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Saturday, May 03, 2008

National Environmental Group Endorses Barack Obama for President

Friends of the Earth Action cites senator’s stand for real energy solutions instead of sham Clinton-McCain ‘gas tax holiday’ as key reason for endorsement
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Friends of the Earth Action, a national environmental group based in Washington, D.C., announced today that it is endorsing Senator Barack Obama to be the nation’s next president.
“We endorse Senator Obama because we believe he is the best candidate for the environment,” said Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder. “The ‘gas tax holiday’ debate is a defining moment in the presidential race. The two other candidates responded with sham solutions that won’t ease pain at the pump, but Senator Obama refused to play that typical Washington game. Instead, Obama called for real solutions that would make transportation more affordable and curb global warming. He showed the courage and candor we expect from a president.”
Experts agree that gas prices are likely to decline only slightly under a Clinton-McCain “gas tax holiday”—if they decline at all. Instead of signing onto this gimmick, Obama has called for long-term solutions that would limit oil consumption by requiring cars to be more fuel efficient and expanding transportation options including passenger rail.
Blackwelder cited Obama’s strong pro-environment record, his policy proposals, the profile he has given global warming in his campaign, and the broad mandate he is building for change as other reasons for the endorsement. Obama earned a 96 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters during his first two years in the Senate. Blackwelder said Friends of the Earth Action plans to inform its more than 100,000 activists in the U.S. about its support for Obama and to campaign for him in remaining primaries.
Friends of the Earth Action previously endorsed John Edwards in the Democratic primary process and engaged in early state independent expenditures on his behalf.

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More Than 20 Iraqis Wounded After US Fires Missiles Near Hospital

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military fired guided missiles into the heart of Baghdad's teeming Sadr City slum on Saturday, leveling a building 55 yards away from a hospital and wounding nearly two dozen people.
AP Television News footage showed several ambulances destroyed and on fire, thick black smoke rising from them as firefighters worked to put out the flames.
The strike, made from a ground launcher, took out a militant "command-control center," the U.S. military said. The center was located in the heart of the eight-square-mile neighborhood that is home to about 2.5 million people. Iraqi officials said at least 23 people were wounded, though none of them were patients in the hospital.
The U.S. military blamed the militants for using Iraqi civilians as human shields.
"This is a circumstance where these criminal groups are operating directly out of civilian neighborhoods," military spokeswoman Spc. Megan Burmeister told The Associated Press in an e-mail.
She said it presents a "complex and very difficult" challenge for U.S. forces to strike the militants when they are "putting themselves next to municipal buildings."
Dr. Ali Bustan al-Fartusee, director general of Baghdad's health directorate, told the AP that 23 civilians were wounded in the strike.
He said no patients in the hospital were hurt, but that some of the wounded included civilians outside on their way to visit patients in the hospital. He also said 17 ambulances were damaged or destroyed.

AP Television News footage showed about 100 people milling about in the rubble of the destroyed building. A deep crater was seen just yards from the hospital, which is surrounded by 15-foot-tall concrete blast walls. It appeared that one section of the blast wall was leveled.
Windows were blown out of cars in the hospital's parking lot, but there did not appear to be any damage to the hospital itself.
Shiite extremists are known to have operated in a building next to the hospital, local reporters said.

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"Are they with us or against us?”

Holy Shit are we looking at another Bush term, Under Hillary
Clinton Presses on Gas Tax Holiday
By
Patrick Healy
Updated KINSTON, N.C. -– Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s decision to take on members of Congress over her proposal for a federal gas tax holiday this summer -– “are they with us or against us” –- is tempting fate a bit, as she risks antagonizing uncommitted superdelegates who are members of Congress and who oppose the tax holiday.
Obama advisers say they believe Mrs. Clinton may be overplaying her hand on the tax issue; while it may sound good to voters in Tuesday’s primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, it may drive a wedge between her and the superdelegates she is trying to win over in her nomination fight against Senator Barack Obama.
Here was her comment at a rally in Jeffersonville, Indiana, on Thursday evening:
“I believe it is important to get every member of Congress on the record. Do they stand with hard pressed Americans who are trying to pay their gas bills at the gas station or do they once again stand with the big oil companies? That’s a vote I’m going to try to get, because I want to know where they stand and I want them to tell us - are they with us or against us?”
Congressional Democrats say they highly doubt anyone will cave on their opposition to the gas tax
simply because of Mrs. Clinton’s rhetoric -– especially given many superdelegates on the Hill who already support Mrs. Clinton are standing their ground.
One of them, Senator Patty Murray of Washington State, said through a spokeswoman that she remained steadfast against a tax holiday. Senator Murray is concerned that the holiday would lead to a loss of revenue for highway infrastructure projects, which depend on the gas tax.
“I also have a major concern that this idea won’t provide real relief to consumers,” Senator Murray said through her spokeswoman, Alex Glass.
Ms. Glass said that the senator was not especially moved by Mrs. Clinton’s with-us-or-against-us rhetoric.
“It’s campaign season,” Ms. Glass said. “Senator Murray’s support for Senator Clinton is unrelated to Senator Clinton’s position on this issue.”
Mrs. Clinton introduced legislation in the Senate today proposing the gas tax holiday and covering the cost of it through a “windfall profits” tax on oil companies, a campaign spokesman said.

New Photos Reveal Horror Of Hiroshima (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

Sean Malloy, a professor at the University of California Merced, "recently unearthed 10 previously-unpublished photographs illustrating the aftermath on the Hiroshima bombing."
These photographs, taken by an unknown Japanese photographer, were found in 1945 among rolls of undeveloped film in a cave outside Hiroshima by U.S. serviceman Robert L. Capp, who was attached to the occupation forces. Unlike most photos of the Hiroshima bombing, these dramatically convey the human as well as material destruction unleashed by the atomic bomb.
Below, you'll find one of the photos from this collection.
See the rest here. Warning: some of the images are graphic and will be difficult for some readers to view. (Via Danger Room)
LinkHere
“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”
- Albert Einstein

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hillary vs. the coffee maker

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Hillary vs. the Coffee Maker" is #1 on YouTube, top of Drudge, over 300,000 views in 18 hours

Yesterday, we got a tip from fellow blogger Paddy, who writes at Cliff Schecter's blog, that he just watched MSNBC and saw Hillary, during her now infamous gas station photo op, was caught on camera trying to make herself a cup of coffee (cappuccino, we heard), and failing miserably. We alerted a ton of friends, and one was able to find and post the video on YouTube. It's now a thunderous hit. 300,000 views in under 18 hours (it's hard to get over 40,000 views for a SUCCESSFUL political video), the #1 most viewed video on all of YouTube, and the top of Drudge's Web site along with a photo of Hillary, head cocked, unsuccessfully trying to figure out how coffee machines work. First lesson, don't think your tips don't matter - they do. Worse for Hillary, the coffee machine debacle harkens back to George Bush, the elder, and how he expressed amazement on first seeing a grocery scanner that the rest of us had seen for years. The video made Bush look out of touch. Kind of like not knowing how to make yourself a cup of coffee - I'm sorry, cappuccino. Elitist, heal thyself.

