View Full Version : A Controversial and/or Informative Site

Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 [29] 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

October 28th, 2008, 11:32 AM
Sandi, these losers are what my late mother used to call "Look At Me people"
They are those who, apart from being known for negative, hateful schemes like this would live and die in obscurity. They would rather be known for something, even this.
There was a Michael Moore film some years ago about Columbine and other school shootings. A young man was interviewed and he seemed almost proud that the students involved were kids he knew. He said that he was disappointed that this wasn't the most deadly school shooting because, "It would be nice to be #1 at something."
This need to be recognized for anything at all is preferable to being nothing, which is what these aberrations would be otherwise.
There is no cure for this kind of evil. It exists.
That's why so many people worry about the safety of Barack Obama and his family.
BUT, that's no reason to vote for more Bushist policies under McCain/Palin.
The price is too high.

Saundra Hummer
October 29th, 2008, 03:34 PM
Sandi, these losers are what my late mother used to call "Look At Me people"
They are those who, apart from being known for negative, hateful schemes like this would live and die in obscurity. They would rather be known for something, even this.
There was a Michael Moore film some years ago about Columbine and other school shootings. A young man was interviewed and he seemed almost proud that the students involved were kids he knew. He said that he was disappointed that this wasn't the most deadly school shooting because, "It would be nice to be #1 at something."
This need to be recognized for anything at all is preferable to being nothing, which is what these aberrations would be otherwise.
There is no cure for this kind of evil. It exists.
That's why so many people worry about the safety of Barack Obama and his family.
BUT, that's no reason to vote for more Bushist policies under McCain/Palin.
The price is too high.

Reminds me of Bill Walton and his need to be seen. Being 6' 11" and having red hair wasn't enough, he would sit on the floor at airports, in his hippy mode, playing the flute and get upset if people looked at him, or so he complained. We all knew his reasons for doing this. We all knew his needs.

What is this need to be seen and heard, with these Neo Nazi's and Skinhead's doing the most obscene and backwards acts; even though the majority of people are thinking of them as dim wits and rabid dogs? Better than no recognition at all? Sure, that's it, but it's such a waste of ones soul, but, their ability to reason and think straight just isn't a factor with them now is it?

Give me the Obama's any day as a next door neighbor or a suitor of a family member, It would be an honor to have some one so bright and good as a friend don't you think?

Who would you prefer? Some tatooed would be Nazi as a neighbor, or someone as erudite and good as Michelle and Barack Obama? No contest now is it? Who would we rather engage in a conversation with? No contest now is it? The Skinheads and Neo Nazi's lose out yet once again.

The SS would have been making lampshades out of their tattooed hides, as they would have thought of these skinheads with their thugish behavoir, their unlawfullness, as beneath even them. They would not have made the grade with them, not even with them being the dreg of society themselves.

Saundra Hummer
October 29th, 2008, 09:36 PM

With Florida tied, McCain tries to play a Palestinian card

Story Posted
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Margaret Talev & William Douglas
McClatchy Newspapers

RALEIGH, N.C. —Hours before Democrat Barack Obama's 30-minute paid political ad was to run on network television, Republican John McCain tried Wednesday to create controversy about his presidential rival's connections to a Palestinian scholar and compared Obama to George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.

Obama aides accused McCain of hypocrisy. They noted that the International Republican Institute, which McCain has long chaired, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Palestinian research organization in the 1990s that the same scholar, Rashid Khalidi, helped found.

Obama didn't address the controversy directly at a midday rally in North Carolina. But he told voters that by week's end McCain will "be accusing me of being a secret Communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten." He charged that McCain, behind in polls, was desperate and that, "If my opponent is elected, you will be worse off four years from now than you are today."

In radio interviews while campaigning in Florida, which has a large Jewish voting population, McCain accused the Los Angeles Times of media bias for declining to release a video it obtained of Obama attending a 2003 going away-party in Chicago for Khalidi. Khalidi is a Palestinian rights advocate and critic of Israel. A former University of Chicago professor, he was leaving for a job as a professor at Columbia University in New York.

At the party, which the Times wrote about last April, Obama praised Khalidi and vice versa. But in Khalidi also told the Times in that story that he disagreed with Obama's pro-Israel views.

"I'm not in the business about talking about media bias," McCain said on Radio Mambi, a Spanish-language station in Miami. "But what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet? I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different."

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt accused McCain of using a "recycled, manufactured controversy" to distract voters. LaBolt said Khalidi is not an adviser to Obama or his campaign and that Obama "does not share Khalidi's views." He said Obama had been "clear and consistent on his support for Israel."

Obama was headed to Florida later in the day for two events. One is to be part of his 30-minute paid infomercial. In the other, Obama and former President Bill Clinton will campaign together.

While Florida elected President Bush twice and had been considered safely Republican before the economic crisis, that's changed with housing foreclosures and concerns about seniors' retirement savings. An Obama win in the state could cost McCain the presidency.

The Huffington Post first posted tax returns showing donations from IRI under McCain's leadership in the 1990s to Khalidi's group, Center for Palestine Research and Studies.

In an interview with La Kalle, another Spanish-language station in Miami, McCain reiterated his concerns about Khalidi.

Asked about Obama's plans to raise taxes on the wealthy and give families earning less than $200,000 a tax cut, McCain said, "I won't call him a socialist. It doesn't matter what we call him. The point is, what he wants to do. And that has been tried before. That's what George McGovern wanted to do, that's what Jimmy Carter did, and we're not going to do it."

McCain repeatedly suggested in his radio interviews the presence of another controversial Obama acquaintance at the Khalidi farewell party: Bill Ayers.

For weeks, McCain has sought to damage Obama by linking him to Ayers, a Chicago education professor and former member of the violent anti-Vietnam group called the Weather Underground, which was active when Obama was a child. The friendship between the two appears to consist of Ayers holding a meet-the-candidate event for Obama more than a dozen years ago and the two having been active on boards of local charities, some funded by Republicans.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Ayers attended the event. The Obama campaign didn't answer the question and McCain adviser Mark Salter acknowledged that it wasn't clear. The McCain camp pointed simply to a 2005 New York Sun article saying that Ayers had praised Khalidi in a farewell book made for him.

Obama told supporters it was important that they turn out to the polls in the face of McCain's attacks. "Don't believe for a second this election is over," he said.

More on this

Story | New polls: Obama's got Pennsylvania; Ohio, Florida close
Story | Out of bounds! McCain's wrong on World Series delay
Story | Small business: Who's better on taxes, Obama or McCain?
Story | Poll: McCain has cut into Obama's edge on jobs, economy
On the Web | More McClatchy issues coverage
On the Web | Complete McClatchy election coverage

McCain's wrong on World Series delay
Polls: Pennsylvania is Obama country; Ohio, Florida tight
Small business: Who's better on taxes, Obama or McCain?

Check out McClatchy's expanded politics coverage

McClatchy Newspapers 2008


There goes McBush again,fear and smear.... When will this Old, senile, coot learn, that the American public are sick and tired of these same old republicrook tactics ....
McBush/Palin, blew their chances for victory, by not having good sound compelling current reasons to be elected to the highest offices in the land.....
Barack Obama, on the other hand, from day one, has given very precise, coherant, current plans for the future of America. Thats what the country wants and needs to hear......
07:10:54pm 10/29/2008Tonic_Writes

Gilric: Did you miss the part that said McCain has also been involved with Khalidi? I'm having trouble finding a single thing of which McCain and Palin are accusing Obama that cannot be thrown right back at them. McCain associated with Khalidi. McCain associated with Keating and even as recently as the 90's tried to help someone involved with the Keating 5 scandal. Palin spends too much taxpayer and state money but calls Obama the wealth spreader. Palin only likes it when the wealth gets spread her way. Obama knows Ayers, McCain knows Liddy. McCain says Obama shouldn't delay a baseball game but he himself delayed a football game. The list goes on and on and on. They are full of acusations but have not told me one positive thing they will do that will make my life better. And since we've seen how McCain likes to blame others and lose his temper he is unsuited to run a company let alone a country.
07:10:06pm 10/29/2008oldetoys

Same lousy insipid SMEARS by the filthiest political party in recent US history. The Republican party is the master of HATE, FEAR, BIGOTRY, LIES, AND HYPOCRISY. I'm sick of it and in no way in the universe would I ever consider voting for a senator that has called another senator a terrorist, socialist, and even communist. Now, in a last minute ditch effort, they are "wondering" what Obama said at some gathering of politicians discussing Israel. Well, I'm wondering what McCain was doing when he chaired the group that gave these folks a nearly $500,000 donation. STOP WITH THE DAMNED HYPOCRISY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
07:10:24pm 10/29/2008finniegirl1959

Well if the smears don't get McCain the election I'm sure his buddy Bush can start another war to help him. I wonder why American's feel this man would be better at protecting them. From what I can see, he graduated 5 th, from last in a class of 600, crashed either 5 or six airplanes, and spent five years as a prisoner of war. This does not make him a first or even second class protector of our country. The garbage from McCain's side is enough to make a person throw up. Eight years led to the problems this country has, and McCain was in the thick of things, deregulating voting with Bush, and now he is going to save this country from Obama and the democrats, please people save us from McCain
07:10:09pm 10/29/2008aryan0481

This sounds like desperation on McCain.
07:10:18pm 10/29/2008norberto

Mr. McCain & Dr Cagan, lets be frank at least once in a lifetime. What’s wrong in sharing prosperity ? The poor Palestinians live isolated in worst conditions than the Jews in Poland at the turn of the century. What is their impact in this monumental theft performed at the speed of light and relative to space in the global paranoiac village inhabited by Lilliputians Malaises (in the words of Dali) ?
06:10:46pm 10/29/2008flyntstuff

The US needs a president in charge of a foreign policy that has the wisdom to sit down and listen to all sides of a conflict, to not be judgemental and prejudiced supporting one against the other, and because of neutrality, gains the respect of all parties in the conflict. How else would one ever be able to peacefully resolve conflict?
06:10:24pm 10/29/2008showmestategal

MC Cain tied in funding to suggested terrorist Khaliddi PLO!
McCain faults paper for not releasing Khalidi tape
By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy, Associated Press Writer – 25 mins ago Play Video 60 Minutes – Gambling
Slideshow: Sen. John McCain Play Video Video: McCain's corporate tax plan CNN Play Video Video: Local Middle School Students Stage Debate KDKA Pittsburgh Reuters – U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks about his plans for U.S. national … BOWLING GREEN, Ohio –
Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin accused the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday of protecting Barack Obama by withholding a videotape of the Democrat attending a 2003 party for a Palestinian-American professor and critic of Israel.

The paper said it had written about the event in April and would not release the tape because of a promise made to the source who provided it.

McCain and Palin called Rashid Khalidi a former spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, a characterization that Khalidi has denied in the past. Both candidates said guests at the party made critical comments about Israel.

Khalidi is a professor of Middle East Studies at Columbia University and a longtime friend of Obama's. Khalidi has publicly criticized Israel, but he and Obama have both said they hold very different opinions on Israeli issues.

McCain also has ties to Khalidi through a group that Khalidi helped found 15 years ago. The Center for Palestine Research and Studies received at least $448,000 from an organization that McCain chairs.

On Wednesday, McCain said 1960s radical Bill Ayers had attended the same party in 2003. McCain and Palin have criticized Obama for his ties to Ayers and questioned what the videotape of the party might show.

"Among other things, Israel was described there as the perpetrator of terrorism rather than the victim," Palin said at a rally in Ohio. "What we don't know is how Barack Obama responded to these slurs on a country that he professes to support."

In a story published in April, the Times said Obama spoke out at the event on the need for common ground on the Israel-Palestinian issue. Obama has said during the campaign that his commitment to Israel's security is "nonnegotiable."

"More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape," Jamie Gold, the newspaper's reader's representative, said in a statement. "The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite — the L.A. Times brought the matter to light."

McCain and Palin cited the paper's position as evidence of media bias. The Times has endorsed Obama's candidacy.

"If there was a tape of John McCain in a neo-Nazi outfit, I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different," McCain said in an interview with Hispanic radio stations.

Palin said the Times should win a Pulitzer Prize for "kowtowing."

"It must be nice for a candidate to have major news organizations looking out for their best interests like that. Politicians would love to have a pet newspaper of their very own," she said.

Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor dismissed McCain and Palin's complaints as a "recycled, manufactured controversy" meant to distract voters.

"Barack Obama has been clear and consistent on his support for Israel, and has been clear that Rashid Khalidi is not an adviser to him or his campaign and that he does not share Khalidi's views," Vietor said.

Khalidi taught at the University of Chicago until 2003. Obama and his wife, Michelle, often socialized with Khalidi and his wife, Mona, and the Khalidis hosted a political fundraiser for Obama in 2000.

The Woods Fund charity gave money to the Arab-American Action Network, run by Mona Khalidi, while Obama served on the charity's board. Ayers also served on the board.

The Center for Palestine Research and Studies conducted regular public opinion surveys in the West Bank and Gaza with financial support from various foundations and from the International Republican Institute, an organization that promoting democracy around the world. McCain was the IRI chairman when it gave $448,873 to the research group in 1998, according to IRI's tax return.

Ayers was a founder of the radical group the Weather Underground, which set off bombs at the Capitol and the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War nearly 40 years ago. McCain has criticized Obama for having had a friendly relationship with Ayers, with whom Obama worked on two community organizations several years ago, and for downplaying their ties.

Obama has noted that he was a child when Ayers, now a university professor, was with the Weather Underground. The Democratic candidate has condemned Ayers' radical past and violent activities.
06:10:18pm 10/29/2008doctorstroke

well here we go again! I think Father Time (McCain) should tell Whacko Palin to go fetch that witch doctor (pastor) that cured her of the devil and maybe that will get them some points with the undecided voters. Father Time is beginning to crack! It's kind of pitiful to watch him stumble around on the issues and grasp at anything bizzare to reach the (normal) amarican on the street. He needs to take a hard look at Todd Palin and his terrorist connections.
05:10:51pm 10/29/2008Gilric

no McCain is saying that anyone that crawls into bed with a PLO terrorist from yassir arafats group probably caught something..and since Obama is sleeping around with other domestic terrorists and insane black preachers..he is most likely infected with all sorts of crap...and on the fourth we are going to see how many people of discernment are left in the US..or if you are all going to lead us like jews into the chambers...straight up..Obama is bad news..always has been...and always will be...but he sure looks good giving a speech..isnt that whats important anyway?? lets take someone with only a few years political experience and make him the most powerful leader in the free world..ARE YOU ALL INSANE..if it looks like,talks like and walks like a duck..it probably is a duck..

In Florida, McCain links Obama to Israel critic
Submitted by admin on October 29, 2008 - 9:05pm.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Hours before Democrat Barack Obama's 30-minute paid political ad was to run on network television, Republican John McCain tried Wednesday to create controversy about his presidential rival's connections to a Palestinian scholar and compared Obama to George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.Obama aides accused McCain of hypocrisy. They noted that the International Republican Institute, which McCain has long chaired, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Palestinian research organization in the 1990s that the same scholar, Rashid Khalidi, helped found.Obama didn't address the controversy directly at a midday rally in North Carolina. But he told voters that by week's end McCain will "be accusing me of being a secret Communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten." He charged that McCain, behind in polls, was desperate and that, "If my opponent is elected, you will be worse off four years from now than you are today."In radio interviews while campaigning in Florida, which has a large Jewish voting population, McCain accused the Los Angeles Times of media bias for declining to release a video it obtained of Obama attending a 2003 going away-party in Chicago for Khalidi. Khalidi is a Palestinian rights advocate and critic of Israel. A former University of Chicago professor, he was leaving for a job as a professor at Columbia University in New York.At the party, which the Times wrote about last April, Obama praised Khalidi and vice versa. But in Khalidi also told the Times in that story that he disagreed with Obama's pro-Israel views."I'm not in the business about talking about media bias," McCain said on Radio Mambi, a Spanish-language station in Miami. "But what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet? I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different."Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt accused McCain of using a "recycled, manufactured controversy" to distract voters. LaBolt said Khalidi is not an adviser to Obama or his campaign and that Obama "does not share Khalidi's views." He said Obama had been "clear and consistent on his support for Israel."Obama was headed to Florida later in the day for two events. One is to be part of his 30-minute paid infomercial. In the other, Obama and former President Bill Clinton will campaign together.While Florida elected President Bush twice and had been considered safely Republican before the economic crisis, that's changed with housing foreclosures and concerns about seniors' retirement savings. An Obama win in the state could cost McCain the presidency.The Huffington Post first posted tax returns showing donations from IRI under McCain's leadership in the 1990s to Khalidi's group, Center for Palestine Research and Studies.In an interview with La Kalle, another Spanish-language station in Miami, McCain reiterated his concerns about Khalidi.Asked about Obama's plans to raise taxes on the wealthy and give families earning less than $250,000 a tax cut, McCain said, "I won't call him a socialist. It doesn't matter what we call him. The point is, what he wants to do. And that has been tried before. That's what George McGovern wanted to do, that's what Jimmy Carter did, and we're not going to do it."McCain repeatedly suggested in his radio interviews the presence of another controversial Obama acquaintance at the Khalidi farewell party: Bill Ayers.For weeks, McCain has sought to damage Obama by linking him to Ayers, a Chicago education professor and former member of the violent anti-Vietnam group called the Weather Underground, which was active when Obama was a child. The friendship between the two appears to consist of Ayers holding a meet-the-candidate event for Obama more than a dozen years ago and the two having been active on boards of local charities, some funded by Republicans.It wasn't immediately clear whether Ayers attended the event. The Obama campaign didn't answer the question and McCain adviser Mark Salter acknowledged that it wasn't clear. The McCain camp pointed simply to a 2005 New York Sun article saying that Ayers had praised Khalidi in a farewell book made for him.Obama told supporters it was important that they turn out to the polls in the face of McCain's attacks. "Don't believe for a second this election is over," he said.MORE FROM MCCLATCHYOut of bounds! McCain's wrong on World Series delayPolls: Pennsylvania is Obama country; Ohio, Florida tightSmall business: Who's better on taxes, Obama or McCain?Check out McClatchy's expanded politics coverage

McCain is saying that anyone
Submitted by smi2le on October 29, 2008 - 9:32pm.
McCain is saying that anyone who has a friend who is a Palestinian is not a patriotic American and unfit to be president of the U.S. This blatant advocacy and appeal to ethnic bigotry is one of the most shoocking and repugnant things McCain has said in his "anything goes" campaign. TAs for his statement that Jimmy Carter and anyone else who has ever criticizes the Israeli occupation of Palestine is anti-semetic (1) Carter is the only President who ever actually negotiated a peace agreement which both the Israelis and the Palestinians signed, and since at one time or other most of the population of Israel has criticized the occupation, McCain is saying Israel is "anti-semetic." As for McCain's patriotism, he has never to this day even acknowledged the the men of the U.S.S. Liberty who were killed in a deliberate and unprovoked attack by Israel.

no McCain is saying that
Submitted by Gilric on October 29, 2008 - 9:51pm.
no McCain is saying that anyone that crawls into bed with a PLO terrorist from yassir arafats group probably caught something..and since Obama is sleeping around with other domestic terrorists and insane black preachers..he is most likely infected with all sorts of crap...and on the fourth we are going to see how many people of discernment are left in the US..or if you are all going to lead us like jews into the chambers...straight up..Obama is bad news..always has been...and always will be...but he sure looks good giving a speech..isnt that whats important anyway?? lets take someone with only a few years political experience and make him the most powerful leader in the free world..ARE YOU ALL INSANE..if it looks like,talks like and walks like a duck..it probably is a duck..

well here we go again! I
Submitted by doctorstroke on October 29, 2008 - 10:14pm.
well here we go again! I think Father Time (McCain) should tell Whacko Palin to go fetch that witch doctor (pastor) that cured her of the devil and maybe that will get them some points with the undecided voters. Father Time is beginning to crack! It's kind of pitiful to watch him stumble around on the issues and grasp at anything bizzare to reach the (normal) amarican on the street. He needs to take a hard look at Todd Palin and his terrorist connections.

[CUT-N-PASTE deleted. -- JDM]
Submitted by showmestategal on October 29, 2008 - 10:36pm.
[CUT-N-PASTE deleted. -- JDM]

The US needs a president in
Submitted by flyntstuff on October 29, 2008 - 10:56pm.
The US needs a president in charge of a foreign policy that has the wisdom to sit down and listen to all sides of a conflict, to not be judgemental and prejudiced supporting one against the other, and because of neutrality, gains the respect of all parties in the conflict. How else would one ever be able to peacefully resolve conflict?

Mr. McCain & Dr Cagan, lets
Submitted by norberto on October 29, 2008 - 11:00pm.
Mr. McCain & Dr Cagan, lets be frank at least once in a lifetime. What’s wrong in sharing prosperity ? The poor Palestinians live isolated in worst conditions than the Jews in Poland at the turn of the century. What is their impact in this monumental theft performed at the speed of light and relative to space in the global paranoiac village inhabited by Lilliputians Malaises (in the words of Dali) ?

This sounds like desperation
Submitted by aryan0481 on October 29, 2008 - 11:03pm.
This sounds like desperation on McCain.

Well if the smears don't get
Submitted by finniegirl1959 on October 29, 2008 - 11:16pm.
Well if the smears don't get McCain the election I'm sure his buddy Bush can start another war to help him. I wonder why American's feel this man would be better at protecting them. From what I can see, he graduated 5 th, from last in a class of 600, crashed either 5 or six airplanes, and spent five years as a prisoner of war. This does not make him a first or even second class protector of our country. The garbage from McCain's side is enough to make a person throw up. Eight years led to the problems this country has, and McCain was in the thick of things, deregulating voting with Bush, and now he is going to save this country from Obama and the democrats, please people save us from McCain

Same lousy insipid SMEARS by
Submitted by oldetoys on October 29, 2008 - 11:41pm.
Same lousy insipid SMEARS by the filthiest political party in recent US history. The Republican party is the master of HATE, FEAR, BIGOTRY, LIES, AND HYPOCRISY. I'm sick of it and in no way in the universe would I ever consider voting for a senator that has called another senator a terrorist, socialist, and even communist. Now, in a last minute ditch effort, they are "wondering" what Obama said at some gathering of politicians discussing Israel. Well, I'm wondering what McCain was doing when he chaired the group that gave these folks a nearly $500,000 donation. STOP WITH THE DAMNED HYPOCRISY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gilric: Did you miss the
Submitted by Tonic_Writes on October 29, 2008 - 11:42pm.
Gilric: Did you miss the part that said McCain has also been involved with Khalidi? I'm having trouble finding a single thing of which McCain and Palin are accusing Obama that cannot be thrown right back at them. McCain associated with Khalidi. McCain associated with Keating and even as recently as the 90's tried to help someone involved with the Keating 5 scandal. Palin spends too much taxpayer and state money but calls Obama the wealth spreader. Palin only likes it when the wealth gets spread her way. Obama knows Ayers, McCain knows Liddy. McCain says Obama shouldn't delay a baseball game but he himself delayed a football game. The list goes on and on and on. They are full of acusations but have not told me one positive thing they will do that will make my life better. And since we've seen how McCain likes to blame others and lose his temper he is unsuited to run a company let alone a country.

McCain spent his last
Submitted by capnmike on October 30, 2008 - 12:40am.
McCain spent his last birthday at a party on a megayacht owned by a Russian Billionaire crook, and with another character who was just busted for Fraud and given 4 1/2 years in the slammer and then deportation. All this aside from the Keating 5 thing and his phony "Joe the Plumber", who is related to the Keatings.
McCain is a typical Republican old-school sleazeball. Voting for him is voting for 4 more years of sleaze, after the 8 years his buddy Bush just laid on us. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Go on-site to gain access to article and it's links as well as more comments

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/54962.html?mi_email=McClatchy%20Washington%20Burea u_DC+Newsletter

More of the same arguments from so many people. Say, think of this.... Just take a look back at our founding fathers, where was their experience in writing our Constitution? Where was their experience in governing: in leading? There were no experiences to be had. They went in blind. Intelligence, open minds and the desire to do right as well as do proud. Keeping their honor bright, not that there wasn't some bad blood and words back then just as there is now, but they, for the most part thought of the common good. The desire to do good works is a big qualification don't you think?

