of Iraq.
    Defense and foreign policy coordinator.
    With regard to recent National Intelligence Estimate finding that Iran discontinued its nuclear weapons program in 2003, stated “a careful reading of the NIE indicates that it is misleading.” And he claimed that the NIE harmed our efforts to achieve a “greater diplomatic consensus” to crack down on Iran.

    James Woolsey
    Director of CIA, Clinton administration, 1993-1995. (Reported to have met only twice with Clinton during time as CIA chief.)
    PNAC signatory.
    Energy and national security adviser.
    Speaking to a group of college students in 2003 about Iraq, he stated that “… the United States is engaged in World War IV.” Described the Cold War as the third world war. Then said, “This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War.”

    John R. Bolton
    Former U.S. ambassador to U.N. (Nomination to U.N. rejected by Senate, but George W. Bush put him in place on a recess appointment. Name floated for possible secretary of state for McCain.
    PNAC director.
    Ardent supporter of McCain for president in 2009.
    Publicly derided the United Nations: In 1994, he stated “there is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that’s the United States, when it suits our interest, and when we can get others to go along.” Advocates attacking Iran.

    Robert B. Zollick
    President, World Bank.
    PNAC signatory.
    Announced in 2006 he would be joining McCain presidential campaign for domestic and foreign policy but instead replaced Wolfowitz as president of World Bank in 2007.
    Has touted virtues of corporate globalization under the rubric of “comprehensive free trade.” But as Kevin Watkins, head researcher for Oxfan, stated, he pays no heed to the effects of the “blind pursuit of US economic and corporate special interests” on the world’s poor.

    Gary Schmitt
    American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (home to other PNAC members including Wolfowitz and Pearle.)
    PNAC director.
    Foreign policy adviser.
    Defended warrantless eavesdropping on Americans by claiming that Constitution “created a unitary chief executive. That chief executive could, in times of war or emergency, act with the decisiveness, dispatch and, yes, secrecy, needed to protect the country and its citizens.”

    Richard L. Armitage
    Former deputy secretary of state in George W. Bush administration.
    PNAC signatory.
    Foreign policy adviser.
    By his own admission, was responsible for leaking CIA agent Valerie Plame’s CIA identity to the press. Allegedly involved in Iran-Contra affair during Reagan administration.

    Max Boot
    Council on Foreign Relations.
    PNAC signatory.
    Foreign policy adviser.
    Stating that U.S. should “unambiguously ... embrace its imperial role,” has advocated attacking other Middle East countries in addition to Iraq and Iran, including Syria. Said McCain’s “bellicose aura” could “scare the snot out of our enemies,” who “would be more afraid to mess with him” than with other then-potential presidential candidates.

    Henry A. Kissinger
    President Nixon’s secretary of state.
    Embraces expansionist power politics.
    Consultant.
    Played major role in secret bombings of Cambodia during Nixon administration as well as having had alleged involvement in covert assassination plots and human rights violations in Latin America.

    What’s in Store for Us if McCain Becomes President

    That McCain has surrounded himself with such like-minded advisers who support the narrow PNAC agenda speaks to his unwillingness to hear and consider alternative perspectives. In fact, six out of 10 civilian foreign advisers to McCain are PNAC veterans. Even the newly appointed deputy communications director of the McCain campaign, Michael Goldfard, has been a research associate for PNAC. A die-hard adherent of the “unitary authority” of the chief executive, he recently stated that the framers of the United States Constitution advocated an “executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war.”

    Add to this list other major PNAC figures such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Dick Cheney who would probably play a significant role in a McCain administration and it is clear in what direction this nation would be moving.

    A McCain administration would be likely to:

    · Invest incredible amounts of money in sustaining multiple, simultaneous wars overseas at the expense of neglecting pressing concerns at home, including the economy, health care, the environment and education.

    · Stockpile nuclear weapons, while seeking to prohibit its adversaries from having them.

    · Attempt to shield the U.S. with a multilayered missile defense system based on land, at sea, in the air and in space, while demanding that nations that are not its allies become sitting ducks.

    · Strive to develop more potent chemical and biological weapons—not to mention the genotype-specific variety, while at the same time claiming to be fighting a “war on terror.”

    · Legalize “Total Information Awareness”—going through all Americans’ phone calls, e-mail messages and other personal records without needing probable cause.

    · Take control of the Internet, globally using it as an offensive political weapon—while claiming to be spreading democracy throughout the world.

    · Dispense with checks and balances in favor of the “unitary executive authority” of the president.

    · Alienate nations that refuse to join our war coalitions.

    · Deny that there is (or can be) a United Nations.


    A McCain administration would rule by fear, perceive right in terms of military might and subscribe to the idea of “do as I say and not as I do.” As a consequence, instead of rebuilding the image of America as a model of justice and civility, it would further sully respect for this nation throughout the world.

    Here is a clear reason why we need Obama in the White House.

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  42. Al Gore is making his debut on the 2008 presidential campaign trail in support of Barack Obama. Gore appeared with the Democratic presidential candidate Monday night at a raucous rally at Detroit's Joe Lewis Arena. His speech was part endorsement, part blistering attack on President Bush.

    Gore said Obama can lead the country past "eight years of incompetence, neglect and failure." He said Bush, who defeated him in the 2000 election, dishonored and disrespected the Constitution and made the worst foreign policy mistakes in the nation's history.

    Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 race, but lost the presidency after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bush in the disputed Florida election. Gore said, "Take it from me, elections matter.

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  43. John McCain’s big struggle to energize a suspicious conservative Republican base and attract crucial independent voters is a national fight that encompasses his home state of Arizona. Despite representing the state in Congress for 26 years, McCain is now confronting a resurgent state Democratic Party and a burgeoning number of unpredictable independent voters.

    While Arizona Republicans are bogged down with nasty infighting and a slumping number of registered voters, Arizona Democrats are gaining voters daily. Powered by Sen. Barack Obama’s voter registration drive, Democratic voter registration is up 2.8 percent in the last year and Democrats are poised to gain control of a majority of the state’s House congressional delegation for the first time in decades.

    The biggest shift in the Arizona political landscape has been in the number of voters registering as independents -- up 7.6 percent in the last year. Arizona is now essentially a tri-party state -- Republicans make up 38 percent of registered voters; Democrats, 34 percent, and independents, 27 percent. Securing a plurality of independents will be crucial to the presidential race here and Obama has the early edge. Without the enthusiastic support of rank-and-file Republicans, McCain could face a desert dogfight that could wind up costing him the White House in a close contest.

    Even Arizona voters are sick of the Deranged Old Warlover.

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  44. McCain's Playbook: Hate, Fear and Caveman Politics

    By Matt Taibbi, RollingStone.com

    Evening, June 3rd, in a muggy, dragonfly-beswarmed place called the Pontchartrain Center, just outside New Orleans. Half a continent away, amid yet another legacy-smashing fusillade of unsolicited invective from Bill Clinton, the excruciating Obama-Hillary mess is finally wrapping up, in a pair of anticlimactic primaries somewhere over the darkened plains of Montana and South Dakota. But here in the Big Easy, John McCain has chosen this moment to mount his first general-election attack against the Great Satanic Liberal Enemy -- who, as luck would have it, turns out to be a Negro intellectual from Harvard who's never served in the military. And this is supposed to be a bad year for Republicans?

    You'd never know it from listening to McCain, whose kickoff speech is the same election-year diatribe that Republicans have been giving for decades, one long broadside against those goddamned overgrown Sixties weenie liberals who hate the flag, love the bomb-tossing enemies of America and are bent on the twin goals of ending the system of free enterprise and placing every aspect of our lives under government control. McCain pegs Obama as a man who wants to take America "backward," to the failed ideas of the Sixties. "I'm surprised that a young man has bought into so many failed ideas!" he says, to furious applause. Then, spitting out a forced, ugly laugh that he must have practiced many (but not enough) times in the bathroom mirror of the Straight Talk Express, he adds, "That's not change we can believe in!"

    The choice of New Orleans as a launching pad for McCain's national campaign is the kind of leadenly obvious move that people who do politics for a living are pleased to call "sound strategy": For a candidate supposedly desperate to avoid carrying the Bush label into November, this disaster-stricken city is about the only place in the country that offers a striking visual image of a Bush policy that McCain has actually criticized. So the candidate dragged himself onstage here, ostensibly to perform the dreary business of "distancing himself" from Bush by once again criticizing the president's response to Katrina. The Bush-bashing money quote -- "Americans have a right to expect basic competence from their government!" -- was featured prominently in media accounts.

    But the idea that John McCain is kicking off his trek to the White House by fleeing at top-end speed from the faltering Republican brand is the kind of absurdly facile misperception that only the American campaign press could swallow whole. The reality is that the once independent-thinking McCain has by now completely remade himself into a prototypical, dumbed-down Republican Party stooge -- one who plans to rely on the same GOP strategy that has been winning elections ever since Pat Buchanan and Dick Nixon cooked up a plan for cleaving the South back in 1968. Rather than serving up the "straight talk" he promises, McCain is enthusiastically jumping aboard with every low-rent, fearmongering, cock-sucking presidential aspirant who's ever traveled the Lee Atwater/William Safire highway.

    Even the briefest of surveys of the supporters gracing McCain's events underscores the kind of red-meat appeal he's making. Immediately after his speech in New Orleans, a pair of sweet-looking old ladies put down their McCain signs long enough to fill me in on why they're here. "I tell you," says one, "if Michelle Obama really doesn't like it here in America, I'd be very pleased to raise the money to send her back to Africa."

    The diminutive and smiling old lady's friend leans over. "That's going a little too far, dear."

    "Too far?" says the first. "Farrakhan is saying they were brought here against their will, and their bodies are still feeding the sharks at the bottom of the sea! I mean, really!"

    "OK, sharks still eating bodies," I say, writing it all down. "Could I have your name, ma'am?"

    "Janice Berg," says the first old lady. "And lest you think I'm Jewish, the name comes from Norway. Berg is 'mountain' in Norwegian. I'm part German, part French myself."

    A few paces away, I catch up with a man named Ron Saucier and a woman who would only identify herself as Mary. Ron says his problem with Obama is the integrity thing. "He exaggerates too much," Ron says. "He's not honest."

    "OK," I say. "What does he exaggerate about?"

    "Well, like that time he was saying he had a white mother and a white grandmother," he says.

    I ask him how this is an exaggeration.

    "Well, he was saying . . ." he begins. "As if that qualifies him to . . ."

    Despite my repeated prodding, Ron seems unable or unwilling to say aloud exactly what he means. Finally, his friend Mary, a grave-looking blonde with fierce anger lines around her eyes, jumps in, points a finger and blurts out one of the all-time man-on-the-street quotes.

    "Look, you either are or you aren't," she says.

    "And he aren't," Ron says, nodding with relief.

    Some of us who have been mesmerized by the Obama-Clinton cage match during the past six months may have developed certain delusions about the state of American politics, in two areas in particular. One is the idea, much pushed by wishful-thinking media commentators like myself, that the abject failure and unpopularity of the Bush administration somehow means the Republican revolution is over, and the mean-ass hate-radio conservatism of Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh is finally dead. The other is the even more quaint notion that the historic, groundbreakingly successful candidacies of a black man and a woman have ushered in a futuristic era of political tolerance and open-mindedness.

    It's bunk, all of it, and nobody understands this better than John McCain. With his chameleonlike, whatever-gets-you-through-the-night ideology, McCain intends to use the same below-the-belt, commie-baiting, watermelon-waving smear tactics that Clinton used against Obama in the Democratic primaries, except at tenfold intensity. Once the victim of a classic racist smear job in backwoods South Carolina (where he was whipped in the 2000 primary after a Karl Rove whispering campaign suggested he had an illegitimate black daughter), McCain has now positioned himself on the business end of that same deal.

    Like Hillary Clinton, an erstwhile vilified liberal who remade herself as a flag-waving, Sixties-bashing champion of "hardworking Americans, white Americans" once the remarkable candidacy of Barack Obama forced her off her old turf, the one-time "insurgent" McCain has finally decided to sail with the wind at his back by going dumb and courting the same talk-radio demographic that used to despise him. What enables him to do so is a key insight: that while George W. Bush may be unpopular as an individual, fear and hatred in this country have never gone out of style.

    The remarkable metamorphoses this year of both Hillary Clinton and John McCain would be puzzling and inexplicable were it not for a basic truism of the political-hate game. The reasons McCain and Clinton were villains of the Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity crowd in the first place had nothing to do with their policy positions or votes in the Senate or anything like that. Their real crimes were their arrogant insistence on exercising their intellectual independence, as well as their stubborn refusal to indulge in drooling-caveman demagoguery. The instant both of them crossed into the hater column and began feverishly jacking off the toothless racists of the Deep South with broadsides against the America-hating socialist menace Obama, all was instantly forgiven.

    Only a few months ago, I was constantly running into Republicans at McCain events who had profound concerns about the Arizona senator's "liberal" record. But these days I'm hard-pressed to find anyone on the trail who even remembers that McCain once supported Roe v. Wade, and opposed the Bush tax cuts, and compared the tortures at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo to the techniques of the Spanish Inquisition, and even heretically claimed that Mexican immigrants were "God's children too." When I ask Mary Morvant, a pro-life Christian, why she's supporting McCain given his record on abortion, she gives a typical answer: "I'm much more concerned about Obama."

    McCain enters the general election in the form of a man who has jettisoned the last traces of his dangerous unorthodoxy just in time to be plausible in the role of the torchbearing leader of the anti-Obama mob, waving the flag and chanting, "One of us! One of us!" all the way through to November. He now favors making the Bush tax cuts permanent, he's unblinkingly pro-life every time he remembers to mention abortion, and he's given up bitching about torture. With his newfound opposition to his own attempts to reform immigration policy and campaign finance, McCain is perhaps the first candidate in history to stump against two bills bearing his own name.

    McCain's transformation is so complete that at a recent town-hall meeting in Nashville, when asked to name an author who inspired him, the candidate -- who once described televangelists of the Jerry Falwell genus as "agents of intolerance" -- put none other than Joel Osteen at the top of his list. "He's inspirational," McCain said.

    Standing at the meeting, I didn't write Osteen's name down in my notebook -- apparently because my brain refused on some level to accept that McCain had actually said it. Of all the vile, fake, lying-ass, money-grubbing shyster scumbags on the face of this planet, there is perhaps none more loathsome than Osteen, a human haircut with plastic baseball-size teeth who has made a fortune selling the appalling only-in-America idea that terrestrial greed is actually a form of Christian devotion. "God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us," Osteen once wrote. This is the revolting, snake-oil-selling dickhead that John McCain actually chose to pimp as number one on his list of inspirational authors. So much for "go, sell everything you have and give to the poor," and all that other hippie crap from the New Testament.

    This dumbed-down, hypersimplified incarnation of McCain offers the vehicle for his new platform, which is just the same old ring-around-the-collar fear-mongering horseshit used by a generation of conservatives, warmed over to fit 2008. In fact, in his stump speeches these days, McCain never veers off a strikingly Bushian binary version of reality, in which the world is divided into clear-cut camps of God-fearing American good and un-Christian, bomb-tossing foreign (and foreign-enabling) evil. McCain talks about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his evil plans for world domination, Hamas and its rockets that rained on poor Israeli children in their Purim (he pronounces it pyoor-eem) costumes. Also in the "bad" column are Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the "far-left radical outfit" MoveOn.org, the wealthy liberals in Georgetown who opposed the gas-tax holiday for ordinary, decent folk because "they can probably walk to work," and the Democrats eager to impose socialism because "they have little faith in the wisdom, decency and common sense of free people."

