Friday, May 23, 2008


A good heart is better than all the heads in the world. - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. - George Washington Carver

We are going "multi-channel" soon. Thank you for your patience as we expand the site to encompass comedy, entertainment, celebrity, lifestyle, fashion, motivation, inspiration, home, family, garden, recipes, and advice for raising aliens (teenagers)

We are in Breaking: Yahoo News as WXB102 announces international syndication of our Las Vegas radio program, the award-winning Basham and Cornell Show. In the audio archives of you can listen to over 150 interviews with movers, shakers, political leaders, celebrities, bestselling authors and pundits — but below I've posted the Mp3 links to a few of our recent interviews with John Edwards, Bill Press, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Pat Buchanan, Valerie Bertinelli...

Fri May 23, 3:01 AM ET
Lydia Cornell Interviews World Leaders, Presidential Candidates, And Pulitzer Prize Winners for New Radio Show Co-hosts new Las Vegas radio show about politics and celebrity, signs with renowned literary agency for upcoming books.
Read more at... Yahoo! News

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. Again, all shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Radio If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives.

You can click on these MP3s to listen to a few of our recent shows, or download the podcasts:

Lydia Cornell - John Edwards interview:
John Edwards Interview

Pat Buchanan interview:
Pat Buchanan Interview

NBC Tel Aviv Bureau Chief Martin Fletcher interview:
NBC Tel Aviv Bureau Chief Martin Fletcher Interview

Bill Press interview:
Bill Press Interview

Valerie Bertinelli interview:
Valerie Bertinelli Interview

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Charlie Savage:
Charlie Savage Interview Charlie’s new book is titled, “Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy.”

Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich interview:
Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich Interview

Georgetown University Jacques Berlinerblau interview:
Jacques Berlinerblau Interview

UPCOMING GUESTS: Senators Arlen Specter, Tom Daschle and Lincoln Chaffee. If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. Again, all shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Radio If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John & Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, Norman Soloman, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, NBC Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv Martin Fletcher, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel,Valerie Plame, Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig.
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Let's get Obama and Clinton together! An unbeatable ticket...

Since the beginning of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, California has lost 492 of its sons, daughters, fathers and mothers. Their median age was 23 and they left behind 205 widows, 3 widowers, and more than 300 children." From the Los Angeles Sunday Times May 25, 2008


The "War on Terror" sounds like The War on an Abstract Noun". And Appeasement? Let's talk about appeasement. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were SAUDIS, yet Bush has made a deal to give the Saudis over 2 billion in high-tech weapons. Bush also gave into Osama Bin Laden's demands to remove our largest airforce base in Saudi Arabia. That is appeasement.

When someone hates you, send them love. It works like a charm. You make your enemies stronger by fighting them. WE MUST TALK TO OUR ENEMIES. In fact, the minute we stop seeing them as enemies, we heal the rift.

It's easy to fight those who hurt you; the higher law calls on us to love those who hate us and seek to hurt us. Then we will see miracles begin to happen in human relationships.

As Einstein said, "No problem can be solved on the same level it was created on." You must go to a higher level — to a diplomatic or spiritual solution. To retaliate on the level of engaging in fear-based obsession and magnifying the enemy, only makes the "enemy" larger. This is a spiritual law. Violence against innocents on the hopes of killing militants, is always wrong. There are much more clever and thoughtful ways of annihiating an enemy and it starts in your thought about them. They diminish when the nations of world unite to reduce their power. Not by creating more violence! We are feeding the violence by fighting it. We are giving it more power.

There are 1.5 billion Muslims. They want to raise their children in peace. Only fundamentalist extremists (in all religions) preach intolerance. To those who do so, look in the mirror.

We have to try to understand others. Why do people blow themselves up to kill Americans? Is it because they 'hate us for our freedoms' -- or could it be that our footprint is on their holy land raping their oil, killing their children and stealing their natural resources. "Seek first to understand rather than be understood...You get more flies with honey than with vinegar...Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

McCain is wrong and even going against his prior behavior. If we're trying to spread democracy across the world, we at least have to set an example and talk to the leaders that were voted into power by the democratic process -- as Hamas was in the Palestinian territories! Even in our country we voted in the corrupt Bush-Cheney regime and we call ourselves a Democracy that must be reckoned with.

If we actually stopped making the enemy so powerful with our obsessive focus on him, and go about the business of creating a beautiful, clean, proserous safe world for our children -- focusing on our own challenges at HOME, the "enemy" would never have any power over us. It's our attention to him that makes him bigger, for what you focus on grows.

These simple principles are the absolute answer to all the strife in the world and in our personal lives.

McCain and the Republicans call it "strength" -- that is their code word for war and military might. They think everything can be solved with bombs.

Take a moment to appreciate beauty. For weeks I've been awestruck by the gorgeous fuscia color of this bougainvillea in our backyard. I also have Rosemary and it really perks up your mood to breathe the delicious scent. This photo, taken with my phone yesterday, does not do it justice. A week ago, the color was too vibrant to be true. As I appreciate more and more of the beauty in life, it seems to "play" and interact with me. More and more beauty becomes apparent. A French couple stopped their car to marvel at this color the other day, and on Thursday a woman -- whom I swear was an angel — stopped, and at the right moment said the exact words I was thinking: "Nature is the greatest painter." God has given us such beautiful vistas and playful creatures with which to enjoy in this life.

There is an old saying that goes: "Worry is often the cause of illness." The perceived weakening of the economy, too, may have its beginnings in the mind. Many of our problems are problems of perception. The way to be happy is to stop, look up, look around, breathe deeply and realize the sky is not falling. Take a moment to appreciate the smallest things. Think of how you can help someone else who may not have as much as you do. That will increase the wealth in your life a hundred fold. Just watch.

HERE is a portrait of someone who is sorely misguided and believes war is the answer to all our problems... John McCain is aligned with "Pastor" Hagee who actually believes Hitler had a high calling from God to eliminate the Jewish People to force them to establish the nation of Israel -- for a perverted, surrealistic "Armageddon" theory that will force all Jews to be in Israel in order for Christ to come back.. and kill the Jews who did not convert to Christianity!!

God Bless Uncle Lou and Aunt Annie. Keep him alive and off the ventilator.. God Bless all the victims of recent catastophes from the earthquake in China, the cycone in Burma, the wildfires in Florida, and the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Missouri. And our hearts and prayers go out to Katherine Wolf, the beautiful 26-year old mother from our church who suffered a major brain hemorrhage on April 21st, and her faithful family has been at the hospital round the clock ever since. Katherine has made some great strides, but it's still going to be some time before she goes home... God Bless Katherine, Jay and their baby.
Did you hear Senator Lieberman joking around with Bill Bennett about Hillary Clinton on his right-wing radio show?

BENNETT: And Joe, you know, this is my style. This is a girl who puts on her pearls, goes down, throws down a shot of liquor and bombs Iran, you know. This is…lookout Mrs. Bennett, this is my kind of girl.

LIEBERMAN: Hehehe, it does have an appeal to it." BOMBING IRAN HAS AN APPEAL TO IT? Senator Lieberman and Mr. Bennett you should be ashamed of yourselves. (Apparently Hillary never said this anyway.)

Anyway, it's hard but every single time I think hateful thoughts about terrorists, or George Bush or intolerant neocons, I turn my thoughts to love. The hardest people to do this with are ex-friends and family. It works, even if you can only do it 9 times out of 10. It changes everything.

Our enemies can also be our thoughts about ourselves, including our fears of financial insecurity, suspicion, bigorty, intolerance, worry, accidents, disease, terrorism and all sorts of fears of losing what we have or not getting what we want.

Also, to allow the terrorists to define our lives for us, to "hop" to their commands and live in fear of their threats, is to give them too much power.

Thoughts rule the world. We can lift our consciousness above what the material senses tell us. Then we will see heaven on earth.


Nothing is set in stone. We are all redeemable, even the "bad guys" in government and politics, even our leaders. I heard a humble young Israeli at a recovery meeting day say that he 'to become humble' is everything. It's the only way to attain peace. He made a list of his character defects and then made a list of each of their "opposites." To overcome depression, think of others first. To overcome selfishness, give to others. To overcome arrogance, learn humility.

Humility is one of the greatest virtues. When I think of how I can "give" instead of "get" the whole day goes better. When I think of how to "understand" rather than be "understood" or force my will and my opinions on others, I attract love.

Love is circular. Let's all be thinking of how we can help others. Human kindness is really all that matters.

Drew Gilpin Faust, first female president of Harvard, and author of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Knopf

Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust (born September 18, 1947) is an American historian, college administrator and the first female president of Harvard University. Faust, the former Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is also Harvard's first president since 1672 without an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard.

I also adore Raven-Symoné, 22, the youngest Cosby kid and star of THAT’S SO RAVEN! She is a wonderful role model for young girls.
House Subpoenas Karl Rove! FINALLY
by Lara Jakes Jordan

The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former White House adviser Karl Rove as part of its inquiry into whether the Bush administration politically meddled at the Justice Department.
Accusations of politics governing decisions at the agency led to the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The subpoena issued Thursday orders Rove to testify before the House panel on July 10. He is expected to face questions about the White House’s role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers had negotiated with Rove’s attorneys for more than a year over whether the former top political adviser to President Bush would testify voluntarily.

© 2008 Associated Press


  1. Happy Mothers Day Lydia!

  2. Thank you Mike. All the boys took me out to lunch at Houston's and then I had one of those mini-massages at the mall. Then we went to Sports Authority for some Nike pants and Big League Chew.

  3. Happy Mothe's Day Lydia!

  4. BTW, Great pictures and post!

  5. Oops I meant thank you mch.

    Mixed up the names.

    Ditto to Mike

  6. Did you read the article I just posted about Obama's Mama?

    She was a fascinating woman and if she were alive today, would connect with Hillary's base.

  7. Okay, the blog is publishing again. Thank you for your patience.

    Love to all!

  8. Thats ok as my name is Mike also ... but you already have one of those so mch works perfectly fine.

    You know, I don't understand all the fuss about speaking with terrorists -- people have been speaking with Cheney for years.

  9. Keith Olbermann unleashed what may well have been his angriest, most blistering Special Comment yet, aimed squarely at his favorite target: President Bush. Olbermann was responding to Bush's claim that he had given up golf in honor of the Iraq war — and his assertion that a Democratic president withdrawing from Iraq would "eventually lead to another attack on the United States" — a statement Olbermann called "ludicrous, infuriating, holier-than-thou and most importantly bone-headedly wrong." Olbermann continued in that vein for a full 12 minutes (or 2,000 words), frequently raising his voice and spitting out his words in disgust.

    Olbermann turned Bush's reference to "cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives" around and threw it back at him, saying that such killers were "those in -- or formerly in -- your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes." It didn't get any milder — saying that, to Bush, "freedom is just a brand name," and pointing out that al Qaeda in Iraq was a result of the invasion: "Terrorism inside Iraq is your creation, Mr. Bush!" Olbermann also criticized Bush's statement that he was "told by people" that there were WMDs in Iraq: "People? What people?... Mr. Bush, you destroyed the evidence that contradicted the resolution you jammed down the Congress's throat, the way you jammed it down the nation's throat."

    Olbermann saved his most vicious scorn for Bush's no-golf pledge. "Golf, sir? Golf sends the wrong signal to the grieving families of our men and women butchered in Iraq?...You, Mr. Bush, let their sons and daughters be killed. Sir, to show your solidarity with them you gave up golf?" He then went on to lambaste Bush for failing to keep to that pledge — ostensibly made in August 2003 — and showing photos of Bush playing golf in October 2003. "Mr. Bush, I hate to break it to you 6 1/2 years after you yoked this nation and your place in history to the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people," said Olbermann (using slightly odd math), "But the war in Iraq is not about you....It is not, Mr. Bush, about your grief when American after American comes home in a box." The directive to "Shut the hell up!" came soon after.

    The same directive should go to the Deranged John McCain.

  10. Soldier Refuses Iraq Tour, Citing 'Stomach-Churning Horrors'

    by Aaron Glantz

    A US Army soldier who served as a military journalist in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Philippines announced Thursday his intent to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.

    "As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter service members' stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors of the crimes taking place in Iraq," said Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, 24, in an announcement under the rotunda of the House of Representative's Cannon Office Building.

    "For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand," he said.

    Chiroux said he's aware he will likely face prosecution for refusing the deployment, but said, "I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they are willing to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq."

    Chiroux is a victim of stop-loss, a controversial wartime power that the George W. Bush administration has used to keep soldiers from leaving the military when their term of service expires. Critics call the policy a "back-door draft". More than 50,000 troops have been stop-lossed since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    In an interview shortly before his announcement, Chiroux told IPS the stop-loss order sent him into a downward spiral of depression.

    "I became borderline suicidal," he said. "I just went into my room and shut the door and barely emerged for close to a month. I just sat in my room reading news about Iraq and feeling completely hopeless, like I would be forced to go and no one would ever know how I felt. I was getting looped into participating in a crime against humanity and all with the realization that I never wanted to be there in the first place."

    The turning point, Chiroux said, came when one of his professors at Brooklyn College in New York suggested he listen to the Winter Soldier hearings. The hearings, which were organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, took place in March in Washington, DC.

    Iraq Veterans Against the War argues that well-publicized incidents of US brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha are not isolated incidents perpetrated by "a few bad apples", but part of a pattern, the group says, of "an increasingly bloody occupation".

    For four days, dozens of Iraq war veterans testified about the horrors they'd seen and the actions they carried out while deployed. As Chiroux listened to their testimony, he realized he was not alone.

    "Here's an organization of soldiers and veterans who feel like me," he said. "All this alienation and depression that I feel started to ease. I found them and I've been speaking out with them ever since."

    Chiroux timed his announcement to coincide with a Congressional forum meant to highlight testimony offered at Winter Soldier within the halls of Congress.

    Nine veterans spoke at the hearing, which was organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They talked about extremely lax rules of engagement handed down by commanding officers, which they said virtually guaranteed atrocities would be committed -- which in turn would create a violent backlash among Iraqi people and a continued cycle of violence.

    "On several occasions our convoys came upon bodies that been lying on the road, sometimes for weeks," said Marine Corps veteran Vincent Emmanuele, who served in al-Qaim near the Syrian border in 2004 and 2005.

    "When encountering these bodies standard procedure was to run over the corpses, sometimes even stopping and taking pictures, which was also standard practice when encountering the dead in Iraq," he told the Progressive Caucus.

    "On one specific occasion, after I had shot a man trying to flee while planting a roadside bomb, we dragged his body out of the ditch he was laying in and we subsequently left this man to rot in a field where we saw this man up to a week later," Emmanuele said.

    Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War hope Thursday's Progressive Caucus hearing will spark an investigation by a full Congressional committee and speed the end of the wars. But with the House of Representatives moving toward approving another 186 billion dollars in war funding, these former soldiers and Marines will have to satisfy themselves with the sentiments of liberal Congresspeople like Maxine Waters, who praised the veterans for speaking out.

    And McCain says the war is already won.

  11. John McCain’s Promise to the World–‘You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet Folks’

    By Mark Glenn

    Americans and others around the world–weary from the ‘war on terror’ and beginning to recognize that the present debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan are just the tip of the planned iceberg to come–may be holding out hopes that things will change with the upcoming presidential elections in the US. In some respects they are right–things will change, but only in the sense that they will go from ‘run-of-the-mill’ horrible to ‘exceptionally’ horrible, and particularly if John McCain is elected. With the election of George Bush in 2000 the world was given Afghanistan and Iraq, but with the election of Maddog McCain it will be Iran, Syria, and–even more worrisome–Russia.

    The proof that the son of Admiral McCain (appointed as overseer of the cover-up of Israel’s murderous attack on the USS Liberty in 1967) will not only ‘follow the course’ but will widen the road to Armageddon to include even more bloodshed and world-wide instability is a no-brainer. He has made it clear–both by his actions as a US Senator and on the current campaign trail–that he will do whatever is required of him by his Zionist masters in getting elected to the highest office in the world. He stated clearly that America will be in Iraq for the next 100 years and said unequivocally that there will be ‘more wars’ under his watch. When asked about his plans for Iran while stumping for the American vote, he mockingly spoke about the destruction of millions of innocent lives by mimicking the old Beach Boys’ song with his own version of ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb Iran’. He has lately become cozy with Pastor Rod Parsley whom he calls his ‘spiritual guide’ and a ‘moral compass’ for America. Parsley, in the same screeching and hollering tones that have come to typify his internationally-televised sermons had the following to say concerning the clash of civilizations between the Christian and Muslim worlds–

    ‘Islam is an anti-Christ religion…America was founded in part with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed…America has historically understood herself to be a bastion against Islam in the world…I do not believe our nation can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam…’

    Parsley, seemingly destined to replace the aging (and soon-to-drop-dead-from-weight-induced-heart-failure) John Hagee as the new voice of Christian Zionist mania ended his comments with ‘We were built for the battle!!! We were created for the conflict!!! We get off on warfare!!!’

    In other words, Parsley, the man whom John ‘Son of Cain’ McCain considers his moral advisor has interpreted the Book Of Revelations and the Apocalypse therein to mean that America’s reason for existence is fighting Israel’s never-ending wars against the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims spread out in dozens of countries at a time when America is all but bankrupt.

    Now however–as if a protracted war against the Islamic world weren’t enough–there is a new twist to the madness that truly portends the worst for all mankind, which is no less than potential conflict with a nuclear armed, nationalist-minded and increasingly-assertive Russia.

    Besides the statements coming out of McCain himself–namely that Russia should be excluded from the G8, that Putin is nothing more than a KGB thug and other verbal daggers meant to taunt and threaten Russia, there are McCain’s campaign advisors to consider. There is Max Boot who lauds McCain as the candidate who would ‘scare the snot out of our enemies’ and whose ‘bellicose aura’ would result in other countries being ‘more afraid to mess with him than with other occupants of the Oval Office’ including–if it can be believed, George Bush himself. Robert Kagan, one of the ayatollahs of the Project for the New American Century (basic blueprint for worldwide American warmongering and domination) has made pushing for confrontation against Russia his favorite calling card. James Woolsley, former CIA director (who also sits on the same Jewish Institute For National Security Affairs investigated several times by the FBI for Israeli espionage and who has called for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from prison) has never met a war he did not like, including any future conflict with Russia. Besides these individuals, there is Bill Kristol to consider, son of one of the godfathers of the Neocon movement and himself co-founder and chairman of Project for a New American Century, and, last but certainly not least, there is John Bolton, former Bush-appointed ambassador to the UN who salivates so much at the prospect of war against Iran and Syria that he should wear a bib in public.

    All of the aforementioned men, including McCain himself, have publicly supported Bush’s move to station US missiles in countries bordering Russia, a move viewed so threatening that Putin warned that countries allowing themselves to be used as American proxies would have nuclear weapons aimed at them.

    Those who doubt it is within the Neocon schedule to bring about war with a nuclear-armed Russia should keep in mind Israel’s motto of ‘never forget’. What’s at stake here is the settling of old scores. Israel was founded by the very same Trotskyite Marxists forced to flee the Soviet Union upon Stalin‘s takeover of power, the same Stalin who was so much an enemy of Trotsky that he had him killed by an icepick-wielding assassin in Mexico. For decades following their fall from power in Russia, these same internationalist Zionists dreamed of the day Russia and her vast natural resources would fall back into their hands like ripened fruit. With the ‘fall’ of communism, the election of Boris Yeltsin as president and the ‘privatizing’ of Russia’s various state-run businesses into the hands of the now-infamous ‘oligarchs’ it seemed as though Israel had reacquired what she had lost decades earlier–an economic foothold in Russia that would afford the Jewish state an opportunity of siphoning off vast amounts of wealth. With the election of Putin, the re-nationalizing of the aforementioned ‘privatized’ ventures and the flight of the oligarchs (mainly to Israel) all of that changed. Now, Israel and her supporters seem to be hell-bent upon using the military might of the United States in trying to bring to heel a Russia equally hell-bent upon surviving in the dangerous jungle of Neocon mayhem.

    The reader should also keep in mind other factors as well. Israel intends to become–not just a world power, but the world power. The irrational, megalomaniacal, unstable and messianic-minded individuals who dragged her forth from her 2,000 year old grave have spoken openly of making Jerusalem the capitol of the world in line with the Old Testament idea that the Jews are God’s chosen people and that Gentiles were created for the purpose of serving them. How does Israel then achieve such an exalted position in terms of world power if there are competing powers such as the US and Russia? The answer is easy–have them wipe each other out. Those who doubt such a thing would be possible should keep in mind the 1967 war between Israel and the Arab nations surrounding her when the US came within minutes of launching a nuclear strike against Soviet-allied Egypt in what was code-named Operation Cyanide, the purpose of which was to drive the Soviets out of the Middle East permanently. There is no doubt the Soviet Union would have launched a counter-strike against American assets, resulting in an escalation and finally to all-out war between the two nuclear superpowers. As one Old Testament prophet once quipped, ‘a leopard does not change its spots,’ and just as Israel was willing to sit by and allow the US and Russia to go to war then, so too is she willing to orchestrate a nuclear Armageddon that would result in two at least nominally Christian countries being wiped off the map.

    During the Clinton years, patriotic Americans never envisioned a presidency as bad as that of Bill and Hillary. Someone suggesting that one day in the future Americans would look back on the Clinton years as the good old days (relatively speaking) would have been laughed out of town. Much to their chagrin however, this is exactly what has taken place after 8 years of George Bush and his wars for Israel. By the same token, now if someone were to suggest that America will one day look back on the George Bush years with longing, such as person would be treated to the same ridicule, and yet, with a McCain presidency, that is more than likely what is to come.

    In a recent interview, McCain–the same would-be president who wrote a glowing endorsement of the book by Jay Cristol exculpating Israel’s slaughter of 34 Americans serving aboard the USS Liberty–said “There’s going to be other wars. I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars…’ Judging by his comments and the company he keeps one is forced to conclude that indeed the Manchurian Candidate speaks from his heart, and that those ‘other wars’ he promises may include not only the war to end all wars, but the war to end all life on earth. Put in less fancy terms, ‘you ain’t seen nothin’ yet folks.’

    Under the Deranged McCain: "More wars, lots of wars." You ain't seen nothing yet.

  12. George Bush and the 1000 Year Reich

    By T Stokes

    Britain and America were told W.W.II was a war against totalitarianism, Hitler’s idea for a united Europe, which was called in documents, the E.E.C Meant Britain went to war to prevent it, yet recently, Britain went begging to enter this very E.E.C. so what was the war really about?

    Britain’s most popular leader ever, Neville Chamberlain was dead less than a year after being replaced by war criminal Winston Churchill. Similarly, less than a year after Robin Cook M P left office he was also dead, while war criminal Tony Blair faked and fudged us into another Mid-east war.

    The Iraq wars we were told, was for regime change, as Saddham was a monster, then it was about Weapons Of Mass Destruction, then to insure oil supplies, then to bring democracy, then about climate change, then to secure Israeli interests in the area.

    The planned U.S embassy/barracks in Iraq is advertised as the biggest project in any neighboring country which will give the U.S. influence for a thousand years, George Bush has described it as bringing in; “the shining age of human history”. Resistance at home to U.S. and British government terrorism, where the attacks on the town of Fallujah was compared to the attack on Dresden, has been so vast and so widespread, that the intelligence services watch their own people more than their so called enemies.

    Here in Britain we watched the I.R.A bomb and burn their way across the country, while Gerry Adams and Martin Mg Guinness were actually protected by the British, and when I.R.A terrorist Bernadette Devlin was shot, her life was saved by army medics. In this present “war on terror” we arrest anyone, e. g. Muslims, who speak in a way that the government does not approve. Many feel there was no Mid-East terrorism before we went in and bombed their families and peoples, and we used this as an excuse to bring in changes.

    Those who study the sinister erosion of civil liberties, claim the anti-democratic NWO (New World Order) means there will soon be large prisons built for dissidents, like those who break the rules on political correctness and speak out openly, as in W.W.II.

    Under law changes while Tony Blair was in office, we could have our goods impounded by the state, the current mass influx of foreign nationals in both Britain and the U.S is part of the long term plan to emasculate our own people. New Labour has again played the race card by allowing Gordon Brown to be a cowardly appeaser to Robert Mugabes murders in Rhodesia ( Zimbabwe ) this institutionalized racism is what we have come to expect from them.

    In Britain some years back, we had an honest politician who broke ranks and told the public what the NWO had in store for us, he lost his position and was pilloried by the press, a learned and patriotic man, Enoch Powell was to die in almost obscurity on Feb 8th 1998.

  13. Conservatives in Denial about North American Union and Canadian Sovereignty

    By Kevin Parkinson

    Some of your readers may remember the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership) Conference held at Montebello, Quebec in August, 2007. Primer Minister Harper hosted Presidents Bush and Calderon in what turned out to be a major fiasco.

    The Quebec Provincial Police admitted that undercover police infiltrated a peaceful protest against the SPP Conference, whose mandate is for the 3 countries to work towards the formation of a North American Union. An embarrassing video of the failed attempt to provoke violence by the undercover cops was posted for the world to see on Youtube. So far the Conservative government has failed to conduct an inquiry in to this anti-democratic tactic, and has moved Canada one step closer to a police state.

    When the conference (no media present) was over, Harper basically laughed in the face of all Canadians when he said the sessions were about regulating the trade of “jellybeans” between the 3 countries. Bush smirked in his trademark smile and warned of conspiracy theorists dreaming up nonsense. The media was silent, basically complicit with government in its failure to the public to investigate and report on the whole SPP issue.

    So why have a big conference at a huge expense for all Canadian taxpayers last August? And why did Harper go to New Orleans on April 28, 2008 for a 4th SPP conference in 4 years? To count jellybeans?

    Since these conferences began 4 years ago, no one beyond an elite group of corporate CEO’s has had the issues explained

    to them, or been asked how they feel about the SPP- until now.

    The Council of Canadians recently commissioned Environics Research Group in April 2008 to find out how Canadians feel about the SPP issues. The full report is available at however I have included a short summary here.

    87% feel that Canada should regulate its own environmental, health and safety standards

    89% feel that Canada should place restrictions on exports of our gas and oil if it is need here first

    88% feel that Canada should have a national water policy that recognizes water as a basic human right

    48% do not feel that Canada should harmonize its security policies with the U.S.

    86% feel that the SPP agreement should be debated and submitted to a vote in Parliament

    For 4 of the above items, the Canadian government is actually working in the reverse direction to public opinion!

    Given the overwhelming percentages above, notwithstanding the issue of security in which Canadians are divided, what is the Conservative government doing to respond to Canadian concerns? Where is the debate in the House? Where are the questionnaires for the ridings to determine how people feel about the SPP issues?

    When will the Conservative government start making Press Releases to inform Canadians about the 4 years of secretive SPP meetings? Will the government admit that the veil will eventually be lifted on the SPP and a North American Union will be rolled out without fanfare by 2010?

    If the Conservative government is flagrantly disregarding public opinion now, will it be any different in 2010?

    I think our local MP Guy Lauzon better start tackling some of the tough questions affecting all Canadians, forget about spending his time on personal promotion, and find enough courage to give his constituents some truthful answers about the SPP and where it is leading.

    If you think high oil and gas prices are changing our lives now, just wait a couple more years for the emerging North American Union. Unfortunately, it may become the biggest giveaway of Canadian sovereignty in our lifetime.

  14. Price of power: McCain action helped Arizona land developer

    By Matt Kelley, USA TODAY

    WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain secured millions in federal funds for a land acquisition program that provided a windfall for an Arizona developer whose executives were major campaign donors, public records show.

    McCain, who has made fighting special-interest projects a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, inserted $14.3 million in a 2003 defense bill to buy land around Luke Air Force Base in a provision sought by SunCor Development, the largest of about 50 landowners near the base. SunCor representatives, upset with a state law that restricted development around Luke, met with McCain's staff to lobby for funding, according to John Ogden, SunCor's president at the time.

    The Air Force later paid SunCor $3 million for 122 acres near the base. It was the highest single land transaction of the private lots purchased by the government — three times the county's assessed value and twice the military's estimated value. SunCor also donated another 122 acres. Alan Bunnell, a spokesman for SunCor's parent company, Pinnacle West Capital, said the donation was meant to minimize the company's tax bill and enhance the value of adjacent property it owns.

    McCain has long-standing ties to SunCor and Pinnacle West:

    • McCain's campaigns have received $224,000 since 1998 from donors connected to Pinnacle West, including $104,100 for his current presidential run, according to a USA TODAY analysis of campaign-finance data compiled by the non-partisan CQ MoneyLine. Donors include employees of Pinnacle West and its subsidiaries, employees' spouses and the company's lobbyists and political committees.

    • Pinnacle West's Chief Executive Officer Bill Post, vice president and lobbyist Robert Aiken and former president Jack Davis, who retired in March, are fundraisers for McCain's current presidential campaign. SunCor President Steve Betts, who joined the company weeks after the military land deal, is a former campaign lawyer for McCain and has raised more than $100,000 for his current campaign.

    McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the senator's ties to SunCor had nothing to do with his support for the project. The Air Force had a legitimate need for the land and asked for money to buy it in a March 2002 budget planning document, Rogers said in an e-mail.

    Rogers said McCain, who took credit for the funding in a floor speech in 2003, wanted to prevent the Pentagon from closing Luke. The military had cited encroaching development in deciding to close another Phoenix-area installation, Williams Air Force Base, in 1993.

    "Sen. McCain's interest in this matter was only to support the formal requirements of the Air Force in a way that furthered the interests of the taxpayer," he said.

    Bunnell said the company's ties to McCain were not a factor in the land deal. "This was done without any political intentions or anything other than to preserve Luke Air Force Base," Bunnell said.

    Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the government watchdog group Public Citizen, said McCain appeared to be helping campaign donors.

    "Any time the executives of a corporation work hard at raising funds for any candidate, they almost always want something in return," Holman said. "When it comes to SunCor … they were asking for a specific earmark. And McCain delivered."

    SunCor seeks help

    Executives from SunCor, which owned more than 3 square miles' worth of land near Luke Air Force Base, had complained for years about state and municipal restrictions on development there.

    The issue came to a head in 2001, when the state Legislature expanded the area where development was restricted but rejected a $15 million plan to compensate landowners, Ogden said.

    Ogden said SunCor developed the idea for the Air Force to buy land around the base and lobbied McCain and other members of Arizona's congressional delegation to put the money in the Pentagon's budget. Rogers and Ogden said SunCor representatives met with McCain's staff, but not the senator himself, to discuss the proposal.

    "Sen. McCain was probably the last one to come on board," said Ogden, who retired from SunCor in 2005. "He's not big on anything that would help only one state, but I think he certainly saw the need to do something to help Luke."

    Republican Rep. Bob Stump, whose district included Luke, got $13 million approved for the plan in 2002, when he was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during his last year in Congress. McCain secured an additional $14.3 million for the Luke land program the next year.

    Rogers refused to say whether McCain knew that SunCor owned land likely to be purchased.

    Market value disputed

    Once it got the money, the Air Force bought land surrounding a munitions storage area to create a buffer zone. First, the military bought 143 acres from hospital operator Sun Health Properties for $950,000, or $6,646 an acre, in July 2004. Five months later, the military paid SunCor far more for fewer adjacent acres: $3 million for a 122-acre parcel, or $25,000 an acre. The company then donated an adjacent 122 acres to the Air Force.

    Bunnell said SunCor structured the transaction that way to maximize its proceeds and to help preserve the value of nearby property it owns, since the sale price would be used by appraisers to value comparable properties. Records show three SunCor-owned parcels next to the base are assessed at $24,000 to $43,500 per acre.

    Donating property provides a company with a tax deduction based on the fair market value of the land, said David Cameron, associate director of the tax program at Northwestern University's law school. A company's profit in a land sale to the government, on the other hand, can be taxable, he said.

    Bunnell said the company's appraisal of the land put its value at about $25,000 per acre. That is precisely the per-acre rate the Air Force paid SunCor. If the donated land is included, the Air Force paid "well below market value" — half of the company's appraised cost — for the entire 244 acres, he added.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which acted as the Air Force's real estate agent in the deal, had appraisals of the land supporting the $3 million price based on the total 244-acre package, spokeswoman Jennie Ayala said in an e-mail. That would be about $12,500 an acre, or half the value cited by Pinnacle West. Ayala said she could not disclose details of the military's appraisals because they were "privileged information."

    The Maricopa County Assessor's Office calculated the 2005 value of the 244 acres at $1.9 million, or about $7,900 per acre, spokesman Paul Petersen said in an e-mail. Petersen said in a telephone interview that the county tries to accurately reflect market value, but often comes up with assessments that are lower than actual sales prices.

    County records say the former Sun Health property was assessed in 2005 at $290,000, or $2,029 per acre, less than a third of the per-acre price the Air Force paid.

    The Air Force has made offers to buy or purchase development rights for other parcels of SunCor land near Luke, Bunnell said, but no agreements have been reached.

    McCain's not only Deranged but he is also Corrupt.

  15. Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s most influential investment banks, underscored that sentiment Friday when it hiked its oil price forecast for the second half of the year to $141 a barrel, up from $107 previously. Analysts at the bank argue that the oil market is undergoing a “structural repricing” that will continue to play out for some time to come.

    “We would view any pullback in oil, regardless of the size or duration — although a correction could be as large as 15 percent — as an opportunity to re-establish long positions in oil before the summer,” Goldman Sachs advised traders.

    Translation: Buy when barrels go on sale, because prices are bound to keep heading higher.

    And buy they did Friday. The price for a barrel of benchmark light, sweet crude for June delivery jumped $2.17 to settle at record close of $126.29 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier in the session, prices surged to $127.82 a barrel, also a new high.

    And McCain says the economy is good.

  16. That's funny!

    mch: "You know, I don't understand all the fuss about speaking with terrorists -- people have been speaking with Cheney for years."

  17. Manufacturing continues to fall according to new numbers from the Federal Reserve released on Thursday. Industrial production, including factories and mines, fell 0.7 percent in April. The number of plants being utilized also fell to 79.7 percent, that's the lowest number since September 2005. Motor vehicle production dropped 8.2 percent, continuing a month over month decline.

    And Bush is proud of this.

  18. Food prices were sharply higher in April, the biggest jump in food prices in 18 years. Inflation is running officially now at 3.9 percent. Gas prices have hit another record high. And home foreclosures in April were up 65 percent over a year ago, with more than 243,000 households going into foreclosure. Kevin Phillips, author of the book, "Bad Money," says more misery is actually being felt by workers than government numbers indicate. He says real consumer prices are up by much more than the official inflation number.

    McCain says this is a sound economy. Very delusional.

  19. A big part of the American Dream is based on the premise that if you work hard, you can provide for yourself and your family. But in today’s economy, good jobs are disappearing.

    To survive, America’s workers are forced to take low-paying jobs that rarely offer health care or retirement security—and that’s not right, says Constance, a 59-year-old single woman from Illinois. If you work in the United States, you should be able to do more than just scrape by.

    I left a job in a neighboring state two years ago to come back to help take care of my last immediate family member. I am single. I moved to Illinois, accepting a position with a small insurance company, who downsized, and within six months I was out of work. You can’t afford health insurance on unemployment wages.

    I hired into a new position five months later, after a long search, and enrolled in their health insurance. I worked for them nine months, and again the company downsized and my job was eliminated. Again, I lost the health insurance, even though I was offered COBRA, [which I couldn’t afford because of] the exorbitant cost. You can’t pay $400 a month for health insurance when you are making $150 a week on unemployment.

    After searching for employment, and finding nothing in this depressed economy here, I took a position with an insurance agency, which employs six people. [The owner] would not purchase a group plan and told us we were considered “self employed,” and we have no benefits.

    Needless to say, at age 59, my alternative is eating or having health care. I have always worked all my life, paid my bills, voted in every election, and now find myself living beneath the poverty level.

    Constance is one of the more than 26,000 people who took the AFL-CIO/Working America 2008 Health Care for America Survey. In the comprehensive survey, nearly 7,500 respondents took the time to write about their personal health care experiences. The overwhelming majority, 95 percent, say the health care system needs fundamental change or to be completely rebuilt.

    Like Constance, 57 percent of the uninsured and 61 percent of people with uninsured children had to choose between paying for medical care or prescriptions and other essential needs such as food, rent or mortgage and utilities.

    The AFL-CIO is mobilizing to make health care a major issue in the 2008 presidential and congressional campaigns and will present the results of this survey to candidates for public office at every level and increase its mobilization to help ensure that candidates who win in November go into office with a mandate for real health care reform.

    The two Democratic candidates contending for the presidential nomination, Sens. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), have released comprehensive health plans that would help working families, unions and responsible employers providing health care coverage. The Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) wants to hand individuals the burden and the bill for health care.

  20. Exposing McCain’s ‘Free Ride’

    by Seth Michaels,

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is running for president, and he’s running on a Bush-style platform that won’t turn America around for working families. In a time of economic crisis, this could stop his candidacy cold—because the last thing we need is more of McSame.

    There’s one problem, though: The national press, whose job it is to talk about the policies and priorities of candidates, hasn’t given McCain any scrutiny on the real issues. The media elite decided long ago that they like him too much to look too closely.

    As a corrective to this media bias, Media Matters for America has released Free Ride: John McCain and the Media in which authors David Brock and Paul Waldman detail exactly how the senator has been able to manipulate the press over his decades-long career in Washington.

    Brock and Waldman note that the press holds McCain to a different standard—ignoring his flip-flops, underplaying his gaffes and keeping his hard-right voting record and lack of expertise out of their coverage. They write:

    To grasp just how different his media image is, imagine for a moment if every politician were portrayed the way John McCain is. The focus would stay on their perceived greatest strengths, not their most glaring weaknesses. Reporters would re-tell the stories of candidates when they seemed at their best, not the moments when they were at their worst. Their “character” would be defined in the media by the noblest thing they had ever done, and the less flattering incidents would be pushed aside, to be dismissed if mentioned at all.

    Despite his image as a campaign finance crusader, McCain is deeply tied to Washington’s lobbyist culture. Despite his image as a “maverick,” rather than a typical Republican, McCain has been a loyal vote for Bush’s priorities—voting with Bush 89 percent of the time, and 95 percent in 2007.

    Cutting through the myths and the spin by getting to the truth about McCain’s record and policies, and applying public pressure on him to pledge a different course, are at the heart of the AFL-CIO’s McCain Revealed effort. Union members across the country, from New Hampshire to California, are working hard to mobilize and get the word out about, and to, John McCain.

  21. Edwards rules out vice presidential run with Obama

    By David Alexander

    Reuters- Former presidential contender John Edwards said on Friday he would not be Democratic front-runner Barack Obama's running mate, but did not rule out taking a role in an Obama administration.

    "Won't happen," Edwards told NBC's "Today" program when asked if he would be Obama's vice presidential pick. "This is not something I'm interested in."

    Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, dropped out of the presidential race in January after failing to win any early primaries. On Wednesday, he gave his coveted endorsement to Obama over rival Hillary Clinton.

    Asked if he had spoken Obama about a role in his administration if he beat Republican John McCain in November, Edwards said, "Only in the most abstract way."

    Edwards said Obama had told him, "I want you on my team. I want to help you both in the campaign and with the work we want to do when I'm the president."

    His endorsement of Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, came the day after Clinton won a landslide victory in West Virginia that renewed doubts about Obama's ability to draw white low-income voters.

    Edwards denied his endorsement had been deliberately timed to take the wind out of her victory.

    "It was the right time to do it. I made the decision that the public should know at this point what my view is," he said.

    He said he had voted for Obama in the recent North Carolina primary and had decided "that it's time for Democrats to start uniting around this candidate."


    ABC’s “This Week”: Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), and a round table with the New York Times Magazine’s Matt Bai, the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and George Will.

    Bloomberg’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt”: Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va).

    CBS’ “Face the Nation”: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Republican Strategist Ed Rollins, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer.

    CNN’s “Late Edition”: Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Commerce secretary; Trent Lott, McCain supporter and former U.S. senator; and CNN’s John King, Jessica Yellin and Dana Bash.

    C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers”: Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) will be interviewed by the Dallas Morning News’ Todd Gillman and Politico’s Martin Kady.

    “Fox News Sunday”: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Republican whip and McCain surrogate; Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.); Karl Rove, former White House senior adviser and Fox News contributor; Big Brown’s trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr., Power Player of the Week; and a panel with Brit Hume, Washington managing editor of Fox News; Mara Liasson, National Public Radio and Fox News; Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard and Fox News; and Juan Williams, National Public Radio and Fox News.

    MSNBC’s “Chris Matthews Show”: Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic; Gloria Borger of CNN; Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune; and Norah O’Donnell, chief Washington correspondent, MSNBC.

    MSNBC’s “Tim Russert”: Ted Sorensen, author of “Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History,” and Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian.

    NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and a round table with former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.), Mike Huckabee, Republican strategist Mike Murphy and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum.

  23. McCain Can Run, but Bush Won’t Hide


    THE biggest gift President Bush has given his party this year was to keep his daughter’s wedding nearly as private as Connie Corleone’s. Now that his disapproval rating has reached the Nixon nadir of negativity, even a joyous familial ritual isn’t enough to make the country glad to see him. The G.O.P.’s best hope would be for both the president and Dick Cheney to lock themselves in a closet until the morning after Election Day.

    Republicans finally recognized the gravity of their situation three days after Jenna Bush took her vows in Crawford. As Hillary Clinton romped in West Virginia, voters in Mississippi elected a Democrat in a Congressional district that went for Bush-Cheney by 25 percentage points just four years ago. It’s the third “safe” Republican House seat to fall in a special election since March.

    Party leaders have been haplessly trying to identify possible remedies ever since. It didn’t help that their recent stab at an Obamaesque national Congressional campaign slogan, “The Change You Deserve,” was humiliatingly identified as the advertising pitch for the anti-depressant Effexor. (If they’re going to go the pharmaceutical route, “Viva Viagra” might be more to the point.) Yet for all the Republican self-flagellation, it’s still not clear that the party even understands the particular dimensions of its latest defeat and its full implications for both Congressional races and John McCain in November.

    The Mississippi election was actually a runoff, required by law after a preliminary vote left neither candidate with the required 50 percent. In the last round, on April 22, the Democrat, Travis Childers, beat the Republican, Greg Davis, 49 percent to 46 percent. (The rest went to minor candidates.) On Tuesday, that margin increased dramatically: the Republican remained at 46 percent while the Democrat jumped to 54 percent.

    What happened in the intervening three weeks helps explain why. The G.O.P. didn’t merely step up its expensive negative campaign, attempting to take down Mr. Childers (who is a white, conservative Democrat) by linking him with Mr. Obama, a ranting Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Nancy Pelosi. It also brought in the party’s big guns. Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain recorded mass phone pitches for Mr. Davis. Karl Rove and Mr. Cheney campaigned for him.

    The vice president’s visit was last Monday, the centerpiece of a get-out-the-vote rally in DeSoto County, a G.O.P. stronghold. “We’ll put our shoulders to the wheel for John McCain,” the vice president promised as he bestowed his benediction on Mr. Davis. Well, he got out the vote all right. In the election results the next day, the Childers total in DeSoto County increased 142 percent, while the Davis count went up only 47 percent.

    The district as a whole is the second whitest in Mississippi. (Its black population is 27.2 percent.) It’s the sole district Mr. Obama lost to Mrs. Clinton in the state’s Democratic primary in March. Yet even in this unlikely political terrain the combination of a race-based Republican campaign and the personal intervention of Mr. Cheney energized enough white moderates and black voters to flip the district to the Democrats. Keep in mind, it’s the Deep South we’re talking about here. Imagine how the lethal combination of the Bush-Cheney brand and backlash-inducing G.O.P. race-baiting could whip up a torrential turnout by young voters, black voters and independents in true swing states farther north and west.