Obama has so much more experience than those against him are willing to admit. Then there's this, a lot of us do feel he can be given the prize when it comes to inspiring us. He does this, and he knows what he is talking about when he deems fit to talk about government, not like Sarah Palin who will be learning on the job , and this is for certain. If she were to inherit the Presidency? I shudder to think of it. SRH

If I tied in posters ID"s to the wrong post, forgive me. Go on-site to get it all straight. SRH

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 01:02 PM

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.

Charles Dickens
(1812 - 1870)
David Copperfield

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. - Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

There is some magic in wealth, which can thus make persons pay their court to it, when it does not even benefit themselves. How strange it is, that a fool or knave, with riches, should be treated with more respect by the world, than a good man, or a wise man in poverty!

Ann Radcliffe
The Mysteries of Udolpho


The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.

H. L. Mencken
1880 - 1956


Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil.

Henry Fielding
1707 - 1754


Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 01:32 PM
^^ ^ ^^ ^ ^^

The New American Century: Cut Short By 92 Years By Mike Whitney

02/10/08 'ICH" -- - America's time as a superpower is coming to an end. The financial crisis was just the last straw. Whatever good faith was left after the invasion of Iraq, the shrugging off of international treaties and the shameless disregard for human rights, is now gone. The United States has polluted the global economic system with worthless mortgage-backed securities and, by doing so, has pushed 6 billion people closer to a long and painful recession. That's not something that can be easily forgiven.

The anger at the US seems to be surfacing everywhere at once. It was particularly noticable at the recent opening of the UN General Assembly. Typically, this is a tedious event full of empty political blabbering and pretentious ceremonies. But not this time. With the world sliding towards a US-created recession; patience have worn thin, and foreign leaders have started to lashing out at the United States more vehemently. The speeches have been blunt and acrimonious; no one is "pulling their punches" any more. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez summed up the mood of the meetings like this:

"I think that, sooner rather than later, this empire will fall - to the benefit of the whole world, enabling a balance in the world to be created: polycentric and multi-polar. That will guarantee peace in the world. To the creation of this multi-polar world we are making our small contribution."

Chavez likes the American people but opposes the American Empire; it's that simple. He was the first foreign leader to offer food and medical assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. (Bush refused his offer) Also, he regularly supplies tons of heating oil to low-income families in the Northeast USA.

What Chavez objects to is Bush's "unipolar" model of global governance whereby all the world's crucial decisions--on everything from global warming to nuclear proliferation--are made by Washington. No one likes being told what to do, just as no one likes the US constantly meddling in their affairs. That's why none of the UN attendees seem particularly bothered by the fact that the US financial markets are in freefall. It's called schadenfreude, taking pleasure in someone elses misfortune, and there was ample supply of it at the United Nations last week.

Many of the dignitaries seem to believe that America's sudden downturn presents opportunities for a change in the way the world is run. That's what everyone wants; change. Real change. No one wants another 8 years like the last. That's why the central theme in Chavez's speech was repeated over and over again by the other world leaders. They reject the present system and want a bigger role in shaping the world's future.

That doesn't mean that the world hates America. It just means that everyone wants a breather from the torture, the abductions, the bombing of civilians, and now, the financial contagion that the US has spread throughout the global system. The US's lack of regulation and low interest monetary policies have driven up inflation, triggered food riots, and sent oil prices skyrocketing. Enough is enough. The United States is like the dinner guest who doesn't know when it's time to go home. Perhaps, a touch of recession will help to rebalance Washington's approach and make its leaders more responsive to the needs of the rest of the world. In any event, other nations are already preparing for a world where America's role is greatly reduced.

Journalist John Gray summed it up like this in his article in The Observer, "A Shattering Moment in America's fall from Power":

"The control of events is no longer in American hands.....Having created the conditions that produced history's biggest bubble, America's political leaders appear unable to grasp the magnitude of the dangers the country now faces. Mired in their rancorous culture wars and squabbling among themselves, they seem oblivious to the fact that American global leadership is fast ebbing away. A new world is coming into being almost unnoticed, where America is only one of several great powers, facing an uncertain future it can no longer shape."

The US is about to join the family of nations and learn how to get along with its neighbors whether it wants to or not. There's simply no other choice; the dollar is falling, the deficits are soaring, and the financial markets are in a shambles. America will either learn to cooperate or become isolated in a world that is rapidly integrating. It's "get along or get out"; a message that Washington needs to learn quickly so it can adapt to a new power-paradigm.

Yes; plenty of money will still go into covert operations and CIA-sponsored dirty tricks just to keep alive the hope the Superpowerdom will be restored. That is to be expected. The well-heeled rogues in the British royal family still dream of rebuilding the Empire, too. But realists know that it's just a harmless fantasy. Nothing will come of it. Empire's have a short shelf-life and they're impossible to stitch-back together. They usually end on a corpse strewn battlefield or in a towering financial bonfire which leaves nothing behind but a pile of ashes and shards of broken glass. We can only hope that the yawning economic chasm ahead of us all, will involve less hardship than we anticipate. But when a nation sows dragon's teeth, it shouldn't expect a harvest of sweet plums.

Journalist Steve Watson reports on Infowars:

"A Council on Foreign Relations member and former policy planner under prominent Bilderberger Henry Kissinger has penned a piece in the Financial Times of London calling for a “new global monetary authority” that would have the power to monitor all national financial authorities and all large global financial companies.

“Even if the US’s massive financial rescue operation succeeds, it should be followed by something even more far-reaching – the establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless." writes Jeffrey Garten also a former managing director of Lehman Brothers

The biggest global financial companies would have to register with the Global Monetary Authority (GMA) and be subject to its monitoring, or be blacklisted. That includes commercial companies and banks, but also sovereign wealth funds, gigantic hedge funds and private equity firms. The GMA’s board would have to include central bankers not just from the US, UK, the eurozone and Japan, but also China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. It would be financed by mandatory contributions from every capable country and from insurance-type premiums from global financial companies – publicly listed, government owned, and privately held alike." (Infowar.com)

The dream of "one world" government does not die easily, but it is dead all the same. The center of the present global financial system is the Federal Reserve. Its offspring includes the Council on Foreign Relations, the IMF, The World Bank, the G-7 banking cartel and thousands of predatory NGOs which have expanded the grip of the Washington banking cabal and the dollarized system across the planet. Neoliberalism is collapsing. What we are seeing now is the erratic spasms of a terminal heart patient entering the final stages of cardiac arrest. There is no drug or medical procedure that will restore the victim to good health.

No one is looking to the US or its "economic hit-men" to chart a course for their country's economic future. Those day's are over. The US will have to pull itself from the rubble and start over without the massive infusions of low interest capital from China, Japan and the Gulf States. The money spigots have been turned off. It's thin gruel and hard times ahead. That's the price one pays for swindling the world with worthless mortgage-backed snake oil and other "illiquid" garbage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin summed up recent events in the financial markets like this:
“Everything that is happening in the economic and financial sphere has started in the United States. This is a real crisis that all of us are facing, and what is really sad is that we see an inability to take appropriate decisions. This is no longer irresponsibility on the part of some individuals, but irresponsibility of the whole system, which as you know had pretensions to (global) leadership.”

Back at the United Nations, Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbuck echoed similar sentiments when he said:

“The United States is solely to be blamed for the financial crisis. They are the cause for the crisis and it is not Europe and it is not the Federal Republic of Germany. The Anglo-Saxon drive for double-digit profits and massive bonuses for bankers and company executives that were responsible for the financial crisis.”

He added,"The long term consequences of the crisis are not clear. but one thing seems likely to me; the USA will lose its superpower status in the global financial system. The world financial system is becoming multipolar."

Steinbuck was merely reiterating the feelings of Chancellor Angela Merkel who used more diplomatic language in her critique:

“The current crisis shows us you can do some things on the national level, but the overwhelming majority must be agreed to on the international level. We must push for clearer regulations so that a crisis like the current one cannot be repeated.”

Merkel knows that Europe was blind-sighted by America's deregulated system which allows crooks and chiselers to rule the roost. Even now--in the middle of the biggest financial scandal in history--not one CEO or CFO from a major investment bank has been indicted or dragged off to prison. US markets are a lawless "free for all" where no one is held accountable no matter how large the crime or how many people are hurt. But, there's a price to be paid for running a crooked system and fleecing investors, and the US will pay that price. Already, the purchase of US Treasurys has slowed to a crawl. In the coming months, America's life-support system will be disconnected altogether and the oxygen tent removed. Kissinger's protege is not worried about that; but working class American's should be. There's a train wreck just ahead and many people will suffer needlessly.

This is how Spiegel Online puts it:

"The banking crisis is upending American dominance of the financial markets and world politics. The industrialized countries are sliding into recession, the era of turbo-capitalism is coming to an end and US military might is ebbing....This is no longer the muscular and arrogant United States the world knows, the superpower that sets the rules for everyone else and that considers its way of thinking and doing business to be the only road to success.

A new America is on display, a country that no longer trusts its old values and its elites even less: the politicians, who failed to see the problems on the horizon, and the economic leaders, who tried to sell a fictitious world of prosperity to Americans....Also on display is the end of arrogance. The Americans are now paying the price for their pride." (Spiegel Online, "America loses its Dominant Economic Role")

President Dmitry Medvedev was not present at the opening ceremonies at the United Nations, but his views on the nascent "multipolar" world are worth considering. In a recent interview he said:

"We cannot have a single polar world. The world has to have various poles. A policentric world is the only way of ensuring security for the years ahead. So I think it is a very promising direction for our country to pursue...The world is more stable when there are a range of major, important political players. In a multipolar world, everyone influences everyone else. We will work to extend ourselves.

I do not think that the bipolar world that existed between NATO and the Warsaw Pact (The Cold War)has any future prospects. But it is clear today that the single-polar world is completely unable to manage crisis situations."

Both presidential candidates have vowed to continue the unilateralist Bush Doctrine. Obama is just as eager as McCain to violate sovereign borders, invade countries that pose no imminent national security threat to the US, and carry out the many flagrant violations of human rights and international law as long as it advances the geopolitical objectives of western mandarins. There's no doubt that the impending financial meltdown will bring our leaders back to their senses and help to restore the republic. The US needs a foreign policy that doesn't require slaughtering people in their homes or ripping off their retirement savings to maintain our standard of living.

The war that Bush has launched against the world--the war on terror--will persist for years after the US financial system collapses in a heap. The will to power is fueled by arrogance, class consciousness, and a "sense of entitlement" that is stronger than even the will to survive. This is the force that animates the destructive, suicidal impulses of the current conflict. And that is why the war will continue. The social fabric within the US will be torn to shreds long before the fighting stops. A strong sense of entitlement creates the belief that "The world is mine to do with whatever I choose; the claims of others are of no consequence". These feelings cannot be changed through logic or rational discussion; they must be eradicated with a scalpel the same way one would remove a cancerous tumor.

There's trouble ahead. The multi-polar world is about to collide head-on with the "faith-based" unipolar world and millions are bound to suffer. But there is no doubt about the final outcome. The geopolitical plates are shifting inexorably away from Washington. America's ability to wage war will steadily erode as capital and resources dry up. Its only a matter of time before the war machine sputters to a halt and the troops return home. When the killing stops, a truly new world order will begin.

Go on-site for this article, comments about it and more. Check out their archives and other articles of the day. There's also war stats, anchor articles, etc.


^ ^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 01:40 PM

Bush Trying to Avoid War Crimes Charges


2 Minute Video

President Bush is trying to pardon himself

Should Congress pass a bill giving immunity to President Bush for possible war crimes?

Posted 10/29/2008





Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 02:22 PM

How Much has Palin Damaged McCain?
Bill Hare
07:26:54 PM EST

The Republican right proceeds at a blinding speed to commit political suicide.
During an era when things so frequently went their way within the national political power structure, aided in no small part by a mainstream media that so often looked the other way or approved of atrocious electioneering and policymaking, right wing Republicans began to believe that power should be theirs, particularly the presidency, for the eternal taking.

How furious they became and how quickly already loose springs shattered from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly when Bill Clinton had the rank audacity to not only run for president, but actually win it twice. He countered the relentless bully machine with an effective instrument of his own in 1992 called the rapid response team, which met smear attacks with carefully crafted rebuttals.

McCain, after achieving the 2008 Republican nomination by pleasing the right by proudly asserting that he had voted with George Bush "90 percent of the time" ended up cornered by his own strategy when a differently structured general election beckoned.

The rightist forces that moved in his direction to enable him to overcome Republican primary challengers such as Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee reacted with angry vigilance when McCain expressed a preference for opting toward a vital center position going into the general election campaign, indicating a preference for the likes of either Joe Lieberman or Tim Pawlenty for the vice presidential slot.
Can any group in America stir up instant thunder faster than an angered Republican right? McCain found himself in the midst of such hostility at the very thought of selecting a pro-choice running mate.

So he acceded to the right's wishes, Sarah Palin was selected, and the Alaskan proved to be a shaker and mover as her right wing supporters promised, but the volcanic eruptions that occurred put McCain's campaign in an increasingly vulnerable position.

The drum beat continues to resound so loudly for Palin from the right that elements of the mainstream media, often the same sources who listened so intently to rumbles on the right through the years and looked the other way when the right's policy proposals were draconian and damaging to the nation.

There is a current stir in the direction of asking if Sarah Palin should McCain lose emerge as the logical Republican frontrunner for the 2012 presidential nomination.

This reflection is occurring at a time when Palin's negative rating, meaning numbers believing she is unqualified to currently serve as president, have reached 55 percent.

Considering the often stated current political reality that under existing American political divisions it is hard for any nominee of either political party to dip below, at least to any appreciable extent, the 40 percent support mark, that 55 percent figure has probably peaked for this election season.

There are three important reasons why Palin will have rendered serious damage to McCain once the final tabulations are in for election 2008. The first is that John McCain took the number one gut argument he could make to the electorate in these economically troubled times, whether one accepts it or not, and removed that piece from the electoral chessboard.

The argument was that he has far more political experience than Barack Obama and is a better choice during a period of turbulent uncertainty both at home and abroad.

Once that Palin, an ill-equipped running mate who screamed foul over an easy question such as what newspapers she read, was selected, McCain was no longer in a position to play his experience card without the specter of his frequently lampooned running mate slapping him metaphorically in the face.

The second reason, that also resulted in a metaphorical slap in McCain's face, was the hope that a Palin candidacy would resonate with women, particularly former supporters of Hillary Clinton. That hopeful expectancy on the part of McCain and Republican forces demonstrates how out of touch they are with the kind of pragmatic feminism Clinton and her supporters embrace.

The specter of a winking, flirtatious, shatter the traditional English language, tote your gun style of electioneering flies in the face of what Clinton style feminism represents.

Too often feminists have seen winking, flirtatious, ill-equipped women obtain positions in the workplace through male chauvinism, while Palin seems to revel in perpetuating this image to the ultimate presentation level, hoping it will be accepted by large portions of the electorate.

The third reason why Palin has been such a disaster has been in accordance with an old phrase Reagan's supporters used in connection with his movement. The saying then was "let Reagan be Reagan" while in the case of the Alaskan it has lately become "I'm Palin and I'll stick to being Palin."

When a message was sent to her by McCain forces on points to make in a Florida appearance Palin was said to have shunned the instruction and followed instead the rhetorical course established by her warm-up act, right wing talk show star Elizabeth Hasselbeck. She later denied having departed from the McCain central command's message and made a reference to "our teams" which is not the way it is supposed to work.

Sarah either does not understand, or perhaps does not wish to comprehend, that a presidential and vice presidential duo is supposed to function as an integrated team.

The resulting flap prompted Sarah to be referred to by an operative from the McCain team calling her a "diva" while another negative comment erupted during that same rocky period that "Palin is a lightweight" and that Mitt Romney will become the Republican party's chief spokesman "on November 5."

Mind you that all this is happening a week before Election Day.

As for Sarah the free spirit, even minimal vetting from the McCain forces should have been enough to remove her from consideration for the vice presidency. Her two years as Alaska's governor have been marked by bickering and cronyism in which major positions have been frequently filled by ill-qualified long time Wasilla cronies.

On top of that, there is that sticky "Troopergate" investigation that will not seem to go away. How could they have missed that? If they saw it, how could they go forward with a Palin nomination for vice president?

All the while Democrats stand aside while Republicans engage in inter-party warfare.


Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 02:58 PM


Frankenfood: This Halloween trick could be for real!
Goats that produce spider silk in their milk. Pigs with mouse DNA to improve their digestion. These animals aren't freaks of nature--they're created by man through genetic engineering.

But the Food and Drug Administration wants to let the meat and milk from these animals be sold to you without your knowledge!

FDA has said that each of these animals is different enough from the normal version that it has to go through a full safety assessment. But FDA has refused to require labeling, and says that the ethics of such changes cannot even be considered in its decisionmaking.

Sign our petition to the FDA demanding the agency label genetically engineered food. We should know what we're buying and eating--and have the right to say "no" to gene-altered food.

Docket No.

I am deeply concerned that the Food and Drug Administration has issued Draft Guidance that will allow meat and milk from genetically engineered animals into the food supply without any way for me to know whether I'm buying or eating such food. Genetically engineered animals can pose health risks, which is why the FDA is proposing to conduct a full safety assessment for milk and meat from these animals.
If these foods need to be assessed for their safety, why would the FDA allow them to be sold without labels identifying them as such?

For example, goats have been engineered with spider genes to produce spider silk in their milk. And pigs have been engineered with mouse and bacterial DNA to improve the way they metabolize their feed. These animals are obviously different than their counterparts that have not had their genes altered. Not only should the milk and meat from these animals be studied to determine if they are safe, they should be labeled so we know exactly what we are buying.

FDA requires the label on a soup can indicate the ham, chicken and different vegetables it contains. Food must be labeled if it is frozen, pasteurized or comes from concentrate. Likewise, even if it is safe, meat or milk from genetically engineered animals also should have to carry a label. These are facts that I want to know. I urge you to revise your Draft Guidance for Industry on Regulation of Genetically Engineered Animals to require labeling of food products from all genetically engineered animals.

Go on-site to gain access to online petition.


I don't care if food is sold that has been engineered, treated or that it's from other countries, I just want to be informed so I can make my own choices. I want to know just what it is my family is eating. We know of produce managers who will not buy food from other countries for his own family, as their safety practices aren't always up to snuff. Chemical and cleanliness factors are big concerns. SRH

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 03:25 PM
. . .

The Other O in Ohio

Barack Obama has gotten a lot of grief about his campaign's vaguely presidential seal. But shortly after he attended an event in Toledo, Obama was accused of taking his enthusiasm for heraldry too far.

On the October 15 broadcast of his radio show, conservative personality Bob Grant complained that there was something funny about one of the flags on Obama's stage:

What is that flag that Obama's been standing in front of that looks like an American flag, but instead of having the field of 50 stars representing the 50 states, there's a circle? Is the circle the 'O' for Obama? Is that what it is? Did you notice Obama is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars? He has the 'O' flag. And that's what that 'O' is. Just like he did with the plane he was using. He had the flag painted over, and the 'O' for Obama.

Oh, the hubris. Not content with his already dubious demipresidential seal, Obama has now designed his own standard. Will no one stop this egomaniac? Or, as Grant said: "Now, these are symptom—these things are symptomatic of a person who would like to be a potentate—a dictator."

The gravel-voiced Grant, a pioneer of the angry talk radio format, had a point. All of these O doodads seem vaguely Napoleonic. But Grant, who once referred to New York Mayor David Dinkins as "the men's room attendant at the 21 Club," is famous for sharing his first impressions with listeners before checking for offensiveness or, well, accuracy.

Wrong again, Grant; it turns out the offending banner ruffling behind the junior senator from Illinois was, in fact, the state flag of Ohio.

—Daniel Luzer

. . . . .

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 04:36 PM


Exposing Corruption Exploring Solutions
Project OnGovernment Oversight

Dear Saundra,

Huge news: Special Counsel Scott Bloch has been forced to step down! The decision by White House officials to oust the head of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) comes after years of embarrassing missteps and alarming misconduct that have left the agency in shambles. Bloch had announced his own plans to leave in January 2009, but he has now been placed on administrative leave until December 12th, when his term ends.

POGO has been investigating Bloch's gross mismanagement of the OSC since 2004 (after much deliberation, we actually called for his removal in a July letter to White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten). Bloch has recently been under federal investigation for destroying computer files related to an earlier investigation in which he was accused of retaliating against whistleblowers in his office.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks, as we'll be releasing a report with recommendations for addressing the systemic problems that are likely to plague the OSC even after Bloch's departure.

Be sure to check out our press alert on Bloch's resignation to learn more.

I also wanted to let you know that POGO's Staff Scientist Ned Feder has been in the news this week for his past struggles against the leadership at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

While working as a scientist at the NIH, Dr. Feder highlighted the fact that many NIH-funded researchers at universities and hospitals around the country were privately receiving consulting fees and other payments from drug companies and similar businesses, often creating blatant conflicts of interest. Dr. Feder felt obligated to push for more transparency and disclosure. But when he made his argument public in letters to the editor of Nature and other publications, and identified himself as an NIH scientist, the NIH continued to do nothing to address the problem, and instead gave Dr. Feder a harsh reprimand.

However, all was not lost. In recent months, the movement to improve transparency at the NIH has been picking up steam, thanks largely to the efforts of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and his staff, who have uncovered a pattern of possibly illegal practices at several major medical schools. POGO and Dr. Feder support Senator Grassley's Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2007 (S. 2029), which requires the public disclosure of grantees' financial arrangements. We also want to encourage a culture at NIH in which scientists like Dr. Feder feel free to speak openly and publicly about problems at the agency, and where management will not retaliate against scientists who disagree with the agency.

Dr. Feder's work was recently featured in Pharmalot, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Nature. Be sure to check out our blog post to learn more.

Warm regards,

Danielle Brian
Executive Director
Project On Government Oversight

P.S. Next week we're going to be switching over to a completely new website. While the URL will remain the same (www.pogo.org) and the home page will look similar, the updated site will include tons of exciting new features, such as a re-organization of our program areas, a more intuitive and user-friendly navigation, related content items, and more. For those of you who visit our site on a regular basis, you might notice a few hiccups next week while the switch is taking place. We appreciate your patience, and we look forward to your thoughts on the new pogo.org!


Support POGO through CFC #10785

Click here to view our most recent press alerts

Follow the link below to tell your friends about POGO.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for POGO.

There are several links within this newsletter to enable you to gain more information regarding this issue, so go on-site to gain access to them.



Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 05:15 PM
. . . . . . .

McCain camp trying to scapegoat Palin

Roger Simon
Thu Oct 30, 5:43 am ET

John McCain's campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.

And it has decided on Sarah Palin.


Go on-site to view VIDEO by clicking here:


In recent days, a McCain “adviser” told Dana Bash of CNN: “She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.”

Imagine not taking advice from the geniuses at the McCain campaign. What could Palin be thinking?

Also, a “top McCain adviser” told Mike Allen of Politico that Palin is “a whack job.”

Maybe she is. But who chose to put this “whack job” on the ticket? Wasn’t it John McCain? And wasn’t it his first presidential-level decision?

And if you are a 72-year-old presidential candidate, wouldn’t you expect that your running mate’s fitness for high office would come under a little extra scrutiny? And, therefore, wouldn’t you make your selection with care? (To say nothing about caring about the future of the nation?)

McCain didn’t seem to care that much. McCain admitted recently on national TV that he “didn’t know her well at all” before he chose Palin.

But why not? Why didn’t he get to know her better before he made his choice?

It’s not like he was rushed. McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination in early March. He didn’t announce his choice for a running mate until late August.

Wasn’t that enough time for McCain to get to know Palin? Wasn’t that enough time for his crackerjack “vetters” to investigate Palin’s strengths and weaknesses, check through records and published accounts, talk to a few people, and learn that she was not only a diva but a whack job diva?

But McCain picked her anyway. He wanted to close the “enthusiasm gap” between himself and Barack Obama. He wanted to inject a little adrenaline into the Republican National Convention. He wanted to goose up the Republican base.

And so he chose Palin. Is she really a diva and a whack job? Could be. There are quite a few in politics. (And a few in journalism, too, though in journalism they are called “columnists.”)

As proof that she is, McCain aides now say Palin is “going rogue” and straying from their script. Wow. What a condemnation. McCain sticks to the script. How well is he doing?