    Break it down and this is basically the same old label game, with McCain trying to rally his crowds against all the major isms: terrorism, socialism, elitism, anti-Americanism. His crude attempts to paint Obama with these brushes are more or less the whole of his argument for the presidency. Obama is terrorist-coddler because he is "ready to talk in person with tyrants" like Ahmadinejad, he hates soldiers because he refused to condemn MoveOn's "General Betray Us" ad, and he's a socialist because he favors health-care reform -- despite the fact that the Obama plan isn't "socialized" medicine any more than the universal requirement to buy private auto insurance is socialism.

    And when it comes to Obama's and his wife's America-hating, well . . . McCain really doesn't need to say anything about that. All he needs to do to remind audiences of Reverend Wright and Michelle "I'm proud of America for the first time" Obama is to offer a few bons mots in the opposite direction. "I seek the office with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me," McCain likes to say. And while he doesn't believe he was anointed by God to lead the great nation of America, he insists, "I am her servant, first, last and always."

    That's it -- that's the entire argument. McCain is a canny enough old goat to know that the public's insatiable appetite for traitorous enemies will do the rest. He'll wave as many flags and stand in front of as many fucking fighter jets as you like, while the other guy lectures us about why he doesn't always need to wear a flag pin in his lapel and calls a bomb-throwing Sixties terrorist "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" instead of calling for his immediate beheading.

    Cindy Oestriecher, a McCain supporter who turned out for his speech in New Orleans, is stumped when I ask her for an example of Obama's lack of patriotism. "What was that thing about anti-American?" she asks a friend. "What were they referring to?"

    "What thing?" asks the friend.

    "People were talking about that thing, that anti-American thing," Cindy says, frowning.

    "You mean about the flag, the thing on the Internet?" the friend replies.

    "Yeah, I guess," says Cindy. "The anti-American thing." "That bothers you?" I ask.

    "Of course it does!"

    "But you don't even know what it is," I say. "You just know that someone else said he was anti-American. You don't even know who it was that said it!"

    She shrugs. What's my point? We all know what the deal is. When it comes to presidential politics, you either are or you aren't. And Barack Obama aren't. If you can't grasp the simple math of that statement, you don't know much about elections in this country. It's not about the war, or the economy, or the faltering Republican brand, or any of that: This is about hate and fear, and a dark instinct in our blood going all the way back to Salem, and whether or not a desperately ambitious ex-heretic named John McCain can whip up a big enough mob in time to drown the latest witch.

    Which means that despite all the talk about "change," we're once again stuck in the same dumb flashback that has been prodigiously wasting our time for the last four or five decades -- the seemingly endless quest to crush the mythical leftist revolution, which for some reason has spent most of the last half-century cleverly disguised as a bunch of ineffectual bourgeois New Yorkers sitting around watching Stanley Kubrick movies and eating whole foods while conservatives took over the world. What's especially creepy about this flashback this time around is that it seems to mirror the tragic loop in McCain's own psyche. For all his frantic recanting of the many embarrassingly bipartisan episodes from his Senate past, McCain has never betrayed even a nanosecond's worth of memories from the central catastrophe of his life: his capture and torture in a Vietnamese prison. But now that he is finally pitted, in the great battle of his life, against a smooth-talking peacenik nearly half his age who wants American troops to withdraw instead of pressing on for "victory" in an unpopular war, McCain can keep reliving all those old hurts and all those old battles over and over again, in front of sympathetic crowd after sympathetic crowd.

    Never mind that Iraq isn't exactly Vietnam, or that Barack Obama isn't Jane Fonda -- what matters is that the Republicans nominated a wounded old soldier who now gets to spend the next five months trying to exorcise his personal demons, and this serendipitous circumstance fits nicely with the party's national strategy, despite the fact that pinning these old hurts on the likes of Obama makes no sense at all. Still, it's not hard to hear, in McCain's quasi-coherent rants, his bitterness at being abandoned to years of savage tortures while millions of little Hillarys and Bills and Obamas-in-training were getting high and balling each other during the Country Joe and the Fish set at Woodstock, instead of standing up and saluting the "winnable" war effort that got McCain sent to Vietnam in the first place.

    Then as now, the crime of the Obama class in the eyes of a wronged veteran like McCain wasn't that they caused these wartime sufferings; it was that they didn't cheer them as righteous and necessary, and unhesitatingly support the sending of more soldiers to the same fate. In the present day, it is George Bush who got us into this new Vietnam-like mess and revived the specter of tortured prisoners, but McCain's anger isn't focused in that direction. He's not mad that it's happening again, not looking to blame the people who actually started the fire. Instead he seems re-energized by the fact that we are all back in that same hell, back to living the PTSD-inducing nightmare that McCain himself never got to leave -- and if it takes dumbing down his act and playing to the Rush and Hannity crowd to give his story a happy ending this time around, he won't hesitate. So if you thought Hillary was bad, buckle your seat belts: The really dumb stuff is just beginning.

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  45. Check out Jolly Roger's latest article on Johnny McCain's close friend Clayton Williams and William's rape statements about women.

    Reconstitution

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  46. Great articles!

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  47. Trevor said...
    John McCain cancelled a fundraiser with a texas businessman after it was revealed that the guy said women should enjoy rape.

    I heard on the news that McCain wouldn't return all the money this guy had donated."

    Yeah McSame seems to be a real poor judge of character.........he SOUGHT OUT Hagee, and Parsly and he is running on the failed policies of the WORST President we have EVER had GWB!

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  48. Mike, check out Jolly Roger's article on the rape comment of Clayton Williams.

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  49. This is the MOST important election since FDR beat that loser Hoover..........who might actually look not so bad in comparison to Bush!

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  50. They all look good compared to Bush and now Bush is saying his worthless brother will make a great president.

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  51. For only the second time in nearly three decades, there won't be a Bush on the presidential ballot this November. But that absence may not be a permanent one, the current White House occupants hinted Sunday.

    President Bush was asked by a SkyNews correspondent whether the end of his term marked the end of the Bush presidential dynasty that began with his father’s Oval Office tenure 20 years ago.

    In response, Bush singled out his brother, who has often been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential contender. "Well, we've got another one out there who did a fabulous job as governor of Florida, and that's Jeb," he said. "But you know, you better ask him whether or not he's thinking of running. But he'd be a great president."

    What a load of garbage.

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  52. Bush's name is mud..........the Bush Dynasty is FINISHED!

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  53. Great post as usual JR.........my gut tells me there is LOTS of dirt on this loser that will come to light in this campaign and thats only the tip of the iceberg.

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  54. ust look at the how many times this idiot has put his foot in his mouth………from the 100 years in Iraq comment, to SEEKING Rev Hagey’s endorsement to saying the soldiers dont DESERVE increased tuition benefits to what you just highlighted………….just wait till Obama gets this jackass one on one in a debate…….McSame will self destruct……..he isnt smart enough to go toe to toe with Obama.

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  55. You can bet in four years Jebby will run and be praised by all the wingtards.

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  56. After 75 Years, the Working Poor Still Struggle for a Fair Wage

    By ADAM COHEN

    At the height of the Great Depression, industry convinced President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress to enact a law allowing companies to collude to drive up prices. To balance out this giveaway to big business, the law gave workers something that they had long been fighting for: the first federal minimum wage.

    This week marks the 75th anniversary of the National Industrial Recovery Act — which Roosevelt signed June 16, 1933, at the end of his famous first 100 days — and of the federal minimum wage. It was a grudging, almost accidental win, and the road since then has been rocky. Advocates for low-income workers have had a hard time keeping the minimum wage at a reasonable level and passing other laws necessary to fulfill the original goal: ensuring that people who work hard can achieve a reasonable standard of living.

    When progressives set out to establish a national minimum wage, they faced stiff opposition. Industry insisted that government should not interfere with its relations with its employees. Organized labor was also opposed. (“If you give them something for nothing,” one labor leader objected, “they won’t join the union.”) The pro-business Supreme Court presented the biggest obstacle, ruling that minimum wages were unconstitutional.

    The Depression provided an opening. Progressives injected minimum-wage and maximum-hours provisions into the NIRA. These provisions were technically voluntary, but if companies wanted the government to approve the minimum prices and production limits they desperately wanted, they had to agree to minimum wages. Most industries adopted a minimum hourly wage of at least 40 cents.

    The Supreme Court declared the NIRA unconstitutional, but the idea of a federal minimum wage had taken hold. In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act — which a more progressive Supreme Court upheld — creating a mandatory federal minimum wage.

    The new law was enormously effective: within a year, it brought millions of low-paid workers up to a wage of 30 cents an hour. It also had major weaknesses, notably that it was not indexed to inflation. Congress has to raise it, which leaves low-income workers at the mercy of politics.

    The minimum wage continues to have powerful enemies. Businesses that pay low wages lobby strongly against increases, arguing that they cause jobs to disappear. The Bush administration has been hostile. When Elaine Chao was nominated to be the next labor secretary, she called for states to be able to opt out of the federal minimum wage — which would destroy the whole idea of a national minimum wage.

    Last year, the new Democratic-controlled Congress raised the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. The increase was a real victory. But even with it, the minimum wage — which reaches $7.25 an hour in 2009 — is still far below where it was in the 1960s, in real dollars. A family of three earning the 2009 minimum wage would still be well below the federal poverty line. And because the minimum wage remains unindexed, low-wage workers will fall even further behind before Congress rouses itself to grant another increase.

    Economists, who are more sophisticated today than they were in 1933, now place more emphasis on raising the Earned Income Tax Credit. Because it is tied to family income rather than wage levels, the tax credit can be targeted precisely at workers who need it most. There has also, understandably, been considerable focus this year on trying to provide the working poor — and everyone else — with affordable health care.

    In this year’s “change” election, more attention should be paid to the working poor, who were hit especially hard by the economic policies of the last eight years. There should be talk of tax credits and health care — and the minimum wage. Advocates for the working poor argue for a better raise than the one Congress passed last year — perhaps one set at half the national average hourly wage, which would bring it roughly to where it was in the 1960s, and tie it to the rate of inflation.

    The minimum wage can play a vital role in lifting hard-working families above the poverty line. But as Roosevelt understood, it is also about something larger: what kind of country America wants to be. “A self-supporting and self-respecting democracy,” he said in the Congressional message that accompanied the Fair Labor Standards Act, can plead “no economic reason for chiseling workers’ wages.”

    The Republican Agenda: Making America Poverty Central.

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  57. There is an amazing YOUTUBE video that turns McCain's lies around about the tax cuts. He deliberately says that Obama will raise taxes on "Seniors, poor people and the middle class."

    This is typical Republican Orwellian doublespeak. In fact it is the opposite.

    And McShame knows it.

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  58. I've changed my mind. I'm voting Republican. Check out the video I just posted. This convinced me.

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  59. Lydia
    We are looking at and seeing so much it is hard to remember when you did what but I think it was yesterday that I posted that why I am voting Republican video. It is good and I think everyone on the right should be sent it! Everyone is tempted to add their own and do. It would be funny if this mess was not so real. I'll shut up there.

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  60. Blood on Bush's hands

    Len Hart

    Bush's Official Conspiracy Theory of 911 Defies the Laws of Physics. If an airliner of some 100 tons had crashed into the Pentagon, some 100 tons of debris would have been recovered. It wasn't recovered because it wasn't there! Not even Bush's kiss ups have dared make such a claim!

    The question then is not 'where is the airliner', but 'where is the debris'? Until Bush can come up with a better cover story, his 'theories' are not credible. Stories inconsistent with demonstrable physics are --bluntly --bald-faced lies. Odds are good that whomever is most motivated to lie about 911 is guilty of it!

    The 'official conspiracy theory' of 911 is just such a lie. Bush's official conspiracy theory requires a complete rewrite of the laws of physics going back to Galileo, Newton, and perhaps even Aristotle. It is more reasonable to conclude that Bush is a part of a murderous plot to seize dictatorial powers than to conclude that Galileo, Newton and Einstein were just wrong about matter, motion, and the conservation of both matter and energy. I don't they were wrong. Rather --I think Bush is a goddamn liar!

    Certainly, Einsteinian physics proposed an equation that describes the conversion of matter into energy: E = mc2. But E = mc2 cannot explain what happened at the Pentagon unless one is willing to posit that a nuclear device was exploded there. Had that happened, the Pentagon and perhaps much of DC would not have been left standing. That we are expected to believe that a 100 ton airliner simply vanished is the most absurd violation of Occam's Razor that I've encountered in my lifetime. It's stupid! Needless to say --no one exploded a thermonuclear device; neither did an airliner exceed the speed of light and thus pop into another dimension.

    Absurd theories by Bush partisans and paid liars simply create more problems for themselves than they can explain scientifically. If Bush had been innocent he would have insisted upon a thorough and complete investigation. Instead, he tried to cover it up and interfered with the 911 commission which he opposed.

    Let's re-examine the physics that proves Bush a liar.

    When a piece of copper metal is heated in air, it comes together with oxygen in the air. Then if it is weighed, it is found to have a greater mass that the original piece of metal. If however the mass of the oxygen of the air that combines with the metal is taken into consideration, it can be shown that the mass of the product is within the limits of accuracy of any weighing instrument, equal to the sum of the masses of the copper and oxygen that combine. This behavior of matter is in accord with what is called the Law of Conservation of Matter: During an ordinary chemical change, there is no detectable increase or decrease in the quantity of matter.

    Conversion of one type of matter into another are always accompanied by the conversion of one form of energy into another. Usually heat is leveled or absorbed, but sometimes the conversion involves light or electrical energy instead of, or in addition to heat. Many transformations of energy, of course, do not involve chemical changes. Electrical energy can be changed into either mechanical, light, heat or potential energy without chemical changes. Mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy in a generator. Potential and kinetic energy can be converted into one another. Many other conversions are possible, but all of the energy involved in any change always appears in some form after the change is completed.

    The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change its form.

    The total quantity of matter and energy available in the universe is a fixed amount and never any more or less.

    Thus the blood soaked hands of a chickenhawk.

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  61. US: CEO pay sets new record as economy tanks

    By Andre Damon

    Average CEO compensation grew by 3.5 percent last year despite slowing economic growth, falling profits and mass layoffs, according to an Associated Press review published Monday. The review found that the S&P 500 CEO received an average yearly compensation of $8.4 million, up $280,000 (an average raise that is the equivalent of six times the US median household income) during 2006.

    The data render ridiculous those apologies for social inequality resting on the idea that CEO pay is linked to ‘performance’ in some meaningful way. The Associated Press review found that “CEO pay rose or fell regardless of the direction of a company’s stock price or profits.” The report also notes that half of the 10 best paid CEOs—who collectively hauled in half a billion dollars last year—presided over companies whose profits shrank “dramatically.”

    The Associated Press reviewed disclosures filed by 410 of the 500 largest US firms. The top 10 earners included the heads of four financial firms, four energy/commodities firms, as well as the heads of the retailer GAP and entertainment conglomerate CBS.

    John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch, ranks first on the list. He received $83 million in compensation for the year, despite presiding over a company that posted a $9.8 billion loss in the fourth quarter. He replaced former CEO Stanley O’Neal on December 1, 2007. O’Neal left the bank with a compensation package worth over $161 million, despite his direct oversight of the bank’s gambling with mortgage-backed securities that ultimately exploded in 2006-2007.

    Likewise, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, also in the top 10, received a compensation package worth $41.7 million, even though his firm announced the writing down of $9.8 billion worth of loans and a loss of $3.61 billion in the fourth quarter.

    The housing bubble and the worldwide financial crisis it has created were fueled by people like Mack and Thain, as well as the enormously wealthy shareholders they represent.

    In good times, financial executive compensation has been tied to increases in stock value and short-term asset performance. But it does not seem to track the downward spiral as these measures fall. In recent years, financial executives have swelled their bonuses by buying up huge tracts of “mystery-meat” securities with high yields and intentionally miscalculated risk.