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Top 10 Outrageous Quotes From McCain's Spiritual Advisers

by: Living Liberally
Thu May 01, 2008 at 18:00
Laughing Liberally To Keep From Crying by Katie Halper
Before Jeremiah "Obama's Pastor" Wright spews even more nonsense, and quotes even more
ambassadors, we want to shed some light on the brilliant gems uttered by some of McCain's own spiritual advisers, Pastor John Hagee and Reverend Rod Parsley. When Hagee endorsed McCain, because he is a man of principle, McCain said he was "very honored by Pastor John Hagee's endorsement." Reverend Parsley calls McCain a "strong, true, consistent conservative" and McCain calls Parsley "a spiritual adviser." Because the liberal media refuses to give any credit to McCain, it is up to us to be fair and balanced. So here are the top 10 Memorable Quotes said by McCain's religious advisers:
1. "
Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick. Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist." - Pastor John Hagee in his book What Every Man Wants in a Woman (Charisma House, 2005)
2. "
The Quran teaches that [all Muslims have a mandate to kill Christians and Jews]. Yes, it teaches that very clearly." -Pastor John Hagee
Living Liberally :: Top 10 Outrageous Quotes From McCain's Spiritual Advisers
3. "I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans...I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that...There was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades.... The Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment." -Pastor John Hagee
4. "
The military will have difficultly recruiting healthy and strong heterosexuals for combat purposes. Why? Fighting in combat with a man in your fox hole that has AIDS or is HIV positive is double jeopardy." - Pastor John Hagee on Don't Ask Don't Tell
5. "
[Gay marriage] will open the door to incest, to polygamy, and every conceivable marriage arrangement demented minds can possibly conceive. If God does not then punish America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." - Pastor John Hagee
6. "
It is impossible to call yourself a Christian and defend homosexuality. There is no justification or acceptance of homosexuality.... Homosexuality means the death of society because homosexuals can recruit, but they cannot reproduce." - Pastor John Hagee
7. "
Only a Spirit-filled woman can submit to her husband's lead. It is the natural desire of a woman to lead through feminine manipulation of the man...Fallen women will try to dominate the marriage. The man has the God-given role to be the loving leader of the home." - Pastor John Hagee in his book What Every Man Wants in a Woman (Charisma House, 2005)
8. "
I cannot 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 will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink 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 can no longer ignore." - Rod Parsley in Silent No More (Charisma House, 2005)
9. "
Gay sexuality inevitably involves brutal physical abusiveness and the unnatural imposition of alien substances into internal organs, orally and anally, that inevitably suppress the immune system and heighten susceptibility to disease." - Rod Parsley
10. "
Only 1 percent of the homosexual population in America will die of old age. The average life expectancy for a homosexual in the United States of America is 43 years of age. A lesbian can only expect to live to be 45 years of age. Homosexuals represent 2 percent of the population, yet today they're carrying 60 percent of the known cases of syphilis." - Rod Parsley
A version of this originally appeared on
Nerve Scanner.
LinkHere

Yes He Will. Because Yes, We Can.

In the aftermath of the Reverend Wright tornado, many of Barack Obama's most ardent supporters have begun to feel a bit of trepidation, a kind of uncertainty that is deeply unsettling. What was easily the most trying week for the Obama campaign appeared to follow a week that was nearly as bad. With the Clinton campaign on the war path, pressing their message that Obama's candidacy would be doomed in November, and with a hungry media, happy to oblige in repetition, it has become difficult for some to wade through the spin to the truth. Is November really slipping from Obama's grasp? Is the nomination?
The answer to both is a resounding no.
As the race for the Democratic nomination nears its end, the Clinton campaign is entirely dependent on superdelegates overturning the pledged delegate count. Her best -- and only -- argument to the superdelegates is to paint Obama as unelectable, and to have that message echoed through the mainstream media. But were there any inclination among superdelegates to lean toward Obama, what better time than now? Coming off so many lost news cycles, a disappointing loss in Pennsylvania, and a pastor out of control, Obama's candidacy has hit its low point.
Yet there is no indication whatsoever that superdelegates are inching toward Clinton. Quite the contrary, Obama has picked up more superdelegates than Clinton since his loss in Pennsylvania and Reverend Wright's reemergence. Among them were Joe Andrew, former DNC chair and former Clinton supporter. In an
open letter to other superdelegates, Andrew warned:
"No amount of spin or sleight of hand can deny the fact that where there has been competition, Senator Obama has won more votes, more States and more delegates than any other candidate. Only the superdelegates can award the nomination to Senator Clinton, but to do so risks doing to our Party in 2008 what Republicans did to our country in 2000. Let us be intellectually consistent and unite behind Barack Obama."
It seems clear that other superdelegates will agree. Paul Kirk, another former DNC chair, is expected to announce for Obama today, as well. And Senator Claire McCaskill, one of Obama's most vocal advocates, reported that among remaining undeclared elected superdelegates on Capitol Hill, the vast majority are actually unannounced rather than uncommitted. Her whip count has Obama with the lead, enough for her to quote James Brown's "I feel good."
With no shred of evidence to suggest that superdelegates would even contemplate overturning the pledged delegate winner, it is possible, but extraordinarily unlikely, that Clinton will be handed the nomination.

ALMOST $1 TRILLION...

AP ANDREW TAYLOR May 2, 2008 at 03:52 PM
WASHINGTON — President Bush sent lawmakers a $70 billion request Friday to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into next spring, which would give the next president breathing room to make his or her own war policy.
Friday's request fills in the details of the $70 billion placeholder that the White House asked for when it sent its budget to Congress in February. The money is for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is unable to deal with the growing number of PTSD cases emerging from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

By David Morgan
FORT BLISS, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday said the military had made mistakes in treating returning combat troops including in their physical and mental health care and by providing some sub-standard housing.
In a visit to Fort Bliss, Texas, Gates announced a change in government procedures to encourage troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without fear of losing their security clearances and harming their careers.
The announcement came just a day after closing arguments in a San Francisco federal court case in which veterans allege the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is unable to deal with the growing number of PTSD cases emerging from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Gates acknowledged not all of the more than 1.5 million military service members who have been deployed overseas have received needed medical treatment and accommodations.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Amazing Emanuel, dswhat about the dead 1 million + Iraqi citiizensm, they don't count in your little scenario.