    Just 36 hours after the Mississippi debacle, Mr. McCain tried to distance himself from the administration by flip-flopping on his signature issue, Iraq, suddenly endorsing just the kind of timetable for withdrawal he has characterized as “surrender” when proposed by Democrats or Mitt Romney. (When Mr. McCain proposes it, he labels it “victory.”) But hardly had Mr. McCain spoken than his message was upstaged by Mr. Bush’s partisan political speech in Israel. The president implied that Mr. Obama would have enabled the Nazis even more foolishly than his own grandfather, Prescott Bush, did in the 1930s when he maintained “investment relationships with Hitler’s Germany,” as Kevin Phillips delicately describes it in “American Dynasty.”

    Mr. McCain’s Iraq stunt was his second effort in a week to flee Mr. Bush, following a speech bemoaning administration inaction on climate change. These gambits were in turn preceded by Mr. McCain’s attack on the White House response to Hurricane Katrina. Too bad he took this strong stand nearly three years after it might have sped relief to those suffering in New Orleans.

    The McCain campaign is hoping that such showy, if tardy, departures from Bush-Cheney doctrine will constitute a galaxy of Sister Souljah moments, each with headlines reading “McCain Breaks With Bush on...” and the usual knee-jerk press references to Mr. McCain as a “maverick.” Enough of these, you see, and those much-needed independent voters might be flimflammed into believing that the G.O.P. candidate bears no responsibility for the administration’s toxically unpopular policies.

    You can’t blame him for trying. Independents favor Democrats over Republicans on most issues, according to the April New York Times/CBS News poll, including the economy (by 30 points), Iraq (by 13 points) and health care (48 points).

    But are independents suckers? They’d have to be to fall for the pitch that Mr. McCain is an apostate in his own party in 2008. He has been an outspoken Bush defender since helping him sell the Iraq war in 2002 and barnstorming for him in 2004. Despite Mr. McCain’s campaign claims to the contrary, he never publicly called for the firing of Donald Rumsfeld. He is still one of the president’s most stalwart supporters in Congress, even signing on to the president’s wildly unpopular veto of an expansion of children’s health insurance.

    Mr. McCain’s one major domestic policy rebellion, over the Bush tax cuts, has long since been ditched. Last Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” his economic surrogate, Carly Fiorina, implied that Mr. McCain would make budgetary ends meet by cutting earmarks — federal pork that, in her inflated estimate, amounted to $42 billion over the past two years. But even if he cut all $42 billion, total federal spending would still be reduced by only 0.78 percent.

    Hard as it is for Mr. McCain to run from the Bush policies he supports, it will be far harder to escape from Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney themselves. When Mr. McCain accepted Mr. Bush’s endorsement at the White House in March, he referred three times to the president’s “busy schedule,” as if wishing aloud that the lame-duck incumbent would have no time to appear at, say, get-out-the-vote rallies. Alas, Mr. Bush and company are not going gently into retirement.

    Just look at Mr. Rove. Some Democrats are outraged that he is now employed as a pundit by Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal as well as Fox News. Instead of complaining, they should be thrilled that Mr. Rove keeps inviting Republican complacency by constantly locating silver linings in the party’s bad news. His ubiquitous TV presence as a thinly veiled McCain surrogate has the added virtue of wrapping the Republican ticket in a daily and suffocating Bush bearhug, since Mr. Rove is far more synonymous with his former boss than Mr. Obama is with his former pastor.

    The Democrats can only hope that Mr. Rove will be a color commentator, so to speak, at the conventions. The parties’ weeklong infomercials are shaping up as quite a study in contrasts. For all the fears of a Democratic civil war, the planets may be aligning for a truce, and possibly a celebration. As fate has it, the nominee’s acceptance speech is scheduled for the night of Aug. 28, exactly 45 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. electrified the nation with “I Have a Dream.”

    The next day brings another anniversary: Mr. McCain turns 72. And then, on Sept. 1, comes the virtually all-white G.O.P. vaudeville in Minneapolis. You’ll be pleased to know the show will go on despite the fact that the convention manager, chosen by the McCain campaign, had to resign last weekend after being exposed as the chief executive of a lobbying and consulting firm hired by the military junta in Myanmar.

    The conventioneers will arrive via the airport whose men’s room was immortalized by a Republican senator still serving the good people of Idaho. This will be a most picturesque backdrop to the party’s eternal platform battles over family values, from same-sex marriage to abortion.

    For good measure, antiwar demonstrators from within the G.O.P. — Ron Paul devotees — could provide at least a smidgen of the 1968-style disruptions the Democrats may avoid. In April, the Nevada Republican state convention abruptly adjourned in midsession after the Paul forces won rule changes. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that other Paul cadres, operating below the national press’s radar, have also been fighting guerrilla battles “at county and state conventions from Washington and Missouri to Maine and Mississippi.”

    Already one of the national convention’s de facto hosts — Minnesota’s endangered Senator Norm Coleman — is frantically trying to save his seat by disowning his record as an Iraq war booster and disentangling himself from the president. Good luck! But how can Mr. McCain escape the dread specter of this White House at the convention? Surely Mr. Bush will exercise his prerogative to address the nation in prime time.

    Unless, of course, Labor Day week just happens to be the perfect moment for a second Bush daughter to tie the knot in Crawford.

  24. Lydia
    Is a happy Mothers day still in Order? If so happy Mothers Day! That was a good post and I wish a speedy recovery to that Woman and well to her and her family. that was a good post!
    I have been going through the comments and of course Larry you stand out. Listening to Bush in the middle east and how he wants more Destructive Democratization in the middle east and around the world you know I think McCain is already the new Republican false God and they will get him at the helm one way or the other so this mess can continue.
    This mess is going to get a lot worse! McCain will see to it if Bush doesn't do somet5hing to stay at the helm of this Democratic Facade. All right I'll shut up but you peak my curiosity Larry as to where you find all this stuff!

  25. Average Patriot - thank you!!
    yes, Bush actually, really said this: WAR IS PEACE, just as Orwell predicted.

  26. We NEED to take a look at what a pathetic dishonest joke the CPI has become..............have you been to the gas pump pr supermarket lately................this pack of dishonest fools feels they can insult our intelligence and tell us gasoline prices are DOWN 2% "seasonly adjusted" and food prices are only up .9%.

    Like I said have you been to the gas pumps or Supermarket lately, over the last year and a half gasoline and eneregy prices as a whole have essentially doubled and food prices arent far behind yet the government seems to think they can tell us that gasoline prices are DOWN 2% "seasonly adjusted" when they are at ALL TIME inflation adjusted highs and food prices are rising at ungodly rates.

    I dont know about you but food and energy probably make up 65% of my expenses not the roughly 10% or 11% the goverrnment buffoon counters CLAIM it is.

    This cabal of cronnies has been robbing senior citizens and the poor blind with these outright lies, and bottom line anyone thats a senior citizen or middle class thinking of voting for McSame and a continuation of GWB's Robber Barron policies is a fool.

    Like i said earlier the cabal of robber barrons infecting our government and the banking sector are certainly fools but so are the poor, middle class and seniors who support and vote for these Obi Won Kenobi said " Who's worse the fool, or the fool who follows him....................JFK had the right idea when he wanted to dismantle the Federal Reserve and put monetary policy back under the authority of the US Government again.

  27. Check out the photo and new caption on the front page. thank you

  28. Great photo, kinda reminds me of the Azlea'a on the plantations in the South............Spring and Fall are such great seasons, the weather is great in the Fall in Texas but I sure miss Fall in the North with all the leaves changing and falling.

  29. BTW, great point on appeasment, the hippocrissy coming out of Bush and McSame is astounding!

    Obama sure made him look stupid though i cant wait for Obama to crush the angry old man in a debate.

  30. That's an excellent point, Mike -- the angry old man.

    Remember during the Bush/Gore debates how Gore's emotions tended to work against him -- especially in the first debate? You just know that with McCain's short fuse, he's going to lose his temper and seriously destroy his credibility. People are going realize you cant have somebody with that kind of temper in charge of the bomb.

  31. He will lose his temper AND he will look foolish.............McSame isnt smart enough or sharp enough to go toe to toe with Obama in a debate.........especially when he is running on gWB's policies that about 80% of the country are against.

  32. With Contempt

    An Open letter to Dianne Feinstein

    By Michael Piotrowski


    You may be surprised and offended by my familiar salutation, but you have lost the right to be addressed as Senator Feinstein. Although I have voted for you in every single election I could (a lot, I'm 60), you have failed miserably as my elected Senator. I now completely withdraw my support for you and the Democratic Party. For the past seven years I have begged and pleaded with you do your job and uphold the solemn oaths you have repeatedly sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of these United States and its laws. Your standard pablum response has been a patronizing pat on the head and a vacuous reassurance that someday something might be accomplished through further legislation, providing Bush doesn't veto it or your colleagues disapprove. Your latest such response (written correspondence, 29 April 2008, regarding torture) is the final straw. I am tired of your sorry excuses and dilatory tactics. Your failure to do your duty has helped bring us to this sorry state of affairs.

    I was deeply disappointed, but completely unsurprised, by your utter disregard for the Constitution, the law and what is morally right. From what I can deduce from your actions, words and behaviors, protecting your position, your party, and your class are your driving motivations, not governing, not protecting the NATION (you remember the 99% of us who aren't wealthy?), not respecting the rule of law. Despite his assertations to the contrary and your obsequeious submission to them, the President is not, repeat NOT, above or beyond the law whether in peacetime or wartime. In wartime, the President is Commander-in-Chief, and as such is subject to the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as much as the lowest private is. He stands in violation of that code, and YOU accept it. Beyond the many laws this criminal has violated and could be prosecuted for, there is the Constitutional remedy you have repeatedly refused to employ: impeachment.

    It is far too late for you to ever regain the respect I once had for you and your party, but at least you might reduce the degree of contempt in which I now hold you. DO THE RIGHT THING: stand up for immediate impeachment. Before you tell me that it is the House's responsibility (trust me, I apparently know more about this than you do), let me point out that it is YOUR responsibility to LEAD. The House will do nothing unless and until the Senate signals its willingness to go forward with it. If your argument is that elections are near and soon he will be out of office, kindly explain to me in a written response that actually addresses the points I'm raising, why that excuses criminal behavior (illegal wiretaps, use of outlawed torture, kidnapping and assassination as government policy, corruption, fraud, cronyism, lying as official policy [Pat Tilman, Abu Graib, Jessica whatever-her-name was}). Failure to impeach this criminal will be the deathblow for this nation. We may stagger on a few years, but I see the end of the United States looming as clearly as the demise of the USSR. Failure to impeach, to hold a fellow member of your socioeconomic class actually responsible for the harm he has caused us will make most doubt the whether the return on investment, the cost of supporting a system that works against 99% of us, is worth it. The Soviet citizens decided that their system wasn't worthy of support and ended it: the same is already happening here.

    As an example of why this is occuring, I cite the response I will receive from your office regarding this email. Despite the time, care and thought I have put into it, not only will you not read this, you will probably be completely oblivious to it. I will recieve yet another pablum response thanking me for my interest, citing some meaningless future bill that might be remotely related to one or two of the issues I've raised, written by some juvenile intern hoping to make his or her fortune in politics. In other words, I have wasted my time and thought with trying to communicate with you: you and this system are unworthy of any further support. I will be showing the response I receive from you to many people in my social circle, and advise them to vote one last time for true change. No, not for Obama or Hilary or McCain or any other Democrat or Republican. I will advise them to vote for ANYONE who is not a Republicrat. When that fails to get the message through, as it will, my advice will be to start doing what the Senate does: ignore any laws and resposibilities they don't like, as there is no longer a valid contract between the citizens and their "elected" officials.

    Mark my words: you have perhaps a year, maybe two, before the riots start. High gas prices, high food prices, incompetent disaster relief, home foreclosures, lack of jobs, and a loss of faith in the system will combine to create chaos. If your aides were to look up my previous correspondance with you they will find that I accurately predicted the lack of WMD, the quagmire that is Iraq, and a number of other things. I'm sure you believe that if we can just get throught the election, everything will be better with a Democratic President. Wrong: whoever is president will soon discover that we are broke, the business class has no interest in rectifying anything, and we are bereft of influence. More people will lose their homes while you and your colleagues pump billions into corporations "that are too big to fail". Those corporations will take that tax money and invest it outside the United States. The kicker is going to be TV, in February '09. When you have millions of people with no home, no work, no money, hugely expensive gas and food, and nothing much to do besides watch TV, and you take THAT away from them what exactly do you think they will do? Vouchers for new TVs or adapters don't help if you can't afford to feed your children. The subsequent riots will spin completely out of control with most of the National Guard deployed overseas.

    While most of this is too far gone to stop, it might yet be mitigated if you do the right thing and support the impeachment of Bush and his cronies. Unfortunately, my concerns are going into the empty head of some ignorant intern who is likely going to have to look up some of the words I've used (and still not comprehend them). So to you who is actually reading this: hide and watch as our country falls over the next two years or so and when it happens, remember that she was warned well in advance and nothing you could do would get her to do anything constructive about it, because that would require more sacrifice and selflessness than she, or anyone in Washington for that matter, is capable of.

    Despite all that, I still expect a written response, if only to annoy the office. But don't worry: I don't expect anything like a reasoned, respectful response, just more phony pablum.

    with contempt,

    Michael Piotrowski - Citizen, Vietnam Vet, Educator, former Democrat

  33. Has the Battle for America Begun?

    By Richard C. Cook

    This article contains several forecasts, including the possible start of a major war with unforeseeable consequences, if the U.S. should happen to attack Iran .

    Of course it is in the nature of forecasts to be speculative. There are also forecasts that are intended to serve as warnings and thereby contribute to preventing the events under analysis from ever taking place.

    The world’s financial elite, long having made their homes in the metropolises of Western Europe, also with a major branch in New York City , may be the party that is really behind what could be an attempt to start World War III by pitting the U.S. against the Asiatic land powers, most notably Russia

    The elite have long viewed control of the vast resource-rich Asian continent as the key to control of the world, with the fulcrum of domination being the oil-rich Middle East . Such a war could begin if the U.S. and Britain follow through by attacking Iran on the heels of the Afghan and Iraq wars and recent military deployments to the Persian Gulf region.

    The attack may be nuclear, egged on by neocon extremists in the U.S. and their counterparts in Israel , who may simultaneously carry the attack to Lebanon and Syria . (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, “Beating the Drums of a Broader Middle East War,” Global Research, May 7, 2008.) These events are closely tied to the U.S. economic recession now underway and the 2008 presidential election.

    What is unique about this analysis is the author’s contention that the U.S. is being used unwittingly by the European-based financial powers for their own purposes. They know that the U.S. economy is bankrupt, because they have made it so through a quarter century of financial manipulations that have destroyed our manufacturing base and left us horrendously in debt.

    Now they have suckered us into the last thing we need—a major Asian land war that threatens to bring Russia and perhaps China into the fray. But that’s all right, because once we have exhausted ourselves and courted nuclear retaliation, Europe, which is uniting under the European Union, will likely be left standing, as will Israel .

    Note that Israel was created by and owes its primary allegiance to the European financiers, especially those in London , even though the U.S. has been its primary arms supplier and enabler since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. If the financiers, aided by Israel , can instigate a major war to get rid of Russia , along with the U.S. , as world powers, they will have accomplished their aim.

    The Unique Status of the U.S. and Russia

    The U.S. and Russia are the two great continental powers which up until about a century ago most stood in the way of the rapacity and greed of the international financial elite. The people of both nations have a history of being deeply spiritual, talented and innovative, and rooted in the land. Both nations tried for a long time to keep Western Europe , with its history of economic and colonialist imperialism, at arms length.

    Despite the wars and traumas of the 20th century, both the U.S. and Russia remain cultures where ordinary people have struggled to express themselves, to learn, to work, and to excel, even with Russia ’s background of Tsarist and Soviet autocracy. See, for instance, the writings of Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-).

    This heritage is much different from that of the Western European aristocratic culture with its rigid class divisions, where an economically powerful oligarchy has controlled society for centuries and has always managed to stay on top despite wars and revolutions.

    The aristocratic tradition is most notable in Great Britain , with the incredible wealth of the Windsor royal family and the concentric circles of power and influence which surround it. These circles are made up of a blend of the old nobility with the more recent additions of bankers, financiers, industrialists, government executives, media moguls, and intelligence operatives who continue to control much of the wealth of the world.

    The people who settled America fled that predatory aristocratic culture to find freedom. It is less well known how Tsarist Russia resisted Western European domination, but it is a fact that a longstanding alliance among the House of Romanoff, the Orthodox Church, the rural nobility, and the peasantry came together to create a culture that successfully kept that nation free from external control for most of its history.

    European Lust for Control of the Middle East

    It was really the European elite, both deeply materialistic and coldly inhumane, that was responsible for both of the 20th century’s world wars, for funding the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia , and for bringing about today’s economic crisis that threatens to reduce to abject poverty or even starve perhaps half of the world’s population. Now a third world war threatens, and while it appears on the surface that the immediate cause may be U.S. ambitions in the Middle East , this is a mask for the underlying machinations of the European controllers who are pulling the strings.

    These people couldn’t care less if the U.S. is bankrupted or destroyed in a larger Asian conflict while engaged in doing their dirty work. In fact that appears to be the plan. A nation like the U.S. that owes as much money as it does today to foreigners, including China and Japan who purchase close to half our national debt, is no longer master of its own destiny.

    The European desire for military conquest of the Middle East dates to the Crusades which started in the 11th century. By the end of the 18th century, Great Britain had planted itself on the eastern terminus of the region through the conquest of India . In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt . World War I saw the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, with Britain and France redrawing the map of an area consisting of almost a million square miles. When Israel was founded in 1948, it became a Western bridgehead.

    But today it’s the U.S. , with its bases in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, and conquests in Afghanistan and Iraq , that leads the charge. This is so, even though a glance at the map shows how contrary to our strategic interests—and how unimaginably expensive—it is for us to have been drawn into a major open-ended military commitment in this part of the world. Some call it empire. Rational men call it lunacy.

    How has this come about? Since the 1970s, the U.S. has been dangerously dependent on Middle Eastern oil and on the OPEC nations to purchase our Treasury bonds. The need to sell our debt abroad came about late in the Vietnam War when our post-World War II trade surplus was reversed and the government went deeply into debt to pay for the war and the growth in income support entitlements.

    But there is another explanation for why we are there—pressure from the Jewish lobby. This lobby acts in the U.S. , perhaps unwittingly and certainly against its own interests as U.S. citizens, as a surrogate not only for Israel , but, taking a longer view, also for the European financial elite who backed the creation of a Jewish national state in Palestine in the first place.

    Of course many Jews, including sizeable numbers in Israel , themselves no longer believe in policies which have brought them so much ill repute. Increasingly, people of goodwill, including many of the Jewish faith, are coming to understand that neither opposition to the abuses of the financial elite nor questioning the actions of the Israeli state itself is anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic.

    But if events continue in the same direction, the Asiatic land powers, now loosely organized through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes China , Russia , Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Tajikistan , and Uzbekistan , with Iran as an observer, will have had enough. There is a line in the sand facing west as well as east. A major war is clearly on its way which seems to be timed to coincide with the ongoing economic collapse that is undermining the U.S. economy and also threatening to plunge much of the world into famine.

    Connection with the 2008 Presidential Election

    The war scenario is unfolding now and will likely accelerate as we approach the November presidential election. The actions underway appear to be designed to present any new president with a fait accompli, where corrective action is no longer possible. It would be the last and worst of the catastrophes visited on our nation by the revolutionary cabal of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and the neocon shock troopers who took over when the Supreme Court awarded Bush the presidency after the 2000 Florida election debacle. Within nine months came the 9/11 attacks, followed by wars against Afghanistan and Iraq using off-the-shelf plans. Next came the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Acts.

    Now in 2008 the three remaining presidential candidates are all compromised. Hillary Clinton, with her husband Bill, have long been servitors of that branch of the international financial elite headquartered on Wall Street in New York City . Recently, Republican candidate John McCain traveled to do homage to Israel , then attended a soiree with the Fourth Baron Rothschild in London . Barack Obama has also affirmed his loyalty to Israel , though his utterances against Iran are less vehement than those of Hillary Clinton, who has threatened to “obliterate” that nation.

    Obama appears the most likely to become president, because the financial controllers, acting through the corporate media, seem to have designated him as such. Hillary Clinton is under intense pressure to get out, even though the Democratic race is a virtual dead heat and she just routed Obama in the West Virginia primary. The latest blow to Clinton is the endorsement of Obama by John Edwards, the Democrats' 2004 vice presidential candidate.

    Obama is the candidate who came out of nowhere because eighty percent of Americans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction. He is the candidate calling for “change,” whatever that means.

    Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Times, says, “Mrs. Clinton, we’re assured by sources right and left, tortures puppies and eats babies. But her policy proposals continue to be surprisingly bold and progressive….Mr. Obama is widely portrayed, not least by himself, as a transformational figure who will usher in a new era. But his actual policy proposals, though liberal, tend to be cautious and relatively orthodox.”

    The determination by the financial controllers that Obama is the anointed one may also be shown by the entry into the race of former Georgia congressman Bob Barr as the candidate of the Libertarian Party. Barr will siphon votes away from John McCain and make Obama’s election a certainty, just as Ross Perot did with President George H.W. Bush in 1990, allowing the election to swing to pro-business Democrat Bill Clinton.

    Barr’s entry is no accident and serves multiple purposes. According to journalist James P. Tucker, Jr., for instance, attendees at an April 25-28 meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington , D.C. , made a determination to stop Republican candidate Dr. Ron Paul’s momentum in stirring up a political “revolution.” (James P. Tucker, Jr., “Trilateral Commission: Global Elite Gather in D.C.,” Global Research, May 6, 2008)

    Dr. Paul, who has been delivering the news that the Federal Reserve by which the bankers rule should be abolished, and that U.S. foreign policy based on military conquest of the world should end, has been causing, according to the Trilateralists cited by Tucker, “significant future damage.” Bob Barr will doubtless be awarded handsomely for his trouble in helping de-fuse Dr. Paul’s movement.

    Dr. Paul is to be commended for his stance in taking on the establishment, and from the financiers’ point of view, such populist uprisings as he is leading obviously must be checked. Using a Libertarian candidate to do this costs them nothing, as it is almost comical how the “macho” but outdated laissez-faire economics of the Libertarians play into the hands of the privately-owned banking system which makes all the important economic decisions anyway.

    Obviously the financial establishment must feel reassured by the likelihood that Obama really won’t change much of anything. Overseas, this could make it even more certain that a wider war will start before the election, so that Obama, being “cautious and relatively orthodox,” as Krugman says, will go along with whatever scenario he is handed and so will be handcuffed by events.

    The trigger could be a 9/11-type faux attack, possibly a “suitcase” nuke going off in a U.S. port city, as has been rumored. Other possible scenarios include an attack on Iran being a cover for the election to be “stolen” from Obama, or even for the election to be canceled, with Bush continuing as president. Perhaps this is what explains Bush’s curious detachment in the face of his coming departure as the most unpopular president in history. He may even entertain the psychopathic idea that cancelling the election could be perfectly “legal” and within his rights as a wartime chief executive. What would Obama do if faced with such an outrage while out on the campaign trail? Perhaps nothing.

    Meanwhile, Democratic figures in Congress, such as Senator Joe Biden and Congressman John Conyers, are threatening to impeach President Bush if he attacks Iran without a congressional resolution. Unfortunately, the Democrats are totally lacking in credibility given their failure to force Bush to retreat from Iraq despite their mandate in the 2006 elections where they regained a majority in both houses. Bush would probably like nothing more in the waning days of his presidency than calling their bluff.

    A Calamity Rooted in History

    Events on this scale take decades or even centuries to develop. In fact such plans may have been in the works at least since the late 1800s, when three world wars were allegedly forecast by such figures as the celebrated Confederate general and Freemason Albert Pike, elected Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite’s Southern Jurisdiction in 1859.

    True to Pike’s prediction, 1914-18 saw World War I, which forced the centuries-old rule of the European landed nobility to accommodate to the banking elites and to the heads of the industrial cartels which built the war machines of the combating nations.

    According to Benjamin Freedman (1890-1984), an American eye-witness to events within the Woodrow Wilson administration, Wilson took the U.S. to war only after being pressured to support Great Britain when the British agreed to facilitate creation of a Zionist state in Palestine . The original Zionists, led by Theodor Herzl, had been favorably disposed to accepting a British offer of virgin land in Kenya , but the financiers wanted Palestine because of Middle Eastern oil and proximity to the Suez Canal . The result was the Balfour Declaration of 1916.

    At the end of World War I came the Russian Revolution, when the financiers paid for the Bolsheviks to destroy the Russian Christian monarchy of the Romanoffs. Soviet communism was the result. Less than a generation later another world war was fought, with World War II ending with the triumph of the U.S. , Britain , France , the Soviet Union, and China as allies. Afterwards, finance capitalism exerted its control of the developing world through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. According to economist Michael Hudson, the West declared the existence of a Cold War only after the Soviet Union refused to accede to U.S. hegemony by joining the IMF. (Michael Hudson, Superimperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire, 2003)

    Another major revolution followed World War II, as had happened after World War I, but this time in China , where the communists under Mao Tse-Tung took over. In 1948, the nation of Israel was declared, partly through the instrumentality and wealth of the Third Baron Rothschild, who was also an MI5 controller and alleged Soviet agent. (See Roland Perry, The Fifth Man, 1994.)

    The key event in how the financial elite gained control over the U.S. in the postwar world was the 1971 decision by the Nixon administration to remove the dollar gold peg and allow world currencies to “float.” After the U.S. agreed to the explosion of OPEC oil prices in the 1970s, dollars flooded the world. (See Richard C. Cook, “Extraordinary Times, Intentional Collapse, and Takedown of the U.S.A. ,” Global Research, April 30, 2008.)

    In 1979 the Federal Reserve under Paul Volcker plunged the U.S. into recession to fight the resulting inflation, and the U.S. producing economy was wrecked. Since that time there has been no real growth of the U.S. GDP or the standard of living of American workers. Rather a steady and seemingly irreversible decline has set in under the euphemistic title of the “service economy.” Since the early 1980s there has been a constant cycle of inflating and deflating asset bubbles, with the latest episode being the collapse of the housing bubble following the ruinous housing and real estate inflation engineered by Alan Greenspan, Volcker’s successor as head of the Federal Reserve.

    The result of the bubble economy under the Federal Reserve regime known as “monetarism” has been a debt overhang on the U.S. producing economy of $50 trillion, four times the nominal GDP of $13 billion. There is an additional overhang of more than $500 trillion in derivative speculation worldwide that many legitimate U.S. investors, including employee pension funds, have been caught up in.

    Severe economic distress usually leads to war, with the elite financing both sides and using the resulting chaos to redraw the map to their advantage. We have now had two world wars, and the third appears to be coming. The end result, according to “conspiracy theorists,” is supposed to be a financial world dictatorship with Europe ’s financial and hereditary aristocrats at the top of the heap. The center of this dictatorship would be Northern Europe, with the focal point being the two-square-mile financial district known as the City of London . This group also controls the European Union headquartered in Brussels .

    Then what is left of North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America would be tightly controlled colonies inhabited by relatively small numbers of “human cattle” and their overseers. The advanced technological execution for the machinery of control and oppression would be the job of professionals in the field, probably including the British MI5, the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, and private armed mercenaries like Blackwater and Halliburton.

    Dangers of the Present Moment

    Whatever may be the murky background of the financiers’ conspiracy of subversion, what makes the present situation so dangerous is that entire nations and regions are slipping from their grasp. Russia , China , Venezuela , Bolivia , Ecuador , and other nations are becoming increasingly independent. Meanwhile, as food prices inflate, people in developing nations are facing starvation, even as Western agribusiness and oil companies reap record profits. Political upheavals are inevitable.

    It has never been so obvious to so many that Western-style finance capitalism is ruining the world. An example of the growing awareness is a new book entitled Currency Wars (Huobi Zhanzheng), written by a Chinese author who lived in the United States and worked on Wall Street.

    According to Asia Times Online (April 8, 2008), Currency Wars “has become a runaway bestseller in China in the past nine months. The book caused a sensation of interests and heated discussions in Chinese cyber space and other media on Western intentions behind its demand that China quickly appreciate the value of its currency. Song Hongbing, the book's author, draws from a wide range of literature in English and argues that the modern history of international finance is primarily a process of how a very small number of powerful families in the West have established their control over governments and international institutions.

    “According to Song, there is no such thing as a free market when it comes to global finance and financial institutions. From the Rothschild family at the time of the Napoleonic Wars to the rise of J.P. Morgan, the Rockefellers, and other prominent U.S. financial powerhouses, Song sees all the modern wars, depressions, and manmade disasters having a linkage to the manipulation of a handful of Western private bankers.”

    And it’s not only in China . Through the internet, hundreds of millions of people are wising up to what the central banks and global corporations run by the world’s super-rich are doing to them.

    So the financiers are realizing that things are not going their way. The world is becoming more diverse. Nations, peoples, and regions long for freedom and security. Science and technology have the potential to bring about astounding improvements in the standard of living, as well as individual knowledge and potency.

    There is also a worldwide resurgence of nationalism, for example, in Russia . After that nation overthrew communism in 1991, the international financiers attempted to move in through the Russian oligarchs and take control of the nation’s resources. But a free election brought Vladimir Putin to power. He succeeded in producing on Russian soil a nationalist revolution which is loathed by the Western financier press, such as the Washington Post. Russia today is regaining its identity and independence.

    In East Asia , China is threatening to break out of the system of U.S. dollar hegemony and use its own currency to bring about commercial stability in the region. In the Middle East, Iran has yet to cave in to U.S. pressure, the Palestinians still defy Israel , and in other areas around the world, including Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America, movements toward indigenous self-governance threaten to upset the “ Washington consensus” and introduce a truly multilateral tenor to world affairs. The euro is also making inroads as an alternative reserve currency.

    Meanwhile, the American colossus is eroding. The U.S. government, with almost $10 trillion in debt, has been declared functionally bankrupt by experts. The domestic economy no longer has a manufacturing sector worth speaking of. Outside of the financial centers on the east and west coasts, the nation’s business establishment is deeply in debt and noncompetitive with overseas producers. Public health is declining.

    The U.S. financial system began to deflate in the summer of 2007 but has so far avoided a wholesale crash due to the easy credit policies of the Federal Reserve in allowing financial institutions to roll over their debts. This is all likely to terminate after the 2008 election, when the Federal Reserve stops bailing out the system and real depression sets in. Simply put, the U.S. population no longer has anything close to sufficient income to support its accustomed way of life, especially with the ongoing collapse of the standard of living due to oil and food price increases.

    So the war-mongers may be thinking they must now act before it’s too late—before a worldwide convulsion throws them from their seats of power. The time for the financiers to set off the next major conflagration may have arrived. Naïve American politicians are there, as always, ready to help, perhaps sensing but not really acknowledging that they have been led into a trap.

    The Real U.S. Strategic Interest

    If the next big war starts soon it will likely have been triggered in order to distract attention from our economic woes. Once chaos sets in there will be food riots and starvation around the world, including in America . And yes, the police and military are getting ready. The war will be a handy excuse to lock up people by using the Patriot Acts and various executive orders signed by President George W. Bush. Canada and Israel have already signed a joint public safety “partnership,” which doubtless includes cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    At this point you would expect American policy-makers to realize that the U.S. has no strategic interest in maintaining its military forces overseas in such a vulnerable posture and would start withdrawing. You would also expect that they would do what President Franklin Roosevelt did during the New Deal which was to utilize public credit to rebuild the U.S. public and private infrastructure before the economy collapses altogether.

    The fact that none of the mainstream political leaders, least of all McCain or the Democratic front-runner Obama, has any intention of taking such decisive action proves that policy is not being controlled from within the United States . When a person or a nation fails to act in its own self-interest, there has to be a reason. That reason is usually that its actions are controlled from outside.

    The fact is that the U.S. economy is controlled by international finance, not by the U.S. business establishment or by our own political system. So the U.S. cannot change anything, especially in taking effective and rational measures to get the nation out of debt. Similarly in the area of foreign and military affairs, the nation appears unable to backtrack from its march to catastrophe.

    So whether the people of this nation want it or not—and a majority do not—wars are being waged, with the one against Iran likely to be followed by a general world conflict—the battle for Asia . It will be the financiers and their personal military forces—chiefly Israel , which is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons—who will be left to pick up the pieces once the U.S. and Russia have reduced each other’s forces to rubble.

    Can anything be done? Of course. A U.S. president worthy of the office would take two immediate actions. The first would be to abolish the Federal Reserve, as Ron Paul advocates. But instead of hankering for a Libertarian “free-banking” system more suited to 1830 than to 2008, “We the People” should demand that our elected representatives in the White House and Congress use public credit to rebuild our economy and provide our people with real income security. (See Richard C. Cook, "An Emergency Program of Monetary Reform for the United States," Global Research, April 26, 2007.)

    The second immediate action should be to stop trying to conquer the globe militarily on behalf of alien financial and geopolitical interests. These measures will also allow the governmental tax burden to be cut radically, because the main purposes of the income tax are to pay interest on the national debt and finance wars.

    It is now time for all genuine American patriots, including those in the military, intelligence, and political establishments, as well as students, workers, employees, managers, industrialists, and retirees to recognize the crisis and step forward fearlessly to defend the real interests of our country. Increasingly people are coming to understand that winning the battle for America requires steadfast opposition to the cabal which holds power and is ready to throw our nation and its population to the wolves for a bit of vainglory and thirty pieces of silver.

    Unfortunately, it seems to be the way with empires for those in power to be identified exclusively with their personal self-interest while the world crashes down around them. People must wake up. The house is on fire. We can only hope that some still have eyes to see.

    Of course everything in Washington could change with a responsible president who is supported by a new Congress which has the determination that should be expected after the voters take their vengeance this November on a Republican Party that Bush, Cheney, and Rice have tarred with infamy. But then again only if a widened Middle Eastern war can be prevented between now and then. It could be prevented if an awakened military loyal to the Constitution refused to obey the illegal orders of a repudiated lame duck president acting without congressional authorization.

    For the longer-term, we should step back, reassess the geopolitical outlook, and take the long-overdue step of recognizing who our natural allies in the world really are. One of these is Russia . Instead of fighting Russia we should forge a new alliance with that nation with the aim of securing peace, first in the Middle East and then in the world.

  34. Another top McCain official resigns

    By: Mike Allen

    Former Rep. Thomas G. Loeffler, a Texan who is among the McCain campaign’s most important advisers and fundraisers, has resigned as a national co-chair over lobbying entanglements, a Republican source told Politico on Sunday.

    It’s at least the fifth lobbying-related departure from the campaign in a week.

    The McCain campaign, already facing the prospect of being badly outgunned in the general election, now also must cope with the disruption of the lobbying shakeout.

    The McCain campaign’s stringent approach to the issue is provoking a bit of grumbling from some of its Washington allies, who point out that a lobbyist’s function is enshrined in the Constitution.

    “No one in real America cares,” said one key Republican. “But McCain cares.”

    The senator, whose appeal to independent voters rests in part on his reformist image, recognizes that he will be held to a high standard in the coming campaign and wants to clean house before the general election formally kicks off, sources say.

    The McCain campaign last week announced a restrictive “McCain Campaign Conflict Policy” that included a questionnaire to be returned to the campaign’s legal department as part of a re-vetting of all staff.

    “No person working for the Campaign may be a registered lobbyist or foreign agent, or receive compensation for any such activity,” the policy says.

    Officials say Loeffler’s resignation shows that McCain and his campaign is going to be serious about enforcing the policy, which was implemented following revelations about the lobbying ties of several campaign officials.

    “Everyone will have to become compliant with the policy or they'll have to make a similar choice,” a campaign official said on condition of anonymity. “But we're not going to discuss every person affected.”

    The officials who have left include Doug Goodyear, who was McCain’s top liaison to the Republican National Convention; Doug Davenport, regional campaign manager for mid-Atlantic states; Eric Burgeson, an energy policy adviser; and Craig Shirley, a prominent Republican consultant who was a member of McCain’s Virginia Leadership Team.

    Loeffler was part of the rescue mission for the campaign last year after its spending badly outstripped its fundraising, leading to a contraction of the campaign that left McCain running a bare-bones operation in the lead-up to his breakout New Hampshire primary victory.

    Loeffler’s departure followed a report this weekend by Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff that Loeffler’s “lobbying firm has collected nearly $15 million from Saudi Arabia since 2002 and millions more from other foreign and corporate interests, including a French aerospace firm seeking Pentagon contracts.”

    See Also
    GOP turns to McCain to reinvent party
    Kennedy recovering after health scare
    McCain, Bush to appear at fundraiser

    Isikoff wrote: “Loeffler last month told a reporter ‘at no time have I discussed my clients with John McCain.’ But lobbying disclosure records reviewed by NEWSWEEK show that on May 17, 2006, Loeffler listed meeting McCain along with the Saudi ambassador to ‘discuss US-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia relations.’ ”

    A Republican source who has talked to Loeffler played down the revelation, saying: “I doubt he meant he had never lobbied McCain in his life. And if it were only the one time pre-campaign, that's pretty remarkable considering they've been friends for many years.”

    Campaign Manager Rick Davis told his staff in a memo dated Thursday announcing the policy: “Those staff members who have been registered lobbyists or foreign agents must ensure that their registrations have been formally terminated by asking their former employers to terminate their status and by filing the necessary paperwork with the appropriate authorities. …

    “Those staff members who have been registered lobbyists or foreign agents must certify with their Division Directors that they have given the Campaign a complete and accurate list of former lobbying employers and clients and that they have filed the necessary paperwork to terminate their status.”

  35. Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign has lost a national finance co-chairman and four other staffers and advisors, as the candidate tries to refurbish his image as a Washington reformer.

    Tom Loeffler resigned over the weekend, after campaign manager Rick Davis imposed a new policy that required registered lobbyists and registered foreign agents to terminate their registrations if they wanted to remain active in the campaign.

    Loeffler was one of McCain's top advisors, and raised more than $250,000, according to the campaign. A former congressman, he's now a registered lobbyist and registered foreign agent with his own well-established firm in Washington. His current clients include the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and EADS North America, a subsidiary of the European aircraft manufacturer, which is now defending a new Air Force contract for mid-air refueling tankers.

    Davis— himself a one-time lobbyist — issued the "McCain Campaign Conflict Policy" on Thursday. At that point, veteran political consultant Craig Shirley had just been asked to leave the McCain campaign after the publication Politico pointed out that he also worked for an anti-Obama group called Stop Him Now. Shirley had performed paid and unpaid work for the campaign ; working for both groups raised questions because the law forbids coordination between the campaign and independent political groups.

    David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, a group that counted 115 lobbyists either working for McCain or raising money for him, sees a big loophole in the new policy. His prime example: Charlie Black, a long-time top-dollar lobbyist who quit his firm to be McCain's senior advisor.

    "Black can go back to his firm after this campaign is over," said Donnelly. "He will have an open door at the White House. He will know all the top advisers and he will trade in on those relationships to make a killing."

    Those honest moral Republicans- corrupt as usual.

  36. The Conservative Movement: From Failure to Threat

    by Paul Craig Roberts

    U.C. Berkeley tenured law professor John Yoo epitomizes the failure of the conservative movement in America. Known as "the torture professor," Yoo penned the Department of Justice (sic) memos that gave a blank check to sadistic Americans to torture detainees at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. The human rights violations that John Yoo sanctioned destroyed America's reputation and exposed the Bush regime as more inhumane than the Muslim terrorists. The acts that Yoo justified are felonies under U.S. law and war crimes under the Nuremberg standard.

    Yoo's torture memos are so devoid of legal basis that his close friend and fellow conservative member of the Federalist Society, Jack Goldsmith, rescinded the memos when he was appointed head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

    Yoo's extremely shoddy legal work and the fervor with which he served the evil intentions of the Bush regime have led to calls from distinguished legal scholars for Yoo's dismissal from Berkeley's Boalt Hall.

    I sympathize with the calls for Yoo's dismissal. In the new edition of The Tyranny of Good Intentions, my coauthor and I write: "Liberty has no future in America if law schools provide legitimacy to those who would subvert the U.S. Constitution."

    However, John Yoo is but the tip of the iceberg. Scapegoating Yoo diverts attention from a neoconservative movement that has become the greatest enemy of the U.S. Constitution.

    In theory, conservatives adore the Constitution and seek to protect it with appeals to "original intent." In practice, conservatives hate the Constitution as the protector of homosexuals and abortionists. Conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists. They see the First Amendment as a foolish protection for sedition. The neoconservative magazine Commentary has called for the New York Times to be prosecuted for informing Americans that President Bush was illegally spying on them without warrants.

    The conservative assault on the U.S. Constitution is deeply entrenched. The Federalist Society, an organization of Republican attorneys from which the Republican Party chooses its Justice Department appointees and nominees to the federal bench, was organized as an assault on the checks and balances in the Constitution.

    The battle cry of the Federalist Society is "energy in the executive." The society has its origin in Republican frustrations from the days when Republicans had a "lock on the presidency," but had their agenda blocked by a Democratic Congress. The Federalist Society set about producing rationales for elevating the powers of the executive in order to evade the checks and balances the Founding Fathers wrote into the political system.

    With the Bush regime we have seen President Nixon's claim that "it's not illegal if the president does it" carried to new heights. With the complicity of Democrats, Bush and Cheney have appointed attorneys general who have elevated the presidency above the law.

    Just as liberals used judicial activism in the federal courts to achieve their agenda, the conservatives are using the Department of Justice to concentrate power in the executive branch in order to achieve their agenda. In America the Constitution has no friends. It is always in the way of one agenda or the other and, thus, always under threat.

    For now, however, the threat is from the Right. Conservatives have confused loyalty to country, which is loyalty to the Constitution, with loyalty to the Bush regime. It is purely a partisan loyalty based in emotion – "you are with us or against us."

    When I was a young man, conservatives were frustrated that facts, reason, and analysis could not penetrate liberal emotions. Today facts, reason, and analysis cannot penetrate conservative emotions. When I write a factual column describing how we have been deceived into wars that are clearly not in our interest, self-described conservatives indignantly write to me: "If you hate America so much, why don't you move to Cuba!" Conservatives have become so intellectually pathetic that they regard my defense of civil liberties as an anti-American act.

    Today's conservatives are so poorly informed that they cannot understand that to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.

    John Yoo was a willing accomplice to inhumane and illegal acts. But his greatest crime is that he was a willing participant in the Bush regime's assault on the Constitution, which protects us all. If Yoo is to be held accountable, what about George W. Bush; Dick Cheney and his aides; attorneys general Gonzales and Mukasey; Yoo's Justice Department boss, now federal judge Bybee; Rumsfeld; Rice; Hadley; and the legion of neocon brownshirts that comprise the regime's subcabinet? Is Yoo any more culpable than anyone else who served the corrupt, evil, and anti-American Bush regime?

    The ease with which the Bush regime has run roughshod over the law and Constitution indicates that the brownshirt mentality to which many Americans have succumbed has sufficient attractive power to cause a professor from one of the country's great liberal institutions to serve the cause of tyranny. The conservative movement has produced a cadre of brownshirts that might yet succeed in destroying the American Constitution.

  37. Happy belated Mother's Day!

    It's been a tough one for me this year. Instead of buying something Mom could enjoy, I've been stone shopping. I would much rather have been able to do what I normally do for her.