    This reporter recently attended a lecture by David Hartzell, a former vice-president of Salomon Brothers, who played a role in the development of the mortgage-backed securities that were instrumental in creating the current crisis. He noted that by repackaging bad mortgages as high quality securities, his firm could generate previously unimaginable profits. “When we first discovered this, it was like somebody turned on the cash spigot,” Hartzell said. Naturally, a great deal of this cash made it into executives’ pockets.

    The latest figures have already evoked calls from sections of the business press for greater corporate oversight of CEO activities and compensation. Much of this comes in the form of “shareholder activism,” as if the biggest shareholders did not approve the policies implemented by financial CEOs when they sent stock prices and dividends soaring.

    Questions along these lines were raised at Hartzell’s speech at the University of Delaware. The dean of the university’s business college observed, “In accounting 101 we learn that high yields equal high risk. We know the CEOs had an incentive to disregard this because they were getting huge bonuses. But why didn’t the shareholders say anything?”

    Hartzell did not have a ready answer, but it does not take much soul-searching to find one. The wealthy shareholders—those with real voting power—were perfectly happy to see the financial firms’ profits and stock prices skyrocket, even at the expense of long-term stability, and to give top executives tens of millions for making this happen.

    Looking at the AP compensation report, one is struck by the apparent correlation between a CEO’s pay and the amount of social harm his or her company inflicts. The bankers who triggered a worldwide financial crisis got the biggest bonuses. Then we have the energy executives, whose compensation shot up some 32 percent last year as gas prices breached $4 per gallon, sharply reducing the real incomes of millions of working people.

    Bob Simpson of XTO Energy took home $50 million in compensation in 2007, ranking him at number four this year. Other energy executives on the list included Eugene Isenberg of Nabors Industries and Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum, who took home $44 million and $34 million respectively.

    Other bonus hikes went to executives who succeeded in destroying jobs and driving down wages. Rick Wagoner of General Motors received a compensation package of $15.7 million, up 60 percent from the previous year, despite presiding over a company that posted a $39 billion loss in 2007. He was, however, successful in scrapping GM’s healthcare obligations to workers and pushing through plant closures.

    And what have been the social consequences of all this? Who has paid the cost of this enrichment of a tiny layer at the top of the social ladder? According to the latest estimates, one in twenty Americans will soon have negative equity in their homes, and millions already face foreclosure. Energy prices have shot up by 17 percent in the past year alone. Real wages have fallen by about 1 percent during the same period, with far steeper declines threatened.

    Getting paid millions to drive a company into the ground: How Republican.

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  62. By Jon Ponder

    At a meeting in his Pentagon office in early 1981, Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman told Capt. John S. McCain III that he was about to attain his life ambition: becoming an admiral.

    In the past few months, McCain has done more to expose the reality behind the fabulation that he is a straight-talking maverick than any of his political enemies ever could.

    But Mr. McCain, the son and grandson of revered Navy admirals, was having second thoughts about following his family’s vocation. He had spent the previous four years as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate, sampling life in the world’s most exclusive club …

    He had found a sense of purpose in an apprenticeship to some of the Senate’s fiercest cold warriors. And in Senator John G. Tower, a hawkish Texas Republican, he had found a new mentor, beginning a relationship that many compared to the bond between a father and son.

    With Mr. Tower’s encouragement, Mr. McCain declined the prospect of his first admiral’s star to make a run for Congress, saying that he could “do more good there,” Mr. Lehman recalled. But Mr. Lehman knew duty was only part of the reason.

    “He just loved it up there,” Mr. Lehman recalled. “Like very few military people, John heard the music up there, and he really wanted to do it.”

    McCain gave up the opportunity to become the first son and grandson of an admiral in order to become a lowly congressman. Sounds plausible but, writing in Huffington Post, Jeffrey Klein calls this story “highly improbable.” He lists among reasons for doubt the fact that in his memoir, Worth Fighting For, McCain did not mention that he had nobly turned down a promotion to admiral, with all its dynastic implications, to pursue a career in public service. In fact, McCain’s own assessment was that he doubted he was qualified. There’s also the fact that, over the years, none of McCain’s close friends has ever mentioned his turning down the promotion, and the fact that a promotion for McCain at that juncture would have gone against the Navy’s strict pecking order, advancing him past others who had waited their turns. And, finally, John Lehman a) had only been on duty as secretary of the Navy for two months and b), as secretary, was not in charge of who got promoted to admiral.

    Klein also notes that the Times article failed to point out that Lehman is now a McCain adviser.

    Myths about John McCain die hard, and you can bet that this shiny new bullet-point is now a fact in his resume, even if it is not true.

    The most resilient myth about John McCain may be the fantasy that he is a straight talker. In the past few months, McCain has done more to expose the reality behind this fabulation than any of his political enemies ever could. In fact, in this month alone, McCain has contradicted himself in public statements no less than 10 times, which has to be a record. The list, which was compiled by by Jon Perr, writing at Crooks and Liars, ranges from the media’s treatment of Hillary Clinton to privatization of Social Security, to the estate tax, domestic spying, restoring the Everglades, opposing investigations into Hurricane Katrina and more.

    And there there is the myth that McCain is a maverick — you know, the sort of maverick who voted with his Dear Leader 95 percent of the time last year.

    Underpinning the McCain mythos is his military service, including a five and a half year stint in Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. But in his Huffington Post article, Jeffrey Klein found that a close examination of McCain’s time in the service finds faint echoes of George W. Bush’s approach. Like Bush, McCain was admittedly more focused on partying than on duty, and, like Bush, he used his connections to receive plum assignments that should have gone to more qualified men. Klein writes:

    More of the real John McCain

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  63. Hillary Clinton will join Barack Obama for a joint appearance in Washington next week to persuade her donors to begin giving to the Democrats' nominee, the Daily News has learned.

    It's the first known plan to bring together the victor and vanquished from the Democrat primary race and put their pledges of unity for the fall campaign into action.

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  64. A car bomb ripped through a busy commercial street in a Shiite area of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 51 people and wounding scores more in the deadliest blast in the capital in more than three months.

    Many victims were trapped in their apartments by a raging fire that engulfed at least one building, according to police and Interior Ministry officials, who also said about 75 people were wounded. Stunned survivors stumbled through the rubble-strewn street, which was filled with the smoke from burning vehicles, witnesses said.

    And McCain said the war was going so well.

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  65. (AP) Thousands of wounded soldiers discharged from the Army risk financial ruin as they wait six to nine months for their disability benefits. The Army has taken steps to ease the strain, but it’s taking awhile for those policies to take hold.

    Nearly 20,000 disabled soldiers were discharged in the past two fiscal years, and lawmakers, veterans’ advocates and others say thousands could be facing financial ruin while they wait for their claims to be processed and their benefits to come through.

    “The anecdotal evidence is depressing,” said Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., who heads a subcommittee on veterans disability benefits. “These veterans are getting medical care, but their family is going through this huge readjustment at the same time they’re dealing with financial difficulties.”

    Most permanently disabled veterans qualify for payments from Social Security and the military or Veterans Affairs. Those sums can amount to about two-thirds of their active-duty pay. But until those checks show up, most disabled veterans draw a reduced Army paycheck.

    The amount depends on the soldier’s injuries, service time and other factors. But a typical veteran and his family who once lived on $3,400 a month might have to make do with $970 a month. Unless a soldier has a personal fortune or was so severely injured as to require long-term inpatient care, that can be an extreme hardship.

    This is how Bush cares for the soldiers he sends off to his forever wars.

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  66. Hello Lydia, the video you posted was outrageous. Thank you for sharing

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  67. Lydia that video is priceless!

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  68. BTW, i cant wait to hear the Iglesias interview, i hope you guys get it in the archives quick.

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  69. McSame has way TOO MUCH BS and failed policies and dishonest talking points to run on.

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  70. 'Straight Talk Express' often reverses course

    Thomas F. Schaller

    Two weeks ago, I suggested that we ought to be able to conduct a presidential election without creating superficial and misleading personal caricatures of the nominees - that it was sufficient to make a case for or against Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama based solely on their records and their proposals. Today, I offer a strong case against Mr. McCain on strictly policy terms.

    The foundation of that case rests on a single, damning observation courtesy of Cliff Schecter in his new book, The Real McCain: For the sake of political-electoral expediency, the Arizona senator has taken or changed far too many of his positions. On a range of issues - including President Bush's tax cuts, immigration, display of the Confederate flag and campaign finance reform, his signature issue - Mr. McCain has significantly altered if not outright reversed earlier stances.

    Even on the treatment of terrorist suspects held by the military, the issue on which one might think he would be vigilant, Mr. McCain voted in 2006 in favor of the Military Commissions Act, which protected government interrogators from possible war crimes charges.

    "A conditional friend to conservatives, an appealing maverick to independents, and a noxious Bush apologist to Democrats, McCain is a unique blend of allegiances and enmities in American politics," writes Mr. Schecter. "What conservatives misread as disloyalty to the cause isn't that at all; what moderates and independents value of McCain's free thinking isn't that, either."

    "That," Mr. Schecter explains, is a policy record consistent only in its inconsistency, and one carefully hidden behind the facade of the independent-thinking reformer's image Mr. McCain prefers to project.

    Mr. Schecter finished the book this year, but one need not retrace ground even that far back to find ample evidence of his conclusions about the Republican nominee's inability to "straight talk." In fact, in just the past month, Mr. McCain has demonstrated plenty of what rightly should be called "funny talk."

    Item: During his appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last month, Mr. McCain told Ms. DeGeneres he did not support the idea of gay couples being able to marry but he did endorse allowing them to at least enter into "legal contracts" with each other for such things as insurance. Funny that, because Mr. McCain supported a 2006 amendment to his home state's constitution that would ban any legal agreements for gay partners, including insurance.

    Item: Two weeks ago, Mr. McCain said, "I am not for privatizing Social Security. I never have been. I never will be." Funny that categorical claim, too, because according to a Wall Street Journal story March 3, here's what Mr. McCain said just three months ago: "As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it - along the lines of what President Bush proposed."

    Item: As reporter Charlie Savage of The New York Times reported June 6, Mr. McCain now says he believes President Bush's phone wiretapping program was legal. Funny that, because in an interview just six months ago with the Boston Globe, notes Mr. Savage, the senator "strongly suggested" that he would be bound to obey statutes such as the one President Bush violated.

    Item: Mr. McCain called this week for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling, which is also funny because it reverses a position he took in the 2000 election and calls into question his avowed stance as an environmental advocate.

    That's four reversals in the past four weeks. Throw in his transparent backtracking during the Republican primary on illegal immigration and his 180-degree turn on the Bush tax cuts, and it's difficult not to conclude that foolish inconsistencies have been the hobgoblins of Mr. McCain's candidacy.

    I spoke briefly with Mr. Schecter on Sunday and asked him about the GOP nominee's changing pronouncements.

    "I'm not surprised that Senator McCain continues to blithely change his stances on the defining issues of our day," Mr. Schecter told me. "That's the story of his entire political career, and the media have always let him get away with it. Yet it's starting to catch up with him, as evidenced by a new Pew Research Center poll that shows fewer people view him as a 'maverick,' 'independent' or a 'reformer.'"

    In 2004, Republicans characterized Democrat John Kerry as somebody who changed positions - a candidate with no policy core, no ideological mooring. This time around, with John McCain at the head of their ticket, it appears that the flip-flop is on the other partisan foot.

    John McCain: Flip Flopping his way through Derangement.

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  71. Goodbye, Mr. Straight Talk

    by Joe Conason

    He rejected the Bush tax cuts in 2001 because they provided an unearned bonanza for America’s wealthiest citizens while giving a pittance to the middle class and nothing to the working poor. To him, as a long-standing enemy of waste and profligacy, these proposals were not only unfair but also unwise.

    “I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief,” he said, joining courageously with Lincoln Chafee, then a senator from Rhode Island, as one of two Republicans who dared to cast such a crucial vote against president and party.

    Now Mr. Chafee is no longer in the Senate, losing reelection in 2006 after enduring a brutal primary challenge from the Republican right. And Mr. McCain, now driven by ambition rather than principle, has changed. He supports the tax cuts that his conscience once moved him to oppose—and indeed, he promises to deliver even more lucrative benefits to those who need relief least, at the expense of those who need it most.

    Tax policy is rarely discussed as a character issue. It is possible to believe that rewarding the rich should be the main purpose of the tax code, and it is also possible to believe that taxation should advance rather than diminish equality—and it is possible for honorable people to argue either way. But in Mr. McCain’s case, his complete flip-flop and his implausible explanation raise disturbing questions about his integrity. (That is particularly true of a candidate like Mr. McCain, who questioned the character of a primary opponent, Mitt Romney, for revamping his positions on abortion and other social issues.)

    By the time Mr. McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, he had established a strong position against their regressive effects. That stance marked him as a true maverick in his own party and a straight talker who spoke for the national interest against his own personal interests. Running against George W. Bush in the 2000 G.O.P. primary, he mocked the Texas governor’s “misplaced” bonanza for the affluent.

    “Sixty percent of the benefits from his tax cuts go to the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans—and that’s not the kind of tax relief that Americans need,” he said. Despite his wife’s inherited wealth, he criticized proposals to repeal the estate tax for the same reason, noting that such legislation “would provide massive benefits solely to the wealthiest and highest-income taxpayers in the country.”

    As the chance to run for president again drew closer, however, Mr. McCain shifted toward conservative orthodoxy. In 2005 he voted for cuts in capital-gains taxes that he had previously opposed, and in 2006 voted for essentially the same estate-tax repeal he had once denounced. And today, his economic platform extends to the Bush tax cuts and renders them still more regressive—and more expensive.

    According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the McCain proposals would render almost one-quarter of their benefits to the top one-tenth of 1 percent of taxpayers. Those are households with annual incomes over $2.8 million. Families in the lower 60 percent of the income scale would receive 8 percent of the McCain plan’s benefits. This scheme will result in the loss of at least four trillion dollars in revenue over the coming decade, as our physical infrastructure crumbles.

    Even more troubling than those numbers, however, is the contorted rhetoric that the Republican nominee-to-be has used to justify his policy reversal. Over the past several months, you see, he has discovered that he never really opposed the Bush tax cuts as unfair. He only opposed them because there weren’t enough spending cuts to balance the revenue reductions.

    At the same time, however, he now insists that cutting taxes actually increases federal revenues—the discredited supply-side mumbo-jumbo that he must endorse to win over his party base. But if reducing taxes actually raises revenues, then why is he so worried about spending cuts?

    Intellectual honesty was the currency of the straight talker, yet he has squandered that great asset by pandering to the most irresponsible ideologues. How he can bear to do this to himself is a mystery.

    John McCain: Lying his way to the throne.

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  72. McCavein was corrupt before he even sat down at his desk in the Senate, and there is a trail of evidence a mile wide that follows him everywhere he goes.

    Why does our media continue to insist that this guy is some kind of a "maverick?" About the only way one could call him a "maverick" without smirking is if we consider him to be the guy who established the corrupt practices that would eventually be adopted by most of the Congress.

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  73. Totally off-subject, but.... if you aren't aware of the new policies of the Apologist Press regarding excerpting their articles in blogs, familizrize yourself with them. The AP seems to be about as thickheaded as the RIAA, and you don't want to wind up on the wrong side of this one.

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  74. Thanks for the heads up about the Apologist Press Jolly.

    Since they are cutting off the coverage of the blogs, then who will read their verbage.

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  75. Maverick McCain has earned the moniker of maverick as he is more out on the limb of Derangement than his fellow weasels of war.

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  76. NY Times: Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir

    By JAMES RISEN

    The Army official who managed the Pentagon’s largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops.

    The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.

    Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. “They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify,” he said in an interview. “Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that.”

    But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors — after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR’s claims — approved most of the payments he had tried to block.