On Bush, On Baseball and Iraq: "He's 0 for 2"
Delivered on the House floor:
Madam Speaker, in 1993, when professional-baseball owners were deciding how to rehabilitate the reputation of baseball, after the player's strike, they debated whether to enact a wild-card rule to allow a second-place team into the playoffs. Only one owner at the time voted against this: Texas Rangers general partner George Bush.
When the rule passed 27-1, at the time the President said, "I made my arguments and went down in flames...History will prove me right." [Associated Press, 9/9/93]
Since then, nearly a third of World Series champions have been wild-card teams, including the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.
The rule helped saved baseball as history has shown.
And just like his baseball predictions, President Bush sings a very similar tune about Iraq, he says, "History will prove whether I'm right. I think I'll be right..."[Whitehouse.gov, March 29, 2006]
Really?
Five years today since his speech on "Mission Accomplished," and let's take stock.
More than 4,000 lives have been lost.
Tens of thousands of American men and women have been injured.
We've spent over $475 billion in taxpayer dollars, with the price tag continually going up.
History will be the judge of whether once again George Bush's record and America's reputation will go down in flames.
At this rate he's going to be 0 for 2.

The Empty Flight Suit

According to DailyKos, here is what the New York Times wrote about the day:
Never before has a president landed aboard a carrier at sea, much less taken the controls of the aircraft. His decision to sleep aboard the ship this evening in the captain's quarters conjured images of the presidency at sea not seen since Franklin D. Roosevelt used to sail to summit meetings.
Mr. Bush was clearly reliving his days as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, more than three decades ago.
No, he wasn't. If he were reliving his days in the Guard, he wouldn't have shown up.

Five Years Ago: How the Media Gushed Over "Mission Accomplished"

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,205,025"
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq

4,064
Cost of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq
$515,918,607,081
WE WON THE WAR.
On May 1, 2003, Richard Perle advised, in a USA Today Op-Ed, "Relax, Celebrate Victory." The same day, exactly five years ago, President Bush, dressed in a flight suit, landed on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and declared an end to major military operations in Iraq -- with the now-infamous "Mission Accomplished" banner arrayed behind him in the war's greatest photo op.
Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a "hero" and boomed, "He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics." He added: "Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president.
It's simple." PBS' Gwen Ifill said Bush was "part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan."
On NBC, Brian Williams gushed, "The pictures were beautiful. It was quite something to see the first-ever American president on a -- on a carrier landing."
Bob Schieffer on CBS said: "As far as I'm concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time." His guest, Joe Klein, responded: "Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me." Everyone agreed the Democrats and antiwar critics were now on the run.
When Bush's jet landed on an aircraft carrier, American casualties stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded.
The following looks at how one newspaper -- it happens to be The New York Times -- covered the Bush declaration and its immediate aftermath. One snippet: "The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today."
By Elisabeth Bumiller
WASHINGTON, May 1--President Bush's made-for-television address tonight on the carrier Abraham Lincoln was a powerful, Reaganesque finale to a six-week war. But beneath the golden images of a president steaming home with his troops toward the California coast lay the cold political and military realities that drove Mr. Bush's advisors to create the moment.
The president declared an end to major combat operations, White House, Pentagon and State Department officials said, for three crucial reasons: to signify the shift of American soldiers from the role of conquerors to police, to open the way for aid from countries that refused to help militarily, and--above all--to signal to voters that Mr. Bush is shifting his focus from Baghdad to concerns at home.
''This is the formalization that tells everybody we're not engaged in combat anymore, we're prepared for getting out,'' a senior administration official said.
By Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt
BAGHDAD, May 2--The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.
The United States currently has more than five divisions in Iraq, troops that fought their way into the country and units that were added in an attempt to stabilize it. But the Bush administration is trying to establish a new military structure in which American troops would continue to secure Baghdad while the majority of the forces in Iraq would be from other nations.
Under current planning, there would be three sectors in postwar Iraq. The Americans would keep a division in and around Baghdad; Britain would command a multinational division in the south near Basra; and Poland would command a third division of troops from a variety of nations.
By Dexter Filkins and Ian Fisher
BAGHDAD, May 2--The war in Iraq has officially ended, but the momentous task of recreating a new Iraqi nation seems hardly to have begun. Three weeks after Saddam Hussein fell from power, American troops are straining to manage the forces this war has unleashed: the anger, frustration, and competing ambitions of a nation suppressed for three decades.
In a virtual power vacuum, with the relationship between American military and civilian authority seeming ill defined, new political parties, Kurds, and Shiite religious groups are asserting virtual governmental authority in cities and villages across the country, sometimes right under the noses of American soldiers. There is a growing sense among educated Iraqis eager for the American-led transformation of Iraq to work that the Americans may be losing the initiative, that the single-mindedness that won the war is slackening under the delicate task of transforming a military victory into political success.
By David E. Sanger
WASHINGTON, May 2--In his speech, Mr. Bush argued that the invasion and liberation of Iraq were part of the American response to the attacks of Sept. 11. He called the tumultuous period since those attacks ''19 months that changed the world,'' and said Mr. Hussein's defeat was a defeat for al-Qaeda and other terrorists as well....
Politically more complex for the administration is the continuing search for chemical and biological weapons, a search that so far has turned up next to nothing. One member of Mr. Bush's war cabinet said that he suspected that Mr. Hussein had not mounted his chemical stockpiles on weapons, but suggested that sooner or later they would be found. Mr. Bush himself said tonight that the United States knew of ''hundreds of sites that will be investigated.''
Editorial, May 2
As presidential spectacles go, it would be hard to surpass George Bush's triumphant ''Top Gun'' visit to the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln yesterday off the California coast. President Bush flew out to the giant aircraft carrier dressed in full fighter-pilot regalia as the ''co-pilot'' of a Navy warplane. After a dramatic landing on the compact deck--a new standard for high-risk presidential travel--Mr. Bush mingled with the ship's crew, then later welcomed home thousands of cheering sailors and aviators on the flight deck in a nationally televised address.
The scene will undoubtedly make for a potent campaign commercial next year. For now, though, the point was to declare an end to the combat phase of the war in Iraq and to commit the nation to the reconstruction of that shattered country.
From the moment that Mr. Bush made his intention of invading Iraq clear, the question was never whether American troops would succeed, or whether the regime they toppled would be exposed to the world as a despicable one. The question was, and still is, whether the administration has the patience to rebuild Iraq and set it on a course toward stable, enlightened governance. The chaotic situation in Afghanistan is no billboard for American talent at nation-building. The American administration of postwar Iraq has so far failed to match the efficiency and effectiveness of the military invasion. But as the United States came to the end of one phase of the Iraqi engagement last night, there was still time to do better.
Letter to the Editor, May 3
Some unanswered questions remain: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? What evidence makes Iraq ''an ally of al-Qaeda''? Where is Saddam Hussein? Where is Osama bin Laden? Who is next?Martin DeppeChicago
By David E. Sanger
WASHINGTON, May 4--With his administration under growing international pressure to find evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons, President Bush told reporters today that ''we'll find them,'' but cautioned that it would take some time because, he said, Mr. Hussein spent so many years hiding his stockpiles. Mr. Bush's comments came after his senior aides, in interviews in recent days, had begun to back away from their pre-war claims that Mr. Hussein had an arsenal that was loaded and ready to fire.
They now contend that he developed what they call a ''just in time'' production strategy for his weapons, hiding chemical precursors that could be quickly loaded into empty artillery shells or short-range missiles.
Maureen Dowd, column, May 4
The tail hook caught the last cable, jerking the fighter jet from 150 m.p.h. to zero in two seconds. Out bounded the cocky, rule-breaking, daredevil flyboy, a man navigating the Highway to the Danger Zone, out along the edges where he was born to be, the further on the edge, the hotter the intensity.
He flashed that famous all-American grin as he swaggered around the deck of the aircraft carrier in his olive flight suit, ejection harness between his legs, helmet tucked under his arm, awestruck crew crowding around. Maverick was back, cooler and hotter than ever, throttling to the max with joystick politics. Compared to Karl Rove's ''revvin' up your engine'' myth-making cinematic style, Jerry Bruckheimer's movies look like Lizzie McGuire.This time Maverick didn't just nail a few bogeys and do a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28 at a range of two meters. This time the Top Gun wasted a couple of nasty regimes, and promised this was just the beginning.
Thomas Friedman, column, May 4
President Bush may have declared the war in Iraq effectively over. But, judging from my own e-mail box--where conservative readers are bombing me for not applauding enough the liberation of Iraq, and liberals for selling out to George Bush--the war over the war still burns on here.
Conservatives now want to use the victory in Iraq to defeat all liberal ideas at home, and to make this war a model for America's relations with the world, while liberals--fearing all that--are still quietly rooting for Mr. Bush to fail.
New American Deaths in Iraq, May 6
The Department of Defense has confirmed the deaths of the following Americans in the Iraq war: GIVENS, Jesse A., 34, Pfc., Army; Springfield, Mo.; Third Armored Cavalry.
REYNOLDS, Sean C., 25, Sgt., Army; East Lansing, Mich.; 173rd Airborne Brigade.