  38. Bless you Jolly Roger. This must be a hard time of year for you, the first Mother's Day without your mom.

    She's with you.

  39. Great articles Larry........I was just commenting last night on the urgency of winning the Presidency so McSame doesnt get another Reich Wing goon on the Supreme Court to finish the transformation of our country into the fascist police state they crave so much!

  40. Dear Lydia:
    Happy Mothers Day to you ;-)


    I had trouble commenting here last week, so I am trying again ( I kept getting error, so please understand my absence)..Love this post ....Healing starts with so much of what you wrote and there is so much needed right now...taking the time to see, reaching out and forgiveness are pieces of Something Better....

    ( I love that you pointed out the Bush Appeasement dibacle...we should all be able to look at diplomacy and dialogue and see it for it's intrinsic value- and never use those tools and try to recreate perception...only Bush would fearmonger and lie and politicize such an honorable event on foriegn soil....)

    I have new posts up at Watergate Summer and ENIGMA CAFE.....the photos of Oregon are so inspiring and moving they will cheer up anyone...

    to Lydia, Jolly Roger, Mike, Larry,Jim, mch and all..... we all will get through this,....we all are in this Together....( I just sent you a video with that song lydia...)

    take care....

    ( the photo..amazing)

  41. Enigma - thank you! I left messages on your blog at Watergate Summer

  42. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” today, host Tim Russert played a clip from Friday of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee joking about Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) ducking after seeing a gunman. Huckabee apologized for saying what he called “a dumb, off the cuff remark,” and pointed to similar “dumb” comments from other politicians:

    It won’t be the last dumb thing I’ve ever said. I’m sure I’ll make other comments. I think we all in politics do. Ronald Reagan had an open mike and said ‘I’m gonna launch a nuclear attack against Russia,’ I remember John McCain saying ‘Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran.’ I thought that was funny.

    So did John Hagee and Rod Parsley.

  43. In late April, John McCain entered into an agreement with the Republican National Committee that would allow him to raise upwards of $70,000 from individual donors. The deal, then criticized by public financing advocates, allows donations in excess of $2,300 to flow directly to the RNC, which will spend the money on McCain's behalf.

    While increasing the amount of funds available to McCain, it also makes the Arizona senator more beholden than ever to the Republican machine he is lauded for challenging. The New York Times reports that the RNC will play an enormous part in funding McCain's campaign:

    Frank Donatelli, the deputy chairman of the national committee and the chief liaison with the McCain campaign, predicted that the party would give more financial help to Mr. McCain that it has to past nominees.

    "We intend to provide substantial, maybe unprecedented, resources to the McCain campaign," Mr. Donatelli said.

    The Republican Party: Keeping that Racist money flowing for the Senile Old Racist Warmonger.

  44. John McCain's chief strategist Charlie Black isn't losing any sleep about his firm's involvements with some of the worst dictators and human rights abusers in the world. Responding to a MoveOn video seeking to have Black removed from McCain's campaign, the lobbyist-turned-adviser had this to say:

    "I'm not ashamed of anything the firm did," McCain adviser Charlie Black says of his days as the principle in one of Washington's most influential lobbying firms. "If they want to use it to fire up the left wing, well, that's fine."

    Black is referring to a campaign by liberal watchdog and political groups to pressure McCain into dumping Black, now a top McCain campaign strategist. Today, MoveOn's political action fund released a video accusing Black of lobbying "for some of the world's worst tyrants."

    Hero John McCain: The Enabler of Terrorists and Tyrants.

  45. McCain’s skeletons are JUMPING out of the closet, yet no mainstream media coverage. I had to to find this.

    An audio recording has been discovered in which Hagee elaborates on his belief that Hitler and The Nazi’s were “divine agents” of God, sent to chase Europe’s Jews towards Palestine. In his 2006 book, “Jerusalem Countdown”, Hagee proposed that anti-Semitism, and thus the Holocaust, was the fault of Jews themselves - the result of an age old divine curse incurred by the ancient Hebrews through worshiping idols and passed, down the ages, to all Jews now alive.

    This is McCain's chosen Pastor.

  46. You may have heard of Rev. John Hagee, the McCain supporter who said God created Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for its homosexual “sins.” Well now meet Rev. Rod Parsley, the televangelist megachurch pastor from Ohio who hates Islam. According to David Corn of Mother Jones, Parsley has called on Christians to wage war against Islam, which he considers to be a “false religion.” In the past, Parsley has also railed against the separation of church and state, homosexuals, and abortion rights, comparing Planned Parenthood to Nazis.

    John McCain actively sought and received Parsley’s endorsement in the presidential race. McCain has called Parsley “a spiritual guide,” and he hasn’t said whether he shares Parsley’s vicious anti-Islam views. That’s because the mainstream media refuses to ask.

    After discussing Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Wright, for the last 2 months, with it being the lead story on every show all day long on Fox News Channel and CNN for weeks, replaying video of his controversial remarks over and over ad nauseum, taking the first 10-15 minutes of the most recent Democratic debate to discuss Rev. Wright, wouldn’t you think they would spend 5 minutes on McCain’s two controversial “Spiritual Advisors”?

    Since the media won’t question McCain about his deeply bigoted pastor, it’s up to you to call attention to this issue. Make McCain’s pastor problem a major story by forwarding these videos to your family, friends, and colleagues.

    This is another "Chosen Spiritual Advisor" of the Deranged John McCain.

  47. Check out these photos on Average Patriots blog of a soldier in the actual line of fire in a battle in Afganistan.

    Very chilling.

    Average Patriot

  48. I thought I'd inject a little humor on the eves of one of the key primaries........i was watching Hillary Clinton and Obama on TV today, and it hit me how much Hillary reminded me of the Black Knight From Monty Python and Obama reminds me of King dont get me wrong i'm not trying to bash Hillary, if she were to somehow win the nom, (as unlikely as that is) i would be pulling for her to beat McSame.

    But judge for yourself Obama vs Clinton

  49. Larry, you've posted some great articles today........your keeking me busy reading.

  50. Lydia:
    I have thought about this post today alot...and about generousity...and being generous of spirit...and that is maybe one of the best thing to fight greed and corruption....and a certain part of that spirit will need to be embraced to Heal this Nation...South Africa called it Reconciliation and Mandela and many of those who worked with him studied it, and Forgiveness...and they believed that there was a path that could be forged with Healing and Justice....anyways..thank you for starting the dialogue and planting another seed for finding the Better Part of Ourselves....

    Larry- I am just getting caught always have the best oh my....and I think it is good that we get well schooled on McCain info- excellent...

    Have good night....

  51. Bush: An 'accessory before the fact' of Mass Murder

    Len Hart

    It's bad enough that those courageous enough to oppose Bush's rise to dictatorship are attacked and impugned by the right wing! That is is to be expected. But the propagation of fallacies and nonsense by those who should know better is intolerable.

    A recent 'editorial' by Buzzflash, which is ordinarily to be commended for keeping a watchful eye on Bush's nefarious macinations, seems to have completely missed the point with regard to the so-called '911 Truth Movement'.

    This article may be considered an 'open letter' to Buzzflash where I respond to their comments in italics with my own.

    We have often taken issue with the 9/11 Truth Movement because it takes the fact that there are many unanswered questions about 9/11 and tries to answer them with often bizarre speculation.

    ---Conspiratorially Speaking: United Flight 93 and 9/11

    It is fallacious to refer to a movement of many with the word 'it'! There are many positions by many free thinking individuals throughout what is conveniently called the '911 Truth Movement'. To apply a single position to every person demanding a complete and unbiased investigation of a crime that was in fact never properly investigated is absurd, unfair and fallacious.

    9/11 was not an inside job

    In the many papers that I have read by David Ray Griffin et al, the focus is primarily on the demonstrable 'holes', lies and fallacies that are found in various conspiracy theories put forward by Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, et al as well as the 'official account' put forward by the 911 Commission.

    Certainly, some members of the '911 TruthMovement' have concluded that because only the Bush administration actively sought to cover up, prevent and in many instances quash investigations of 911, then it is reasonable to conclude that 911 was an inside job. Else --why cover it up? But to attribute that position to every Bush critic is unfair and fallacious.

    It may be true to state that the so-called 'Truth Movement' began with Griffen's still un-refuted paper entitled:

    The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True

    Popular Mechannics and MSM propagandists tried to marginalize this paper because they could not refute it! Last time I checked, steel still will not melt or weaken at temperatures less than 2795ºF. The science upon which Griffin based his paper is simply beyond the meager intellectual capacity of idiots like Bill 0'Reilly to comprehend, let alone refute. Simply, if steel will not melt at kerosene fire temperatures, then the official theory of 911 is a monumental fraud! Photos of people walking around, waving distress flags, in the hole in the North Tower where some 10,000 gallons of jet fuel was said to have been burning is absolute and irrefutable proof that the fires were never hot enough to have brought down the towers.

    Bushies might wish we would forget WTC7 about which Larry Silverstein himself said 'it was pulled'. Certainly, no airliner hit it. The dinky fires were unimpressive. Even if the kerosene had damaged and caused the twin tower fires, that was not the case at WTC7. So --why did it collapse? Occam's Razor demands the common sense conclusion: it was 'pulled' and therefore prepared weeks, possibly months, in advance!

    The 'movement', therefore, deals with the gaping holes, fallacies, lies, and inconsistencies with the 'official conspiracy theory'. The 'movement' demands a complete, fair and competent investigation of the crime of 911 --an investigation that was, in fact, never begun. 911 was in fact a crime actively covered up by Bush. To conclude that because one demands a complete and thorough investigation of 911, he/she must, therefore, believe 911 to be an inside job is unfair and fallacious. In my case, I have concluded that 911 was, indeed, an inside job and for good reasons which I have outlined elsewhere. But it does not follow that because I so believe then everyone connected with a 'movement' is likewise convinced.

    Finally, you cannot prove that 911 was not an inside job as you have stated flatly. It is more accurate, however, to state that there is simply no hard, irrefutable evidence of any sort in support of the only single conspiracy theory of 911: the OFFICIAL conspiracy theory involving some 19 Arabs who might not have been capable of piloting any aircraft of any size, seizing control of four flights armed only with box cutters. Reams can be written in refutation of this absurd theory, but it is enough, here, to point out its absurdity on its face.

    ...but it was something that probably could have been prevented in August of 2001 if Bush and Rice had listened to a CIA warning about Al-Qaeda preparing hijackings in the U.S. But Bush and Rice did nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to put airports on a heightened security alert.

    Then Bush --at the very least --is an accessory to mass murder.

    The State concedes there was not sufficient evidence to convict the defendant of first-degree murder based on premeditation and deliberation, and it was error to so charge. There was evidence, however, that the defendant was an accessory before the fact to first-degree burglary, as we shall demonstrate later in this opinion. The killing was done during this burglary, which killing would be felony murder. State v. Simmons , 286 N.C. 681, 213 S.E.2d 280 (1975), death sentence vacated , 428 U.S. 903, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1208 (1976).


    If Bush participated in the destruction of evidence after 911, then he is also an accessory after the fact.

    Section 3. Accessory after the fact

    Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided by any Act of Congress, an accessory after the fact shall be imprisoned not more than one-half the maximum term of imprisonment or (notwithstanding section 3571) fined not more than one-half the maximum fine prescribed for the punishment of the principal, or both; or if the principal is punishable by life imprisonment or death, the accessory shall be imprisoned not more than 15 years.

    But 911 is not a run-o-the-mill act of violence to which Bush is prima facie an accessory after the fact. 911, enabled by Bush inaction 'before the fact' is, therefore, an act of high treason. That changes everything:

    The Supreme Court sustained a conviction of treason, for the first time in its history, in 1947 in Haupt v. United States. 1299 Here it was held that although the overt acts relied upon to support the charge of treason--defendant's harboring and sheltering in his home his son who was an enemy spy and saboteur, assisting him in purchasing an automobile, and in obtaining employment in a defense plant--were all acts which a father would naturally perform for a son, this fact did not necessarily relieve them of the treasonable purpose of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    --See: HAUPT v. U.S., 330 U.S. 631 (1947)

    The reality is that the Bush White House covered up much about 9/11, including its own incompetence.

    Indeed! Bush ordered the destruction, sale or removal of most of the evidence prior to investigation. Last time I checked, 911 was a crime. This willful cover up of a crime IS a crime. In this case --'obstruction of justice' at the very least!

    Brush up your history of Watergate. Whether or not Nixon was complicit in the plot depended upon what he knew and when he knew it, an issue central to the special prosecutor's investigation. Similarly, much of Bush's complicity in 911 depends upon what he knew and when he knew it. If Bush had any knowledge whatsoever of any plot by anyone at any time and failed to act upon it, he should be prosecuted to the letter of the law!

    How much we don't know. But we do know that -- if you recall -- Bush would only be interviewed by the 9/11 Commission (which was stacked with white-washers) with Cheney at his side, and with no notes or minutes taken, and with their not being sworn in under oath, and with the "interview" occurring in the Oval Office. That sort of scenario does not inspire a great deal of credibility.

    Indeed, it does not! We might have known what we now 'don't know' had there been the very investigation of 911, the various investigations that Bush either overtly and deliberately quashed or failed to support. If I were a juror considering a capital crimes indictment against GWB, I might be swayed not only by Bush's failure to act but his overt actions to quash! I might be inclined to return: guilty as charged!

    Late July 2001 (B): David Schippers, noted conservative Chicago lawyer and the House Judiciary Committee's chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial, later claims that FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota contact him around this time and tell him that a terrorist attack is going to occur in lower Manhattan. According to Schippers, the agents had been developing extensive information on the planned attack for many months. However, the FBI soon pulls them off the terrorist investigation and threatens them with prosecution under the National Security Act if they go public with the information.

  52. Thanks for the article comments Enigma and Mike.

    There is getting to be a wealth of dirt on McCain coming out.

  53. When Free Speech Doesn’t Come Free

    By Remi Kanazi

    Free speech is not without consequence. In the United States, for example, criticism of Israel is tantamount to heresy. Former US President Jimmy Carter felt a societal backlash last year after the release of his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which condemned Israel’s apartheid-style policies in the occupied Palestinian territories. Consequently, and without foundation, Carter was branded by many in the American press as a one-sided, anti-Semitic propagandist. Similarly, Harvard professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer were lambasted for a paper the two co-authored that discussed the power of the Israel lobby and its adverse effect on American policy. Additionally, Norman Finkelstein, an esteemed professor at Depaul University and author of the bestselling book, The Holocaust Industry, witnessed a McCarthyite-style campaign mounted against him when he came up for tenure. Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s human rights abuses and of pro-Israel apologist and Harvard professor, Alan Dershowitz. Predictably, it was Dershowitz who led the anti-tenure campaign against him; ultimately, Finkelstein was not only denied tenure, but he lost his job at Depaul.

    The attacks against Carter, Finkelstein, Walt and Mearsheimer serve as a few well-known examples of the consequences writers and intellectuals face when they breach the line and criticize Israel. Furthermore, the condemnation writers and intellectuals of Arab descent face are invariably higher than Jews of conscience, former presidents, and highly regarded academics. As a result, many writers often acquiesce to the demands of the mainstream. Their self-censorship usually appears in the form of “toning down the message,” be it to please editors or critics—essentially to conform to the reality of purported pragmatism. Yet, this “pragmatism” is a euphemism for acceptance of a repressive status quo and is analogous to the “necessary” practical thinking that silenced a multitude of commentators during the Oslo years—the supposed time of peace. Unsurprisingly, untold Palestinian suffering followed as a result of increased settlement expansion, land confiscation, checkpoints and seizures, and the ultimate failure of Camp David 2000.

    Shying away from perceived controversial matters may help to protect a mainstream career, but the intent of a political analyst should not be to produce works of fiction. The vast majority of Americans weren’t open to criticism of US policy during the run-up to the war on Iraq, mainly due to the media’s complicity in promoting the war, but criticism was still the appropriate course of action based on the facts, and Americans would have been better off for it today.

    A man who combined principle, activism, and human appeal quite masterfully was distinguished educator and commentator, Edward Said. In the realm of academia and Middle East analysis, Said was by no means viewed as the quintessential radical. Nonetheless, his positions were radical when juxtaposed with “conventional wisdom”: he was a proponent of the one-state solution, an unwavering critic of the Israeli government, and an ardent supporter of the ostensibly controversial right of return. Said was still heavily criticized throughout his career and endured incessant attacks by his detractors, yet his accessible personality and articulate message kept him relevant.

    Sadly, Said’s relative acceptance has been the exception rather than the rule. In recent years, there has been increased emphasis on putative pragmatic dialogue. However, this accentuation on so-called rational and balanced thinking has proven to be little more than a sinister means to pressure the oppressed to accept the position of the oppressor. The greatest leaders of the last hundred years didn’t shy away from controversy; they remained persistent, and saw their visions brought to fruition; be they Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, or Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless, one cannot overlook that even paramount figures have been castigated for “overstepping” their boundaries, namely Martin Luther King who was chided for speaking out against the war in Vietnam, imperialism, and social injustices that plagued the US.

    This week, Palestinians across the US commemorated 60 years of displacement. Yet, the lens the Palestinian people are expected to look through under the pragmatist vision is one that sees a dispossessed people as necessary victims for a righteous state to take form. Unfortunately, waves of writers and commentators continue to adopt this line in fear of retribution, in exchange for nicer houses and comfortable livings, or a combination of both. That is their free will. Free speech is not without consequence. Nonetheless, losing piece of mind is the only repercussion a writer should fear.

  54. I cant wait to see Obama debate the embalmed zombie toe to toe............he would absolutely crush McSame and make him look like the fool he is.

  55. How to Rule the World After Bush
    One of the more curious aspects of the Bush years is that the self-proclaimed "uniter" polarized not only American society, but also its business and political elites.

    By Mark Engler

    A mere eight months to go until George W. Bush and Dick Cheney leave office—though, given the cast of characters, it could seem like a lifetime. Still, it's a reasonable moment to begin to look back over the last years—and also toward the post-Bush era. What a crater we'll have to climb out of by then!

    My last post, "Kiss American Security Goodbye," was meant to mark the beginning of what will, over the coming months, be a number of Bush legacy pieces at Tomdispatch. So consider that series officially inaugurated by Foreign Policy in Focus analyst Mark Engler, who has just authored a new book that couldn't be more relevant to our looming moment of transition: How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy.

    The question Engler is curious to have answered is this: If Bush-style "imperial globalization" is rejected in January, what will American ruling elites try to turn to—Clinton-style economic globalization? Certainly, as Engler points out, many in the business and financial communities are now rallying to the Democrats. After all, while John Edwards received the headlines this week for throwing his support behind Barack Obama, that presidential candidate also got the nod from three former Securities and Exchange Commission chairmen—William Donaldson, David Ruder, and Clinton appointee Arthur Levitt Jr. The campaign promptly "released a joint statement by the former SEC chiefs, as well as former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, that praised Obama's 'positive leadership and judgment' on economic issues."

    The United States, however, is a very different creature than it was in the confident years when these men rode high. Now, the world is looking at things much differently. Let Engler explain… Tom Engelhardt

    How to Rule the World After Bush
    One of the more curious aspects of the Bush years is that the self-proclaimed "uniter" polarized not only American society, but also its business and political elites.
    By Mark Engler

    Picture January 20, 2009, the day George W. Bush has to vacate the Oval Office.

    It's easy enough to imagine a party marking this fine occasion, with antiwar protestors, civil libertarians, community leaders, environmentalists, health-care advocates, and trade unionists clinking glasses to toast the end of an unfortunate era. Even Americans not normally inclined to political life might be tempted to join the festivities, bringing their own bottles of bubbly to the party. Given that presidential job approval ratings have rarely broken 40% for two years and now remain obdurately around or below 30%—historic lows—it would not be surprising if this were a sizeable celebration.

    More surprising, however, might be the number of people in the crowd drinking finer brands of champagne. Amid the populist gala, one might well spot figures of high standing in the corporate world, individuals who once would have looked forward to the reign of an MBA president but now believe that neocon bravado is no way to run an empire.

    One of the more curious aspects of the Bush years is that the self-proclaimed "uniter" polarized not only American society, but also its business and political elites. These are the types who gather at the annual, ultra-exclusive World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and have their assistants trade business cards for them. Yet, despite their sometime chumminess, these powerful few are now in disagreement over how American power should be shaped in the post-Bush era and increasing numbers of them are jumping ship when it comes to the course the Republicans have chosen to advance these last years. They are now engaged in a debate about how to rule the world.

    Don't think of this as some conspiratorial plot, but as a perfectly commonsensical debate over what policies are in the best interests of those who hire phalanxes of Washington lobbyists and fill the coffers of presidential and congressional campaigns. Many business leaders have fond memories of the "free trade" years of the Clinton administration, when CEO salaries soared and the global influence of multinational corporations surged. Rejecting neoconservative unilateralism, they want to see a renewed focus on American "soft power" and its instruments of economic control, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Trade Organization (WTO)—the multilateral institutions that formed what was known in international policy circles as "the Washington Consensus." These corporate globalists are making a bid to control the direction of economic policy under a new Democratic administration.

    There is little question that the majority of people on the planet—those who suffered under both the corporate globalization of the Clinton years and the imperial globalization of George W. Bush—deserve something better. However, it is far from certain that social justice advocates who want to encourage a more democratic approach to world affairs and global economic well-being will be able to sway a new administration. On the other hand, the damage inflicted by eight years of neocon rule and the challenges of an increasingly daunting geopolitical scene present a conundrum to the corporate globalizers: Is it even possible to go back to the way things were?

    The Revolt of the Corporatists

    Throughout their time in office, despite fulsome evidence of failure, George Bush and Dick Cheney have maintained a blithe self-confidence about their ability to successfully promote the interests of the United States, or at least those of their high-rolling "Pioneer"-class donors. Every so often, though, the public receives notice that loyalists are indeed scurrying to abandon the administration's sinking ship of state. In October 2007, for instance, in a front-page story entitled "GOP Is Losing Grip On Core Business Vote," the Wall Street Journal reported that the party could be facing a brand crisis as "[s]ome business leaders are drifting away from the party because of the war in Iraq, the growing federal debt and a conservative social agenda they don't share."

    When it comes to corporate responses to the President's Global War on Terror, we mostly hear about the likes of Halliburton and Blackwater—companies directly implicated in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and with the mentality of looters. Such firms have done their best to score quick profits from the military machine. However, there was always a faction of realist, business-oriented Republicans who opposed the invasion from the start, in part because they believed it would negatively impact the U.S. economy. As the administration adventure in Iraq has descended into the morass, the ranks of corporate complainers have only grown.

    The "free trade" elite have become particularly upset about the administration's focus on go-it-alone nationalism and its disregard for multilateral means of securing influence. This belligerent approach to foreign affairs, they believe, has thwarted the advance of corporate globalization. In an April 2006 column in the Washington Post, globalist cheerleader Sebastian Mallaby laid blame for "why globalization has stalled" at the feet of the Bush administration. The White House, Mallaby charged, was unwilling to invest any political capital in the IMF, the World Bank, or the WTO. He wrote:

    "Fifteen years ago, there were hopes that the end of Cold War splits would allow international institutions to acquire a new cohesion. But the great powers of today are simply not interested in creating a resilient multilateral system.... The United States remains the only plausible quarterback for the multilateral system. But the Bush administration has alienated too many players to lead the team effectively. Its strident foreign policy started out as an understandable response to the fecklessness of other powers. But unilateralism has tragically backfired, destroying whatever slim chance there might have been of a workable multilateral alternative."

    Frustrated by Bush's failures, many in the business elite want to return to the softer empire of corporate globalization and, increasingly, they are looking to the Democrats to navigate this return. As a measure of this—the capitalist equivalent of voting with their feet—political analyst Kevin Phillips notes in his new book, Bad Money, that, in 2007, "[h]edge fund employees' contributions to the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee outnumbered those to its Republican rival by roughly nine to one."

    This quiet revolt of the corporatists is already causing interesting reverberations on the campaign trail. The base of the Democratic Party has clearly rejected the "free trade" version of trickle-down economics, which has done far more to help those hedge-fund managers and private-jet-hopping executives than anyone further down the economic ladder. As a result, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are running as opponents of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and of a newer bilateral trade deal with Colombia, a country in which organizing a union or vocally advocating for human rights can easily cost you your life. The tenor of the current campaign represents a significant shift from the 1990s, when top Democrats were constantly trying to establish their corporate bona fides and "triangulate" their way into conservative economic policy.

    Still, both candidates are surrounded by business-friendly advisors whose views fit nicely within an older, pre-Bush administration paradigm of corporate globalization. The tension between the anti-NAFTA activists at the base of the Party and those in the campaign war rooms has resulted in some embarrassing gaffes during the primary contest.

    For Hillary Clinton, the most notable involved one of her chief strategists, Mark Penn, a man with a long, nefarious record defending corporate abuses as a Washington lobbyist. As it turned out, Penn's consulting firm received $300,000 in 2007 to support the "free trade" agreement with Colombia. Even as Clinton was proclaiming her heartfelt opposition to the deal and highlighting the "history of suppression and targeted killings of labor organizers" in that country, a key player in her campaign was charting strategy with Colombian government officials in order to get the pact passed.

    The Obama campaign found itself in similar discomfort in February. While the candidate was running in the Ohio primary as an opponent of NAFTA, calling that trade deal a "mistake" that has harmed working people, his senior economic policy adviser, University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee, was meeting with Canadian government officials to explain, as a memo by the Canadians reported, that Obama's charges were merely "political positioning." Goolsbee quickly claimed that his position had been mischaracterized, but the incident naturally raised questions. Why, for example, had Goolsbee, senior economist to the Democratic Leadership Council, the leading organization on the corporate-friendly rightwing of the party, and a person praised as "a valuable source of free-trade advice over almost a decade," been positioned to mold Obama's economic stances in the first place?

    If pressure from the base of the party lets up after the elections, it would hardly be surprising to see a victorious candidate revert to Bill Clinton's corporate model for how to rule the world. However, a return to a pre-Bush-style of international politics may be easier dreamed than done.

    The Neocon Paradox

    To the chagrin of the "free trade" elite, the market fundamentalist ideas that have dominated international development thinking for at least the last 25 years are now under attack globally. This is largely because the economic prescriptions of deregulation, privatization, open markets, and cuts to social services so often made (and enforced) by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have proven catastrophic.

    In 2003, the United Nations' Human Development Report (UNHDP) explained that 54 already poor countries had actually grown even poorer during the "free trade" era of the 1990s. The British Guardian summarized well the essence of this report:

    "Taking issue with those who have argued that the 'tough love' policies of the past two decades have spawned the growth of a new global middle class, the report says the world became ever more divided between the super-rich and the desperately poor. The richest 1% of the world's population (around 60 million) now receives as much income as the poorest 57%, while the income of the richest 25 million Americans is the equivalent of that of almost 2 billion of the world's poorest people."

    Such findings led UNDP administrator Mark Malloch Brown, in a remarkably blunt statement, to call for a "guerilla assault on the Washington Consensus."

    In fact, in 2008, such an assault is already well under way—and Washington is in a far weaker position economically to deal with it. The countries burned by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, for instance, are now building up huge currency reserves so they never again have to come begging to the International Monetary Fund (and so suffer diktats from Washington) in times of crisis. Moreover, virtually the whole of Latin America is in revolt. Over 500 million people reside in that region, and over two-thirds of them now live under governments elected since 2000 on mandates to split with "free trade" economics, declare independence from Washington, and pursue policies that actually benefit the poor.

    In late April, economist Mark Weisbrot noted that, with so many countries breaking free of its grasp, the IMF, which once dictated economic policy to strapped governments around the world, is now but a shadow of its former self. In the past four years, its loan portfolio has plummeted from $105 billion to less than $10 billion, the bulk of which now goes to just two countries, Turkey and Pakistan. This leaves the U.S. Treasury, which used the body to control foreign economies, with far less power than in past decades. "The IMF's loss of influence," Weisbrot writes, "is probably the most important change in the international financial system in more than half a century."

    It is a historic irony that Bush administration neocons, smitten with U.S. military power, itching to launch their wars in Central Asia and the Middle East, and eschewing multinational institutions, actually helped to foster a global situation in which U.S. influence is waning and countries are increasingly seeking independent paths. Back in 2005, British journalist George Monbiot dubbed this "the unacknowledged paradox in neocon thinking." He wrote:

    "They want to drag down the old, multilateral order and replace it with a new, U.S. one. What they fail to understand is that the 'multilateral' system is in fact a projection of U.S. unilateralism, cleverly packaged to grant other nations just enough slack to prevent them from fighting it. Like their opponents, the neocons fail to understand how well [Presidents] Roosevelt and Truman stitched up the international order. They are seeking to replace a hegemonic system that is enduring and effective with one that is untested and (because other nations must fight it) unstable."

    Battered by losing wars and economic crisis, the United States is now a superpower visibly on the skids. And yet, there is no guarantee that the coming era will produce a change for the better. In a world in which the value of the dollar is plummeting, oil is growing ever more scarce relative to demand, and foreign states are rising as rivals to American power, the possibility of either going ahead with the Bush/Cheney style of unilateralism or successfully returning to the "enduring and effective" multilateral corporatism of the 1990s may no longer exist. But the failure of these options will undoubtedly not be for lack of trying. Even with corporate globalization on the decline, multinational businesses will attempt to consolidate or expand their power. And even with the imperial model of globalization discredited, an overextended U.S. military may still try to hold on with violence.

    The true Bush administration legacy may be to leave us in a world that is at once far more open to change and also far more dangerous. Such prospects should hardly discourage the long-awaited celebration in January. But they suggest that a new era of globalization battles—struggles to build a world order based neither on corporate influence, nor imperial might—will have only just begun.

  56. McCain is so old he can barely scoot across the stage to his Geritol.

  57. I really like how Obama has been engaging McSame and the Idiot in Chief and taking the fight to them!

  58. Larry did you watch that video i posted, if you didnt, take the time and watch the entire thing!

  59. McCain's Pastor Problem: The Video
    In a taped sermon, the preacher McCain calls a "spiritual guide" calls on America to see the "false religion" of Islam "destroyed." Still, the candidate won't reject Rod Parsley's endorsement."

    By David Corn

    During a 2005 sermon, a fundamentalist pastor whom Senator John McCain has praised and campaigned with called Islam "the greatest religious enemy of our civilization and the world," claiming that the historic mission of America is to see "this false religion destroyed." In this taped sermon, currently sold by his megachurch, the Reverend Rod Parsley reiterates and amplifies harsh and derogatory comments about Islam he made in his book, Silent No More, published the same year he delivered these remarks. Meanwhile, McCain has stuck to his stance of not criticizing Parsley, an important political ally in a crucial swing state.

    In March 2008—two weeks after McCain appeared with Parsley at a Cincinnati campaign rally, hailing him as "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide"—Mother Jones reported that Parsley had urged Christians to wage a "war" to eradicate Islam in his 2005 book. McCain's campaign refused to respond to questions about Parsley, and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee declined to denounce Parsley's anti-Islam remarks or renounce his endorsement. At a time when Barack Obama was mired in a searing controversy involving Reverend Jeremiah Wright, McCain escaped any trouble for his political alliance with Parsley, who leads the World Harvest Church, a supersized Pentecostal institution in Columbus, Ohio. Parsley, whose sermons are broadcast around the world, has been credited with helping George W. Bush win Ohio in 2004 by registering social conservatives and encouraging them to vote. McCain certainly would like to see Parsley do the same for him—which could explain his reluctance to do any harm to his relationship with this anti-Islam extremist.

    Here's a video—produced by Mother Jones and Brave New films—highlighting Parsley's remarks and McCain's praise of the pastor:

    In the 2005 sermon, Parsley repeatedly blasts Islam. "It is not a God of love that is presented to those of the Islamic faith," he tells his parishioners. He notes that 9/11 was not "anything new," describing the terrorist attack as merely the latest battle in "a war between Islam and Christian civilization...raging for centuries." Speaking from the pulpit, and wiping sweat from his brow, Parsley exclaims,

    I can't begin to tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam. That we see it for what it really is. In fact...I do not believe that our nation can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam…I know that this statement sounds extreme. But I am not shrinking back from its implications. The fact is that...America was founded in part with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed. And I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we no longer can afford to ignore.
    Parsley approvingly quotes Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards' reference to Islam as "Satan's Mohammedan kingdom." He points out that the United States' first war—the battle against the Barbary Coast pirates—was "waged against Muslim pirates who took our people captive because they believed in a Jesus crucified by the Jews." (With that one statement, Parsley slams both Islam and Judaism.) He repeatedly refers to the United States' "historic conflict with Islam," and adds, "We have no choice. The time has come. In fact, we may be already losing the battle. As I scan the world, I find that Islam at this moment is responsible for more pain, more bloodshed, more devastation than nearly any other force on Earth."

    With the crowd in the pews listening intently, Parsley continues to denigrate Islam, claiming that the religion itself was responsible for 9/11 and that hostility and violence is "the spirit that has come to fill Islam or perhaps that Islam encompassed from the very beginning." He tries to frighten his followers:

    This is about to freak you out...Since September 11, 2001, 34,000 Americans have become Muslims...This means that thousands of Americans have embraced the very religion that inspired the worst assault upon their nation in a generation. Did you know that there are some 1,209 mosques in America? Twenty-five percent of which have been built since 1994. Did you know that there are nearly a billion and a half Muslims in the world...But how would you know it? After all, it's not in People magazine.
    According to Parsley, there's no coexisitng with Muslims. He tells the tale of a Christian man who once dared to sell land to a mosque rather than to a church—an ominous sign that Christianity is losing the struggle against Islam. "You need to understand today" who was responsible for 9/11, Parsley nearly shouts. "Muslim Islamic fundamentalists and extremists are what did that, and your government and politicians and preachers want you to snuggle up next door to them and allow them to build a mosque next door to your church, while you sing hallelujah."

    The preacher paints a dark picture:

    Islam is growing rapidly and is becoming more violent. America has historically understood herself to be a bastion against Islam in the world…History is crashing in upon us...Americans need to wake up...We can tell you...Britney Spears' lyrics to her latest CD. But we don't know anything about other religions...'We ought to just all get along'...'We shouldn't say anything about other faiths.' Excuse me. Excuse me. The fact is that Americans are woefully ignorant of other faiths. This is not only tragic. But when it comes to Islam, now the greatest religious enemy of our civilization and the world, it's dangerous.
    The problem, Parsley insists, is not radical Muslims who have hijacked a faith, but the religion itself:

    I must state three important truths...No. 1, the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are two separate beings...Mr. Bush, I support you. You need to stop saying that the God of Islam and the God of Christianity are the same God...No. 2, Muhammad received revelations from demon spirits, not from the living God. No. 3, Islam is an anti-Christ religion that intends, through violence, to conquer the world. Did you get those three truths?
    In a long riff, Parsley maintains that Muhammad was tricked by a demon into believing that he had heard the word of God. Thus, he asserts, the entire religion of Islam is based upon a satanic deception: "Muhammad was tragically beset by a demon which he mistook for the living God. He thus became a mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil...There are so few who will talk about [this]."

    But Parsley is willing. And he also readily offered McCain his endorsement during that February 26, 2008, campaign rally in Cincinnati. At the event, McCain extolled Parsley for his "leadership" and "guidance." Since then, McCain aides have said that the senator's acceptance of Parsley's endorsement was not an endorsement of Parsley's views. And they have dismissed any comparison between Reverend Wright and Reverend Parsley, noting that McCain has never attended a service conducted by Parsley. But imagine if Barack Obama had campaigned with an imam who had called for destroying Christianity. A media and political uproar would ensue—with wide-ranging calls for Obama to condemn the imam.

    McCain has also refused to reject the endorsement he received from the Reverend John Hagee, a Texas-based televangelist who referred to the Catholic Church as "the great whore" and a "false cult system" and who called Hurricane Katrina retribution from God for the sins of New Orleans' homosexual residents. But Parsley may be the more politically crucial pastor for McCain. McCain probably cannot win Ohio in November without the support of large numbers of social conservative voters. In 2004, Parsley, whose megachurch boasts thousands of members, led so-called values voters to the polls, where they helped propel George W. Bush to victory over John Kerry. If McCain were to repudiate Parsley, he would risk losing Parsley as a surrogate and, perhaps worse, alienate his flock. So McCain has ducked, keeping quiet about an anti-Islam extremist who repeatedly proclaims in sermons, "I will be silent no more."

    The Old Man and his Preacher: Two Peas In A Deranged Pod.

  60. I didn't see it Mike I will watch it now.

  61. There is a similarity in the video and real life Mike.

  62. Its priceless Isnt it?

  63. The thing is the MSM will TRY as hard as they possibly can to protect the angry old man and to smear Obama and i still dont know if it will work Obama would make that old fool look like an idiot when he is trying to debate GWB's lies spin and talking points and Obama is debating facts.

  64. Just look at the way be backhanded Bush and McSame with that "appeasement" gaffe of theirs.........their feet needed to be surgically removed from their mouths on that one.

  65. They are already running attack ads on Obama's wife.

  66. That just shows the repugs have nothing and cant compete on REAL issues so they have to deflect and derail with smears and personal attacks just like the trolls do on here...........did you notice that neither Obama's wife or rev wright are the ones running for President yet the repugs keep focusing on them............yet the repugs bristled and sccreech like banshees when GWB's grandfather's Nazi ties and support comes up,

  67. I'm sorry I think i have to go puke,,,,,,,,,,the Black I mean Hillary just stated that Kark Rove thinks she is the better candidate.

    So like if Charles Manson said Obama is the better Candidate, should Obama anounce that at a rally to make a case that he is the superior candidate, WTH is that guys NEED to watch my Monte Python video I posted.......I think its funny at least!

  68. Having Rove praise you is sure something to brag about to a world that hates him.

  69. Psycho Christians and the media
    Why the press gives McCain a pass for consorting with rightwing holy men, but condemns Obama to talk-show hell for the same sin.

    By Gary Kamiya

    John McCain has some seriously screwed-up holy men surrounding him. First, there's the Rev. John Hagee, a hate-monger and certifiable loon who believes that Hurricane Katrina was God's judgment on New Orleans for planning a gay parade, calls Catholicism a "false cult system" that conspired with Hitler to exterminate the Jews, and believes that America's divine duty is to destroy Iran. Then there's the Rev. Rod Parsley, who garnishes his bigoted theology by calling Islam "the greatest religious enemy of our civilization and the world" and saying that Muhammad was "a mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."

    These psycho Christians make Robert Mitchum's sociopathic traveling preacher in "The Night of the Hunter" (the guy with "love" tattooed on one hand and "hate" on the other) look like St. Francis of Assisi. They are undiluted bigots who espouse beliefs just as twisted as those promulgated by the Rev. Louis Farrakhan -- and far more toxic and extreme than those held by Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    Yet, as many media critics have noted, no major-network interviewer is demanding that McCain denounce Hagee or Parsley, as Tim Russert infamously demanded again and again that Obama do of Farrakhan during a prime-time debate. No cable channel is ranting 24/7 about McCain's failure to disavow these extremist bigots, and speculating that his ties to Hagee and Parsley could cost him the election. Considering that McCain desperately needs Hagee and Parsley to deliver votes in key states like Ohio, this is no small matter.

    It's true that neither Hagee nor Parsley was McCain's pastor and personal spiritual advisor, as Wright was for Obama. Obama's personal relationship with Wright raised more legitimate questions than were raised by McCain's actively seeking Hagee's endorsement. But especially during the second, more serious outburst of Wright-hysteria, after Wright went off the reservation at the National Press Club, it was obvious that the story had really shifted to Wright, not Obama. The brouhaha was a media ritual, in which Obama was required to sacrifice an unseemly political ally as a kind of campaign station of the cross. Obama had already given his now-famous speech about race in Philadelphia, and no one seriously believed that he shared Wright's views. In any case, even if Hagee and Parsley had been McCain's pastors, it's hard to imagine that the media would have attacked him as relentlessly as it has attacked Obama over Wright and Farrakhan.

    The media's double standard is all about deference to perceived mainstream norms, and tiptoeing around the Christian right. Despite their cartoonish views, the media treats Hagee and Parsley as quasi-mainstream figures, which makes McCain's relationship with them non-newsworthy. The dirty little secret of mainstream American journalism is that it operates within invisible constraints that conform to some imagined Middle American consensus. The issue isn't that journalists share Hagee and Parsley's views so much as that they know that they are widely held, which makes them reluctant to acknowledge how truly outrageous they are. After years of nodding at the whacked-out likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, the media has, to borrow Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous phrase, defined right-wing religious deviancy down. More or less "orthodox" Christian-right insanity, of the sort espoused by Hagee and Parsley, is familiar and normal, whereas black-church radicalism, with its ties to left-wing liberation theology, is not. In 2000, 45 percent of the population told Gallup they were either born-again or evangelical Christians.

    The question of "newsworthiness" is one of the blind spots of conventional journalism. Since right-wing religious leaders have been endorsing conservative Republican candidates for decades (Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell endorsed Ronald Reagan; Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy Giuliani; a small church in North Carolina kicked out members who voted for John Kerry), when another one does it, it's a dog-bites-man story. Mainstream editors and reporters pose as hard-bitten realists, but they are in fact reluctant to deviate from pack thinking. For the media to suddenly go after McCain on Hagee as hard as it has gone after Obama on Farrakhan and Wright would represent, in their eyes, a "controversial" rejection of the way things have always been done.

    This echo-chamber effect, in which a story is a story because it has been a story before, highlights the critical importance of precedent. From the beginning, the media didn't go hard after extreme figures on the religious right because those extreme figures have major constituencies. The taboo against criticizing Christianity also plays a crucial role: Extreme, even demented beliefs are seen as untouchable so long as they are part of what is seen as mainstream evangelical Christianity. Of course this taboo does not extend to criticizing left-wing Christianity, à la Wright. If some public figure said that the earthquake in China was caused by the wrath of Zeus, who was offended because women's rights had reduced the number of compliant virgins available for him to deflower, any politician who consorted with him would be forced to repudiate him. But Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, John Hagee and other such figures have said essentially the same thing and gotten a pass. Afraid of coming across as arrogant elitists who don't understand or respect the faith of "real" Americans, the media has pulled its punches on the Christian right for years.

    Patriotism and Islamophobia also contribute to the blank check handed to the religious right. Hagee and Parsley may be barking mad, but they wave the flag and denounce Islam. In the age of George W. Bush, that qualifies them as solidly in the American mainstream.

    In fact, the media's failure to subject Hagee and Parsley to the same scrutiny that they have given to Wright and Farrakhan is closely related to its colossal failures in covering Bush's "war on terror." The media failed in the run-up to the war in Iraq in large part because, under the patriotic pressure of 9/11, it followed the wartime norm of swallowing the administration line. Its shortcomings with Hagee and Parsley reflect the same internalized self-censorship.

    One could argue that neither McCain nor Obama should be subjected to this "gotcha" game in which the media demands that a candidate prove his character and values by publicly excommunicating a problematic political ally. But the fact is that political news coverage today is driven by sensationalism, and candidates are subjected to simplistic tests, and that's not going to change. So if Obama is forced to answer for Wright's off-the-wall black nationalist Christianity, it's only fair that McCain should be forced to answer for Hagee's even more off-the-wall Christian right looniness as well.

    Yet the coverage has been anything but fair -- not just because of the media's fear of going after nutty Christians, but because everything about Obama is unprecedented and therefore "sensational." He's not only the first-ever black presidential front-runner, but the first to confront a loose-cannon black pastor who said, "God damn America." It bleeds! It leads! Tear up the front page! Call in the pundits to opine! By contrast, McCain's mealy-mouthed half-criticisms of Hagee's outrageous statements, and Hagee's transparently disingenuous apology for attacking Catholics, are so familiar as to be sleep-inducing. There's practically nothing that McCain can say or do that can make news the way that Obama does just by walking down the street.