    Army officials denied that Mr. Smith had been removed because of the dispute, but confirmed that they had reversed his decision, arguing that blocking the payments to KBR would have eroded basic services to troops. They said that KBR had warned that if it was not paid, it would reduce payments to subcontractors, which in turn would cut back on services.

    “You have to understand the circumstances at the time,” said Jeffrey P. Parsons, executive director of the Army Contracting Command. “We could not let operational support suffer because of some other things.”

    Mr. Smith’s account fills in important gaps about the Pentagon’s handling of the KBR contract, which has cost more than $20 billion so far and has come under fierce criticism from lawmakers.

    While it was previously reported that the Army had held up large payments to the company and then switched course, Mr. Smith has provided a glimpse of what happened inside the Army during the biggest showdown between the government and KBR. He is giving his account just as the Pentagon has recently awarded KBR part of a 10-year, $150 billion contract in Iraq.

    Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for KBR, said in a statement that the company “conducts its operations in a manner that is compliant with the terms of the contract.” She added that it had not engaged in any improper behavior.

    Ever since KBR emerged as the dominant contractor in Iraq, critics have questioned whether the company has benefited from its political connections to the Bush administration. Until last year, KBR was known as Kellogg, Brown and Root and was a subsidiary of Halliburton, the Texas oil services giant, where Vice President Dick Cheney previously served as chief executive.

    When told of Mr. Smith’s account, Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it “is startling, and it confirms the committee’s worst fears. KBR has repeatedly gouged the taxpayer, and the Bush administration has looked the other way every time.”

    Mr. Smith, a civilian employee of the Army for 31 years, spent his entire career at the Rock Island Arsenal, the Army’s headquarters for much of its contracting work, near Davenport, Iowa. He said he had waited to speak out until after he retired in February.

    As chief of the Field Support Contracting Division of the Army Field Support Command, he was in charge of the KBR contract from the start. Mr. Smith soon came to believe that KBR’s business operations in Iraq were a mess. By the end of 2003, the Defense Contract Audit Agency told him that about $1 billion in cost estimates were not credible and should not be used as the basis for Army payments to the contractor.

    “KBR didn’t move proper business systems into Iraq,” Mr. Smith said.

    Along with the auditors, he said, he pushed for months to get KBR to provide data to justify the spending, including approximately $200 million for food services. Mr. Smith soon felt under pressure to ease up on KBR, he said. He and his boss, Maj. Gen. Wade H. McManus Jr., then the commander of the Army Field Support Command, were called to Pentagon meetings with Tina Ballard, then the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for policy and procurement.

    Ms. Ballard urged them to clear up KBR’s contract problems quickly, but General McManus ignored the request, Mr. Smith said. Ms. Ballard declined to comment for this article, as did General McManus.

    Eventually, Mr. Smith began warning KBR that he would withhold payments and performance bonuses until the company provided the Army with adequate data to justify the expenses. The bonuses — worth up to 2 percent of the value of the work — had to be approved by special boards of Army officials, and Mr. Smith made it clear that he would not set up the boards without the information.

    Mr. Smith also told KBR that, until the information was received, he would withhold 15 percent of all payments on its future work in Iraq.

    “KBR really did not like that, and they told me they were going to fight it,” Mr. Smith recalled.

    In August 2004, he told one of his deputies, Mary Beth Watkins, to hand deliver a letter about the threatened penalties to a KBR official visiting Rock Island. That official, whose name Mr. Smith said he could not recall, responded by saying, “This is going to get turned around,” Mr. Smith said.

    Two officials familiar with the episode confirmed that account, but would speak only on the condition of anonymity out of concern for their jobs.

    The next morning, Mr. Smith said he got a call from Brig. Gen. Jerome Johnson, who succeeded General McManus when he retired the month before. “He told me, “You’ve got to pull back that letter,”’ Mr. Smith recalled. General Johnson declined to comment for this article.

    A day later, Mr. Smith discovered that he had been replaced when he went to a meeting with KBR officials and found a colleague there in his place. Mr. Smith was moved into a job planning for future contracts with Iraq. Ms. Watkins, who also declined to comment, was reassigned as well.

    Mr. Parsons, the contracting director, confirmed the personnel changes. But he denied that pressure from KBR was a factor in the Army’s decision making about the payments. “This issue was not decided overnight, and had been discussed all the way up to the office of the secretary of defense,” he said.

    Soon after Mr. Smith was replaced, the Army hired a contractor, RCI Holding Corporation, to review KBR’s costs. “They came up with estimates, using very weak data from KBR,” Mr. Smith said. “They ignored D.C.A.A.’s auditors,” he said, referring to the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

    Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Pentagon spokesman, disputed that. He said in a statement that the Army auditing agency “does not believe that RCI was used to circumvent” the Army audits.

    Paul Heagen, a spokesman for RCI’s parent company, the Serco Group, said his firm had insisted on working with the Army auditors. While KBR did not provide all of the data Mr. Smith had been seeking, Mr. Heagen said his company had used “best practices” and sound methodology to determine KBR’s costs.

    Bob Bauman, a former Pentagon fraud investigator and contracting expert, said that was unusual. “I have never seen a contractor given that position, of estimating costs and scrubbing D.C.A.A.’s numbers,” he said. “I believe they are treading on dangerous ground.”

    The Army also convened boards that awarded KBR high performance bonuses, according to Mr. Smith.

    High grades on its work in Iraq also allowed KBR to win more work from the Pentagon, and this spring, KBR was awarded a share in the new 10-year contract. The Army also announced that Serco, RCI’s parent, will help oversee the Army’s new contract with KBR.

    “In the end,” Mr. Smith said, “KBR got what it wanted.”

    Don't they always?

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  77. Jolly Roger, Larry, Mike and mch - thank you for your ideas

    Hey has anyone heard from TomCat?
    Does he have access to email or does he have a phone?

    We should all call him!

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  78. Lydia Cornell stated"I've changed my mind. I'm voting Republican. Check out the video I just posted. This convinced me."

    Alas dear lady, i too am voting Republican; ahh the glamour and sheer unfettered glory of embracing evil, tyranny and the powers of misrule; all mine if only i freely forsake my rational brain and critical reasoning and proclaim utter inequity to be a virtue.

    Its the life of a ruffian for me.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Ms Cornell stated"Hey has anyone heard from TomCat?
    Does he have access to email or does he have a phone?

    We should all call him!"


    My sentiments as well dear lady, i shall pay my respects to Tomcat and wish him well, he's a good chap and a gentleman.

    Good Evening.

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  80. Dismantling the Myth of McCain
    How the Republican senator's maverick image is a sham

    By David Moberg

    As the presidential race shifts into summer gear, Democrats have a McCain problem. And John McCain has a Bush problem -- or at least Democrats hope he will.

    Judging from opinion polls about the president and the direction the country is going, if George W. Bush were on the ballot this fall, Democrats would win the presidency. Even an unspecified Democrat running against a generic Republican would win handily.

    But with Sen. Barack Obama facing Sen. McCain, early summer polls show the race gets much tighter, with the lead over McCain for the real Democratic candidate running about 10 points less than for the generic.

    McCain's strength stems from his media-fostered image as a straight-talking maverick reformer and former prisoner of war. But the downside for McCain is that many Republicans distrust him, with roughly a quarter of Republicans withholding votes from him even in late primaries.

    With his eyes on the presidential race, McCain has spent the past few years cultivating the Right, most famously reconciling with the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 2006, despite having denounced him and televangelist Pat Robertson in 2000 as "agents of intolerance."

    Even more compelling visually is the 2004 picture of "The Hug" -- McCain throwing his arms around President Bush and leaning against the president's chest with a sheepish smile on his face, as Bush waves to a crowd. In February, Bush gave McCain his political embrace, declaring him a "true conservative."

    So, who is "the real McCain"? (Incidentally, the title of a new book by journalist Cliff Schechter.) The record shows McCain to be a strongly pro-business, anti-government, hawkish neoconservative who has increasingly supported many right-wing evangelical causes (such as teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution).

    Yet at times he has alienated parts of the Republican Right, mainly on issues in which McCain's position safely reflected strong majorities of public opinion, as journalists David Brock and Paul Waldman argue in Free Ride: John McCain and the Media.

    McCain won his reformer credentials by co-sponsoring legislation with progressive Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) that, in 2002, banned soft money contributions to political parties. The long fight for the bill won McCain adulation in the press. But ultimately, it didn't keep soft money out of politics, and some conservatives believed it was more likely to hurt Democrats than Republicans.

    By 2006, as Schechter reports, McCain was backing away from legislation for federal election public financing that he had once supported.

    By then, McCain had won the image he needed as a clean-politics reformer to expunge the effects of his having been named in 1991 as one of the "Keating Five" -- senators who had received financial favors from, and then tried to help, fraudulent savings and loan operator Charles Keating.

    Yet his image as a clean politician above the political swamp of Washington politics is most belied by his long and deep connections with corporate lobbyists.

    According to the anti-McCain website Progressive Media USA, McCain had at least 118 lobbyists running his campaign, including campaign manager Rick Davis -- who lobbied for major telecommunications companies (for whom McCain has often intervened legislatively) -- and senior adviser Charles Black -- who was registered as a lobbyist for right-wing guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi of Angola and such dictators as Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire.

    In May, the campaign dismissed several lobbyists and promulgated new rules for campaign workers. But McCain's reliance on corporate special interest lobbyists is so pervasive that his personal image will continue to suffer.

    Brock and Waldman argue, however, that the myth of McCain has two other founding pillars: his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and his cultivation of the press. McCain is sure to continue using his time in prison for political advantage. But when he had the chance to use his moral weight as a victim of torture to stand up to Bush's policies, he did so only rhetorically, eventually agreeing to legislation that still permitted techniques such as waterboarding.

    The mass media can be fickle, but, initially, McCain has gotten a pass from many high-profile reporters. As Brock and Waldman note, McCain has carefully cultivated relationships with the press, providing unusually open access and surprising candor -- or at least the appearance of candor.

    However, as recounted by Schechter, as well as Brock and Waldman, some reporters have noted the occasional flare-ups of McCain's remarkably mean temper in dealing with colleagues and even his wife. And McCain's shining armor, which has blinded many reporters, is increasingly tarnished by his associations with right-wing evangelical supporters, like the Rev. Rod Paisley and the Rev. John Hagee, who preached that Hitler's genocide of the Jews was simply part of God's plan.

    There's also a long history of McCain's shifts to the right and his flip-flops. He moved from rejecting the repeal of Roe v. Wade to adopting an extreme opposition to abortion rights, and from opposing Bush's initial tax cuts for the rich to making permanent extension of those cuts the centerpiece of his economic policy. Once lauded for teaming with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to promote comprehensive immigration reform (favored by Bush and many business interests), McCain now promotes border security to cater to the anti-immigrant Right.

    McCain's rhetoric and reality
    As the myth of McCain comes into question, so might voters' evaluations of the man and his character: Voters' opinions of McCain became less favorable over the late spring, according to recent Pew Research Center polling. But so far, those who view him unfavorably do so primarily because of his stance on issues, not for personal factors. (By contrast, Pew reports, a larger share of negative reaction to Obama is related to "the kind of person he is," not his position on issues.)

    At this point, Pew reports, only 40 percent of independent voters think McCain will continue Bush's policies.

    But Democracy Corps, a Democratic polling group, finds that 56 percent of voters interviewed agreed that Obama represents change and that McCain would continue Bush's policies, and said that fact would influence them to favor Obama. (It was the most influential of several definitions of the contest the group tested.)

    In other words, there's potential to make a powerful case that McCain represents a third Bush term. After all, according to Congressional Quarterly, McCain voted with Bush 100 percent of the time so far this year, 95 percent of the time in 2007, and around 90 percent since Bush took office.

    First, there's McCain's pledge -- from which he is trying to retreat -- to continue Bush's war in Iraq, with occupying forces for 100 years if necessary.

    Second, there's a sharp foreign policy choice between Obama's aggressive diplomacy and McCain's military aggression ("Bomb, bomb, bomb -- bomb, bomb Iran"). Even conservative Pat Buchanan writes that McCain "will make [Vice President Dick] Cheney look like Gandhi." And Slate's Fred Kaplan concludes that McCain's approach to North Korea is worse than Bush's.

    Third, there's McCain's plan to continue Bush's tax cuts for the rich, which could otherwise be used to fund needed policies to help working- and middle-class families. McCain's chief economic adviser is former far-right Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), who recently lobbied on mortgage legislation for the hard-hit subprime speculator, Swiss-based bank UBS. Gramm signals that McCain will continue Bush's policies of non-regulation of business and the financial sector. And McCain has a consistent record of opposing minimum-wage increases and favoring measures that weaken unions.

    Fourth, McCain's healthcare proposal is much like Bush's (just as McCain and Bush both opposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program and promoted Health Savings Accounts that mainly benefit the rich and healthy). Proposed tax code changes could lead many businesses to stop providing health insurance, forcing individuals to shop for insurance with a tax credit covering only half the cost of the average policy. Insurers would not have to cover people with pre-existing health problems (and could escape all state laws that set quality standards). Under McCain's plan, most people will find it harder and more expensive to get insurance.

    Fifth, like Bush, who met a firestorm of public opposition, McCain wants to privatize Social Security by creating personal, private accounts. With economic insecurity rising, McCain's revival of Bush's folly is likely to backfire politically, especially with older voters who might otherwise hesitate to vote for Obama.

    Even on global warming -- one of the few issues McCain claims independence and moderation compared to Bush -- he refused to support his buddy Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) climate change bill because its subsidies for nuclear power weren't big enough (though McCain opposes subsidies for alternatives, such as wind).

    Overall, McCain would try to move the country in the same direction most voters now think is wrong. But will they understand that? The Obama campaign, as well as the Democratic National Committee, regularly tries to identify McCain's election as a third term for Bush. But there's a long way to go in dismantling the myth of McCain "The Maverick" and in spelling out how much like Bush -- and how unlike what most people say they want -- McCain's proposals are.

    Little help from his friends
    Parallel to the official campaigns, independent efforts are underway to define McCain as more Bush -- or worse.

    In March, without an endorsed candidate, the AFL-CIO started a McCain Revealed campaign. By June, the union had distributed more than 1 million leaflets related to McCain's record to its members, and targeted key states and swing voters.

    Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and other unions have mounted campaigns for healthcare reform that criticize McCain's proposals. USAction, a national organization of statewide citizen groups, is focused on opposing the war in Iraq and advocating for national health insurance.

    On the Web or in limited television buys, MoveOn.org, Brave New Films and other groups have produced videos linking Bush and McCain. One MoveOn ad shows the two politicians acting and talking similarly to the accompaniment of music from the 1960s "The Patty Duke Show" ("You can lose your mind, when cousins are two of a kind").

    But the big independent voter mobilization and advertising efforts of the past two elections -- identified as 527 or 501(c)(4) groups, depending on their tax status -- have not materialized.

    Obama finance chair Penny Pritzker has told major Democratic donors not to fund these groups, and campaign spokesman Bill Burton confirmed to Politico.com that the campaign's strategy is to control funds, message and advertising, much in keeping with Obama's promise of a new kind of politics.

    Although McCain has weakly decried the influence of 527 and other groups, he has said there's little he can do about them. And major backers of the 2004 Swift Boat campaign have already vowed to raise $250 million to "attack Obama viciously."

    But even before Pritzker's intervention, many progressive groups reported having a hard time raising money for their independent critiques of McCain, issue advocacy, advertising and coordination of efforts -- despite early big contributions from investor George Soros and SEIU, to the Fund for America, which had hoped to raise $100 million to distribute to groups such as Campaign to Defend America, Progressive Media USA and America Votes.

    "Long before the flap over whether the Obama campaign supported outside groups getting money, money wasn't flowing," says USAction Executive Director Jeff Blum. "The donor community has been frozen by the intensity, length and fascination of the primary."