In truth, Palin’s real problem is not her personality or whether she takes orders well. Her real problem is that neither she nor McCain can make a credible case that Palin is ready to assume the presidency should she need to.

And that undercuts McCain’s entire campaign.

This was the deal McCain made with the devil. In exchange for energizing his base by picking Palin, he surrendered his chief selling point: that he was better prepared to run the nation in time of crisis, whether it be economic, an attack by terrorists or, as he has been talking about in recent days, fending off a nuclear war.

“The next president won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain told a crowd in Miami on Wednesday. “I’ve been tested, my friends, I’ve been tested.”

But has Sarah Palin?

I don’t believe running mates win or lose elections, though some believe they can be a drag on the ticket. Lee Atwater, who was George H.W. Bush’s campaign manager in 1988, told me that Dan Quayle cost the ticket 2 to 3 percentage points. But Bush won the election by 7.8 percentage points.

So, in Atwater’s opinion, Bush survived his bad choice by winning the election on his own.

McCain could do the same thing. But his campaign’s bad decisions have not stopped with Sarah Palin. It has made a series of questionable calls, including making Joe the Plumber the embodiment of the campaign.

Are voters really expected to warmly embrace an (unlicensed) plumber who owes back taxes and complains about the possibility of making a quarter million dollars a year?

And did McCain’s aides really believe so little in John McCain’s own likability that they thought Joe the Plumber would be more likable?

Apparently so. Which is sad.

We in the press make too much of running mates and staff and talking points and all the rest of the hubbub that accompanies a campaign.

In the end, it comes down to two candidates slugging it out.

Either McCain pulls off a victory in the last round or he doesn’t.

And if he doesn’t, he has nobody to blame but himself.

Slideshow: Sen. John McCain Play Video Video: 'Total confidence' in Palin CNN Play Video Video: Bill and Barack FOX News Reuters – Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain listens as he is introduced at a campaign rally in … John McCain's campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.

More on John McCain & Sarah Palin

Palin looks past Tuesday to her political future AP Fact Check: Palin's Alaska spreads its wealth AP Today on the presidential campaign trail AP

Go on-site to gain access to the NUMEROUS links within this article. Just click on the following URL:

. . .

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 05:59 PM

U.S. Expects Bin Laden Message Near Election

OBL Could Speak Out in an Effort to Prove His Relevance

Oct. 30, 2008
Multiple senior government officials tell ABC News the intelligence community is anticipating a message from Osama bin Laden before or just after the presidential election.

As we race toward Election Day, sources say a number of intelligence analysts have concluded it is critical for al Qaeda's top leader to be seen or heard, if only for public relations purposes. Those analysts believe that if bin Laden is not heard from, he runs the risk of being considered irrelevant or impotent. The U.S. intelligence community has some indication that there is some confusion among Islamic radicals about their leadership.

According to sources, the full weight of the intelligence electronic eavesdropping and human sourcing is right now desperately looking for any hint of a bin Laden statement. So far there is only rumor, no hard evidence a message is coming, officials said.

Interestingly, the U.S. government may be the reason why bin Laden could have some problems getting a message out, officials suggested to ABC News.

The United States is engaged in an intensive effort to disrupt the use of the Internet by Islamic radicals. Message boards and Web sites have been targeted. Some officials believe that if bin Laden is not heard from, some will conclude he may be dead.

Another source cautioned against such speculation, suggesting that bin Laden is most concerned about his own safety at the moment, and might increasingly fear for his life.

The sources tell ABC News the U.S. government is quietly engaged in a high-tempo moment attacking al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where U.S. officials fear the terrorists have found a safe haven from which to stage plots against Afghanistan, Pakistan and throughout the world, including the West.

A review of published reports about drone attacks in the tribal region suggests the United States may have more than tripled the number this year, compared to 2007, especially in recent months. One official tells ABC News, "We have killed a lot of senior leaders. They [radicals] are having a really bad month."

Another source agreed, noting that in recent weeks the No. 4 ranking leader in all of al Qaeda had been killed in a drone attack. The source said the hit, which was reported in The New York Times, was a huge deal and was surprised it had not gotten more play. The game plan is simple, the officials said. Keep al Qaeda off balance and scrambling.

There had been growing fears, not based on any specific intelligence, that al Qaeda has been likely plotting to attack the United States before the election, or during the transition to a new presidency. Homeland security officials are calling it a Period of Heightened Alert, or POHA, which ABC News first reported in last summer.

Sources confirm that there is an intensive effort all across the U.S. government to play offense. As of now, there is still no specific, credible evidence pointing to an imminent attack on the U.S. homeland. But that's clearly not stopping the government from being incredibly active at what it sees as a critical moment.

In 2004, bin Laden released a message in the days just before the election. Though some believe that the message affected the outcome in favor of President Bush, exit poll data do not support that notion. Among voters who called the tape "very important" in their vote, Kerry won, 53-47 percent. Among those who called it either very or somewhat important, the vote was 50-50. It was among those who called it unimportant that Bush won, by 56-43 percent.

ABC News' Gary Langer contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Go on-site to view photo's, as well as any links and related articles by clicking on the following URL:



Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 06:13 PM
+ + + + + + +

Leading The News

Murtha pleas for $1 million after racism comments

Roxana Tiron
Posted: 10/30/08 01:53 PM [ET]

Veteran Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Pa.) has sent out a last-minute plea for $1 million to save his hotly contested seat, endangered by his own remarks describing his district as racist.

In an e-mail sent to potential donors, Murtha’s campaign asked his supporters to maximize all campaign contributions.

“We need to raise another $1 million to compete,” his campaign fundraiser Susan O’Neill wrote in the e-mail obtained by The Hill. “We need money immediately.”

O’Neill blamed Republicans from outside Pennsylvania for Murtha’s problems. Polls show Murtha, running for his 18th term, ahead of his GOP opponent by just a few percentage points.

“Congressman Murtha is in a brutal reelection campaign,” O’Neill wrote. “The Swift Boaters have put up a candidate from Virginia and have raised millions of dollars against Congressman Murtha. In addition, other 527s and the [National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)] have spent millions to smear Congressman Murtha on TV, radio and in newspapers.”

Murtha’s race appeared to tighten after he called his western Pennsylvania district a “racist area.” After apologizing, he added more fuel to the fire by saying the district was, until recently, “really redneck.”

Murtha’s comments have been widely repeated, and the congressman was even parodied on “Saturday Night Live.”

In a fundraising e-mail sent on Thursday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) asked her own supporters to help Murtha. “In Pennsylvania, my good friend John Murtha — a strong supporter for me during the primaries and an important voice against the war in Iraq — is depending on your help to win,” Clinton wrote.

GOP challenger William Russell, a 46-year-old Iraq war veteran and retired Army colonel, has outraised Murtha so far. As of Oct. 15, Russell had raised $2.9 million compared to Murtha’s $2.2 million.

Political action committees can donate up to $5,000 to candidates, while individuals may donate up to $2,300.

Murtha, a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), is a welcome target for Republicans, who otherwise are headed toward what appears to be a gloomy election night.

Russell moved from Virginia to run for Congress because of Murtha's criticisms of the Iraq war. Murtha’s comments about western Pennsylvania being racist have emboldened Republicans to give last-minute help to Russell.

Murtha, a decorated war veteran, first won his seat in a 1974 special election by a little more than 100 votes.

The NRCC this week bought a television ad that highlighted Murtha’s remarks. Separately, former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) accused Murtha in a radio spot of “insulting his own constituents” and “apparently forgetting who he works for.”

Murtha is the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee. He has been very successful in the federal earmarking process, ranking as the highest recipient of earmarks in the defense appropriations bill.

His earmarks have revitalized Johnstown, the largest city in his district, and defense companies have opened offices and facilities throughout the region he represents.

Also On The Hill

Campaigning for book funds
Hagan sues Dole over atheist ad
Rep. Tancredo weighing governor’s race
Coleman sues Franken for defamation
Lott: GOP should ‘aggressively pursue’ Lieberman

+ + +

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 07:41 PM
. . . . . . .

Same Old Claims in Another Language

October 30, 2008
Ads targeting Spanish-speaking voters make claims we've heard before.

The presidential campaigns and third-party groups have been bilingual throughout the election, targeting Spanish-speaking voters with some misleading and false ads. Among the recent TV spots:

. A McCain-Palin ad tries to paint Obama as a "riesgo" (risk), falsely claiming that his health care plan would require small businesses to cover their employees. But Obama's plan explicitly exempts small businesses from this requirement, and an adviser has said the threshold "would almost certainly be higher than ten" employees for businesses to be excluded.

. The ad also says small businesses would be hit with "more taxes," but only those business owners clearing more than $200,000 would see an increase under Obama's plan.

. An Obama-Biden/DNC ad offers other misleading statements on taxes, saying McCain would tax workers' health care benefits but failing to mention he'd give a $2,500 tax credit ($5,000 for families) to cover the cost. It also says McCain's tax plan gives "nothing" to "100 million households," ignoring his health care tax credit.

. A National Rifle Association ad features a retired police officer who claims Obama "didn't think we should be allowed to use a firearm for self-defense." That refers to a vote in the Illinois Legislature to uphold enforcement of local gun bans. It wouldn't have made it a crime to use guns for self-protection elsewhere.

. A new group called Latinos 4 Reform has launched a misleading anti-Obama ad that tries to paint him as no friend to Latinos by falsely claiming he doesn't support trade with countries south of the border, among other charges.

Note: This is a summary only. The full article with analysis, images and citations may be viewed on our Web site:

Desktop users Mobile users

Please consider supporting FactCheck.org and expanding our audience by Digging this article:

This message was sent from FactCheck.org to %Member:Email% . It was sent from: FactCheck.org, 320 National Press Building, Washington, DC 20045

Forward to a Friend

. . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 08:03 PM

Support the Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act

Say NO to New Discriminatory State and Local
Wireless Taxes and Fees - FOR 5 YEARS!! Senator Wyden and Senator Snowe have introduced S. 3249, the bipartisan Wyden-Snowe "Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act," pro-consumer legislation that will provide much-needed wireless tax relief to millions of American wireless users and their families, for five years. In recent MyWireless.org® consumer survey data, 85% of consumers supported a vacation from new excessive wireless taxes.

Please urge your Senators to join their Senate Colleagues by cosponsoring S. 3249 today. Also, you can say 'thank you' to your Senators who have already cosponsored this pro-consumer legislation. Take a look at the current cosponsors of the Wyden-Snowe Cell Tax Fairness Act.
The average American wireless consumer today now pays over 15 percent in wireless taxes and fees on their monthly bill - and in some states, 17 of them to be exact, tax rates have even skyrocketed to well over 15 percent in monthly wireless taxes. Amazingly, several of these states have even broken the 20% mark for taxation. Wireless taxes are currently DOUBLE or TRIPLE that of other goods and services, which stand at an average of 7%. Wireless consumers currently pay a whopping $21 billion dollars annually in wireless taxes and fees. More than 260 million Americans use their wireless device every day to stay connected to family and friends, and to the office. Congress must not let complicated and costly layers of state and local taxes, fees and surcharges make using your cell phone unaffordable.

What would you tell policymakers who propose new wireless taxes?

Close [X]
Go to
YOU CAN HELP TODAY by encouraging your U.S. Senators in Washington to support and co-sponsor S. 3249, the Wyden-Snowe "Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act," that will freeze all new discriminatory state and local wireless taxes for five years. Tell your friends, and contact your lawmakers today.

Learn more about the issue.
*required: Name
*Email Address
*Prefix Mr. Mrs. Ms. Miss Dr.
*First Name
*Last Name
*Address 1
*Postal Code
Yes! Send me email updates.
(View our privacy policy.)

This letter will be sent to the following individual(s):

Submitting this form will transmit the letter below to your two Members of the U.S. Senate.

By clicking Send A Letter, you agree to these terms and conditions. If you are a new member, you will receive an email to confirm your information.

Subject: No Unfair, New Wireless Taxes for Five Years
Dear [Lawmaker]:
Pro-consumer legislation affecting America's more than 265 million wireless consumers is currently being considered in the U.S. Senate after being introduced by Senator Wyden and Senator Snowe. As a consumer who relies on my wireless phone every day, I am asking you to please support and cosponsor S. 3249, the bipartisan Wyden-Snowe "Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act" today.

The average wireless consumer now pays approximately 15 % in wireless taxes and fees on their monthly bills. Amazingly, a number of states are even above the 20% mark. After going over my bill, I see that my wireless taxes are currently DOUBLE or TRIPLE the rate imposed on other goods and services, which is about 7% on average. In total, wireless consumers pay approximately $21 billion dollars annually in wireless taxes and fees to federal, state and local governments.

Senator, I now use my wireless device every day to stay connected to my family, to my office and to my friends. Please don't let even more complicated and costly layers of unfair, new state and local taxes, fees and surcharges be added to my monthly wireless service, making use of my cell phone unaffordable. At a rate of taxation that is already more than double, enough is enough! As my elected voice in Washington, I urge you to stand up for me and support this legislation that would provide a well-deserved 5-year hiatus from all NEW discriminatory wireless taxes and fees.

The "Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness" bill, S. 3249, places a 5-year freeze on current state and local taxes on wireless service, enabling Congress to address wireless tax fairness and to level the playing field for consumers, no matter where you live. Most important is the example set by the recent successful movement of the House companion bill, H.R. 5793, the bipartisan Lofgren-Cannon "Cell Tax Fairness Act of 2008" – this legislation received a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing and currently stands at nearly 140 cosponsors. It is important to me that this legislation receives a proper Committee hearing before the 110th Congress adjourns, and a fair floor vote when Congress begins the 111th in 2009.

Thank you for your leadership and hard work on behalf of the tens of millions of American wireless consumers. I strongly urge you to support and cosponsor S. 3249, the bipartisan Wyden-Snowe bill. Supporting a measure that will allow me and my family to keep a little more of our hard-earned money in these uncertain economic times would be greatly appreciated.


Your Name
Your Address
City, State Zip
Edit Signature

Go to the following URL to sign petition. This is important.


Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 09:05 PM


Wouldn't that be something, then he could go after the thugs who went after him. But you know they will be pardoned before the first Champagne cork is popped; before the first bubble makes it's way to our noses.

Obama approaches lawmaker about White House post

Associated Press Writers
1 hr 1 min ago

Barack Obama's campaign has approached Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel about possibly serving as White House chief of staff, officials said Thursday as the marathon presidential race entered its final, frenzied stretch with a Democratic tilt.

The disclosure came as Republican John McCain, in need of a comeback, focused on pocketbook issues amid fresh signs of a recession. "Ohio is hurting now, people in Ohio are having trouble staying in their homes, keeping their jobs," he said as he set out on a two-day bus tour of the state.

"We have got to get this economy out of the ditch."

Obama, bidding to become the first black president, also pointed to the government's report that the economy had declined in the third quarter. He told a large crowd in Florida that McCain has been perched "right next to George Bush" for eight years, and consumers are paying a steep price for their partnership.

The Democrats who described the Obama campaign's approach to Emanuel spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to be quoted by name. An aide to the congressman, Sarah Feinberg, said in an e-mail that he "has not been contacted to take a job in an administration that does not yet exist. Everyone is focused on Election Day, as they should be. "

Emanuel is a veteran of President Clinton's White House, and has made a rapid ascent of the House leadership ladder since his election to Congress. He was chairman of the Democratic campaign committee two years ago when the party won a majority for the first time in more than a decade, and he cemented his reputation as a prodigious fundraiser and strong-willed political strategist.

Both Obama and McCain have authorized their staffs to begin transition operations in recent weeks — although only one of them will be in a position to make use of the results. As far as is known, no job offers have been made by either man.

Opinion polls, early voting statistics and even the candidates' campaign schedules all make it look like the race is Obama's to lose.

The Democrat campaigned exclusively in traditionally Republican states during the day, flying from Florida to Virginia to Missouri, in hopes of winning a sizable victory on Tuesday. Polls consistently show him ahead nationally as well as in a half-dozen states that sided with Bush in 2004, and tied in three more.

McCain's bus tour of Ohio underscored his political predicament. Bush won the state twice, it has voted for the winner in every presidential election for 20 years, and public and private surveys all give Obama the advantage.

Both campaigns invested heavily in turning out early voters.

Officials in North Carolina said roughly 30 percent of all registered voters had already cast ballots — about 1.7 million in all — and the Board of Elections ordered the state's 100 counties to keep longer voting hours.

Like the opinion polls, the early ballot count favored Obama. Officials in Iowa, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada as well as North Carolina said more Democrats that Republicans had cast ballots, in some cases by lopsided margins.

Democrats, increasingly optimistic about regaining the White House, looked forward to padding their majorities in Congress, too, and then tackling the economy and bringing the war in Iraq to an end.

But McCain and his aides sought to stoke doubts about one-party government. The campaign challenged Obama to say whether he supports a 25 percent cut in defense spending that is advocated by some in his party

In Sarasota, his first stop of the day, Obama tried to take advantage of the day's dreary business news, a government report that consumers had cut back spending so sharply that the economy had shrunk at an annual rate of 0.3 percent in the third quarter.

It was the economy's worst showing since the fall of 2001, when a recession in progress was compounded by the impacts of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"Folks have to watch every penny, tighten their belts," said Obama, contending that the downturn was the result of eight years of Republican economic policies.

"If you want to know where John McCain will drive this economy, just look in the rearview mirror. Because when it comes to our economic policies, John McCain has been right next to George Bush. He's been sitting there in the passenger seat, ready to take over, every step of the way," he added.

Obama's campaign reinforced the rhetoric with a new television commercial. It showed the faces of Bush and McCain together in a car's rearview mirror as the announcer said, "Look behind you. We can't afford more of the same."

In a second ad, Obama touted endorsements from Colin Powell, the former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Warren Buffett, arguably the nation's best known investor.

McCain countered with a new ad in Florida in which Gov. Charlie Crist heaped praise on the Republican candidate. "A reformer, a maverick, he'll fight out-of-control spending and keep our taxes down," Crist says. "John McCain never quits and he'll always fight for you."

McCain's first stop of the day was in chilly Defiance, Ohio, where he did not dwell on the economic report. Instead, he pointed to Exxon Mobil's announcement of a $14.83 billion profit in the third quarter, a record, and said Obama had voted for legislation that included millions in tax breaks for oil companies.

"Senator Obama voted for billions in corporate giveaways to the oil companies," said McCain in an apparent reference to a 2005 energy bill that Bush pushed through Congress.

"I voted against it," the Arizona Republican said.

Ben Feller reported from Florida. Jim Kuhnhenn contributed from Washington, Mike Baker from North Carolina and Mike Glover from Florida.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.Questions or CommentsPrivacy PolicyTerms of ServiceCopyright/IP Policy


Polls: Obama leads McCain by 13 points in NH AP Unable to vote, noncitizen immigrants volunteer AP
Palin looks past Tuesday to her political future AP


'I'm running to create wealth'

CNN Video:
How Can Voters Evaulate Judge Hopefuls?

CBS 2 Chicago Video:
Election Coverage Online ABC News


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 09:16 PM
$ $ $ $ $ $ $

World Tires Of Rule By Dollar

Paul Craig Roberts
30 October, 2008

What explains the paradox of the dollar’s sharp rise in value against other currencies (except the Japanese yen) despite disproportionate US exposure to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

The answer does not lie in improved fundamentals for the US economy or better prospects for the dollar to retain its reserve currency role.

The rise in the dollar’s exchange value is due to two factors.

One factor is the traditional flight to the reserve currency that results from panic. People are simply doing what they have always done. Pam Martens predicted correctly that panic demand for US Treasury bills would boost the US dollar.

The other factor is the unwinding of the carry trade. The carry trade originated in extremely low Japanese interest rates. Investors and speculators borrowed Japanese yen at an interest rate of one-half of one percent, converted the yen to other currencies, and purchased debt instruments from other countries that pay much higher interest rates. In effect, they were getting practically free funds from Japan to lend to others paying higher interest.

The financial crisis has reversed this process. The toxic American derivatives were marketed worldwide by Wall Street. They have endangered the balance sheets and solvency of financial institutions throughout the world, including national governments, such as Iceland and Hungary. Banks and governments that invested in the troubled American financial instruments found their own debt instruments in jeopardy.

Those who used yen loans to purchase, for example, debt instruments from European banks or Icelandic bonds, faced potentially catastrophic losses. Investors and speculators sold their higher-yielding financial instruments in a scramble for dollars and yen in order to pay off their Japanese loans. This drove up the values of the yen and the US dollar, the reserve currency that can be used to repay debts, and drove down the values of other currencies.

The dollar’s rise is temporary, and its prospects are bleak. The US trade deficit will lessen due to less consumer spending during recession, but it will remain the largest in the world and one that the US cannot close by exporting more. The way the US trade deficit is financed is by foreigners acquiring more dollar assets, with which their portfolios are already heavily weighted.

The US government’s budget deficit is large and growing, adding hundreds of billions of dollars more to an already large national debt. As investors flee equities into US government bills, the market for US Treasuries will temporarily depend less on foreign governments. Nevertheless, the burden on foreigners and on world savings of having to finance American consumption, the US government’s wars and military budget, and the US financial bailout is increasingly resented.

This resentment, combined with the harm done to America’s reputation by the financial crisis, has led to numerous calls for a new financial order in which the US plays a substantially lesser role. “Overcoming the financial crisis” are code words for the rest of the world’s intent to overthrow US financial hegemony.

Brazil, Russia, India and China have formed a new group (BRIC) to coordinate their interests at the November financial summit in Washington, D.C.

On October 28, RIA Novosti reported that Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin suggested to China that the two countries use their own currencies in their bilateral trade, thus avoiding the use of the dollar. China’s prime Minister Wen Jiabao replied that strengthening bilateral relations is strategic.

Europe has also served notice that it intends to exert a new leadership role. Four members of the Group of Seven industrial nations, France, Britain, Germany and Italy, used the financial crisis to call for sweeping reforms of the world financial system. Jose Manual Barroso, president of the European Commission, said that a new world financial system is possible only “if Europe has a leadership role.”

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the “economic egoism” of America’s “unipolar vision of the world” is a ”dead-end policy.”

China’s massive foreign exchange reserves and its strong position in manufacturing have given China the leadership role in Asia. The deputy prime minister of Thailand recently designated the Chinese yuan as “the rightful and anointed convertible currency of the world.”

Normally, the Chinese are very circumspect in what they say, but on October 24 Reuters reported that the People’s Daily, the official government newspaper, in a front-page commentary accused the US of plundering “global wealth by exploiting the dollar’s dominance.” To correct this unacceptable situation, the commentary called for Asian and European countries to “banish the US dollar from their direct trade relations, relying only on their own currencies.” And this step, said the commentary, is merely a starting step in overthrowing dollar dominance.

The Chinese are expressing other thoughts that would get the attention of a less deluded and arrogant American government. Zhou Jiangong, editor of the online publication, Chinastates.com, recently asked: “Why should China help the US to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the US can expand without limit?”

Zhou Jiangong’s solution to American excesses is for China to take over Wall Street.

China has the money to do it, and the prudent Chinese would do a better job than the crowd of thieves who have destroyed America’s financial reputation while exploiting the world in pursuit of multi-million dollar bonuses.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

$ $ $

Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 09:31 PM

The 2008 US Recession,
Military Keynesianism And
The Wars In The Middle East

Peter Custers
30 October, 2008


In the first part of 2007, there was a striking coincidence between two kinds of speculative talk - speculation about the then impending recession in the US economy, and speculation about an open war by the US against Iran. Both forms of speculation were rife when the US's financial crisis had just started. As the incapacity of small house owners to pay for rising interest rates on their mortgages backfired against American banks who had provided them with loans, - the former president of the US Federal reserve, Greenspan, warned that these troubles could well snowball into a recession. Simultaneously, speculation in March/April of 2007 intensified about plans by US policymakers to launch air strikes against Iran. Such speculation about the eventuality of yet another US war, in which nuclear weapons would likely be employed, was of course not new. However, quite noteworthy is the fact that such speculative talk about war expansion ran parallel to talk about a new recession.

