Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, August 23, 2008

9th US Bank Failure Of 2008

UPDATE 1-Small Kansas bank is 9th U.S. failure this year
WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Bank regulators closed Columbian Bank and Trust Company on Friday, the ninth U.S. bank to fail this year as the weakening economy and falling home prices take their toll on financial institutions.
Customers can access their money over the weekend by check, teller machine or debit card, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) said.
Citizens Bank and Trust has agreed to assume the failed bank's insured deposits. Columbian Bank and Trust's branches will reopen on Monday as branches of Citizens Bank and Trust, which is based in Chillicothe, Missouri.
The FDIC said Columbian Bank and Trust of Topeka, Kansas, had $752 million in assets, $622 million in deposits, and nine branches.
The failure is expected to cost the FDIC deposit insurance fund an estimated $60 million.
The FDIC oversees an industry-funded reserve used to insure up to $100,000 per account and $250,000 per individual retirement account at insured banks.
The biggest bank failure this year was IndyMac IDMC.PK, seized by regulators on July 11. IndyMac had $32 billion in assets and $19 billion in deposits as of March. It was the third-largest bank insolvency in U.S. history.
Columbian Bank is the first bank to fail in Kansas since Midland Bank of Kansas in Mission, Kansas, on April 2, 1993, the FDIC said. Continued...

McCain “I’ve won every Award from Veterans Groups”

John McCain HATES VETERANS – While John McCain says Veterans Groups honor and love him, the truth is they dishonor and abhor him. Here is a list of his ratings from Veterans Groups!
2006Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 20 percent in 2006.
In 2006 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Senator McCain a grade of D.Senator McCain sponsored or co-sponsored 18 percent of the legislation favored by the The Retired Enlisted Association in 2006.
2005Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 25 percent in 2005.
2004Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 50 percent in 2004.Senator McCain supported the interests of the The Retired Enlisted Association 0 percent in 2004.
2003-2004 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 100 percent in 2003-2004.
2003 Senator McCain supported the interests of the The American Legion 50 percent in 2003.
2001 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 46 percent in 2001.
1999 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 66 percent in 1999.
1997-1998 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 0 percent in 1997-1998.
1989-1990On the votes that the Vietnam Veterans of America considered to be the most important in 1989-1990 , Senator McCain voted their preferred position 50 percent of the time.
Whenever you question the GREAT JOHN MCCAIN HE PLAYS THE POW CARD. If his entire “immunity” is being a POW and he wants to use being a POW as a shield against any policy discussions then we must look at how his POW Experience shaped him.
Olby last night
Rep. Ed Markey, 08.22.2008
Bush and the Republicans have thwarted attempt after attempt by Democrats to pop the speculative oil bubble and provide relief to consumers. Each time, Republicans sided with Big Oil over the American people.

Global Warming Watch: Polar Bears Forced To Make Risky, Open-Ocean Swims

Nine Polar Bears Make Risky, Open-Ocean Swims In One Day
Nine polar bears were observed in one day swimming in open ocean off Alaska's northwest coast, an increase from previous surveys that may indicate warming conditions are forcing bears to make riskier, long-distance swims to stable sea ice or land.
The bears were spotted in the Chukchi Sea on a flight by a federal marine contractor, Science Applications International Corp.
Barack has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden are the leaders who will bring the change our country needs. But they can't do it alone.
Show your support for the Obama-Biden ticket by making a donation today.

Under Moscow's Wing

Events in Georgia have had some surprising repercussions in the Middle East, leaving Syria looking perkier than usual
By James Denselow

Israel's involvement with the Georgian military has been somewhat overlooked in light of more blatant US support, such as the airlift of some 2,000 Georgian troops from Iraq at the start of the conflict. However Misha Glenny spotted it, writing in the New Statesman that Prime Minister Putin warned President Shimon Peres to "pull out your trainers and weapons or we will escalate our co-operation with Syria and Iran" - after which Israel dutifully complied.

McCain's Neocon Warmonger

And none dare call it treason.
By Patrick J. Buchanan

Who is Randy Scheunemann? He is the principal foreign policy adviser to John McCain and potential successor to Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser to the president of the United States. But Randy Scheunemann has another identity, another role. He is a dual loyalist, a foreign agent whose assignment is to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Saakashvili Experiment

By Ramzy Baroud

The fact is that Russia will fight to break away from the pro- US ring of former Soviet states that promise to undermine its influence in a Eurasia, and the US will do its utmost to maintain a level of tension, if not hostilities in the region, for without it neither a missile shield nor the 270 billion barrels of oil in the Caspian basin can be brought within Washington's reach.

Afghanistan: 76 civilians die in airstrike, ministry claims

Sharafuddin Sharafyar, Reuters in Herat
The Guardian,
Friday August 22 2008
US-led coalition forces killed 76 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan today, most of them children, the country's Interior Ministry said.
The coalition denied killing civilians. Civilian deaths in military operations have become an emotive issue among Afghans, many of whom feel international forces take too little care when launching air strikes, undermining support for their presence.
"Seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred today in a coalition forces operation in Herat province," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Coalition forces bombarded the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province this afternoon, the ministry said. Nineteen of the victims were women, seven of them men and the rest children under the age of 15, it said.
US-led coalition forces denied killing any civilians. They said 30 militants had been killed in an air strike in Shindand district in the early hours of this morning and no further air strikes had been launched in the area later in the day.