    But he adds, "when the right-wing attack machine moves on to Barack, and that time is coming soon, I hope our side is in a position to respond independently, just as they attack independently."

    Independent groups supporting Democrats or progressive issues understand why the Obama campaign, with its fundraising success, wants to control the money and message. But they hope Obama's strategists will eventually, if privately, recognize the role for independents.

    "I can't fathom that they won't," says longtime political strategist Don Rose. "They can play an important role. You want to control it as much as you can, but there are spots you want out that don't say, 'I approve of this message.' "

    "You want to have many voices saying, more or less, the same thing about McCain," argues USAction Program Director Alan Charney. "The Obama campaign is putting out more and more how close McCain is to Bush. It helps when other groups say the same, creating an echo chamber."

    But linking McCain to Bush's failed and unpopular policies will not work without a "populist, aspirational message," Blum says. "People want to know what you're for and not just what you're against. Bush personifies what a lot of people don't like. You can establish McCain is a third Bush term and that may open the door, but to close the deal, you have to talk about what you're for."

    For Obama, that means making his message of hope more concrete and meaningful for working-class and middle-income voters. And for that, he may need a little help from his friends.

    John McCain: A Deranged Con Artist

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  81. Hi Lydia
    I am in touch with Tom and everything is fine. In fact better than that other than still waiting to get back on! He did a post I think it was yesterday but he showed the radio station that was going to be interviewing him for his work with prisoners if you can catch it. Take care!

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  82. Lydia
    I didn't elaborate but we do converse by phone and there is an open ended invite if needed but he is limited with time and i do not think he wants to tie up his time. Also I have his E but with limited Library time it seems answering his posts would be good. As I said he does get to that and I believe would answer you. He knows you are thinking of him and will get to you when he can. Take care!

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  83. It is worth your time to do a little studying of the Airbus tanker contract. Pay special attention to Senators that advocated it. Pay extra-special attention to who one of those Senators was.

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  84. Average Patriot - thank you for following up and for the info about TomCat.

    thanks JR.

    xo
    Lydia

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  85. Oil CEOs: High Prices, Fat Paychecks
    Energy chief executives got raises last year much bigger than in other industries. Was it pay for performance—or pay for high oil prices?

    by Moira Herbst

    As consumers around the world struggle to fill their gas tanks, captains of the oil industry are getting a raise.

    Starting with info provided by Capital IQ (which, like BusinessWeek, is a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP)), BusinessWeek asked executive compensation research firm Equilar to analyze compensation of the chief executives of the 25 largest publicly traded global oil and gas companies (see the accompanying slide show for the full list of CEOs and what they were paid). Equilar's study found that for the 12 CEOs at the largest U.S.-based, publicly traded oil companies, median total compensation increased by more than four times the rate of that of executives in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index as a whole.

    Oil executives' pay is rising at the same time consumers are spending more on everything from gasoline to food, and movie tickets to airline fares. Crude oil prices reached an all-time trading high of $139.89 on June 16, before settling at $134.44 on the New York Mercantile Exchange—double the price of one year ago. Also on June 16, gasoline prices set another all-time record of $4.08 per gallon.

    Managerial Prowess?
    Some analysts say these CEOs are receiving pay raises based more on factors they don't control—such as sharply rising oil prices—than on managerial prowess. "Energy companies' improved performance is almost entirely due to high oil prices," says Paul Hodgson, an executive pay expert for Corporate Library, a Portland (Me.) corporate governance research organization. "But if [their executives] deny culpability for high oil prices, why are they getting rewarded for them?"

    Equilar found that executive compensation for the CEOs of the 12 largest U.S. oil outfits rose by 5.8% from 2006 to 2007, from a median of $14.6 million to a median of $15.4 million. That's more than four times the increase of compensation for S&P 500 CEOs, whose median increased by 1.3% from 2006 to 2007, or $8.7 million to $8.8 million, according to Equilar.

    For the U.S. companies in the study, total compensation includes base salary, bonus, payouts form short-term and long-term incentive plans, the grant-date value of new stock and option awards, and other compensation.

    The Top Two
    Topping the list for 2007 compensation in the sector was Occidental Petroleum's (OXY) longtime chief Ray Irani, who received a $33.62 million package in 2007, actually down from $52.14 million in 2006. The head of the No. 1 U.S. energy major had the No. 2 compensation package: ExxonMobil's (XOM) Rex Tillerson, with $21.66 million in 2007, up from $18.37 million in 2006.

    Occidental spokesperson Richard Kline says Irani's pay is well deserved. "Last year the company hit the ball out of the park with a record performance, and the best in the industry," says Kline. "This is superior pay for superior performance, and it serves the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders."

    ExxonMobil spokesperson Alan Jeffers points to the company's annual proxy statements, which say executive pay is scaled to "attract and retain executives for the long term with the corporation's best interests primary." Tillerson's predecessor, Lee Raymond, received a pension worth $98.4 million when he retired in 2006, part of an overall retirement compensation package approaching $400 million (BusinessWeek.com, 12/22/06).

    Right Suite at the Right Time
    Some shareholder activists say it's unfair that executives are reaping the benefits as consumers struggle to meet higher fuel costs. "These executives are price takers and not price makers," says Daniel Pedrotty, director of the investment office of the umbrella union group AFL-CIO. "Shareholder return was strong, but that's more to do with macroeconomic factors than CEO performance. They were in the CEO suite at the right time."

    Activist shareholders' dissatisfaction has translated into changes in oil-company compensation policy. The AFL-CIO managed to win two shareholder votes this proxy season at Occidental and Devon Energy (DVN) aimed at preventing conflicts of interest for compensation consultants. That is, compensation consultants can't provide services to these companies or their management while they're consulting for the board on executive pay.

    To be sure, oil prices rose at a much faster clip than U.S. energy executive pay. From January, 2006, to December, 2007—the same time frame of data Equilar analyzed—oil prices shot up 63%, from $38.58 to $61.06 per barrel.

    More striking than the rate of pay increases for executives is the size of bonuses. For U.S. companies studied, total bonuses increased by 71% year over year, from $2.1 million in 2006 to $3.5 million in 2007. Over the same period, bonuses for chief executives overall in the S&P 500 shrank 4.9%, from $1.93 million to $1.84 million.

    Boom-Bust Pay Cycle
    Meanwhile, the value of bonuses for CEOs in sectors that performed less well than energy was down for 2006-07. In finance, for example, CEO bonuses fell 42%, says Equilar research director Alexander Cwirko-Godycki. He points out that the 5.8% increase in total compensation for U.S. energy executives is "modest."

    Other analysts agree that oil executives' pay is not out of proportion with the performance of their companies from 2006 to 2007. "I am not surprised that energy-sector CEOs saw more compensation, because that sector has performed better than the S&P as a whole," says Eric Nielsen, director of compensation firm Korn/Ferry's (KFY) Houston office. "[Energy] is the darling space right now."

    Compensation experts also say that commodities-related industries that undergo boom-bust cycles pay executives accordingly. "These are high-risk, high-reward jobs, and their companies are having their best years ever," says Don Linder, a spokesperson for WorldatWork, a professional organization for executive compensation advisers.

    Equilar also analyzed compensation of top energy executives of non-U.S. companies. While making less than their American counterparts, these 13 executives saw their median compensation increase by 85.8% from 2006 to 2007, from $4.8 million in 2006 to $8.9 million in 2007. Equilar's Cwirko-Godycki says that the weakening of the U.S. dollar plays a "very large" role in this increase, since all values are converted to U.S. dollars.

    An American Edge
    Topping the list of non-U.S. executives was Chairman John C.S. Lau of Canada's Husky Energy (HSE), who was awarded $26.25 million in 2007, up from just $4.25 million in 2006. Husky Energy spokesperson Graham White notes that stock options are not awarded annually by the company, and none had been awarded in 2006, accounting for the 518% jump. "Lau is one of the top-performing executives in the industry," says White. "Since he took over the company in 1992, market capitalization is up more than 1,000%. Husky is where it is today largely through the vision and leadership of Lau."

    Still, on the whole, U.S. energy executives in the study were paid more than double their foreign competitors. "This figure is very telling," says the AFL-CIO's Pedrotty. "Companies outside the U.S. pay much less for the same performance."

    The Corporate Library's Hodgson says that the market for CEOs is international, so U.S. companies don't have a competitive need to pay executives more. "American boards that fall for it are demonstrating a lack of backbone," he says.

    But whether in the U.S. or overseas, energy executives in Equilar's survey all did well from 2006 to 2007. Cwirko-Godycki says that while for now the increases seem reasonable, companies need to structure executive incentives carefully. "There's always concern that executives will get outsize pay regardless of how they do vs. their peers," says Cwirko-Godycki. "Companies need to put in fail-safe provisions to ensure pay is tied to performance."

    With crude oil continuing to trade at nosebleed levels—and oil-company profits strengthening—the pay of the energy bigwigs will be under ever more scrutiny.

    Bush's Buddies continue to struggle to make end meet.

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  86. That Terracotta Army is phenomenal isn't it? I remember when they first discovered it. I was always a national geographic nut! Can you imagine opening a tomb and seeing that before you? Wow!

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  87. AP - Yes it would be phenomenal to see the entire 7,000 standing soldiers buried in the necropolis. The exhibition was beyond belief! They had many life-size soldiers in different positions - some in a fighting stance, some kneeling - and there was a "zoo" of cranes and servants buried with the Emperor. They also had an elaborate suit of "stone armor" -- chips of stone connected by copper wires.

    One of my sons called me a "retard" in a really loud voice -- because I was trying to get him to really listen to the audio and he shouted at me in front of all the museum-goers. This is the age when they are SO RUDE!!

    My other son called me an idiot the other day! I punished him by taking away his i-phone and computer.

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  88. McCain earmark opposition assailed

    By JANE NORMAN


    Washington, D.C. - Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposed legislation last year that included money for flood control in Des Moines, which shows he is wrong to push for reforms to the congressional earmark system, a Democratic lawmaker charged Thursday.

    State Sen. Jack Hatch of Des Moines said the earmarked money was needed to relieve water problems on the city's north side, which were magnified over the weekend when a levee break forced an evacuation of the Birdland area and ruined several dozen homes and businesses.

    McCain aides said the Arizona senator opposed the $23 billion bill because it was bloated with pork and did not set priorities. The aides said McCain does not oppose particular projects, such as the Des Moines improvements, but rather the inside-player process through which the money is doled out.

    Hatch chose the wrong time to attack McCain, spokesman Jeff Sadosky added.

    "We do not need to play politics with flooding that has brought so much harm and pain throughout the region," he said.

    Outdated north-side levees were identified as a weak spot in the city's flood-control system as far back as 1993. The Army Corps of Engineers was granted approval to replace them, but Congress has not set aside the money needed for the project.

    Hatch said members of Iowa's congressional delegation pushed to include the earmark in the massive Water Resources Development Act of 2007. It included $6.9 million for work along the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers.

    "That's why you have 435 members of Congress, so they can be closer to these projects, so they know what really, really matters," Hatch said.

    Sadosky pointed out that the water bill only authorized federal money. Spending is a separate process in Congress.

    President Bush eventually vetoed the bill, which authorized more than 900 navigation, flood-control and environmental projects across the country. A report on the bill said the Des Moines metropolitan area suffered more than $152 million in flood damage in 1993.

    "The Birdland Park and Central Place levees on the Des Moines River failed during the 1993 flood event and do not provide reliable flood protection, placing nearly 200 homes and businesses at risk," the report said.

    Every member of the Iowa congressional delegation voted to override Bush's veto, the first override of his presidency.

    McCain strongly backed Bush.

    John McCain: Enabling the suffering of others.

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  89. Lydia
    Glad you enjoyed the Terracotta Army! I remember seeing a reenactment of the discovery and that alone is awe inspiring to me.
    I have to tell you, I am 100% a kid person. Interacting and raising them is just an innate thing and 100% my pleasure I love the enthusiasm and it can be nurtured and never to be squelched It's funny but my 25 year old was here the other day and we have so much fun together but he laughed when I mentioned people give second chances because that is a no go and a child should no by one what their limits are. I am an extreme disciplinarian and it served my sons well but my ex didn't like it. Oh well, I wish you luck!

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  90. Okay AP - what should I do when they call me names like this? they are going through puberty so I get a lot of rolling of the eyes and sarcasm, ignoring me, etc. It's very disconcerting to say the least. I've written comedy about this, but sometimes I lose my tempter.

    It's very rare that they call me names - only when I probe into their personal life or get in their face about something in the middle of a fight or temper tantrum.

    So what did you do to get your kids to obey you and be respectful?

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  91. I really miss it when the kids were little. They loved Disneyland, Knotts and pools with big winding slides -- and now I can't get them to go to kid places that I want to go to! I think my husband and I are really the kids in this family.

    Oh by the way, we also went to the California Science Center after Terracotta Army - and they have a magnificent "fear" display where you stand inside a hurricane booth, ride a bicycle on a high wire, etc.

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  92. Hmm, Okay....about the boys and respect...that is a tough one...You are a wonerful mom, and a great person...I blame alot of the "TUDE" on hormones...I am sorry but raging testosterone is something....my Son will occasionally call me names or lash out....I never confront him in the moment...I just get up and walk away...Quickly....and I do this so I won't say something I regret- but that I remove myself that quick seems to send a messege.....and usually within about 10 minutes he will come and find me and apologize and then we sit and talk about WHY he should not call me names etc....I try to make him come and pursue the conversation and that we talk quietly....

    It is getting better- but the earlier teen years were horrendous....it was like he was constantly testing it to the max....

    Now about your post....I loved seeing about the Terra Cotta Men...and that you went to that as a family....wonderful...I miss doing all the kid stuff too...I hear you...I loved all that stuff, the Science Museum, the Water Slides etc..Just shows I am not that grown up ;-(

    I will listen to the Iglesia' Interview this weekend, I am on the waiting list for his book( library)....I do know that all of those attorneys ( all nine of them ) were direspected and ALL of their cases disrupted....was it retaliation....punitive...and was Rove involved....we all know the answers to this....I can not wait for this regime to end...200 days to go , right?

    ( Sorry I have not been able to comment earlier....)

    take good care..many hugs...

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  93. Lydia
    I have to tell you, I raised 4 very independent tough hard nosed kids. one is leading troops in Iraq right now. We always have a great conversation and it is so cool because we can and do say anything but know our limits. We were both laughing because he is a hard ass and keeps getting hurt. Last time it was 6 staples in his head. He was laughing saying if my troops ever heard someone talk to me like you they'd crawl in a hole.
    I have to laugh, my ex hated how close I was to them but she wouldn't let me help her. They use to call her the Mother from hell.
    People always tell you, you can't be your child's best friend and raise them right! Bull, it is a necessity. i don't know if it is ever too late but I always started day one. I always listened to them and they always knew I was no better. It was just my job to teach them.
    I always put them in life endangering situations constantly and they knew their life depended on listening to me every. I do not recommend anyone doing that it was just me. there were no 2nd chances and they new it! Another son was here the other day and he just laughed at the idea of whether or not to listen or getting a second chance.
    My youngest I don't know because mt ex raised him and kept him away from me. He is a mess I hear and uneducated but trying to get into army combat6 engineers so he can go to Baghdad. Raising kids to me is hands on and you can not do it over the phone. Until the three I raised left me we were inseparable and all their friends hung around with me too along with every little kis in the neighborhood.
    I would love to converse on the subject but you know? Take care and Good Luck! Just one thing, if my kids did not know how to act they knew they went no where period. You earn that right it is not a privlage. Take care!