Meanwhile, the financial crisis which in early 2007 had barely started, has engulfed the entire world economy. Moreover, the crisis by now has actually emanated in a recession, a crisis in the realm of industrial production. The new periodic crisis has come very soon, i.e. hardly five years since the US had emergend from its previous recession in March/April of 2003. Signs that the financial crisis has reached the real economy became especially strong in July last, when international press reports highlighted the fact that US automobile manufacturers, foremost General Motors, had incurred huge losses during 2007 and during the first half of 2008. These facts moreover were quickly corroborated with facts indicating that the slump in the sales of cars is not limited to US car manufacturers alone, but affects production of other leading manufacturers of cars, including Japanese and German corporations. Yet while there is now broad recognition of the fact that the US economy and other Western economies face a periodic crisis, there is little discussion as yet on how the recession and militarism intersect.

2.Previous US Recessions and US Wars
In order to face this issue head-on, let's briefly review how previous recessions in the US economy have been related to US wars. Both the 1991 and the 2001-2003 recession happened to coincide, not with speculative talk about war, but with the launching of bloody wars in the Gulf region of the Middle East. The 1991 war, ostensibly intended to end Iraq's occupation of Kuwait, happened to take place at the very moment when the US economy passed through a brief recession. This was not accidental, for the war was premised amongst others on calculations made by US economic and military policymakers, that a shift in policy-orientation had become inevitable. Paradoxically, the 1991 Gulf war was not aimed at increasing the reliance of the US state on military allocations as leverage to keep the business cycle going, - but aimed at the opposite: a relative reduction in the size of the US's military budget, and a relative reduction in state orders for those corporation which dominate the US's military sector.

To understand this paradox, we need to be aware of the fact that military allocations during the period of the Reagan administration of the 1980s had functioned both as main leverage to steer the US's overall accumulation process, and had contributed towards the occurrence of a new recession. Since the world's media appear to have forgotten how they reported on Reagan's macro-economic policymaking in those years, it is necessary to emphasize the point: throughout the eighties, meaning from the beginning of the new business cycle in 1982 onwards, the US government did rely on military keynesianism to drive the economy. It notably engaged in deficit spending so as to support the overall demand for goods in society, which deficit was largely caused by the Pentagon's lavish purchases of armament systems, and by other purchases of military and civilian goods for the US army. And when this course of action by the end of the 1980s had become untenable, and the state had to partly scale down its military purchases, the Bush sr. government used the 1991 Gulf war inter alia to help US arms' corporations bag additional export orders, in replacement of orders by the US state.

The war which the US launched in 2003 for the overthrow of Iraq's Saddam Hussain regime once again was related, not just to the US's interest in controlling Middle Eastern oil, but also to a transition towards a new business cycle in the US economy. During the Clinton years of the 1990s, the military budget had remained exceedingly high, with observers reporting that US arms' spending continued to be equal to half the world's total. Yet military allocations were no longer a primary driving force of the business cycle, since this role during the given decade was fulfilled by the production of information technology. The 'plight' of the armament corporations can graphically be illustrated via the example of 'forced' mergers in the military sector. In order to maintain their capacity to produce, armament corporations were advised to merge, by none other than the US state secretary of 'defense'. The official encouragement resulted in a dramatic concentration of economic power in the military sector: only five giants remained.

The launching of the 2003 war has never been adequately explained, but was premised on the determination of the Bush administration to get a new business cycle going, by relying once again largely on military allocations. This was understood well by the world's press media, when they reported that during the second quarter of 2003 US military allocations accounted for 60 percent of resumed economic growth. The policy mix which the US government has been used this time round cannot be fully equated with that of the 1980s. For the Pentagon, even while obtaining a huge expansion in its budget along with huge extra-budgetary war allocations, has continued to advise military corporations that they should give due importance to exports, and has promoted a transatlantic policy of capital concentration to facilitate their access to import orders of European states. Nevertheless, a proper assessment of all, official and hidden, millitary-related allocations along with recognition of their multiplier effect, does lead to the conclusion that the Bush jr. government has been pursuing a policy of military keynesianism all through.

3.What Outcome from the Current Recession?
The above reflections on the history of US recessions and wars in the Middle East sufficiently indicate the need to discuss the present US recession in its relation to militarism. In what manner will US economic policymakers seek to draw the economy from its slump this time? First, there will be no let-up in war making in the Middle East. Although the launching of an open war against Iran seems unlikely at the present, - there is all reason to fear that the US will continue with its multiple aggressions against, and slaughter of people in, the Middle East. Very telling is the fact that Barack Obama, who seems set to win the upcoming US presidential elections, has announced he intends to intensify the war in Afghanistan, where the US and its NATO allies are bogged down in fighting the Taliban. In fact, there are increasing signs that the US considers the whole region of the Middle East and West Asia, including Pakistan and Syria, a legitimate theatre for the waging of war.

At the same time, there is little doubt that the US will continue to bank on military keynesianism as its preferred economic strategy. With military related spending having reached over a trillion (a thousand billion) US dollars, - the existence of macro economic effects covering both the military and the civilian sectors of the US economy can hardly be disputed. Surprisingly, the Bush administration earlier this year has taken recourse to a (small) programme of civilian spending to stimulate aggregate demand. Yet the 438 billion dollar budget deficit over 2008 has continued to be axed primarily on military and military related spending. Moreover, where ideological barriers against state intervention are being broken down, as part of overall western efforts to counter the threat of a financial collapse, it is not unlikely that the US and European policymakers will jointly seek to institute draconian state controls and regulate their economies along the lines of an expanded version of military keynesianism. Nouriel Roubini, the Wall Street economist who has gathered world fame by predicting the current world financial crisis, has already warned that the US economy may end up as a 'war economy', just as happened during the 20th century world wars. Clearly, it is time economists catch up, and engage in debate on the military underpinnings of economic policymaking in the US and beyond.

Peter Custersis a theoretician on the political economy of arms' production, and is the author of 'Questioning Globalized Militarism. Nuclear and Military Production and Critical Economic Theory' (Tulika, New Delhi/Merlin Press, London/Independent Publishers' Group, Chicago, 2007)



Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 10:00 PM

October 30, 2008
Senators back Kahana evictees

But state refuses to delay proceedings until Legislature convenes
eloise aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

The state Senate leadership has pledged its support to six families facing eviction from Kahana Valley state park.

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, Vice President Donna Mercado Kim and Sens. Clayton Hee and Russell Kokubun said at a press conference yesterday at the state Capitol that they want to work with the state to find an amicable and peaceful resolution to the eviction.

"This is not an issue that can not be solved," said Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha). "Our plea to the administration is to work with us."

On Friday, the state Department of Land and Natural Resource informed the families that they must move, based on a finding by the state attorney general that a law, Act 5, adopted in 1987 to provide leases to long-time valley residents, no longer applies and the department could not issue any new leases in the valley.

However, until March of this year the state had been negotiating with valley residents to stay.

Hanabusa questioned the timing of the eviction during these difficult economic times and scoffed at the attorney general's interpretation, saying the problem can be fixed legislatively. But lawmakers must wait until the session begins, so she asked that the eviction be delayed until the Legislature can address the issue.

Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the DLNR, said in an e-mail that the department will not delay the eviction any further because there's no guarantee that a bill would pass.

"The Legislature has tried three times to pass a bill and not succeeded," said Ward, adding that the residents would have to move in any case because they are in an area of the park that was meant for public use. The homes are located in the lower valley.

Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairwoman, will meet with the families today to explain transitional housing options that the department can provide, Ward said.

Hee, who represents Kahana Valley, met with Thielen earlier yesterday and said she seems receptive but still wants to move the six families out of their present homes and then discuss options.

The families are weighing legal options, and Hee said a fund is being set up in case money is needed to bail residents out of jail if they are arrested, for possible court challenges and to help feed the 30 children involved as their parents focus on the eviction.

In the end, Hee said, the goal is for the families "to have the wherewithal and opportunity to qualify and own a home in perpetuity in Kahana Valley."

Thielen has said the development of the living park concept was a way to accommodate a limited number of private residential leases in the park so families that had lived there for generations could stay. In exchange they were required to provide 25 hours a month of cultural activities for visitors and do other work.

But the law limited the number of leases that could be issued to 31 and no new leases could be issued after that, she said.

As the years passed, some of the adult children moved out but six families remained in hopes of receiving a lease, Thielen said. When three leases were defaulted, 28 families applied for them.

However, the March decision by the attorney general ended any hope for new leases.

Representatives of the six families attended the press conference and said they were grateful for the support from senators.

"We are just families exercising our traditional, customary, ancestral rights, living an ahupua'a lifestyle," said Lena Soliven, spokeswoman for the group. "This is really taking a toll. We cannot sleep and if we do sleep, it's with one eye open and our ear to the floor because we don't know what kind of tactics or what they got planned for us.

"We're going to stand our ground and we will not be moving."

Wouldn't squatters rights apply in these Hawaiian's situation? How about Native Hawaiian rights? Is there such a thing? Do Hawaiians have any rights at all? There doesn't seem to be when looking at their predicament. Such a pity, it truly is. SRH


Saundra Hummer
October 30th, 2008, 10:54 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

New UFO sightings investigated in Erath County

MATT FRAZIERmfrazier@star-telegram.com

That’s not the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Texas’ UFOs are back — just in time for Halloween.
Reports of UFOs sighted over North Central Texas last week are the latest in an apparent sequel to the Stephenville sightings in January, which made headlines nationwide.

Dozens of residents in and around Erath County reported seeing strange lights in the sky the evening of Oct. 23, according to the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, which also reported that the military has confirmed the presence of F-16s in the area at that time.

"I think more people are willing to come forward now that more people are talking about this," said Whitney White-Ashley, a reporter for the paper.

CNN reported last week’s sightings, interviewing Dublin resident Andy Monroe, who caught a 30-second video of a line of red lights he says encircled an oval shape floating in the sky.

Most of the descriptions are of an oval shape with lights around the outside, said Alejandro Rojas with the Mutual UFO Network, a nationwide organization created in 1969 to scientifically study UFO sightings. A MUFON investigator is interviewing witnesses, and the group has already sent requests for radar data from the F-16s.

"These are descriptions that were sent into our Web site the night of the sighting, so they could not have been something just copied from media coverage," Rojas said.

January sightings
In or around Jan. 8, dozens of people around Dublin and Stephenville — about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth — reported seeing something that did not move like conventional aircraft.

Descriptions varied. Some told of objects up to a mile long and hundreds of yards high. Others reported seeing two to eight lights that flew in formation, changed color and shone with intensity greater than a welding flame. Some witnesses said the objects were accompanied or followed by military jets.

Latest Texas sightings

According to MUFON’S Web site:

Near Dublin. A couple said that at about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday they were headed west on U.S. 377 when they saw a flying object sporting three sets of three lights in a semicircle.

Dallas. A man said he was walking his dog at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday when he saw a triangle-shaped object with orange lights flying silently almost due south over downtown.

Fairfield. Residents reported seeing from their porch an oval object glowing red while hovering at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the southwest. "Occasionally it would throw a whitish blue light. We could see other air traffic way high above it [planes fly along Interstate 45 as a normal route]. This looked nothing like what else was in the sky."




MATT FRAZIER, 817-685-3854

British archive recounts UFO encounter
Britain releases UFO files, dispels some...

^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 02:12 AM
:: :: :: :: ::

Hollywood weighs impact of election
Thu Oct 30, 2008
11:20pm EDT
Steven Zeitchik and Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Jay Leno and David Letterman are rooting for the Republicans.
That's not a comment on their political beliefs, which late-night hosts play close to their vests. But if comic fodder is any factor, after-hours hosts will benefit from a John McCain administration: During a survey in September, the Center for Media and Public Affairs counted seven times as many jokes about the Republican ticket than the Democratic one.

The outcome of the battle for the White House will have consequences far beyond entertainment. But next week's election will also impact Hollywood, influencing culture and policy in crucial ways.

In redefining the pop cultural zeitgeist, it could indirectly affect which movies are made and how much media regulation conglomerates face as well as have an impact on digital development and cable-news ratings.

And it will vault some personalities to popularity and doom others to obscurity.

The principle: What's good for one category of entertainers under one administration is bad for another.

"If McCain wins, late-night hosts would have a field day," CNN pundit and Hunter College professor Karen Hunter said.

And if Barack Obama wins?

"(Right-wing radio hosts) Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would have a field day," she said.

There are many variables in the relationship between the White House and Hollywood. But the governing principle, according to several industry vets and experts, is that opposition rules -- that is, the entertainment world will favor those aligned with the opposition.

Bill O'Reilly, Matt Drudge, Limbaugh and other conservative stars rose to power during the eight years of the Clinton administration. Over the past eight years of Republican rule, such entertainers as Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Al Franken were able to make the jump to the big time on the backs of White House blunders.

That means if Obama converts his lead in the polls to a victory, the next four years could bring these stars back to earth and vault others into the stratosphere.

"The people who have the most trouble will be people like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert," one network late-night producer said. "It's very hard to rail against the machine when you helped support the machine. They're going to have to find a different dynamic."

It's not just traditional television comedy either.

Hybrid personality Michael Moore enjoyed under Bush his two biggest box office successes in "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko," feeding off resentment for Bush's foreign policy and health-care plan. Moore is prepping a sequel to "Fahrenheit" that Paramount Vantage and Overture are co-producing. But rival studio execs are questioning the movie's commercial prospects if Obama wins the White House and the country puts the Bush years behind it.

Cable news, meanwhile, is increasingly polarized, and the election will only widen the gulf. Fox News' most successful shows -- led by O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor" and Hannity's "Hannity & Colmes" -- are also two of its more conservative shows (though Colmes provides a counterbalance), while MSNBC has taken a sharp turn to the left with Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and, to a lesser extent, Chris Matthews.

An election that lifts either the left or right to power will provide a boost to the network imbued with the ideology of the other side. Given Obama's lead at the polls, an MSNBC comeback -- Olbermann's ratings continue to be strong and Maddow's upstart show is an unlikely second-place challenger to CNN's Larry King -- could stall if the Illinois senator ascends to the Oval Office.

And such effects wouldn't be limited to MSNBC: Cable ratings in general could sag.

"A lot of people are going to suffer from withdrawal after the election," said Hunter, only half-joking. "What are people going to talk about after there's no more campaigning?"

On the feature film side, expect consequences in the medium term, particularly when it comes to subject matter.

"It may take a few years, but I think the scripts we'll start to see will be impacted by who's in the Oval Office," one studio development exec said. "We're going to see a glut of projects about whatever the administration's weak spot is. Just look at the last two terms, when studios started developing all these scripts about the failures of U.S. intelligence."

That doesn't necessarily mean a McCain presidency would lead to a glut of economic-policy scripts, but money-centered tales both personal and political could come into vogue.

One of the side-effects of having a new president in the West Wing will be a change in the relationship between Tinseltown and D.C.

After eight years of chilliness between entertainers and the Bush White House, there may well be a return to the warm feelings of the 1990s, when the Clintons hosted or were frequent guests of Hollywood luminaries.

If Obama were to win, it's likely that that love affair will be rekindled. He already has won the endorsements of many in Hollywood -- not only from Tom Hanks and George Clooney but from CEOs like Barry Diller.

Even a McCain victory, though, would likely mean a thawing of relations or at least an attempt to engage afresh with a different Republican playbook.

In any case, no matter who they fraternize with along Wilshire Boulevard, candidates in trying times tend to focus on what they consider weightier matters than Hollywood -- particularly once a campaign is over and fundraising is not an immediate priority.

"While I think that there's a lot of fondness by a lot of people in Hollywood toward Obama, I think the problems we're facing right now probably mean that his focus is not going to be on Hollywood," said Motion Picture Assn. of America CEO Dan Glickman, a former Clinton cabinet member.

The most immediate impact of a new president will likely center on the FCC. Current FCC chairman Kevin Martin set out an agenda that promised stricter controls on broadcast television content. If Obama is elected, his choice for the post (rumors have mentioned Karen Kornbluh and Julius Genachowski) likely will return the commission to tighter rules on media ownership and fewer Martin-esque passion projects like a la carte pricing.

A McCain appointee as chairman would push on several Martin initiatives and in general emphasize less regulation.

"McCain clearly believes in a smaller government, a more nimble FCC," said Andrew Lippman at Washington-based Bingham McCutchen law firm.

But Glickman said that the lines won't break down clearly.

"A lot of folks sometimes think that (when) you get more Democrats in office, that means more protection for the products that television and movies and the content industries put out. The truth is that Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who is likely to be the new chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is very engaged in these issues and has strong views on these issues."

It's likely that no matter who is in the White House, a censorship battle will be in large part an effort on the part of the new FCC chair. Whether indecency or anti-TV violence efforts are part of that will be determined by the new chairman's priorities, much as the recent efforts have come from Martin.

"I don't think they're going to spend two minutes prosecuting people for letting Bono say a word of common expletive because he got excited," said Jonathan Taplin, a USC communications professor said of the Obama administration. "It doesn't pass the who-cares test." (The U2 singer generated a big fuss a few years ago when he swore at an awards show.)

No matter who wins, the election will of course make history, putting either a woman or a black man in the White House. But one wag said that if Obama wins and an entertainment culture of opposition develops, we could make history in another way: This country could see its first hard-core Republican comedian.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

© Thomson Reuters 2008. All rights reserved

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 02:27 AM

Qaeda wants Republicans, Bush "humiliated":
Web video

Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:15pm EDT
DUBAI(Reuters) - An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated," without endorsing a party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to an Internet video posting.

"O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him," Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.

Libi, a top al Qaeda commander believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God's wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.

The remarks were the first from a leading al Qaeda figure referring, albeit indirectly, to the U.S. elections. Muslim clerics often end sermons by calling on God to guide and support Muslims and help defeat their enemies.

Terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group said in a report on Wednesday that militants on al Qaeda-linked websites have for months been debating the significance of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama or Republican John McCain.

Some posters have also argued over the merits of trying to attack the United States before the election or waiting until later, the report said.

But SITE said it did not expect al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden or deputy Ayman al-Zawahri to openly favor a candidate.

"To support a particular candidate would debase al-Qaeda's long-standing argument that the United States government is a corrupt institution no matter who is at the helm," SITE director Rita Katz said in the group's November newsletter.

In 2004 bin Laden issued his first video in more than a year just days before the U.S. elections. It derided Bush and warned of possible new September 11-style attacks.

Bin Laden made little mention of Bush's Democratic challenger, John Kerry, telling Americans: "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe."

Kerry has attributed his loss in part to the video's high-profile reminder of the terrorism issue.

In 2006, after Democrats captured Congress, Zawahri issued an audio message saying all Americans remained al Qaeda's enemies regardless of party, SITE said.

SITE said militant postings on al Qaeda-linked websites typically discuss Obama in terms of his race, or his religion and foreign policy. Some forecast a racial crisis dividing the United States if he wins. Others say his planned phased withdrawal from Iraq would be a boon to al Qaeda's affiliate and give it a base for Middle East expansion.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain has been portrayed as likely to allow "the continuation of Republican control and aggressive policies toward the Islamic world."

Additional reporting by Randall Mikkelsen in Washington; editing by Chris Wilson

If peace were to come to Iraq, and the whole of the region, then what would Al Qaeda have to fight against? If the people there were allowed to prosper, then what would their belly ache be? If peace were to happen what would Halliburton's multi million dollar contracts and bonus's do? Dry up? Who and what would be their cash cow then?

There are so many reasons why those who control such things as the wars and police actions of the U.S.A. don't want peace, that it's astounding, and with these men who are now in the seats of power, and in control of the terrorist movements, knowing for certain that much of their power and their income will dry up. What do we expect, flowers in gun barrels instead of bullets? They don't want peace and all of it's luxuries due to that very fact. Look at Palestine and Israel. Another prime example of what funding can do. Make it hell on earth for too many of us. SRH


Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 12:55 PM


Standing by Our Record
Faithful America has been attacked for its response to the horrific abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

Please sign our petition below and let our political leaders know that standing against abuse is the just response, not a radical one.

Partisan interests have tried to distort our position, running an ad that calls us a "liberal advocacy group that ran ads on Arab TV apologizing for the actions of US troops."

What the attack ad does not mention is that the 2004 Faithful America ad was a specific response to the abuses committed at Abu Ghraib, or that America’s political and military leaders similarly deplored and condemned the brutal treatment of detainees at the Iraqi prison.

Here is the ad that's being attacked as "liberal":

A Salaam A'alaykum ["Peace be with you" in Arabic]. As Americans of faith, we express our deep sorrow at abuses committed in Iraqi prisons. We stand in solidarity with all those in Iraq and everywhere who demand justice and human dignity. We condemn the sinful and systemic abuses committed in our name, and pledge to work to right these wrongs.
Standing against human rights abuses isn't liberal or conservative, it is a moral obligation and we are proud to stand by our record

We are disturbed by a recent attack on people of faith standing against human rights abuses.

Partisan interests are running a TV ad mis-characterizing Faithful America as “a liberal advocacy group that ran ads on Arab TV apologizing for the actions of US troops.”

What the attack ad does not mention is that the 2004 Faithful America ad was a specific response to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib, or that America’s political and military leaders similarly deplored and condemned the abuses committed at the Iraqi prison:

“I view those practices as abhorrent.”
-- GEORGE W. BUSH, on Arab satellite television, May 2004

“ Totally despicable.”
-- COLIN POWELL, U.S. Secretary of State, May 2004

“Totally unacceptable and un-American.”
-- DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. Secretary of Defense, May 2004

“It was sickening and outrageous.”
--CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. National Security Adviser, May 2004

Standing against human rights abuses isn't liberal or conservative, it is a moral obligation.

We stand by Faithful America's response to the horrors of Abu Ghraib and call on the ad’s sponsors to cease airing this negative and misleading

Setting the Record Straight
Faithful America has been attacked for its response to the horrific abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. Go on-site for photos, and other articles of interest.

Please sign our petition and let our political leaders know that standing against abuse is the just response, not a radical one.

Partisan interests have tried to distort our position, running an ad that calls us a "liberal advocacy group that ran ads on Arab TV apologizing for the actions of US troops."

What the attack ad does not mention is that the 2004 Faithful America ad was a specific response to the abuses committed at Abu Ghraib, or that America's political and military leaders similarly condemned the brutal treatment of detainees at the Iraqi prison.

Standing against human rights abuses isn't liberal or conservative, it is a moral obligation and we are proud to stand by our record.

> > < <


+ + +

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 02:11 PM

The Note:
Palin Paradox
McCain Caught In Old Bind,
With Running Mate's Drag

Oct. 31, 2008—

So as October is set to pass without a surprise . . .
Sen. Barack Obama wants us to be scared of something in the rearview mirror . . .

While Sen. John McCain wants us to be scared of something coming into view through the front windshield . . .

Both candidates are a little bit scared when their running mates get behind the wheel. . .

Republicans are mildly haunted by a ghost whose name cannot be mentioned . . .

Democrats are counting on certain ghosts in Florida . . .

And McCain is dealing with a set of familiar demons.

As he and his running mate tax the tax issue, and hope for a boost from an action hero Friday, McCain is caught in the same sort of push-pull that has defined his political career.

Call it the Palin Paradox: McCain seems unable to effectively fire up the GOP base without turning off independents. He can't win without both, not this year, not in this climate. And Palin, for all the energy she's inspired, has pretty much literally caused more trouble than she's worth to the ticket.

Does this sound like total confidence? "The enthusiasm level is incredibly high," McCain told ABC's Robin Roberts in Ohio, on "Good Morning America" Friday. "It's higher than I've ever seen it in any campaign I've ever been in. I'm not predicting -- well, I think, I'm confident that we'll win, but this intensity level in the last several days has really been remarkable. And I'm enthusiastic."

"We're going to fight it out on the economic grounds," McCain said.

If McCain really isn't concerned about his running mate's impact, well, he's the one. "59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month," Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman write in The New York Times. "And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain's image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain."

(It's Obama 51, McCain 40 in the latest NYT/CBS poll.)

Said ABC's George Stephanopoulos, on "Nightline" Thursday: "When you look at the bottom line, Joe Biden helped Barack Obama with all voters. He made people feel better about Barack Obama. Sarah Palin has hurt John McCain with the broader electorate. It's shown in poll after poll after poll."

McCain supporter Lawrence Eagleburger, a former GOP secretary of state, has his concerns. Asked by NPR whether Palin could step in during a time of crisis, he said: "It is a very good question. . . . I'm being facetious here. Look, of course not."

He added: "Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be, she will be -- adequate. I can't say that she would be a genius in the job. But I think she would be enough to get us through a four year . . . well I hope not . . . get us through whatever period of time was necessary. And I devoutly hope that it would never be tested."