Senate panel votes to block money for Iraq reconstruction

Senate panel votes to block money for Iraq reconstruction projects worth more than $2 million
ANNE FLAHERTYAP News
May 01, 2008 10:15 EST
A Senate panel has agreed to block U.S. funding for Iraq reconstruction projects worth more than $2 million and to try to force Baghdad to cover the costs of training and equipping the country's security forces.
Source: Newsweek
Just Between Us
The Bush administration is refusing to disclose internal e-mails, letters and notes showing contacts with major telecommunications companies over how to persuade Congress to back a controversial surveillance bill, according to recently disclosed court documents.
The existence of these documents surfaced only in recent days as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a privacy group called the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The foundation (alerted to the issue in part by a NEWSWEEK story last fall) is seeking information about communications among administration officials, Congress and a battery of politically well-connected lawyers and lobbyists hired by such big telecom carriers as AT&T and Verizon. Court papers recently filed by government lawyers in the case confirm for the first time that since last fall unnamed representatives of the telecoms phoned and e-mailed administration officials to talk about ways to block more than 40 civil suits accusing the companies of privacy violations because of their participation in a secret post-9/11 surveillance program ordered by the White House.
At the time, the White House was proposing a surveillance bill—strongly backed by the telecoms—that included a sweeping provision that would grant them retroactive immunity from any lawsuits accusing the companies of wrongdoing related to the surveillance program.
...
But while complying with the judge's order to confirm the existence of some documents, administration officials have told the judge they cannot actually disclose the documents themselves, in part because to do so would undermine national security. Even to confirm the identity of any of the carriers with whom administration officials have discussed the surveillance issue would implicitly identify the carriers that participated in the program and therefore "would provide our adversaries with a road map" that would help them thwart surveillance against them, according to a court declaration filed by Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, director of the ODNI's intelligence staff.

On 7th Tour in War Zone

Army Ranger Killed in Afghanistan -- On 7th Tour in War Zone
StaffPublished: May 01, 2008 3:40 PM ETNEW YORK
NEW YORK An Army Ranger from Ramona, Ca., was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday—on his seventh tour of duty in that country or in Iraq.
Sgt. 1st Class David L. McDowell, 30, died Tuesday in Bastion, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a firefight when enemy forces attacked using small arms fires, according to the Pentagon.
His father was also an Army ranger.
McDowell had been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq seven times and was a recipient of two Bronze stars and a Purple Heart. His most recent tour in Afghanistan began on March 29.
He is survived by his wife, his high school sweetheart, Joleen; son, Joshua, 11; daughter, Erin, 3; his parents; and two sisters.