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  94. I have maintained a certain line, which they dare not cross-and one of "them" is 21 years old now :)

    Maybe some people are able to do the best friend thing and still maintain the respect. I don't think I can. I suppose it is all in how you came up yourself. I was raised by a dad who made the Army his career, and was decidedly unfit (in my opinion) for dealing with small children-but he was also a guy who would listen to you talk about anything that was on your mind, and render a blunt, and often needed, assessment.

    I've tried to not be the hardcase my dad was on a continuous basis, but I have to admit just knowing how to be a hard-ass comes in handy from time to time.

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  95. Wow - great advice from all three of you - Enigma, Average Patriot and Jolly Roger!

    Thank you. I will re-read and digest.

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  96. Hi Everybody
    Jolly i have to tell you I was beat and much worse every day of my childhood and no one that knew me growing up can figure this out but I had an absolute fairy tale childhood.
    I started a book about my Huckleberry childhood years ago and I will get back to it when this nightmare of Bush's is over if it ever is.
    Anyway I was raised by parents who believed in beating you into submission daily. My step father a marines woke us up every night at midnight to when he got back from his second job me in particular, to give his routine beating.
    It did nothing! I had the best childhood ever because of me in 50s and 60s Salem, Mass. the daily beatings was the absolute scratch on the surface. I always said my step would have made Hitler proud and that is an under estimate.
    Anyway all I want to say is I learned from my parents how to not raise kids and mine were never hit, fully disciplined with Love and friendship, and today are beautiful well adjusted people.
    I was talking to another of my sons yesterday who called as he had time because his wing is on alert for ? Anyway he said we had a beautiful time and they never had an allowance but we always had an absolute ball!
    He wants to come home and go camping. We always roughed it, no nothing just hot dpgs, no utensils, no nothing. Secretly I prefer the creature comforts now and hope he gets called away on assignment! They occupied my time yesterday but hopefully I will be around today. Take care!

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  97. Wow, that is very inspiring AP!

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  98. AP, it took me a long time to realize that Dad was, without a shadow of a doubt, a lifetime sufferer of PTSD. Unfortunately, they had no name for it at the time they sent him through 5 different theaters of war.

    Dad was mean, he was short, and he was never, ever wrong. As an eager to please kid, his condemnations hit me a lot harder than I think he realized, or even wanted to acknowledge. Others who came to visit were often appalled at the way he talked to me; years later, I would hear that quite often.

    Dad also happened to be the foundation of my ethical compass, as his word was his bond. His teaching methods were harsh, but to this day I am a guy that can take care of just about anything that needs to be repaired in a house, and a hell of a lot of what needs to be repaired on a car. Dad also bailed my stupid ass out of jail a couple of times after my hitch in the Army was up and I came home and got myself into a bit of trouble at some of the local watering holes. But maybe more than anything, Dad forced ME to go learn about the Government, and the politicians who run it. I learned in this way what works and what doesn't work, and I became (and very much still am) a dedicated liberal.

    I went to high school in a very conservative (read: neotard) part of Ohio. A guy I went to school with was gay. Like the stupid teenager I was, I joined just about everybody else in slurring the guy. Dad happened to overhear me and a couple of my friends trading slurs one evening.

    "So one of the kids you go to school with is a homo. He ever try anything on you?"

    "No."

    "He ever try anything on any of your friends?"

    "Not that I know of."

    "Then why do you care what he is or what he does? It's not a Goddamned bit better to pick on someone for being a homo than it is to pick on them for being a Black, or a Jew, or a half-breed Indian. Did you like getting picked on when you were little for being a little on the dark side?"

    You have to understand, this was over 30 years ago. Dad's attitude was light years ahead of the contemporary attitudes of the time. His words that day sank in and made this half-breed rethink some things. From then on, if you weren't a threat to me, I didn't have squat to say about you.

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  99. Lydia Cornell said...
    Okay AP - what should I do when they call me names like this? they are going through puberty so I get a lot of rolling of the eyes and sarcasm, ignoring me, etc. It's very disconcerting to say the least. I've written comedy about this, but sometimes I lose my tempter.

    It's very rare that they call me names - only when I probe into their personal life or get in their face about something in the middle of a fight or temper tantrum.

    I really miss it when the kids were little. They loved Disneyland, Knotts and pools with big winding slides -- and now I can't get them to go to kid places that I want to go to! I think my husband and I are really the kids in this family.

    Oh by the way, we also went to the California Science Center after Terracotta Army - and they have a magnificent "fear" display where you stand inside a hurricane booth, ride a bicycle on a high wire, etc."


    Lydia, i hope you dont hate me for sticking my 2 cents in here.....but i really wanted to chime in, first let me just say that i think you are a fantasic mother/parent and you have great kids.......I think its great that your kids do charity work and volunteer work and travel and go places with you and your husband, when i was between 12 and 25 was drinking, partying raising hell and causing all kinds of trouble and mischief and i would have never thought of hanging out with my parents or doing volunteer work that would have been really uncool back then(that said i knew right from wrong and NEVER stole, robbed, bullied or engaged in real criminal behavior)...........I think its a testament to what a good job you've done that they still enjoy that stuff, they clearly seem to know right from wrong and seem very well adjusted.


    I notice you said you REALLY miss "when they were little"......it seems accepting the fact that your kids are growing up is one of THE HARDEST things for a parent to do because time is so precious that you will never get it back and because the relationship is evolving and changing and parents are forced to relinquish control...........my best friend ALWAYS gets angy with me when i point out the fact that his oldest daughter is entering highschool or his son is about to become a teenager, he KNOWS I have deep affection for his children and am saying it out of love not to imply he's getting old or undermine how he parents them, its just the fact its hard to accept they are growing up and the relationship is changing and they might soon not think its cool to hangout with parents or spend as much time at home or might start thinking and acting more independently, my cousin is the same way, i can tell he doesnt like it when i say his son will be 10 soon for the same reasons.

    You then said that they are going through puberty and they RERELY roll their eyes and call you names, only when you probe into their personal lives or get in their face in a heat of the moment type situation.........I really think thats very normal for teens.........like i said the relationship is evolving and teens want and need more freedom and privacy plus their emotions and homones are raging and in a heat of the moment type situation or if they feel they are being babied or having their privacy invaded they may just instictively or reflexively react in that manner without intending to be hurtful or disrespectful............if they called you names ALL the time then i might view that as INTENDING disrespect..........Now let me be clear here i'm not in any way trying to condone or say calling you names is ok or side against you here, i'm just trying to look at this objectively and give a a different impartial perspective to consider.

    Like i said before, I think you are a great parent and have great kids but kids will be kids and when they are teenagers they want more freedom and privacy and are going to start calling names, swearing, ignoring, having different opinions its part of growing up..........my cousin gets angry at his two sons when they fight, argue or wrestle etc....but again thats normal behavior that teaches kids how to interact, get along, compromise etc......and should not always be viewed negatively IMHO..............

    Would you really want kids like Beaver Cleaver who at 14 still act like they are 7 or like its the 1950's........i realize in some ways that might be good but the objective of growing up is to fit in and to learn right from wrong, to develop good values and compassion for others and to learn to think for yourself and develop healthy relationships and what you described seems to be part of the process..........Everyone here wrote some great things on this but I tend to favor Enigma's method of handling the name calling it gives them their space, doesnt escalate things and gives them time to cool off from the heat of the moment and consider that they may have behaved in a hurtful manner or overstepped and lets them apologize like and adult and learn that calling names and letting your temper get the best of you might not be the best course of action..........I dont think the name calling is directed AT you i think its a reflex or heat of the moment type thing, i'm sure they are used to calling their friends names and when they got angry just reacted that way.

    The last thing i want to do is sound preachy here or like i'm questioning your parenting or like i'm saying calling you names is ok........you know i think the world of you and think very highly of your kids as well.........just trying to give you an impartial opinion to consider........sometimes it can be beneficial to change or rexamine your method of interaction to get the message across just as much as looking at what you actually say or do,

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  100. JR, you've written alot of EXCELLENT articles lately, but i just want to say the Airbus one that laid out how the repugs have been poison for the economy despite the myth and old wives tale that repugs are good for business and the economy was fantastic.

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  101. Anyone watch Met The press..........Biden absolutely kicked Lindsy Graham's ass......it was priceless when he he said "you can have your own opinion lindsy but you cant have your own facts, the facts are the facts".......he absolutely dismantled the lying little repug, i sar Lindsy wince several times after Biden laid bare his lies and empty dishonest spin and rhetoric.

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  102. An interesting thing i've ben watching is watching Mcsame whine like a little spoiled brat about Obama changing his opinion on accepting public financing when McSame the slimy hippocrite has flip flopped and changed his opinion on virtually EVERY key issue.........typical repug hippocrite changing a position ok ONLY if THEY do it......but if their oppmnent does it it is flip flopping our being dishonest.

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  103. jolly
    Your Dad sounds okay to me I can tell you appreciate him now. To me what a parent does to get through your childhood is their problem. A kid certainly me and my sons are going to have a ball regardless. I was a street kid and moved out at the end of the eighth grade to live and work at High School and had a ball. That was my escape I guess!

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  104. Patriot, how do you think this election will shake out?

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  105. "Appreciate" might be too strong a word :) I DO, however, understand a lot of things now that I didn't then.

    I lost Dad on the 30th of June in 1996. A brilliantly beautiful sky broke over a hot summer morning. Dad's kind of day, and all I could think about the whole day was he wasn't going to be there to enjoy it. It seemed like some kind of cruelty to me to have to die on a day like that.

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  106. Jolly Roger - that is an amazing story about your dad's wisdom in combatting the homophobia. I love him already, rest his soul.

    And Mike - thank you SO much for your kind words about my parenting. I just wish I could have them all over again --grow up with them all over again. Now that I know so many things...

    My older son Jack said to me: "I'm emotionally mature Mom.. unlike some people I know (ahem, hint-hint) And then he told me he actually put himself in my shoes and had empathy for me being a mom and doing all this for the first time, without a handbook! We shared a good laugh and made up.

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  107. He just turned 14, and thinks he's 20.

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  108. There are only eight days left to negotiate a deal with the major producers and studios before its TV/theatrical contract expires.

    Adding to the headaches for SAG's leadership, its campaign against ratification of the tentative deal cut by sister union AFTRA -- nearly 40,000 actors are in both unions -- was undercut over the weekend when Tom Hanks became the most high-profile member to sign an e-mail message from more than 100 actors urging a yes vote on AFTRA's recently brokered primetime/TV contract.

    The two unions had jointly negotiated their main TV contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), the bargaining body for the studios, for nearly three decades. But AFTRA decided to go it alone earlier this year after long-simmering tensions with the larger, more militant SAG reached a boiling point.

    The AFTRA deal includes increases in the "residual" payments earned by actors from Internet downloads of TV shows and for online streaming of those programs, as well as higher wages for work in traditional media. But there are no provisions to raise the residuals from DVD sales -- a key demand of SAG at the outset of its labor talks in April and one the studios have staunchly resisted.

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  109. jolly
    My friend life is full of cruel ironies but enjoy them and make the best of it. The is the only life that matters and it is now, Do it right!
    I am glad to see this morning that this is still continuing because my sons weep calling and chiming in making me remember something I keep forgetting.
    I said growing up we were brought up under the beat into submission and until they stop crying rule. It meant nothing t me. That was their problem. I remember though in talking to my siblings that I am the only one that got something good out of it. The rest have recurring nightmares and they had it easy. I was the one that pushed the limits.
    Anyway as I look at my 4 sons who I gave all the same lessons. I am reminded that as parents you set the parameters and the rest is up to them. You give the lesson and it is up to the student what they will do with it. The 3 I raised are disciplined and caring to the core but totally different.
    one is happy flying and combat would do him in. Another is EOD and thrives on being in it and is a good natured hard core hard ass. A thirs is due home in December after working with the mentally and physically challenged while attending tech school.
    He has already been here and met union officials where they expressed an interest in jumping him to a 3rd year apprentice as a welder and plumber where they may keep him within to teach new members. Fall back to me is the fool wants to do his time to become a master then volunteer for a war zone. Life repeats itself until it is no more sadly!

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  110. Lydia, we learn so much about parenting. It is a shame that we're actually DOING the parenting while learning. By the time you've got it all figured out, you done made the mistakes :)

    For those who may not know, I started over; I have a 7 and a 4 year old girl. Raising 3 boys as a single parent left me equipped to the point my wife's relatives were all stunned at how well I functioned taking care of babies. They, of the white bread burbs, had never seen a......MAN able to function without a woman.

    It was both amusing and telling at the same time.

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  111. George Carlin Passed away;

    He will be missed.


    ......but at least St Peter will be laughing his ass off while George Carlin cracks jokes waiting at the Pearly Gates.

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  112. The wingtards are all adopting the rallying cry.

    The few wingtard blogs that will still allow me to comment have been visited, and I've kindly reminded them that offshore drilling isn't going to do a damn thing about gas prices for at least 10 years, if even then. I am amazed at the ability of these long-proven liars to STILL sell their lies to a fairly good chunk of the American populace though.

    Offshore drilling is the 2008 equivalent of the gay marriage wedge issue. The wingtards have been hunting hard for awhile now for something to use.

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  113. I just want to run my thoughts on the oil issue by you guys to see what you think! If they seriously wanted alternatives we would have them by now. Bush is a idiot. more drilling in the US will do nothing more than give oil company's more oil to sit on while doing nothing for us! but what the hell is wrong with OPEC? Why has no one spoken the real truth? The plain and simple facts? The real problem Bush? Why has Iraq's oil not been mentioned? 2003 come on! Why was it not mentioned the effect Bush's war mongering has had on the price of oil and everything else in the world?
    Why is not not mentioned the effect Iran and Israel's cries for war has had on the price of oil? why has the world not been reminded that pre Bush oil was only $28 per Barrel? Saudi Arabia is doing more than their share and should be commended. They alone will nullify the effect if any that Nigeria has had on the market. However it will do nothing.
    There is no supply problem but there will be once Iran is attacked and this entire mes gets going and if you have been following my stories you know what comes next so I will try to lighten up today.
    First It keeps being brought up by the dems in Congress the amount of drilled wells and oil the oil company's are sitting while they cry oil poor saying they have to destroy ANWR and drill more off shore. Yeah that's safe my ass! Biden was arguing today with I forget who but every time he mentioned that 73% of the wells already drilled are capped and contain 54 billion barrels the blond Republican I can't stand from the south whose name I can't quite remember just kept smirking ignoring it and changing the subject to more drilling.
    I don't see anything wrong with socialism or anything that works for any society. Whatever works for them. I think nationalizing the entire oil industry would be great if we could find some honest independent managers to operate it.
    The Politicians have proven to be as corrupt or more so than big oil. They would probably screw us even more. Nothing will bring the price down. More oil too much oil not enough oil a glut, anything and everything will be used as an excuse to keep raising the price. Just wait until Iran is attacked and this entire mess really gets going.

    Take care!

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  114. "The few wingtard blogs that will still allow me to comment have been visited, and I've kindly reminded them that offshore drilling isn't going to do a damn thing about gas prices for at least 10 years, if even then."

    Do you really think the speculators are going to keep on holding futures contracts for oil at $140 plus a barrel once it's announced we're going to begin drilling?

    Prices will start to come down immediately after the news hits, because no ones gonna want to be the one left holding the bag.

    Secondly, it MAY take 10 or more years to get to FULL production, but the first wells could be up and running in less than a year.

    Third, you gotta start sometime. If we'd started 10 years ago, this wouldn't be an issue now.

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  115. Average Patriot, if Ronald Reagan hadn't gutted changes to the way we used energy in the early 80's for the oil corps (and Georgie's poppy's friends) .... the last time we faced the fact we rely on a lot of people who don't like us too much for far too much of the energy we use for our very abundant opulent lifestyles.

    If Reagan hadn't been so shortsighted like his brain was rotting or sumpthin', we just might not face the very scary propositions we face right now.