Exclusive Premiere: An Anthem For Change

Earlier this year when I was recording "American Prayer," a song I originally co-wrote with Bono, the phrase, "When you get to the top of the mountain, remember me" seemed to take on a whole new resonance, given the inspirational candidacy of Barack Obama.
The song always contained one of my favorite passages from Dr. King, which was hauntingly delivered the night before he was assassinated. King says: "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!"
People long for a connection -- whether it is to music, to their country, or to a big idea. Regardless of what happens in November, Senator Obama has reminded millions of people that they have the power to connect to bigger ideas. He is, in essence, the embodiment of a new anthem for change. He has continued King's narrative from what was once thought of as a dream to a reality. I find it especially relevant that Barack Obama will accept the Democratic Party Nomination for President 45 years to the day of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

American Prayer - Dave Stewart (Barack Obama Music Video)


Pundits And Writers Start Hitting McCain For Non-Stop P.O.W. References

By Greg Sargent - August 22, 2008, 10:55AM
As all you regulars know, the McCain camp's constant evocation of his P.O.W. past as an all-purpose shield against any and all criticism is a singular obsession of this blog.
So it's gratifying to see that pundits and writers at the news orgs are really starting to turn the screws on McCain over this.
Newsweek's Howard Fineman, for instance, says that the McCain camp is in danger of "trivializing" McCain's sacrifice.
"I think they are going to it way too many times," Fineman told MSNBC, adding that "you can't help but have admiration and respect for the guy" but that "it's become a crutch in the campaign."
"I think he is in danger of trivializing it," Fineman continued. "By the time they get to the convention in St. Paul, there might not be much of it left to use."
Ouch. Time magazine's Ana Marie Cox was even harsher, writing that the constant P.O.W.-past spewing is "weird" and "bordering on irrational."
"It's a head-spinning non sequitur, designed to distract us from something mildly troubling with the assertion of something impressive," Cox wrote of the McCain team's use of the P.O.W. stuff to deflect criticism of the houses gaffe.
"It does seem like they're flirting with Giuliani/9-11 territory here," opined Politico's Ben Smith, "in which a subject that seems utterly immune to humor, used as a first resort, suddenly becomes a running joke among your political enemies and your late night comic friends."
Another way to put this is that if you print too much currency, it devalues it. The McCain campaign is cranking out all these bills with a little "McCain as P.O.W." logo on it and is trying to use them to buy their way out of every controversy that comes along. Pretty soon the McCain team's money won't be good anywhere.

There is now no doubt that John McCain will be the Republican candidate for President of the United States. For years, McCain has coasted on his reputation as a war hero and a “maverick Republican”, the kind of Republican that even decent people could vote for. Now that he’s in the running for the most important job in the world, however, it’s important to look a little more critically at his past.
Most of the major media outlets find it impossible to publish a story about McCain which doesn’t include the phrase “war hero” in it somewhere. If you know anything about John McCain, it’s that he’s a war hero. But is he?
McCain’s reputation as a war hero rests on the sum total of 20 hours in combat. That’s right. McCain spent only 20 hours in combat in the entire war. He flew 23 missions. He got 28 medals. In other words, he got more medals than he had missions. Not bad. It should be noted that none of McCain’s medals related to anything he did in combat. They were given for the supposed bravery he displayed after he had been shot down and captured.
It’s appropriate to ask whether McCain’s shoot-down was caused by bad luck or simple incompetence on his part. Of course, there is no way to answer definitively. But we can form an assessment based on the rest of McCain’s military record. At the Naval Academy, McCain graduated almost bottom of his class. He was 790th out of 795. McCain lost many aircraft over the course of his military career – five in total. Most pilots who lost aircraft at the rate McCain did would have been kicked out of the service. But McCain had protection from up on high. His father was an admiral. He was an untouchable. So McCain blundered his way through his military career until he was finally shot down.
McCain claims that he was tortured while in custody. There were no other American witnesses to this torture and some former POWs doubt that it happened at all. In fact, McCain himself admitted in a 1973 interview with the magazine US News and World Report that he volunteered to give military information in return for medical treatment, even before being subjected to any torture.
There are two ways to look at the torture claims. Either McCain is lying about it – in which case he’s unfit to be president; or he’s telling the truth – in which case he’s unfit to be president. Why? Because torture is one of those experiences, like being abused as a child, which inflicts permanent psychological damage.
Many of America’s veterans from the Korean and Vietnamese wars suffered lingering psychological trauma from their wartime experience. The rate is even higher among former prisoners of war (POWs). One study found that 85% of POWs who had been tortured experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Was McCain one of the 85% or was he one of the lucky 15%?
There is every reason to suspect that McCain suffered deep-seated psychological trauma while a prisoner of war. He himself says that he was “reduced to an animal” and “broken”. He signed confessions – “I am a black criminal and have performed the deeds of an air pirate” - and made broadcasts denouncing his own country and its actions in the war. In fact, so great was his propensity to tell his captors what they wanted to hear, that, in the camp, McCain acquired the name of “Songbird”.
Bear in mind that McCain’s medals were awarded for resisting torture. Yet where was the resistance? Perhaps it is this gulf between the perception and the reality of John McCain that explains why so many Vietnam veterans’ groups openly despise him.
However much pity we might feel for a prisoner of war subjected to such intense pressures, the record is clear : McCain was no war hero. He was, rather, a coward, an incompetent, a collaborator and a traitor. >>>cont
John McCain (SongBird McCain) Traitor!


McCain's 8-11 Houses vs Moving in, Moving Out, Foreclosed, For Sale Americans...

Why do people care about how many houses McCain owns or rents out?
Republicans would like to say it's a lot of hoopla over nothing--much ado about nothing. However, McCain's houses are important for a number of reasons.
The first clear reason is that he tried to hide the fact that he's a multi-millionaire who has a lot of homes! If he's trying to hide something so easily researched, it's pretty easy to see and understand that a McCain Presidency will look like Bush's policy with more hidden agendas and hidden laws. For McCain a new house--a White House-- shrouded in secrecy.
Of course, that may be much more clear to people who aren't working 80 hour days then going online to get real news instead of fake corporate news.
But the clearest reason this matters to people hits much closer to home. People are losing their jobs, their home, and their health, and yes...even their pets because they have been abused by the corporations and the people in power for the last eight years.
Of course, Monkey stated it perfectly a year or two ago, being the prescient kind of monkey he is--and restated it again this morning.
He said:
...there will be "pillaging" by this administration in it's final year, that oil prices would skyrocket and then somehow, as if by a magic wand, they will come down in the months before the election to show "results" of "action" taken by the encumbent party presidon't....
I further soothsayethed that Iraq will somehow, as if by a magic wand, be neatly packaged and major announcements would take place, just before the election, that our troops would be coming home and victory is ours, to show "results" of "action" taken by the encumbent party presidon't to those who don't remember what they had for breakfast....
It seems to be unfolding that way to me, and if I've learned anything this 8 most miserable years, it's that these things don't happen by accident.
Even though gas prices came down 50 cents from a month ago, people have been unable to eat, barely able to drive to work or to drive around to apply for a job. They get it!!! They understand the extra $500 dollars per month may have cost them their home. They understand that Ramon Pride may temporarily help you keep your home, but it's got enough poisons in it to create an avalanche of health issues later. (Besides, they get that Ramon Pride is suppose to be a college staple, not a family staple!)
This is why McCain's houses matter.
McCain's campaign is already trying to spin it that Gore, Kerry, and Edwards all have big home(s), too. However, in a one to one contest of what policies Gore, or Kerry, or Edwards have fought for to help the poor, the middle-class (and not the 4 million middle-class), the elderly, and the Veterans or Military families, McCain would lose big time!
He's simply a rich, selfish man who is trying to enable his compatriots to get richer and buy more homes just like him. In fact, the image that is most 'deadly' for McCain is probably a new commercial or a Youtube viral video...The foreclosure sign on the door and the family booted out, while McCain and his ilk buy the house at the auction.
Katrina, mortgage foreclosure, George Bush & John McCain redux.