Responds McCain, on "GMA": "Larry has never had a chance to meet Sarah." Then this head-scratcher: "She's got more experience than Sen. Biden and Sen. Obama put together."

And McCain sees her as the future of the party, kinda sorta: "As vice president or -- OR [looks straight to camera] -- I think there's no doubt." (What a facial expression!)

The comparison that really hurts: McCain, as Bob Dole. "Both are war heroes, known best for their political biography. Both returned to the Senate in the midst of campaigning, foundering for a time as a result. And both watched their opponent draw record crowds while theirs were comparatively lackluster," Jill Zuckman writes in the Chicago Tribune.

Zuckman recalls that earlier this year, McCain was still talking about how Dole's isolation was an error: "I would not enjoy, in any way, the seclusion and keeping the media away," McCain said. "It just wouldn't be any fun. And it's got to be fun."

If McCain pulls this off, it will have to be about more than him and his running mate connecting -- at this point, it will have to be about his rival missing, in a way that hasn't been picked up by the polls.

(And not all that many people missed his infomercial Wednesday night.)

Witness Ohio, McCain's absolute must-win: "Heading into the crucial final weekend, Republicans say their operation is even stronger and running ahead of where they were four years ago at this time," Laura Meckler writes in The Wall Street Journal. "But Republicans also have a lot more ground to make up than they did four years ago. . . . Polls now show Sen. Obama leading here [in Ohio], by four to nine percentage points. Sen. McCain is spending two of the last six days here, and twin efforts are under way to replicate Mr. Bush's 2004 performance."

"In case anyone was wondering if Ohio was a combat zone for Senator John McCain's presidential campaign, consider that five days before the election the candidate took a 220-mile, six-stop, 12-hour bus tour across the northern breadth of the state," Elisabeth Bumiller writes in The New York Times. "Along the way, he deployed his unofficial running mate, a disappearing and reappearing Joe the Plumber, to try to drive his points home."

"The modest crowds that met McCain on Thursday in Ohio -- a state with 20 electoral votes crucial to his strategy -- illustrated his struggle to inspire supporters as fervently as Obama has," Maeve Reston and Michael Finnegan write in the Los Angeles Times.

If you could discern a message . . . "John McCain is employing several lines of attack each day and Republican strategists say the lack of focus makes it nearly impossible for him to gain ground before Election Day," The Hill's Sam Youngman writes.

Bold declarations: "Republican presidential candidate John McCain goes into the campaign's final weekend a bigger underdog than any victorious candidate in a modern election," Bloomberg's Indira A.R. Lakshmanan reports.

"This election is cooked and done, it's in the warming tray," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

McCain "is as desperate as a candidate can be," said Stu Rothenberg.

On the other side: "His Democratic rival, meanwhile, exuded confidence as the two toured many of the same battleground states. Sen. Barack Obama is all but taking for granted states that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) won four years ago and is spending the last few days in George W. Bush country, forcing McCain to defend what was friendly territory for the GOP just four years ago," Michael D. Shear and Peter Slevin report in The Washington Post.

"Being president when things are easy -- not to say being president is ever easy -- but being president when peace and prosperity already exists is less of a challenge," Obama tells USA Today's Kathy Kiely. "I signed up to make this country better."

No worries here: "In an interview with USA TODAY, McCain was defiant toward the polls that show him trailing Democrat Barack Obama, combative about a new government report that shows a contracting economy, dismissive of talk of friction with running mate Sarah Palin and focused on pressing his case in the campaign's final days," David Jackson writes.

Says McCain: "When people saw Joe the Plumber ask the question, and the answer that Sen. Obama gave him." McCain snapped his finger. "The light went on."

But that same light was dimmed Thursday. "Joe, where are you? Where is Joe? Is Joe here with us today?" McCain asked at Defiance Junior High School in Ohio.

The New York Times' Bumiller: "It turned out that Mr. Wurzelbacher, as he told CNN, had never received final confirmation from the McCain campaign that he was expected. The campaign, after watching Mr. McCain haplessly call out for Mr. Wurzelbacher on the cable networks, dispatched a car and rushed the plumber to Mr. McCain's next event, in Sandusky, where Mr. Wurzelbacher spoke."

"Maybe Joe the Plumber was out on a job. But he wasn't out campaigning with Sen. John McCain Thursday morning," ABC's Bret Hovell reports.

(He showed up on the trail and endorsed McCain later: "As far as my vote goes," he said, "It's going to be for a real American. It's going to be for a real American, John McCain.")

It didn't go much better for Palin: "His veep pick Sarah Palin had her own awkward moment at an afternoon rally in Erie, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Pirates territory," Michael McAuliff and Richard Sisk report in the New York Daily News. "Apparently nobody told her. She said she was 'thrilled to be here in the home state of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.' She got booed."

It's Obama 52, McCain 44 in the latest (and remarkably stable) ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll.

And you thought Palin might be a drag? "Fewer than half of likely voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, 47 percent, think McCain would lead in a new direction; 50 percent instead say he'd mainly continue on Bush's path," ABC polling director Gary Langer writes. "McCain has not exceeded 48 percent 'new direction' all year, at a time when dissatisfaction with the country's current course has hit record highs."

Bring an action hero with you, my friends: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., joins McCain on the stump in Ohio Friday. "I know it is going to be a very tough uphill battle for him," Schwarzenegger said Thursday, per the Los Angeles Times' Jordan Rau.

Obama unleashes his own secret weapon: Al Gore hits Florida on Friday, campaigning for a presidential candidate there for the first time since you-know-when.

"By dispatching former Vice President Al Gore to Palm Beach and Broward counties today, Democrat Barack Obama is hoping to stir strong sentiments about the 2000 election and emphasize that this election may be as close as the one eight years ago," Mark Hollis writes in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "At a noon rally expected to draw several thousand people to the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach and later in Coconut Creek, Gore and his wife, Tipper, will prod Obama supporters to participate in early voting."

Parity, at last: "Sen. John McCain and the Republican National Committee will unleash a barrage of spending on television advertising that will allow him to keep pace with Sen. Barack Obama's ad blitz during the campaign's final days, but the expenditures will impact McCain's get-out-the-vote efforts," Matthew Mosk writes in The Washington Post. "The decision to finance a final advertising push is forcing McCain to curtail spending on Election Day ground forces to help usher his supporters to the polls, according to Republican consultants familiar with McCain's strategy."

This is a shift: The latest from the Wisconsin Advertising Project: "From October 21st to October 28th, spending on television advertising in the presidential campaign has totaled nearly $38 million. Over this time period, the Obama campaign spent nearly $21.5 million while the McCain campaign spent nearly $7.5 million."

A different mode on the other side: "Barack Obama's campaign has approached Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel about possibly serving as White House chief of staff, officials said Thursday," per the AP's David Espo and Ben Feller. "The Democrats who described the Obama campaign's approach to Emanuel spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to be quoted by name. An aide to the congressman, Sarah Feinberg, said in an e-mail that he 'has not been contacted to take a job in an administration that does not yet exist. Everyone is focused on Election Day, as they should be.' "

Said Obama, late Thursday: "I'm trying to win an election," Obama shouted back at a yelled question, per ABC's Jake Tapper. "Plouffe is my chief of staff," he added, referring to campaign manager David Plouffe.

Surely something's getting measured: "Expect a turbocharged transition if Barack Obama wins, with a Treasury secretary and White House chief of staff named days after his election," the New York Daily News' Thomas M. DeFrank And Kenneth R. Bazinet report. "The list of candidates for Treasury secretary includes former Clinton administration Treasury chief Larry Summers; Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and ex-Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, among others."

Is there anything McCain's folks want to measure? "Aides say Sen. McCain's transition team, headed by former Navy Secretary [John] Lehman, has a different, less-structured approach. Mr. Lehman and a small group of aides are concentrating on the logistics of swiftly taking control of the U.S. national security apparatus," The Wall Street Journal's Andy Pasztor writes. "Sen. McCain is reluctant to set up formal transition teams for individual departments and hasn't asked for specific recommendations of possible appointees, according to aides. They said that at this stage, domestic agencies aren't the top priority and the team is staying away from compiling formal lists of candidates for choice jobs."

David Axelrod isn't celebrating yet: "I think it would be foolish to the extreme to ever suggest that a campaign is over until it's over. I like where we are positioned. I think I'd much rather be us than him, I've always believed that he's on the wrong side of history," Obama's chief strategist tells Time's Jay Newton-Small.

Is he worried about the Bradley effect? "People have got bigger concerns and we've moved beyond that as a country. So I don't worry about that, what I worry about is mobilizing our voters so that when people come out they understand that in many of these battleground states the race is close. It's not enough to anticipate victory; you have to earn it," Axelrod says.

Karl Rove says to ignore the polls -- except when you can't. "The question that matters is the margin," Rove writes in his Wall Street Journal column. "If Mr. McCain is down by 3%, his task is doable, if difficult. If he's down by 9%, his task is essentially impossible. In truth, however, no one knows for sure what kind of polling deficit is insurmountable or even which poll is correct. All of us should act with the proper understanding that nothing is yet decided."

How McCain will be spending the hours before the election? "John McCain will be in Prescott [Ariz.] on election eve, according to the Yavapai County Republican Party," per the Daily Courier. "He plans to attend the party's annual Victory Rally at approximately 9 p.m. Monday on the historic courthouse plaza. The rally starts at 6 p.m. and typically attracts Republican elected officials from around the state."

MoveOn.org is up with a new anti-McCain ad in Arizona featuring a veteran: "I'm a lifelong Republican, and I'm voting for Barack Obama."

Big shifts? "The racial divides that have buttressed Republican power in the South for decades appear to be crumbling in this year's elections, loosening the GOP's firm grip on the region, political analysts and independent pollsters say," Susan Milligan writes in The Boston Globe. "The South is still culturally conservative, and the deep South in particular is still challenging territory for Democrats, political specialists say. But demographic changes -- including a migration of voters from other regions, as well as an increase in education and racial tolerance among some younger residents -- have given Barack Obama and other Democrats an opening this year and are likely to change the electoral map in future elections, they said."

Glimpses of 2012? Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., is doing a five-day fly around for McCain-Palin starting Friday morning with stops in Nevada (Las Vegas, Reno, Elko), New Mexico (Farmington, Albuquerque), Colorado (Colorado Springs), Missouri (Kansas City, Columbia, Cape Girardeau), Indiana (Evansville), Ohio (Cincinnati, Columbus) and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, Harrisburg). The trip wraps up Tuesday morning with a rally in Manchester, N.H.

The Sked:

John McCain continues his busy Ohio campaign tour with another four rallies Friday. He begins in Hanoverton at 10 am ET, then it's off to Steubenville at 11:45 am ET, next to New Philadelphia at 1:30 pm ET and finally to Columbus at 5:50 pm ET.

He will be joined at the Columbus rally by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif.

In Hanoverton, McCain sits down with ABC's Charles Gibson.

Barack Obama has two rallies planned for his Friday -- he heads first to Des Moines, Iowa at 12:25 pm ET, then it's off to Highland, Ind. at 9:20 pm ET.

In between, he'll grab some trick-or-treating time with his daughters.

Sarah Palin is in Pennsylvania Friday with two rallies -- first in Latrobe at 9 am ET, then in York at 4 pm ET.

Joe Biden has a busy Halloween ahead of him, too. He begins with a rally in Newark, Del. at 10:30 am ET, then a second in Kettering, Ohio at 2:30 pm ET and a third in Lima at 6:15 pm ET. He rounds out the day with an event in Evansville, Ind. at 10:10 pm ET.

Former vice president Al Gore hits the trail for Obama in Florida.

Also in the news:

Time to seize more than a victory, says Howard Wolfson: "Republicans will argue that the election results were merely a referendum on John McCain's campaign or on George Bush. Nonsense. If this election was merely a referendum on John McCain or George Bush, or even just on Barack Obama, we would not see the gains that Democrats are about to make in Congress."

Wolfson continues: "Democrats should reject this argument -- success in this election, coupled with Democratic victories in 2006, signal that the public has rejected the tenets of modern conservatism -- pre-emptive war, deregulation, trickle-down economics, and cultural division in favor of core Democratic principles -- engagement with our allies abroad, broadly shared prosperity at home, and health care for all."

Politicker's James Pindell charts an interesting course to 60: "If Democrats wind up with 59 U.S. Senate seats on Election Day, they can still reach the magic filibuster-proof number of 60 if the new President appoints Republican Olympia Snowe to his cabinet. The Governor of Maine, John Baldacci, would presumably appoint a fellow Democrat to serve until a November 2010 special election to fill the balance of Snowe's term.

In one of the critical races: "Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole is being sued for defamation and libel by Kay Hagan, her Democratic Senate challenger, for broadcasting a television ad which, in the words of Hagan's legal action, 'falsely implies' that Hagan shares the views of an entity that calls itself the Godless Americans PAC," per ABC's Teddy Davis.

In another one: "A Texas businessman has filed a lawsuit alleging that Minnesota multimillionaire Nasser Kazeminy used his Houston marine company to funnel $75,000 to Sen. Norm Coleman last year via a Minneapolis insurance company that employs the senator's wife," Paul McEnroe and Tony Kennedy write in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

"Coleman adamantly denies the claims in the lawsuit. 'This is a vicious, defamatory attack on the senator and his wife less than one week before the election,' Cullen Sheehan, Coleman's campaign manager, said Thursday."

Sad news: "Frederick M. "Fred" Baron, the plaintiff's lawyer who amassed a fortune that he used to rejuvenate the Democratic Party in Texas, died Thursday at his Dallas home of complications of cancer. He was 61," per The Dallas Morning News' Joe Simnacher. "Mr. Baron was catapulted into the national political limelight twice this fall, first when it was revealed that he had paid to move the woman who had an affair with former presidential hopeful John Edwards. Mr. Baron had been Mr. Edwards' top fundraiser," Simnacher continues. "Earlier this month, Mr. Baron was granted FDA approval for an experimental treatment in a last-ditch effort to save his life."

The Kicker:

"And ladies and gentlemen, the question is -- and the stakes, by the way, the stakes could not be higher. You all know, you students here -- and by the way, I love your mascot. . . . I call it a donkey. You call it a mule." -- Joe Biden, at Muhlenberg College.

"Since we don't allow knives, you guys are gonna have to carve it with your pens." -- Barack Obama, at a pumpkin patch with this traveling contingent.

Bookmark The Note: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=3105288&page=1

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Go on-site to gain access to the numerous links within this article

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 04:12 PM

America Looks Beyond the Bush Warriors
By Erich Follath
06:43 PM

In his two terms in the White House, US President George W. Bush has presided over a precipitous fall in America's reputation around the world. History is likely to judge him a failure. Now, his successor will have to dig the US out of a deep hole.
The Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang was filled with pride as he reported to Chinese mission control from his space capsule. It was Saturday, Sept. 27 and Zhigang was about embark on his first space walk, marking a breakthrough for the space program of this rising power in the Far East. President Hu Jintao looked jubilant in the live television broadcast. With its successful excursion outside the space capsule, the People's Republic, as a nation in space, drew level with the United States and Russia in one important respect. Indeed, Beijing is already discussing a manned expedition to the moon. Once exclusively American, the Earth's biggest satellite may soon become Chinese as well.

Illustration Jean-Pierre Kunkel für den SPIEGEL
This illustration was on the cover of this week's SPIEGEL. It is a remake of a SPIEGEL cover from 2002 (below) showing President George W. Bush's cabinet on its way to war. The US Embassy in Berlin ordered 33 copies of the original illustration in poster form for the White House. There has been no word yet as to whether orders have been placed for the new version. The title reads "The Bush Warriors: End of the Show."
Almost at the same time, at a point halfway around the earth, a finance minister was doing something highly unusual: falling to his knees in a gesture of desperation. The Republican Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson was kneeling before the Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, begging her to do everything in her power to make sure that the $700-billion bailout package for the US economy was passed. Paulson's unmistakable message was that the United States was on the brink of an abyss.

Meanwhile, the White House, the center of power in this superpower, seemed oddly abandoned, as if no one were at home. As if 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., were temporarily closed for renovations. It wasn't, of course, but amazingly enough, had it been, hardly anyone would have noticed. The master of the house, certainly, would be missed by only a few. Bush did address his fellow Americans to talk about the financial crisis, but he seemed oddly disinterested. And even in these dramatic times, hardly anyone was listening. He may still be the president, but is he no longer shaping policy.

Illustration by Jean-Pierre Kunkel
The original "Bush Warriors" SPIEGEL cover illustration from 2002.
"The fundamentals of our economy are strong," the president said in August. But what could be more disconcerting than to be told by George W. Bush that everyone is going to be alright?

US in Deep Decline
Rarely has the decline of a nation -- and the soaring success of another -- been so strikingly documented as it was by the almost simultaneous events in Beijing and Washington at the end of November. Of course, the bailout package has since been approved (although Paulson revised the conditions attached to it based on the European model and it was coordinated with Beijing) and, of course, China has also been hard-hit by the worldwide financial crisis (although its economic growth, after "declining" from almost 12 percent last year to an estimated 8 percent this year, remains impressive against the backdrop of the American recession).

But none of this changes the fact that the United States is in deep decline, in the wake of the dramatically ruinous policies of George W. Bush, 62, and his administration. That decline begins at home. Never before have such low approval ratings been measured for a US president than for Bush in his last few months. They are currently at between 19 and 20 percent. More than four out of five Americans believe that the nation is "headed in the wrong direction." And the image and reputation of this dominant Western nation has also declined to a new low in the rest of the world during the two terms of the 43rd US president.

In Western Europe, the US's popularity has declined by almost half, and in Turkey by 75 percent. The numbers are even worse when it comes to Bush himself. Even the citizens of the two neighboring countries, Canada and Mexico, consider George W. to be about as likeable -- and as dangerous -- as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to a recently published BBC poll, a majority of people worldwide believe that Washington's activities have in fact strengthened the al-Qaida terrorist organization. Absurdly, al-Qaida has a better image than the United States in Egypt and Pakistan, two countries that are the recipients of especially generous US financial assistance.

How could it have come to this? What is the legacy of the Bush era? And can a new man in the White House turn the tide?

Avoiding Bush Like the Plague
In the twilight of his presidency, George W. seems markedly relaxed among friends. He has built himself his very own Bush World, where everything has its place. There is no such thing as failure in this world. It serves as protective armor for Bush. It is a cosmos, a virtual, Manichean cosmos in which everything is clearly delineated between good and bad, perpetrators and victims. And, in this world, anyone who is not "with us" is branded a contemptible enemy.

When someone like journalist Bob Woodward approaches Bush with critical questions, he suddenly becomes forgetful. When asked about the notorious and decisive memo leading up to the Iraq war, the war president pleads overwork -- Oh, there was so much going on at the time, and it isn't much better today: If you only knew how much work there is to do here. And if the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist presses him for an answer, Bush can quickly become curt, the man of the permanent smile turning into the impatient that's-it-end-of-story president.

After seven years of Republican dominance in Washington, Bush's fellow Republicans now avoid him like the plague. Republican presidential candidate John McCain gave Bush all of 14 seconds of public togetherness, 14 seconds on the tarmac in front of Air Force One, on a day in May 2008. An armored black limousine pulled up to the plane, Secret Service agents opened the doors of the car, Bush and McCain came together briefly in a carefully choreographed moment in front of cameras that had been set up in advance, the president pinched the candidate's wife on the cheek and shook hands with his fellow Republican, but then McCain turned away, as if fearing pursuit. Bush jumped up the steps to the waiting aircraft, and the 14 seconds were up.

Bush did not attend the Republican Convention in September, instead delivering an address via satellite. Another hurricane threatening New Orleans required the president's presence in the disaster zone. But he was not missed by his fellow Republicans. The only person who had more than a few friendly words to say about Bush in St. Paul was his wife Laura.

Self-doubt is anathema to George W. He hates pity. And why should anyone pity him, pity the man with the "best job in the world," the job that, as he says, hasn't brought him challenging or satisfying experiences, but "joyous" ones. Only minor details suggest that his presidency is coming to an end. "You can hear his Texas accept creeping back into his voice rather than the I'm-the-president, no-accent kind of voice," a Bush confidant told the New York Times Magazine recently. Although the friend claims that Bush cares very little about his disastrous approval ratings, it is hard to believe George W. Bush when he says that he is not interested in his legacy.

A biography of Winston Churchill is on his night table, and a bust of the British statesman stands in his office. Churchill, consistent and ruthless and farsighted in his battle against evil, is Bush's political role model. In the United States, Bush likes to compare himself with Harry Truman who, despite his unpopularity, would not allow himself to be deterred from the course he believed was the right one and who many today consider rehabilitated, long after his death, because he kept a steady hand in the Cold War.

George W. would like to be remembered as a second Truman. "His view of leadership is defined as doing the right thing against pressure," Michael Gerson, a former Bush advisor, told the New York Times Magazine. The president himself was less eloquent when asked by Bob Woodward about his legacy: "History? We don't know. We'll all be dead."

'A Gambler Who Bet Everything on Iraq'
But the verdicts are already coming in. In a new survey of 109 historians, 107 call his presidency a failure, while 61 percent see George W. Bush as the worst president of all time. "We've never seen a presidential meltdown like this…. This is a terrible loss, and a dangerous one, for the whole world is watching," writes Peggy Noonan, the speechwriter for former Republican President Ronald Reagan. According to historian and author Douglas Brinkley, Bush's "legacy is disastrous. He is a gambler who bet everything on Iraq."

"Gambler" and "Iraq" are the key terms in the life and work of George W. Bush, and they will likely remain so for eternity.

Iraq is the gaping foreign policy wound, even if the level of violence in Baghdad and some provinces has declined. The war violated international law, divided the allies and wounded the Americans in terms of their value system and self-respect. Over and above the enormous financial cost, the war has been the source of great human tragedy. More than 4,000 American soldiers and an estimated more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died, while more than four million Iraqi men, women and children have been forced to flee their country.

There will always be debates over whether it made sense to bring down the brutal regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with military force and become an occupying power. There is much to suggest that it was the wrong choice. It undermined America's political standing (while bolstering Iran's influence as a regional power) and, even among US allies, fueled the suspicion that Washington was solely interested in oil and military bases.

Bearing Responsibility
The answer to another, equally critical question is already beyond debate. There is "no longer the slightest doubt," writes The New Yorker, that the Bush administration lied to and manipulated the American public to gain support for the invasion of Iraq. It is also considered indisputable fact today that the conduct of the war was incompetent. It was a mistake for the Pentagon, but also a case of serious mismanagement by the White House, which talked itself into a euphoric state of victory. "One big problem with the war was the president himself," says George Casey, the former commanding general of the multinational force in Iraq.

Another ugly blemish on the Bush administration is the disgrace of human rights violations in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. The administration bears responsibility -- as it does for the scandalous weakening of prohibitions on torture, a move that is simply incompatible with a country based on the rule of law. The man in charge at the White House is believed to have directly approved the practice of waterboarding, which simulates the sensation of drowning in its victims.

Although the constitutional institutions in the United States have continued to function -- the free press has remained critical and the US Supreme Court has ruled twice that the Bush administration violated the Constitution, forcing the Bush team to make changes to its policies -- the world still sees the United States in moral decline.

The loss of trust in the United States as a superpower is reinforced by its undisguised contempt for international organizations like the United Nations and for agreements like the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, as well as its relative unwillingness, as the world's biggest air polluter, to take the pressing problems of climate change seriously.

The domestic consequences of the Bush years have also been catastrophic. The national debt has almost doubled, to an inconceivable $10 trillion (€7.75 trillion). The number of Americans without health insurance rose by over eight million to 47 million, while the number of those living below the poverty line grew by almost six million. Bush's tax breaks for the country's wealthiest citizens have made America's already extreme social disparities even more glaring. Every week, the top 1 percent of US income earners becomes an average of $1,000 (€775) richer, while those in the lower fifth on the income scale see only an additional $1.50 (€1.17) in their wallets.

Continues to Shape Him
George W. Bush can endure this because his value system is one that allows him to be at peace with himself. The man who his father (and predecessor in office) declared a failure more than once, who was an alcoholic and then rehabilitated himself after becoming a fundamentalist Christian, clings to his faith and the conviction that "the guy upstairs" is giving him the right advice. With God on his side, Bush compensates for his addictive behavior -- but in reality it continues to shape him.