    By incessantly attacking Obama as strange and scary, which is certain to be his strategy, McCain will be tapping into this already existing media bias toward sensationalism. His and Bush's outrageous charges that Obama is an "appeaser" are intended to play into this, and much worse is sure to be coming (get ready for a revival of "he's a Muslim" smears from proxies who can be disavowed). Whether the press will be able to find the backbone to reveal the cynical emptiness of those charges, and bring aggressive scrutiny even to the old, familiar, patriotic, war-supporting, flag-waving ethos represented by McCain, may go a long way toward determining who our next president is.

  70. Mrs. McCain’s Money

    Senator John McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, has decided not to release her tax returns — not now and not in the future. In the interest of transparency and to support her husband’s frequent calls for clean and open government, she should rethink that decision.

    Since their marriage in 1980, Mrs. McCain, the daughter of a multimillionaire Anheuser-Busch distributor, and her husband have filed separate tax returns. In April, Mr. McCain released his own returns, but just for the last two years — a paltry nod to openness. Mrs. McCain, it was explained, would not release her tax returns in “the interest of protecting the privacy of her children.”

    Mrs. McCain dug in deeper this month, insisting that she will never make her returns public, even if her husband wins the presidency and she becomes first lady. “My husband is the candidate,” she said.

    There is no question that Mr. McCain — the candidate — has reaped considerable benefits from his wife’s wealth, including discounted use of her company’s corporate jet to fly from state to state during this campaign.

    Voters also deserve to know whether any of Senator McCain’s official actions have benefited his wife, family members, or their business associates, as they did in the case of Charles Keating, the Arizona developer and savings and loan operator at the center of the Keating Five scandal two decades ago. A year before Mr. McCain’s 1987 meetings with bank regulators on Mr. Keating’s behalf, Mrs. McCain and her father invested more than $350,000 in a strip mall developed by Mr. Keating.

    Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, have released eight years of joint returns. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have recently released eight years of tax information, although the public is still owed a list of the donors to the Clinton presidential library and foundation.

    During the 2004 presidential campaign, we urged Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wealthy wife of Senator John Kerry, to release her tax returns. So did the Republican National Committee. This time, predictably, the R.N.C. has switched sides. Senator and Mrs. McCain should show that they’re both committed to open government and release Mrs. McCain’s returns.

  71. Hopefully he will carry this out;

    Obama eyes media with promise of antitrust push

    Democrat Barack Obama said on Sunday he would pursue a vigorous antitrust policy if he becomes U.S. president and singled out the media industry as one area where government regulators would need to be watchful as consolidation increases.

    "I will assure that we will have an antitrust division that is serious about pursuing cases," the Illinois senator told an audience of mostly senior citizens in Oregon.

    "There are going to be areas, in the media for example where we're seeing more and more consolidation, that I think (it) is legitimate to the consumer being served?"

    Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to contest November's presidential election against Republican Sen. John McCain, criticized President George W. Bush's administration for lax supervision of major mergers, though he did not cite specific examples or companies.

    "We're going to have an antitrust division in the Justice Department that actually believes in antitrust law. We haven't had that for the last seven, eight years," Obama said.

    "Some of the consolidations that have been taking place, I think, may be anti-competitive."

    Obama advisers have also said he would crack down on any competition lapses in the energy sector that have resulted from big corporate mergers.

    In a position statement for the American Antitrust Institute issued previously, Obama highlighted drug and insurance companies, saying his administration would work to prevent agreements that kept cheaper generic drugs from entering the market.

    He also said his administration would ensure that drug and insurance companies were not abusing monopoly positions by instituting "unjustified" price increases.

    Obama told reporters a new approach to antitrust policy in general may be needed.

    "We live in a globalized economy and we probably have to update how we approach antitrust to figure out what is truly uncompetitive behavior on the part of monopolies or oligopolies and what are just big successful companies that need to be big in order to compete internationally," he said.

    Just one more reason to prefer Barack Obama over either Hillary or McSame.

    Breaking up the cabal which has given the right wing a free pass the last two decades and refused to do their REAL job informing Americans instead of spinning right wing talking points could very well change the national discourse as much as anything else we could do.

  72. By now I assume you have all heard about Ted Kennedy. We definitely want to keep him in our thoughts

  73. On May 20, 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of "Freedom Riders" in Montgomery, Ala., prompting the federal government to send in United States marshals to restore order.

    Just about the time certain elements of todays right wing of the republican party started looking at the US government as a problem.

  74. MCH said...
    By now I assume you have all heard about Ted Kennedy. We definitely want to keep him in our thoughts"

    i was going to say the same thing!

  75. Great post Clif, i've been saying that for years that the Media empires and Orwellian corporate oligopolies NEED to be dismantled so we c an have truth and diversity in our media rather than media sorcery and dishonest Reich wing talking points to deceive the weak minded.

  76. Right now Barack Obama needs 95 delegates to capture the nomination, Hillary still needs over 264.

    If my calculations about Oregon are correct Obama will get around 29 and Hillary will get 23.

    Which means after both primaries are over are all counted Barack Obama will only need around 64 more delegates in future primaries and super delegates, while Hillary will needs 241, with only 88 elected delegates left. (Which means she needs almost all of the super delegates which are going for Obama instead.)

    This also doesn't count the super delegates who are going to come out this next week (probably most for Obama).

    Hillary is finished, but refuses to face reality any more the Bush ET AL have the last 7 1/2 years.

  77. Democrat Barack Obama won a U.S. presidential nominating contest in Oregon on Tuesday, NBC News projected, while rival Hillary Clinton cruised to a rout of the front-runner in Kentucky.

    The results gave Obama a majority of pledged delegates won in the lengthy state-by-state nominating fight with Clinton. He hopes that milestone marks the beginning of the end of their grueling Democratic race for the right to face Republican John McCain in November's election.

  78. One of Sen. Hillary Clinton's top financial supporters offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization's two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse the New York Democrat, a high-ranking official with YDA told The Huffington Post.

    Haim Saban, the billionaire entertainment magnate and longtime Clinton supporter, denied the allegation. But four independent sources said that just before the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, Saban called YDA President David Hardt and offered what was perceived as a lucrative proposal: $1 million would be made available for the group if Hardt and the organization's other uncommitted superdelegate backed Clinton.

    Contacted about the report, Saban, initially very friendly, became curt. "Not true," he said, "it's simply not true." He declined to elaborate. Did he talk to the YDA superdelegate? "I talk to many, many superdelegates. Some I don't even remember their names." Did he propose any financial transaction? "I have never offered them or anybody any money" in exchange for support or a vote, he said. The Clinton campaign did not return a request for comment.

    Members of the Young Democrats agonized about the potential fallout of Saban's call; his financial offer represented one-third of the group's 2008 budget. Democratic officials and fundraisers were consulted about how to respond, and at times the discussions were "emotional," one participant said. "It is scary for them, Haim is very powerful, he has great influence over donors who give to them."

    Just buy those votes: That's the Republican way.

  79. White House denies Iran attack report

    Jerusalem Post

    The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term. It said that while the military option had not been taken off the table, the administration preferred to resolve concerns about Iran's push for a nuclear weapon "through peaceful diplomatic means."

    Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who visited Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.

    The official reportedly went on to say that, for the time being, "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic.

    The Army Radio report, which was quoted by The Jerusalem Post and resonated widely, stated that according to assessments in Israel, the recent turmoil in Lebanon, where Hizbullah has established de facto control of the country, was advancing an American attack.

    Bush, the official reportedly said, considered Hizbullah's show of strength evidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's growing influence. In Bush's view, the official said, "the disease must be treated - not its symptoms."

    In an interview last week in the Oval Office, Bush told the Post that "Iran is an incredibly negative influence" and "the biggest long-term threat to peace in the Middle East," but that the US was "pushing back hard and will continue to do so."

    He noted that "Iran is involved in funding Hamas and Hizbullah, and it's that Iranian influence which I'm deeply concerned about. But there needs to be more than just the United States concerned about it."

    Bush said: "We take [seriously] this issue of [Iran] getting the technology, the know-how on how to develop a nuclear weapon."

    "There will be wars, lots of wars."
    John McCain 2007

  80. What’s next for the economy? Look at California
    Tough times in world's seventh largest ecomomy: consumer spending down, unemployment up, municipalities going bust

    By James Saft

    As it did when the housing bubble began to burst, California is leading the way in the next leg: a consumer bust.

    Squeezed by rising unemployment, inflation in food and energy costs and plunging house prices, Californians are cutting back on spending. Besides causing woes for state and local government, this is giving California’s economy another knock and makes further job losses, home repossessions and banking problems more likely.

    The figures are pretty bad. The median home price has fallen by 29% in the year to March, according to the California Association of Realtors, and repossessions are surging. Unemployment has risen by 24%, to 6.2%, in the same period.

    But most importantly, in the 10 months to the end of April sales tax receipts in California are actually down in absolute terms. Gasoline tax receipts are essentially flat. When you factor in that there would have been considerable inflation during the period, and that some essentials like gasoline will have risen sharply in cost, the picture is clear: Californians are tightening their belts.

    And California matters. It accounts for 13% of U.S. GDP. It was also where more than a third of the non-mainstream home loans such as subprime and Alt-A were made in 2006 and 2007, making it very important to the health of the banking system.

    “California is big enough that it is going to drag a lot of the nation down with it,” said Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics consultancy in Los Angeles.

    “You can’t have collapsing consumer demand in California and not expect it to have an influence.”

    Mr. Thornberg sees the recession in California being closer to the difficult one of the early 1990s in severity rather than the briefer version after the internet boom ended. But while California is not suffering from an industrial bust, as it did when aerospace was hit after the Berlin Wall came down, its consumers are coming into this with very little left in the tank.

    “People have racked up a phenomenal amount of debt, savings rates have been at zero and the piper has to be paid,” Mr. Thornberg said.

    Vallejo, in northern California, last week said it would file for bankruptcy, prompted by rising costs and falling tax receipts due to the housing slump.

    And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to unveil plans for $15 billion in bonds backed by lottery revenues to help plug a budget hole.

    A lottery jackpot is just about what the state needs right now, though the odds seem commensurately remote.

    The downturn is clear too from a host of company results.

    Higher end department store chain Nordstrom Inc. last week reported that same-store sales fell 6.5% in the first quarter, dragged down in part by poor traffic in California, which accounts for about a third of its turnover.

    Starbucks too blamed some of its recent disappointing performance on a new unwillingness among subprime-hit coffee drinkers in California and south Florida to pay top dollar for stimulants.

    At the lower end of the scale, fast food chain Jack in the Box said on Wednesday that it had seen softer sales at restaurants in California.

    One particular area of concern is the way in which California’s faltering economy and rising unemployment interact with falling housing prices to prompt greater rates of mortgage defaults. This could hit banks with exposure to California in their mortgage loan portfolios, not to mention Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    “There is a very strong relationship between delinquencies and the coupling of job losses with falling home prices,” Ajay Rajadhyaksha and Derek Chen of Barclays Capital in New York wrote in a note to clients.

    For example in the areas of Modesto, Stockton and Merced the unemployment rates are above 10% while more than 60% of loans are close to being underwater, or larger than the value of the underlying house. Serious delinquencies in those areas are above 18%, while the national average is 3.6%, according to Barclays.

    But beyond the implications for banks, California can really be seen as the testing ground for what the U.S. consumer looks like in coming years, and how he or she manages. If, somehow, the move from spending to savings can be done gradually, the downturn in the United States may be gentle.

    If, on the other hand, it happens quickly, watch out. “Savings rates should probably have to rise to five to six percent in the next year or two to get us back to a stable position,” said Mr. Thornberg at Beacon Economics.

    “If you have a five or six percent rise in the savings rates, it’s functionally a five or six percent decrease in consumer spending.

    “We’ve never seen that kind of drop in consumer spending in the U.S. economy.”

  81. By what right is this gang of thieves selling the American people’s country?

    Schuyler Ebbets

    (Reuters) - A consortium led by Spanish infrastructure company Abertis was named preferred bidder on Monday in the largest U.S. toll road deal ever after offering $12.8 billion to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research) was also part of the group, which had pledged total investment on the road of $14.5 billion over the 75-year lifetime of the contract.

    Much of America and it’s resources are now owned by foreign investors. While the American people were being dumbed down and intentionally made as ignorant and immoral as possible by the media, political and corporate looters hollowed out their once great nation leaving it a spent and empty shell.

    Remember Russia, the fallen defunct country? Russia is in debt to no one and has loaned America over 40 billion dollars. Russia is now buying up pieces of America at cut-rate prices. America has borrowed billions of dollars from their supposed enemies the Muslims- Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and hundreds of billions from communist China.

    The United States government is selling off major roads in America allowing foreign governments to charge the American people for the right to drive on their own roads, built and maintained with their tax dollars.

    It’s been the biggest churn um and burn um corporate looting in human history. A gang of thieves has sold both the American people and their country to the highest bidder in a mega garage sale. By what right is this gang of thieves selling the American people’s country? Who gave the American people’s country to them that they have this right to sell it?

    The USA’s national debt is increasing by $2.43 billion every day. America is now the biggest debtor nation on earth, at nearly ten trillion dollars, a debt so large that it is impossible to repay. Every American family now owes $90,000 dollars mostly to foreign investors. Once the world understands this fact the value of the American dollar will tumble even more than it already has. The American dollar is printed by a privately owned non-government regulated bank. It is money that is not backed by gold or silver or anything of tangible value, its just paper. The presses are all working at top speed day and knight. The more they print the less its worth. The most interesting times are yet to come.

    They'll own you next.

  82. The Old Titans All Collapsed. Is the U.S. Next?

    By Kevin Phillips

    Back in August, during the panic over mortgages, Alan Greenspan offered reassurance to an anxious public. The current turmoil, the former Federal Reserve Board chairman said, strongly resembled brief financial scares such as the Russian debt crisis of 1998 or the U.S. stock market crash of 1987. Not to worry.

    But in the background, one could hear the groans and feel the tremors as larger political and economic tectonic plates collided. Nine months later, Greenspan's soothing analogies no longer wash. The U.S. economy faces unprecedented debt levels, soaring commodity prices and sliding home prices, to say nothing of a weak dollar. Despite the recent stabilization of the economy, some economists fear that the world will soon face the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s.

    That analogy is hardly a perfect fit; there's almost no chance of another sequence like the Great Depression, where the stock market dove 80 percent, joblessness reached 25 percent, and the Great Plains became a dustbowl that forced hundreds of thousands of "Okies" to flee to California. But Americans should worry that the current unrest betokens the sort of global upheaval that upended previous leading world economic powers, most notably Britain.

    More than 80 percent of Americans now say that we are on the wrong track, but many if not most still believe that the history of other nations is irrelevant -- that the United States is unique, chosen by God. So did all the previous world economic powers: Rome, Spain, the Netherlands (in the maritime glory days of the 17th century, when New York was New Amsterdam) and 19th-century Britain. Their early strength was also their later weakness, not unlike the United States since the 1980s.

    There is a considerable literature on these earlier illusions and declines. Reading it, one can argue that imperial Spain, maritime Holland and industrial Britain shared a half-dozen vulnerabilities as they peaked and declined: a sense of things no longer being on the right track, intolerant or missionary religion, military or imperial overreach, economic polarization, the rise of finance (displacing industry) and excessive debt. So too for today's United States.

    Before we amplify the contemporary U.S. parallels, the skeptic can point out how doomsayers in each nation, while eventually correct, were also premature. In Britain, for example, doubters fretted about becoming another Holland as early as the 1860s, and apprehension surged again in the 1890s, based on the industrial muscle of such rivals as Germany and the United States. By the 1940s, those predictions had come true, but in practical terms, the critics of the 1860s and 1890s were too early.

    Premature fears have also dogged the United States. The decades after the 1968 election were marked by waves of a new national apprehension: that U.S. post-World War II global hegemony was in danger. The first, in 1968-72, involved a toxic mix of global trade and currency crises and the breakdown of the U.S. foreign policy consensus over Southeast Asia. Books emerged with titles such as "Retreat From Empire?" and "The End of the American Era." More national malaise followed Watergate and the fall of Saigon. Stage three came in the late 1980s, when a resurgent Japan seemed to be challenging U.S. preeminence in manufacturing and possibly even finance. In 1991, Democratic presidential aspirant Paul Tsongas observed that "the Cold War is over. . . . Germany and Japan won." Well, not quite.

    In 2008, we can mark another perilous decade: the tech mania of 1997-2000, morphing into a bubble and market crash; the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; imperial hubris and the Bush administration's bungled 2003 invasion of Iraq. These were followed by OPEC's abandoning its $22-$28 price range for oil, with the cost per barrel rising over five years to more than $100; the collapse of global respect for the United States over the Iraq war; the imploding U.S. housing market and debt bubble; and the almost 50 percent decline of the U.S. dollar against the euro since 2002. Small wonder a global financial crisis is in the air.

    Here, then, is the unnerving possibility: that another, imminent global crisis could make the half-century between the 1970s and the 2020s the equivalent for the United States of what the half-century before 1950 was for Britain. This may well be the Big One: the multi-decade endgame of U.S. ascendancy. The chronology makes historical sense -- four decades of premature jitters segueing into unhappy reality.

    The most chilling parallel with the failures of the old powers is the United States' unhealthy reliance on the financial sector as the engine of its growth. In the 18th century, the Dutch thought they could replace their declining industry and physical commerce with grand money-lending schemes to foreign nations and princes. But a series of crashes and bankruptcies in the 1760s and 1770s crippled Holland's economy. In the early 1900s, one apprehensive minister argued that Britain could not thrive as a "hoarder of invested securities" because "banking is not the creator of our prosperity but the creation of it." By the late 1940s, the debt loads of two world wars proved the point, and British global economic leadership became history.

    In the United States, the financial services sector passed manufacturing as a component of the GDP in the mid-1990s. But market enthusiasm seems to have blocked any debate over this worrying change: In the 1970s, manufacturing occupied 25 percent of GDP and financial services just 12 percent, but by 2003-06, finance enjoyed 20-21 percent, and manufacturing had shriveled to 12 percent.

    The downside is that the final four or five percentage points of financial-sector GDP expansion in the 1990s and 2000s involved mischief and self-dealing: the exotic mortgage boom, the reckless bundling of loans into securities and other innovations better left to casinos. Run-amok credit was the lubricant. Between 1987 and 2007, total debt in the United States jumped from $11 trillion to $48 trillion, and private financial-sector debt led the great binge.

    Washington looked kindly on the financial sector throughout the 1980s and 1990s, providing it with endless liquidity flows and bailouts. Inexcusably, movers and shakers such as Greenspan, former treasury secretary Robert Rubin and the current secretary, Henry Paulson, refused to regulate the industry. All seemed to welcome asset bubbles; they may have figured the finance industry to be the new dominant sector of economic evolution, much as industry had replaced agriculture in the late 19th century. But who seriously expects the next great economic power -- China, India, Brazil -- to have a GDP dominated by finance?

    With the help of the overgrown U.S. financial sector, the United States of 2008 is the world's leading debtor, has by far the largest current-account deficit and is the leading importer, at great expense, of both manufactured goods and oil. The potential damage if the world soon undergoes the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s is incalculable. The loss of global economic leadership that overtook Britain and Holland seems to be looming on our own horizon.

  83. The Bushes and Hitler's Appeasement

    By Robert Parry

    The irony of George W. Bush going before the Knesset and mocking the late Sen. William Borah for expressing surprise at Adolf Hitler's 1939 invasion of Poland is that Bush's own family played a much bigger role assisting the Nazis.

    If Borah, an isolationist Republican from Idaho, sounded naive saying "Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided," then what should be said about Bush's grandfather and other members of his family providing banking and industrial assistance to the Nazis as they built their war machine in the 1930s?

    The archival evidence is now clear that Prescott Bush, the president's grandfather, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from and collaborated with key financial backers of Nazi Germany.

    That business relationship continued after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and even after Germany declared war on the United States following Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. It stopped only when the U.S. government seized assets of Bush-connected companies in late 1942 under the "Trading with the Enemy Act."

    So, perhaps instead of holding up Sen. Borah to ridicule, Bush might have acknowledged in his May 15 speech that his forebears also were blind to the dangers of Hitler.

    Bush might have noted that his family's wealth, which fueled his own political rise, was partly derived from Nazi collaboration and possibly from slave labor provided by Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

    A more honest speech before the Knesset - on the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding - might have contained an apology to the Jewish people from a leading son of the Bush family for letting its greed contribute to Nazi power and to the horrors of the Holocaust. Instead, there was just the jab at Sen. Borah, who died in 1940.

    President Bush apparently saw no reason to remind the world of a dark chapter from the family history. After all, those ugly facts mostly disappeared from public consciousness soon after World War II.

    Protected by layers of well-connected friends, Prescott Bush brushed aside the Nazi scandal and won a U.S. Senate seat from Connecticut, which enabled him to start laying the foundation for the family's political dynasty.

    In recent years, however, the archival records from the pre-war era have been assembled, drawing from the Harriman family papers at the Library of Congress, documents at the National Archives, and records from war-crimes trials after Germany's surrender.

    Managers for the Powerful

    One can trace the origins of this story back more than a century to the emergence of Samuel Bush, George W. Bush's great-grandfather, as a key manager for a set of powerful American business families, including the Rockefellers and the Harrimans. [See's "Bush Family Chronicles: The Patriarchs."]

    That chapter took an important turn in 1919 when investment banker George Herbert Walker teamed up with Averell Harriman, scion to a railroad fortune, to found a new investment banking firm, W.A. Harriman Company.

    The Harriman firm was backed by the Rockefellers' National City Bank and the Morgan family's Guaranty Trust. The English-educated Walker assisted in assembling the Harriman family's overseas business investments.

    In 1921, Walker's favorite daughter, Dorothy, married Samuel Bush's son Prescott, a Yale graduate and a member of the school's exclusive Skull and Bones society. Handsome and athletic, admired for his golf and tennis skills, Prescott Bush was a young man with the easy grace of someone born into the comfortable yet competitive world of upper-crust contacts.

    Three years later, Dorothy gave birth to George Herbert Walker Bush in Milton, Massachusetts.

    Lifted by the financial boom of the 1920s, Prescott and Dorothy Bush were on the rise. By 1926, George Herbert Walker had brought his son-in-law in on a piece of the Harriman action, hiring him as a vice president in the Harriman banking fir

    By the mid-Thirties, Prescott Bush had become a managing partner at the merged firm of Brown Brothers Harriman. The archival records also show that Brown Brothers Harriman served as the U.S. financial service arm for German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, an early funder of the Nazi Party.

    Thyssen, an admirer of Adolf Hitler since the 1920s, joined the Nazi Party in 1931 when it was still a fringe organization. He helped bail the struggling party out with financial help, even providing its headquarters building in Munich.

    Meanwhile, Averell Harriman had launched the Hamburg-Amerika line of steamships to facilitate the bank's dealings with Germany, and made Prescott Bush a director. The ships delivered fuel, steel, coal, gold and money to Germany as Hitler was consolidating his power and building his war machine.

    Other evidence shows that Prescott Bush served as the director of the Union Banking Corp. of New York, which represented Thyssen's interests in the United States and was owned by a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands.

    As a steel magnate, Thyssen was amassing a fortune as Hitler rearmed Germany. Documents also linked Bush to Thyssen's Consolidated Silesian Steel Company, which was based in mineral-rich Silesia on the German-Polish border and exploited slave labor from Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. But records at the National Archives do not spell out exactly when Bush's connection ended or what he knew about the business details.

    In 1941, Thyssen had a falling out with Hitler and fled to France where he was captured. Much of Thyssen's empire went under the direct control of the Nazis, but even that did not shatter the business ties that existed with Prescott Bush and Harriman's bank.

    It wasn't until August 1942 that newspaper stories disclosed the secretive ties between Union Banking Corp. and Nazi Germany.

    After an investigation, the U.S. government seized the property of the Hamburg-Amerika line and moved against affiliates of the Union Banking Corp. In November 1942, the government seized the assets of the Silesian-American Corp.

    No Kiss of Death

    For most public figures, allegations of trading with the enemy would have been a political kiss of death, but the disclosures barely left a lipstick smudge on Averell Harriman, Prescott Bush and other business associates implicated in the Nazi business dealings.

    "Politically, the significance of these dealings - the great surprise - is that none of it seemed to matter much over the next decade or so," wrote Kevin Phillips in American Dynasty.

    "A few questions would be raised, but Democrat Averell Harriman would not be stopped from becoming federal mutual security administrator in 1951 or winning election as governor of New York in 1954. Nor would Republican Prescott Bush (who was elected senator from Connecticut in 1952) and his presidential descendants be hurt in any of their future elections."

    Indeed, the quick dissipation of the Nazi financial scandal was only a portent of the Bush family's future. Unlike politicians of lower classes, the Bushes seemed to travel in a bubble impervious to accusations of impropriety, since the Eastern Establishment doesn't like to think badly of its own. [For details, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

    To this day - as President Bush showed by mocking the long-forgotten Sen. Borah and then wielding the Nazi "appeasement" club against Barack Obama and other Democrats - the assumption remains that the bubble will continue to protect the Bush family name.

    However, the evidence from dusty archives suggests that the Bush family went way beyond appeasement of Adolf Hitler to aiding and abetting the Nazis.

  84. Obama leads McCain in November match: Reuters poll

    Democrat Barack Obama has opened an 8-point national lead on Republican John McCain as the U.S. presidential rivals turn their focus to a general election race, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

    Obama, who was tied with McCain in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup last month, moved to a 48 percent to 40 percent lead over the Arizona senator in May as he took command of his grueling Democratic presidential duel with rival Hillary Clinton.

    The Illinois senator has not yet secured the Democratic presidential nomination to run against McCain in November.

    The poll also found Obama expanded his lead over Clinton in the Democratic race to 26 percentage points, doubling his advantage from mid-April as Democrats begin to coalesce around Obama and prepare for the general election battle with McCain.

    "Obama has been very resilient, bouncing back from rough periods and doing very well with independent voters," pollster John Zogby said. "The race with McCain is going to be very competitive."

    The poll was taken Thursday through Sunday during a period when Obama came under attack from President George W. Bush and McCain for his promise to talk to hostile foreign leaders without preconditions.

    Obama's gains followed a month in which he was plagued with a series of campaign controversies and suffered two big losses to Clinton in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    The poll was conducted after Obama denounced his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who made a series of public appearances that rekindled a controversy over his inflammatory comments on race and religion.

    Obama also survived a furor over his comments about "bitter" small-town residents who cling to guns and religion out of frustration over their economic concerns.

    Obama edged closer to clinching the Democratic nomination on Tuesday when he split two nominating contests with Clinton, beating the New York senator in Oregon and losing in Kentucky to gain a majority of pledged delegates won in state-by-state nominating contests.

    The results put him within easy range of the 2,026 delegates needed for the nomination. Just three Democratic nominating contests remain before voting concludes on June 3.


    The poll found Obama was seen as a better steward of the economy than McCain, leading 48 percent to 39 percent. McCain led Obama by 3 points last month on an issue that is certain to be crucial in their campaign.

    Obama led McCain among independents, 47 percent to 35 percent, and led among some groups of voters who have backed Clinton during their Democratic primary battle, including Catholics, Jews, union households and voters making less than $35,000 a year.

    McCain led among whites, NASCAR fans, and elderly voters. McCain led with voters who believed the United States was on the right track, and Obama led with the much higher percentage of voters who believed it was on the wrong track.

    "Clearly voters are looking for change. Every problem Obama has had in consolidating his base and reaching to the center, John McCain has the same sort of problem," Zogby said.

    "It's McCain's lead among voters over the age of 65 that is keeping him within shouting distance of Obama," he said.

    The poll found Clinton, who has shrugged off calls to quit the Democratic race, tied at 43 percent with McCain in the national poll. She led McCain by 47 percent to 40 percent on who would be the better manager of the economy.

    Obama and Clinton have refrained from attacking each other in recent weeks as Obama has turned his focus to McCain.

    But Zogby said the attacks on Obama by Bush and McCain, who have been critical of his willingness to talk to leaders of countries like Iran, did not appear to hurt Obama. If anything, he said, it reminded voters of McCain's ties to Bush, whose approval rating is still mired at record lows.

    "The president is so unpopular. To inject himself into a presidential campaign does not help John McCain, particularly when McCain is tied to Bush," Zogby said.

    The national survey of 516 likely Democratic primary voters had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. The poll of the national race between McCain and the two Democratic contenders surveyed 1,076 likely voters with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

    Wanna bet after the American people take a good look they don't want more of the McSame?

  85. Prescott Bush appeased Hitler, and actually helped fund the genocidal psychopath.

    John McCain is aligned with Pastor Hagee who actually believes Hitler had a high calling from God to eliminate the Jewish People to force them to establish the nation of Israel -- for a perverted, surrealistic "Armageddon" theory that will force all Jews to be in Israel in order for Christ to come back.. and kill the Jews who did not convert to Christianity!!

  86. Prescott Bush appeased Hitler, and actually helped fund the genocidal psychopath.

    John McCain is aligned with Pastor Hagee who actually believes Hitler had a high calling from God to eliminate the Jewish People to force them to establish the nation of Israel -- for a perverted, surrealistic "Armageddon" theory that will force all Jews to be in Israel in order for Christ to come back.. and kill the Jews who did not convert to Christianity!!

  87. Lets see, Bush claims talking to your enemy in todays world fraught with terrorists behind every tree and millions working over time just to destroy America is nothing short of appeasement.

    Well he better run back to the middle east and talk to the Israelis then;

    Because Syria and Israel are renewing peace talks.

    The announcements Wednesday by the two countries, which said Israel and Syria would launch talks in Ankara under Turkish auspices, came despite longstanding U.S. opposition to talks with Syria.

    I wonder if Bush and McSame think THAT is appeasement?

    Or this;

    "After five days of fraught negotiations among Lebanon’s rival political groups in Doha, the Qatari authorities said the agreement called for moves within 24 hours for Parliament in Beirut to begin the process of electing Gen. Michel Suleiman, the commander of Lebanon’s army, as president.

    The deal was also expected to lead to the formation of a cabinet in which Hezbollah, supported by Iran and Syria, along with its allies will enjoy the veto power it had sought in the negotiations .

    Under the terms of the agreement, the government will also debate anew electoral law designed to provide better representation in the country’s sectarian system of power-sharing.

    Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, the Qatari Prime Minister, told a formal ceremony in Doha that Lebanon’s feuding parties “agreed that the speaker of Parliament will call within 24 hours for the election of Gen. Michel Suleiman as president of the republic.”"" from the NY Times

    I wonder if Israel or the Saudis are seen by Bush and McSame as appeasers because of their accepting a deal in Lebanon with Hezbollah?

    Now both of these are actually very good signs that some sort of lowering of the violence in the middle east is possible if the separate factions and the countries who back them are willing to talk out their differences instead of thinkin' everything can be solved by more death destruction and war.

    But don't tell that to the 28%ers out there, they for some reason refuse to believe it.

    I wonder what Bush and McSame would think if they ever learned Maliki was an Iranian agent in the 1980's when Hezbollah was being formed in Syria, and most of Maliki's government troops and police forces received training in the Badr Corps compliments of Iran.

    Who are you appeasing when you destroy the government which is the largest obstacle to a Shiite control over Iraq and helps the most loyal Iranian parties to come to power?

    Or are Bush and McSame just that ill-informed and incompetent?

    I can't understand their claims of foreign policy superiority, they failed miserably in their Iraq policy, all they really accomplished was giving Iran something Iran could have never achieved by themselves.

    They have failed to find and capture Osama Bin Forgotten, and have created a much bigger mess in Afghanistan than the Soviets ever did.

    They have done much more damage to the US military then they ever accused the Clenis of.

    Now their middle east allies are ignoring their supposed strong positions to forge peace deals once they realize Bush is done in 6 months and has FAILED so miserably.

    That surely ain't nothin' to brag about but McSame seems to want to ...... and continue of course.


    Khalid Amayreh

    Desert Peace

    George W. Bush is well known for his low intellectuality and clarion ignorance of the world. To mask these serious flaws and shortcomings, he routinely adopts a discourse based on mendacity and dishonesty.

    And while it is premature to pass a final judgment on the man, it is probably safe to conclude by now that he has already brought an irremediable disaster upon the United States and the rest of the world.

    A few years ago, the ruthless ignoramus of the White House invaded, occupied and destroyed two sovereign countries, and killed or caused the death of over a million innocent people, all under the flimsy pretexts of fighting terror.

    Bush even had the temerity to claim that “God told me to do it.”

    Last week, human decency was once again affronted by Bush’s diatribe at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. There he bestowed all the epithets of glory upon a state that practices mass murder, ethnic cleansing and land theft, a state whose very existence was, is and will always be a colossal crime against humanity.

    While contemptuously ignoring the Palestinian Nakba, the catastrophe of an innocent people that had to be cruelly uprooted from its ancestral homeland in order to compensate Ashkenazi Jews for the holocaust, George Bush heaped lavish praise on Israel, a state run by an essentially criminal elite of warmongers and war criminals ever since its violent birth sixty years ago.

    Bush began his ranting by pointing out how the “Jewish people endured the agony of the pogroms, the tragedy of the Great War, and the horrors of the Holocaust,” as if Jewish victimhood, however genuine it may be, gave Zionism the right to commit genocide and ethnic cleaning against another people.

    Bush quoted what Elie Wiesel called “the Kingdom of the night” where “soulless men took away lives and broke apart families, adding, “yet they couldn’t take away the spirit of the Jewish people, and they could not break the promise of God.”

    But he utterly ignored Zionism’s own kingdom of darkness, where callous-hearted criminals, bearing Jewish names but having Nazi hearts and minds, took away lives and have broken families, who notwithstanding their evils, wouldn’t be able to take away the spirit of the Palestinian people, nor break the promise of God.

    Wiesel, the sanctimonious American Zionist paragon of hypocrisy and moral duplicity has little moral authority to lecture the world on the evils of Nazism. A man who says and boasts openly that he identifies himself with Israeli crimes and that he couldn’t bring himself to criticize Israel irrespective of her murderous actions, is obviously unqualified for any moral exemplification.

    Bush spoke of Israel’s “thriving democracy,” but evaded the fact that apartheid and democracy can’t coexist.

    Could it be that the President of the United States, the erstwhile mother of all democracies, didn’t know that murdering innocent human beings knowingly and deliberately, demolishing people’s homes, stealing their land and confining thousands of doctors, teachers, college professors and other professionals to detention camps, without charge or trial, were unlawful acts that contravened the most basic ideals of true democracy?

    Bush enthusiastically hailed Israel for “welcoming immigrants from the four corners of Earth,” but overlooked the fact that for each and every immigrant Israel welcomed into Palestine, a native Palestinian Christian or Muslim was either murdered, dispossessed of his property or deported to the four corners of Earth.

    George Bush is indeed a shameful and irredeemable liar. He had the audacity to claim that America’s enduring embrace of Israel’s enduring criminality had nothing to do with the violence, tension and instability in the Middle East.

    “Some people,” he said, “suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away.

    “This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel’s population may be just over 7 million, but when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.”

    Well, no one has ever demanded that the US break ties with Israel, although this would in no way be an unconscionable demand, given Israel’s Nazi-like character.

    What much of the world is demanding is that the US stop supporting the Israeli policies of colonialism, ethnic cleansing and genocide against a people whose only “crime” is its survival and longing for freedom from occupation and apartheid.

    Bush, having evoked the mantras of the “chosen people” and “Massada shall not fall again,” even lashed out at the UN for criticizing Israel, but was utterly oblivious of the horrendous crimes and grave human rights violations that Israel has committed throughout its dark history, which prompted the international organization to censure the terrorist state.

    At one point, Bush seemed as if fornicating with words when he hailed Israel for “forging a free and modern society based on love of liberty, a passion for justice and a respect for human rights.”

    What else can be said when a state that is based on ethnic cleansing, oppression, and terrorism is celebrated as a bastion of liberty, justice and human rights? Have words lost their meaning?

    Bush’s nearly pornographic disregard for truth and objective facts reached a nauseating level when he praised successive Israeli governments for having tirelessly fought for peace while having to fight valiantly for freedom!!

    I don’t know if Bush really believed what he was saying, or if he was just parroting the words prepared for him by his Zionist speechwriter.

    Whatever the case, this man is clearly an abomination upon himself, America and the world.

    The American people would carry out an act of paramount morality by dumping him and what he represents into the dustbin of history.

    Failing to do so, God forbid, would plunge not only America but also the whole world into the abyss.

    Just what we need: A Lying Idiot Running/Ruining Things.

  89. Paying for War at the Pump

    By Robert Scheer

    What’s it got to do with the price of gas? Would some reporter with access to the Republican presidential candidate please ask John McCain why he wants to continue President Bush’s Mideast policy when it has proved so ruinous for American taxpayers? Because McCain is determined to ignore our economic meltdown and shift the debate to foreign policy, shouldn’t he have to explain why an open-ended military presence in the Mideast will make us economically and militarily more secure when the opposite is clearly the case?

    Let’s not waste too much time on the military side of the equation. The argument that troops on the ground have made us militarily more secure is absurd on its face. American resources and lives have been squandered in an inane effort that McCain aptly criticized before becoming a presidential candidate. As a Senate watchdog, he distinguished himself by sharply denouncing one defense contractor boondoggle after another in cases involving hundreds of billions for modern weapons that had nothing to do with fighting cave-based terrorists. But as a presidential candidate, McCain now unabashedly apologizes for every twist of the downwind spiral of the Bush administration foreign policy, from wasteful weapons to inhuman torture.

    McCain’s strategy is clearly that of distracting attention from the calamitous economy by sounding the demagogue’s alarm about enemies at the gate. This week, McCain again blasted Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on the grounds that he underestimated the threat from Iran while ignoring the vast increase in Iran’s power — an increase actually resulting from Bush eliminating Iran’s only effective enemy, Saddam Hussein. The other winners in this folly have been the oil kingdoms that Hussein periodically threatened, led by the Saudi royal family. Seizing upon the opportunity presented by the 9/11 attacks, Bush knocked off not the Saudis, who had produced Osama bin Laden and 15 of his hijacker minions, but rather the royal family’s sworn enemy in Iraq, who had absolutely nothing do with 9/11.

    And how did the Saudis thank us? Just check the price of oil, which has increased more than sixfold since 9/11. On Friday, Bush went to dine at Saudi King Abdullah’s bizarrely opulent horse farm and pleaded for an increase in oil production, but to no avail. Bush received the same rebuff in April 2005, when oil was selling for $54 a barrel. On Tuesday, it sold for $129, and the price rise is a good measure of Saudi gratitude for the Bush family’s unwavering support over past decades. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, couldn’t have been more condescending when he turned down Bush’s request with the observation that “presidents and kings have every right, every privilege, to comment or ask or say whatever they want.” He added at a press conference, “How much does Saudi Arabia need to do to satisfy people who are questioning our oil practices and policies?”

    Enough to get the price back down to where it was when we saved your sorry oil-well excuse for a country, you ingrate, Bush might have retorted. But our bold leader was too polite for anything like that. “He didn’t punch any tables or shout at anybody,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. “I think he was satisfied.” Why? Instead of pointing out that the Saudis could easily open their spigots in gratitude for our keeping them in power, the president threatened the Saudi king not with an invasion but with a U.S. recession. “My point to His Majesty,” Bush warned in an interview with The New York Times before encountering the great man himself, “is going to be, when consumers have less purchasing power because of high prices of gasoline — in other words, when it affects their families, it could cause this economy to slow down. If the economy slows down, there will be less barrels of oil purchased.”

    He’ll show them — we’ll have a recession, our families will suffer and, boy, will the Saudis be sorry. A regular Teddy Roosevelt. There is no better measure of the failure of Bush’s foreign policy than that, five years after we conquered the second-most important pool of oil in the world, the American taxpayers who paid for this grand imperial adventure are rewarded with skyrocketing prices at the pump.

    At least when Bush first hyped his Iraq invasion plan, he had Paul Wolfowitz telling Congress that Iraqi oil would more than pay for it all. Not so McCain, who is so charged with imperial hubris that he is willing to commit to a 100-year lease on Iraq without expecting a penny in oil revenue in return.

  90. The Last Roundup

    Is the government compiling a secret list of citizens to detain under martial law?

    By Christopher Ketcham

    In the spring of 2007, a retired senior official in the U.S. Justice Department sat before Congress and told a story so odd and ominous, it could have sprung from the pages of a pulp political thriller. It was about a principled bureaucrat struggling to protect his country from a highly classified program with sinister implications. Rife with high drama, it included a car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., and a tense meeting at the White House, where the president's henchmen made the bureaucrat so nervous that he demanded a neutral witness be present.

    The bureaucrat was James Comey, John Ashcroft's second-in-command at the Department of Justice during Bush's first term. Comey had been a loyal political foot soldier of the Republican Party for many years. Yet in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he described how he had grown increasingly uneasy reviewing the Bush administration's various domestic surveillance and spying programs. Much of his testimony centered on an operation so clandestine he wasn't allowed to name it or even describe what it did. He did say, however, that he and Ashcroft had discussed the program in March 2004, trying to decide whether it was legal under federal statutes. Shortly before the certification deadline, Ashcroft fell ill with pancreatitis, making Comey acting attorney general, and Comey opted not to certify the program. When he communicated his decision to the White House, Bush's men told him, in so many words, to take his concerns and stuff them in an undisclosed location.

    Comey refused to knuckle under, and the dispute came to a head on the cold night of March 10, 2004, hours before the program's authorization was to expire. At the time, Ashcroft was in intensive care at George Washington Hospital following emergency surgery. Apparently, at the behest of President Bush himself, the White House tried, in Comey's words, "to take advantage of a very sick man," sending Chief of Staff Andrew Card and then–White House counsel Alberto Gonzales on a mission to Ashcroft's sickroom to persuade the heavily doped attorney general to override his deputy. Apprised of their mission, Comey, accompanied by a full security detail, jumped in his car, raced through the streets of the capital, lights blazing, and "literally ran" up the hospital stairs to beat them there.

    Minutes later, Gonzales and Card arrived with an envelope filled with the requisite forms. Ashcroft, even in his stupor, did not fall for their heavy-handed ploy. "I'm not the attorney general," Ashcroft told Bush's men. "There"—he pointed weakly to Comey—"is the attorney general." Gonzales and Card were furious, departing without even acknowledging Comey's presence in the room. The following day, the classified domestic spying program that Comey found so disturbing went forward at the demand of the White House—"without a signature from the Department of Justice attesting as to its legality," he testified.

    What was the mysterious program that had so alarmed Comey? Political blogs buzzed for weeks with speculation. Though Comey testified that the program was subsequently readjusted to satisfy his concerns, one can't help wondering whether the unspecified alteration would satisfy constitutional experts, or even average citizens. Faced with push-back from his bosses at the White House, did he simply relent and accept a token concession? Two months after Comey's testimony to Congress, the New York Times reported a tantalizing detail: The program that prompted him "to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases." The larger mystery remained intact, however. "It is not known precisely why searching the databases, or data mining, raised such a furious legal debate," the article conceded.

    Another clue came from a rather unexpected source: President Bush himself. Addressing the nation from the Oval Office in 2005 after the first disclosures of the NSA's warrantless electronic surveillance became public, Bush insisted that the spying program in question was reviewed "every 45 days" as part of planning to assess threats to "the continuity of our government."