Two rich, spoiled, selfish guys who don't give a shit about 98% of Americans.
The houses shine the light on McCain's projection and his deception. While they may not understand McCain's part of the Keating 5, and they may not understand McCain's cover-up of Abramhoff's crimes, I guarantee 11 houses to their 1/2 house...well...they get that!
By sparrow on August 22, 2008 11:27 AM

Where was I on August 29, 2005

I was here posting, the horror of what Georgie and his gang of thugs allowed to happen in New Orleans

Anyone who has forgotten the events of Katrina, here is a stark reminder of what the world saw on August 29th 2005
Mark Tran and agencies, The Guardian UK: "Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, today played down reports of an agreement between America and Iraq on a withdrawal date for US combat troops as she made an unannounced visit to Baghdad.... US officials say more fine-tuning is needed on a schedule for American troop withdrawals, immunity from prosecution for US forces and the handling of Iraqi prisoners. Iraqi officials, who are keen to nail down an agreement on US troop withdrawals, say the agreement is nearly done."
Jack Cafferty, CNN: "Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation. His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans. Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California. I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn't bother to show up. Now I know why. It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president."

No wonder they’re now effectively saying “drop dead” to the likes of Lehman Brothers

Re: Koreans say assets at leh way too risky

22-Aug-08 12:16 am

The Financial Times has just reported that Chinese and Korean investors have flatly rejected pleas from Lehman Brothers for bail-out funds.

Lehman’s third-quarter losses will be a staggering $4 billion — 700% worse than prior estimates — according to Citigroup’s latest review.

Lehman is desperately seeking buyers to the last profitable asset it owns, Neuberger.

Lehman, which is 1.6 times larger than Bear Stearns was when it failed, may be too big to save. And even if it is saved by the government, its shares will probably be worth close to zero.

If you think the Bear Stearns failure was a disaster, better hold onto your hat ...

Lehman Brothers is 60% larger, and this time around it looks like there might not be a sugar daddy to buy out the besieged company. If that’s the case, its shares could soon be worth close to ZERO!

In June, Lehman, America’s fourth-largest investment bank, posted its first quarterly loss ever: A staggering $2.8 billion in just three months.

Now, just yesterday, Citigroup raised its third-quarter loss estimates for Lehman nearly 700% to a staggering $4 billion!

The clincher: According to this morning’s Financial Times, Lehman is fast becoming the pariah — the leper of the financial world. The super-rich Korea Development Bank and a leading brokerage firm in China both rebuffed Lehman’s pleas to buy up to 50% of its shares.

This year and last, wealthy foreign investors and sovereign wealth funds — in China, Singapore and Dubai — have repeatedly come to the rescue of U.S. banks and brokers in trouble, including giants like Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and Lehman Brothers itself.

Each time, these giant foreign investors thought they were getting a bargain. And each time they forked over billions. But now look: Every one of those so-called “bargains” has turned to dust, delivering nothing but massive losses to the sovereign funds.

No wonder they’re now effectively saying “drop dead” to the likes of Lehman Brothers!

Key U.S. Iraq strategy in danger of collapse

Leila Fadel McClatchy Newspapers
A key pillar of the U.S. strategy to pacify Iraq is in danger of collapsing because the Iraqi government is failing to absorb tens of thousands of former Sunni Muslim insurgents who'd joined U.S.-allied militia groups into the country's security forces. American officials have credited the militias, known as the Sons of Iraq or Awakening councils, with undercutting support for the group al Qaida in Iraq and bringing peace to large swaths of the country, including Anbar province and parts of Baghdad. Under the program, the United States pays each militia member a stipend of about $300 a month and promised that they'd get jobs with the Iraqi government... continua / continued

Thursday, August 21, 2008

BRITS COLLUDED to have man tortured, shipped to Guantanamo, rules judge.

British security services colluded in unlawful detention of terror suspect, court rules

James Sturcke
Thursday August 21 2008 17:50 BST
British security services colluded in the unlawful detention and facilitated the interrogation of a UK resident detained in Pakistan six years ago, the high court ruled today.
Two judges found that the foreign secretary had a duty to hand over to Binyam Mohamed's legal team secret information that could support his case that he was tortured in Pakistan and Morocco before being sent to Guantánamo Bay.
Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones found that the British security service "facilitated interviews by or on behalf of the United States incommunicado and without access to a lawyer in Pakistan" (pdf) in 2002.
The detention was unlawful under Pakistani law, the judges said.
Mohamed, a 30-year-old Ethiopian national who worked as a caretaker in London, was charged by the US with terror offences in May and could face the death penalty if found guilty by a military tribunal.
The judges found the handing over of information held by the British government about the alleged torture Mohamed suffered was "essential for him to have his case fairly considered".
"Without that information, BM [Mohamed] will not be able to put forward a defence to the very serious charges he faces, given the confessions made by him in Bagram and Guantánamo Bay in 2004," the judges ruled.

