John McCain was one of the Keating Five, at 54 eyebrow deep in political corruption on a scale such that it's one of the most massive corruption buyouts in United States History. The Keating Five met and intimidated investigators on behalf of Keating, investigators working on investigations that could have averted the disaster, collapse, and subsequently costly bail out by the US taxpayer.
Is there truly no one in Washington that knew before 54 that such collusion was wrong? Not mere collusion, but interference in the regulative functions of the government which are the only safeguard, after all, of the law?
Is there no one that has worked longer than a few years? That isn't likely just owner of a creative way to reclaim his name... caught in massive corruption? Become a reformer! Losing? Switch sides, and fight from within, like Paul.
Ok... let me just start out by saying, this country needs an enema. No... seriously. We need a[...]
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No one questions the amazing personal courage of John McCain during the Vietnam War.
But when it comes to national security issues, and in particular strategic judgment, there is much to be quizzical about.
His views on putting ground troops into the Balkans during the Clinton Administration are worth examining.
His opinions about Somalia, Afghanistan, Iran, and for that matter Panama and the First Gulf War are all well worth scrutiny.
His views about domestic security are also rather noteworthy.
This week the White House remained resolutely silent about the fifth anniversary of George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech. For this administration, it was an especially appropriate way to commemorate the infamous event.
After all, five years ago the White House had remained resolutely silent about the actual situation in Iraq for a period of 50 days after the "Mission Accomplished" speech. During May and most of June 2003, there wasn't a word from Bush about the mayhem in Iraq. In fact the administration focused on everything but Iraq - pretending that all was well until the scale of the unfolding disaster finally forced Bush to abandon his silence and acknowledge publicly that our troops were indeed facing "deadly attacks" there.
That fifty days of silence was fatal in more ways than one. It reflected the determination of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld to ignore the unfolding fiasco in Iraq, to remain wedded to their own triumphalist propaganda. It's well known that this triumvirate was addicted to propaganda during the rush to war. And the danger of believing your own propaganda could hardly be more obvious, particularly when you've gone to great trouble to spread misinformation on a global scale. But George Bush evidently is pathologically incapable of moving beyond wishful thinking, of facing up to unwelcome facts or re-examining flaws in his thinking, no matter how urgently introspection is needed. It's why Bush never acknowledges mistakes; he can't see them.
"Bush is Johnson squared, because he thinks he can win. Bush is the one true believer, a man essentially cut off from all information except the official line.”
So the fifty days of silence was both a destructive period of paralysis in the American occupation, in itself, as well as a harbinger of many more years of policies toward Iraq based on wishful thinking. Bush's failure to address the burgeoning violence in Iraq following his "Mission Accomplished" speech was not accidental. It was characteristic of his refusal to live outside his own propaganda.
Last week WH Spokeswoman Dana Perino, when asked whether the president planned to recognize the milestone, complained that "the media is going to play this up again" even though Bush had learned the appropriate lesson from the debacle. And the lesson evidently is that ship-board banners need to be more specific:
That's the anniversary of when that banner flew on that ship. President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said "mission accomplished for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission." And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner.
Let's set aside the absurdity of the excuse that the "mission" referred only to the USS Abraham Lincoln's crew - an excuse invented only in July of 2003 after reporters started asking embarrassing questions. More to the point, there was not a peep from Perino or the White House about the President's claim in that May 1, 2003 speech that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." That is what the Bush administration rightfully ought to be made to answer for.
It simply wasn't true that Iraq had been pacified when Bush delivered his speech.
When Mr. Bremer landed in Baghdad on May 12, 2003, a month after the city fell, government offices were still burning and looting had not stopped.
But Bush had just rendered his judgment on the end of the war, and few administration officials were willing to contradict him - except anonymously.
Mr. Bremer was due to arrive in Iraq on Monday, and had sent an advance team that was in Baghdad today.