Methodists reject SMU Bush Presidential Library 844-20

Source: The People of the United Methodist Church website
News Flash: SMU Bush Presidential Library Rejection, passed 844-20
This rejection passed on Wednesday morning, 30-April-08, at the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church that is still meeting in Fort Worth, Texas.
This body is the highest authority of the denomination and cannot be over-ruled by any other body within the denomination.
LinkHere

Mary Tillman's Crusade For The Truth

Tells 60 Minutes The Government Still Hasn't Told The Whole Truth About Her Son Pat's Death
Source: cbsnews.com
(CBS) Seven military investigations and two Congressional hearings can’t convince Mary Tillman that the government is telling all it knows about the death of her son, a corporal in the U.S. Army Rangers. In her first television interview, Tillman talks to Katie Couric about her son, Pat Tillman, a former NFL star, and her frustration over the way the government handled information about his death by friendly fire.
The interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, May 4, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
"Well, it's hard to take when we heard it was a friendly fire…. I…didn't go into immediate…'Oh, these awful men, they need to be punished,'" says Tillman. "I felt terrible for these young men…and I still do - to a degree. But I don't think it was the horrible accident that they like to play this out. I think there was huge negligence involved here," she tells Couric.
Four years ago in a canyon in Afghanistan, Cpl. Tillman, who gave up his professional football career to fight the war on terror, was killed. The initial word from the Army was that he died in an ambush trying to protect his men. It then came out weeks later that his own men had shot him. Mary Tillman has been on a crusade for the truth ever since, accusing the government of using the initial story as a publicity stunt and covering up the friendly fire incident.
She points to inconsistencies, including that his uniform was burned after his death, which is against regulations, and that the coroner refused to sign the autopsy for months because his analysis of Tillman’s gunshot wounds was not consistent with the Army’s original story.
LinkHere
Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela flagged on US terrorist watch list.
NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg called a summer-long suspension of the gas tax favored by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican John McCain a dumb idea.
The New York mayor, who flirted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, praised Democrat Barack Obama for opposing the plan to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.2 cent diesel tax during the peak driving months of the summer.
All three candidates covet Bloomberg's endorsement. The mayor has spoken highly of Obama and McCain in introducing the two at recent events in New York.
Speaking to reporters at City Hall, Bloomberg said of the gas tax holiday, "It's about the dumbest thing I've heard in an awful long time, from an economic point of view. We're trying to discourage people from driving and we're trying to end our energy dependence ... and we're trying to have more money to build infrastructure."
He cited those three reasons for opposing the gas tax holiday favored by McCain and Clinton. Obama has said the savings would not be significant for the average individual, and Bloomberg agreed.
"The 30 bucks is not going to change anybody's lifestyle," he said. "The billions of dollars that we would otherwise have in tax revenues can make a big difference as to what kind of a world we leave our children."
The billionaire mayor said in February that he had decided not to run for president but has dangled the possibility of his endorsement. The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent has ties to all three candidates.

Most Unpopular President In Modern History


CNN May 1, 2008 at 03:02 PM
A new poll suggests that George W. Bush is the most unpopular president in modern American history.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush his handling his job as president.

LinkHere



McCain: "Mission Accomplished" Banner Not Bush's Fault

UPDATE: John McCain said on Thursday that President Bush shouldn't be blamed for the "Mission Accomplished" banner:
Republican John McCain says President Bush should not be held responsible for the much-criticized "mission accomplished" banner five years ago, but he should be blamed for bungling the early months of the Iraq war.
Thursday was the fifth anniversary of Bush's dramatic landing on an aircraft carrier where the banner hung. The certain GOP presidential nominee said he thought the banner was a mistake at the time.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another proud day in US military history


Iraq bloodshed in April kills 1,073 …

My Pastor Is Holier Than Yours
By Mary Pitt
The mainstream media is having a field day with this minutia while parading "experts" on both politics and religion across our screen. Hours of air time are spent on this trivia while the soldiers keep dying in Iraq, the criminality of the Pentagon policies, the brutal treatment, not only of our prisoners, but of our "all-volunteer" servicewomen, is conveniently swept under the rug and onto the back pages of the newspapers.

Blood Diamonds’ ‘Blood Oil’ and ‘Blood Food’
By Pablo Ouziel
True commitment to stopping the war in Iraq requires a global human rights strike, in which the working population of the world stops producing, until the governments and the corporations realize that the voice of the people does indeed matter.

RAW STORY's investigation reveals the California GOP has put an alleged pirate in charge of its treasure trove.

Source: Raw Story
Any job applicant knows that background checks are routine – especially for jobs involving authority or oversight of money. So why didn’t the San Diego Republican Party do a simple Google search before naming Tony Krvaric as its chairman?
Online research reveals that Krvaric is the co-founder of Fairlight, a band of software crackers which later evolved into an international video and software piracy group that law enforcement authorities say is among the world’s largest such crime rings. After co-founding Fairlight in Sweden, Krvaric established U.S. operations for the organization, including an arm headquartered in Southern California—a major center for the computer and video game industry.
Krvaric has also been appointed by California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring to head up the state party’s budget committee. RAW STORY's investigation reveals the California GOP has put an alleged pirate in charge of its treasure trove.

Cheney lawyer claims Congress has no authority over vice-president

Source: Guardian
Tuesday April 29 2008
The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job.
The exception claimed by Cheney's counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president's chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay.
Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney's conduct is "not within the committee's power of inquiry".
"Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by law what a vice-president communicates in the performance of the vice president's official duties, or what a vice president recommends that a president communicate," Wheelbarger wrote to senior aides on Capitol Hill.

At least 925 people killed in Iraq's Sadr City clashes

Source: AFP
BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 900 people have been killed in clashes between militiamen and security forces in Baghdad's Sadr City that broke out last month, a senior Iraqi official told reporters on Wednesday.
"There were 925 martyrs in Sadr City and 2,605 others have been wounded," in the firefights that began on March 25 and are still continuing, said Tehseen Sheikhly, a spokesman for the government's Baghdad security plan.
Fierce clashes between US and Iraqi forces and Shiite fighters, mostly from the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, erupted after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on militiamen in the southern city of Basra.
The crackdown triggered a wave of clashes in other Shiite regions of Iraq, but particularly in Sadr City, the bastion of the Mahdi Army in east Baghdad.
The clashes have also inflicted heavy toll on US forces. At least 20 soldiers have been killed in Baghdad in April, a significant number of them in and around Sadr City.
LinkHere

Obama picks up Baron Hill support (Blue Dog Democrat)