The REAL McCain

I Promise To Tell The Truth Always

August 21, 2008: The Day John McCain's Campaign Died

Is today the day that McCain's campaign dies? It should be. Let's see if it is.
No, unfortunately, I don't think that John McCain's campaign is really over. But there has been an amazing confluence of events in the last 24 hours that have undermined every key basis of McCain's campaign, so much so that it is hard to see how anyone who is not an extreme right-wing Republican could even consider voting for him. If McCain survives the last 24 hours, I'm not sure what it will take to stop him. You start to wonder if he could drop his pants in the middle of a town hall and still suffer no consequences.
Just think, in the last 24 hours:
IraqMcCain has made Iraq and national security the center of his campaign. He has unabashedly flouted his support of the war in Iraq, and he has repeatedly suggested that Barack Obama does not have the judgment necessary to be president because, among other things, he supports timetables for the withdrawal of American troops from the country. He has accused Obama of trying to "legislate" defeat.
Well, first, in July, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq was necessary, seriously undermining the whole Bush-McCain strategy for staying in Iraq. McCain brushed off Maliki's remarks as the Iraqi prime minister just playing politics, not expressing his true beliefs.
But now McCain's biggest nightmare has come true. Today we find out that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice appeared with the Iraqi foreign minister to announce that the two countries have agreed that a timetable should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
McCain now stands alone. After all his criticisms of Obama's judgment on this issue, the Iraqis and even the Bush administration have now been forced to concede that a timetable for withdrawal is necessary (essentially adopting Obama's long-held position). McCain's criticisms have blown up in his face. Anyone paying attention would have to laugh off his claims now that his judgment on Iraq is superior to Obama's (especially considering that Obama opposed the war, while McCain told Americans it would be an easy victory, we would be greeted as liberators, and we would only be faced with a short engagement).

Throughout the campaign, Obama has hammered home the point that the real war on terror is based in Afghanistan, and that more troops were needed there to secure the country. In July, McCain mocked Obama's position, calling him naive and premature. Again, McCain used Obama's plan as an example of his lack of judgment.

How Many Houses?
Yesterday, McCain had his windsurfing moment. When asked how many houses he and his wife owned, McCain said he didn't know and would have to check with his staffers. After the McCain campaign said the answer was at least four, Obama later happily pointed out that, in fact, the McCains had seven homes.

The Draft
Yesterday, a woman in a town hall meeting in New Mexico, after a long list of thoughts, said that she didn't see a way to go after Osama bin Laden without reinstating the draft. McCain responded by saying, "I don't disagree with anything you said." (Watch for yourself here.)
Clearly, such a policy would not be popular with a huge percentage of young people and parents. Maybe McCain really is in favor of bringing back the draft, and maybe he is not. If he's called on it, I'm sure he'll try to dodge the issue and deny that he even said it (after all, he never suffers consequences for his lies, so why should he stop?).>>>cont

Senator McCain Would Forget His Head If It Wasn't Attached

Bob Cesca:
Ask any homeowner how many houses they own and they'll probably answer correctly -- or, if they're crazy rich, they'll at least answer within the margin of error (+/- one house). Ask Sen. Obama and he'll probably answer correctly (one). Yet Sen. McCain simply couldn't remember. McCain is showing the signs of being too old for the gig, and his recent history of forgetting things (whether simple details like the number of houses he owns, or more complicated facts like Sunni vs. Shia) ought to be the source of some serious panic inside the Republican loop.

McCain-controlled GOP committees delay finance reports

Source: LA Times
John McCain, author of much of the federal campaign finance law that requires disclosure of donors, apparently is not insisting on timely transparency by some committees he's raising money through.

Like Democratic rival Barack Obama, McCain files monthly campaign finance reports detailing the sums he's raised for his presidential run, as the law requires. His latest report says he collected $27 million in July.

But McCain is legally raising millions more in separate accounts overseen by the Republican National Committee and Republican state parties. In July, he probably raised $5.6 million in those accounts, as the Washington Post noted.

An RNC spokesman said the requirement of monthly reports had become burdensome, given the large sums raised. The Republican National Committee filed a monthly report showing it raised $25.8 million in July.

An RNC spokesman said the requirement of monthly reports had become burdensome, given the large sums raised. The Republican National Committee filed a monthly report showing it raised $25.8 million in July.

Company acknowledges Ohio voting machine error

COLUMBUS — The maker of the most widely used touch-screen voting machine in Ohio has acknowledged the machines have a programming error that led to votes being dropped in the March primary.
Premier Election Solutions Inc. notified Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (BROO'-nur) in a letter this week.


Who's The Elitist
The McCain Residences: A Google Earth Tour

"Seven" - TV Ad

McCain's Mansions

One of the clumsy arguments that the McCain camp tried to make today in hopes of slowing down the media freight train over not knowing how many homes he and his wife, Cindy, own was that Barack Obama (D) is also a rich guy who lives in a mansion himself, just like McCain. I believe the term they used was "a frickin' mansion."
Well, there's just one problem with that argument. These guys aren't even in the same class.
Earlier this year, the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation did an analysis of the net worth of each of the 535 members of Congress based on their personal financial disclosure.
Guess which one is worth about $36 million and which one is worth $799,000?

According to my trusty calculator, that means McCain's net worth is more than 45 times greater than Obama's.
So much for that argument...

Norway: Russia to freeze NATO military ties

NATO had suspended formal contacts with Russia Tuesday
OSLO, Norway - Norway's Defense Ministry said Russia has informed it that it plans to cut all military ties with NATO.
Ministry spokeswoman Heidi Langvik-Hansen said the country's embassy received a telephone call from Russia's Defense Ministry on Wednesday, saying Moscow plans "to freeze all military cooperation with NATO and allied countries."

Does John McCain have a "hidden agenda" to "kill the UN"?

Johann Hari, 08.20.2008
McCain has decided to build up an innocuous-sounding alternative called a 'League of Democracies -- an alliance of countries the US labels democratic that can be used to legitimate US military actions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

U.S. National Debt

I.O.U.S.A. Movie Trailer

"Quick Draw John."

"I'm sure he [McCain] loves his country. It's just that loving your country and lying to the American people are apparently not inconsistent in his view."

Can You Imagine Another Years Of This Bunch Of Thugs?

The Lesser of Two "EVILS" is Still "EVIL"

Truth Be Told

POW/MIA Families Alleged McCain Assault: Senate Ethics Committee Failed to Investigate read more . . .

The Measure of The Man:

Why John McCain doesn’t measure up: Anyone who has had an adversarial relationship with John McCain will tell you that there are few with less self-control than the senator from Arizona read more ….

Politicizing the Congressional Medal of Honor

- Col. Bud Day, his Medal of Honor and the McCain campaign's abuse of our nation's highest award for valor. read more . . .