    The dichotomy of needing too much oil to continue business as usual or lacking the oil, face a recession which will probably become larger then the great depression before it is over.

    But reichwingers will hoot how much he did for the country, but NOT future generations it would seem, sorta like a 80's version of GWB.

    Reagan stopped the very real attempts at CONSERVATION, which would mean we would have needed LESS oil, and the oil corps and the people in the middle east which some stupid blogger keeps saying wanna kill us all, would have had far less money to do it.

    But no the dumbass reichwingers wanted to burn it all as fast as we could, instead of changing a little and making sure the future generations just might have as good a country, society and lifestyle as we did, greedy bast*rds they are and all.

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  116. BTW Doltron, the oil corps have over 30 MILLION acres off shore they COULD drill on right NOW if they wanted to drill for oil,

    but for some reason it would seem the oil corps like the situation just as it is, and aren't drilling on any of they over 30 million acres off shore they have rights to drill on RIGHT NOW, (and have had for some time),

    Do ya thunk it might be the same reason the oil corps spent the last 25 years DISMANTLING and SHUTTING down refineries instead of asking to build new ones do ya?

    stop being so dishonest son.

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  117. Yeah Clif,

    "30 MILLION ACRES" sounds huge doesn't it?, but in reality it's very small compared to all the offshore areas available.
    Don't you think geological surveys have been done and these areas were found wanting?

    Also, the leases are going to expire soon. Why would they invest huge resources just to lose them?

    As to refineries, maybe, just maybe if the threatened penalties weren't so stiff they would have modernized some of the old ones, and if the red tape and hoops they have to jump through to build a new one weren't so high we'd have a few of those too...

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  118. Clif
    My post didn't seem to take. Anyway they treat Reagan like he is a God or something. He is the Father of this entire mess we are in today.
    Reagan started, daddy Bush followed it and they needed a dumb idiot ignorant of the repercussions to bring it to the next level and the chief idiot happened along so they snuck him in.
    McCain is the next false republican God to further enrich the wealthy and destroy us the middle east and the world as they establish their so called new world order. It gets worse and I am not on my site so I will leave it there. Take care!

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  119. Sorry but the oil corps ripped refineries apart for better profit and nothing more, (like Shell Oil did in Barstow California, over the objections of local and state officials). It was real simple, they could make MORE money with less refineries once the price of refined products began to rise, about 2003 if I remember right.

    Damn something else happened to a country around then which used to produce up to 4 million barrels a day mostly for export.

    Maybe this will help ya remember son;

    No Blood for... er... um...

    The Oil Majors Take a Little Sip of the Ol' Patrimony

    More than five years after the invasion of Iraq -- just in case you were still waiting -- the oil giants finally hit the front page…

    Last Thursday, the New York Times led with this headline: "Deals with Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back." (Subhead: "Rare No-bid Contracts, A Foothold for Western Companies Seeking Future Rewards.") And who were these four giants? ExxonMobil, Shell, the French company Total and BP (formerly British Petroleum). What these firms got were mere "service contracts" -- as in servicing Iraq's oil fields -- not the sort of "production sharing agreements" that President Bush's representatives in Baghdad once dreamed of, and that would have left them in charge of those fields. Still, it was clearly a start. The Times reporter, Andrew E. Kramer, added this little detail: "[The contracts] include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today's prices: the [Iraqi oil] ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash." And here's the curious thing, exactly these four giants "lost their concessions in Iraq" back in 1972 when that country's oil was nationalized. Hmmm.

    You'd think the Times might have slapped some kind of "we wuz wrong" label on the piece. I mean, remember when the mainstream media, the Times included, seconded the idea that Bush's invasion, whatever it was about -- weapons of mass destruction or terrorism or liberation or democracy or bad dictators or… well, no matter -- you could be sure of one thing: it wasn't about oil. "Oil" wasn't a word worth including in serious reporting on the invasion and its aftermath, not even after it turned out that American troops entering Baghdad guarded only the Oil and Interior Ministries, while the rest of the city was looted. Even then -- and ever after -- the idea that the Bush administration might have the slightest urge to control Iraqi oil (or the flow of Middle Eastern oil via a well-garrisoned Iraq) wasn't worth spending a few paragraphs of valuable newsprint on.


    Ya thunk it was really about the oil after all?

    The rest of their lies have either been disproved or just abandoned when they could no longer lie with a straight face. (Cheney and Kristol noted exceptions)

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  120. Jolly Roger said...
    The wingtards are all adopting the rallying cry.

    The few wingtard blogs that will still allow me to comment have been visited, and I've kindly reminded them that offshore drilling isn't going to do a damn thing about gas prices for at least 10 years, if even then. I am amazed at the ability of these long-proven liars to STILL sell their lies to a fairly good chunk of the American populace though.

    Offshore drilling is the 2008 equivalent of the gay marriage wedge issue. The wingtards have been hunting hard for awhile now for something to use."

    Boy JR, you REALLY nailed this one out of the ballpark.......looks like the wigtards found a nEW talkingpoint or boondoggle to use as a wedge issue........trouble for them is i think Obama is too smart to let them use this as a wedge issue.

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  121. BTW Doltron it ain't just us Liberevil Bloggers who are sayin' this is a real crisis;

    Are we really ready for this financial storm?

    So, just how bad is this financial crisis going to get? Well, according to Bob Janjuah of the Royal Bank of Scotland: "A very nasty period is soon to be upon us. Be prepared." It's not like the RBS to go around making alarmist statements but it has warned of a "global equity and credit crash" this autumn. Morgan Stanley bank has forecast a "catastrophic event". The hedge fund guru John Paulson says global losses from the credit crisis, currently $300bn, may reach $1.3 trillion.

    Yet only a few weeks ago, everyone in the City and Wall Street seemed to be saying that "the worst was over"; that the fundamentals were sound; and that once the banks had owned up to the full extent of their losses, then things would get back to normal.

    Clearly, they haven't, as anyone who has tried to get a mortgage recently will have discovered. And with the oil price spike - which Gordon Brown is trying to flatten at the oil summit in Jeddah - there has been a switch of sentiment back to deepest gloom.

    You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? Well, let me quote an e-mail I received at the weekend from Moneyweek Magazine. Under the heading "Bloodbath Britain" the magazine screams in bold type: "The UK is about to be battered by the biggest financial storm of our lifetimes."

    It goes on to predict five forthcoming disasters. "Disaster 1: The housing market crashes wiping up to 40% off the value of your property. Disaster 2: 1000s of businesses go bust as the credit crunch hammers consumer spending. Disaster 3: Unemployment leaps by 30-50% as a 1980s-style crisis devastates the job market. Disaster 4: Sterling collapses by 10% and the price of everything from petrol to food skyrockets. Disaster 5: Shares, investments and cash all lose value destroying wealth and crushing retiral dreams."

    At first I thought this might be a spoof, or perhaps a posting from the Socialist Workers Party. But this is no leftist doom-monger warning of the collapse of capitalism but a hard-headed and practical share and property buying guide. Moneyweek goes on to advise what stocks you should buy to hedge the stock market collapse, mainly commodities. It would be as well handing them a razor and some hemlock.

    Now, we do not want to "talk ourselves into a recession", to use the current political cliche in Westminster. But it's important to know what the financial world is thinking. It's not just prophets like the billionaire George Soros, who has been warning that this is a crisis comparable to the Great Depression. Look at the work of Nouriel Roubini, the prolific New York University economics professor, whose "12 steps to financial Armageddon" is essential reading. Even Martin Wolf of the Financial Times said last week that "on the supply side of the world economy, almost every piece of news has been bad."

    Or try looking at the Market Oracle website, which has been running increasingly apocalyptic posts from highly-informed US financial commentators, many of them on the political right. It's UK editor, Nadeem Walayat, correctly forecast the British housing slump, almost to the month, and continues to chart its decline, which he now believes will lead to a 50-60% drop in British property prices, peak to trough.

    I'm almost tempted to say: lighten up guys, it can't be as bad as all that. Warren Buffett, the "sage of Omaha" is said to be buying shares again. Employment is still high and retail sales actually jumped last month - to everyone's surprise. Maybe all this hysteria is a temporary blip. But I think the warnings should be listened to precisely because they are not coming from the usual suspects, but from people who know the financial system from the inside.

    What has spooked them is a complex of factors, of which the doubling of the price of oil is only the most obvious. The oil spike is viewed as a consequence of low interest rates and the decline of the dollar, which has ignited a speculative boom in commodity prices, similar to the dot.com bubble which burst in 2000 and the real estate bubble which has been imploding since 2006. This is a highly unstable situation. It has arisen just as inflation has returned with a vengeance to Asian countries such as China and India, the countries which manufacture most of what we buy. Inflation in Vietnam is 25%.

    This inflation is feeding back into the West through import prices just at the moment when central banks are trying to head off recession by lowering interest rates. The fall in the value of the dollar and sterling (down 14% this year) has turbocharged imported inflation in the two most indebted countries in the developed world: Britain and America.

    Cash-strapped British consumers are sitting in houses which are dropping in value just as they are coming under pressure from the banks to repay some of their £1.4trillion debts.

    As the British property market follows America into default and repossession, there is expected to be a collapse of consumer spending. The next wave of bank losses is expected to be credit cards, car loans and student loans, which are already defaulting in America, and corporate bonds which are looking highly vulnerable. This has caused further shockwaves through the derivatives market - the collateralised debt obligations and such like - which are being marked down once again.

    Despite hundreds of billions of dollars worth of "liquidity" being pumped into the system by central banks, the credit crisis is actually getting worse. The mortgage market has flatlined. Hedge funds are collapsing as their leveraged bets go sour. Libor - the rate at which banks lend to each other - is almost back to levels it reached last summer. Everyone is looking for the next big bank failure and wondering how long central banks can continue to bail out these failing institutions.

    Meanwhile, the world's stock markets are falling: 50% in China, 30% here if you strip out unstable oil, mining and commodities. The commodities boom is due for a sharp correction and many banks are in deep trouble. Which is why analysts are warning of further stock market and credit shocks this autumn. They believe we haven't begun to recognise the scale and ramifications of this crisis. Until that happens we, and the politicians, will remain passive victims, unable to recognise the need for concerted global action.

    Sorry to ruin your breakfast - but there it is.

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  122. England is probably the developed world's canary in the coal mine.

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  123. The Fed Unreserved

    Peter Schiff

    Throughout history, governments have always used crises to justify blatant power grabs. Often the crisis subsides, but the expanded government powers remain. In America this week, the tendency came into sharp focus. Congress signaled that it is preparing to perpetuate the Bush Administration’s domestic wiretapping program, and has even abandoned the pretense that warrantless surveillance be confined to terrorism. Similarly, even though our financial crisis has yet to reach full flower, Treasury Secretary Paulson announced plans to give the Federal Reserve new and explicit powers to oversee and regulate the financial services industry. However, a sober look at his plan reveals that it is tantamount to giving the fox complete autonomy to guard the henhouse.

    What few economic leaders have acknowledged is that the Federal Reserve itself is responsible for the real estate and credit bubbles, which are the source of our current troubles. By keeping interest rates too low for too long, the Fed ignited a speculative fever and engendered a disregard for risk management that pushed asset prices above rational levels. Should we blame the private sector for taking advantage of all the cheap credit, or the Federal Reserve for supplying it? If a kindergarten teacher passes out handfuls of Pixie Sticks, and then leaves her classroom unattended for several hours, should we blame the five year olds for the hysteria that ensues?

    The reality is that we should be restricting, rather than expanding, the powers given to the Federal Reserve. Since Greenspan, Bernanke and company have already inflicted so much damage with the weapons already in their arsenal, why provide them with heavier artillery? Only in Washington do those who screw up get rewarded for doing so.

    Since the Fed has demonstrated complete incompetence at setting interest rates, why not return that function to the market? Instead of allowing the Fed to inflict unbridled havoc on our economy, why not re-impose some discipline? Instead of looking for new ways to regulate Wall Street, why not find an old way to regulate the Fed? Actually there is a simple answer to all of these questions; it’s called the gold standard.

    In his speech outlining these proposals, Paulson stated that during the past fifty years the performance of the U.S. economy has been second to none. I do not know what planet Paulson has been living on these past fifty years, but it is certainly not Earth. If Paulson were referring to the prior fifty year period, from 1908-1958, his statement would have been correct. But from 1958 to 2008, the U.S. economy has blown a lead even greater than the one the Lakers enjoyed over the Celtics in game four of the just concluded NBA Finals. In fact, it may well qualify as the biggest economic choke in history.

    In 1958 the U.S. enjoyed a standard of living so unmatched that the rest of the world still lived in the Stone Age by comparison. Our per capita income was so far ahead of our nearest rival that it seemed impossible that any other nation would ever catch up. Today not only is per capita income in the U.S. barely in the top ten, but we are being rapidly overtaken by countries that up until a few years ago were barely discernable in our rear-view mirrors. When it comes to economic performance during the past 150 years, the U.S. is the Big Brown of economies. 1858-1908 was the Kentucky Derby, 1908-1958 was the Preakness, and 1958-2008 was the Belmont Stakes.

    Not only did the U.S. surrender a substantial lead, but in many respects our current standard of living is lower than the one our grandparents enjoyed. Sure we have a few more gadgets, larger televisions and more prevalent air conditioning, but the quality of life has actually declined. In the 1950’s, the average man earned enough money to fully support a wife and four kids, all while saving for retirement and paying off his mortgage. Today the average man can barely support himself. It takes two bread winners in most families to make ends meet, and that is assuming only two children. Even with both parents working, the typical mortgage on the family home will never be paid off and retirement is now a pipe dream. Flush with high pay, low debt, and a strong currency, the Ugly American in the 1950’s could vacation in Europe like a king. Now we can now barely afford the gas for a day trip to a Six Flags theme park.

    If Paulson can be so completely clueless regarding the Fed’s role in the current debacle and in America’s economic stumbles over the past two generations, why would anyone place any faith in his proposed remedies? In fact, an unaccountable and unelected Federal Reserve, which nonetheless has lately proven to be as politically craven as any two-bit politician, does not hold the keys to our economic revival. However, with its increased willingness to rescue the big financial firms from their own excesses, perhaps Paulson sees an expanded Fed as the best way to ensure the continued prosperity of his former pals on Wall Street.

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  124. I'm shocked, ..... shocked I tell you;

    another right wing anti abortion repugant politician is found out to be nothing more then a lying hypocrite;

    Oregon City woman details abortion, relationship with Mike Erickson

    Now a "pro-life" congressional candidate, he gave her $300 and took her to the clinic in Northeast Portland, Tawnya says

    At least the congress-critter republican hypocrite from Staten Island had the stones to allow the baby to be born, before he hid her from her brothers and sisters.

    Why are republicans such crass hypocrites?

    Why do they STILL think they can get away with it?

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  125. Oh and BTW, do you remember the economic guru, St Johnny the delusional is counting on helping him understand all things economic (and stuff like that St Johnny can't worry about while he is a flip-floppin' like a gold fish on the living room rug),

    Remember where this exulted economic guru works?

    No?

    Maybe this will refresh your memory;

    UBS shares hit by talk of further losses, tax evasion case

    Shares in Swiss banking giant UBS plunged on Monday amid talk of further losses and as investors worried that a US tax evasion case around a former employee could widen to the bank itself.

    At the close, UBS shares showed a fall of 4.42 percent to 22.06 Swiss francs on the Zurich stock exchange, after a loss of 3.27 percent on Friday. The overall market was down 0.60 percent.

    In a note to investors, an analyst at Credit Suisse warned that UBS's wealth management could come under "significant pressure" if the tax evasion investigations broadens to a case directly impacting the bank.

    "In a worst case scenario, UBS could lose its banking license which could have adverse effects on the global private banking franchise," she wrote.