Obama picks up Baron Hill support
By Mary Beth SchneiderPosted:
April 30, 2008
U.S. Rep. Baron Hill is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president.Hill's endorsement is important beyond his influence as a member of Congress. The 9th District Democrat is one of the superdelegates both candidates are courting. Earlier, U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, who recently won a special election to fill the seat left by his late grandmother, former U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, also endorsed Obama. But the other Democratic members of the U.S. House -- Reps. Peter Visclosky, Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth -- have not.In a statement released by his office, Hill -- who will speak about his endorsement at an Obama rally tonight at Indiana University's Assembly Hall in Bloomington, said that he considers both Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be "formidable candidates" but that Obama is the best able to move the nation past partisan gridlock.Hill cited Obama's denunciation of the comments made by Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, saying he was "pleased that Senator Obama clearly and unequivocally denounced Reverend Wright’s remarks. Hoosiers don’t feel that way about our country, I don’t feel that way about our country and Senator Obama made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t feel that way either."And, he said, the controversy "showed me another aspect of Senator Obama’s leadership – a strength of character and commitment to our nation that transcends the personal. One of the tests of a true leader is his ability and willingness to come to a new conclusion based on new events. Senator Obama did just that yesterday."Hill said that choosing between Obama and Clinton was difficult, but that he made the decision "after much discussion with the people of southern Indiana as well a mentors of mine such a Lee Hamilton."
Congressman Baron Hill, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, represents Indiana's 9th district and is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Hill is Senator Obama’s 246th Superdelegate endorsement. Senator Obama is now 286 delegates away from winning the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
LinkHere

Clinton: $2b in '09 pork

By Manu Raju and Kevin Bogardus
Posted: 04/28/08 08:08 PM [ET]
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has requested nearly $2.3 billion in federal earmarks for 2009, almost three times the largest amount received by a single senator this year.
The Democratic presidential candidate’s staggering request comes at a time when Congress remains engaged in a heated debate over spending federal dollars on parochial projects.
LinkHere

Hedge Fund Looking To Buy Blackwater

Exclusive: Hedge Fund in Talks to Buy Blackwater
Private Equity Firm Could Invest At Least $200 Million Into Controversial Security Firm

By MADDY SAUER
April 30, 2008
The hedge fund giant that owns a controlling stake in Chrysler is in negotiations to buy the controversial security firm Blackwater USA, which has millions of dollars in U.S. government contracts in Iraq, according to sources familiar with the talks.
Cerberus Capital Management could invest $200 million for a stake in Blackwater, said a source close to the negotiations. Other sources said auditors from Cerberus had been examining Blackwater's books since the beginning of the year.
A source close to the negotiations says there is no deal yet, but there might be one in the future and that negotiations about a possible investment into Blackwater are ongoing.
A Cerberus spokesman said the company doesn't comment on market rumorsor speculation. Blackwater did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Blackwater 'Blood Money' Angers Iraqis
Two Iraqi Families of Victims Killed by Blackwater Guards Tell ABC News They've Refused Compensation From the Company

Interview with Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman

Thom Hartmann
I interviewed former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman for an hour Tuesday in the second hour of my radio program on Air America. These are blockbuster allegations of election fraud against Rove and the Bush Justice Department that go way beyond what he said on CBS's 60 Minutes last month.
Listen to the full audio here.
And here's the transcript...

Is the U.S. Army covering up the rape and murder of women soldiers?

That's the question posed in an article published today by CommonDreams.org and written by Ann Wright, a veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and a former U.S. diplomat who resigned from the State Department in 2003 over her opposition to the Iraq war. She discusses 15 cases involving deaths of women soldiers in Iraq following rapes that have been classified as suicides but which occurred under, as she writes, "extremely suspicious circumstances":
8 women soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas (six from the Fourth Infantry Division and two from the 1st Armored Cavalry Division) have died of "non-combat related injuries" on the same base, Camp Taji, and three were raped before their deaths. Two were raped immediately before their deaths and another raped prior to arriving in Iraq. Two military women have died of suspicious "non-combat related injuries" on Balad base, and one was raped before she died. Four deaths have been classified as "suicides."
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The Fed's actions "eliminated forever the possibility that the Federal Reserve could serve as an 'honest broker,' "

Bear Stearns just got
they got a
Economist slams Bear bailoutVincent Reinhart, a former senior policy adviser to Alan Greenspan and current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, said the central bank's rescue of Bear Stearns was the "worst policy decision in a generation."
"The panicked decision" may prove as damaging as Fed policy errors that caused the "great contraction" of the 1930s and the "great inflation" of the 1970s, he said Monday.
The Fed's actions "eliminated forever the possibility that the Federal Reserve could serve as an 'honest broker,' " said Reinhart, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

D.C. nonprofit aimed at women voters behind deceptive N.C. robo-calls

By Chris KrommFacing SouthWho's behind the mysterious "robo-calls" that have spread misleading voter information and sown confusion and frustration among North Carolina residents over the last week?Facing South has confirmed the source of the calls, and the mastermind is Women's Voices Women Vote, a D.C.-based nonprofit which aims to boost voting among "unmarried women voters."What's more, Facing South has learned that the firestorm Women's Voices has ignited in North Carolina isn't the group's first brush with controversy. Women's Voices' questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.First, a quick recap: As we covered yesterday, N.C. residents have reported receiving peculiar automated calls from someone claiming to be "Lamont Williams." The caller says that a "voter registration packet" is coming in the mail, and the recipient can sign it and mail it back to be registered to vote. No other information is provided.The call is deceptive because the deadline has already passed for mail-in registrations for North Carolina's May 6 primary. Also, many who have received the calls -- like Kevin Farmer in Durham, who made a tape of the call that is available here -- are already registered. The call's suggestion that they're not registered has caused widespread confusion and drawn hundreds of complaints, including many from African-American voters who received the calls.The calls are also probably illegal. Farmer and others have told Facing South the calls use a blocked phone number and provided no contact information -- a violation of North Carolina rules regulating "robo-calls" (N.C. General Statute 163-104(b)(1)c). N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper further stated in a recent memo that the identifying information must be clear enough to allow the recipient to "complain or seek redress" -- something not included in the calls.It is also a Class I felony in North Carolina "to misrepresent the law to the public through mass mailing or any other means of communication where the intent and the effect is to intimidate or discourage potential voters from exercising their lawful right to vote."The calls have been denounced by the N.C. State Board of Elections, as well as by voter advocacy groups including Democracy North Carolina, which called them "another in a long line of deceptive practices used in North Carolina and elsewhere that particularly target African-American voters."Yesterday, I placed a call to the Virginia State Police, which had investigated similar suspicious robo-calls before that Virginia's primaries last February. Their investigation concluded that the source of the calls was Women's Voices Women Vote.Facing South then contacted Women's Voices, and staffer Sarah Johnson confirmed they were doing similar robo-calls in North Carolina; they later admitted that they were the ones behind the deceptive "Lamont Williams" calls.So who is Women's Voices Women Vote, and why are they making shadowy and legally-questionable calls that are causing North Carolina voters so many headaches?The D.C.-based nonprofit, led by well-connected Washington operatives, claims in a press release they sent to Facing South [PDF] that the North Carolina calls are part of a 24-state effort targeted at a list of 3 million voters, especially unmarried women. The robo-calls, which never mention Women's Voices, are followed by mailings that include information on how to register to vote. They plan to mail some 276,000 packets in North Carolina alone.
LinkHere