Vietnamese tell international press that POW McCain was "singled out for softer treatment"

A former Vietnamese Communist Party official is claiming Sen. John McCain was "quickly singled out for softer treatment" as a POW because "he was the son of an American admiral. Phung Van Chung, 70, who was a Communist Party official at the time McCain was captured said "top" Vietnamese leaders wanted to use McCain "for negotiations." Chung also said McCain is refusing "to acknowledge" the heroism of Mai Van On, a Vietnamese peasant who the Vietnamese say swam out during the bombing raid and rescued McCain from drowning. McCain's refusal to publicly recognize Mai Van On for saving "his life" has some in the media speculating that McCain is afraid that to do so would "fuel other, more damaging allegations that McCain exaggerated elements of his PoW ordeal in Hoa Lo prison. Click here for the full story . .
kirkmuse said::
View all the videos, especially the 1992 Senate hearings.


WASHINGTON — Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate in 2000 and now an independent who is one of John McCain's strongest supporters, will speak at the Republican National Convention, an official said.
Lieberman will deliver a speech when Republicans gather in St. Paul, Minn., to nominate McCain for president, a party official told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The official requested anonymity because a formal announcement had yet to be made.
Asked during a visit to Georgia whether he would be speaking at the convention, Lieberman smiled and said: "it's quite possible, but I'll let them announce it."
Lieberman, 66, caucuses with Senate Democrats, though has been a strong supporter of the Iraq war and is a staunch backer of McCain's presidential bid, traveling often with the Arizona senator and campaigning on his behalf during the GOP primary in states like Florida that have large numbers of Jewish voters.
As he weighs potential running mates, McCain is believed to be seriously considering choosing Lieberman, whom he counts among his closest friends, for the GOP ticket. Lieberman's convention speaking slot doesn't indicate either way whether McCain ultimately will choose his friend for the No. 2 slot.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The McCain campaign seems to think that getting a free ride from the media is its birthright.

It's called the dumbing down of America, Faux News at it's best.
Mitchell Bard, 08.19.2008
If Britney or Paris were to claim they were virgins, the media and public would go into apoplexy, but McCain can be equally dishonest about important policy issues, and virtually nobody says a word.

Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain

Phillip Butler March 27, 2008
As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States.
When I was a Plebe (4th classman, or freshman) at the Naval Academy in 1957-58, I was assigned to the 17th Company for my four years there. In those days we had about 3,600 midshipmen spread among 24 companies, thus about 150 midshipmen to a company. As fortune would have it, John, a First Classman (senior) and his room mate lived directly across the hall from me and my two room mates. Believe me when I say that back then I would never in a million or more years have dreamed that the crazy guy across the hall would someday be a Senator and candidate for President!
John was a wild man. He was funny, with a quick wit and he was intelligent. But he was intent on breaking every USNA regulation in our 4 inch thick USNA Regulations book. And I believe he must have come as close to his goal as any midshipman who ever attended the Academy. John had me "coming around" to his room frequently during my plebe year. And on one occasion he took me with him to escape "over the wall" in the dead of night. He had a taxi cab waiting for us that took us to a bar some 7 miles away. John had a few beers, but forbid me to drink (watching out for me I guess) and made me drink cokes. I could tell many other midshipman stories about John that year and he unbelievably managed to graduate though he spent the majority of his first class year on restriction for the stuff he did get caught doing. In fact he barely managed to graduate, standing 5th from the bottom of his 800 man graduating class. I and many others have speculated that the main reason he did graduate was because his father was an Admiral, and also his grandfather, both U.S. Naval Academy graduates.
People often ask if I was a Prisoner of War with John McCain. My answer is always "No - John McCain was a POW with me." The reason is I was there for 8 years and John got there 2 ½ years later, so he was a POW for 5 ½ years. And we have our own seniority system, based on time as a POW.
John's treatment as a POW:
1) Was he tortured for 5 years? No. He was subjected to torture and maltreatment during his first 2 years, from September of 1967 to September of 1969. After September of 1969 the Vietnamese stopped the torture and gave us increased food and rudimentary health care. Several hundred of us were captured much earlier. I got there April 20, 1965 so my bad treatment period lasted 4 1/2 years. President Ho Chi Minh died on September 9, 1969, and the new regime that replaced him and his policies was more pragmatic. They realized we were worth a lot as bargaining chips if we were alive. And they were right because eventually Americans gave up on the war and agreed to trade our POW's for their country. A damn good trade in my opinion! But my point here is that John allows the media to make him out to be THE hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals.
2) John was badly injured when he was shot down. Both arms were broken and he had other wounds from his ejection. Unfortunately this was often the case - new POW's arriving with broken bones and serious combat injuries. Many died from their wounds. Medical care was non-existent to rudimentary. Relief from pain was almost never given and often the wounds were used as an available way to torture the POW. Because John's father was the Naval Commander in the Pacific theater, he was exploited with TV interviews while wounded. These film clips have now been widely seen. But it must be known that many POW's suffered similarly, not just John. And many were similarly exploited for political propaganda.
3) John was offered, and refused, "early release." Many of us were given this offer. It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to "admit" that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was "lenient and humane." So I, like numerous others, refused the offer. This was obviously something none of us could accept. Besides, we were bound by our service regulations, Geneva Conventions and loyalties to refuse early release until all the POW's were released, with the sick and wounded going first.
4) John was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for heroism and wounds in combat. This heroism has been played up in the press and in his various political campaigns. But it should be known that there were approximately 600 military POW's in Vietnam. Among all of us, decorations awarded have recently been totaled to the following: Medals of Honor - 8, Service Crosses - 42, Silver Stars - 590, Bronze Stars - 958 and Purple Hearts - 1,249. John certainly performed courageously and well. But it must be remembered that he was one hero among many - not uniquely so as his campaigns would have people believe.
John McCain served his time as a POW with great courage, loyalty and tenacity. More that 600 of us did the same. After our repatriation a census showed that 95% of us had been tortured at least once. The Vietnamese were quite democratic about it. There were many heroes in North Vietnam. I saw heroism every day there. And we motivated each other to endure and succeed far beyond what any of us thought we had in ourselves. Succeeding as a POW is a group sport, not an individual one. We all supported and encouraged each other to survive and succeed. John knows that. He was not an individual POW hero. He was a POW who surmounted the odds with the help of many comrades, as all of us did.
I furthermore believe that having been a POW is no special qualification for being President of the United States. The two jobs are not the same, and POW experience is not, in my opinion, something I would look for in a presidential candidate.
Most of us who survived that experience are now in our late 60's and 70's. Sadly, we have died and are dying off at a greater rate than our non-POW contemporaries. We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.
I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.
It is also disappointing to see him take on and support Bush's war in Iraq, even stating we might be there for another 100 years. For me John represents the entrenched and bankrupt policies of Washington-as-usual. The past 7 years have proven to be disastrous for our country. And I believe John's views on war, foreign policy, economics, environment, health care, education, national infrastructure and other important areas are much the same as those of the Bush administration.
I'm disappointed to see John represent himself politically in ways that are not accurate. He is not a moderate Republican. On some issues he is a maverick. But his voting record is far to the right. I fear for his nominations to our Supreme Court, and the consequent continuing loss of individual freedoms, especially regarding moral and religious issues. John is not a religious person, but he has taken every opportunity to ally himself with some really obnoxious and crazy fundamentalist ministers lately. I was also disappointed to see him cozy up to Bush because I know he hates that man. He disingenuously and famously put his arm around the guy, even after Bush had intensely disrespected him with lies and slander. So on these and many other instances, I don't see that John is the "straight talk express" he...
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About Phillip ButlerDoctor Phillip Butler is a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack carrier pilot. In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent eight years as a prisoner of war. He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals.
After his repatriation in 1973 he earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at San Diego and became a Navy Organizational Effectiveness consultant. He completed his Navy career in 1981 as a professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is now a peace and justice activist with Veterans for Peace.