    Few Americans—professional journalists included—know anything about so-called Continuity of Government (COG) programs, so it's no surprise that the president's passing reference received almost no attention. COG resides in a nebulous legal realm, encompassing national emergency plans that would trigger the takeover of the country by extra-constitutional forces—and effectively suspend the republic. In short, it's a road map for martial law.

    While Comey, who left the Department of Justice in 2005, has steadfastly refused to comment further on the matter, a number of former government employees and intelligence sources with independent knowledge of domestic surveillance operations claim the program that caused the flap between Comey and the White House was related to a database of Americans who might be considered potential threats in the event of a national emergency. Sources familiar with the program say that the government's data gathering has been overzealous and probably conducted in violation of federal law and the protection from unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

    According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, "There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived 'enemies of the state' almost instantaneously." He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

    Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a "national emergency." Executive orders issued over the past three decades define it as a "natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency," while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like "riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order." According to one news report, even "national opposition to U.S. military invasion abroad" could be a trigger.

    Let's imagine a harrowing scenario: coordinated bombings in several American cities culminating in a major blast—say, a suitcase nuke—in New York City. Thousands of civilians are dead. Commerce is paralyzed. A state of emergency is declared by the president. Continuity of Governance plans that were developed during the Cold War and aggressively revised since 9/11 go into effect. Surviving government officials are shuttled to protected underground complexes carved into the hills of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Power shifts to a "parallel government" that consists of scores of secretly preselected officials. (As far back as the 1980s, Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and Dick Cheney, then a congressman from Wyoming, were slated to step into key positions during a declared emergency.) The executive branch is the sole and absolute seat of authority, with Congress and the judiciary relegated to advisory roles at best. The country becomes, within a matter of hours, a police state.

    Interestingly, plans drawn up during the Reagan administration suggest this parallel government would be ruling under authority given by law to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, home of the same hapless bunch that recently proved themselves unable to distribute water to desperate hurricane victims. The agency's incompetence in tackling natural disasters is less surprising when one considers that, since its inception in the 1970s, much of its focus has been on planning for the survival of the federal government in the wake of a decapitating nuclear strike.

    Under law, during a national emergency, FEMA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, would be empowered to seize private and public property, all forms of transport, and all food supplies. The agency could dispatch military commanders to run state and local governments, and it could order the arrest of citizens without a warrant, holding them without trial for as long as the acting government deems necessary. From the comfortable perspective of peaceful times, such behavior by the government may seem far-fetched. But it was not so very long ago that FDR ordered 120,000 Japanese Americans—everyone from infants to the elderly—be held in detention camps for the duration of World War II. This is widely regarded as a shameful moment in U.S. history, a lesson learned. But a long trail of federal documents indicates that the possibility of large-scale detention has never quite been abandoned by federal authorities. Around the time of the 1968 race riots, for instance, a paper drawn up at the U.S. Army War College detailed plans for rounding up millions of "militants" and "American negroes," who were to be held at "assembly centers or relocation camps." In the late 1980s, the Austin American-Statesman and other publications reported the existence of 10 detention camp sites on military facilities nationwide, where hundreds of thousands of people could be held in the event of domestic political upheaval. More such facilities were commissioned in 2006, when Kellogg Brown & Root—then a subsidiary of Halliburton—was handed a $385 million contract to establish "temporary detention and processing capabilities" for the Department of Homeland Security. The contract is short on details, stating only that the facilities would be used for "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs." Just what those "new programs" might be is not specified.

    In the days after our hypothetical terror attack, events might play out like this: With the population gripped by fear and anger, authorities undertake unprecedented actions in the name of public safety. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security begin actively scrutinizing people who—for a tremendously broad set of reasons—have been flagged in Main Core as potential domestic threats. Some of these individuals might receive a letter or a phone call, others a request to register with local authorities. Still others might hear a knock on the door and find police or armed soldiers outside. In some instances, the authorities might just ask a few questions. Other suspects might be arrested and escorted to federal holding facilities, where they could be detained without counsel until the state of emergency is no longer in effect.

    It is, of course, appropriate for any government to plan for the worst. But when COG plans are shrouded in extreme secrecy, effectively unregulated by Congress or the courts, and married to an overreaching surveillance state—as seems to be the case with Main Core—even sober observers must weigh whether the protections put in place by the federal government are becoming more dangerous to America than any outside threat.

    Another well-informed source—a former military operative regularly briefed by members of the intelligence community—says this particular program has roots going back at least to the 1980s and was set up with help from the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has been told that the program utilizes software that makes predictive judgments of targets' behavior and tracks their circle of associations with "social network analysis" and artificial intelligence modeling tools.

    "The more data you have on a particular target, the better [the software] can predict what the target will do, where the target will go, who it will turn to for help," he says. "Main Core is the table of contents for all the illegal information that the U.S. government has [compiled] on specific targets." An intelligence expert who has been briefed by high-level contacts in the Department of Homeland Security confirms that a database of this sort exists, but adds that "it is less a mega-database than a way to search numerous other agency databases at the same time."

    A host of publicly disclosed programs, sources say, now supply data to Main Core. Most notable are the NSA domestic surveillance programs, initiated in the wake of 9/11, typically referred to in press reports as "warrantless wiretapping."

    In March, a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal shed further light onto the extraordinarily invasive scope of the NSA efforts: According to the Journal, the government can now electronically monitor "huge volumes of records of domestic e-mails and Internet searches, as well as bank transfers, credit card transactions, travel, and telephone records." Authorities employ "sophisticated software programs" to sift through the data, searching for "suspicious patterns." In effect, the program is a mass catalog of the private lives of Americans. And it's notable that the article hints at the possibility of programs like Main Core. "The [NSA] effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called black programs whose existence is undisclosed," the Journal reported, quoting unnamed officials. "Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach."

    The following information seems to be fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards. All of this information is archived on government supercomputers and, according to sources, also fed into the Main Core database.

    Main Core also allegedly draws on four smaller databases that, in turn, cull from federal, state, and local "intelligence" reports; print and broadcast media; financial records; "commercial databases"; and unidentified "private sector entities." Additional information comes from a database known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, which generates watch lists from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for use by airlines, law enforcement, and border posts. According to the Washington Post, the Terrorist Identities list has quadrupled in size between 2003 and 2007 to include about 435,000 names. The FBI's Terrorist Screening Center border crossing list, which listed 755,000 persons as of fall 2007, grows by 200,000 names a year. A former NSA officer tells Radar that the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, using an electronic-funds transfer surveillance program, also contributes data to Main Core, as does a Pentagon program that was created in 2002 to monitor antiwar protesters and environmental activists such as Greenpeace.

    If previous FEMA and FBI lists are any indication, the Main Core database includes dissidents and activists of various stripes, political and tax protesters, lawyers and professors, publishers and journalists, gun owners, illegal aliens, foreign nationals, and a great many other harmless, average people.

    A veteran CIA intelligence analyst who maintains active high-level clearances and serves as an advisor to the Department of Defense in the field of emerging technology tells Radar that during the 2004 hospital room drama, James Comey expressed concern over how this secret database was being used "to accumulate otherwise private data on non-targeted U.S. citizens for use at a future time." Though not specifically familiar with the name Main Core, he adds, "What was being requested of Comey for legal approval was exactly what a Main Core story would be." A source regularly briefed by people inside the intelligence community adds: "Comey had discovered that President Bush had authorized NSA to use a highly classified and compartmentalized Continuity of Government database on Americans in computerized searches of its domestic intercepts. [Comey] had concluded that the use of that 'Main Core' database compromised the legality of the overall NSA domestic surveillance project."

    If Main Core does exist, says Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism officer and an outspoken critic of the agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its likely home. "If a master list is being compiled, it would have to be in a place where there are no legal issues"—the CIA and FBI would be restricted by oversight and accountability laws—"so I suspect it is at DHS, which as far as I know operates with no such restraints." Giraldi notes that DHS already maintains a central list of suspected terrorists and has been freely adding people who pose no reasonable threat to domestic security. "It's clear that DHS has the mandate for controlling and owning master lists. The process is not transparent, and the criteria for getting on the list are not clear." Giraldi continues, "I am certain that the content of such a master list [as Main Core] would not be carefully vetted, and there would be many names on it for many reasons—quite likely including the two of us."

    Would Main Core in fact be legal? According to constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, who served as associate deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan, the question of legality is murky: "In the event of a national emergency, the executive branch simply assumes these powers"—the powers to collect domestic intelligence and draw up detention lists, for example—"if Congress doesn't explicitly prohibit it. It's really up to Congress to put these things to rest, and Congress has not done so." Fein adds that it is virtually impossible to contest the legality of these kinds of data collection and spy programs in court "when there are no criminal prosecutions and [there is] no notice to persons on the president's 'enemies list.' That means if Congress remains invertebrate, the law will be whatever the president says it is—even in secret. He will be the judge on his own powers and invariably rule in his own favor."

    The veteran CIA intelligence analyst notes that Comey's suggestion that the offending elements of the program were dropped could be misleading: "Bush [may have gone ahead and] signed it as a National Intelligence Finding anyway."

    But even if we never face a national emergency, the mere existence of the database is a matter of concern. "The capacity for future use of this information against the American people is so great as to be virtually unfathomable," the senior government official says.
    In any case, mass watch lists of domestic citizens may do nothing to make us safer from terrorism. Jeff Jonas, chief scientist at IBM, a world-renowned expert in data mining, contends that such efforts won't prevent terrorist conspiracies. "Because there is so little historical terrorist event data," Jonas tells Radar, "there is not enough volume to create precise predictions."

    The overzealous compilation of a domestic watch list is not unique in postwar American history. In 1950, the FBI, under the notoriously paranoid J. Edgar Hoover, began to "accumulate the names, identities, and activities" of suspect American citizens in a rapidly expanding "security index," according to declassified documents. In a letter to the Truman White House, Hoover stated that in the event of certain emergency situations, suspect individuals would be held in detention camps overseen by "the National Military Establishment." By 1960, a congressional investigation later revealed, the FBI list of suspicious persons included "professors, teachers, and educators; labor-union organizers and leaders; writers, lecturers, newsmen, and others in the mass-media field; lawyers, doctors, and scientists; other potentially influential persons on a local or national level; [and] individuals who could potentially furnish financial or material aid" to unnamed "subversive elements." This same FBI "security index" was allegedly maintained and updated into the 1980s, when it was reportedly transferred to the control of none other than FEMA (though the FBI denied this at the time).

    FEMA, however—then known as the Federal Preparedness Agency—already had its own domestic surveillance system in place, according to a 1975 investigation by Senator John V. Tunney of California. Tunney, the son of heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney and the inspiration for Robert Redford's character in the film The Candidate, found that the agency maintained electronic dossiers on at least 100,000 Americans that contained information gleaned from wide-ranging computerized surveillance. The database was located in the agency's secret underground city at Mount Weather, near the town of Bluemont, Virginia. The senator's findings were confirmed in a 1976 investigation by the Progressive magazine, which found that the Mount Weather computers "can obtain millions of pieces [of] information on the personal lives of American citizens by tapping the data stored at any of the 96 Federal Relocation Centers"—a reference to other classified facilities. According to the Progressive, Mount Weather's databases were run "without any set of stated rules or regulations. Its surveillance program remains secret even from the leaders of the House and the Senate."

    Ten years later, a new round of government martial law plans came to light. A report in the Miami Herald contended that Reagan loyalist and Iran-Contra conspirator Colonel Oliver North had spearheaded the development of a "secret contingency plan,"—code-named REX 84—which called "for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to FEMA, [and the] appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments." The North plan also reportedly called for the detention of upwards of 400,000 illegal aliens and an undisclosed number of American citizens in at least 10 military facilities maintained as potential holding camps.

    North's program was so sensitive in nature that when Texas congressman Jack Brooks attempted to question North about it during the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings, he was rebuffed even by his fellow legislators. "I read in Miami papers and several others that there had been a plan by that same agency [FEMA] that would suspend the American Constitution," Brooks said. "I was deeply concerned about that and wondered if that was the area in which he [North] had worked." Senator Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Iran, immediately cut off his colleague, saying, "That question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area, so may I request that you not touch upon that, sir." Though Brooks pushed for an answer, the line of questioning was not allowed to proceed.

    Wired magazine turned up additional damaging information, revealing in 1993 that North, operating from a secure White House site, allegedly employed a software database program called PROMIS (ostensibly as part of the REX 84 plan). PROMIS, which has a strange and controversial history, was designed to track individuals—prisoners, for example—by pulling together information from disparate databases into a single record. According to Wired, "Using the computers in his command center, North tracked dissidents and potential troublemakers within the United States. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon's enemies list or Senator Joe McCarthy's blacklist look downright crude." Sources have suggested to Radar that government databases tracking Americans today, including Main Core, could still have PROMIS-based legacy code from the days when North was running his programs.

    In the wake of 9/11, domestic surveillance programs of all sorts expanded dramatically. As one well-placed source in the intelligence community puts it, "The gloves seemed to come off." What is not yet clear is what sort of still-undisclosed programs may have been authorized by the Bush White House. Marty Lederman, a high-level official at the Department of Justice under Clinton, writing on a law blog last year, wondered, "How extreme were the programs they implemented [after 9/11]? How egregious was the lawbreaking?" Congress has tried, and mostly failed, to find out.

    In July 2007 and again last August, Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon and a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, sought access to the "classified annexes" of the Bush administration's Continuity of Government program. DeFazio's interest was prompted by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20 (also known as NSPD-51), issued in May 2007, which reserves for the executive branch the sole authority to decide what constitutes a national emergency and to determine when the emergency is over. DeFazio found this unnerving.

    But he and other leaders of the Homeland Security Committee, including Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, were denied a review of the Continuity of Government classified annexes. To this day, their calls for disclosure have been ignored by the White House. In a press release issued last August, DeFazio went public with his concerns that the NSPD-51 Continuity of Government plans are "extra-constitutional or unconstitutional." Around the same time, he told the Oregonian: "Maybe the people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right."

    Congress itself has recently widened the path for both extra-constitutional detentions by the White House and the domestic use of military force during a national emergency. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 effectively suspended habeas corpus and freed up the executive branch to designate any American citizen an "enemy combatant" forfeiting all privileges accorded under the Bill of Rights. The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act, also passed in 2006, included a last-minute rider titled "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," which allowed the deployment of U.S. military units not just to put down domestic insurrections—as permitted under posse comitatus and the Insurrection Act of 1807—but also to deal with a wide range of calamities, including "natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack, or incident."

    More troubling, in 2002, Congress authorized funding for the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, which, according to Washington Post military intelligence expert William Arkin, "allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control."

    "We are at the edge of a cliff and we're about to fall off," says constitutional lawyer and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein. "To a national emergency planner, everybody looks like a danger to stability. There's no doubt that Congress would have the authority to denounce all this—for example, to refuse to appropriate money for the preparation of a list of U.S. citizens to be detained in the event of martial law. But Congress is the invertebrate branch. They say, 'We have to be cautious.' The same old crap you associate with cowards. None of this will change under a Democratic administration, unless you have exceptional statesmanship and the courage to stand up and say, 'You know, democracies accept certain risks that tyrannies do not.'"

    As of this writing, DeFazio, Thompson, and the other 433 members of the House are debating the so-called Protect America Act, after a similar bill passed in the Senate. Despite its name, the act offers no protection for U.S. citizens; instead, it would immunize from litigation U.S. telecom giants for colluding with the government in the surveillance of Americans to feed the hungry maw of databases like Main Core. The Protect America Act would legalize programs that appear to be unconstitutional.

    Meanwhile, the mystery of James Comey's testimony has disappeared in the morass of election year coverage. None of the leading presidential candidates have been asked the questions that are so profoundly pertinent to the future of the country: As president, will you continue aggressive domestic surveillance programs in the vein of the Bush administration? Will you release the COG blueprints that Representatives DeFazio and Thompson were not allowed to read? What does it suggest about the state of the nation that the U.S. is now ranked by worldwide civil liberties groups as an "endemic surveillance society," alongside repressive regimes such as China and Russia? How can a democracy thrive with a massive apparatus of spying technology deployed against every act of political expression, private or public? (Radar put these questions to spokespeople for the McCain, Obama, and Clinton campaigns, but at press time had yet to receive any responses.)

    These days, it's rare to hear a voice like that of Senator Frank Church, who in the 1970s led the explosive investigations into U.S. domestic intelligence crimes that prompted the very reforms now being eroded. "The technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny," Church pointed out in 1975. "And there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know."

    UPDATE: Since this article went to press, several documents have emerged to suggest the story has longer legs than we thought. Most troubling among these is an October 2001 Justice Department memo that detailed the extra-constitutional powers the U.S. military might invoke during domestic operations following a terrorist attack. In the memo, John Yoo, then deputy assistant attorney general, "concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations." (Yoo, as most readers know, is author of the infamous Torture Memo that, in bizarro fashion, rejiggers the definition of "legal" torture to allow pretty much anything short of murder.) In the October 2001 memo, Yoo refers to a classified DOJ document titled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States." According to the Associated Press, "Exactly what domestic military action was covered by the October memo is unclear. But federal documents indicate that the memo relates to the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program." Attorney General John Mukasey last month refused to clarify before Congress whether the Yoo memo was still in force.

    Coming Soon: An American Dentention Camp Near You.

  91. How desperate is John McSame already?

    This desperate

    the best part;

    Select from the numerous web, blog and news sites listed here, go there, and make your opinions supporting John McCain known. Once you’ve commented on a post, video or news story, report the details of your comment by clicking the button below. After your comments are verified, you will be awarded points through the McCain Online Action Center.

    What do the points earn you?

    An extra helping of the kool-aid?

  92. Media Matters for America wonders whether MSNBC will cover controversial televangelist John Hagee's endorsement of John McCain as much as it did Louis Farrakhan's endorsement of Barack Obama? That's a good question. If they do, they might want to look into a number of things: Such as how McCain didn't just get the Hagee endorsement out of the blue. Unlike Farrakhan's unsought endorsement of Obama, McCain courted Hagee for more than a year. And though Hagee's anti-Catholicism is in the news today, his anti-Semitism has been an issue as well.

    John McCain just Loves Pastor Hagee.

  93. What Secret "Other Matters" Did McCain Discuss With "Apocalypse Now" Hagee ?

    By Bruce Wilson

    TIM RUSSERT: So we could have two wars at once?
    SEN. McCAIN: I think we could have Armageddon.
    -- John McCain, on the Iran crisis. April 2nd 2006, "Meet The Press."

    A few weeks ago, to little notice, Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, founder of the new "apocalypse now!" national lobbying group CUFI ( what is CUFI ? see story footnote ) met with Presidential candidate and US Senator John McCain and, over breakfast, discussed Israel and "other matters."

    Pastor Hagee declined to detail in the email he sent out to members of the CUFI mailing list because "This newsflash goes to the ends of the earth and I don't want to read it in the media tomorrow." At a July 19th, 2006 Washington, DC inaugural event for CUFI; following a recorded greeting from President George W. Bush; and with four US Senators and the Israeli ambassador to the US in attendance, Pastor John Hagee stated:

    "the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.".

    So, what were the "other matters" Hagee and McCain discussed last January 29th? And, why is Senator McCain seeking political support from an advocate for apocalyptic war?

    Pastor Hagee's email to members of CUFI:

    Membership Update

    January 29, 2007


    This morning I had an extended breakfast with Senator John McCain of Arizona. Our topic of discussion was Israel and his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States of America.

    Senator McCain's comments concerning Israel are on target! He gets it! While I do not want to put the specifics of our conversation in this update I am glad to report to our leadership and supporters that John McCain is solidly pro-Israel.

    We discussed his positions on other matters that I will share with you when I speak with you in person. This newsflash goes to the ends of the earth and I don't want to read it in the media tomorrow.

    Hagee and McCain: Twin Warlovers

  94. Mathew Simmons said that oil prices could be as high as $500 a barrel in the next 6 months to 4 years................Heckuva job Georgie boy!

  95. Wanna watch wall street heads explode, wait till they are finished and their report changes the calculations of large bankers and many investers;

    Oil Monitor to Slash Estimate
    Of World's Supply of Crude

    The world's premier energy monitor is preparing a sharp downward revision of its oil-supply forecast, a shift that reflects deepening pessimism over whether oil companies can keep abreast of booming demand.

    The Paris-based International Energy Agency is in the middle of a large study of the condition of world's top oil fields. Its findings won't be released until November, but the bottom line is already clear: Future crude-oil supplies could be far tighter than previously thought.

    The IEA has predicted for several years that crude-oil supplies will arc gently upward to keep pace with rising demand, topping 116 million barrels a day by 2030, up from around 87 million barrels a day now. But the agency is now worried that aging oil fields and diminished investment mean that companies could struggle to break beyond 100 million barrels a day over the next two decades.

    The agency's forecasts are widely tracked throughout the oil patch, so a blast of cold air from the IEA could further rattle an oil market that has already seen crude prices rocket over $130 a barrel, double what they were a year ago.

    Midday on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, crude for July delivery, the new front month, was at $131.55, up $2.57, or 2%. Year-to-date, crude oil is up $35.57, or 37%

    "This is very important because the IEA is treated as the world's only serious independent guardian of energy data and forecasts," said Edward Morse, chief energy economist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. The study, he said, could act "as a prod" for greater transparency within an industry known for intense secrecy.

    The IEA monitors energy markets for the world's 26 most-advanced economies, including the U.S., Japan and all of Europe, who also pay the agency's bills. Its role is to act as a counterweight in the market to the views of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The IEA's endorsement of a crimped supply scenario will likely be interpreted by the cartel as yet another call to pump more oil -- a call it will have a difficult time answering. At the same time, the IEA's conclusions will likely be seized on by advocates of expanded drilling in prohibited areas like the U.S. outer continental shelf or the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

    The IEA's findings echo the gathering supply-side gloom in much of the oil patch, articulated by numerous Big Oil executives in recent months and prompting numerous upward revisions to long-term oil-price forecasts on Wall Street. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. grabbed headlines recently with a forecast saying that oil could top $140 a barrel this summer and could average $200 a barrel next year. Prices that high would put a serious strain on the world economy.

    The IEA is now trying to shed light on some of the industry's best-kept secrets through a study of the world's top 400 oil fields. With behind-the-scenes assistance from major oil companies, oil-field-service companies, energy ministries and consultants, the agency hopes to assess the overall health of major fields scattered from Venezuela and Mexico to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. The fields supply more than two-thirds of daily world production.

    The study, employing the efforts of a team of 25 analysts, marks a sea change in the IEA's efforts to peer into the future. In the past, the agency focused mainly on assessing future demand and then looked at how much non-OPEC countries were likely to produce to meet that demand. Any gap, it was assumed, would then be met by big OPEC producers such as Saudi Arabia, Iran or Kuwait.

    Critics charge that the U.S. Energy Department's own forecasting shop, the Energy Information Administration, still sticks to the same demand-driven methodology, assuming that supply will keep up with the world's growing hunger for oil.

    The EIA has embarked on its own supply study, which it hopes to complete this summer. Its preliminary findings are also somewhat gloomy, with a forecast saying that only significant increments of nonconventional fuels like ethanol will push global fuel supplies over 100 million barrels a day by 2030.

    "We are optimistic in terms of resource availability but wary about whether the investments get made in the right places and at a pace that will bring on supply to meet demand," says Guy Caruso, the EIA's chief economist.

    In Paris, analysts at IEA also fret that a lack of investment in many OPEC countries, combined with a diminished incentive to ramp up output, cast serious doubt over how much the cartel will expand its production going forward. Big non-OPEC producers like Mexico, the U.S. and Russia, meanwhile, are looking at slumping production and their own uncertain investment climates.

    The IEA work aims to tally the range of investments and projects under way to raise production from the fields in question. That way, the agency hopes to get a clearer sense of what to expect in the way of production flows.

    Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, said the hurdles already look high. "One of our findings will be that the oil investments required may be much, much higher than what people assume," he said. "This is a dangerous situation."

    The IEA study will dig into one of the issues that most bedevils those trying to forecast future prices and the supply/demand balance: how rapidly the world's top fields are declining. Oil-field-depletion rates are a much-debated barometer of the health of the world's oil patch. A study released earlier this year by the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a U.S.-based consultancy, crunched the numbers on 811 of the biggest fields and concluded that the world-wide depletion rate was around 4.5% a year. At that rate, oil companies have to make huge investments just to keep their production steady. Others say the number could be higher.

    "We are of the opinion that the public isn't aware of the role of the decline rate of existing fields in the energy supply balance, and that this rate will accelerate in the future," says Mr. Birol, who is leading the IEA's field study.

    The IEA study won't be definitive. Big producers like Venezuela, Iran and China aren't cooperating with the study. Other producing nations like Saudi Arabia typically treat specific production data of individual fields as closely guarded state secrets.

    To get around that, the IEA will depend on data gathered by IHS Inc., a major data and analysis provider in the U.S., as well as the U.S. Geologic Survey, a smattering of oil companies and national petroleum councils. Some oil-service companies are also lending a hand. The agency also plans to do computer modeling to make estimates where it lacks firm data.

    Critics of the IEA praise the continuing study but also say a revision of the agency's long-term forecasts is long overdue. The agency has missed many of the big energy developments in recent years, like the surge in Chinese demand in 2004 and this year's skyrocketing prices. "The IEA is always conflicted by political pressures," said Chris Skrebowski, a London-based oil analyst who keeps his own database on big petroleum projects around the world. "In this case I think they want to make as inconvertible as possible the fact that we are facing a real crunch."

    Their results could be as bad as the IPCC's report was about global Warming, but the results would be more disastrous for all of us because the effects of diminishing oil coming from the large over produced fields can not be made up from a few smaller fields, no matter how much hot air and spin the GOP puts into it.

  96. (Reuters) - Crude oil soared to a fresh record high above $135 per barrel on Thursday as a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude oil inventories and a weaker dollar prompted heavy fund inflows into the market.

    Thus the demise of the U.S economy.

  97. BTW it isn't just what foreign countries are able to produce that really matters but how much they are willing to export, while their own needs grow.

    The idea is termed the export land model, by a Texas geologist Jeffery Brown, and he shows as production in any country declines by a small amount each year say 3-5% while their needs grow around say 5% it only takes about a decade for ANY country to stop exporting unless they have the population and reserves of the Saudis, which NO other nation possesses ...... and folks according to some, the total exports around this planet are already beginning to decline, hence the rapid rise in crude prices.

    (All you need to do is look at the graph showing the drop in exports since 2006, especially the drop since Jan and the price rise should be self explanatory)

    But if the IEA report shows the extreme strain we are under and the bleak future for more oil to come the ELM will cause a much higher price quite soon.

    The real drop hasn't even begun, and the wild economic ride which will go with it.

    (hint we use oil to make all this;)

    Air conditioners, ammonia, anti-histamines, antiseptics, artificial turf, asphalt, aspirin, balloons, bandages, boats, bottles, bras, bubble gum, butane, cameras, candles, car batteries, car bodies, carpet, cassette tapes, caulking, CDs, chewing gum, cold, combs/brushes, computers, contacts, cortisone, crayons, cream, denture adhesives, deodorant, detergents, dice, dishwashing liquid, dresses, dryers, electric blankets, electrician’s tape, fertilisers, fishing lures, fishing nets, fishing rods, floor wax, footballs, glues, glycerin, golf balls, guitar strings, hair, hair colouring, hair curlers, hearing aids, heart valves, heating oil, house paint, ice chests, ink, insect repellent, insulation, jet fuel, life jackets, linoleum, lip balm, lipstick, loudspeakers, medicines, mops, motor oil, motorcycle helmets, movie film, nail polish, nylons, oil filters, paddles, paint brushes, paints, parachutes, paraffin, pens, perfumes, petroleum jelly, plastic chairs, plastic cups, plastic forks, plastic wrap, plastics, plywood adhesives, refrigerators, roller-skate wheels, roofing paper, rubber bands, rubber boots, rubber cement, rubbish bags, running shoes, saccharine, seals, shirts (non-cotton), shoe polish, shoes, shower curtains, solvents, solvents, spectacles, stereos, sweaters, table tennis balls, tape recorders, telephones, tennis rackets, thermos, tights, toilet seats, toners, toothpaste, transparencies, transparent tape, TV cabinets, typewriter/computer ribbons, tyres, umbrellas, upholstery, vaporisers, vitamin capsules, volleyballs, water pipes, water skis, wax, wax paper.

    Gonna be kinda hard to live the modern American excessive lifestyle if the oil prices keep a risin' no matter how much Cheney squawks it ain't negotiable.

  98. By Rand Clifford

    Any hope of resuscitating our Constitutional Republic, and keeping our nation from descending into the tar pit of One World Fascist government, exists in an informed population throwing off apathy, turning OFF corporate media, paying attention to what is really happening, and making sacrifices only by which the psychopaths now in power may be exposed for their crimes and brought to justice. They don’t have our guns, yet, but with martial law just one more false flag terror contrivance away (all “legalities” are in place, along with the 800+ Rex 84 “camps” WE paid for), they think they have already won. Surely, the odds are in their favor, and they’re getting cocky—giving us our last, best window of hope—if enough Americans can still think for themselves.

    Clarification of the feds’ plans fill neo-con Phillip Bobbitt’s new book, Terror and Consent. For a rebuttal of a fawning review of Bobbitt’s New World Order screed, please see this excellent article by Paul Joseph Watson:

    Neo-con cockiness is a fetid odor permeating Bobbitt’s pages. He foresees wars (started by “us”, of course) “plaguing” the 21st Century, and posits that the only way to successfully fight them is by replacing sovereign nation states with a new order built around multinational corporations, one with totally unfettered powers of aggression toward any holders of valuable resources. Much like what we’ve seen in Iraq, but with no moral or legal issues impacting profits. Visual neo-con glories of Bobbitt’s book include the line: “Everything must go” above an image of a shredded U.S. Constitution. Also, filling in for a torn-out piece of The Bill of Rights, the words: “How to Fight Terrorism”. It’s all the same nefarious neo-con slobber about scuttling the United States in favor of a One World Fascist Government to better fight terror….

    A main reason the neo-cons are so cocky: A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves, and our “democracy” has effectively been reduced to two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

    Certainly, it started out as a noble experiment: “…a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” So how did the United States become so dosed with systemic biocide that those words, along with the “Pledge of Allegiance”, are simply very, very bad jokes? Terrorism.

    Exactly what is terrorism? By definition, terrorism is “the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion”. Terror is simply a state of intense fear. Fear is the biocide helping turn a nation conceived in liberty, to one decommissioned by terrorism. How is this happening?

    Step by step. Systematically, one official lie after another, always. A fresh example of the sheer scope of deceit comes from that terrorist organization, Fox “News”. Consider their slogan, “We report, you hide.” This little coercion is simply subliminal mind control—the image of John McCain and his wife Cindy flashing almost imperceptibly in a “news” report logo. Please watch, “Who’s That Hiding In My Fox 5 Logo?”

    Subliminal mind control…is that reporting? Yes, to Fox “News”; this is the kind of trustworthiness characteristic in everything Fox reports. When not numbing and dumbing people senseless with trivial garbage, celebrities and sports, or frothing the tube with “pundits” in bigot gravy, they augment their fare of fear and lies with tricks like this. And what a candidate they’ve chosen! McCain recently stated that one of the TOP things his administration would achieve by the end of his first term is the killing or capture of Osama bin Laden. Wait a minute! Even Fox reported the death of bin Laden, shortly after he died in 2001. Doesn’t anybody remember?,2933,41576,00.html

    For information on the death of a man hiding in remote mountains while needing frequent dialysis to survive, and a list of others that reported the news, such as CNN, please see the article: “Osama Bin Dead”.

    Recently (5-16-08), the Associated Press announced: “Bin Laden plans new message”. Yes, the man everyone in any way connected with intelligence around the world knows has been dead almost seven years, is on the verge of releasing “…a new Internet message dealing with Israel and the Palestinians.” Realistically, the biggest problem here is not that domestic terrorist organizations like Fox, the Associated Press and the rest of corporate media keep shoveling these kinds of howlers to Americans, nor is it that they think Americans are ignorant and stupid enough to believe such howlers…the biggest problem is that enough Americans actually DO believe at least enough of the bullshit to doom us all.

    Back to Fox…how could a “news” organization be considered a terrorist organization? All they do is report, so you can hide, right? Well, fundamentally, they are simply a propaganda tentacle of the world’s preeminent terrorist organization, the United States Federal Government (CorpoGov). If not for the fed, terrorism would hardly be an issue. But a government that rules by fear is terrorist by definition. When terrorism is your government’s greatest creation and best friend, well, just look around—

    ATTENTION!: Current Terror Alert Status issued by the Department of Homeland Security….




    Basically, BE AFRAID!

    Basically, this is terrorism.

    Unlike a horrendous number of Americans seem unwilling to do, please consider what we have done to Iraq. Cindy McCain, wife of Presidential candidate John McCain, is a wealthy heiress who vows to “never!” release her tax returns—even if she becomes First Lady…could vast profits from war corporation investments be a factor? Cindy insists that America’s reasons for “war” in Iraq (killing over 1 million Iraqis so far, creating over 4 million Iraqi refugees, permanently poisoning their land and water with hundreds of tons of depleted uranium munitions—many other officially omitted horrors), and threatening to occupy them for another hundred years if they don’t surrender control of their oil, as her husband touts (all but the oil part)…the reason is: “Honor, and bringing freedom to the Iraqis”.

    Orwellian enough? Hideous enough?

    Cindy, coy financier of death—don’t you remember, the evening of 9/11, Wolf Blitzer’s immortal deception: “We have been attacked by Iraq!”?

    Such are the kinds of things Americans do and don’t get from mainstream “news”. Such are the kinds of things keeping people who get “their news” from CorpoGov propaganda tentacles as misinformed, ignorant, terrorized and endangered as any people in history.

    UPDATE! John McCain has just flopped away from the 100-year occupation of Iraq, to a pullout of “combat” troops by the end of his first term! So, arbitrarily and in all good senility, he just cut 95 years from our achievement of honor, and delivering freedom to any Iraqis we haven’t murdered by then….

    Does anybody really believe there is even a shadow of truth to anything John McCain says? Like all CorpoGov candidates who have passed AIPAC (American Israeli “Public Affairs” Committee) screening, McCain simply says whatever it takes to get votes (remember Hillary Clinton’s recent bluster about vaporizing Iran if they aren’t nice to Israel?)

    Back to shining examples of mainstream truth: “We are in Iraq for honor, and to bring freedom to the Iraqi people”…as long as enough Americans believe such fantastically obvious lies, believe even small wettings of the daily tsunami of propaganda from corporate media, believe federal elections are not rigged, America is doomed. As long as people disregard evidence in favor of what they want to believe, and are told by career liars…that smell of rotting flesh wafting from just around the corner? It’s the New World Order.

    Courtesy of the Bush Brigade.

  99. This country as we know it would cease to exist with $500 oil.

  100. Mike the correct analogy according to The Oil Drum is (TEOTWAWKI) ... the end of the world as we know it.

  101. I posted Hagee's comment on the blog next to John McCain's photo.

  102. One of the early signs from the rise in oil prices;

    Nearly 30 cities across the United States have seen their scheduled service disappear in the last year.

  103. Another sign oil prices are affecting the economy;

    The average resale value of a large SUV bought in 2007 is now down by about 50% from its 2007 purchase price.

    Some dealers are refusing to accept SUV's as trade-ins.

    Losing half the value of a $30-40,000 SUV in one year, think a lot of them will continue to sell?

  104. If the MSM focused on Hagee whose endorsement and support McSAME actually SOUGHT HALF as much as they focused on Rev Wright i'd be satisfied they arent TOTALLY useless!

  105. One more sign Bush is becoming irrelevant;

    In swift rebuff, House overrides Bush veto of farm bill

    The House easily overrode President Bush's veto of a $307 billion farm bill last night, handing him the most significant legislative rebuff of his presidency after Republicans broke with the White House en masse to side with farm groups, ...

    I wonder if Mitch McConnell can get the mid west state senators to up hold the Bush Veto,

    NO he can't there will be no filibuster on this.

    This will be the first veto override, more to come.

  106. Buried within the blather…

    What if gas cost $10 a gallon?

    Forget pizza delivery. And cheap airfares. And bottled water. In fact, forget a way of life that looks much like today's. But would that be so bad?

  107. The oily truth about America’s foreign policy

    With the oil price heading upwards and President George W. Bush heading for Saudi Arabia, as part of a Middle Eastern tour, it is time to accept the truth. The pursuit of oil is fundamental to U.S. foreign policy.

    The importance of oil to American foreign policy is both obvious and curiously difficult to acknowledge in public. In the run-up to the Iraq war it was left to the left to make the argument that this was a “war for oil”. Establishment people -- those in the know -- rolled their eyes at this “conspiracy theory”.

    Yet in recent months, both Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Senator John McCain have come close to saying that Iraq was indeed about oil. In his memoirs Mr. Greenspan said he regretted that it was “politically inconvenient” to acknowledge that “the Iraq war is largely about oil”.

    Earlier this month Mr. McCain, who will carry the Republican banner in this year’s presidential election, promised an energy policy “that will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East” and so “prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East”.

    Both Mr. Greenspan and Mr. McCain subsequently issued “clarifications”. Mr. McCain now says that the conflict that he was thinking about was the first (Persian) Gulf war of 1991. As for the Iraq war of 2003, that was about ... whatever he said it was about at the time: weapons of mass destruction, probably.

    It is unfair to mock. The Iraq war was about lots of things: WMD, remaking the Middle East, democratization, human rights, Israel, terrorism, the desire for a massive demonstration of American power. But oil was certainly among the motives. It is common to say that the Persian Gulf is a “vital strategic area”. “Strategic” is shorthand for saying that it is home to two-thirds of the world’s known oil reserves.

    However, if the invasion of Iraq was partly motivated by oil, it was a failure -- in this respect, as in many others. In 2003, just before the invasion, the oil price was $26 a barrel. Today it is $126 a barrel, with reputable analysts discussing the prospect of $200 oil by the end of 2008.

    Mr. McCain’s promise to eliminate American dependence on Middle Eastern oil is hardly original. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have made similar pledges. President Bush himself swore to end America’s “addiction to oil” a couple of years ago. President Richard Nixon made similar promises after the first oil shock of the 1970s. The reality is that things are moving in the opposite direction. In 1973 the U.S. imported 33 per cent of its oil; today it imports about 60 per cent and this figure could rise to 70 per cent by 2020. America’s transport system is still completely dependent on oil.

    American politicians have, so far, responded to this problem with a mixture of wishful thinking and anger. The calls for “energy independence” are all but universal. Money has been poured into the production of biofuels, which has helped push up food prices. But no leading politician is yet prepared to say that Americans may have to adjust their lifestyles to a world of permanently higher fuel prices.

    Last week Senator Pete Domenici, a Republican, issued a plaintive appeal for “more oil and lower prices”. The Democrats are pressing for the U.S. attorney-general to bring price collusion charges against members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. But any such action significantly overrates America’s power over the world’s oil producers. OPEC members could retaliate by selling some of their huge reserves of dollars -- which would hit the dollar and U.S. consumers very hard. The world’s main oil producers have no shortage of potential customers. More than 50 per cent of Saudi oil is now exported to Asia.

    Competition for the world’s oil supplies is intensifying. Chinese oil consumption doubled between 1994 and 2003 and will have doubled again by 2010. China’s foray into Africa is largely driven by its own search for “energy security”. The International Energy Agency predicts that in 2010 China will become the world’s largest consumer of energy. The IEA also thinks that the world’s energy needs will be 50 per cent higher in 2030 than they are today -- and that we are going to become more, not less, reliant on fossil fuels.

    This seems all too plausible. At present there are about 10 cars in China for every 1,000 people; there are 480 cars per 1,000 people in the U.S. But by 2015, China could be the world’s largest market for new cars.

    While western politicians routinely worry about globalization, they have yet to focus on a more plausible threat. It is not the outsourcing of well-paid jobs; or the inflow of cheap goods: it is the globalization of western patterns of consumption. If the Chinese and Indians eventually eat and drive like Americans and Europeans, the current inflation in fuel and food prices could be just the beginning. The environmental implications are also obvious -- and alarming.

    So although the search for energy security is now central to American foreign policy, as it is for both the European Union and the main Asian powers, in the long run there is no real foreign policy fix for the problem. A future dominated by conflict over scarce oil resources -- or truckling to oil-rich dictators -- is not attractive.

    The only plausible routes to “energy security” lie at home in the U.S. -- in the development of new technologies and in a change of lifestyles. Americans may have to drive their cars less. But it will be a brave presidential candidate who says that.

  108. Right Is Wrong -- How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America

    By Arianna Huffington

    The Radical Takeover

    The most sweeping takeover of the new millennium didn't take place among the telecoms or the big oil companies, or in Silicon Valley. It took place in Washington, but we can see and hear and feel its effects nationwide on our televisions, radios, and computer screens. And America is much the worse because of it. I'm talking about the takeover of the Republican Party by its own lunatic fringe, and the Right's hijacking of America.

    Ronald Reagan's GOP has been replaced by the dark, moldering, putrefied party of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, and Coulter. Morning in America has given way to Midnight in America.

    Yes, the Republican Party has always had its far-right cowboys, its Jesse Helmses and Spiro Agnews. Yet they were removed from the party's more sober core.

    But these days, judging by the opinions and actions of the Republicans in office and the party's candidates for president, it has become impossible to tell where this core stops and the fanatical fringe begins. Just look at what the party is endorsing.

    We have a Republican Party that continues to back the White House's delusions about Iraq at the expense of our military, our treasure, our safety, and our standing in the world.

    We have a mainstream on the Right that supports torture, that confirmed an attorney general nominee who is officially agnostic on torture, and that rallies behind a president who refuses to define what the very word "torture" means.

    We have a mainstream that supports -- even applauds -- the behavior of thuggish Blackwater mercenaries, that supports the gutting of our civil liberties, that opposes universal health care, and that has views on immigration that wouldn't have been heard outside a John Birch Society meeting ten years ago.

    It can no longer be denied: The right-wing lunatics are running the Republican asylum, and their madness has infected the entire country and poisoned the world beyond.

    And just look who the GOP settled on as its 2008 standard-bearer: the most hawkish candidate in the running, who has said he wants the United States to stay in Iraq somewhere between one hundred years and ten thousand years -- John McCain.

    Despite an avalanche of evidence showing that McCain the Maverick has long ago been replaced by McCain the Pandering Pawn of the Party's Right Wing, the press refuses to believe its own eyes. Right Is Wrong will show how the "Straight Talk Express" and its conductor have completely and cravenly gone off the tracks -- and how the media steadfastly refuse to notice.

    Even those bastions of the so-called liberal media, the New Yorker and the New York Times, have continued to portray McCain as a moderate who, in the words of New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, has "the rare opportunity to reinvent what it means to be a Republican."

    Let's see, over the last few years McCain has bowed to the party's lunatic fringe on tax cuts, immigration, the intolerance of religious bigots, and torture ... so you might wonder how is he reinventing what it means to be a Republican?

    During the primary campaign, I waited in vain for one of the leading GOP presidential candidates to step away from the twitchy ideologues who have taken over their party, but instead they all held hands with Kristol, Rove, and Limbaugh and jumped. To a man, every one of the top-tier candidates -- Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Thompson, and Huckabee -- seemed intent on competing to see who could out-Bush Bush. Not a single one of them tried to put any distance between himself and the president -- especially on foreign policy, the area of Bush's most catastrophic errors. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made a halfhearted attempt to speak out against an "arrogant bunker mentality" at one point and was called out by Mitt Romney to apologize. Huckabee promptly shut up, putting an end to any further rebellious attempts to amble off the reservation. As conservative pundit George F. Will put it, "They are, if anything, to the right of (Bush) on foreign policy. There's a bidding war to see who can be more hawkish toward Iran."