Officials said the impetus for the overhaul stems in part from urgent warnings that the escalating violence and a breakdown of civil order are already paralyzing the effort to rebuild Iraq.
''Unless we do something in the near future, it is likely to blow up in our face,'' one official said...
Since the onset of the war in March, security has been the chief obstacle to General Garner's mission, officials said. His teams of administrators have had to live in isolation behind razor wire and machine-gun positions at Mr. Hussein's Republican Palace.
[When Jay Garner was] recalled from Iraq, in May, 2003, he was taken by Rumsfeld to the White House for a farewell meeting with the President. The conversation lasted forty-five minutes, he told me, with Vice-President Dick Cheney and Rice sitting in for the second half, and yet the President did not take the chance to ask Garner what it was really like in Iraq, to find out what problems lay ahead.
Bush kept his head firmly in the sand for more than a month. On June 5, speaking to troops in Qatar, Bush hinted ever so gingerly that there was the occasional problem in Iraq.
Our forces are taking aggressive steps to increase order throughout the country. We are moving those Baathist officials that are trying to hang on to power. There are still pockets of criminality. Remember, the former leader of Iraq emptied the jail cells of common criminals right before the action took place. And they haven't changed their habits and their ways. They like to rob and like to loot. We'll find them.
The obscure phrase "right before the action..." refers to two massacres of demonstrators in Falluja in late April, which greatly inflamed the Iraqi resistance. That's as close to acknowledging the chaos in Iraq as Bush would permit himself to go, a month after his "mission accomplished" speech.
It wasn't until June 21, 2003 that the President finally broke his silence to the American public about continued violence in Iraq. By June 21st, the news was full of reports of the daily grind of guerilla war, as well as the need to postpone elections in Iraq. And yet, even then, Bush wasn't particulary forthcoming about the nature and scale of violence in Iraq.
The men and women of our military face a continuing risk of danger and sacrifice in Iraq. Dangerous pockets of the old regime remain loyal to it and they, along with their terrorist allies, are behind deadly attacks designed to kill and intimidate coalition forces and innocent Iraqis...
For the first time in over a decade, Iraq will soon be open to the world. And the influence of progress in Iraq will be felt throughout the Middle East.
That is the great breakthrough for George W. Bush, his long-delayed admission that things were less than perfect in Iraq. It's no coincidence by the way that the expression "progress in Iraq" first appears in that very same address as a justification for Bush's policies. "Progress" would be trotted out again and again in subsequent weeks as other administration officials sought to blunt the admission by Bush that the US was still mired in war. In other words, Bush & Co. leapt directly from "mission accomplished" to the equally absurd propaganda of "progress", that leitmotif of quagmire.
Within days of Bush's breakthrough speech we were told by Donald Rumsfeld that the insurgents were "dead-enders" from the regime of Saddam Hussein; we learned that the insurgency represented the last desperate acts of a dying regime. The full weight of propaganda bore down again upon us, and upon the Bush administration as well.
I dwell upon this history because we are still living it. The refusal of the White House to address the fifth anniversary of the "Mission Accomplished" speech is scarcely to be differentiated from the White House refusal to acknowledge in the immediate aftermath of the speech that chaos persisted. The administration's prescription for Iraq in May/June 2003 was to stall, to deny reality, to evade responsibility, to avoid doing what was necessary but politically embarrassing. To hope for a miracle.
And that continues to be the basis for Bush administration's policy in Iraq.
Nicholas von Hoffman gives Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama a well-deserved smackdown on this issue. Instead, in and of itself, all that the end of the Iraq War will offer is a lessening of our Chinese borrowing, he says.
Even if you rescind all the Bush tax cuts, which he doesn?t number-crunch, we would be lucky, lucky indeed to get back to a balanced budget.
Imagine three well-dressed people on a sidewalk: a white-haired man in his early 70s, a woman in a pantsuit, and a young, spaghetti-thin African-American man. They are absorbed in a dispute, but they carry on in polite, moderated tones.