Putin: 10. Bush: 0.

WASHINGTON DC - Russia's Vladimir Putin swiftly and decisively checkmated the Bush administration's clumsy attempt last week to expand US influence into the Caucasus. The score in this latest round of the Great Game - Putin: 10. Bush: 0.
Saakashvili's 'coup de main' was a disaster. Russia's 58th Army responded by routing Georgian forces and delivering a humiliating strategic and psychological blow to the Bush administration. In fact, Saakashvili fell right into Moscow's trap.

"Country First,"

Vilsack: McCain Puts Oil First, Not Country
"We have been talking about our energy problems for 30 years," he concluded. "And John McCain has been in Washington for 26 years. It is now time for someone, Sen. Obama, to put the interest of the country ahead of oil."

DOJ Tries To Protect Bush Aides

The Justice Department filed papers in court late Monday asking a federal judge to temporarily set aside his own order directing White House officials to testify before Congress about the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.
The filing was in response to a July 31 opinion by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates that the Bush administration's claims of executive privilege in refusing to allow White House officials to testify about the firings was "unprecedented" and "entirely unsupported by existing case law."
The Bush administration action indicates that despite recent correspondence to Congress suggesting otherwise, it is still strongly resisting subpoenas of White House officials to testify about the politically sensitive issue of the firings of the U.S. attorneys.
In his decision, Bates said he doubted that if the White House or administration appealed his decision, they would have an even remote possibility of prevailing:

Taliban Raid American Base, Kill French Troops

SUROBI, Afghanistan — Insurgents ambushed a group of elite French soldiers as they climbed a mountain pass, killing 10 troops in a militant stronghold outside the capital. In a separate coordinated attack, a team of suicide bombers tried unsuccessfully to storm a U.S. base near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
French paratroopers and a Foreign Legion soldier were among the dead Monday _ the biggest single combat loss for international forces in Afghanistan in more than three years.
The group was on a reconnaissance mission in the Surobi district, about 30 miles east of the Afghan capital, when they were ambushed Monday afternoon, officials said Tuesday. NATO sent backup and said a "large number" of the attackers were killed in the hourslong gunbattle.

Large U.S. Bank Collapse Seen Ahead

By Jan Dahinten
The worst of the global financial crisis is yet to come and a large U.S. bank will fail in the next few months as the world's biggest economy hits further troubles, former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff said on Tuesday.

What Were They Smoking in the White House?

By Eric Margolis
The Bush administration appears to have pulled off its latest military fiasco in the Caucasus. What was supposed to have been a swift and painless takeover of rebellious South Ossetia by America's favorite new ally, Georgia, has turned into a disaster that left Georgia battered, Russia enraged, and NATO badly demoralized. Not bad for two days work.

McCain: Senator, Grow Up!

"Though victory in Iraq is finally in sight," you told the V-F-W today, Senator McCain, "a great deal still depends on the decisions and good judgment of the next president. The hard-won gains of our troops hang in the balance. The lasting advantage of a peaceful and democratic ally in the heart of the Middle East could still be squandered by hasty withdrawal and arbitrary timelines. And this is one of many problems in the shifting positions of my opponent, Senator Obama."
The shifting positions of Senator Obama?
Senator McCain - on the 22nd of May, 2003 ... you said, of Iraq, on the Senate floor, quote:
"We won a massive victory in a few weeks, and we did so with very limited loss of American and allied lives. We were able to end aggression with minimum overall loss of life, and we were even able to greatly reduce the civilian casualties of Afghani and Iraqi citizens.
Senator - you declared victory in Iraq, five years and nearly three months ago.
Today you say: "victory in Iraq is finally in sight"?
The victory you already proclaimed five years ago?
Are we going back in time Sir?

Liar, Liar Just call him what he is a liar!!!!! Man Of Faith, He's just another Republican Whore

The World is not looking for more Liars in the White House, The world has suffered White House lies for the last 8 years. Is there no integrity left in American Politics today?
John McCain Saddleback Presidential Forum pt.1

Rick Warren admits McCain was late for Forum and then says we’re attacking the Secret Service
Why did Rick Warren lie to his audience and say McCain was in a cone of silence when he knew he clearly wasn’t even at the event? I didn’t know he was a stand up comedian. Did anybody understand the Maxwell Smart reference? This was a very visible and highly important forum during this presidential campaign and for him to now say the cone reference was a joke just doesn’t fly. And when is it the job of the Secret Service to make sure John McCain wasn’t getting any tips about Obama’s appearance during Warren’s forum? I’m confused. Aren’t they supposed to be protecting his life? Warren says we’re attacking their credibility. Huh?
Download Play Download Play (h/t Heather)
It goes to the issue of credibility. Why should we believe Warren now if he lied earlier? Why wasn’t McCain on time? Does the Secret Service have an answer for that? Did Warren even ask McCain that? I don’t really care if he told the candidates a few questions that he might ask if he was fair to both of them, but his integrity is in question now because of his attitude over McCain. The way it’s worked out—Obama should have passed on this event.