"He's the first one to admit that he has an addictive personality, and he has to channel this addictiveness to constructive things," his friend Dan Bartlett told the New York Times Magazine.

Like a man possessed, Bush ignored all warnings on the subject of the Iraq War. Like an addict, he now clings -- during the worst financial crisis in the last 50 years, which ought to consume all of his attention -- to sports. He spends hours riding his bike, taking ever longer and more difficult routes. He is suddenly deeply involved in opening ceremonies for local tennis, baseball and softball events.

Bush is a man on the run -- from himself and his legacy. And he looks on, apparently in disbelief, at how the world loves to hate him, and how even close friends are leaving the sinking ship he still claims to be steering.

---------------------The scene is a book unveiling in Washington, DC, in May 2008. The author is a professional. His name is Scott McClellan, he was the president's press secretary, and he was considered a loyal representative of the White House and a staunch advocate of the policies of his boss. But today he is no longer praising the administration's achievements. Scott McClellan, 40, is settling scores with his former employer -- with the verve and toughness and relentlessness unique to spurned lovers.

His book is titled "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception." On the day of its publication, it is already clear that it will be yet another heavy blow for the president, who praised McClellan when he resigned from his job at the White House in 2006 as one of the "best of our country" and as someone who "handled a challenging assignment with class and integrity." The attacks on Bush could hardly hit any closer to home. According to a White House insider, the president, stunned, read the words on the jacket and angrily tossed the book into a corner.

Too Gullible and Insufficiently Critical
"Scottie" McClellan has known Bush since their days together in Texas. He still admires him, says the former press secretary at his book unveiling. He adds that he does not consider George W. to be a bad person, only a weak one who is and was easily manipulated. McClellan concludes that his former boss has an extreme aversion to analysis and is the victim of self-suggestive wishful thinking -- that "his leadership style is based more on instinct than deep intellectual debate," as McClellan wrote in his book.

It was only gradually, says Bush's friend of many years, that he realized how policy was shaped in the White House. All too often, according to McClellan, the goal was that of "manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage." Not without a healthy dose of chutzpah, Bush's former spokesman accuses the American media of having been too gullible and insufficiently critical.

This is the sort of accusation that causes journalists to sit back and take a deep breath. Is this man a Judas who trims his sails to the wind and an opportunist hoping to make a few bucks with his revelations? Or is he a truly disappointed man, an upstanding conservative who is criticizing the failings of the Bush administration out of conviction and a sense of moral dilemma?

The reviews have been overwhelmingly negative. Commentators note sharply that McClellan was surprisingly good at hiding his doubts and keeping his true feelings hidden from everyone else. Nevertheless, hardly anyone questions the veracity of McClellan's account. A few weeks after the publication of McClellan's book, it is already at the top of the bestseller lists. McClellan himself is considering a career in politics, or perhaps in journalism. And just recently, he endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

It has become a popular game to use Bush as the punching bag, to blame him for everything and to paint him as an object of hate. And yet, say many experts, Bush has changed during his second term. The man who once insisted on waging US wars with ad-hoc coalitions -- and without his truculent allies -- began approaching rejoining the international community.

It Wasn't Just the President Alone
There were the negotiations with North Korea, together with the Chinese, Russians, South Koreans and Japanese, which led to the extremely wobbly Pyongyang promise to halt its nuclear weapons program; the cautious agreement with European negotiating partners on the question of the Iranian nuclear program, and even the first direct diplomatic contacts with adversaries in Tehran; the late -- far too late -- diplomatic initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the abandonment, albeit only verbally so far, of a hard-line position on climate protection -- aren't all of these things signs that George W. has become more refined, at least a little?

America's allies, to be sure, no longer had to read the papers to learn about the president's decisions during Bush's second term. It is also true that, now that the financial crisis is turning into an economic crisis, Washington may even be more willing to engage in real international cooperation than Berlin. But it is also true that one man -- the president himself -- disavows these changes. The New York Times Magazine recently reported on a conversation between the military historian Max Boot and the president, in which Boot asked Bush about changes in White House policies during his second term. But Bush, clearly irritated, replied: "That's ridiculous. That's not true. I've been fighting for this (freedom agenda) from Day One. It's part of everything I do."

And it wasn't just the president alone. His entire team felt bound by this agenda and bears its fair share of the responsibility for the crumbling of America's unique position of power. It is the team that formed in his initial years as president: Richard Cheney, the vice-president; Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense for many years; Condoleezza Rice, the former national security advisor and current secretary of state; and Colin Powell, Rice's predecessor at the State Department.

Religious Convictions and Messianic Eagerness
Cheney, 67, has something in common with Bush. He too had problems with alcohol as a young man and, like his later boss George W., was arrested for drunk driving and lost his driver's license. But Cheney, who comes from a middle-class, white-collar family, did not have a prominent über-father. He fought against his weaknesses with an iron will. He was interested in big business and politics, and in combining them in ways that were as lucrative and career-promoting as possible. He was always a man of few scruples. He met Rumsfeld, who was of similar makeup, in the 1960s. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

After holding a series of high-level positions, first in Washington and later in the oil industry, Cheney joined George W. Bush's campaign team in 2000 to head his vice-presidential search committee. He cleverly played off all the potential candidates against one another and neglected to mention his serious heart condition, so that, in Bush's eyes, there was only one possibly candidate left for the job of vice-president: Cheney himself. Vastly superior to the president intellectually and always ready to outwit cabinet members, "Dick" became the most powerful vice-president in US history -- and, with his talent for currying favor and his calculating assertiveness in the White House, probably the most powerful man in the United States.

If religious convictions and a messianic eagerness to export democracy played a role in Bush's decisions -- political scientists call it "well-meaning imperialism" -- Cheney was a supreme expert in power politics. Pipelines, oil reserves and military bases were his maxims, and expanding American power at all costs his ambition. He lost all restraint after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will," he told Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," five days after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. "We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world...and use any means at our disposal." This meant, as it turned out, the torture and the kidnapping of suspects, among other things. Cheney consistently treated the US Constitution as a document to be interpreted broadly. His nickname is Darth Vader, the character representing the Prince of Darkness in the "Star Wars" films.

Cheney's friend Rumsfeld, 76, a former navy pilot, a hawk and a proponent of preventive war, was considered a star in Bush's cabinet for some time. He was quick-witted, funny and cynical. But then the mismanagement of the Iraq war came crashing down over his head, and he was also held politically responsible for the human rights violations at Abu Ghraib prison, even though he never actually admitted to that responsibility. By November 2006, Rumsfeld had become too much of a liability to be kept on as defense secretary. At Rumsfeld's farewell ceremony, Bush praised the outgoing defense secretary as a "superb leader during a time of change," and as a man who made the "world a safer place."

Since then, internal memos have been dug up in which Rumsfeld dictates his instructions to his staff. "Keep elevating the threat," he wrote, as the Washington Post reported a year ago. "Make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists." He showed his contempt for Muslims by noting that they avoided "physical labor." His creed was: "People are looking for leadership. Sacrifice = Victory."

But there is little in the way of personal sacrifice in the life of "Rummy." Since being forced to step down, he is often flown in a private Learjet to his 50 acre ranch in New Mexico, where he likes to hunt coyotes and cut down trees with a chainsaw. Otherwise, the former Pentagon chief lives in Maryland, just around the corner from Cheney's estate. Cheney is the only former colleague Rumsfeld still sees today.

Two Puppet Masters
Rumsfeld, busy writing his memoirs, has no regrets or trouble sleeping. He ignores the protestors who refer to him as a "war criminal" and demand to see him tried before the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, even when they demonstrate near his ranch. "It's a free country," he says. "People can say whatever they want."

Cheney and Rumsfeld never completely trusted Condoleezza Rice. She was simply not invited to some meetings, and Rumsfeld was often absent at meetings she asked him to attend. On one occasion, Rice was so upset that she burst into tears according to a new Cheney biography by Barton Gellman called "Angler." She was kept in the dark about an intelligence unit at the Pentagon that, circumventing the CIA, was to provide the hardliners with reasons to justify going to war with Iraq. Cheney and Rumsfeld refused to treat Rice as their equal, despite the fact that she had Bush's ear and was just as adept on matters of intelligence as the two puppet masters were.

Rice, 53, brilliant, goal-oriented and as well-versed on nuclear issues as she is in classic diplomacy, is nevertheless -- or perhaps precisely because of her qualifications -- one of the biggest disappointments of the Bush years. She looked up to the president without voicing her criticism, instead of waking him up from his dangerous dreams. She fed Bush talking points instead of correcting him.

The United States could not wait to be attacked by its enemies, she said. Referring to the risk of Iraq obtaining a nuclear weapon, she said: "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," and she characterized the invasion of Iraq as "anticipatory self-defense." She exculpated the United States, the world's number one polluter, by called the Kyoto climate protocol "dead on arrival." She spent time with her boss at family events on his ranch, went fishing with him and helped him complete crossword puzzles, and even sang hymns with him on board Air Force One. But when push came to shove, she said nothing and nodded. She proved ultimately incapable of standing up to her boss. Only in the last few months, when it was already too late, did she gain some stature in the Middle East with her sharp criticism of Israel's settlement policy, which is in violation of international law.

Bush on Trial?
Colin Powell, 71, was the biggest loser on the Bush team, and yet he could still end up being the biggest winner. As Rice's predecessor, he was a paragon of weakness and misunderstood loyalty. Although he was the only member of Bush's inner circle to argue against the Iraq war, Powell, ever the military man accustomed to obeying orders, had the president's back at the critical moment. The man who helped President George H.W. Bush win the first Gulf War over Kuwait, a war approved by the UN, accepted the unilateral American invasion in 2003. And, in February of that year, he argued the case for the war with an impassioned speech before the UN Security Council.

None of the "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction Powell presented to the international community held up to closer inspection. It was a house of cards constructed of lies. Powell later referred to his appearance at the UN as a "blemish" on his career and said that he felt used. Only when his resignation could no longer have any effect did he draw the necessary conclusions. He wrote bestseller memoirs, gave talks and appeared to have removed himself from active politics -- until two weekends ago, when he dropped a bombshell: Powell, a Republican and successful African-American, endorsed Barack Obama, a Democrat and successful African-American. Because everyone knows that Powell has been friends with McCain for decades, the endorsement was especially significant.

In explaining his decision, the general said that Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is not ready to be vice-president, criticized McCain's response to the economic crisis and praised his opponent as a "transformational figure."

Always an Option
Is Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, who was national security advisor under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and one of the Republican Party's leading figures, about to embark on a new career in a Democratic administration? Obama has not ruled it out, while Powell remains reticent on the subject. But he also appears to be enjoying the personal settling of scores for countless humiliations he suffered under Cheney, Rumsfeld and George W. Bush. None of these men is truly among the ranks of the powerful anymore, but Powell still is.

While Powell exacts his revenge on George W. with political finesse, others want to see Bush put on trial -- always an option in the "Land of the Free."

-----------------The creases in his suits are as sharp as the furrows in his hawk's face and his gift of gab. This man, the Hollywood archetype in the fight against crime, is not someone one would want to be up against in a courtroom. He has prosecuted 21 murder cases -- and he has won all 21.

Vincent Bugliosi, 74, is considered a legend in American criminal justice. He put Charles Manson in prison for life in 1971, even though the Satanist did not kill Sharon Tate himself. Now Bugliosi wants to see a new spectacular case go to trial. He wants to prosecute George W. Bush -- for committing murder thousands of times. Is he serious? Or is it just a PR gag to help him work his way through the talk shows and feed his ego as he promotes a highly provocative book?

Anyone who meets Vincent Bugliosi quickly notices two things. First, the man is not a stranger to vanity. He knows how to capture media attention for himself and his cases. After the Manson trial, Bugliosi wrote "Helter Skelter," the highest-selling nonfiction crime book in history. But, all commercial ambitions aside, the second thing about Bugliosi is that he is angry and determined, out of deep conviction, to conduct a crusade against George W. Bush.

If the president had started the Iraq war to avert an imminent threat to the American people, there would be no "case," Bugliosi argues in his book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder." But, as the legal expert argues, because Bush concocted an imminent danger posed by Saddam Hussein and led the nation into a "criminal war," he should be held responsible. And that responsibility, in Bugliosi's view, extends to the death of each and every one of the 4,000 US soldiers killed in Iraq.

Bugliosi argues that any of the 50 state attorneys-general "could bring a murder charge against Bush for any soldiers from that state…who lost their lives fighting Bush’s war." In his book, Bugliosi writes: "Remember, Clinton was impeached for allegedly trying to cover up a consensual sexual affair. What do you recommend for Bush for being responsible for more than 100,000 deaths? Nothing? He shouldn't be held accountable for his actions?" Bugliosi is clearly a show master on a mission.
------------------America is still licking its wounds, is still caught up in an election campaign more thrilling and full of substance than any other campaign has been in decades. But the new man in the White house will inherit two costly wars that are almost impossible to win, a record deficit and a deep recession, all of which will sharply curtail his ability to govern. What options does the next, the 44th president of the United States, have left, and which of the two candidates is better equipped to cope with the challenges?

The United States is in the midst of fundamental change. Everything for which the country was famous is now being questioned, both at home and abroad. The "liberal democracy" based on the Washington model is no longer considered necessarily the best path to guaranteed prosperity, now that the deregulated US economy has experienced its own fiasco and the doctrine of allowing the markets to regulate themselves has imploded. For much of the world, the phrase "exporting democracy" is now synonymous with unilateral military intervention and hegemonic ambitions.

Quietly Slipped Away
Ironically, nations with authoritarian regimes now play, as a result of their large foreign currency reserves and sovereign wealth funds, a key role in shaping the economic future of the United States: the People's Republic of China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. And Europe, long derided from across the Big Pond as an "economic museum" and a region contaminated by socialism, is now looking much better, writes the International Herald Tribune, "as old perceived faults -- greater state involvement in the economy, taxes on consumption to encourage savings, a broader social safety net in times of recession -- suddenly look far-sighted in the wake of Wall Street's near collapse."

Many of the neocons who supported Bush's course intellectually, like Richard Perle and David Frum, have quietly slipped away. Sorry boys, it was just an idea, seems to be their motto. Only a few staunch American conservatives, like McCain advisor Robert Kagan, still believe that the United States "is definitely still number one." According to the leading voices in the Democratic Party now shaping the political debate, the United States is an empire in decline, at least at the moment. They want to see the country acknowledge this and take advantage of the inherent opportunities in any crisis.

In their view, the American model is discredited, at least temporarily. Many in the Third World are now more attracted to Chinese-style autocracy, a state capitalism that limits the freedom of the individual for the good of the nation. Europeans recognize the deficits of authoritarianism and want to retain a free market economy, while at the same time calling for more government intervention. The well-known British philosopher and author John Gray calls it a "historic political shift" and notes: "The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over."

What next?
In a world in which the human pyramid at Abu Ghraib has replaced the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of the United States (particularly in large parts of the Middle East), the first task for George W. Bush's successor must be to reestablish America's moral authority. This includes the immediate closing of the prison camp at Guantanamo, an unequivocal termination of CIA practices like the kidnapping of terror suspects and the condemnation of all forms of torture. On the home front, the new president will have to discipline and regulate Wall Street, reform the healthcare system from the ground up, introduce a rigorous energy conservation program and straighten out the tax system so that the very rich are asked to pay their fair share and the middle and lower classes face less of a tax burden.

The Job Ahead
On the foreign policy front, the new US president should commit himself to renewed strong cooperation with international organizations, agree to binding targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions, join the International Criminal Court and refrain from modernizing the country's nuclear arsenal. In terms of international relations, the next president's term could signal the dawning of a new age of diplomacy that requires unusual steps: a speedy withdrawal from Iraq that respects the needs of that country's population; the relinquishment of an American and British special status in the exploitation of Iraq's oil reserves; a strategy for Afghanistan that prevents it from turning into a new base for international terrorism, one that includes both punitive military expeditions and a much stronger emphasis on civilian reconstruction and ventures to take unusual steps, like the inclusion of "moderate" Taliban in the peace process.

In the worldwide ideological contest, there is much to support the idea that Bush's successor in the White House could take Europe's side in the struggle to promote the better system. And that he should use all diplomatic means at his disposal to seek a solution to the Iran conflict that would prevent or at least delay Tehran's plans to develop nuclear weapons.

But this new America could be costly for Europeans. No matter who wins the election next week, the victor will smile and invite the allies to join him at the negotiating table -- and his demands will be considerable: more money for reconstruction in Iraq, and a greater commitment to the war in Afghanistan. Can John McCain, 72, carry out America's Herculean challenges, or is Barack Obama, 47, the better man for the job?

"John McCain is a fighter. In fact, his bellicosity has increased over the past few years as he has discovered his inner neoconservative," writes Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and author of the bestseller "The Post-American World." "He wants to keep the battle going in Iraq, speaks casually of bombing Iran and is skeptical of the Bush administration's diplomacy with North Korea. He wants to kick Russia out of the G-8 and humiliate China by excluding it from that body as well. He sees a "league of democracies" locked in conflict with an alliance of autocracies. This is cold-war nostalgia, not a strategy for the 21st century."

Inventing the Future
And then there is Democratic candidate Obama, who Zakaria sees as a man for a new beginning and as a deeply inspiring figure. "Imagine what people around the world would think if they saw America once again inventing the future," Zakaria writes.

A healthy dose of self-confidence is necessary, because America is in jeopardy of losing its greatest asset: its notorious optimism about the future. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the number of people who believe that things will be better in five years than they are today has dropped to its lowest point since the organization first began asking this question 44 years ago -- and the poll was even taken a few weeks before the Wall Street collapse.

At the World Financial Summit in New York in mid-November, George W. Bush will be the "lame duck" among the leaders of the world's most important nations. It is possible that he will invite his successor to take part in the talks. That would make sense, because any resolutions reached at the summit, while barely affecting Bush's remaining term in office, will critically shape the next administration.

One can characterize it as tragic, comical or revealing that the president, shortly before leaving office, will face the task of participating in a new global economic order that he resisted for so long and that he must now approach in cooperation with all potential rivals in the struggle for international dominance.

Or perhaps it is simply consistent with the personality of someone who is preparing to embark on a new life without saying goodbye to his old life, someone who is only beginning to explore the contours of his life in retirement.
Crawford, Texas, is his adopted hometown, a town profiled in a recent issue of the New Yorker. This is "Bush country." He invites favored heads of state to stay there, and he repeatedly stresses that the place is his source of energy. Crawford, a town of 705 inhabitants and seven churches, is set in the midst of a flat, monotonous prairie. A Bush campaign sign leans against a grain silo on Main Street. The wind has knocked the sign from its frame, but no one has bothered to straighten it again.

There were once seven shops in Crawford that sold Bush souvenirs. Three have gone out of business and business is slow in the other four. The last time anything newsworthy happened in the town was five months ago, when the president's daughter, Jenna, was married. Tourists crowded into the local coffee shop, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bride and her groom. But they went home disappointed, where they could watch the bride, beaming in her Oscar de la Renta gown, and George W. stiffly serving up oysters and crab cocktail instead of steak and pretzels -- on television.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. paid many a visit to his hometown. When he moved into the White House, a citizens' group organized local festivals and fireworks in Bush's honor. Crawford voted almost unanimously for its most famous son, even in his second run for office. In 2005, Cindy Sheehan, the angry mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, temporarily transformed the place into the headquarters of the antiwar movement. The locals were less than amused, and the community became divided.

When Bush gave a campaign speech in Crawford a few weeks ago, barely a dozen journalists showed up for the event, while many locals stayed at home. They will be seeing even less of George W. in the future, as the family looks for a condominium in the city. He plans to write his memoirs and establish a "Freedom Institute" next to his presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The New Yorker reported on his appearance at a Republican fund-raiser in Houston. "Wall Street got drunk, and now it's got a hangover," said an upbeat lame-duck president. "And then we got a housing issue," he said, "not in Houston -- evidently not in Dallas, because Laura’s over there trying to buy a house today."

The audience laughed. When someone asked why he wasn't planning to move to Crawford full-time, Bush replied: "I like Crawford. Unfortunately, after eight years of asking my wife to sacrifice, I am no longer the decision maker. She'll be deciding."

And so the small town of Crawford, Texas will like return to insignificance. Rural Texas now faces the same concerns as all of America. Because of high gasoline prices, Franklin Industrial Minerals, the town's biggest employer, is considering switching to a four-day work week. Most people in Crawford are worried about their jobs.

Little remains of the legacy of George W. Bush. Perhaps a few words carved into a slab of granite near a church. The names of Crawford residents who died in past wars are engraved in the shimmering stone. They include native sons Charles Jageler and Tommie Lee Symank, both "killed in action" in Vietnam. There is still plenty of room in the Vietnam list. Below that, the word "Iraq" is carved into the stone.

But there are no names listed under Iraq. Not yet.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan


Photo Gallery: The 43rd President
Photo Gallery: Funny Moments with George 'Dubyah' Bush
Interactive Graphic: Obama and Biden vs. McCain: The Candidates in Profile
America, Land of Extremes: An Enigmatic Country Elects a New President (10/31/2008)
Interview with Neoconservative Scholar Robert Kagan: 'America Remains Number One' (10/27/2008)

All Rights Reserved

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 06:45 PM
$ $ $ $ $ $ $

Undetectable data-stealing trojan nabs 500,000 virtual wallets

Sinowal's evil genius

Dan Goodin in San Francisco
Posted in Security
31st October 2008 19:41 GMT

Original URL:

A well-organized crime gang has stolen credentials for more than a half-million financial accounts in less than three years using a sophisticated trojan that remains undetectable to the vast majority of its victims, a report published Friday warns.

The haul of bank, credit, and debit card account numbers stolen by the Sinowal trojan is among the largest ever discovered. It was unearthed by researchers at RSA's FraudAction Research Lab. They say the program, which is also known as Torpig and Mebroot, has been operating non-stop for almost three years, an unusually long time in the fly-by-night world of cybercrime.

"Only rarely do we come across crimeware that has been continually stealing and collecting personal information and payment card data, and compromising bank accounts as far back as 2006," RSA researchers wrote.

What's more, Sinowal has only managed to become more productive over time. In the past six months, it has compromised more than 100,000 accounts. Since February, the number of variants has spiked, from fewer than 25 per month to more than 70, according to RSA. The increase helps the malware evade detection by anti-virus programs.

In all, the trojan has infected at least 300,000 Windows machines and stolen 270,000 online banking account numbers and 240,000 credit and debit credentials.

Sinowal is impressive for other reasons as well. Unlike many trojans, it doesn't rely on tricking the end user into clicking on a link or file to get installed. Rather, it spreads silently via websites that prey on unpatched vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system or in third-party applications, such as Adobe Flash and Apple's QuickTime media player.

"This particular trojan can get installed without even awareness of the end-user that they have agreed to anything or that anything has been installed," Sean Brady, manager of identity protection at RSA, said in an interview.

It then hides itself on a computer's master boot record, making the infection extremely difficult to find. About the only remedy for victims fortunate enough to learn they are contaminated is to reformat their hard drive and reinstall their operating system.

Brady said RSA has shared the data it discovered with affected banks in the hopes they will notify customers who are infected.

Sinowal sits dormant on a machine until a user points a browser at the website of a bank or other financial institution. Then an HTML injection engine adds fields to the website's login page that prompt victims to enter social security numbers, passwords, and other credentials. Once entered, the information is transmitted to a server under the control of the malware authors. The injection mechanism is triggered by more than 2,700 different web addresses.

Little is known about the group responsible for Sinowal, but at least one clue suggests the group has ties to Russia: While the trojan targets institutions in dozens of countries in North America, Europe and Asia, none were located in Russia. ®

Related stories

Security researchers lift the lid on Torpig banking Trojan (31 October 2008)


Excuse me sir: there's a rootkit in your master boot record (9 January 2008)


Kaspersky: Maxtor markets password-pilfering Dutch disk drives (19 September 2007)


The return of the ransom-ware Trojan (19 July 2007)


0wning Vista from the boot (26 April 2007)


Hackers debut malware loaded USB ruse (25 April 2007)


$ $ $

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 06:58 PM

Report Card: Was Picking Palin a Mistake?