    The reign of Bush and Cheney and the rise of the neocons and the "nea-cons" (the "Neanderthal conservatives") have alienated traditional conservative intellectuals like they have Bill Buckley, the godfather of modern conservatism. In April of 2007, writing about Iraq, Buckley called public opinion on the war "savagely decisive" and concluded, "There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican Party will survive this dilemma."

    And Michael Gerson, once Bush's top speechwriter, offered this gloomy 2007 assessment of the state of the GOP: "The party is in a funk. There is a lack of creativity, very little domestic policy energy. I think it's going to be a problem." Of course, along with being one of the party's brightest thinkers, Gerson is a Bush loyalist, so his calling it "a problem" can be translated as "a disaster." If the Republican Party in its current form loses the next general election and ends up fading into obscurity and irrelevancy, we can use the words of Don Rumsfeld (trying to sugarcoat a different debacle) for its epitaph: "The dead-enders are still with us, those remnants of the defeated regimes who'll go on fighting long after their cause is lost."

    And that's why it is vitally important to recognize what has happened, to see how the Right's radical ideas became ordinary, and to know how to spot their remnants and echoes wherever they crop up. Regardless of the outcome of this election, the lingering aftereffects of the neaconservative shift will be with us for a very long time.

    A key to understanding the fanatical Right's takeover of the Republican Party and how these ideas spread to the rest of the country is looking at the role of the media -- not the Fox News pseudo-newsmen or the talk radio blowhards -- but the respectable, supposedly liberal media. Without the enabling of the traditional media -- with their obsession with "balance" and their pathological devotion to the idea that truth is always found in the middle -- the radical Right would never have been able to have its ideas taken seriously. If not for the media's appeals to balance, movement conservatism would have been laughed out of the court of public opinion long ago. And when the press does attempt to dig into the ideological underpinnings of debates about policy and current affairs, it becomes trapped by another form of the media's bipolar disorder. Besides seeing two sides to every issue, they insist on seeing most political battles through the lens of right vs. left. By reporting everything that's happening in American politics through this prism, the media missed the big story: the hijacking of America by the lunatic Right.

    The other not-so-innocent bystanders to the Right's takeover are the Democrats who have continued to tread far too lightly when it comes to holding the GOP's fanatical core accountable. Time and time again, the Democratic leadership has allowed itself to get played, run over, or distracted. Republicans wanted to deflect discussion of the war by arguing over newspaper ads and radio comments? Okay, Democratic leaders were game. Republicans wanted to avoid talking about children without health care by whining about Democratic Rep. Pete Stark's tough assessment of the president and the Iraq war? ("President Bush's statements about children's health shouldn't be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq," Stark said on the House floor. "The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up.") Sure, Democratic leaders were more than willing to take the GOP bait and reprimand one of their own.

    Democrats are in the majority today because the positions they campaigned are in line with mainstream America. But if the lunatic fringe group now known as the Republican Party is to be stopped in its efforts to radically remake this country, Democrats are going to have to step up and defend the mainstream that swept them into power in 2006. So far, they have shown little stomach for that fight.

    The Republican race to replace George W. Bush turned into a competition to see Who Could Be the Biggest Neanderthal. Who would stay in Iraq the longest? Who would cut taxes the deepest? Who would be all right with firing gay Americans from their jobs? Who would jump for joy the highest if Roe v. Wade were reversed? Who would build the biggest fence around America? Who would put an end to stem cell research the fastest? Who would reject evolution most passionately?

    The problem for the nea-con Right is not that it is at odds with my views, but that it is at odds with the views of the American people. By significant majorities, the American people believe in the science of evolution, don't want Roe v. Wade overturned, don't want to turn back the clock on job discrimination laws, and want to bring our troops home from Iraq. The Right flashing back to the Reagan era is one thing; the Right flashing back to the Dark Ages and trying to take the country with it is quite another.

    The Only Thing We Have to Fear

    The Right's hijacking of America would not have been possible without its masterful use of fear to sway a nation terrified by the 9/11 attacks. It's a symptom of just how sick the radical Right is that their immediate response to 9/11 was to look for opportunities to push their agenda. Abroad, they saw a pretext for an attack on Iraq, a long-cherished objective. At home, they saw a chance to solidify a permanent Republican stranglehold on power if they could recast themselves as the "party that will keep you safe" and then keep fear alive. It worked for them in 2004, and they are trying it again in 2008.

    Since 9/11, the Right's fear-mongering has been relentless and revolting. It bottomed out during the 2004 presidential campaign with a sewer-level attack ad against Democratic candidate John Kerry, put together by a 527 group largely financed by a pair of longtime Bush backers. The TV spot showed pictures of Osama bin Laden, 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta, the Chechen school murderers, and the Madrid train bombings and asked: "These people want to kill us. Would you trust Kerry up against these fanatic killers?"

    Somewhere -- and I don't think it's heaven -- Karl Rove's mentor Lee Atwater was smiling.

    During the 2004 race, there was an endless line of members of the Right's establishment eager to parrot the "al Qaeda wants Kerry to win" talking point -- including Sen. Orrin Hatch, who made the despicable claim that terrorists "are going to throw everything they can between now and the election to try and elect Kerry."

    Even without a photoshopped photo of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi sporting a Kerry Edwards campaign button, this "terrorists for Democrats" routine was laughable, loathsome, and a new low in American politics. It was also patently untrue. Why in the world would the terrorists have wanted to get rid of George Bush? He is their chief recruiter: a man who has alienated our allies, isolated us, and united the Muslim world against us.

    The president's preemptive invasion of Iraq has been such a boon to al Qaeda that in 2004 the British ambassador to Italy, Ivor Roberts, called Bush the terrorist organization's "best recruiting sergeant."

    My Name Is Arianna, and I Am a Former Republican

    This is probably a good time to say a little something about the transformation of my political views. It has been almost a dozen years since I left the Grand Old Party -- years in which I have made my opinions known in books, in newspaper columns, on TV, and, over the last three years, on the Huffington Post. (Although I do still get the intermittent Republican e-mail sent my way -- always good for a little intel. Former membership also has its privileges.)

    I left the GOP just as the Right was fortifying its grip on the soul of the party. But, I must admit, even as I left I didn't foresee just how powerful -- and ultimately disastrous -- that sea change would become.

    People often ask me what caused me to change course so radically. In truth, my "conversion" wasn't as dramatic as it might have appeared. On all the so-called values issues -- abortion, gun control, gay rights -- I have the exact same progressive positions today that I've always had.

    The biggest shift in my thinking has been in how I view the role of government. I used to believe that the private sector would address the problems of those in need. But then I saw firsthand – up close and very personal -- that this wasn't going to happen. Newt Gingrich and company talked a good game, but I soon came to see that despite all the lofty talk about dealing with poverty and race, their heart was never in it.

    In fact, that's how I first became involved with Gingrich. He reached out to me after he saw me on C-SPAN giving a speech challenging conservatives to remember the Biblical admonition that we will be judged by how we deal with the least among us -- and to bring this admonition to the very heart of public policy.

    If you read that speech now -- it's called "Can Conservatives Have a Social Conscience?" -- you'll see that a progressive could easily have given it. After watching it, Gingrich called me up and said, "This is exactly what we should be doing." And when he later gave his first speech as speaker of the House, it was full of those sentiments, about how there was a greater "moral urgency" in "coming to grips with what's happening to the poorest Americans" than in balancing the budget.

    I admit it: I was seduced, fooled, blinded, bamboozled -- call it what you will. But it didn't take long before I recognized that the Gingrich spiel was only empty rhetoric. And I saw how unfounded was my belief that the private sector -- especially conservative multibillionaires who wail about wanting less government involvement -- would rise to the occasion and provide the funding needed to replicate social programs that work, sustain them, and bring them to market.

    One of the changes in my thinking was born of the hard reality I confronted when I tried to raise money for poverty-fighting groups and community activists. I discovered how much easier it was raising money for the opera or a fashionable museum than for a homeless shelter or free clinic. So I came to recognize that the task of overcoming poverty is too monumental to be achieved without the raw power of annual government appropriations.

    But I also believe more fervently than ever that government dollars, however many trillions of them, will never mend broken lives without citizen engagement. What I've found, whether in South Central Los Angeles or Anacostia in Washington, D.C., is the truth of what the Rev. Henry Delaney, who took on the task of transforming boarded-up crack houses in Savannah, Georgia, once told me: "I want to get people involved in what we're doing. It's like putting a poker in the fire. After a while, the fire gets in the poker too." It certainly does. So you can blame my evolution on the fire getting in the poker.

    At the same time my thinking was changing, so was the GOP, in ways I couldn't have imagined. Indeed, many old friends from my Republican days -- many of whom couldn't understand why I'd turned my back on the party -- are now just as appalled as I am by the lunatic fringe's takeover of the Right, and the Right's takeover of America.

  109. Thanks for posting the picture of that beautiful bougainvillea. It made my day!

    God's creation is beautiful.

  110. One McCain endorser says Hitler was doing "God's work" while another gains reputation for wanting to destroy Islam
    Presidential candidate John McCain has been embarrassed in the past few weeks by the statements of right-wing Pastor John Hagee, whose endorsement he actively sought and still said he was glad to have.

    But on Thursday he finally rejected the pastor's endorsement, CNN reports.

    Hagee has called the Catholic Church "the great whore" and has said that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to punish New Orleans for an intended gay pride parade. Now newly revealed audio tapes of sermons from the 1990's show Hagee claiming that Hitler was doing "God's work" by forcing the Jews to return to Israel. Hagee has denied that his remarks constitute approval of Hitler any any way and claims he is being mischaracterized.

    "I obviously find the remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible and a repudiate them," McCain said in a statement released late Thursday afternoon.

    Referring to the Hitler comments, McCain denied foreknowledge of them, but also used his statement to differentiate his "pastor problem" from Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's.

    McCain's statement continues, "I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement. I feel I must reject his endorsement as well. I've said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views but let me also be clear Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor and I do not attend his church. I did not attend his church for 20 years. I have denounced statement he made immediately upon learning of them and I do again today."

    Abrams: McCain should say enough is enough
    MSNBC's Dan Abrams was outraged by the reluctance of the media to call out McCain on his ties to Hagee. "Shouldn't John McCain finally say enough is enough?" Abrams asked. "Why isn't much of the mainstream media playing John Hagee's clips even a fraction of the amount that they played Jeremiah Wright's clips?"

    Former Bush Assistant Press Secretary Reed Dickens acknowledged to Abrams that "this is going to haunt [McCain]" and that "of course he's got to denounce [Hagee]."

    However, Dickens rejected any suggestion that the media is giving McCain a free pass when compared with Obama, noting that Hagee is not McCain's friend or mentor and calling it a "very flawed premise ... that something Hagee says is on equal footing ... with Jeremiah Wright."

    Former Romney Press Secretary Kevin Madden was also quick to describe Hagee as "somebody who John McCain hardly even knows."

    However, Roy Sekoff of the Huffington Post was in full agreement with Abrams. "It is a complete double standard," he insisted. "For some reason, the media remains in rapture to John McCain, the 'maverick straight-talker' of 2000. But that's not what we're seeing. ... He worked for a year to get this endorsement."

    Dickens also repeatedly attempted to paint McCain as having innocently stumbled because of his unfamiliarity with evangelicals. "McCain doesn't understand the evangelical world enough to know which evangelicals to go after," he stated. "The real story here is how awkward and uncomfortable McCain is within this sector of the party. ... There's a lot of evangelicals that he needed to go get their endorsement. ... This was not the guy."

    Sekoff, however, suggested that McCain knew very well what he was doing, and that he deliberately "went searching for Hagee so he could prove his bona fides to the right."

    Hagee is not McCain's only embarrassing endorser. Pastor Rod Parsley, whom McCain has called "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide," is becoming widely known in the Muslim world as a hatemonger,

    Parsley has stated, "Islam is an anti-christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world. ... America was founded in part with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed."

    Newspapers and websites in the Muslim world are now running stories with headlines like "McCain's spiritual advisor calls for the destruction of Islam." This is undercutting McCain's own stated goal "to win the hearts and minds of the vast majority of moderate Muslims."

    The Senile Politician and his war loving Spiritual Advisors: Loving war, Hating people.

  111. Inflation & Gold-Silver Breakout
    Jim Willie CB May 22, 2008

    home: Golden Jackass website
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    Jim Willie CB, editor of the “HAT TRICK LETTER”

    The gold and silver prices have broken out on the upside, not to register new highs but rather to emerge from a clear bullish wedge pattern in their daily charts. The stage is set for assaults on the 1000 gold high and the 21 silver high. Furthermore, and more boldly stated, the stage was set last January for tremendous moves in gold toward 2000 and silver toward 50 in the next 18 to 24 months, give or take. The crude oil price surged past 100. Next the gold price will surge through 1000, as in SURGE. The key commercial commodity is crude oil. The key financial commodity is gold (silver also). Unprecedented monetary inflation invites unprecedented reaction in the crude oil and precious metal prices, where justice still is enforced. This key cause and effect is sorely missed by slick Wall Street conmen and carnival barkers. They invest privately in secrecy, while they promote publicly with deception, fraud, and influence of public media networks. They invest in the energy futures markets, while talking about speculation as the blame factor. They have yet to read and absorb the Peak Oil phenomenon on billboards. Oil supply reliability and disruption is a key story behind crude oil prices right now, not speculation. Permit me a rant that rambles from one important topic to another, but does conclude with the gold & silver prices, charts, with breakouts evident, and targets claimed.

    Before the US Congress, the masterful Rick Masters testified that in the last three years, China was responsible for higher crude oil demand by 920 million barrels per day, more than the private speculative demand rise of 848 million bbl/day. In their unlimited shallowness, the US Congress is considering a new law to limit energy speculation. The new legislation would likely result in monumental shortages, since energy suppliers will be unable to properly and judiciously hedge their contracts spaced over a few months. In avoiding the risk, they would simply not supply. Major disruptions for the USEconomy are coming soon, from corruption, from stupidity, from legislation, from failed banks due to bond fraud, from designed addiction to oil in lieu of nuclear or alternatives, from consequences of three decades of monetary inflation, from honed horrendous heretic economic counsel, from abandoned factories, and from magnificent control of the network media sufficient to render an entire nation helplessly and hopelessly ignorant. The queer version of capitalism known and practiced within the Untied States is beginning to show signs of failure. Remedy involves either a depression from debt collapse on one route, or greater episodes of inflation and job loss, the other route to depression. The real risk of economic depression finally is being spoken about by intelligent people. The safety net for individuals is built with gold, silver, oil, gas, and other tangible things. Do not invest in Exchange Traded Funds. Why invest in something controlled by financial entities, most of which are corrupt with a track record of market control via fraudulent means? Take possession and avoid the lazy route of permitting a financial firm based in the US or UK to control your assets. ETFunds are part of their plan to control markets and to suppress key prices like gold.

    Price inflation is raging at almost 12% annually inside the Untied States. Monetary inflation is raging between 12% and 18% in the US and European Union. Rely on such sound statistics from the Shadow Govt Statistics folks. Higher food and energy prices are infiltrating the entire USEconomy, with higher costs being passed along everywhere. The only turkeys not noticing are USGovt statistical creative writers who clearly struggle to maintain their shell game and charade. Jobs are being destroyed on a mass scale. The financial propaganda has turned so absurd and bold that even former USFed Chairman Paul Volcker has commented on their split from reality, in his strong hint of a return to STAGFLATION. The criticism of the April Jobs Report was right out in the open, with goofy Birth-Death Model upward adjustments even to the construction and financial services ledger item. Wall Street traders, analysts, even financial network anchors had a hard time not laughing at that jobs report, pointing out with a straight face that they at least like the headline on the story. The actual US-based price inflation, when all is tallied, is several percent above the official corrupted gimmicked CPI. The facade of this myth is slowly being smashed in a public manner. This is precisely what will drive the public like a stampede into gold & silver investments. They have been conned to accept pitifully low interest yield on their bank certificates of deposit. A pullout of funds from bank deposits comes next, maybe not this year, but such an event lies in the future. The public will eventually embrace gold & silver.

    If wages do not keep pace with rising cost structures, businesses fold and consumers hold back. US banks are not yet prepared to lend money again to people and businesses with bad credit, bad balance sheets, and flimsy income. A return to halcyon moronic heretical days like in 2003 to 2006 among lenders is just not going to happen this time around. US banks have taken advantage of generous US Federal Reserve offers to trade their USTreasury Bonds for private and heavily damaged mortgage bonds at grossly inflated prices. Meanwhile, Wall Street has resorted to admitting that perhaps the worst in bank and bond distress might still be ahead of us. The lied again. Meanwhile, Wall Street has switched stories to deceive, moving to the crude oil price surge. They are blaming speculators, but the charge does not stick. Today Nigeria announced that in the next three years they expect production declines from depletion to be in the range of 30% less for supply. So add Nigeria to Mexico, Russia, the North Sea, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia on depletion of their major oil fields. Yet Wall Street continues to talk about a mean reversion and removal of speculators. Such reversion arguments depend heavily upon the landscape not changing. Nothing has remained the same!

    Nothing like reality acts like cold water to introduce reality. In my May Hat Trick Letter report, six key events occurred in the banking and financial realm, described for their negative content, all dismissive of the claim of recovery and return to sound status for banks, housing, or mortgage bonds. UBS announced a huge mortgage bond loss and will raise cash for capital. Citigroup announced a huge mortgage bond loss, will dump $400 billion of supposedly non-core assets, and will raise cash for capital. They emitted the distinct stench of a Chapter 13 restructuring bankruptcy. Of course, that is not how the story is told. Fannie Mae announced a huge mortgage portfolio loss and will raise cash for capital. This august semi-pristine cesspool will serve as the foundation for the new mortgage relief platform??? AIG announced a huge loss from credit default swap insurance related to mortgage bonds, along with distress in the insurance business. Bank of America announced that their raised estimate of 2.5% on loan portfolio defaults is low, that more losses are to come. Lastly, MBIA announced a huge loss from covered mortgage bond insurance and the need to raise more cash for capital. They relinquished in shameful fashion their Standard & Poor AAA debt rating. If Moodys or Fitch downgrade the MBIA bond rating, then woe to the US banks that hold insured bonds, like a few hundred billion$ worth. To claim the US bank debacle is over is laughable. To claim future losses will easily eclipse past losses is obvious to anyone using his or her brain. Sadly, that excludes over 90% of Wall Street, and probably the majority of the US public.

    Wall Street does a poor job of recognizing that price is determined by an attempt to reach equilibrium between Supply Versus Demand. Anytime, anyplace, by anyone, an argument can be made for lower price by looking at only one side. Supply problems are cropping up all over the globe, not just in crude oil production. In the Andes region of South America, cutbacks have been suffered in delivered copper supply. Other more challenging supply problems are revealing themselves. Electricity shortages seem also to be spreading beyond South Africa. A hidden threat lurks in contractual supply of a more dire nature. China might soon refuse all payments in US$ or refuse to set up new commercial contracts in US$, in outright dismemberment of the US$ basis for international contract settlements. Some believe China might slowly make a transition into a different commercial system altogether.

    The one key item that neither Wall Street nor USGovt agents of corrupt information and data seem to overcome is gasoline and diesel. The extra cost to the USEconomy in higher energy prices just since February is roughly $300 billion. Match that to the mickey mouse $130 billion in handouts to households by the kindergarten players in the White House and Congress from the stimulus package. THESE GUYS DON’T GET IT!!! The USEconomy and US banking system are both on track for widespread seizure, then collapse. Cost explosion does not represent broad systemic price inflation. If the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks react to sharply higher cost inflation with official interest rate hikes, the last cost element will enter the explosion picture, namely borrowing costs. The task of the USFed is to continue to monetize the insolvency and bankruptcy of the major pillars of the United States system, not even to consider any remedy. Collapse is the risk now, and those words are no longer alarmist or poppycock. A major seizure is on the horizon, as prices have interfered with viability of commerce, especially internationally. Households face much higher costs just to arrive to work sites. Employers face much higher costs just to maintain profitability. Suppliers face much higher costs just to keep production lines flowing. Schools, hospitals, and other public facilities face higher costs in order to maintain function. The first failures and seizures will likely occur in California, where the greatest home loan abuses took place, where the biggest nastiest and most painful home price declines have taken place, where the biggest state government budget cuts have been ordered.

    The Chinese face more disruption from short-term price changes under contract than any other nation. They are voicing their anger and disgust at the US for instability of the dollar, for hidden repudiation of debt via inflation, and for corrupt leadership in monetary management. They are also hoarding ocean shipping containers, most of which they built. In the next few months, expect weekly explosions and surprises within the United States heading toward climax. The latest has been the gradual collapse of the US airline industry, yet another insolvency. My reaction was actually a chuckle at the story that owners of Sport Utility Vehicles in the US have been increasingly refused trade-ins on their vehicles for new sales. Dealers have seen declines of 30% in one year on the pigmobiles and their values. They lose value while on the lot, as dealers hope for sale. The pig car owners will take a bath!

    In August 2003, on the veranda sipping lemonade with the venerable respected Kurt Richebacher at his spacious apartment in Cannes France, we talked about his forecast of a collapse to the USEconomy before 2005. My response was not to under-estimate the ability of Americans to pump up another bubble and keep the national economy levitated for a while longer. My argument was to point to the US housing market, its $20 trillion size at the time, and how a few $trillion could keep things afloat for a long while. We agreed on the ultimate destination for both the USEconomy and US bank system though, a combination of a dustbin, charred ruins, and a pile for vultures to feed upon carrion. He was an interesting man, with great insight in economic dislocations, but he could not properly assess some innovations like mortgage bonds, carry trades, and extreme speculation that had been endemic to US financial engineering foundations but now are epidemic in their destruction. He would now point to the four insolvent pillars to the USEconomy: federal budget, current account (trade) deficit, bank capital, and homeowner equity. These four insolvent pillars point to imminent desperation in policy, all directed toward mammoth unprecedented monetary inflation. Gold & silver prices will respond. Crude oil already has begun to do so. Sadly, he is not able to see the grotesque pathogenesis on display for the collapse of the USEconomy and US banking system that he forecasted. It would be nice to hear his interpretation of the kill job of Bear Stearns, the illegal funding access by JPMorgan, the next kill job of a Wall Street bank by its own murderous crows, the flight into crude oil, the crackup boom in gasoline prices, supply chain disruptions, the next gold surge past 1000, the various new USFed lending facilities, the distortions of US and LIBOR interest rates, the contrast of negative M1 growth versus fast rising M3 money supply, and the elevation of the competing currency wars with central banks working together and at each other’s throats at the same time.

    In the last couple months, a profound change has been seen in the USTreasury Bond market. Long-term yields have been rising, but so have short-term yields. The financial network spin, originating from Wall Street, has been that the USEconomy has begun to recover, and US banks have also recovered from threats to insolvency. Of course, both claims are incorrect. What happened is that the USFed gave away its more valuable USTBonds to troubled Wall Street and other money center banks, took their damaged private mortgage bonds, and did so at seriously inflated prices. AAA-rated mortgage bonds were typically unloaded to the now vulnerable USFed at 70 and 80 and 90 cents per dollar par value, when their actual value is half that, maybe nothing at all within a year. The USFed was forced to balance its bond portfolio by selling USTreasurys in the open credit market, thus lifting USTreasury yields in a broad manner. They are desperately trying not to use blatant monetization methods to rebalance their portfolio. In doing so, they are actually draining the private sector banking sector of liquidity. To say that the big money center banks, central bank, Treasury Dept, and USGovt Administration are subsidizing the nucleus of the US financial elite is a gross understatement. In the next phase, occurring over the next few months, the USFed and their partners in collusion will be monetizing the insolvency if not bankruptcy in a bigger way, but accomplishing the deed without balancing the bond portfolio of the USFed itself. The bankster syndicate will resort to much more direct and blatant monetary inflation. This is a key reason why the crude oil price has been gushing upward. Next is a vault upward in the gold & silver prices.


    The gold price was first to break out of the bullish wedge pattern, last week. Silver followed within a couple days. Now the breakouts seem more clear. Gold has vaulted north of the bull wedge upside barrier, and vaulted past the 50-day moving average (in red). Some consolidation should occur here at the congestion level at 925 before a move up toward 950 soon. Then comes 975 and swift establishment of new highs. One must ask the question “Has anything been fixed on the federal budget, the trade gap, insolvent banks, or increasingly underwater homeowners, and most importantly the falling home prices?” The answer is a resounding loud NO. Progress has been seen with banks, whose core assets have gone from minus $100 billion to minus $90 billion. This has been claimed as recovery? No, all responses with official policy will involve monetary inflation, the extension of credit, the printing of money, handouts of money, hidden replenishment of major connected banks, and the debasement of the USDollar. What comes down the road is the creation of the New Resolution Trust Corp for the full platform of mortgage relief, rescue, and bailouts. That will serve as the biggest risk to the USDollar of all. In fact, the USFed is waiting for this second horse in the New RTC to join the paired team of Clydesdales for the powerful fire truck. When the USGovt is fully involved, not just with a flimsy $600 check to each taxpayer, the US$ money supply will expand in a monumental fashion, and gold will set its sights on 1500 and then 2000. These targets will be pursued at the same time we see ruin of federal budget, totally, to the point that only the printing press can close the budget deficit gap. Foreigners will just say NO, as they have begun to do. They are shedding non-Treasury US$-based bonds in vast numbers. They are not showing up with bids at Treasury auctions. The tide has turned. THE GLOBAL ENERGY WAR THAT STARTED IN 2003 IN IRAQ HAS NOW EXPANDED INTO A GLOBAL WAR OF CAPITAL.

    The silver price break out of the bullish wedge pattern two days after gold. Now the matching breakouts seem more clear. Silver has vaulted north of the bull wedge upside barrier, and vaulted past the 50-day moving average (in red). Some consolidation should occur here at the congestion level at 18.20 before a move up toward 20 soon. Then comes 21.5 and swift establishment of new highs. My May Hat Trick Letter points out some anecdotal evidence of coin shortages. Heck, even the US Mint has quietly cut back severely on making silver eagles. Their officers have told a subscriber that they are on orders not to publicize the reason, a silver metal shortage. Try to order delivery of a silver contract at the COMEX, just try. You will hear of demands for an economic need, which translates into default. Desperate measures are being initiated, shuttling silver bullion from bank to bank across Europe and London. They must avert a public default. The publicity would lift the silver price radically, like with platinum.


    Nothing is fixed in the four damaged pillars of the entire US financial and economic system. All solutions involve a radical rise in monetary inflation. The USDollar is being defended. Soon, in desperation, it will be sacrificed if not trashed. The policy makers must prevent a broad spread of seizures, dislocations, and failures. This is not baseless doomsday claims, but rather reality. We are witnessing the climax to a failed fiat USDollar currency experiment, abandonment of the bulk of the US manufacturing base, longstanding sacred privilege to the US Military budget (no longer defense), reckless reliance upon a housing bubble to serve as foundation to the USEconomic (consumption & loan finance), and the wicked backlash of Mother Nature as it swings its lethal pendulum back in the other direction, called correction. Debt and bankruptcy will not be permitted to go unabated without reaction. That reaction will be heavy liquidity influx, in every area of attempted pillar restoration. That constitutes monetary inflation, which invites a gold & silver response.

    Late in 2007, the gold price was not satisfied with a jump to 850. After catching its breath for a month, it vaulted past 1000 in an easy stroke. The fundamentals, technicals (chart), and psychologicals are all aligned together. They foretell of a paradigm shift in finance, centered upon an upcoming near fatal situation with the USEconomy. The USDollar will also be under siege after the full blown rescues, bailouts and stimulus packages. A new era has dawned. Gold will rise to 2000 in the next two to three years. The swing momentum move that started at 1000 corrected down to 850. It will next pursue 150 points above the old breakout, toward 1200 on follow through. A bullish stochastix crossover in the weekly chart overrides any claim of an overbought condition visible in the daily chart. The gold price is next to start from a relatively low 850-900 range as its base in the assault of price to new highs. The difference between daily and weekly charts is quite clear, as they tell a different story, each positive.

  112. In particular lets look at the following quote from the prior article by Jim Willie

    "The one key item that neither Wall Street nor USGovt agents of corrupt information and data seem to overcome is gasoline and diesel. The extra cost to the USEconomy in higher energy prices just since February is roughly $300 billion. Match that to the mickey mouse $130 billion in handouts to households by the kindergarten players in the White House and Congress from the stimulus package. THESE GUYS DON’T GET IT!!! "

  113. New Poll Finds Big Shift Toward Obama
    Californians give Obama a significant edge over Clinton and McCain

    By Justin Ewers

    SAN FRANCISCO—A new poll released today in California finds political momentum shifting dramatically toward Barack Obama—and away from both Hillary Clinton and John McCain—in the nation's most populous state. According to a survey conducted over the past 10 days by the Public Policy Institute of California, 59 percent of likely voters here now have a "favorable" impression of Democrat Obama, while a majority view both of the other candidates unfavorably. In a state whose Democratic primary Clinton won in February, 51 percent of voters now say they have an unfavorable opinion of her; 53 percent of voters feel the same way about Republican McCain.

    Sen. Barack Obama seems to be making strides across nearly every constituency.
    (Chris Carlson/AP)Related News
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    Video: Clinton: It's Time Florida's Votes Were Decided
    Obama, meanwhile, seems to be making strides across nearly every constituency. If the general election were held today, 54 percent of Californians say they would vote for him, compared with 37 percent for McCain. That gap has widened by 8 points since March. Obama enjoys the support of more than 80 percent of Democrats here, along with over half (55 percent) of independents. He leads McCain among men and women and is viewed favorably by nearly 70 percent of Latinos—a powerful political group, experts note, not just in California but in several other western states, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.

    While there has been an epidemic of hand-wringing among Democratic political analysts over Obama's inability to win over low-income white voters in states like Kentucky and West Virginia, where Clinton has dominated recent primaries, California seems to be a different story. Obama leads McCain by a double-digit margin here among likely voters, no matter what their incomes. He enjoys a 55-to-35 percent lead among those who make less than $40,000 a year, including whites; a 55-to-36 percent lead among those who make between $40,000 and $80,000; and a 53-to-37 percent lead among those who make $80,000 or more.

    Who says Obama can't win.

  114. Middle Class Jitters

    By Robert J. Samuelson

    We middle-class Americans are in a funk. "The overarching economic narrative of the 2008 campaign is the idea that life for the middle class has grown more difficult," writes Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center, which recently published a massive report on middle-class anxieties. By its survey, more than half of Americans believe they either have not moved ahead in the past five years (25 percent) or have fallen behind (31 percent). Pew pronounces this "the most downbeat short-term assessment of personal progress in nearly half a century."

    It's not that Americans have lost their optimism. About two-thirds say they have higher living standards than their parents did at the same age, and by a ratio of two to one they expect their children to live better than they do. But there's an underlying disenchantment that seems to predate today's higher oil prices, falling home values and declining employment.

    "When my college-educated, gainfully employed thirty-something friends and I get together, we talk about money," writes Nan Mooney in her new book, "(Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents." "We talk about our inadequate health insurance and whether we can afford it, about how to juggle credit card payments and crushing student loans. . . . This wasn't the life I'd expected."

    Part of the deceptive sense of falling behind reflects the elastic nature of being middle class. According to Pew, 70 percent of households now have two or more cars, and a similar share has satellite or cable TV; 66 percent have high-speed Internet; 42 percent already have flat-panel TVs. The cost of entry into the middle class keeps rising. More students go to college and graduate school, so more have debt. Health care is expensive in part because modern medicine can do so much. Someone has to pay. One in 10 households now has a vacation home.

    "Progress" keeps draining our pocketbooks. Pew finds that four-fifths of Americans find it hard to maintain middle-class lifestyles; in 1986, two-thirds did. But today's middle-class anxieties transcend the well-advertised "squeeze" on incomes. The deeper source of disquiet, I think, lies elsewhere. Middle-class families value predictability, order and security, and these reassuring qualities have eroded. People worry about rising living expenses, but what really upsets them is the possibility that their incomes or fringe benefits -- pensions, health and disability insurance -- might vanish.

    Paradoxically, "the lives of individual Americans have grown simultaneously more prosperous and more precarious," writes Peter Gosselin in his new book, "High Wire." Gosselin, a Los Angeles Times reporter, has provided the most thorough account of this phenomenon to date. As he shows, the chances of being hit by a life-altering event (a long spell of unemployment, divorce, a big decline in work hours for one spouse) have declined slightly since the inflation-plagued 1970s and early 1980s.

    But the consequences of setbacks have grown, he finds. The share of families suffering a 50 percent loss of income with a spell of unemployment rose from 17 percent to almost 26 percent. Fear of these setbacks has also climbed up the social ladder: It's not just factory workers and low-paid service employees but also managers and engineers. Companies downsize. Older workers exit in buyouts. Companies raise health insurance premiums. The reliable "defined benefit" pension (which paid a fixed monthly amount) has given way to the riskier 401(k) -- vulnerable to bad investment decisions and sinking stocks. Corporate protections have weakened, as Gosselin notes.

    One result is that bad economic news packs greater psychological punch than it once did, because more people identify with the victims. Change isn't just something that happens to them; it could happen to us. People worry even if they hold well-paying jobs.

    We are losing our sense of entitlement. Under the implied social contract, people who "played by the rules" (to use a phrase popularized by Bill Clinton) deserved modest middle-class guarantees: a steady job, rising incomes and protection against random misfortune (sickness, disability, job loss, accidents). There was a belief that diligence and responsibility were their own rewards.

    It's worth noting that this imagined entitlement never universally existed. From 1975 to 1984, unemployment averaged 7.7 percent (today's: 5 percent). The now venerated defined-benefit pensions sometimes weren't fully funded (so promised benefits weren't always paid) or were funded at the expense of the next generation. Today's retired and well-pensioned autoworkers have condemned those who followed to lower-paid jobs or no jobs at all.

    Almost all Americans consider themselves middle class. In the Pew survey, 53 percent put themselves in the "middle class" and 19 percent each in the "upper middle" and "lower middle" classes. But the prevalence of middle-class ambitions and values creates a vexing contradiction: The advances in living standards that Americans expect require a flexible and competitive economy that weakens the security and stability that Americans also expect.

  115. Economic Toll Mounts From High Oil Prices


    Oil prices leaped above $135 a barrel in overnight trading on Thursday, a new record that underscored the growing pressures that runaway energy prices are placing on some of the biggest names in global industry.

    Prices fell back in the course of the day, closing at $130.81 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $2.36 from Wednesday’s close. But in a week that has seen the oil price rise by $4, the economic consequences of high fuel costs continued to mount.

    The Ford Motor Company, the American auto manufacturer, said on Thursday it would cut vehicle production for the rest of this year and fall short of reaching profitability in 2009, a long-held company goal. In a statement, a top Ford executive said rising gasoline prices “are having a tremendous impact on our sales, our manufacturing operations and our profitability.”

    Meanwhile, Europe’s biggest airline, Air France-KLM, warned of a profound reshaping of the world airline industry caused by what it called the “explosion” in the price of oil. And American Airlines said on Wednesday that it would slash flights and begin charging passengers to check bags, part of a company effort to cut costs in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices.

    Oil futures spent months dancing around the $100 a barrel. But in the last two months, prices have taken off, gaining nearly $20 a barrel in May alone.

    Gasoline prices are nearing $4 a gallon in the United States, partly as a result of a 39 percent rise in the price of New York oil futures since the start of the year. Prices have more than quadrupled since 2003.

    On Capitol Hill on Thursday, a panel of oil company executives took a lashing from legislators for a second day, this time before the House Judiciary Committee, over their prices and profits. “You all are gouging the American public, and it needs to stop,” declared Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee.

    A series of unsettling reports have suggested world oil supplies may not be able to keep up with future demand, a situation that could potentially lead to even higher prices.

    On Wednesday, weaker-than-expected weekly inventory data in the United States stoked fresh worries over oil supplies in the world’s biggest economy ahead of the busy summer driving season, sending oil prices up $4.19 a barrel.

    Some investors reacted to a report on Thursday in The Wall Street Journal that the International Energy Agency, an Paris-based policy advisory group for industrialized countries, was concerned about a reduction in the long-term world supply of crude oil.

    But the agency’s chief economist said in an interview that the study’s results were still inconclusive. “We are going to revise our oil supply prospects,” said Fatih Birol, the economist. “We don’t know the results yet.”

    And several oil analysts dismissed the importance of the current anxieties affecting the market.

    “Concerns about future supply — that’s nothing new, it’s been there for four years,” said Antoine Halff, an analyst at Newedge.

    Some experts expressed frustration that investors were only focusing on alarmist reports about declining supplies in a few areas and failed to consider that higher prices would eventually tamper demand and attract new production from places like Brazil.

    “The market is reacting to the fact that we might not have enough oil in the market 13 years from now — excuse me?” said Edward Morse, the chief energy economist at Lehman Brothers in New York. “You never recognize it’s a bubble until the bubble is over.”

    The International Energy Agency warned about such a disconnect three years ago. At the time, it said that if investments didn’t keep pace with the growth in consumption, the world might face a shortfall of as much as 15 million barrels a day by 2030. Instead of growing to reach 116 million barrels a day, global supplies would struggle to increase to 100 million barrels a day by then, up from today’s average of 86 million barrels day.

    In recent years, a chorus of analysts and oil executives have raised concerns about possible shortfalls in supplies over the next years as new discoveries and production fail to keep up with rising demand. That, they warned, could lead to a supply crunch and spiking oil prices until demand eventually fell.

    Part of the reason is that costs in the industry have more than doubled in the last five years, oil-rich countries are tightening access rules for foreign investors, and many developing countries are subsidizing their fuel costs, and thereby fueling energy consumption. Global demand is expected to grow by about 1 million barrels a day in the next decade.

    “We are concerned about the supply prospects,” Mr. Birol said. “Investments is the main issue here. Each year we need $400 billion a year in the oil and gas sector. But because of cost inflation, in real terms, we are far from the investments needed.”

    Speaking in Chicago on Thursday, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., told CNBC that concerns over oil supply are driving prices to record levels, rather than bets by oil traders.

    “This is not about blame; this is about supply and demand,” Mr. Paulson said in an interview. “Supply is tight and there’s concern that supply is going to have trouble keeping up with demand over the longer-term. All the research I’ve done is that speculators, short-term investors have had very little impact on this.”

    In recent months, the market’s confusion over the long-term supplies, as well as a decline the dollar, and rising commodity investments, have accelerated the rally in oil prices. Since October, oil futures have surged by $50 a barrel, jumping from $80 to more than $130 a barrel.

    The current market, Barclays Capital analysts said in a note to investors today, “is testing for a new equilibrium, seeking to work out what those supply and demand dynamics really look like.”

    Experts disagree on whether speculation is playing a significant role in the market.

    Samuel W. Bodman, the United States energy secretary, said at a House hearing on Thursday that the government would refuse to dip into its emergency oil reserves. He played down the impact of market speculation in the current price increase, attributing the high prices to factors of supply and demand.

    Those Republicans sure are crackerjacks at those money matters.

  116. Does McCain Have a Vets Problem?

    By Jay Newton-Small/Washington

    Of all the voting groups John McCain will target this fall, none would seem like more of a sure thing than this country's war veterans. So why is the celebrated Vietnam War hero and POW bracing for a potentially bad week with so many men and women who have served in uniform?

    The point of contention between the two seemingly natural allies is a piece of legislation the Senate is expected to vote on this week to update the 1944 G.I. Bill to provide expanded education assistance and opportunities to the armed forces. The bill, co-sponsored by two other Vietnam veterans in the Senate, Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Democrat Jim Webb of Virginia, would effectively provide full tuition and housing costs at a four-year public university for veterans who have served at least three years of active duty. Given his family's and his own long and distinguished service career, the bill would seem like a natural fit for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. But McCain, concerned about the estimated $4 billion annual price tag and the incentive he worries it might give people to leave an already strapped military, has sponsored his own competing proposal. It increases the existing monthly education benefit from around $1,100 to $1,500 a month while adding more generous benefits for those who've served more than 12 years.

    McCain's concerns, however, don't seem to impress the vast majority of veterans' organizations. They are feverishly lobbying him to support the Webb and Hagel bill, which simply adds the new program's expense to the $165 billion annual emergency war supplemental, a move President George W. Bush has threatened to veto. (The House version offsets the program by increasing taxes by 0.5% on those individuals who earn more than $500,000 a year and couples who earn more than $1 million, a move also under veto threat.) "This isn't about anything partisan; we are firmly supporting the bill that does right by the veterans, does right by the troops, and that is not McCain's bill," said Ramona Joyce, a spokeswoman for the American Legion. "It could do McCain damage with veteran voters if this issue drags out."

    Even with the current dustup, it's hard to imagine John McCain not winning the majority of the veterans vote in November. But the nation's 26 million veterans are by no means a monolithic voting bloc, and any level of disappointment with McCain could sway some undecideds. The Democratic National Committee is already gleefully preparing TV spots about McCain's position on the Senate bill. And, sensing a vulnerability in McCain's seemingly greatest strength, some Democratic strategists are already contemplating what other veterans votes they can bring up this year.

    Obama, who sits on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has already won some support from many Iraq and Afghanistan vets who oppose the war in Iraq, and has been actively trying to expand his appeal to older veterans — though his efforts in that regard didn't help him in the primaries in veteran-heavy states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. To underline his own family's military pedigree, Obama plans a trip in coming weeks to the Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii, where his grandfather, who served in World War II, is buried. Obama and McCain's G.O.P. rival, the antiwar presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul, actually beat McCain in donations from the four branches of active military this year, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics.

    This is not the first time McCain, who has a proud history of opposing what he views as excessive government spending, has found himself at odds with his fellow veterans on legislation. He's voted for veterans funding bills only 30% of the time, according to a scorecard of roll-call votes put out by the nonpartisan Disabled Americans for America. Under the same system Obama has a 90% rating — though, of course, he has spent a much shorter time in Washington. "Senator McCain clearly needs to be recognized for his military service and in some respects that will play to his advantage, but when it actually comes to delivering health care and benefits during war, Senator McCain's going to have some explaining to do," said Paul Sullivan, director of the nonpartisan Veterans for Common Sense.

    Supporters of Webb and Hagel's bill dismiss McCain's concerns about the retention issue. While the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would cause a 16% drop in re-enlistment rates across all four branches of the military, the same study also predicts a 16% uptick in new recruits attracted by the benefit. The bill has 58 co-sponsors, including none other than Obama — just two shy of a veto-proof majority. It was passed last week by the House with a comfortable veto-proof majority, but as an amendment to the emergency war supplemental, it could be altered as the two chambers hammer out differences between the two versions. McCain's office is confident that in the reconciliation process a compromise can be worked out. "We're negotiating in good faith and we think they are as well. We want to do something for veterans. We're really working hard to accomplish our goal," said Mark Buse, McCain's Senate chief of staff.

    Webb, who has yet to endorse a presidential candidate but is rumored to be on Obama's vice presidential shortlist, might have been more open to talks until last week. After the two camps met but failed to come to a resolution on their differences, McCain's allies moved to attach his version — which has nine G.O.P. co-sponsors — to an unrelated bill on the Senate floor. The Senate came to a grinding halt for two hours as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid worked to remove McCain's amendment; eventually it was tabled by a vote of 56-42. But the tactic created no good will with Webb's staff. "At this point we were really not in the position to negotiate," said Jess Smith, a spokeswoman for Webb. "We're sticking to our guns that our bill will take care of our vets; incentivizing long-term military service is not the top aim of this bill."