    On Sunday, Swiss newspaper Sonntag reported that US law enforcement officials had made a formal request to come to Switzerland to investigate a tax evasion case involving UBS.

    The move has been sparked by the confession of former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld to a Florida court last week that he conspired to help US clients dodge millions of dollars in taxes.

    Swiss officials from the justice and finance ministries have already travelled to Washington for talks with their US counterparts amid concern the case could damage the overall reputation of Switzerland's financial industry.


    Damn not only did Phil Gramm help screw up the US economy with his sneaky slithery ways, but he might have helped undermine the Swiss banking industry.

    Now that is a world class set of accomplishments even Henry Kissinger and Paul Wolfowitz must stand in awe of...

    Heck of a job Phil,

    way to go ..................

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  126. Voltron said...
    "The few wingtard blogs that will still allow me to comment have been visited, and I've kindly reminded them that offshore drilling isn't going to do a damn thing about gas prices for at least 10 years, if even then."

    Do you really think the speculators are going to keep on holding futures contracts for oil at $140 plus a barrel once it's announced we're going to begin drilling?

    Prices will start to come down immediately after the news hits, because no ones gonna want to be the one left holding the bag.

    Secondly, it MAY take 10 or more years to get to FULL production, but the first wells could be up and running in less than a year.

    Third, you gotta start sometime. If we'd started 10 years ago, this wouldn't be an issue now."


    Hey genius, you clowns controlled Congress for 12 years and the Presidency for the last 8 years........if your so smart how come you clowns DIDNT START DRILLING 8-10 years ago and while your at it how come you didnt do a damn thing to build LNG terminals, nuclear plants, windmills, solar etc.....

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  127. Inflation Expectations
    Why Bernanke Rightfully Fears Them

    Jay Taylor



    Ludwig von Mises observed that fiat money can be inflated as long as people think it will end one day. However, if people begin to think inflation will continue forever or, worse yet, if they think it will accelerate, it’s “game over” for the scumbag thieves who are in the process of robbing honest, hardworking people, who actually create wealth.

    Who are the scumbag thieves I speak of? Primarily, they are the bankers and politicians, who form this unholy alliance of thieves. Politicians are always seeking to get elected by giving as many things away to voters as

    possible, without taxing them. The Federal Reserve-backed banking system provides the cover for the economic lies and dishonesty of our elected officials. As Ronald Reagan quipped, “They say politics is the second-oldest

    profession and I’ve been around it long enough to know it has a lot in common with the oldest profession.”

    Like hookers, politicians turn their own kind of tricks. They trick voters into thinking they are getting something for nothing while they are having their pockets picked by $135 oil prices caused mostly by an increase in the money supply used to finance the exact giveaway programs that get these clowns elected time after time!

    The connection to the growth of money supply has been downplayed as a cause of inflation, for obvious reasons. Politicians do not want the general populace to understand the connection between an increased money supply used to fund government wars and social programs so they can keep on practicing their form of “prostitution.” Yet, the mainstream does in fact seem to have some vague view of a connection between “lower interest rates” and inflation. Of course what they don’t say is that lower interest rates are orchestrated by the Federal Reserve’s increasing the money supply out of thin air (creating money with a keystroke of their computers).

    But one thing mainstream pundits and policy makers never talk about is velocity of money. The velocity of money is simply the rate at which money turns over, or changes hands. When prices are rising slowly, people are less eager to trade their paper money for real, tangible items, because they are confident they can buy what they need in the future at the same or even lower prices. However, when people lose confidence in the stability of the purchasing power of their currency, they tend to buy today for fear the price will rise even more tomorrow. I can tell you from personal experience, I have stopped by the gas pumps to top my tank a few times recently as the price of gas has been rising at a faster and faster pace. In other words, when an inflationary psychology sets in, the velocity of money increases.

    Money velocity is very important. Think about it. If the velocity of money turns over twice as fast as in the past, it has the same impact on prices as if the money supply doubled! In the 1970s, this inflationary psychology was

    very near to getting out of hand. That is when Paul Volcker stepped in as Chairman of the Fed to inflict painful, double-digit interest rates on the American people. The pain was great, but the dollar, which was rapidly

    disintegrating towards its intrinsic value of zero, was saved. The dollar was saved and by a policy that boosted “real” interest rates to the highest level (7% to 10%) since the Civil War. The velocity of the dollar slowed down drastically. Prices plunged and we started a long period of disinflation, which has only recently ended. That painful measure paved the way for a protracted period of growth in America.

    I have mentioned frequently in this letter that I had a chat with Marc Faber and Congressman Ron Paul about whether either of them thought we could ever see another Volcker-type Fed chairman again. Neither of these highly respected people thought that was remotely possible. However, I think it could happen again and so does Richard Maybury, editor of Early Warning Report. Richard assigns a 25% probability that if inflation gets bad enough, we could get “another” Paul Volcker. Here is what he said about that in his 12-page June/July letter:

    “I know of no time in the Fed’s 94 year existence in which Congress wanted it to be responsible with the dollar—except possibly in one emergency case, the 1979 panic.

    “At the moment, I see no evidence they are feeling that kind of desperation, and I don’t think we will see a serious tightening until they do.

    “The only thing likely to cause those emotions is a repeat of 1979, a global run on the dollar, generating daily news stories the politicians find terrifying.”

    In other words, if the general public—the people who re-elect congressmen to office—are so upset by rising prices that they demand a real solution, not a phony one like price controls (which by the way were tried during the 1990s before Volcker arrived on the scene), Maybury believes it is conceivable another tight money policy (defined as a policy or high real inflation adjusted interest rates) could happen.

    If we were to get that kind of policy, that is when I think Ian Gordon’s Kondratieff winter would occur. I think a 25% probability of that kind of outcome is too high, at least at this point in time, because I think Americans

    have been kept entirely stupid by false inflation numbers and constant lies spun by America’s propaganda machine. Keeping people dumbed down on inflation and the loss of purchasing power is essential to the perpetuation of the inflation scam that our government and central bankers are inflicting on us. As von Mises observed, once people really start losing confidence in the value of their currency, they flee from it, at which point it very rapidly moves toward the intrinsic value of the paper it is printed on—or, in a word, ZERO!

    Money Velocity—Where Are We Now?

    Maybury points out that most economists totally ignore this concept, which really is a measure of how quickly money changes hands. Maybury points out that virtually no economists talk about money velocity even though it is hugely important in explaining price changes in the economy. He observes that if money turns over twice as fast, in effect it has the same impact on the money supply as if the money supply were to double. Certainly Bernanke understands this fact, which in my view is why he and other Fed officials have been jawboning the public into thinking the dollar will retain its purchasing power. Getting rid of inflationary expectations is extremely important because it buys more time to inflate, as the Fed continues to inflate the money supply to bail out banks that are continuing to experience nightmarish loan problems, not to mention the need to continue printing money to pay for America’s military and ongoing socialism.

    Maybury notes there are three stages of monetary velocity:

    “During Stage 1, prices do not rise as fast as the money supply because people don’t recognize what is happening. They hold on to their money in the hope and expectations that purchasing power will increase as it did for many items during the 1990s and early 2000s.
    “During Stage 2, many people have caught on, and are spending their money quickly. Prices rise faster than the money supply because each unit of the money is changing hands faster. Many people want to get rid of it quickly and are willing to accept less for it.
    “In the third stage, the runaway, the whole population is in a panic to get rid of the money as soon as they get their hands on it, and they money declines to its real value, which is the value of scrap paper.”
    He then states, “In other words, in Stage 1, the currency is not losing its value very fast because people still trust it. In Stage 2, the currency is in trouble. In the last half of Stage 2, it’s circling the drain. In Stage 3, it’s going down the drain.”

    Unfortunately there are no good measures of monetary velocity. However, as Maybury illuminates, if prices are

    rising faster than the money supply (M-3) and if many people are expressing a fear of holding dollars, that is strong anecdotal evidence that monetary velocity is on the rise. It is certainly hard to quantify it, but it is happening.

    So where does Maybury think we are now? He picks out two different graphics to illustrate: (1) where foreigners are with respect to this increasing monetary velocity, and (2) where Americans are in this process.

    Richard suggests that foreigners are about midway along in the second stage and that Americans are about midway along in the first stage. Americans are the last to realize what is going on, which by the way is one reason I think resource stocks are not doing all that well just yet. I like to say you won’t find one out of a thousand Americans who think buying gold, silver, and copper stocks is a good thing to do. But in Vancouver, at a conference that I just attended, a lot of people understand that the U.S. dollar is about to “circle the drain” if that process has not yet started.

    Has the inflation rate exceeded the growth of M-3? Well, according to economist John Williams, M-3 has been rising at a rate of about 16.4%. That is higher than John’s CPI number, which is 11.6%; so according to Maybury’s definition, we would still be in Stage 1. However, as he points out, some key elements in the economy, like wheat, gasoline, and euros, feed through the economy and eventually are likely to put upward pressure on a host of other prices, and those prices will accelerate if the velocity of money continues to increase.

    Measuring velocity is not easy. However, I am considering watching both the inflation and M-3 numbers as published by John Williams in his Shadow Government Statistics newsletter. In fact, a change in this relationship may very well be another leading indicator that could be put into our IDW, which, as can be seen below, continues to collaborate the notion of increasing velocity.

    June 20, 2008

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  128. Did you here someone on McSame's campaign said it would "benefit" McShame if there were another terrorist attack in America...........HMMMMMM.......now who wants the terrorists to win and is the candidate of Al Qaeda again.

    We KNOW which party and which candidate is the slimy pathetic fear mongerer.......but today's state reaches a NEW level of pathetic and is a disgrace.

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  129. It kinda sounds like many of the repugs would welcome another terrorist attack..........could an Osama Bin Forgotten tape be far behind?

    Totally pathetic isnt it.

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  130. doltron blathered,

    "30 MILLION ACRES" sounds huge doesn't it?, but in reality it's very small compared to all the offshore areas available.
    Don't you think geological surveys have been done and these areas were found wanting?

    Also, the leases are going to expire soon. Why would they invest huge resources just to lose them?

    As to refineries, maybe, just maybe if the threatened penalties weren't so stiff they would have modernized some of the old ones, and if the red tape and hoops they have to jump through to build a new one weren't so high we'd have a few of those too...


    You really don't do any independent research, ever, do you?

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  131. doltron blathered,

    "30 MILLION ACRES" sounds huge doesn't it?, but in reality it's very small compared to all the offshore areas available.
    Don't you think geological surveys have been done and these areas were found wanting?

    Also, the leases are going to expire soon. Why would they invest huge resources just to lose them?

    As to refineries, maybe, just maybe if the threatened penalties weren't so stiff they would have modernized some of the old ones, and if the red tape and hoops they have to jump through to build a new one weren't so high we'd have a few of those too..."


    Hey genius who are you "claiming" was threatening these penalties and making the good ole oil companies jump through hoops.........could it have been the REPUG CONGRESS that was in power for 12 YEARS..........you clowns controlled virtually EVERY branch of government from 2001-2007 and not a damn refinerie got built, YOU repug clowns controlled Congress since 1994 and not a damn refinerie was built no real; alternate energy like solar or wind was pushed in ANY meaningful way and none of the drilling you SUDDENLY whine about took place with you clowns holding all the cards i'd like to know why.......i'm all ears duncetron?

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  132. Bush and Mcidiot keep crying we need to drill more and develop more and end our dependency on foreign oil..........where oh were were these two great planners and thinkers the past 8 years.......i see these clowns saying what someone else should do how about what they SHOULD HAVE DONE if they were smart.

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  133. The repug congress had almost a decade and a half and Bush had almost a decade and nothing beneficial got done now they try top jump on the bandwagon and say "hello wee gotta do something about these high prices like they are some kinda wise men with all the answers when these dunces have been essenially dead wrong on every key issue that matters.

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  134. Bbbbuuuuttttt Mike, they were

    plannin' on a drillin' ....


    IN IRAQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  135. clif said...
    Bbbbuuuuttttt Mike, they were

    plannin' on a drillin' ....


    IN IRAQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


    For the 3 TRILLION DOLLARS this quagmire of a war is projected to cost those economic wizards could have ACTUALLY paid for Iraq's oil fair and square.............but then they couldnt have stolen a few elections and torched the US Constitution and the rule of law to attempt to seize perpetual power.

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  136. BTW Lydia, i recently listened to the Iglesias interview.......you guys did a great job as usual, you asked some really good questions it was a real interesting hour.

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  137. I signed an email from SAG urging actors to vote NO on the AFTRA deal.

    The AFTRA deal, at least from what I've read, is horrible for actors. AFTRA benefits on-air newscasters and radio personalities and only has a handful of TV shows, for which I get very lousy residuals.

    I'm a member of both unions, and Too Close for Comfort was AFTRA because it was on tape not film. In those days there were a lot more Aftra shows.

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  138. I'm talking about Curb Your Enthusiasm residuals. They have run my episode over 150 times for almost nothing!

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  139. Lydia Cornell said...
    Jolly Roger - that is an amazing story about your dad's wisdom in combatting the homophobia. I love him already, rest his soul.

    And Mike - thank you SO much for your kind words about my parenting. I just wish I could have them all over again --grow up with them all over again. Now that I know so many things...

    My older son Jack said to me: "I'm emotionally mature Mom.. unlike some people I know (ahem, hint-hint) And then he told me he actually put himself in my shoes and had empathy for me being a mom and doing all this for the first time, without a handbook! We shared a good laugh and made up.

    He just turned 14, and thinks he's 20."


    Well I'm 38 going on 14 LOL, i'll always be a kid at heart and have a wild side..........seriously though its really exceptional for kids even teens to put themselves in others shoes and have empathy for others.......like i've said before 98% of all fights and wars could be avoided if people would just look at the other person's perspective and show understanding and empathy for them.......I tell people that work for me, both supervisors and workers that it takes way more energy to go to war than make peace and if they would just not sweat the small stuff, try to see things from the other's perspective and pick their battles rather than stubornly fighting, digging in their heels and nitpicking about EVERY single thing they dont like or agree with things would go a lot smoother, and the world would be a much better place.

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  140. Jolly Roger said...
    Lydia, we learn so much about parenting. It is a shame that we're actually DOING the parenting while learning. By the time you've got it all figured out, you done made the mistakes :)

    For those who may not know, I started over; I have a 7 and a 4 year old girl. Raising 3 boys as a single parent left me equipped to the point my wife's relatives were all stunned at how well I functioned taking care of babies. They, of the white bread burbs, had never seen a......MAN able to function without a woman.

    It was both amusing and telling at the same time."


    That statement surprises me JR.......not the part that your good with kids but that you have kids that young.......I picture you about 10-15 years older than me for some reason and wouldnt have pictured you with kids that young........thats cool though i picture you as a great parent.

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  141. Patriot, your talking about Joe Biden absolutely pummeling Lindsy Graham on Meet The Press Sunday I commented on that as well yesterday earlier in the thread........it was priceless when Biden said " you can have your own opinion Lindsy, but you cant have your own facts, the facts are the facts"

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  142. On “Imus in the Morning” Monday, the controversial radio host Don Imus — who was fired last year for making racist and sexist remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team — made a racially freighted comment about another African-American athlete.

    During the show, conversation turned to a story about how suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones now wants to drop his well-known nickname. In the course of the segment, Imus is told that Jones has “been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.”

    Imus asks: “What color is he?”

    “He’s African-American,” the host is informed by one of his on-air sidekicks.

    “Well, there you go,” Imus said. “Now we know.”

    Half of his show is spent on attacking Obama, but he says he isn't racist.

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  143. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this evening that he will vote against the compromise FISA legislation and work with likeminded colleagues to strip immunity for telecom firms from that bill.

    Finally Harry Reid shows some spine.

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  144. New thread is up -- all about BIG OIL's greed.

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