With Days Until the Election,
Closer Look at the Palin Pick
Oct. 30, 2008—
With the presidential election just days away, and with the latest polls still favoring the Barack Obama-Joe Biden ticket, Republican VP pick Gov. Sarah Palin is still full steam ahead, gathering huge crowds from event to event to conduct the task that always falls into the lap of the vice presidential candidate -- attack.

Today, Palin took aim at Obama's primetime infomercial, which aired last night across six television networks and garnered 33.5 million viewers.

"He's [Obama's] hoping your mind won't wander to real challenges of national security, challenges he is incapable of meeting," she said.

Since early September, when Palin was picked by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as his running mate, she's become wildly popular with the Republican base, drawing huge crowds that often out-do McCain's. But lately, some are beginning to wonder if Palin has become a drag on the ticket.

"If John McCain wins on Tuesday, the short answer is no," ABC News' chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, told "Nightline's" Cynthia McFadden. "If he loses, that's the question I'd most like an honest answer to.

"We know why she was picked," Stephanopoulos continued. "The campaign was looking for someone to solidify the Republican base, excite the Republican base and reach out to some voters in the middle, women and men who might be attracted to a reform candidate. She's the first female GOP candidate for vice president with working-class roots."

Stephanopoulos said the Palin selection may not have worked to attract some of the campaign's key targets.

"It didn't seem to work there, even though Sarah Palin is still popular with Republicans," he said. "When you look at the bottom line, Joe Biden helped Barack Obama with all voters. He made people feel better about Barack Obama. Sarah Palin has hurt John McCain with the broader electorate. It's shown in poll after poll after poll."

Mixed Signals Among Mavericks?
Palin rarely goes off script on the stump, and relies on a teleprompter at nearly every event. A top McCain aide told ABC News that Palin is given talking points every day.

On Tuesday, the attack of the day was based on a 2001 radio interview on Chicago Public Radio conducted with then-State Sen. Obama, in which he appeared to say "redistributive change" never occurred during the civil rights movement.

This line gave ammo to the heavily pushed McCain-Palin line of attack -- that Obama wants to "spread the wealth" among American taxpayers.

While McCain claimed Obama was running for "redistributor-in-chief," Palin went further than her running mate, accusing Obama of wanting to re-write the Constitution.

"Sometimes in politics, it's those candid little moments that give us the whole picture," Palin declared at a rally at Penn State University. "But our opponent's ideological commitment to spread your wealth around has been tried in other societies, and the only thing it ever spreads is scarcity and poverty and bureaucracy."

Internal Chatter 'Unusual' at This Stage
But are Palin's most recent words straying more and more from campaign talking points? In recent days, a chorus of anonymous McCain aides and Republican outsiders has accused Palin of reportedly "going rogue," and instead, looking out for her own political future.

"I don't think there's any question that she has ambition," said Matthew Dowd, a prominent political consultant and chief strategist for George W. Bush's re-election campaign. "And if you look at the vice presidential candidates for the last 50 years, once somebody becomes the nominee for V.P., they automatically start having future ambitions and they automatically start looking past Election Day."

However, over the past few days, criticism of Palin within the campaign has gotten uglier. One McCain advisor reportedly labeled Palin a "diva" and another "top McCain advisor" reportedly called her a "wack job."

"It is unusual to have this much talk from campaign insiders beginning to point the fingers and beginning to say someone else is to blame," said Dowd. "I mean it's almost as if they are organizing a circular firing squad before Election Day. Usually they don't start ... those circular firing squads until after Election Day."

Washington Post columnist George Will said the internal disputation is not unfamiliar turf for the McCain camp.

"Long before Sarah Palin was a glint in John McCain's eye, there was famous factional fighting within his campaign, all the way back to the summer of 2007 when his campaign imploded in disarray," he said. "So, fighting among these people is not news."

McCain aides have pointed to specific instances of Palin speaking off the cuff, sometimes interfering with her boss. On the day after McCain decided to pull resources out of Michigan, Palin told reporters, "I would sure love to get to run to Michigan and make sure that Michigan knows that we haven't given up there."

And two weeks later, she seemed to criticize McCain's use of robo-calls.

"If I could wave a magic wand," she said, "I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, talking to them about our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning that includes those robo-calls."

Will said the staff should've expected mistakes from a candidate with Palin's level of experience.

"If they don't want someone to make rookie mistakes, perhaps they shouldn't pick a rookie in national politics. This is part of the bargain," he told ABC News' Kate Snow. "I think she's performing the service she was initially intended to perform, [which] is energizing the base and drawing crowds. I think that, in the process of doing that, she predictably is failing to do the other job, which is appealing to people who are not in the base."

Palin in 2012?
Will also believes there are conservatives pushing the idea of Palin in 2012, but dismisses the idea that Palin is actively contemplating a future bid.

"Look, it's always possible to explain mistakes in terms of guile," said Will. "That's a sign of paranoia. The fact is mistakes often get made, particularly in the fatigue intention of a campaign, by people who are talking 18 hours a day. They're going to say some things they shouldn't say. But to ascribe Machiavellian subtlety to this woman, particularly looking four years out is, I think, to say no more, a stretch."

In an interview with ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, Palin said she was focused on winning next week.

"I'm just thinking that it's going to go our way on Tuesday, Nov. 4," she said. "I truly believe that the wisdom of the people will be revealed on that day, as they enter that voting booth. They will understand the stark contrast between the two tickets."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures


Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 08:08 PM
^ ^^ ^ ^^ ^


Palin for President?At a Sarah Palin rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, earlier this week, Mother Jones found rank-and-file Republicans excited about John McCain, but even more excited about his potential VP.

Click To Play: To gain access to link, click URL:


— Tay Wiles, Jonathan Stein, David Corn

There are some interesting comments thrown in among some average ones, fun to read quite a few of them.

^ ^^ ^

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 08:23 PM
:: :: :: :: ::
New Report Documents Activities
Spiritual Warfare Network Tied to Palin

By Ruth, 2008-10-29 23:07:23

Section: Front Page, Topic: sarah palin

Palin's Churches and the Third Wave Series Sarah Palin thanked prayer warriors across the nation during her &nbsp;interview
http://www.citizenlink.org/dailybroadcast/A000008476.cfm last week with
James Dobson. &nbsp;She has been publicly anointed
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/24/13112/0816/] by Thomas Muthee,
an international leader in spiritual warfare. Muthee starred in the Transformations videos,
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/20/171755/145/] teaching tools for spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare viewed worldwide.& nbsp; Apostles of the Spiritual Warfare Network, now called the UnitedStates Global Apostolic Prayer Network, have claimed Palin as one of their own. http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/7/54010/1830/ & nbsp; Next week she could possibly become the Vice President Elect of the United States. What is spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare, and who are these prayer warriors of the US Global Apostolic Prayer Network and the
Transformations videos? &nbsp; What is the impact of spiritual warfare for those who do not belong to this movement? The researchers who worked on the articles in the series Palin's Churches and the Third Wave,
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/5/114652/6239 have compiled a
report to answer these questions, including who and what the prayer warriors are fighting against, and how they are using the ideas of the Transformation videos to bring this fight to your community. The report is titled "Spiritual Mapping and Spiritual Warfare - Muthee and the Transformations Franchise," and includes more than one hundred links to

. . .

When the Alfred E. Neuman School says &quot;What, Me Worry?&quot; -- about the Religious Right

Frederick Clarkson
2008-10-29 14:42:12
Section: Front Page,
Topic: Taking Action

Pastordan nails it

http://www.streetprophets.com/story/2008/10/28/15534/365, (or at least one of many very important its) over at Street Prophets today. In discusing how the immoderate Rick Warren
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/3/29/1509/49603 has endorsed
Proposition 8 that would repeal marriage equality in California, pastordan succinctly describes the elephant on the table that is one of the obstacles to clear thinking, informed conversation and good strategy in response to the Religious Right. Much more on all this on the flip, but before we go there, let's also note that today is Write to Marry Day http://www.mombian.com/2008/10/29/write-to-marry-day-contributed-posts/ in support of marriage equality in California and in opposition to the Religious Right's infamous Prop 8. Here is the original press release
http://pageoneq.com/news/2008/writetomarry10272008.html calling on
bloggers to highlight this important battle on their blogs today. (What we used to call a "blog swarm.") With less than a week to go, the No on 8 campaign needs financial help to compete with the enormous money advantage of the coalition of theocrats seeking to impose their particular religious view of marriage on everyone else. You can contribute via Act Blue
. . . . .

Saundra Hummer
October 31st, 2008, 10:04 PM
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Genealogical firm finds Palin ties to Hawaii

Fri Oct 31, 12:45 am ET
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – A Big Island couple who founded a genealogy service company has tracked GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's family ties to Hawaii and to actor Alec Baldwin.

Bruce and Kristine Harrison founded the Family Forest Project in 1995, and since have mapped the ancestral histories of thousands of political leaders, celebrities and historical figures, as well as everyday people.

"While watching Sarah Palin and Alec Baldwin talking together on 'Saturday Night Live,' I couldn't help wondering if they had any idea they are related to each other," Harrison said.

He said Palin and Baldwin are "fairly distant cousins" because their first ancestral connection is many generations back.

Harrison has connected Palin's family to several prominent Hawaii families including the Cooke family of Bank of Hawaii, the Waterhouse and Alexander families of Alexander & Baldwin, the Atherton family of Atherton Foundation and the Monty Richards family of Kahua Ranch.

Earlier, Harrison claimed he found links between Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and previous presidents, including George Washington, James Madison, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter.

Harrison said his ancestry research program now has enough data to map generation-by-generation ancestral pathways to the ancestors of up to 2 billion people.

Recently, genealogists at Ancestry.com found Palin to be a distant cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the late Princess Diana.

On the Net:

Family Forest:


And Oprah is related to Elvis, or so they say, but can she sing? SRH
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 03:22 AM
* * * * *

Northern Exposure

Sarah Palin's toxic paradise.

Sheila Kaplan and Marilyn Berlin Snell
The New Republic
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

There's no reason to doubt Sarah Palin's sincerity when she talks about her commitment to family and--more specifically--special-needs kids. When she introduced her son, who has Down syndrome, to the audience at the Republican convention, the family tableau drew cheers. And she issued a promise. "To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message for you," she told the crowd. "For years, you've sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters, and I pledge to you that, if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."

Unfortunately, as governor of a state with a birth-defect rate that's twice the national average, and which has the gloomy status as repository of toxic chemicals from around the world, Palin has pursued environmental policies that seem perfectly crafted to swell the ranks of special-needs kids. It's true that Alaska's top leaders have placed industry wishes over environmental protection for years. But, instead of correcting this problem, she's compounded it. Peer into her environmental record, and Palin ends up looking a lot like George W. Bush.

In the past 20 years, research has shown that exposure to some metals and to chemicals such as pesticides, flame retardants, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can cause birth defects and permanent developmental disorders both prenatally and in the first years of childhood. And Alaska is vulnerable to some of the worst environmental pollutants out there. In a state whose wealth depends on the exploitation of its natural resources, the toxic byproducts of mining and energy development, such as arsenic, mercury, and lead, are particular problems. Alaska Natives, such as the Inuit people, eat a diet that is heavy in fish, seals, and whales--animals that are high on the food chain and therefore more likely to be contaminated with high doses of PCBs and mercury. And the state is vulnerable not only to homegrown pollution, but also to industrial pollution: Trace gases and tiny airborne particles are contaminating the polar regions, carried there on atmospheric and oceanic currents, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The mess of pollutants in Alaska has clearly taken its toll. In general, the state has double the national average of birth defects. While the causes are unknown, environmentalists point to the region that includes the North Slope, an area slightly larger than Minnesota, where most of Alaska's oil is produced. The byproducts of oil production can cause serious nervous system disorders, and the North Slope and its environs, home to Alaska Natives and itinerant oil workers, has the highest prevalence of birth defects in the state--11 percent--compared with 6 percent statewide and 3 percent nationwide.

Palin, however, has not addressed these concerns. Her administration irked environmentalists in February 2008, when it opposed legislation that would have given parents at least 48 hours' notice before schools were to be sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Currently, parents get 24 hours, which the bill's proponents say is not sufficient for parents who want to arrange to keep kids out of school for a few days after the chemicals are applied. Palin's administration argued that the bill was too restrictive and would force schools to notify parents before cleaning toilets with disinfectant--which, supporters say, is not true. In the same month, members of Palin's administration testified against language in legislation that would have banned polybrominated diphenyl ethers--a flame retardant that, studies show, harms the developing brain.

Then, in the summer of 2007, Palin allowed oil companies to move forward with a toxic-dumping plan in Alaska's Cook Inlet, the only coastal fishery in the nation where toxic dumping is permitted. The Bush administration initially OK'd the companies' request to increase toxic releases, but the permits could not be issued without Alaska's certification that the discharges met the state's water-quality standards, says Bob Shavelson, executive director of Cook Inletkeeper, an organization founded to protect the area's watershed. Palin complied. "Palin's Department of Environmental Conservation issued that certification the long-discounted notion that 'dilution is the solution to pollution'--turning the federal Clean Water Act on its head and actually increasing toxic pollution," Shavelson says.

Palin next took on the Clean Water Initiative, also known as Proposition 4, which appeared on the Alaska ballot on August 26. The measure would have limited the runoff of toxic metals--known to cause developmental and birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--from all mining operations, but it was aimed at stopping the proposed Pebble Mine, a huge mining proposal that was controversial for its potential impact on Bristol Bay, the world's largest commercial wild salmon fishery (for which Palin's oldest daughter was named). The project had been in the works for years, and, when she ran for governor in 2006, Palin told the Alaska Journal of Commerce that, if the mine was green-lighted, "there will be remediation from now to eternity." Once in office, though, environmental concerns took a backseat. In a TV interview six days before the vote, Palin said, "Let me take my governor's hat off for just a minute, and tell you personally, Prop 4--I vote no on that." Alaska's mining industry parlayed Palin's face and words into an advertising blitz--and came from behind to defeat it.

Palin's latest anti-environmental effort also came in August, when she attempted to block California's plan to curb its air pollution. The Golden State is trying to reduce its toxic emissions with a port fee that would pay for pollution-reduction projects around the state. Arguing that it would hurt Alaska's economy, Palin asked California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto the proposed legislation.

Finally, Palin was pushed by environmental activists and Alaska Natives to pressure the military in its cleanup of one of the most contaminated sites in Alaska--but the state didn't act. This was on the old Northeast Cape Air Force base on remote St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea--one of the state's closest spots to Russia. When the military closed its operations in the 1970s, it left thousands of barrels of toxic waste, containing solvents, fuels, heavy metals, pesticides, and PCBs, a group of toxic organic chemicals that have persisted in the environment. For the past few years, the Army Corps of Engineers has been slowly cleaning up parts of the site and claims it will leave it safe. (One federally funded study still in progress by the state's premier watchdog on chemical pollutants, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), tested the local water and got a reading that was more than one thousand times the level that the EPA considers safe. "If the Corps of Engineers want to fill up their canteens in there, they are welcome to it," says Kathrine Springman, the toxicologist who did that study. "Actually, I wouldn't want them to drink it ... anymore than I would ask them to drink Drano.")

But critics say the Army is taking too long, and that its plan will leave too many untreated chemicals, PCBs in particular, at the site. According to Pamela Miller, ACAT's executive director, Palin should have used her powers as governor to forge a better cleanup plan. "Certainly this was also a pattern in the Murkowski administration, but, under Palin, it's gotten worse," she said. "Her administration has done nothing to work with the military to avoid possible contamination." Scientists have also opposed the Army's plan, saying it will leave the area dangerous.

Supporters note that Palin did boost school spending for children with the most severe disabilities, but, in general, the Alaskan government under Palin has done nothing to protect those children and future generations from the toxic stew that the state has become. "She doesn't have a good understanding of the science," says Ruth Etzel, who until recently was research director at the Alaska Native Medical Program in Anchorage. "What she tends to do is talk about personal responsibility as the key to good health."

Andrea Doll, a Democratic state representative from Juneau, says she tried to get Palin interested in her bill on flame retardants early on: "I told her about the bill. She totally was not interested in any way, shape, or form. It was that look on her face--that 'don't even go there' look."

Sheila Kaplan is an investigative reporter who divides her time between Washington, D.C., and Northern California. Marilyn Berlin Snell is a San Francisco-based investigative journalist. Research support for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

Copyright © 2007 The New Republic. All rights reserved.

There are lots of comments, sympathetic and not. There are those who don't believe any kind of polution can been taking place due to the vast expanse of Alaska, but remember, we here in the West, as well as further inland, receive pollutants from China's burning of coal and other fuels, etc. Toxins of all sorts reach our shores. Alaska has it's share of dangers, and they are within Alaska itself, adding to the pollutants from overseas, mostly from China we hear.

Go on-site to gain access to the [B]Numerous articles. SRH

* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 02:47 PM
* * * * *


According to reports, the election is being stolen yet again. Oprah Winfrey has even reported that her vote disappeared.

How about mandatory prison terms for people who do this? A mandatory sentence might be a deterrent I would think. Harsh, but this stealing of our votes seems to be an ongoing problem. Look at where are at this time due to two elections not having been above-board. SRH
* * *

1. Miami Herald
October 25, 2008.


Ballots picked up, then disappear

The disappearance of some absentee ballots, picked up under unusual circumstances, has raised some serious questions.


Three Hialeah voters say they had an unusual visitor at their homes last week: a man who called himself Juan, offering to help them fill out their absentee ballots and deliver them to the elections office.

The voters, all supporters of Democratic congressional candidate Raul Martinez, said they gave their ballots to the man after he told them he worked for Martinez. But the Martinez campaign said he doesn't work for them.

Juan ''told me not to worry, that they normally collected all the ballots and waited until they had a stack big enough to hand-deliver to the elections department,'' said voter Jesus Hernandez, 73. 'He said, `Don't worry. This is not going to pass through the mail to get lost.' ''

Hernandez said he worries his ballot was stolen or destroyed. He and two other voters told The Miami Herald that the man was dispatched by a woman caller who also said she worked for Martinez. But the phone number cited by the voters traces back to a consultant working for Martinez's rival, Republican congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Martinez's campaign manager, Jeff Garcia, has asked the Miami-Dade state attorney's office to investigate.

Garcia has also spent the past week investigating the complaints, taking sworn statements from the three voters and mounting an ameteur sting operation at the home of an 84-year-old voter to try to catch the culprit.


"These are very serious allegations that could affect the outcome of an election,'' Garcia said. ``It is disturbing that in a win-at-any-cost election the congressman's campaign may be resorting to breaking the law.''

But the mystery only deepened after one complaining voter's ballot arrived at the elections office on Thursday, apparently unmolested.

The Diaz-Balart campaign denies collecting ballots and says it has no knowledge of any callers posing as the Martinez camp.

''What you are telling me is completely ludicrous. I denounce it under the strongest terms,'' said Ana Carbonell, Diaz-Balart's campaign manager. ``If someone is doing that, that's not authorized.''

Miami-Dade voters are supposed to deliver absentee ballots by mail or in person -- not through surrogates. Under a county ordinance, a third party can deliver only two ballots, and then only with a voter's permission and a note from the voter's doctor.

But Assistant State Attorney Joe Centorino said there's nothing preventing campaigns from collecting ballots and mailing them in.

The three voters said they first spoke with a woman at a phone number that belongs to Sasha Tirador, a subcontractor who manages a phone bank operation for David Custin, a Diaz-Balart political consultant.

Tirador denied collecting ballots or posing as the Martinez campaign.

Carbonell said the phone bank is only supposed to encourage absentee voters to choose Diaz-Balart.

One of the complaining voters, 47-year-old Irene Perez, said she turned over her ballot to Juan after being contacted by a woman named Aliosha Castro -- who had called Perez about voting absentee in the past.

A man named Aliosha Castro works with Tirador on the campaign, Custin said, and records show he is her partner in a car-wash business. Castro could not be reached for comment.


On Monday, a Herald reporter listened and observed as a Martinez volunteer called Tirador's office. The voice on the other end said more than once that it was Martinez's office -- not Diaz-Balart's.

The Martinez camp then tried to set a trap after a supporter reported receiving a similar phone call from the same phone number.

Martinez's wife, Angela, hid in the bedroom of 84-year-old Clara Suarez and Garcia stood outside with a video camera when a man came to Suarez's Hialeah apartment following the call.

But Suarez -- whose niece is Martinez's longtime secretary -- said the caller she spoke with identified herself with the Diaz-Balart campaign, and the caller sent the man to bring stamps for her ballot, not to take it.

Custin said he doesn't believe Tirador's phone bank has done anything wrong, but he said he would look into the allegations. ''Nobody -- not on my watch -- goes and takes a ballot,'' he said.

In automated calls, Diaz-Balart has urged voters to put their absentee ballots in the mail -- and warned them not to give their ballots to anyone.

The ballots for Hernandez and his roommate, Felipa Gonzalez, have not been turned in. But they have not lost their votes: Angela Martinez said she drove Hernandez and Gonzalez to the polls herself to vote early.

Miami Herald staff writer Luisa Yanez contributed to this report.

2. Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2008.


From the Los Angeles Times

Ontario police arrest man in voter fraud case

Mark Jacoby, who owns a firm hired by the California Republican Party, violated state laws with his own registration, authorities say.

Evan Halper
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 20, 2008

SACRAMENTO —The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario over the weekend on suspicion of voter registration fraud.

State and local investigators allege that Mark Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that all signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California. His firm, Young Political Majors, or YPM, collects petition signatures and registers voters in California and other states.

Jacoby's arrest by state investigators and the Ontario Police Department late Saturday came after dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by people employed by YPM. The voters said YPM workers tricked them by saying they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters.

The firm was paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registered as a member of the GOP.

Dan Goldfine, an attorney for Jacoby, on Sunday denied any wrongdoing by his client and called the charges "baseless."

He said the arrest outside an Ontario hotel, which involved seven squad cars and nine police officers, was part of a "long pattern of harassment against Mr. Jacoby for an entirely valid voter registration effort."

Goldfine said the case that prosecutors are bringing against his client involves charges that are rarely pressed.

Jacoby was released on bail Sunday evening from the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Goldfine said.

After complaints by voters and Democratic Party officials, several agencies launched investigations into Jacoby's activities. They included the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, which issued the warrant for his arrest earlier this month on felony charges of voter registration fraud and perjury.

"We contacted people at the addresses where he registered, and they have no idea who he is," said Dave Demerjian, head deputy of the public integrity unit at the L.A. County district attorney's office.

Goldfine said his client does business in many states, traveling frequently, and his permanent address has been his parents' Los Angeles County home, where he received mail and registered to vote.

Demerjian said his office is continuing to investigate allegations that YPM workers improperly re-registered voters with the GOP.

Several dozen voters recently told The Times that YPM workers said they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Other voters said they had no idea their registration was being changed.

YPM has been accused of using bait-and-switch tactics across the country. Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit.

In a written statement Sunday, the state Republican Party called the charges against Jacoby "politically motivated." The party said the charges do not support accusations from voters and Democratic officials that YPM has been duping voters into joining the GOP.

The statement accused Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who announced the arrest, of "using her office to play politics."

Bowen is a Democrat.


. . .

UPI, Oct. 28, 2008.


Phony flier advises Dems to vote Nov. 5

Hampton Roads, Va., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Virginia state officials are advising residents to disregard a phony state flier advising Democrats to vote on Nov. 5, a day after the actual election.

The flier, which is designed to look somewhat like a State Board of Elections document, has been distributed in several Hampton Roads, Va., locations, the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

The flier features the state board logo and the state seal. It purports that "an emergency session of the General Assembly has adopted the following emergency regulations to ease the load on local electoral precincts and ensure a fair electoral process." The words following and electoral were spelled incorrectly.

One of the alleged "emergency regulations" is that Republicans are to vote Nov. 4, while Democrats are to vote a day later, the flier said.

Election officials say they have forwarded the flier to the Virginia State Police for investigation as a possible incident of voter intimidation.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

. . . . .

Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 04:42 PM
Dear friends,

Two quick extra announcements this week:

. Our staff helped the folks over at GoLeft.tv put together a farewell video for George W. Bush. Check it out here:


. In Austin this weekend, a very important film called "Trouble the Water" is opening this weekend-- and it needs your support to stay in the theater! Head on down to the Regal Arbor cinema and see it if you can. If you're not in Austin, check out the movie's website to see when it will be playing near you.