    Typical of those Republican heroes to hate the troops.

  117. McCain Pastor: Islam Is a 'Conspiracy of Spiritual Evil'
    McCain Called Pastor 'One of the Truly Great Leaders in America'


    Despite his call for the U.S. to win the "hearts and minds of the Islamic world," Sen. John McCain recruited the support of an evangelical minister who describes Islam as "anti-Christ" and Mohammed as "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."

    McCain sought the support of Pastor Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, Ohio at a critical time in his campaign in February, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was continuing to draw substantial support from the Christian right.

    At a campaign appearance in Cincinnati, McCain introduced Parsley as "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide."

    Campaign aides positioned Parsley right behind McCain for photographers, apparently unconcerned about Parsley's well-established denunciations of the Islamic faith in a book "Silent No More" and on DVDs of sermons about Islam.

    "Islam is an anti-Christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world," Parsley says on the DVDs reviewed by ABC News.

    "America was founded with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed," Parsley says, "and I believe Sept. 11, 2001 was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore."

    Parsley's views and his connection to the McCain campaign are now beginning to show up on Arab Web sites and newspapers.

    Al Moheet, a regional Arabic Web site operating in Egypt, carries the story with a picture of McCain and the headline: "McCain's Spiritual Adviser Calls for the Destruction of Islam."

    "If there is a McCain presidency, he will start with a serious handicap in the Arab world," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou. "And the handicap is that it is already assumed in Muslim countries that they will not get a fair shake from a McCain administration," said Kiriakou.

    In a statement to ABC News about Parsley's comments, McCain's campaign said the senator "obviously strongly rejects such statements." The campaign did not answer the question of whether it was aware of Parsley's widely publicized statements prior to seeking his endorsement in February.

    McCain has not disassociated himself from the pastor, but the campaign statement said, "Just because someone endorses John McCain doesn't mean he endorses all of their views."

    McCain has repeatedly urged the U.S. to show respect for Islam. "Our goal must be to win the 'hearts and minds' of the vast majority of moderate Muslims who do not want their future controlled by a minority of violent extremists," McCain told the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles on March 26.

    But well before he was asked to endorse McCain, Pastor Parsley took a much different view about moderate Muslims in his book and sermons. "I would counter respectfully that what some people call extremists are instead mainstream Muslim believers who are drawing from the well at the very heart of Islam," he said.

    McCain said in his March speech, "We must remember that our freedoms are not only defended by our diplomacy and military power but, very importantly, by the decency and respect with which we treat one another."

    Parsley says he can be silent no more about Islam. "I will rail against the idea that the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are the same being. I will sound the alarm about the pernicious agenda of the enemies of my country and the cross of my Christ, and I will proclaim the truth at every opportunity."

    Parsley, through a spokesperson at his church, declined to be interviewed by ABC News.

    In a statement, a spokesperson, Gene Pierce, said Parsley's comments "were in response to militant Islamic leaders' repeated pledges to kill Americans and destroy the United States and Western culture and democracies."

    His Web site, said the spokesperson, "also makes a distinction between Muslim terrorists and the vast majority of peaceful Muslims."

    Parsley says he has served in the public ministry for more than 30 years and now has a congregation of more than 12,000 people.

    He hosts the television show "Breakthrough" on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, aired on 1,400 television and cable channels around the world.

    Delusional hangs with Delusional.

  118. thanks for putting the articles about Mccain and his pastor 'troubles" and also the GI bill issues...have a good Memorial Day weekend...


    ( Lydia- I am putting you in my Memorial day round up...hope that is okay..)

  119. Iraqi Cleric Sistani Hints at Armed Resistance to U.S.

    Powerful Iraqi cleric flirting with Shiite militant message

    Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric has been quietly issuing religious edicts declaring that armed resistance against U.S.-led foreign troops is permissible — a potentially significant shift by a key supporter of the Washington-backed government in Baghdad.

    The edicts, or fatwas, by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani suggest he seeks to sharpen his long-held opposition to American troops and counter the populist appeal of his main rivals, firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia.

    But — unlike al-Sadr's anti-American broadsides — the Iranian-born al-Sistani has displayed extreme caution with anything that could imperil the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    The two met Thursday at the elderly cleric's base in the city of Najaf south of Baghdad.

    So far, al-Sistani's fatwas have been limited to a handful of people. They also were issued verbally and in private — rather than a blanket proclamation to the general Shiite population — according to three prominent Shiite officials in regular contact with al-Sistani as well as two followers who received the edicts in Najaf.

    All spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

    Al-Sistani — who is believed to be 79 or 80 — has not been seen in public since a brief appearance in August 2004, shortly after returning from London for medical treatment for an unspecified heart condition. But his mix of religious authority and political clout makes him more powerful than any of Iraq's elected leaders.

    For American officials, he represents a key stabilizing force in Iraq for refusing to support a full-scale Shiite uprising against U.S.-led forces or Sunnis — especially at the height of sectarian bloodletting after an important Shiite shrine was bombed in 2006.

    It is impossible to determine whether those who received the edicts acted on them. Most attacks — except some by al-Qaida in Iraq — are carried out without claims of responsibility.

    It is also unknown whether al-Sistani intended the fatwas to inspire violence or simply as theological opinions on foreign occupiers. Al-Sadr — who has a much lower clerical rank than al-Sistani — recently has threatened "open war" on U.S.-led forces.

    The U.S. military said it had no indications that al-Sistani was seeking to "promote violence" against U.S.-led troops. It also had no information linking the ayatollah or other top Shiite clerics to armed groups battling U.S. forces and allies.

    A senior aide to the prime minister, al-Maliki, said he was not aware of the fatwas, but added that the "rejection of the occupation is a legal and religious principle" and that top Shiite clerics were free to make their own decisions. The aide also spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Fatwas are theological opinions by an individual cleric and views on the same subject can vary. They gain force from consensus among experts in Islamic law and traditions.

    In the past, al-Sistani has avoided answering even abstract questions on whether fighting the U.S. presence in Iraq is allowed by Islam. Such questions sent to his Web site — which he uses to respond to followers' queries — have been ignored. All visitors to his office who had asked the question received a vague response.

    The subtle shift could point to his growing impatience with the continued American presence more than five years after the U.S.-led invasion.

    It also underlines possible opposition to any agreement by Baghdad to allow a long-term U.S. military foothold in Iraq — part a deal that is currently under negotiation and could be signed as early as July.

    Al-Sistani's distaste for the U.S. presence is no secret. In his public fatwas on his Web site, he blames Washington for many of Iraq's woes.

    But a more aggressive tone from the cleric could have worrisome ripples through Iraq's Shiite majority — 65 percent of the country's estimated 27 million population — in which many followers are swayed by his every word.

    A longtime official at al-Sistani's office in Najaf would not deny or confirm the edicts issued in private, but hinted that a publicized call for jihad may come later.

    "(Al-Sistani) rejects the American presence," he told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to media. "He believes they (the Americans) will at the end pay a heavy price for the damage they inflicted on Iraq."

    Juan Cole, a U.S. expert on Shiites in the Middle East, speculated that "al-Sistani clearly will give a fatwa against the occupation by a year or two." But he said it would be "premature" for the cleric to do so now.

    Between 10 and 15 people are believed to have received the new fatwas in recent months, the Shiite officials told the AP.

    Most of those seeking al-Sistani's views are young men known for their staunch loyalty to al-Sistani who call themselves "Jund al-Marjaiyah," or "Soldiers of the Religious Authorities," according to the Shiite officials.

    Al-Sistani's new edicts — which did not specifically mention Americans but refer to foreign occupiers — were in response to the question of whether it's permitted to "wage armed resistance," according to the two Shiites who received them.

    Al-Sistani's affirmative response also carried a stern warning that "public interest" should not be harmed and every effort must be made to ensure that no harm comes to Iraqis or their property during "acts of resistance," they said.

    "Changing the tyrannical (Saddam Hussein) regime by invasion and occupation was not what we wished for because of the many tragedies they have created," al-Sistani said in reply to a question on his Web site.

    "We are extremely worried about their intentions," he wrote in response to another question on his views about the U.S. military presence.

    Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army twice revolted against U.S. forces in 2004. It has since periodically attacked U.S. troops and battled them for seven weeks in Baghdad this year.

    In perhaps another sign of al-Sistani's hardened position, he has opposed disarming the Mahdi Army as demanded by al-Maliki, according to Shiite officials close to the cleric.

    Disarming the Mahdi Army would — in the views of many Shiites — leave them vulnerable to attacks by armed Sunni factions that are steadily gaining strength after joining the U.S. military fight against al-Qaida.

    "Al-Sistani would love Muqtada (al-Sadr) to disappear but he will not break the community by openly going against a popular Shiite cleric," said Vali Nasr, an expert on Shiite affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. "If he orders militias disbanded and a car bomb again kills many Shiites, he will be held responsible."

    If Sistani ever says "bring it on" the Bush administration will wish the idiot-in-chief never did.

  120. We are in Yahoo News today.

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

    Met Ambassador Joe Wilson last night.. (he doesn't mind being referred to as "Valerie Plame's husband)

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  122. Barack Obama has 1,657 elected delegates, and 309 super delegates which means he only needs 60 delegates to win the nomination, and it looks like he will add around 43 elected delegates from Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota. (Yes my predictions sometimes are one or two delegates lower then what he gets in the end. I predicted 29 delegates out of Oregon and he got 31)

    Hillary has 1,502 elected delegates and 283 super delegates. She needs 241 more delegates but even today she lost another super delegate, so her goal line to win seems to step back as each super delegate turns to Obama, as much as it advances.

    What this means by the best predictions I can make now is Obama needs 15-17 more super delegates to clinch, which is why Hillary is trying very hard to get all of Florida and as much of Michigan as she can before June 3rd.

    BTW since it appears he won the elected delegate count after Oregon, it appears the eight-member "Pelosi Club"—the House speaker and seven other superdelegates who have indicated that they will support the winner of the pledged delegates, Obama probably can count their 8 delegates but none have announced yet.

    Even if Florida and Michigan are split 60-40 in favor of Clinton she can't win.

  123. BTW who is John McCain's worst critic about speaking the truth, well

    John McCain

  124. That is gonna make some good commercials in the fall.

  125. Wow Congratulations Lydia and Good Luck! I want to wish you and everyone here a wonderful and safe Memorial Day!

  126. Since my comment earlier Barack Obama has gained three elected delegates two were for John Edwards from New Hampshire and one more super delegate, while Hillary has lost another super-delegate.

    The drip drip of super delegates will finish Hillary's chances of claiming any way to win soon.

  127. Hi everybody

    It was about 1 year ago that I first found this blog and introduced myself with a Memorial Day posting. I felt led to repost that inital comment ... tragically updated.

    On Memorial Day, people frequently will say "Thank You" to those who gave their lives for our freedom, and certainly I give my thanks to those who perished in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, World Wars 1 & 2, and so on ...

    For those who have died in this Iraqi war, thank you doesn't seem to quite fit. Instead, all I can say is "I'm sorry."

    I'm sorry it came to this. I'm sorry that the president didn't value your life enough to keep you alive. I'm sorry you aren't still here to help keep us safe from our nation's true enemies. I'm sorry that those in charge treasured their pride, money, greed, and political ambitions too much that you were considered expendable. I'm sorry that lies and deceit was all it took to have you killed. I'm sorry I didn't fight hard enough or effectively enough to keep you home.

    To the 4080 (and unfortunately still growing) service men and women who have died for a reason other than our freedom -- we miss you, we love you, may you rest in peace.

  128. Congradulations Lydia, thats awesome news, i'm really looking forward to your new book.

  129. The Super Delegates and the Demacratic Congress in general need to show they have a spine and end the Demacratic Primary so Obama can focus on uniting the party and beating McSame in November.......they also have to stop caving in to Bush and repug smears and demagogery.

  130. Hillary's Robert F. Kennedy comment just might have done her in.

    Al Giordano - The Field reports an Exodus of 40 Clinton Delegates begins:

    The endorsement by US Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-California) of Obama today sends an extremely firm message to the Clinton campaign, and not only because he was, until today, a Clinton superdelegate.

    The Field has learned that Cardoza is the first of a group of at least 40 Clinton delegates, many of them from California, that through talking among themselves came to a joint decision that all of them would vote for Obama at the convention. They have informed Senator Clinton that it’s time to unite around Obama, and that they will be coming out, one or two at a time, and announcing their switch between now and the convention if Senator Clinton doesn’t do the same.

    It looks like they are giving her a choice, end it as honorably as she can now, or face the daily drip drip of delegates crossing to Obama, and lose what ever real future she had in the party.

  131. Clif,
    I think the Exodus will not speed up ...before there is anymore damage...Brinkley on Countdown tonight was correct- there needs to be Intervention to help her exit....the SuperDels need to speak and speak strongly ....

    ( I have a post up at Watergate Summer about the RFK Statement...)

  132. Ooops Clif- I goofed I meant to say that the Exodus I think WILL speed up..sorry about that..

  133. MCH:
    I appreciate what you wrote about the" I'm sorry"...( I am writing a post for the Peace Tree that is about that very issue- what to say to VETS this Memorial Day...)
    really hard holiday...for so many...and this regime has tarnished the honor of horrible...

    Have a good Memorial Day everyone.....

    ( Lydia I went back through the thread and could not find out more about your me - time permitting- would love to hear more...take care)...

  134. enigma4ever said...
    Ooops Clif- I goofed I meant to say that the Exodus I think WILL speed up..sorry about that.."

    I think it will speed up ass well, particularly after May 31.........this primary will be over at the latest by June 4.

  135. Empirical evidence George W. Bush is a fascist

    Jesse Hemingway

    The Republican Party lays claim to represent big business and capitalism I can prove that in fact George W. Bush is a fascist. There are ideological currents within the Republican Party yet capitalism is fundamentally driven by elements of unobstructed business practices by the government and going concern. Economics is a social science contained by certain laws with out these laws it could not be recognized as a specific discipline. Capitalism is a system in which the government is mutual exclusive from industry, business traffic, and economics. Fascism is the integration of the government into one or more of these elements industry, business traffic, and economics. George W. bush is directing the government to intervene in one or more these elements of industry, business traffic, and economics to undermine market forces and economic principles.

    George W. Bush has seized dictatorial control and has compromised the United States Constitution by his actions of disregarding the voice of both houses of congress. We the United States are presently in a severe energy crisis the oil industries have recorded consecutive enormous profits. The oil industries are continuing to receive unneeded subsidies from the American taxpayers; for financial relief to the oil industries from when they where also in a similar state of crisis years back. As the American taxpayers are feeling the brunt of this present energy crisis the oil industry refuses to yield their taxpayers subsidies the oil industry has only one person protecting them that is George W. Bush. George W. Bush protection to the oil industry is unreasonable.

    Both houses of congress have voted and proposed to transfer the present subsidies the oil industries are receiving to alternative energy programs those programs would enhance a variety of methods of alternative energy while these programs would also increase our vital national security. This is also a principle of economics law of substitutions which is a natural occurring event in ecomomies. Although, this law of substitutions can not occur when the industry that are in competition is either an oligopoly or monopoly which should be recognized by even a C student from Yale in economic that would be George W. Bush. For George W. Bush not to demand the oil industries to relinquish these subsides from the American taxpayers is clearly an act of classical fascism.

    Fascism :A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

    A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
    Oppressive, dictatorial control.

    What is capitalism?

    Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned. Under capitalism the state is separated from economics (production and trade), just like the state is separated from religion. Capitalism is the system of of laissez faire. It is the system of political freedom.

  136. War Abroad and Poverty at Home

    By Paul Craig Roberts

    The US Senate has voted $165 billion to fund Bush’s wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq through next spring.

    As the US is broke and deep in debt, every one of the $165 billion dollars will have to be borrowed. American consumers are also broke and deep in debt. Their zero saving rate means every one of the $165 billion dollars will have to be borrowed from foreigners.

    The “world’s only superpower” is so broke it can’t even finance its own wars.

    Each additional dollar that the irresponsible Bush Regime has to solicit from foreigners puts more downward pressure on the dollar’s value. During the eight wasted and extravagant years of the Bush Regime, the once mighty US dollar has lost about 60% of its value against the euro.

    The dollar has lost even more of its value against gold and oil.

    Before Bush began his wars of aggression, oil was $25 a barrel. Today it is $130 a barrel. Some of this rise may result from run-away speculation in the futures market. However, the main cause is the eroding value of the dollar. Oil is real, and unlike paper dollars is limited in supply. With US massive trade and budget deficits, the outpouring of dollar obligations mounts, thus driving down the value of the dollar.

    Each time the dollar price of oil rises, the US trade deficit rises, requiring more foreign financing of US energy use. Bush has managed to drive the US oil import bill up from $106 billion in 2006 to approximately $500 billion 18 months later--every dollar of which has to be financed by foreigners.

    Without foreign money, the US “superpower” cannot finance its imports or its government’s operation.

    When the oil price rises, Americans, who are increasingly poor, cannot pay their winter heating bills. Thus, the Senate’s military spending bill contains more heating subsidies for America’s growing legion of poor people.

    The rising price of energy drives up the price of producing and transporting all goods, but American incomes are not rising except for the extremely rich.

    The disappearing value of the US dollar, which pushes up oil prices and raises the trade deficit, then pushes up heating subsidies and raises the budget deficit.

    If oil was the reason Bush invaded Iraq, the plan obviously backfired. Oil not merely doubled or tripled in price but quintupled.

    America’s political leaders either have no awareness that Bush’s wars are destroying our country’s economic position and permanently lowering the living standards of Americans or they do not care. McCain says he can win the war in Iraq in five more years and in the meantime “challenge” Russia and China. Hillary says she will “obliterate” Iran. Obama can’t make up his mind if he is for war or against it.

    The Bush Regime’s inability to pay the bills it is piling up for Americans means that future US governments will cut promised benefits and further impoverish the people. Over a year ago The Nation reported that the Bush Regime is shedding veteran costs by attributing consequences of serious war wounds to “personality disorders” in order to deny soldiers promised benefits.

    Previous presidents reduced promised Social Security benefits by taxing the benefits (a tax on a tax) and by rigging the cost of living adjustment to understate inflation. Future presidents will have to seize private pensions in order to make minimal Social Security payments.

    Currently the desperate Bush Regime is trying to cut Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled.

    The Republican Party is willing to fund war, but sees everything else as an extravagance. The neoconized war party is destroying the economic prospects of American citizens. Is “war abroad and poverty at home” the Republican campaign slogan for the November election?

  137. The “world’s only superpower” is so broke it can’t even finance its own wars.

    Funny the same thing happened to the British Empire before WW2, the last time the world had only one "super power".

  138. Thank you everyone,

    Larry wrote:

    Currently the desperate Bush Regime is trying to cut Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled.

    The Republican Party is willing to fund war, but sees everything else as an extravagance. The neoconized war party is destroying the economic prospects of American citizens. Is “war abroad and poverty at home” the Republican campaign slogan for the November election?

  139. For those who missed Keith Olbermann's Special Comment last night it was a barnburner and you can see it on Christopher's blog at:

    From the Left

  140. Bush golfing again, says “long nat’l nightmare” over

    by Brad Jacobson

    President Bush, who recently revealed he gave up playing golf on Aug. 19, 2003 because it “sends the wrong signal” during a time of war, has ended his near five-year sacrifice. The Wounded-Courier has obtained a rush transcript of the president’s discussion to air tonight on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume. The following is an excerpt from that interview:

    BRIT HUME: Mr. President, why did you decide to take up golf again?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, Brit, I’ve proven my solidarity with our troops and their families. I haven’t hit the links for longer than the longest tours of duty of any of our brave fighting men and women. And, quite frankly, I think this country has sacrificed enough.

    BRIT HUME: A tremendous sacrifice indeed, Mr. President. I’m sure our citizens will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our progress in the war on terror is such that their commander-in-chief can once more safely bestride golf courses across America.

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Exactly, Brit. The long national nightmare is over. Tomorrow morning, I plan to eat a healthy egg white omelet, maybe a little yogurt and fresh fruit, then I’m off to play a good eighteen holes. (laughs) Maybe more if these ol’ battle-scarred knees allow it.

    BRIT HUME: Is it fair to say you’re picking up golf again, sir, should be seen as not only evidence the surge has been successful but also a rallying cry to those young men and women who continue to put themselves in harm’s way so their president can play golf with peace of mind?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I’m sure there are those out there who won’t make that connection for partisan reasons. But, you know, we’re in the political season. So politics has taken over. I know that. But, look, I’m confident the American people will see this as what it is - a clear victory against the killers who have no respect for the civilized game of golf. A sport our forefathers fought and died for so that we might play today.

    How secure do we feel now that the tyrant feels peaceful enough to play his little game.

  141. Insanity

    by Charley Reese

    President George Bush and his tag-along buddy John McCain are repeating almost word for word about Iran the pattern of lies and threats they used to justify the war against Iraq.

    Our intelligence agencies have said that Iran gave up the pursuit of a nuclear weapon three years ago. President Bush makes speeches as if he's never heard of any intelligence agencies. That's what worries me about President Bush. His words very often defy and contradict reality.

    Recently, he almost repeated word for word a theme he often used in the buildup to the Iraq aggression. It was, he said, unthinkable to allow "the most dangerous regime to acquire the most dangerous weapons." This guy might actually launch an attack on Iran before his term expires. If he does, you can kiss the world economy goodbye. You don't like $4-a-gallon gas? How about $10 a gallon?

    In the first place, Iran is far from the most dangerous regime in the world. I would say it is not dangerous at all, so far as the United States is concerned. Except for idiots, sane people assess threats based on capability, not on political rhetoric, intentions or imagination.

    So what are the capabilities of Iran? It has no nuclear weapons. We have about 3,000 or more. One American submarine could destroy the entire country of Iran and its population. Iran has no missiles that could reach us. It has no aircraft that could reach us. Its army couldn't even defeat Iraq.

    So what I want to know is how in the blankety-blank Hades Bush and McCain define the word "dangerous"? When their statements about Iran are placed side by side with the known facts, Bush and McCain sound insane.

    Nothing alarms me more than the thought of an irrational person in the White House. I'm OK with stupid. I can live with venal. I can tolerate a womanizer, even a drunk, but a crazy person in command of our nuclear forces gives me the heebie-jeebies. Somebody who can't tell the difference between a nuclear-free Iran with no ICBMs and Russia with thousands of nuclear warheads sitting atop advanced intercontinental missiles has no business being allowed in the White House, even as a tourist.

    There are two countries that have the capability of being a threat to us – Russia and China. That's foreign policy and geopolitical strategy at the kindergarten level. They have the capability. No other country in the world does. Only a moron would worry more about an ex-college professor with a long name whose office doesn't even control the armed forces than he would about Vladimir Putin. This present American administration, in one of the dumbest moves in the history of diplomacy, neglected our relations with Russia while it got us bogged down in two small desert countries that don't amount to a hill of coffee beans.

    Also bear in mind that it doesn't matter diddly squat if some small country manages to make a few nuclear weapons. A few is no threat to many. Nobody with a few would be tempted to attack any country with many nuclear weapons.

    Deterrence worked when the Soviet Union had 30,000 nuclear warheads, but these moronic, unscrupulous, intellectually dishonest, dishonorable neocons would convince you that deterrence wouldn't work against Iran.

    I know most secular folks equate religion with insanity, but they are not the same. Iran is a religious nation, but its leaders are not crazy. They are smart and well-educated. They fought a long, grueling war with Iraq, and I think what they want more than anything else is a little peace and prosperity. But I think they are worried about Bush, McCain and Israel, and I don't blame them.

    The "Tag Along Twins" getting ready to start the War of Wars.

  142. Why McCain's Rejection of Rev. Parsley May Cost Him the Election

    By David Corn

    Regular readers know that I broke the story about John McCain's problematic political alliance with the Reverend Rod Parsley, the Ohio megachurch pastor who has declared that it is the historic mission of the United States to see the "false religion" of Islam "destroyed." On Thursday, McCain--who had campaigned with Parsley in February and called him "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide"--rejected Parsley's endorsement. The repudiation was part of a twofer: at the same time, McCain dumped fundamentalist pastor John Hagee, who had called the Catholic Church "the great whore" and who had once said that Hitler's mass-murdering of Jews was part of "God's work."

    In the media coverage of McCain's pastor problems, Parsley was second fiddle. Apparently calling for the eradication of Islam is not as politically troublesome as insulting the Catholic Church and describing the Holocaust as a necessary step for the Second Coming (because it drove the Jews back to the Middle East). But footage of Parsley's anti-Islam rants--which Mother Jones and Brave New Films posted on-line as a video--was played on MSNBC and on ABC (which mistakenly described its own report as an "exclusive"). And the McCain camp decided to lump the two fundamentalist extremists together and throw them under the same bus at the same time.

    The media coverage has continued to focus more on Hagee, who preaches at a Texas church, than Parsley. But McCain's excommunication of Parsley may be more politically significant. Allow me to explain the melodramatic headline above: Parsley, who leads a church in Columbus, Ohio, is a political powerhouse in the Buckeye State. He registers social conservatives as voters and then drives them to the polls, where most of them presumably vote Republican. He's been credited with helping George W. Bush win Ohio in 2004, when Bush beat John Kerry by the narrow margin of 120,000 votes.

    Ohio is once again a swing state--perhaps the most important swing state. It's hard to envision either McCain or the Democratic nominee (presumably Barack Obama) winning in November without pocketing Ohio. And it's hard to envision McCain winning the state without the assistance of social conservative voters (often miscalled "values voters"). The Ohio Republican Party has been decimated in recent years by various scandals, and the state is now governed by a popular Democrat (Ted Strickland). It has become much tougher ground for GOPers. Which means that McCain truly needs those social conservatives to turn out for him.

    And another point: in renouncing Parsley and Hagee, McCain said that his initial acceptance of their endorsements "did not mean I endorsed their views." That may be true to a point. Yet what did it mean when McCain called Parsley "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide"? That sure sounds like an endorsement. Why did McCain say that? It's doubtful that he was aware of Parsley's anti-Islam extremism or his other over-the-top views. McCain was simply pandering--mouthing words he did not really mean because that would help him get elected. If McCain is going to hail someone as a "great leader" and "moral compass," you'd expect him to know a thing or two about the fellow. Tossing off such praise in a who-really-cares manner sure ain't straight talk.

    Those "Straight Talking" moralists just can't keep quiet.


    By Richard Reeves

    This is what I thought was the American social contract when I was growing up in the land of the free and the home of the brave: You could work your way through college, and if you got a decent job, you could buy a house within a few years.

    And, you deserved a bit more if you served in the military: money or loans for college and something of a break on mortgage loans. The point goes beyond the danger of military service; the important fact is that you deserve something more than being underpaid if you give up two or more years of your life while your peers are working on careers, beginning families, or getting educations that will pay dividends for life.

    That's the way it was for me, and I think kids today deserve the same. I could earn enough for college working summers and part-time; the military (Air Force ROTC) paid some of the bills. I got a job as an engineer for Ingersoll-Rand, and six years after graduation, with a little help from my parents, I was able to buy a small house on a lake in New Jersey.

    Now, of course, college is more expensive -- as a father of five I have seen those costs rise faster than the cost of oil -- and houses in metropolitan areas are often more than young families can afford. That bothers me, a lot; it is a failure of the American way. But that bother is nothing compared with the screwing the government is giving to the young men and women serving in harm's way in Iraq.

    Whatever one thinks of the war and the officials who planned it, those soldiers and reservists out there deserve more than moral support. My stomach literally turned when I read this paragraph in The New York Times last Thursday morning:

    "President Bush is threatening to veto a bill that would pay tuition and other expenses at a four-year public university for anyone who has served in the military for three years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A main reason is that it would hasten an exodus from the ranks."

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it this way: "Serious retention issues could arise."

    I bet they could. And should. The war is being fought by a tiny percentage of the American people, and many of their lives are being ruined. You want a war, Mr. President? Then ask Congress to declare one. You want soldiers to be retained? Then ask for a draft. You want to support our boys and girls? Then support their education as other presidents and Congresses have done since the passage of the great GI Bill of Rights during World War II -- legislation that is still benefiting this country.

    What is being done to our troops in Iraq is more than a failure of political leadership; it is an outrage. Forget the fact that we never declared war, or that we never had a real plan about what to do in Iraq, or that we are fighting on credit, leaving the bills for our children and grandchildren. Remember that only a small number are involved in this -- the same people, professionals and reservists, are being called back into harm's way again and again.

    Those young men and women, serving a government without the guts to even talk about a draft, are essentially indentured servants. Worse. At least indentured servants knew when their obligation would be over. This is more than unfair; it is shameful, a stain on the democracy and its leaders. And now the president is considering depriving them of a reward they deserve because some of them might actually take it and not re-enlist.

    This is a professional army? There was a time when troops treated that way, no matter how well-trained or equipped, were called cannon fodder. We owe them. The president whose ignorance put them in the Middle East owes them. The Congress, which is ever looking the other way and has not declared war on anyone since 1941, owes them.

    This war is not worthy of a free country. And unless we do something for the young people bravely taking the punishment for the failings of their elders, we have no right to claim this is a land of the free.

    Nobody talks about this as they praise Bush's wars.

  144. Hey I am blogwhoring- so sorry- but I have a Comment about Hillary's RFK Statement and her statement and also her "explanation" ( it is NOT an apology) and also I have the Keith Comment too ( if you want to see all three at once) I Also have a Special Comment about it over at PEACE TREE, and also Robert at Left of Centrist has a really good post on it....


  145. Here is a link to Enigma's blog to read her comment about Hillary's Robert Kennedy assassination comment.

    Watergate Summer

  146. Oops that's gotta sting;

    Bush-McCain Fundraiser Hits Snag: Too Many Unsold Tickets

    In a sign of iffy GOP enthusiasm, a planned Arizona mega-fundraiser for McCain and the RNC had to be canceled after not enough people wanted to come.

    Arizona is McSame's home state also, not a good sign if he wants to pretend America wants a third bush term by him.

  147. Hi Lydia and everyone
    I would be interested what you think about this thought! I have done more than a few stories about MLK, RFK, and JFK, because the truth was and will never be know but I will guarantee you the Right did it and are going to do it again if they think Bush staying in or McCain is in danger of continuing this mess.
    They do not want a new direction. They want this one continued. This entire mess here and around the world is just beginning and will get a lot worse. i am sorry to say you can bank on the fact that what is just getting started will dwarf the 60s or WW2 and the depression combined. That is why I keep saying be prepared!

  148. Kudos to the article on yahoo I just found it while searching their news section. You have long been a favorite.

  149. Trevor - thank you!

    Enigma - thank you for the great blog post. I posted comments on your blog.

  150. Thanks for visiting Lydia....and it was lovely to see you ....kind and nice to meet Trevor too...( I have been troll batting - so sorry for being distracted...)

    I really hope we find a way to come together soon as a People..Nation..I am tired of the tension an strife...I know many are...

  151. The endorsement by US Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-California) of Obama today sends an extremely firm message to the Clinton campaign, and not only because he was, until today, a Clinton superdelegate.

    The Field has learned that Cardoza is the first of a group of at least 40 Clinton delegates, many of them from California, that through talking among themselves came to a joint decision that all of them would vote for Obama at the convention. They have informed Senator Clinton that it’s time to unite around Obama, and that they will be coming out, one or two at a time, and announcing their switch between now and the convention if Senator Clinton doesn’t do the same.

    Cardoza is one of the leaders of this effort (which includes not only superdelegates, but here’s something that should set off some paranoia in Camp Clinton: there are pledged Clinton delegates in “The Cardoza 40,” too). One Field Hand reports that during a recent Cardoza fundraising event in California the effort was discussed openly in front of other Democrats. Cardoza’s announcement, today, sent the message that the effort is serious and for real.

    This is not “excellent news for Hillary Clinton.”

    An exodus of 40 delegates from Clinton to Obama, mathematically, increases his lead by 80 delegates, because she loses one for every one he gains.

  152. McCain Leads! (In Missed Votes)
    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) didn't find time in his busy campaign schedule Thursday to make it back to the Capitol for votes on money for Iraq and Afghanistan as well as new educational benefits for veterans that he opposes. After all, even though he has been quite outspoken on the new GI Bill and even pushed a competing bill of his own, he still has to, um, win the Republican nomination (isn't Ron Paul still running??). And, apparently, he had to campaign and raise money in that pivotal swing state, California.

    McCain's absence helped cement his lead in one key category over his potential Democratic opponents and every other Senator -- missed votes.

    Through last week, McCain had missed a nice, round 60.0 percent of Senate votes so far in the 110th Congress. After Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), who was absent for several months following a brain hemorrhage.

    This is the "straight talk/balk" express.

  153. Buffett: US recession to become 'longer, deeper'

    (Reuters) - The United States is already in a recession and it will be longer as well as deeper than many people expect, U.S. investor Warren Buffett said in an interview published in German magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday.

    He said the United States was "already in recession" and added: "Perhaps not in the sense that economists would define it" with two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

    "But the people are already feeling the effects," said Buffett, the world's richest man. "It will be deeper and last longer than many think."

    But he said that won't stop him from investing in selected companies and said he remained interested in well-managed German family-owned companies.

    "If the world were falling apart I'd still invest in companies," he said.

    Buffett also renewed his criticism of derivatives trading.

    "It's not right that hundreds of thousands of jobs are being eliminated, that entire industrial sectors in the real economy are being wiped out by financial bets even though the sectors are actually in good health."

    Buffett complained about the lack of effective controls.

    "That's the problem," he said. "You can't steer it, you can't regulate it anymore. You can't get the genie back in the bottle."

    George W Bush: Destroying the economy as he destroys America.

  154. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign is in a troubled stretch, hindered by resignations of staff members, a lagging effort to build a national campaign organization and questions over whether he has taken full advantage of Democratic turmoil to present a case for his candidacy, Republicans say.

    Mike Murphy, a friend and political adviser, met with Mr. McCain last Sunday.

    In interviews, some party leaders said they were worried about signs of disorder in his campaign, and if the focus in the last several weeks on the prominent role of lobbyists in Mr. McCain’s inner circle might undercut the heart of his general election message: that he is a reformer taking on special interests in Washington.

    “The core image of John McCain is as a reformer in Washington — and the more dominant the story is about the lobbying teams around him, the more you put that into question,” said Terry Nelson, who was Mr. McCain’s campaign manager until he left in a shake-up last fall. “If the Obama campaign can truly change him from being seen as a reformer to just being another Washington politician, it could be very damaging over the course of the campaign.”

  155. Here are the guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

    • ABC's This Week — Karl Rove, former White House deputy chief of staff; David Axelrod, campaign adviser for Sen. Barack Obama.

    • CBS' Face the Nation — Howard Wolfson, campaign adviser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton; Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

    • NBC's Meet the Press — Panel discussion of 2008 presidential election.

    • CNN's Late Edition — Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq; Reps. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and David Dreier, R-Calif.; former Labor Secretary Robert Reich; Gene Sperling, Clinton campaign adviser; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, campaign adviser for Sen. John McCain.; Mary Tillman, mother of deceased Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

    • Fox News Sunday — Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe; Reps. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

  156. Juan cole has a excellent post about memorial day.

    Memorial Day is about honoring those who have sacrificed themselves for the nation, in our armed forces. We cannot honor them properly unless we know the full extent of their sacrifice.

    read it all.

  157. Larry if you want to get sick take a look at Mccain's voting record

  158. The memorial day article referenced by Cliff is really good and to the point

  159. If any one was deluded by Fox Noise before this backhanded call for the assassination of Barack Obama should put that to rest for once and all.

    Fox News Jokes About Killing Obama

    While commenting on Hillary's RFK gaffe, Liz Trotta on Fox News Channel first referred to Barack Obama as "Osama" and then laughed that they should both be killed.

    Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

  160. Clif - that is beyond DISGUSTING, it is illegal. It is like shouting fire in a crowded theater.

    FOX should have its license revoked.

    RUSTY MOO MOO - get off this blog.

  161. Clif:: I saw about the FOX thing over at Crooks and there any kinds of FCC laws about that kind of inciting??? ( kind of what Lydia asked ??)

    Lydia...I have a new post up over at PEACE TREE ( it is on my blogroll) , called "Remembering 1968"..I have a feeling you would appreciate it...( I think we were both 60's children...or near about...)..

    Have a good Memorial Day one and all...may it be peaceful..quiet...

  162. Jessica Lange bashes Iraq war in graduation speech

    Actress Jessica Lange arrives for gala screening of her movie,"Bonneville" during Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Lange bashed the Bush administration and denounced the war in Iraq during a commencement address Friday, May 23, 2008, at Sarah Lawrence College.

    Oscar-winner Jessica Lange bashed the Bush administration and denounced the war in Iraq during a commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College.

    The star of "Tootsie" and "Blue Sky" was applauded by students Friday at the small liberal arts college after comparing the conflict with the Vietnam War. She said the graduates have "a heavy burden" to chart a new path for the country.

    "We are living in an America that, in the last seven and a half years, has waged an unnecessary war, established prison camps, condoned torture, employed corporate armies, eliminated the right of habeas corpus, practiced extraordinary rendition, and believe me, this is only a partial list," Lange said.

    Lange asked the graduates, including her 22-year-old daughter Hannah Shepard, to commit themselves to the "pursuit of peace."

    Jessica Lange knows.

  163. Bush's War on Children in Iraq


    Surely nothing that President Bush has done in his two wretched terms of office—not the invasion and destruction of Iraq, not the overturning of the five-centuries-old tradition of habeas corpus, not his authorization and encouragement of torture, not his campaign of domestic spying—nothing, can compare in its ugliness as his approval, as commander in chief, of the imprisoning of over 2500 children.

    According to the US government’s own figures, that is how many kids 17 years and younger have been held since 2001 as “enemy combatants”—often for over a year, and sometimes for over five years. At least eight of those children, some reportedly as young as 10, were held at Guantanamo. They even had a special camp for them there: Camp Iguana. One of those kids committed suicide at the age of 21, after spending five years in confinement at Guantanamo. (Ironically and tragically, that particular victim of the president’s criminal policy, had been determined by the Pentagon to have been innocent only two weeks before he took his own life, but nobody bothered to tell him he was slated for release and a return home to Afghanistan.)

    I say Bush’s behavior is criminal because since 1949, under the Geneva Conventions signed and adopted by the US, and incorporated into US law under the Constitution’s supremacy clause, children under the age of 15 are classed as “protected persons,” and even if captured while fighting against US forces are to be considered victims, not POWs. In 2002, the Bush administration signed an updated version of that treaty, raising the “protected person” age to all those “under 18.”

    Treaties don’t mean much to this president, to the vice president, or to the rest of the administration, but they should mean something to the rest of us.

    But capturing and imprisoning children isn’t even the worst of this president’s war crimes when it comes to the abuse of the young. Under Bush’s leadership as commander in chief, the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan has been considering any male child in Iraq of age 14 or older to be a potential combatant. They have been treated accordingly—shot by US troops, imprisoned as “enemy combatants,” and subjected to torture.

    In the 2004 assault by US Marines on the city of Fallujah, things were even worse. Dexter Filkins, a reporter for the New York Times, reported that before that invasion, some 20,000 Marines encircled the doomed city, which the White House had decided to level because it harbored a bunch of insurgents and had angered the American public by capturing, killing and mutilating the bodies of four mercenaries working for US forces. The residents of the 300,000-population city were warned of the coming all-out attack. Women and children and old people were allowed to flee the city and pass through the cordon of troops. But Filkins reported that males determined to be “of combat age,” which in this case was established as 12 and up, were barred from leaving, and sent back into the city to await their fate. Young boys were ripped from their screaming mothers and sent trudging back to the city to face death.

    In the ensuing slaughter, as the US dumped bombs, napalm, phosphorus, anti-personnel fragmentation weapons and an unimaginable quantity of machine gun and small arms fire on the city, it is clear that many of those young boys died.

    This was a triple war crime. First of all, it was a case of collective punishment—a practice popular with the Nazis in World War II, and barred by the Geneva Conventions. The international laws of war also guarantees the right of surrender, so those men and boys who tried to leave, even if suspected of being enemy fighters, should have been allowed to surrender and be held as captives until their loyalties could be established. The boys, meanwhile, were “protected persons” who were by law to be treated as victims of war, and protected from harm.

    Instead they were treated as the enemy, to be destroyed.

    For these crimes, the president should today be impeached by the Congress and then tried as a war criminal.

    After watching this Congress cower from its responsibility to defend the Constitution, I have little hope of that happening. But I do harbor the hope that once Bush has left office, some prosecutor in another country—perhaps Spain, or Canada or Germany—will use the doctrine of universal jurisdiction to indict him for war crimes, and, should he leave the country for some lucrative speaking engagement, arrest him, the way former dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested by a Spanish prosecutor on a visit to the UK.

    For his abuse, imprisonment and killing of children, this president should stand trial for war crimes.

    George W Bush: War Criminal

  164. Why did CNN hire Castellanos, who has a history of using "racially charged" tactics? And why won't it note he's advising McCain?

    On CNN this week, Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos responded to criticism of a joke that referred to Hillary Clinton as a "bitch" by saying, "[S]ome women, by the way, are named that and it's accurate."

    That a CNN contributor would refer to Hillary Clinton -- or any other woman, for that matter -- as a "bitch" on air is obviously grossly inappropriate in its own right. But it also raises the question of why CNN hired Castellanos as a contributor in the first place.

    Castellanos is best known for creating a 1990 television ad for Republican Sen. Jesse Helms that is considered one of the most racially inflammatory political ads ever produced. Here's how The New York Times described the ad on September 15, 2000:

    In 1990, he created for Mr. Helms what is widely viewed as one of the most racially charged political commercials ever, with white hands crumpling a job rejection letter while a narrator criticizes Mr. Helms's black opponent, Harvey Gantt, for supporting "racial quotas."

    A February 9, 1992, Washington Post article noted that Castellanos "followed the quota ad with one that accused Democrat Harvey Gantt, who is black, of using his minority status to obtain a television station that made him a millionaire. Gantt disputed the charge." The Federal Communications Commission reportedly said that contrary to the ad's claims, race was not a factor in awarding the station license to Gantt and his colleagues.

    An October 7, 1994, Atlanta Journal and Constitution article explained that the Helms ad was not the only Castellanos commercial that has been criticized for "injecting a racial element into campaigns":

    Some of Castellanos' work has been criticized for injecting a racial element into campaigns, such as an anti-quota commercial he made for Helms in 1990 that showed a pair of white hands opening a job rejection letter, or anti-welfare spots he made for Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice. He also worked on George Bush's successful 1988 presidential campaign, which produced the ad about furloughed prisoner Willie Horton.

    And in 1996, the Houston Chronicle reported that Castellanos created an ad "similar" to the Helms ad for Republican Sen. Phil Gramm's campaign against his Mexican-American opponent.

    Castellanos' history of "racially charged" campaigning should have been enough to prevent CNN from hiring him as a contributor. But considering the timing, Castellanos' hiring is all the more appalling. Castellanos apparently joined CNN as a contributor in March of this year. (March 4 was the first time Castellanos was identified as a contributor; during earlier appearances, he was identified simply as "Republican strategist.")

    So, with Barack Obama within reach of becoming the first African-American major-party presidential nominee in U.S. history, CNN decided it would be a good time to hire as a contributor the maker of what is considered "one of the most racially charged political commercials ever."

    That is a shockingly bad decision.