Across the street, a building is collapsing, another one is on fire, and a woman is jumping from the roof of a third structure. Others kneel, gasping for air near inert human forms, more dead than alive. The police, hands clapped to their heads, run to and fro like ants after a squirt of insecticide. Firefighters arrive, jump out of their glistening red machines, and attach their hoses to the hydrants. But no water comes out.
Not so many feet away, the three well-dressed people continue their disagreement, oblivious to the tumult.
Thus the presidential campaign soldiers on, all but ignoring the largest economic upheaval since the disaster of 1929. Given the chaotic state of no-longer-so-high finance in America, they have good reason to stay as far away from the daily debacle flooding out of Wall Street and, inch by foot, putting the nation under water.
But whoever wins the White House will enter it under conditions undreamed of when this long presidential season began. Long-held delusional assumptions have ceased to be tenable, owing to the catastrophic brew mixed up by Wall Street.
Owing to the ever shrinking dollar bill, foreigners are ceasing to buy U.S. government securities. Last year they bought $126 billion less than in 2006.
A tv reporter tonight said Hillary Clinton is heading back to North Carolina tonight. Bill Clinton will make 11 stops there tomorrow and Hillary will make 2. (Here's how hard Bill's been working --3,500 came out to see him in Morganton today.)
The Obamas will also be in North Carolina, campaigning in Durham and Fayetteville.
What does it mean that both candidates are spending the day before the NC and IN primaries in NC?
There are 72 pledged delegates at stake in Indiana and 115 in North Carolina. Indiana hasn't voted for a Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. North Carolina voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 (by 13% and 12%). Even native son John Edwards on the ticket didn't matter. Since 1964, the Democratic Presidential ticket has carried N.C. only for Carter-Mondale in 1976..
Here are the latest voter stats, as of May 3, for North Carolina
Public Policy Polling is suggesting that Obama will outperform the recent NC polling:
Barack Obama won three of the primaries in our surrounding states here in North Carolina- South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. And in all three of those states the polling vastly underestimated him . . . In all three cases Obama won by double digits more than the average preelection poll suggested, and no one got within seven points of the correct margin in any of the states.
This is true. However, in South Carolina (1/25), Clinton and Edwards split the white vote (43% of the vote.) In Georgia (2/5), Clinton won the white vote (43% of the vote) by 53-43 (Edwards was still in the ballot and took 4%). Virginia (2/12) was, with Wisconsin (2/14), the last contested state where Obama won the white vote. Oh by the way, SUSA's polling was quite good for Virginia.
SUSA's polling was quite prescient. It predicted Obama would take 47% of the white vote (63% of the vote) and 86% of the African American vote (29%), with Obama winning by 22. The exit polls showed Obama winning 52% of the white vote (61% of the vote)and 90% of the African American vote (30% of the vote). Obama won by 29.
For North Carolina, SUSA is predicting, as of now, the following, Obama will get 30% of the white vote (61%) and 87% of the African American vote (33%). Obama by 5. If SUSA has the same errors as in Virginia, Obama takes 35% of the white (59% of the vote) and 90% of the A-A vote (34% of the vote.) What does this translate into? 54-46 Obama.
SUSA is the best pollster in this cycle. I think an 8 point Obama win in North Carolina is what we should expect.
By Big Tent Democrat
Arnold keeps doing embarrassing stuff. Defending lobbyist-paid junkets for California state legislators, he said it was good for folks from small towns to get out and see the big world.[...]
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“Disarm” from their second studio album, Siamese Dream. The Pumpkins made the news again lately after filing a lawsuit against Virgin Records for breach of contract. The band alleges that the label used their image and music in a “Pepsi Stuff” add for Amazon.com without permission.
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As some mix of manic euphoria, delirium and exhaustion settles over Democrats nationwide, it's worth stepping back from the clamor for a moment to consider just why it is the Democrats have superdelegates (which the Republicans don't have) in the first[...]
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