"We let our soldiers down"

WASHINGTON — Army officials said Tuesday they are inspecting every barracks building worldwide to see whether plumbing and other problems revealed at Fort Bragg, N.C., last week are widespread.
Brig. Gen. Dennis Rogers, who is responsible for maintaining barracks throughout the Army, told reporters at the Pentagon that most inspections were done last weekend but he had not seen final results.
While not providing specifics about problems discovered during the weekend inspections, Rogers indicated some deficiencies were corrected. In cases where extensive repairs are deemed necessary, the soldiers in that housing would be moved elsewhere until the fixes are completed, he added.
Rogers said it was too soon to know whether the Fort Bragg problem was an isolated incident. He acknowledged the revelations from a video shot by the father of an 82nd Airborne Division soldier showing poor conditions such as mold inside the barracks, peeling interior paint and a bathroom drain plugged with sewage.
The soldier's father, Ed Frawley, said he was disgusted by the conditions that greeted his son and the rest of his 82nd Airborne unit that returned on April 7-8 after a 15-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.
"We let our soldiers down, and that's not like us," Rogers told reporters. "We let our soldiers down. That's not how we want America's sons and daughters to live. There's no good excuse for what happened."

US troop deaths push monthly toll to 7-month high in Iraq

US Troop Deaths In Iraq At Seven Month High
BAGHDAD — The killings of five U.S. soldiers in separate attacks in Baghdad pushed the American death toll for April up to 49, making it the deadliest month since September. One soldier died when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. The second died of wounds sustained when he was attacked by small-arms fire, the military said Wednesday. Both incidents occurred Tuesday in northwestern Baghdad.
A third soldier died after being struck by a bomb while on a foot patrol early Wednesday in a northern section of the capital, while another roadside bomb killed two American soldiers in southern Baghdad, the military said in separate statements.
The spike in U.S. troop deaths comes as intense combat has been raging in Sadr City and other neighborhoods between Shiite militants and U.S.-Iraqi troops for more than a month.
In all, at least 4,061 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
"We have said all along that this will be a tough fight and there will be periods where we see these extremists, these criminal groups and al-Qaida terrorists seek to reassert themselves," U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner told reporters in Baghdad.
State Department: Al Qaida Gaining Strength In Pakistan And Afghanistan
AP MATTHEW LEE April 30, 2008 at 03:22 PM
WASHINGTON — Al-Qaida has rebuilt some of its pre-Sept. 11 capabilities from remote hiding places in Pakistan, leading to a jump in attacks last year in that country and neighboring Afghanistan, the Bush administration said Wednesday.
Attacks in Pakistan doubled between 2006 and 2007 and the number of fatalities quadrupled, the State Department said in its annual terrorism report. In Afghanistan, the number of attacks rose 16 percent, to 1,127 incidents last year.

Have you no sense of decency at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

If the corporate media had been as diligent about watchdogging the president as they have been about watchdogging Rev. Wright, it's very likely we wouldn't have invaded Iraq. If the corporate media had spent as much time exposing the obvious flaws and grotesque inequalities of Reaganomics throughout the last 30 years as they've spent on Wright, we wouldn't necessarily be staring into the maw of another depression. If the corporate media were as diligent about debunking the lies surrounding Iran's so-called nuclear program as they've been about Wright, there wouldn't be such a sense of inevitability in terms of attacking -- or entirely obliterating -- Iran.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Frank Rich | How McCain Lost in Pennsylvania

It's a nightmare. It's the Bataan Death March. It's mutually assured Armageddon.
Frank Rich, of The New York Times, writes: "When the Pennsylvania returns rained down Tuesday night, the narrative became clear fast. The Democrats' exit polls spelled disaster: Some 25 percent of the primary voters said they would defect to Mr. McCain or not vote at all if Barack Obama were the nominee. How could the party possibly survive this bitter, perhaps race-based civil war? But as the doomsday alarm grew shrill, few noticed that on this same day in Pennsylvania, 27 percent of Republican primary voters didn't just tell pollsters they would defect from their party's standard-bearer; they went to the polls, gas prices be damned, to vote against Mr. McCain."
LinkHere

A Divided Baghdad

This is the reality of life in Baghdad now!
Al Jazeera Report
17/04/08


300,000 Vets Have Mental Problems, 320,000 Brain Injuries

Pauline Jelinek for The Associated Press reports, "Some 300,000 US troops are suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 320,000 received brain injuries, a new study estimates."

It's all about the Clintons

Shaun CarneyApril 29, 2008
It's a fine line between self-belief and self-obsession when it comes to the dynamic duo of Hillary and Bill.
IS HILLARY Clinton phenomenally tenacious or just plain mad? If she is to overtake Barack Obama's haul of pledged delegates, she will have to win 80% of the vote in the eight Democratic primaries and one caucus that remain. Unless something truly catastrophic happens inside Obama's campaign that isn't going to happen. When the final primaries in Montana and South Dakota are held five weeks from now, it's extremely likely that Obama will be the presumptive presidential nominee — even Clinton's supporters must know that. And yet, Clinton's appetite for the battle with Obama is overwhelming. Bolstered by victory in Pennsylvania last week, the Clinton campaign is in a state of near-frenzy in the lead-up to next Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries.
What is this all about? In truth, Obama is not running against Hillary Clinton, he is running against the Clintons — a political machine headed by the New York senator and her ex-president husband, Bill, that includes some of the most ruthless operators in modern politics. The Clinton machine is fuelled by a smorgasbord of pathologies and resentments, some of them based on genuine experiences and others the product of quite frightening self-obsession. It's been clear for many months now that what the Clintons are proposing is a sort of co-presidency, with Bill — prohibited by the US constitution from running again — doing much more than conducting occasional morning coffees in the White House and doing some charitable work.
One of the key challenges faced by Hillary and her senior campaign operatives during the battle against Obama has been knowing the right times to let Bill out of his box. On most occasions so far, it's backfired. Florid of complexion and barely able to contain his fury that anyone could presume to stand in the Clintons' way, Bill has served up blooper after blooper, culminating — so far — in his absurd assertion last week that the Obama campaign had somehow played the race card against him. It's been a far cry from his well-earned reputation as a preternaturally gifted political player, a public performer with an innate ability to nuance and deflect an argument or a controversy.
But then again, their past strength has become potentially a powerful weakness; they've finessed and finagled for so long, and defied expectations and got through so many scrapes so many times that they're utterly immersed in their own mythology. Remember: Bill was "the comeback kid" who lost the Arkansas governorship and then got it back again, who looked gone during the Democratic primaries in 1992 and still got the nomination, who looked finished over the Gennifer Flowers and draft-dodging controversies but still won the presidency, who looked done for after the 1994 congressional election wipeout and was re-elected two years later, who lied about Monica Lewinsky and stared down the Senate over his impeachment.