Vietnam Veterans Against McCain

His father John S. "Junior" McCain was commander of U.S. forces in Europe later becoming commander of American forces in Vietnam while McCain III was being ...

The Candidate We Still Don't Know

Frank Rich, The New York Times: "What is widely known is the skin-deep, out-of-date McCain image. As this fairy tale has it, the hero who survived the Hanoi Hilton has stood up as rebelliously in Washington as he did to his Vietnamese captors. He strenuously opposed the execution of the Iraq war; he slammed the president's response to Katrina; he fought the 'agents of intolerance' of the religious right; he crusaded against the GOP House leader Tom DeLay, the criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff and their coterie of influence-peddlers. With the exception of McCain's imprisonment in Vietnam, every aspect of this profile in courage is inaccurate or defunct."

Monday, August 18, 2008

We Are The Change That We Seek, Change The World Can Believe In God Willing

Big Ideas Of The Republican Party. Do You Have An Oppinion John McCain

MASHUP: Even McCain Surrogates Can't Defend McCain

McCain's Mansions: The Houses That Greed Built

"ELITIST", Who The Hell Is The Elitist?
Wake Up America
Most working families today do not have homes that have anywhere near 10 rooms. John McCain has 10 houses. Many working people in America have to work two and three jobs to provide for their families and pay their car loans. John McCain hops on a private jet. Is it any wonder why McCain champions a George Bush agenda of cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, helping oil companies turn record profits, and leaving working families to fend for themselves? McCain's velvet world leaves him utterly unprepared to make the tough choices we need to restore the middle class and ensure that everyone in America has quality, affordable health insurance.
-Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)John McCain is soaring to new heights of hypocrisy on his wife's personal jet. He flies around the country bent on duping the public into believing he's "one of them," a regular guy who can empathize with Americans facing an overwhelming economic crush. What's more, he disparages those who oppose his ridiculous policy proposals as "elitist." But who's the real elitist?
The REAL McCain is a multimillionaire who owns ten luxurious homes. The REAL McCain backs President Bush's tax cuts for big corporations. The REAL McCain empathizes only with the interests of our nation's wealthy minority, not its money-strapped majority. But far too many are buying into McCain's deceit because the corporate press won't present the whole picture, so we created this video to educate the public about the REAL McCain.

McCain's Mansions

Inside Edition shows McCain's former swanky estate

"ELITIST", Who The Hell Is The Elitist?

Wake Up America


Who The Hell Is Ready To Lead, On Day One? Obama I Would Say From An Outsider Looking IN