    And as the presidential campaign unfolds, it looks worse and worse. Just this week, the Politico described "[t]he main obstacle standing between Barack Obama and the White House" as follows:

    What began as a demonstrably false attempt to cast Obama as a Muslim has now metastasized into something far more threatening to the likely Democratic nominee. The spurious claims about his faith have spiraled into a broader assault that questions his patriotism and citizenship and generally portrays him as a threat to mainstream, white America.

    That's the political environment in which CNN decided to hire Alex Castellanos as a contributor. Obama opponents are attempting to portray him "as a threat to mainstream, white America" -- and CNN hires a contributor who is best known for portraying a black candidate as a threat to white America.

    But there's another problem with Castellanos' appearances as a CNN contributor: Castellanos is actively advising John McCain's presidential campaign.

    On March 25,'s Chris Cillizza reported that Castellanos is a member of the "McCain Ad Council" -- a "group of advisers ... [who] will serve as outside thinkers and strategists to the [McCain] media effort."

    Not only has CNN hired Castellanos as a contributor despite his history of racially inflammatory ads, CNN has not disclosed the strategist's relationship with the McCain campaign during his appearances -- even when he favorably compares McCain to Obama.

    During CNN's Democratic primary coverage on Tuesday, for example, Castellanos said: "Barack Obama contesting John McCain on foreign policy and on strength. I think that's John McCain's turf." On The Situation Room that same day, Castellanos declared national security McCain's "territory," adding, "McCain is the one who's got years of experience, the military background, the credibility in military and foreign policy affairs. So, I think, for McCain, it's certainly playing on home -- the home field advantage there." Viewers were given no indication that Castellanos is an adviser to McCain.

    Nor were they told of his role in McCain's campaign when Castellanos suggested it is appropriate to call Hillary Clinton a "bitch." Or when he defended John McCain from charges that he had flip-flopped: "I think Senator McCain's position has been steady and constant."

    CNN viewers weren't told that Alex Castellanos is advising John McCain when Castellanos said the North Carolina Republican Party's anti-Obama ad -- an ad McCain claimed to oppose -- raised "a fair question to be asking Barack Obama":

    WOLF BLITZER (host of The Situation Room): Do you think it's despicable what the GOP in North Carolina is doing running a supposedly this ad linking Democratic candidates in North Carolina, not only to Barack Obama, but to the Reverend Wright?

    CASTELLANOS: I think there's frankly a little hype going on here. There's nothing in that ad that hasn't run on every news network in America, including this one, time and time again. Senator McCain nevertheless has said no, it shouldn't be in the campaign.

    I think the question it really raises is are the people that you find in Barack Obama's life, are they the same kind of people you'd find in a Barack Obama administration. That's, I think, a question of judgment. That's a fair question to be asking Barack Obama.

    They weren't told that Alex Castellanos is advising John McCain when Castellanos said of Obama and Jeremiah Wright: "Obama is saying he supports someone whose statements put him way out of the mainstream of most American thought." Or when he accused Barack Obama of "elitism."

    In fact, CNN viewers have never been told that Alex Castellanos is an adviser to John McCain. Not once.

    Contrast that with the cable channel's treatment of James Carville and Paul Begala. CNN said that Carville's and Begala's ties to Hillary Clinton must be disclosed during every one of their appearances on CNN. CNN president Jonathan Klein said of Carville: "He's not on the Hillary payroll, but he's on the Hillary bandwagon, and that should be disclosed as much as we can."

    But CNN doesn't apply those standards to Alex Castellanos, who is allowed to praise John McCain and to criticize Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton without it ever being disclosed to CNN viewers, by Castellanos or anyone else, that he is a member of the McCain Ad Council.

    So CNN is preparing for the general election by hiring a contributor best known for playing on racial divisions and allowing him to praise John McCain and criticize Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton without ever telling viewers that he is a member of McCain's ad team, in direct violation of the standards CNN laid out for contributors who support Hillary Clinton.

    CNN: The Little Fox News

  165. In McCain Camp, Lobbying A Family Affair

    by Matthew Mosk and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum.

    Charles R. Black Jr., the senior adviser to Republican John McCain whose work for foreign dictators has led Democrats to call for his ouster, is not the only lobbyist in the family volunteering on the senator from Arizona's presidential campaign.

    His wife, Judy Black, is a national co-chair of the fundraising group "Women for McCain," and she has a vibrant lobbying practice that includes a foreign client and several companies with business before the Senate Commerce Committee, where McCain is a senior member.

    Judy Black works at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a firm that earned $12.9 million in lobbying fees last year. She is listed as an agent of Dubai Aerospace Enterprises, whose partners include the government of Dubai, according to forms filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Since 2004, she has also represented telecomunications companies AT&T and Global Crossing Ltd., which have matters before the Commerce Committee.

    At one point on the campaign trail, Charles Black joked with reporters that deciding to leave behind his lucrative lobbying practice and volunteer full time for McCain left him to seek an allowance from his wife.

    The roles assumed by Judy Black as campaign volunteer and lobbyist highlight the difficulties McCain faces as he tries to eliminate the impression that their campaign work is also aimed at helping clients.

    Last week, McCain established strict rules for lobbyists trying to help him reach the White House, in an effort to defuse the revelation that he had top advisers working for unsavory foreign clients.

    The rules addressed more than just those doing work for foreign governments. McCain's new policy also prohibited part-time volunteers such as Judy Black from lobbying him or his staff while volunteering for the campaign. It also required lobbyists to disclose their clients to the campaign.

    Judy and Charles Black have complied with the policies, according to a senior McCain campaign aide who requested anonymity because he is not permitted to make public comments. Judy Black is one of "hundreds of people" who are both lobbyists and volunteers, the spokesman said.

    Judy Black did not return messages seeking comment.

    In October, she helped host a tea in honor of McCain's mother, wife and two daughters at the home of Lea Berman, the wife of Wayne Berman, another lobbyist advising McCain.

    On McCain's Web site, she has co-signed a letter explaining the goals of Women for McCain. "Like most of you, we have many roles," it says. "Wife, mother, daughter, single mom, widow, businesswoman, volunteer, multi-tasker and churchgoer. Balancing all of that is a challenge . . . We believe John McCain addresses all the things that really matter to us."

    Judy Black is listed as a "Trailblazer" for McCain, meaning she has raised more than $100,000 for his bid, according to the group Public Citizen.

    There is no way to know whether her efforts on behalf of McCain's campaign will ultimately serve the interests of clients who could need his help, either as president, or as a high-ranking member of the Commerce Committee, which oversees the telecom industry and the Federal Communications Commission.

    McCain has supported telecom industry-backed legislation, particularly during his second stint as committee chairman from 2003 through 2005. His efforts to eliminate taxes and regulations on telecommunications services won him praise from industry executives.

    Charles and Judy Black have deep Republican ties. She worked in the Reagan administration before registering as a lobbyist in 1988, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    The Wall Street Journal asked Charles Black last week whether his wife's lobbying creates a possible conflict of interest. "That is utter nonsense," he said. "My wife has never gotten a client from her relationship with me."

    He was a pioneer of the revolving door between campaign consulting and lobbying, having served as a senior adviser on President Ronald Reagan's reelection campaign before returning to K Street. His clients, as often as not, were foreign leaders eager to burnish their reputations.

    In addition to Jonas Savimbi of Angola, Black and his partners were registered foreign agents for a remarkable collection of U.S.-backed foreign leaders whose human rights records were sometimes harshly criticized, even as American conservatives embraced their opposition to communism. They included Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Nigerian Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre.

    John McCain and the Phony Express

  166. More people use pawnshops to get by during hard times

    Kingsport Times-News

    Two men went into the Lynn Garden Consignment and Pawn Shop, one carrying a sterling silver chain.

    Two women went there late the next afternoon with a bookshelf stereo and DVD player.

    The two men left a few minutes later with $35 in cash but without the chain. They had pawned the item to get money for gas and other expenses but said they'd be back in 30 days to pay back the money, with interest and carrying charges, and retrieve the jewelry.

    The two women left a few minutes after their visit with $40 in cash. They had sold their items outright. "We need money for gas," Vanessa Pratt said of the stereo that was hers and the DVD player belonging to her friend, Judy Duncan.

    It's a scenario that pawnshop owners said is repeated much more frequently than it used to be, as the price of gasoline and groceries continues to climb, and it's happening across the country.

    A veteran pawnbroker in Bristol, Tenn., said about two-thirds of customers who pawn items, like the two men, return for them. But some, like the two women, have no hopes of getting the items back, so they sell them outright.

    "Most people come back. Two out of three come back," said Cheryl Brown, manager of Uncle Sam's Loan Office on State Street in Bristol.

    Clients need gas, food

    That pawnshop has been in business for 100 years, opening in 1908. Brown, whose family owns the business, said increasing gas prices had increased demand for pawning.

    "It's mostly gas and food, mortgages not so much," Brown said of an increase that began in late February. "Our sales are up across the board in all departments."

    Wayne and Tammy Thompson have operated the Lynn Garden Consignment Shop since Dec. 1, 2006. However, because they have had their pawning business open for only a month and pawn payments are just coming due, they don't really know if two-thirds, half or some other fraction of their pawn customers will return for items.

    But they and the two other pawnshops report they do know that the pawning and consignment business is booming as people are looking to pawn or sell items for cash, while others are seeking out bargains to buy.

    The consignment business has a mix of antiques, collectibles, children's toys and furniture, to name a few things. A laptop computer and car stereo and CD player are also among pawned items at the business, although they will not be for sale unless the owners don't retrieve them as planned.

    "We just started the pawning four weeks ago, and it's been wide open since we opened," Wayne Thompson said. He said most customers seeking to pawn or sell items outright needed to buy gas or pay utility bills and that he expanded the business because he thought the highly visible location would lend itself to the pawn business.

    "People are having to watch their money because of gas," he said. His wife said that folks selling jewelry and other items at yard sales and flea markets generally were becoming more informed about an item's value.

    Thompson said jewelry is the most common item pawned at his business, closely followed by electronics. He said tools also are common. DVDs are another common item that ends up in pawnshops, Brown said.

    "Some people think their gold is worth a lot more than it actually is," Thompson said, while others are pleasantly surprised at what an item brings.

    In Tennessee, Brown and Thompson explained, by law items that are pawned must be held 30 days past the due date before a pawn broker can sell them. Interest and fees can vary among pawnshops. Brown said Uncle Sam's charges 2 percent interest per month and an 18 percent service charge.

    Gold is near top dollar

    Even without the increase in gas prices, interest in selling gold items has skyrocketed since gold's worth has grown. Although at one time it was bringing more than $1,000 a troy ounce, the current price of more than $850 an ounce means gold is still a valuable commodity.

    Thompson, Brown and others who buy gold from the public say media attention and advertisements on television have raised people's awareness about scrapping out gold.

    Pawnshops aren't the only place to get money for gold. Some jewelry stores, such as Baker's Jewelry in Kingsport, will buy gold or take scrap gold and forge it into something new for customers.

    "It's a great time for people to do it," Joe Baker, owner of the store, said of selling old, broken or outdated gold jewelry. He said some people are switching from yellow to white gold and are getting rid of their yellow gold, while others are taking advantage of the higher prices.

    "We have a lot of people who have just accumulated gold over the years," Baker said.

    Baker said few of his customers were looking to get money to fill up a gas tank or buy groceries, but they may use the money to travel, put in the bank or buy more jewelry, including sterling silver, tungsten, stainless steel and titanium.

    "We're seeing a lot of alternative metals used," Baker said of new jewelry.

    Old cars have value

    Other metals are worth much more than gold, and sometimes for those that are not, sheer volume makes up for the per-ounce price — if you're selling a whole car.

    Kingsport Auto Recyclers opened almost a year ago and was paying about $8 per 100 pounds for automobiles and smaller trucks when manager Larry Barr went to work there in October. Now, the price has jumped to $11.50 per 100 pounds.

    For an average car of about 2,850 pounds, Barr said, the yield is $327.75. However, he said older vehicles from the 1950s or 1960s, like a 1968 Ford LTD, weigh in at about 3,500 or 3,800 pounds, while small compact cars might be about 1,800 pounds. He said a 1970s Opal Cadet and a 1968 International Travelall — an early SUV — were among recent vehicles brought to the business.

    "It (the Opal) was very rusty and had a huge snake in it, maybe two," he said. (For the record, the business doesn't buy snakes and would just as soon not take them.)

    With scrap prices up, Barr said, some people are making a living buying vehicles — or sometimes having them given to them — and scrapping them out, sometimes taking off motors and parts along the way for reuse.

    Barr said it's mostly driven by the price of metal, the price of gas and groceries and the need for or want of money.

    George W Bush's America: A Pawnshop Nation of Beggars.

  167. Such a sad day to see the president pretending to weep but still more soldiers are killed for what reason

  168. Barack Obama has 1,661 elected delegates, and 315 super delegates which means he only needs 49 delegates to win the nomination, and it looks like he will add around 43 elected delegates from Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota.

    Hillary has 1,500 elected delegates and 279 super delegates. She needs 246 more delegates.

    In the last three days Obama gained 9 delegates including one super delegate from Hillary, so the one she "gained' made up for the one she lost.

    In fact the last time I posted this she needed 241 delegates, now she needs 246. She is going backwards in the delegate count. Barack on the other hand went from needing 60 to needing 49, (and the Pelosi eight super delegates still haven't formally declared) but if he gets the Pelosi eight, because he won the elected delegate count, he would only need 41 other delegates with around 43 being what I expect him to net from the last three primaries.

    No amount of blustering talk from her or the Clenis is going to change that, which is probably why Bill is talking about the #2 spot for her now a days.

    Even taking all of Florida and Michigan can't save her campaign now, but she is still trying.

  169. Chalmers Johnson on Our ‘Managed Democracy’

    By Chalmers Johnson

    It is not news that the United States is in great trouble. The pre-emptive war it launched against Iraq more than five years ago was and is a mistake of monumental proportions—one that most Americans still fail to acknowledge. Instead they are arguing about whether we should push on to “victory” when even our own generals tell us that a military victory is today inconceivable. Our economy has been hollowed out by excessive military spending over many decades while our competitors have devoted themselves to investments in lucrative new industries that serve civilian needs. Our political system of checks and balances has been virtually destroyed by rampant cronyism and corruption in Washington, D.C., and by a two-term president who goes around crowing “I am the decider,” a concept fundamentally hostile to our constitutional system. We have allowed our elections, the one nonnegotiable institution in a democracy, to be debased and hijacked—as was the 2000 presidential election in Florida—with scarcely any protest from the public or the self-proclaimed press guardians of the “Fourth Estate.” We now engage in torture of defenseless prisoners although it defames and demoralizes our armed forces and intelligence agencies.

    The problem is that there are too many things going wrong at the same time for anyone to have a broad understanding of the disaster that has overcome us and what, if anything, can be done to return our country to constitutional government and at least a degree of democracy. By now, there are hundreds of books on particular aspects of our situation—the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bloated and unsupervised “defense” budgets, the imperial presidency and its contempt for our civil liberties, the widespread privatization of traditional governmental functions, and a political system in which no leader dares even to utter the words imperialism and militarism in public.

    There are, however, a few attempts at more complex analyses of how we arrived at this sorry state. They include Naomi Klein, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” on how “private” economic power now is almost coequal with legitimate political power; John W. Dean, “Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches,” on the perversion of our main defenses against dictatorship and tyranny; Arianna Huffington, “Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe,” on the manipulation of fear in our political life and the primary role played by the media; and Naomi Wolf, “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot,” on “Ten Steps to Fascism” and where we currently stand on this staircase. My own book, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic,” on militarism as an inescapable accompaniment of imperialism, also belongs to this genre.

    We now have a new, comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. For well over two generations, Sheldon Wolin taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present to Berkeley and Princeton graduate students (including me; I took his seminars at Berkeley in the late 1950s, thus influencing my approach to political science ever since). He is the author of the prize-winning classic “Politics and Vision” (1960; expanded edition, 2006) and “Tocqueville Between Two Worlds” (2001), among many other works.

    His new book, “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism,” is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States—including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia. The hour is very late and the possibility that the American people might pay attention to what is wrong and take the difficult steps to avoid a national Götterdämmerung are remote, but Wolin’s is the best analysis of why the presidential election of 2008 probably will not do anything to mitigate our fate. This book demonstrates why political science, properly practiced, is the master social science.

    Wolin’s work is fully accessible. Understanding his argument does not depend on possessing any specialized knowledge, but it would still be wise to read him in short bursts and think about what he is saying before moving on. His analysis of the contemporary American crisis relies on a historical perspective going back to the original constitutional agreement of 1789 and includes particular attention to the advanced levels of social democracy attained during the New Deal and the contemporary mythology that the U.S., beginning during World War II, wields unprecedented world power.

    Given this historical backdrop, Wolin introduces three new concepts to help analyze what we have lost as a nation. His master idea is “inverted totalitarianism,” which is reinforced by two subordinate notions that accompany and promote it—“managed democracy” and “Superpower,” the latter always capitalized and used without a direct article. Until the reader gets used to this particular literary tic, the term Superpower can be confusing. The author uses it as if it were an independent agent, comparable to Superman or Spiderman, and one that is inherently incompatible with constitutional government and democracy.

    Wolin writes, “Our thesis ... is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively ‘strong democracy’ instead of a ‘failed’ one.” His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented in the Constitution of the United States. “Democracy,” he writes, “is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs.” It depends on the existence of a demos—“a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office.” Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the elitism that was written into the Constitution.

    “No working man or ordinary farmer or shopkeeper,” Wolin points out, “helped to write the Constitution.” He argues, “The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against democracy. It was constructed by those who were either skeptical about democracy or hostile to it. Democratic advance proved to be slow, uphill, forever incomplete. The republic existed for three-quarters of a century before formal slavery was ended; another hundred years before black Americans were assured of their voting rights. Only in the twentieth century were women guaranteed the vote and trade unions the right to bargain collectively. In none of these instances has victory been complete: women still lack full equality, racism persists, and the destruction of the remnants of trade unions remains a goal of corporate strategies. Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been and continues to be ordered.” Wolin can easily control his enthusiasm for James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, and he sees the New Deal as perhaps the only period of American history in which rule by a true demos prevailed.

    To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: “inverted totalitarianism,” a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on “private media” than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison—751 per 100,000 people—of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has “emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation’s political traditions.”

    The genius of our inverted totalitarian system “lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. ... A demotion in the status and stature of the ‘sovereign people’ to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of ‘popularizing’ power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. ... The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. ... The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.”

    Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of “market forces” in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge. Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation. Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl’s classic film “Triumph of the Will” was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush’s apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.

    On inverted totalitarianism’s “self-pacifying” university campuses compared with the usual intellectual turmoil surrounding independent centers of learning, Wolin writes, “Through a combination of governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers have been seamlessly integrated into the system. No books burned, no refugee Einsteins. For the first time in the history of American higher education top professors are made wealthy by the system, commanding salaries and perks that a budding CEO might envy.”

    The main social sectors promoting and reinforcing this modern Shangri-La are corporate power, which is in charge of managed democracy, and the military-industrial complex, which is in charge of Superpower. The main objectives of managed democracy are to increase the profits of large corporations, dismantle the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services, public housing and so forth), and roll back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. Its primary tool is privatization. Managed democracy aims at the “selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry” under cover of improving “efficiency” and cost-cutting.

    Wolin argues, “The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributing elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled.” This campaign has largely succeeded. “Democracy represented a challenge to the status quo, today it has become adjusted to the status quo.”

    One other subordinate task of managed democracy is to keep the citizenry preoccupied with peripheral and/or private conditions of human life so that they fail to focus on the widespread corruption and betrayal of the public trust. In Wolin’s words, “The point about disputes on such topics as the value of sexual abstinence, the role of religious charities in state-funded activities, the question of gay marriage, and the like, is that they are not framed to be resolved. Their political function is to divide the citizenry while obscuring class differences and diverting the voters’ attention from the social and economic concerns of the general populace.” Prominent examples of the elite use of such incidents to divide and inflame the public are the Terri Schiavo case of 2005, in which a brain-dead woman was kept artificially alive, and the 2008 case of women and children living in a polygamous commune in Texas who were allegedly sexually mistreated.

    Another elite tactic of managed democracy is to bore the electorate to such an extent that it gradually fails to pay any attention to politics. Wolin perceives, “One method of assuring control is to make electioneering continuous, year-round, saturated with party propaganda, punctuated with the wisdom of kept pundits, bringing a result boring rather than energizing, the kind of civic lassitude on which managed democracy thrives.” The classic example is certainly the nominating contests of the two main American political parties during 2007 and 2008, but the dynastic “competition” between the Bush and Clinton families from 1988 to 2008 is equally relevant. It should be noted that between a half and two-thirds of qualified voters have recently failed to vote, thus making the management of the active electorate far easier. Wolin comments, “Every apathetic citizen is a silent enlistee in the cause of inverted totalitarianism.” It remains to be seen whether an Obama candidacy can reawaken these apathetic voters, but I suspect that Wolin would predict a barrage of corporate media character assassination that would end this possibility.

    Managed democracy is a powerful solvent for any vestiges of democracy left in the American political system, but its powers are weak in comparison with those of Superpower. Superpower is the sponsor, defender and manager of American imperialism and militarism, aspects of American government that have always been dominated by elites, enveloped in executive-branch secrecy, and allegedly beyond the ken of ordinary citizens to understand or oversee. Superpower is preoccupied with weapons of mass destruction, clandestine manipulation of foreign policy (sometimes domestic policy, too), military operations, and the fantastic sums of money demanded from the public by the military-industrial complex. (The U.S. military spends more than all other militaries on Earth combined. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion; the next closest national military budget is China’s at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.)

    Foreign military operations literally force democracy to change its nature: “In order to cope with the imperial contingencies of foreign war and occupation,” according to Wolin, “democracy will alter its character, not only by assuming new behaviors abroad (e.g., ruthlessness, indifference to suffering, disregard of local norms, the inequalities in ruling a subject population) but also by operating on revised, power-expansive assumptions at home. It will, more often than not, try to manipulate the public rather than engage its members in deliberation. It will demand greater powers and broader discretion in their use (’state secrets’), a tighter control over society’s resources, more summary methods of justice, and less patience for legalities, opposition, and clamor for socioeconomic reforms.”

    Imperialism and democracy are, in Wolin’s terms, literally incompatible, and the ever greater resources devoted to imperialism mean that democracy will inevitably wither and die. He writes, “Imperial politics represents the conquest of domestic politics and the latter’s conversion into a crucial element of inverted totalitarianism. It makes no sense to ask how the democratic citizen could ‘participate’ substantively in imperial politics; hence it is not surprising that the subject of empire is taboo in electoral debates. No major politician or party has so much as publicly remarked on the existence of an American empire.”

    From the time of the United States’ founding, its citizens have had a long history of being complicit in the country’s imperial ventures, including its transcontinental expansion at the expense of native Americans, Mexicans and Spanish imperialists. Theodore Roosevelt often commented that Americans were deeply opposed to imperialism because of their successful escape from the British empire but that “expansionism” was in their blood. Over the years, American political analysis has carefully tried to separate the military from imperialism, even though militarism is imperialism’s inescapable accompaniment. The military creates the empire in the first place and is indispensable to its defense, policing and expansion. Wolin observes, “That the patriotic citizen unswervingly supports the military and its huge budgets means that conservatives have succeeded in persuading the public that the military is distinct from the government. Thus the most substantial element of state power is removed from public debate.”

    It has taken a long time, but under George W. Bush’s administration the United States has finally achieved an official ideology of imperial expansion comparable to those of Nazi and Soviet totalitarianisms. In accordance with the National Security Strategy of the United States (allegedly drafted by Condoleezza Rice and proclaimed on Sept. 9, 2002), the United States is now committed to what it calls “preemptive war.” Wolin explains: “Preemptive war entails the projection of power abroad, usually against a far weaker country, comparable say, to the Nazi invasion of Belgium and Holland in 1940. It declares that the United States is justified in striking at another country because of a perceived threat that U.S. power will be weakened, severely damaged, unless it reacts to eliminate the danger before it materializes. Preemptive war is Lebensraum [Hitler’s claim that his imperialism was justified by Germany’s need for “living room"] for the age of terrorism.” This was, of course, the official excuse for the American aggression against Iraq that began in 2003.

    Many analysts, myself included, would conclude that Wolin has made a close to airtight case that the American republic’s days are numbered, but Wolin himself does not agree. Toward the end of his study he produces a wish list of things that should be done to ward off the disaster of inverted totalitarianism: “rolling back the empire, rolling back the practices of managed democracy; returning to the idea and practices of international cooperation rather than the dogmas of globalization and preemptive strikes; restoring and strengthening environmental protections; reinvigorating populist politics; undoing the damage to our system of individual rights; restoring the institutions of an independent judiciary, separation of powers, and checks and balances; reinstating the integrity of the independent regulatory agencies and of scientific advisory processes; reviving representative systems responsive to popular needs for health care, education, guaranteed pensions, and an honorable minimum wage; restoring governmental regulatory authority over the economy; and rolling back the distortions of a tax code that toadies to the wealthy and corporate power.”

    Unfortunately, this is more a guide to what has gone wrong than a statement of how to fix it, particularly since Wolin believes that our political system is “shot through with corruption and awash in contributions primarily from wealthy and corporate donors.” It is extremely unlikely that our party apparatus will work to bring the military-industrial complex and the 16 secret intelligence agencies under democratic control. Nonetheless, once the United States has followed the classical totalitarianisms into the dustbin of history, Wolin’s analysis will stand as one of the best discourses on where we went wrong.

  170. As gas goes up, driving goes down

    Compared with last year, drivers have logged 11 billion fewer miles, the DOT says

    Americans planned to drive less over Memorial Day weekend, AAA reports

    Public transportation ridership on rise, in part because of gas prices, group says

    At a time when gas prices are at an all-time high, Americans have curtailed their driving at a historic rate.

    The Department of Transportation said figures from March show the steepest decrease in driving ever recorded.

    Compared with March a year earlier, Americans drove an estimated 4.3 percent less -- that's 11 billion fewer miles, the DOT's Federal Highway Administration said Monday, calling it "the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history." Records have been kept since 1942.

    According to AAA, for the first time since 2002, Americans said they were planning to drive less over the Memorial Day weekend than they did the year before.

    Tracy and Adam Crews posted on iReport that their annual Memorial Day weekend has traditionally involved camping and fishing.

    "Well, due to the continual rise in gas, we felt our only recourse was to nix the idea this year and stay home" in Jacksonville, Florida, they wrote.

    Instead, the couple said they "decided to camp out in the backyard. We set the tent up, just finished installing our above ground pool, and cleaned up the grill. ... We have ourselves a campsite! It's been a blast!"

    Nakeisha Easterwood of Smyrna, Georgia, said with gas prices on the rise, she sometimes catches rides with friends, and doesn't drive into town more than once a day. "It's crazy," she said.

    According to AAA, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose to a record $3.936. That compares with an average price per gallon of $3.23 last Memorial Day.

    "With it being near $4 a gallon, you definitely have to drive slower and pick and choose when you're going to do it," said Steve Kahn of Roswell, Georgia, at a Memorial Day festival in Atlanta.

    Some Americans have turned to public transportation. Ridership increased by 2.1 percent in 2007, in part because of rising gas prices, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

    Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation in 2007, the highest level in 50 years, the group said.

    George W Bush: Destroying Pleasure for millions as he destroys the auto industry with his endless wars.

  171. This is what really happened on Memorial Day weekend 2008:

    BAGHDAD - One Iraqi soldier was killed and eight others wounded when a car bomb hit their army patrol in Hurriya district, northwest Baghdad.

    MOSUL- The body of a prison warden was found with bullets in the head and chest in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles), north of Baghdad, police said.

    MOSUL - Security forces arrested three al Qaeda leaders in east Mosul, the Interior Ministry spokesman said.

    BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb wounded five people on the airport highway, in western Baghdad, police said.

    BAGHDAD - A bomb blast wounded two people in Shaab district, northern Baghdad, police said.

    MOSUL - A grenade tossed at a police patrol wounded eight people, including one policeman, in central Mosul, police said.

    TARMIYA - A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at least six members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol and wounded 18 in the town of Tarmiya, just north of Baghdad, police said.

    SALAHUDDIN PROVINCE - One U.S. soldier died as a result of wounds sustained in a roadside bomb blast in Salahuddin Province, the U.S. military said. Two other soldiers were wounded.

    AL-SHAMIYA - One U.S. soldier was killed and two wounded on Sunday when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb in the town of al-Shamiya, 180 km (95 miles) south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

    TAZA - An ambulance driver and a policeman were wounded on Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded near an ambulance close to the town of Taza, 220 km (130 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

    All this while George W Bush pretended to weep while standing at the graves of fallen soldiers, many of which he pushed to their deaths.

    Yes George W Bush pretended to weep.

  172. The inventory of unsold homes and condos jumped 10.5% to 4.55 million in April, according to the National Association of Realtors.

    For single-family homes alone, the inventory rose to 10.7 months’ supply, the highest since 1985. For condos, the inventory of 14.2 months is the highest ever.

    Resales have sunk 17.5% in the past year and are down 33% from the peak in 2005. The pace of sales has been relatively stable since August at around a 5 million annual pace.

    And the Bush Depression grows closer.

  173. Between Chimpy's gas prices and Chimpy's slash-and-burn policy regarding the American economy, my city has become a strange place to tool around in on a Saturday night. The boulevards, normally crowded, are almost eerily silent. Even the normal patrol of hookers down Central Avenue on any given Saturday night has thinned out to the point of vanishing; there are simply no takers anymore.

  174. I've noticed in my area there are a lot of repo vehicles on bank parking lots which havent been noticed with all the home foreclosures

  175. Jolly Roger - that is so weird and sad! This is going on all around the country.

    Did you see the 60 Minutes segment on Stockton, California?

    Just curious - do you live in a small town?

  176. Trevor - this was also on 60 minutes.
    Thank you.

  177. Seein' all the trouble Vino er I mean Vito Fossella has gotten into

    along with the rest of the culture of corruption the republicans have spawned in Washington like,

    Jack Abramoff,

    Duke Cunningham,

    Mark Foley,

    Tom Delay,

    numerous Bush Admin Alumni a cuttin' and a runnin',

    combined with criminal ripoffs of right wingers by their money men

    and limited fund raising abilities in this political enviroment they find themselves in (like three lost special elections in a row)....

    this probably isn't that far off;

    Recruiting a candidate

    Guy Molinari: Hi, Dennis? Guy Molinari here. How ya doin! Boy, it sure is good to talk to you, been tryin to reach ya for weeks.

    Dennis: Uh, yeah I heard you called, been kinda busy, sorry I haven't gotten around to callin you back. So anyway, what's new with you Guy?

    Guy: Well, as you probably know I'm sort of in charge of finding a candidate to replace Vito Fossella in the 13th.

    Dennis: Yeah I heard that.

    Guy: So anyway I was thinking about who'd be a good congressman, and I won't beat around the bush here, but you immediately came to mind.

    Dennis: Immediately? I heard you already asked about 6 other guys.

    Guy: Well yeah ok, but you were always my first choice, but some of the people I answer to wanted me to try some of those guys first.

    Dennis: Well thanks Guy, I knew you were always a stand up guy.

    Guy: So anyway Bob, I mean Dennis, whaddya think? How would you like to go to congress?! You get to live in DC, actually make legislation, lotta perks involved. You should see the gym they got!

    Dennis: Geez, I dunno know Guy. After what Vito done and the last 8 years of clusterf*ck you think I'd have a chance?

    Guy: Sure you would Dennis, sure you would! You gotta a great shot at it. I don't care what people are saying now, in the fall they'll come around.

    Dennis: Yeah well if that's true then how come none a dose other guys jumped at it?

    Guy: Oh you know Dennis, they got family stuff, Jimmy's got little kids, Vinnie's mom is living with him now and she don't get along so well with his wife. You know how it is.

    Dennis: Yeah I guess, but look Guy I never run for anything before, I got no freakin clue how to run for congress. I got no money and I hate to admit this, but you're the first party guy I talked to in months. I couldn't even get any precinct committeemen around here to help me hold a garage sale last summer and I hear the local township chair up and moved to Florida without so much as saying goodbye to anyone a month ago.

    Guy: Well I ain't gonna sugarcoat it, it ain't gonna be easy, but c'mon we can do it. This is a Republican district for chrissakes Dennis.

    Dennis: Well ok, now what's this "we"? Like I said I got no money. If I do it are you gonna get me some help? I don't wanna spend the next 5 months of my life workin 20 hour days for nutin.

    Guy: Well sure Dennis, sure we'll get you some help. We're not just gonna throw ya to the wolves.

    Dennis: Ok like what? I figure I'd hafta have a million bucks minimum to hire people, for tv ads, mailers, walkin around money. How much you think the big boys in DCs can pony up?

    Guy: Well geez Dennis, a millions a lot, it ain't like it used to be ya know what with the recession and all.

    Dennis: You gotta be f*ckin kiddin me. Why are you even wasting my time? You think I'm stupid? You know what tv costs in New York Guy. How would I win without that kinda money? If you think I'm locking myself in a room for the next 5 months and callin donors who are gonna laugh in my face and hang up on me you're nuts. Even if I did I'd still start out way behind. Ya know dat.

    Guy: Aw c'mon Dennis, don't be like that, we'll get ya some help, all I'm sayin is we're hurtin right now. We got a sh*tload of seats to defend. I can't promise ya a million bucks just like that. I'd be lyin to ya if I did.

    Dennis: Look Guy, I appreciate ya thinkin about me and all, I really do. Give me a week or so to sleep on it ok? I'm not makin any promises unnerstand? I just wanna think about it.

    Guy: Ok Dennis, I hear ya. But when do you think I'll hear back from ya? I gotta know pretty soon. The big boys are breathin down my neck somethin serious here.

    Dennis: I dunno. I'll call you. Let's leave it at that ok Guy?

    Guy: Ok Dennis, it's good talkin to ya. You let me know as soon as you can ok?

    Dennis: Yeah sure, bye Guy.

    Guy: Bye Dennis.


    Dennis: Joanie! I'm callin the phone company, we're gettin our number changed and unlisted.

    Joanie: What? Why? What are you talkin about getting the phone changed for?

    Dennis: Don't ask.

    Looks like they just might lose another "safe" seat to the culture of republican corruption,

    Which they hid like "Vino" hid this child from her brothers and sisters.

  178. I noticed on the top of the article it mentions expanding to multichannel and I was wondering what that meant and is this blog going away

  179. I live in a fairly small town and there are no less than 6 houses on my street that have been for sale for a long time -- the two most recent are foreclosures. When my wife and I bought our house 3 years ago, we started in an ARM (albeit one that could only go up 1% a year) but this past winter we refinanced to a fixed rate. Thank GOD!


    Snotty McClellan exposes the lies, treason, duplicity and political smears and propaganda of the Bush/Cheney/Rove White House and their thugs and lackeys.

    The slimy smear and fear Neo Con attack machine is allready gearing up the Orwellian proganda and smear and fear machine to TRY to muddy the waters and obscure the truth.

    Whats amazing is McClellan CLEARLY states he was deceived by the white House and their Neo Con cronnies and treasonous thugs and didnt realize the truth till 2 years later and all the dishonest treasonous Bush Administration and their pathetic partners in crime the compliant MSM can come up with is why didnt he speak out or resign if he didnt disagree.

    HELLO, is ANDERSON COOPER AND THE MSM THAT DAMN STUPID AND IGNORANT, IF THE MAN WAS DECEIVED AND DIDNT REALIZE THE TREASONOUS LIES HE WAS BEING FED WERE NOT TRUE THEN "WHY" WOULD HE SPEAK OUT OR RESIGN.............answer me that one if he thought Bush/Cheney Rove where telling him the truth and were honorable men then WHY WOULD HE speak out, resign or challenge them privately or publicly........a man who was truly used and deceived would do just as he did and try to get the truth out to the public to ATTEMPT to salvage his reputation and what ever shreds of credibility he might have left.

  181. I live in a very small Kentucky town(less then 300 homes total), and quite a few homes have been on the market for a while, but the real surprise is three new homes have been for sale for almost a year with out any buyers or any prospects.

    For sale signs are growing but not sales.

  182. I dont think I've EVER seen a more pathetic mSM than the cabal of idiotic stooges we have in this country.............McClellan states he was deceived by Bush/Cheney/Rove et al.........and all Anderson Cooper and the Reich Wing stooges on his stupid idiotic show can come up with is "why didnt he speak out, resign or challenge them years ago when he worked for them"................thats like if a woman is cloroformed from behind, bound, gagged and raped the attacker asks her why she didnt try to resist, escape, or say no?

  183. See if McClellan was deceived and lied to and didnt realize the truth till 2 YEARS LATER then he could not be expected to speak out, resign or challenge the people he was representing till he realized the truth 2 YEARS LATER.............its really pretty simple if you have a brain............trouble is the Orwellian stooges in the Reich Wing and their partners in slime in the MSM are trying to obscure and muddy the waters for the koolaid drinking knuckle draggers, you know those 20%er's who are the backwash and dregs of society who DONT have brains and will devour what ever heaps of steaming BS the treasonous Neo Con jackasses serve them.

  184. BTW, didnt McClellan just say that the war that McSame supports was based on lies and dishonest propaganda and was completely unneccessary and was a huge mistake.............kinda reflects on McSame's poor judgement and delusional foreign policy incompetence.

  185. Trevor - no this blog will still be here - it WILL ALWAYS BE HERE.

    We are adding to the website -- adding several more blogs with entertaiment, original programming, comedy, lifestyle, advice column, inspiration, home, family and teenagers.... more subjects to comment on with articles, videos and a music blog!

  186. Mike, that is the only fall back position with out discussing the actual merits of the book they have left.

    They can attack McClellan with that straw man argument with out actually discussing whether what he says has merit or not, kinda like some trolls did here in 2006.

    That way they can say they discussed his book with out actually letting the audience in on what a lying sack of clowns the White House is full of.

  187. Lydia Cornell said...
    Trevor - no this blog will still be here - it WILL ALWAYS BE HERE.

    We are adding to the website -- adding several more blogs with entertaiment, original programming, comedy, lifestyle, advice column, inspiration, home, family and teenagers.... more subjects to comment on with articles, videos and a music blog!"

    Wow, that sounds cool,I think news would also be a great addition i know if there is a site that is one stop for everything MANY people would go to that site, i know i do.

  188. As if McSame's lobbying scandals weren't bad enuf,

    now this breaks;

    Can't Make This Stuff Up

    For months, John McCain has been bragging on the fact that he's got fmr. Sen. Phil Gramm as his key economics advisor. That's scary enough as it is, if you're familiar with Gramm's policy predilections and legislative history. But now it turns out that Gramm, who advised McCain on his mortgage relief policy and speech, was also a registered lobbyist for the Swiss bank UBS, which is obviously heavily concerned with the mortgage crisis. According to MSNBC, which has just broken the story, UBS only deregistered Gramm on April 18th of this year, which I'm pretty certain was after McCain rolled out the policy that Gramm had a hand in crafting.

    St Johnny the delusional McSame, can't seem to out run the scandals his hypocritical stance on lobbying he has taken considering how many he has been SOOO close to.

  189. Lydia::
    Good news about your site...looking forward to it...

    Mike and Clif....I want to get McCellan's book...I am more than curious....and perfect timing for McCain's campaign...Ouch...

  190. And just so's ya know, UBS is up to it's corporate neck in the sub-prime mortgage mess;

    Big Trouble?

    Below I noted MSNBC's story tonight about how fmr. Sen. Phil Gramm (McCain's economics advisor) was advising him on his subprime mortgage bailout policy while Gramm was also a registered lobbyist for the Swiss bank UBS.

    Now, it's clear from the report that UBS had some exposure on the subprime front. But I wasn't aware of the true extent of it. TPM Reader KB sends in articles Businessweek and Forbes that show just how big a player UBS was. Forbes says that UBS is among the banks worst hit by the global credit crisis, particularly in their direct exposure to the US subprime market. According to Forbes, UBS has some $37 billion in write-downs on assets tied to bad US mortgages. In other words, the bank's very life appears to be on the line in how the US government chooses to handle the matter.

    As MSNBC reported, UBS deregistered Gramm as a lobbyist for the company on April 18th, though he continues to serve as a vice chairman of the bank. But that was fully a month after McCain's speech outlining his own approach to the crisis.

    Many of the lobbying connections the press has dug up on McCain have been embarassing. But I'm not sure any have really had teeth until this one. After all, how much does the average voter care that Charlie Black represented a lot of foreign dictators? A stench, yes? But finding out that McCain had a major subprime lender bank lobbyist whispering in his ear when McCain told the public that it was basically tough luck if they lost their houses?

    --Josh Marshall

    Well, well, well, not only is St Johnny the delusional McSame listening to the very same neo-cons who created the Iraqi fiasco on how to continue that fiasco,

    but now apparently he is listening to some of the very same people who created the sub-prime mess on how to sustain that mess it appears.

  191. One thing is becoming very obvious this election cycle;

    Barack Obama wants change ......

    while John McSame is going work very hard to continue the fiasco's that Bush and his policies created,

    in Iraq,

    in the economy,

    and elsewhere .

  192. Clif said "Well, well, well, not only is St Johnny the delusional McSame listening to the very same neo-cons who created the Iraqi fiasco on how to continue that fiasco,

    but now apparently he is listening to some of the very same people who created the sub-prime mess on how to sustain that mess it appears."

    And he calls Obama naive and unqualified to be President..................BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.........all we need is to elect another lying war mongering. robber barron, police state fascist to be the fox that guards the chicken coop and loots and pilages from the working class, and torches the US Constitution and the personal freedoms and privacy.

  193. The Delusional John McSame only cares about him self and the treasonous Neo Con thugs who are ruining this country, if he cared about the working class, the poor and our soldiers, he WOULDNT be opposing giving the soldiers educational benefits, and wouldnt be having wealthy bankers and lobbyists, many of which played a part in the housing and mortgage crisis shape his economic policy and who support the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the working class.

    Why does McSame hate the soldiers, the poor and the working class so much...........and why does he hate his country so much that he is willingly to lead it it down the same rode to oblivion and disaster in the Middle East that the Soviets took when they bankrupted their country and destroyed their military might by squandering their resources and getting bogged down in an unwinnable quagmire in Afghanistan all for nothing more than a pack of Neo Con lies and propaganda that would make Goebbels and Hitler proud.

  194. Mike, McSame is against education benefits for soldiers who have been sent into HELL time and time again, because just like George W Bush before him, he got where he was from the legacy of his family .... and under achieved his ancestors also.

    His father and grandfather were both full navy admirals, but even with his POW status he couldn't achieve flag rank(at least one star) and had to find another way to 'shine" thus he quit the military, divorced his wife who stood by his side for all those years (shades of Gingrich there) then married a rich trophy wife and used her money and connections to set himself up in politics.

    Just like George W Bush, he didn't need it (the GI bill) so why give it to the troops who do?

    Hell it's probably the same reason he is using lobbyists as advisors, they will guarantee his wifes millions he lives off of, and not allow the riff-raff anything, just the way Bush and McSame apparently want it.

  195. Careful if you travel to Japan;

    Boy, they REALLY make tourists feel welcome here!

    .... and we think the Bush is setting people up .....

  196. Trevor said...
    I've noticed in my area there are a lot of repo vehicles on bank parking lots which havent been noticed with all the home foreclosures"

    just curious, are most of those SUV's i've heard trade in value is as low as 50% on year old SUV's and with the price of gas, i could see people walking away and letting them get reposessed.