With all that history, the Clintons have assumed an approach to their political activities that has been wrongly described as a sense of entitlement. A sense of entitlement could correctly be ascribed to the Bushes, who've been on the receiving end of Republican-sponsored preferment going back to at least the 1960s. When George W. Bush decided he wanted to run in the 2000 election, the Republican establishment locked in and old consiglieres from administrations going all the way back to Nixon such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld threw their weight behind him. The Clintons, on the other hand, have always been Washington outsiders. Although their determination to stay in the 2008 Democratic race is regularly viewed through a prism that sets a Bush dynasty against a Clinton dynasty, the Clintons' ambitions and motivations are less lofty. They are driven to settle old scores, to prove once and for all to the doubters and perceived enemies that they — the couple from Arkansas — will always prevail. It's significant that it was Hillary who in 1998, at the height of the Lewinsky scandal, attributed her husband's troubles to a "vast right-wing conspiracy"; it wasn't him, it was all these other people.
Ten years later, the line between reality and fantasy, between what is and what should be, has become even more blurred. The position of the Clinton campaign now is that Hillary leads Obama on the popular vote not because she does but because she and Bill can no longer accept that she does not. So on the back of her win in Pennsylvania, and with the US media now hungry for a new narrative and different dynamic in the Democratic contest — one that conforms to the "comeback kid" trope — she is arguing that because she supposedly triumphed in Florida and Michigan she has more votes than Obama. The primaries in those states were scheduled contrary to the party's rules and were declared void by national officials before they were conducted; they were such a dead rubber that in Michigan, Obama did not even put his name on the ballot paper. If the Clintons will go to these lengths, there is no reason to expect that they will withdraw from the battle with Obama any time soon — or any time at all, really.
To get a sense of the effect of the Clintons' wild-eyed refusal to accept the likelihood of defeat, consider the reversal taking place among African-Americans. The black community was always a rusted-on constituency of Bill Clinton's. Early in the contest, most blacks stuck with Hillary, believing Obama wasn't "black" enough. Now, they're solidly in Obama's camp and are appalled at the Clintons' trashing of him. The Clintons don't seem to care. They're a couple with big appetites and it's the fighting to sustain their view of themselves as indomitable that they love more than anything else.
Shaun Carney is associate editor.
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U.S. Military Contractor 'Used Armored Cars To Transport Prostitutes'

Over at Muckraked, we get news that "a panel of whistleblowers" testifying before a Senate committee yesterday dropped a dime on their employer, military contractor DynCorp (among others). The most explosive part of the testimony involved a contract manager, a misappropriated armored car, and prostitutes:
A contractor died when a DynCorp manager used an employee's armored car to transport prostitutes, according to Barry Halley, a Worldwide Network Services employee working under a DynCorp subcontract.
"DynCorp's site manager was involved in bringing prostitutes into hotels operated by DynCorp. A co-worker unrelated to the ring was killed when he was traveling in an unsecure car and shot performing a high-risk mission. I believe that my co-worker could have survived if he had been riding in an armored car. At the time, the armored car that he would otherwise have been riding in was being used by the contractor's manager to transport prostitutes from Kuwait to Baghdad."
Naturally, this will lead many to question whether its appropriate for DynCorp to be awarded with future military contracts, but the more fitting question is whether or not DynCorp should have been awarded a contract in Iraq in the first place. Because, you see, this is not the first time DynCorp employees have been implicated in running prostitution rings abroad. Let's flash back to August of 2002, and meet the DynCorp whistleblowers of yesteryear:
Two former employees of DynCorp, the government contracting powerhouse, have won legal victories after charging that the $2 billion-a-year firm fired them when they complained that co-workers were involved in a Bosnia sex-slave trade...
Because of a combination of international treaties, jurisdictional loopholes and bureaucratic confusion, employees of private military companies such as DynCorp can escape prosecution for crimes they commit overseas. Most common crimes committed outside the United States are beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, and the burgeoning local law enforcement systems in war-torn regions such as Bosnia are often insufficient or unwilling to police U.S. contractors.
Salon covered that story and its aftermath extensively throughout 2002. Among the lowlights are the predilection among DynCorp contractors for women between the ages of 12 and 15 ("My girl's not a day over 12," one brags), the ties to the Serbian mafia, and...oh yeah! The whole misprision of felony thing.

Barracks for Charlie CO 2/508 82n Airborne

Dad's video of run-down barracks sparks military response

CNN) -- The U.S. military is promising action to address conditions in a barracks at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after a soldier's father posted images on YouTube showing a building that he said "should be condemned."
"This is embarrassing. It's disgusting. It makes me mad as hell," Ed Frawley said of the building where his son, Sgt. Jeff Frawley, had to live upon his return this month from a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan.
Frawley said Monday that Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Dick Cody called him to say he shares Frawley's anger and that "there's no excuse." Cody said he would not want his own sons or any troops to return to such conditions, Frawley said.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Psychopaths always blame their victims

Twelfth Bough
I’m sure you haven’t heard on TV news that the IDF killed a Palestinian family of four small children and their mother, among others, as they were getting ready to eat breakfast. I mean, if an Israeli family was killed we’d be hearing about it non-stop; but this was just a Palestinian mother and her four little children. Just some collateral damage… The IDF is looking into the incident, but has yet to obtain a full picture of what happened. Military sources noted that a group of gunmen was spotted shortly after 8 am near Givati forces operating in the area. An aircraft fired at them and hit them, while tanks fired shells towards the area. Translation: The IDF has yet to prepare an adequate excuse for the utter disregard of Palestinian lives. They need an excuse suitable for international consumption because, though they don’t care about these people who were killed, they know that some people will whine about it causing a slight inconvenience to Israeli public relations activities. So the IDF is 'looking into the incident, but has yet to obtain a full picture of what happened’, which means they haven’t got the story down yet...
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