It's His Party
Barack Obama might be running on a post-partisan platform, but he is more focused on building the Democratic Party than any other candidate in recent history.
Dana Goldstein and Ezra Klein August 18, 2008
An unassuming building at 430 South Capitol Street, in a forlorn corner between the Capitol and a highway overpass, is the home address of the Democratic Party. But though mail still gets delivered to the Washington, D.C., address, many of the Democratic National Committee's employees--the men and women who make up the party's central infrastructure--are no longer around to receive it. They are in Chicago, where Barack Obama moved them after he captured the Democratic Party's nomination.
It was a peculiar decision for Obama, who had built his campaign, and even his political identity, around an eloquently stated, post-partisan revulsion with the divisiveness of modern party politics. Following the strategy of "outsider" candidates before him, Obama set his headquarters outside the District in order to create distance, both physical and perceptual, between himself and the consultants, interest groups, party hacks, and congressional busybodies who populate the nation's capital.
The effort was so successful that some feared the Obama phenomenon--the millions of young people passionate about his campaign, the thousands who have lined roadsides just to wave at the Illinois senator's motorcade--had become a force unto itself, indifferent to the fortunes of the traditional Democratic Party, unbound by a commitment to progressive ideology, and wholly dependent on the character of Barack Obama. As blogger Matt Stoller writes on OpenLeft.com, "Power and money in the Democratic Party is being centralized around a key iconic figure. [Obama] is consolidating power within the party."
This was a new critique of Obama: not that he was beyond parties but that he had personalized them. That rather than building the Democratic Party, he was building an Obama Party, with all the good and bad that that centralization entailed. Though some were nervous when Obama sent the moving trucks to South Capitol Street, further tightening his hold over the party apparatus, the relocation neatly fit the broader, and rather unexpected, reality of this campaign: For all the talk of post-partisan "unity," Barack Obama has been proving himself the most party-focused presidential candidate in recent history--possibly ever. Paradoxically, although Obama's success has been more dependent on personal charisma than any recent nominee's has, he's been leveraging that charisma to build a broader Democratic infrastructure less dependent on the presidential nominee.
This should be no surprise. Though Obama himself is a newcomer to Washington, the upper echelons of his Senate and campaign staff are populated almost exclusively by experienced Democratic Party operatives. Continuity with the established party infrastructure is a defining characteristic of the Obama campaign. When Hillary Clinton conceded the nomination, Obama's first major staff change was not the incorporation of a former Clinton operative meant to heal the divisions of the primary, nor the elevation of a national-security graybeard meant to reassure general-election voters of Obama's commander-in-chief credentials. Rather, it was to install Paul Tewes, the skilled organizer who served as the architect of Obama's crucial victory in Iowa, at the DNC to head up the committee's election-year efforts. A few weeks later, it was announced that the DNC would cease accepting contributions from lobbyists or political action committees.
Then it came out that much of the DNC was moving to Chicago. In the months that have followed, the Obama campaign has announced plans for training camps that will turn out thousands of new organizers dedicated to electing Democrats, and has signaled that it will spend millions in blood-red states where Democrats haven't seriously invested in building party infrastructure for decades. The campaign has constructed a fundraising machine based around small-donors that promises to end the age-old competition for dollars between different wings of the Democratic establishment, enabling the creation of a unified electoral strategy. It has argued that "real change" requires the sort of legislative successes that only a strong congressional party can produce. In short, the candidate running on his exhaustion with traditional party politics has directed his campaign to build a new kind of Democratic Party--one that may put to shame anything that came before it.
The aftermath of the 2002 elections was a low point for the Democratic Party. Much of the blame fell on the shoulders of Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, the Senate and House party leaders judged responsible not just for the political failure of losing seats in the midterm election but for graver substantive deficiencies: Gephardt was complicit, some would say crucial, in George W. Bush's disastrous invasion of Iraq. Daschle was, at best, ineffectual against it. Both paid for those failings. In 2004, distracted by events in Washington, Daschle lost to Republican John Thune, and Gephardt retired after losing the Democratic presidential primary to John Kerry. Their staffs paid, too; come January of 2005, the experienced legislative tacticians and political operatives who had served the party's congressional leadership found themselves abruptly unemployed.
The bright spot of the 2004 election was the emergence of a brilliant, charismatic, young African American politician named Barack Obama. Obama burst onto the scene with a keynote speech at the Democratic Convention that would probably be remembered as little more than a neat piece of oratory if Kerry hadn't lost and congressional Democrats hadn't been wiped out. But, in a dark moment for Democrats, Obama was one of the very few points of light. Which is probably how he got a meeting with Pete Rouse in the first place.
Often called "the 101st Senator," Rouse, an understated 62-year-old with 30-odd years of Capitol Hill experience, had been Tom Daschle's powerful chief of staff. When Daschle was ejected from the Senate, he hoped Rouse would continue to work with him in the private sector. But Rouse received an expected call from Cassandra Butts, the policy director on Dick Gephardt's 2004 presidential campaign and an old law school chum of Obama's. Butts asked Rouse to meet with the newly elected Obama. Grudgingly, Rouse had lunch with the young senator. Obama asked him to sign on as chief of staff--a demotion of sorts, dropping Rouse from the office of the most powerful Senate Democrat to that of the most junior member of the body. Rouse politely declined. Obama kept asking. Eventually, Rouse accepted.
Most outsider candidates for the presidency recruit an outsider team to deliver it. Bill Clinton's main strategists in 1992 were the little-known Paul Begala and James Carville. His first chief of staff was Mack McLarty, a childhood friend who had risen to become chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party. It was a team untainted by Washington but also unschooled in how Washington worked.
The Obama campaign and Senate staff, by contrast, are full of Daschle and Gephardt veterans--an unexpected rebirth of the power bases and reputations of two politicians who had long been written off. Obama's chief of staff is the aforementioned Daschle associate, Pete Rouse. His deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, managed Daschle's 2004 campaign. His director for battleground states, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, and his director of communications, Dan Pfeiffer, were both deputy campaign managers for Daschle in 2004. Obama's foreign-policy director, Denis McDonough, was Daschle's foreign-policy adviser, and his finance director, Julianna Smoot, was head of Daschle's PAC. Many of those who didn't come from the Senate minority leader's office came from the House minority leader's office. Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, was Gephardt's deputy campaign manager in 2004. His head of delegate operations, Jeff Berman, played the same role for Gephardt. His national press secretary, Bill Burton, was Gephardt's Iowa press secretary. Dozens of others come from related arms of the party, in particular the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
It's a tremendous operation for a first-term senator who hadn't worked a day in Washington before 2004. But it's exactly the team you'd expect a former chief of staff to the Senate minority leader to construct. "The person most responsible for this was Pete Rouse," says Tom Daschle, sounding almost wistful. After all, Obama's campaign was in part based on plans Rouse had drawn up for Daschle in 2004, before Daschle decided to sit out the presidential race. The Obama staff's familiarity with the workings of the party and comfort with its procedures proved crucial in the primaries. Obama won the nomination largely because his team better understood the byzantine mechanics by which the Democratic Party chooses its nominee: The campaign used proportional-apportionment rules to hold down Clinton's delegate totals in large states and pumped resources into caucus states to run up Obama's delegate numbers. The Obama campaign succeeded, in other words, through a superior respect for the party's internal infrastructure.
Historically, the Democratic Party has operated less as a strong party than as an uncertain coalition. It has been regionally fractured, racially divided, ideologically torn, and economically disparate, frustrating those who believed that voting for the more-left party should further a progressive policy agenda. A broad ideological range is good for constructing raw congressional majorities but tricky when you're trying to reconcile the fiscal conservatism of the Blue Dogs with the social investment favored by liberals. Rather than acting as a single institution united around a common agenda, the party was all too often a nominal nation-state in which sets of warring fiefdoms protected their properties and sought expansion.
By the early 1990s, this incoherence had left the party bereft of a single agenda and full of tired incumbents interested in little but the protection of their own power and patrons. As a result, the Democratic brand had turned toxic, a scarlet D that national candidates had to hide or publicly burn off. "I was the polling adviser for the Democratic Leadership Council back then," says pollster Stan Greenberg. "Clinton's candidacy, and that effort, was very much focused on addressing the historical problems of the Democratic Party." Those problems included a long-standing perception that the party was soft on crime, captured by an array of entrenched interest groups, fiscally profligate, and, at least in Congress, simply corrupt. Before Clinton could build a new image of the party, however, he had to get elected. That meant not strengthening the party but holding it at arm's length, except as a useful vehicle for fundraising. This was explicit in his campaign: Clinton ran as a "New Democrat," a symbolic break from the actual Democratic Party--especially its liberal wing.
That strategy had its logic, but it also had its drawbacks. "Clinton became very identified with the presidential wing of the party," says a former member of Clinton's famed campaign war room. "But there was a lot of resentment from the Daschle and Gephardt people to the way they were treated by the Clinton people. I think the people who acted in Clinton's name didn't generate an awful lot of goodwill for them." This wasn't widely understood until 2008, when Hillary Clinton ran for president only to find that the party's leadership was devoid of individuals with any connection or loyalty to her husband's administration. Of the three most powerful Democrats—Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Howard Dean—none could be considered Clintonites, and Dean's ascension was, in many ways, an explicit repudiation of the Clintons. The cool relationship between the Clintons and the leadership continued down into Congress. "Obama got more Senate endorsements than Hillary did," continues the Clinton insider. "That's incredible. The guy's been there for three fucking years!"
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