Keep agitating!
The Hightower Staff


Friday, October 31, 2008
Posted by Jim Hightower
Listen to this Commentary
(It's a plus to hear Jim put his thoughts into an audio. Go on site to hear him. His way of telling things adds so much to any article he publishes. SRH)

It hurts me deeply to say this, but here goes: I’m not a real American.

Oh, I’m proud to live in America and grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given in this great country. Also, I would probably seem pretty American to you: I was born and raised in Texas, I came up through public schools, I drive a made-in-America 1997 Ford, I own a modest house, I have a small business, I pay taxes and meet a payroll, I work hard, I’m a beer drinker, I love baseball… and so on.

But here’s where I fall down: I don’t live in a place that Sarah Palin likes.

“I like to visit the pro-America parts of this great nation,” she recently explained to an appreciative crowd at a Republican rally in North Carolina. In fact, she talks incessantly about how small town, moose-dressing, hockey moms like her are the real Americans. Apparently, the rest of us are, at best, fake Americans, or, worse, anti-Americans.

Live in a big city or anywhere on the West Coast? You don’t meet Sarah’s standard, and she won’t be visiting your area. Are you now or have you ever been a community organizer? Gosh darn it, get out of here, says Ms. Real America. Are you Black, a Democrat, an environmentalist, a pro-choicer, or – omigosh! – a Muslim? Well, doggone it, that’s sure not real in Palin’s America. When you get right down to it, the only ones who qualify as Real, Pro-American Americans are those who show up at Sarah Palin rallies. That leaves a whole lot of us out.

What holds us together in this big, sprawling nation of wonderfully-diverse people and cultures is the realization that no one group is more “real” than the next. What unifies us as a society is our belief in the common good – and those who try to separate us from that unifying bond are the real enemies of America. It’s you who needs to get real, Ms. Palin.

“Keepin’ it real in Fake America,” Austin American Statesman, October 23, 2008.

send to friend


Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 05:32 PM
~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~

IRAQ had one of the most sophisticated and technicolgically advanced sound water systems in the world, and it was badly damaged, pretty much destroyed during the bombings of their country by us, the United States. The French had the parts to begin immediate repairs to the Iraqi water system, having built it in the first place I believe. The Cheney/Bush administration refused to let them bring in parts or do any work on it. The administration knew dies would have to be designed and made, taking over two years just to do this alone, and it was thought that the repairs if done by us would take 4 to 6 years. Have any dies been designed and made? Have the necessary parts for the repairs even been manufactured? I have my doubts, and now this.

We don't live in a box canyon, we aren't as isolated from everyone as much as we used to be. Disease spreads like wild fire any more with how all peoples travel the world like never before. We know we protect ourselvs by protecting them. Just like we do when we provide illegal's medical aid in the states. We can't afford not to. Besides, let's be human about this. SRH

Red Cross: Millions of Iraqis at Risk From Contaminated Water

Iraq: No Let-up in The Humanitarian Crisis. Ten liters of bottled water costs 50 cents, but many Iraqis cannot afford it, drinking water from polluted rivers instead.

Uhoud Abdulmajeed Saturday November 1, 2008, 4:16 am

Ten liters of bottled water costs 50 cents, but many Iraqis cannot afford it, drinking water from polluted rivers instead.
Improved security has failed to prevent Iraq becoming the scene of one of the world's most critical humanitarian disasters with water supplies and sewage systems putting millions at risk of disease, the Red Cross said today.

The statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross said the situation has not improved significantly since March this year when the organization published its report, Iraq: No Let-up in The Humanitarian Crisis.

The report found that the humanitarian situation in Iraq following the US invasion was the worst in the world.

Today's findings state that water supplies in the war-torn country have continued to deteriorate with even the most basic infrastructure not functioning.

More than 40 percent of people are relying on poor quality and inadequate supplies and millions, especially children, are at serious risk of water-borne disease, the Red Cross said.

Cholera cases peaked in a number of provinces during the hottest months of August and September.

"Iraqis urgently need access to clean water. They try to get it from rivers and wells but these sources are contaminated throughout the country so many people become ill," said Patrick Yussef, head of the Red Cross sub-delegation in Baghdad.

Most of Iraq's water comes from its two main rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, which are heavily polluted by household waste and litter.

In poorer areas of Baghdad, streets are flooded with sewage, which seeps into walls and under the floors of houses until they collapse.

Even though 10 liters of bottled water costs only 50 U.S. cents, many Iraqis cannot afford to buy it and have to drink water from the polluted rivers.

Hospitals are struggling to keep up with the numbers of sick. Equipment and medicines are in short supply and electricity shortages are common.

"There has been some improvement in recent months, both in terms of security and essential services," said Juan-Pedro Schaerer, head of the Red Cross delegation for Iraq. "But far too many Iraqis still have no choice but to drink dirty water and live in insalubrious conditions."

The most vulnerable are those living in the countryside and suburbs and not connected to a water network.

The Red Cross is trying to gain more access into the country and said this has improved over the years.

But Schaerer stressed that the situation of many civilians remains precarious. "Clearly, fewer civilians

~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~

Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 06:13 PM

Whew, and these people are for real. I kid you not. How in the world have they come to this? Hubris and the need to control, the need to feel all important? Wanting to be on the same level as their vindictive god? What other reason could there be? We who don't think as they do are the "hoards" they fear, and despise. We do feel however that they are the ones to watch out for, as their rational can affect their actions, so, look out everyone. SRH

Anti-Obama "Spritual Warfare" Rhetoric Now at Fever Pitch
Richard Bartholomew
Sat Nov 01, 2008
04:22:33 AM EST

A new email newsletter from James Hutchens and his "Jerusalem Connection" Christian Zionist outfit directs me to "A Prophetic Warning" from Pastor Steve Foss. Foss (a protégé of Morris Cerullo) apparently received a message from God in 2000 that George Bush would just about scrape home for his first term, and that there would be an economic crash at the end of his second term. Now that it's all come true Foss has chosen to tell the world what God revealed to him, including what's in store next:

God spoke to me that after George W. Bush, America would elect its most ungodly president ever.

That is, unless Christians intercede in some unspecified way - like, for example, voting against a particular candidate:

...I had a vision earlier this year. I saw Barack Obama in this vision. He was speaking to a large crowd and being broadcast on television. He was speaking incredible words of unity, peace, and bringing all sides together; the words were elegant, the words were comforting, and the words were inspiring.
But while he was speaking I saw all a powerful spirit of violence coming out of his spirit feeding into the spirits of those that were hearing him. That spirit of violence was directed at anybody who opposed what he was saying. Those who heard his words and received it had the spirit of violence being implanted inside of them. It was a rage like I have not seen before.

It was the rage that would be unleashed against those who oppose and stand in the way of Barack Obama's agenda. We are already seeing the beginnings of this spirit manifested here in America. The vicious attacks against Sarah Palin have been unlike anything we have ever seen before. The sheer hate for this woman from people who knew nothing about her, and who claim to stand up and protect the little people, and women, has been shocking.

The demon-possessed hordes also have it in for Joe the Plumber:

These people who are under the influence of this demon spirit of rage desire to completely destroy this man because he dared to question Barack Obama/

This is just the latest evidence that Obama is using occult powers against his foes - as I blogged the other day, American missionaries in Kenya recently revealed that Obama's grandmother has been killing chickens with the result that John McCain now looks "confused and like and idiot".
Foss is not alone in his call for a fightback- neo-Pentecostal leader Dutch Sheets recently called for spiritual warfare to win the election:

ln 2000 we actually lost the popular vote and won the election-talk about grace! Please pray for this grace to be released again...

(Perhaps "God's grace" explains those dodgy voting machines in West Virginia?)

...In August of this year I predicted that September would mark a shift in momentum for these elections. This happened with the appointment of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee (who is a true Esther in our generation), but when the economy began its meltdown and the media ramped up their unprecedented attacks on Palin, that momentum wasn't sustained.
Please understand what I am saying: if we engage in this battle and do what I am asking-in mass-we will win; if we do not, we will lose. I, for one, don't intend to allow the latter. I am in Washington , D.C. now (October 20-22) with Lou Engle and a team of prayer leaders from around the nation to war for this election. Join us! Lose some sleep, miss some meals-pray! Pray like never before for these elections. And as you do, involve yourself not only in petitioning prayer but also in spiritual warfare. Use your God- given authority over the plans and strategies of satan's kingdom. Bind all witchcraft that is working to control the outcome, including occultic powers that are suppressing truth. Release Christ's Kingdom rule in every way the Holy Spirit leads you.

Apparently other such anti-Obama "prophetic warnings" are doing the rounds, and most of them are perhaps too trivial or fringe to be worth taking notice. However, Foss and Sheets both have standing in the neo-Pentecostal movement, and Sheets in particular is a leading figure of the "Third Wave". Hutchens is also influential, and despite the "Jerusalem Connection" being a 501(c)3 he has been bold in promoting the direst attacks on Obama.


Isn't Dutch Sheets the originator of the... (none / 0) ..."prophecy" that Alaska will serve as a refuge state during armageddon?
by xDARKxEnERGYx on Sat Nov 01, 2008 at 10:21:51 AM EST

The frenzy continues in San Diego (none / 0) The frenzy continues. "The Call" San Diego is a prophecy and intercessory prayer gathering at the San Diego Qualcomm stadium from 10 - 10 today. "The Call" events are led by Lou Engle, member of ACEP (Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders) and are geared toward youth. See the link at http://www.thecall.com/ and while you are there, check out the video at The Call Institute to see the latest look of the Religious Right. The advisory team is a who's who of the Third Wave and New Apostolic leadership along with some famiiar names like Gary Bauer.
Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce, along with Cindy Jacobs, are the top Apostolic and Prophetic leaders of C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation. Sheets and Pierce went on a 50 state tour a few years ago and wrote a book of prophecies, state by state, titled Releasing the Prophetic Destiny of a Nation. Link to the e-book here: http://ebooks.ebookmall.com/ebook/190863-ebook.htm

Page 106 in this book refers to Mary Glazier, as one of the early forerunners of today's spiritual warfare networks and includes their prophecies for Alaska. Glazier is also a member of ACEP and head of the spiritual warfare network that Palin belonged to at 24 when she was "called by God" to enter politics.

There are a number of prayer networks associated with the New Apostolic Reformation. Dutch Sheets also heads the National Governmental Prayer Alliance with separate state networks. Cindy Jacobs (who led the Convergence 08 at the bull on Wall St. on Oct. 29) heads the new Reformation Prayer network. Chuck Pierce is being groomed to take over the Global Harvest Ministries from Wagner. Dutch Sheets and Ken Malone (of Katherine Harris phone call fame) also run Kingdom Freedom Enterprises, one of the many operations that are part of the "wealth transfer" and business end of the New Apostolics kingdom.

The leadership has made many prophecies about the election including one from Mary Glazier which implies that Palin will become President during a period of mourning. For a detailed report on the Spiritual Warfare and Spiritual Mapping activities of the NAR access PDF link at http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/29/23723/734/
by Ruth on Sat Nov 01, 2008 at 02:03:00 PM EST

Going on now... (none / 0) Rest Fest '08
Co-Sponsored by Elijah List

Ed Kalnins
Heidi Baker
Paul Keith Davis
Steve Sampson

Regardless of our political convictions, as a Christian, I, like many of you have wondered about this woman, Sarah Palin. Is she actually a Christian? What are her spiritual roots? Is she the real deal? Who were the people who prayed for her, witnessed to her, trained her, spoke words of destiny over her until she stood as governor of Alaska?
by xDARKxENERGYx on Sat Nov 01, 2008 at 05:34:41 PM EST


Go on-site to gain access to other articles of the day:


Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 08:00 PM
* * * * *

Early Voting; Obama's Ace in the Hole
Bill Hare
05:31:49 PM EST
An interview of Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina by Joe Scarborough on his early show this week demonstrated how the 2008 presidential election has been proceeding.

While the official date of the election is November 4, it is ongoing with a number of states holding early voting, and herein lies the big story that Clyburn, an African American congressman, was talking about.

South Carolina was considered one of those "don't bother touching it, it is in the red category" decisions. To even make an attempt was throwing good money after bad and wasting other opportunities in the process.

Clyburn's illuminating commentary revealed a political story unraveling that has been revealed in Atlanta and outlaying areas as well. The story concerns African Americans as well as other voters standing in lines that typically extend to 7 and 8 hours and in some instances encompassed a staggering 12-hour figure.

Media representatives have discussed this phenomenon with African Americans during and following these lengthy experiences and have received a uniform answer.
These citizens are afraid that another election will be stolen, as was the case in 2000 with the ruthless vote scrub ploy by Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris in Florida and proceeded four years later in Ohio, when Ken Blackwell, an African American himself, led the Republican vote suppression effort against African Americans in Ohio.

According to Clyburn the early voting pattern has been so strong in Obama's favor in South Carolina with African Americans turning out in staggering numbers that the earlier reported dynamics of this southern traditionally Republican state might well have changed.

Pat Buchanan entered the discussion at one point and asked about the status of close John McCain friend and thought to be invulnerable incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham. Buchanan cited a recent poll he had seen with Graham up by a 50-41% count, much closer than what was previously anticipated.

Clyburn responded to Buchanan by affirming that with the strong tide being evinced by African American voter turnout in South Carolina that Graham's one time shoe in status could well be in doubt.

Not only does Obama have what even Republicans acknowledge is a superior ground team in place for Election Day.

It is now being said that, if the staggering pre-election vote reaches an anticipated 33% or better, that it would take a Herculean effort by the McCain forces on Tuesday to surmount the lead established through the early voting pattern favoring Obama.

Should those determined efforts of people standing on their feet for eight hours of longer prove to be the difference, this will mark one of the most positive challenges in recent U.S. political history as those that were suppressed, excluded and cheated in previous elections made the difference in 2008.

Also, a case is being established for federal legislation facilitating early voting and eliminating the need to stand in long lines.

* * * * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 08:47 PM

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.

Samuel Johnson

I never yet heard man or woman much abused that I was not inclined to think the better of them, and to transfer the suspicion or dislike to the one who found pleasure in pointing out the defects of another.

Jane Porter


The best security against revolution is in constant correction of abuses and the introduction of needed improvements. It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.

Richard Whately


Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.

Peter Marshall


Death comes to all
But great achievements build a monument
Which shall endure until the sun grows cold.

Georg Fabricius


Saundra Hummer
November 1st, 2008, 09:18 PM

Articles and Analysis
October 31, 2008
Daily Tracker Update

Mark Blumenthal

It is probably premature to start talking about a "widening" of Barack Obama's lead over John McCain, although today's national tracking results certainly produce no evidence of any continuing "narrowing." Of the eight national tracking polls out today, five show slight movement in Obama's direction today, only one in McCain's direction and two show no change in the margin.


While there have been ups and downs, the average Obama lead on the eight daily tracking surveys today (6.3%) is almost exactly what it was (6.4%) on October 20, the day of the first ABC/Washington Post release. The Washington Post's Ben Pershing used a modified version of national trend chart today -- filtered to show just the national trackers -- to make a similar point: "Today's margin [on the trackers] is almost exactly where it was a month ago."

I'm not sure which filter Pershing applied, but the following chart displays the trend line based only on the eight national tracking surveys included in the table above

Mark Blumenthal
October 31, 2008 5:24 PM

Steady as she goes...
Posted on October 31, 2008 5:37 PM


McCain needs to gain roughly 1.4% per day to have a shot at winning this. Losing a day is terrible news. Obama gaining more than 0.6% on average is beyond terrible.
Posted on October 31, 2008 5:40 PM


The polls are just remarkably (sorry) stable. Take the tightening before the conventions away and respective bounces and Obama has consolidated on the back of the economy and social issues which he has always had the advantage.

I'm one who thinks Obama's lead is wider than the average based on my calculation of likely turn out, this time out turn out advantages Obama.

It seemed to me and when its polled its apparent that McCain's age is a bigger disqualification than Obama's race.

McCain is every bit of his 72 years. I'd expect greater width over the weekend.

Makes it hugely important for Obama to get his vote out.
Posted on October 31, 2008 6:11 PM
There are several more comments on-site, go there to gain access to them as well as the graphics.

Check out:


and see if you would like to enter their contest as to electorial vote counts for both candidates. Books are the prizes.

Saundra Hummer
November 2nd, 2008, 03:59 AM
? ? ? ? ?

Who’s the Question Mark?

Op-Ed Columnist
November 2, 2008

In the final moments of the most gripping campaign in modern history, John McCain is still trying to costume Barack Obama as a dangerous enigma.

But, in an odd and remarkable reversal, it is McCain who is the enigma, even though he entered the race with one of the best brands in American politics.

And it is Obama, who sashayed onto the trail two years ago as an aloof and exotic mystery man with a slim record and a strange name, now coming across as the steadier brand.

The McCain campaign specializes in erratica, while the Obama campaign continues to avoid any dramatica.

McCain pals around with Joe the Plumber and leaves Tito the Builder to Sarah Palin, exactly the kind of inane campaign silliness that the McCain formerly known as Maverick would have mocked mercilessly.

He’s getting a little traction on taxes, as he latches on to every possible scary image about Obama — except the suggestion that the Democrat’s gray Hart Schaffner Marx suits are red.

Before he was bubbled by Bushies, McCain was one of the most known and knowable quantities in American politics. For most of his long public career, he prided himself on his openness with the press — he even allowed some reporters to watch the results of January’s New Hampshire primary in his hotel suite in Nashua. He relished spending all day being challenged by voters and reporters.

Last summer, tapped out and unable to afford a paid staff of political professionals, he talked freely, telling reporters he would have a White House that would be the polar opposite of the secretive and dismissive Bush-Cheney operation. He imagined weekly press conferences and talked of subjecting himself to a version of British question time in Congress. While acknowledging he was a tech tyro, he promised to try “a Google,” as he called searching the Web, to put government spending online so citizens could bird-dog it.

He even went so far as to spin a dream of a West Wing in which he would cut back on his Secret Service so he wouldn’t feel so constrained.

In the end, “The Bullet,” or “Sarge,” as McCain calls his replacement campaign manager Steve Schmidt, was the one who did the shackling, turning the vibrant and respected McCain into a shell of his former self.

Schmidt abruptly cut off the oxygen supply to McCain’s brain. No more of the oldest established, permanent floating crap game of press confabs. No more audiences that weren’t vetted for friendliness. No more of McCain’s trademark insouciant mocking the process even as he participated in it.

Whether it was the five years he spent in a hole in Hanoi or just his gregarious makeup, McCain seemed to feed off of the company of people who interested him, be it reporters, voters or the pols in his posse, like Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham.

Unlike Obama, He Who Walks Alone, McCain always rejected the solitary in favor of the social. But ever since Sergeant Schmidt put Captain McCain into a sterile brig on the trail, the candidate has become a question mark.

Why would he repeat that oblivious line about the fundamentals of the economy being strong, saying it once in August and again in September?

Why would he threaten to not show up for a debate (after denouncing Obama for not rising to the challenge of joint town halls) so that he could go to Washington and play the shining knight if he had no plan and no prospect for success?

Why did he allow his campaign to become a host body for a Bush virus looking for someplace to infect? After working so hard to erase the image of what Senate aides called “the Bush hug,” McCain inexplicably hugged Bushies, surrounding himself with mercenaries trained in the same Rovian tactics that tore up his family — and tore apart his campaign — in 2000.

Why did a politician who once knew how to play the game so well, who was once so beloved by people of very different political stripes, allow his campaign to get whiny, angry, vengeful and bitter?

Why Palin?

(Her latest instant classics came Friday, when she entered a rally in York, Pa., to the tune of “Thriller” and when a conservative radio station broadcast an interview in which she accused reporters of threatening her First Amendment rights by attacking her for negative campaigning that she feels justifiably calls out Obama “on his associations.”)

Why did he allow his staff to put Palin on a couture catwalk in a tin-cup economy and then, when the price tags were exposed, trash her as a “diva” and “whack job,” thus becoming the rare Republican campaign devoured by Democratic-style vicious infighting?

The ultimate riddle is this: Why doesn’t McCain question why he has become a question mark?

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company



Saundra Hummer
November 2nd, 2008, 01:10 PM
* * * * *

Dear Friend,

It has been a long campaign, and a tough one. Norm Coleman has sunk to historic depths to smear Al Franken and make this election about something, anything other than his own record and the issues that affect the people of Minnesota.

But what Norm Coleman did yesterday was something else entirely, and you need to know the truth.

Here's the story: A Republican businessman in Texas by the name of Paul McKim filed a lawsuit this week against Nasser Kazeminy. Kazeminy is one of Norm Coleman's biggest donors and closest friends - he's the same man who flew Coleman on his private jet to vacations in the Bahamas and Paris.

Only a small portion of the lawsuit has anything to do with Norm Coleman - but the part that does is incredibly serious. McKim's sworn affidavit, since corroborated by a second lawsuit, describes an effort to funnel $100,000 to Senator Coleman.

So are the allegations true? We don't know. In fact, we at the campaign didn't know a thing about this lawsuit, had never heard of this company or Paul McKim, until we read about it in the newspaper.

Then came yesterday. Instead of answering these very serious allegations, Norm Coleman released the most dishonest ad of the year, blaming Al for the lawsuit.

That ad is up on TV right now. And it's a despicable lie. Al Franken had nothing to do with this lawsuit.

Norm Coleman, faced with sworn allegations of a conspiracy to funnel him improper payments, is trying to deflect blame by lying about Al Franken in a TV ad. No matter what candidate you support or what party you belong to, it is a sad day.

With just a couple of days left, the only way we can stop him is with the truth. After all, that's what Al's always been about: letting the truth carry the day.

But we need your help. Please forward this email to everyone you know. And please know that no matter what happens in this election, you can be proud that you were part of this campaign.

Thank you for all you do,

Andy Barr
Al Franken for Senate

* * *

Saundra Hummer
November 2nd, 2008, 01:42 PM
* * * * * * *
FOR HISTORY: David S. Broder calls this 'The Amazing Race: I thought 1960 was the best campaign I'd ever cover. But 2008 has that election beat.' The N.Y Times' Frank Bruni has the 'Week in Review' cover: 'The Year Of Living On the Edge Of Our Seats.'

Saundra Hummer
November 2nd, 2008, 06:42 PM

Restore America as a Model of Freedom!
Bob Kendall
01:07:59 PM EST

The Campaign for America's Future published its positive message in the New York Times October 28.

I am quoting some power-packed statements that accurately depict who we are and how we can prosper once again. It represents a blueprint of how we can restore America as a model of freedom to become a shining light once more to the dark corners of the world amid despair, launching a search for illumination.

The Campaign for America's Future is based at 1845 K Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20006. The organization's website is at www.ourfuture.org. This is some of what America's Future's ad in the New York Times had to say:

"Remember who we are.

"We are the children and grandchildren of Americans who confronted the Great Depression and beat it.
"We are the children and grandchildren of Americans who built a new democracy from the ground up.

"They brought big business to account. They made banks the servants, not the masters of the economy. They empowered government to address the needs of working people. They organized labor unions, created Social Security, rebuilt the nation's infrastructure. They vastly expanded the numbers of 'we' in 'we the people.'

"And they came to understand, as their president said 'There is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy -- jobs for all who can work, security for all who need it, freedom and opportunity for all to enjoy the fruits of scientific progress.'

"Now, after three decades of conservative misrule, we witness the price of ignoring this common sense.

"We have let public good be subordinated to corporate greed, we've let our economy be run into the ground as bankers run wild. We've let labor unions be attacked and our middle class be weakened. We've allowed religion and patriotism be tarnished in the partisan pursuit of power.

"And we have suffered an ignorant presidency marked by an unjust war in Iraq, an icy indifference after Katrina, a brazen attack on our liberties and a bald complicity in torture.

"Choose new leaders and hold them accountable.

"Defeat the big lobbies and small minds, and respect human rights, enact universal health care; protect workers rights to organize; invest in renewable energy, end the endless wars, regain America's standing in the world. As a model of freedom and once again, build democracy and prosperity from the bottom up.

"That is what must be done. The time to do it is now."

Of course we can't bring about change in America by following the worn-out policies of the conservatives. That policy of disaster involved conducting 2 wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) while at the same time giving tax cuts to the wealthiest citizens, hoping some of their greedily acquired wealth will trickle down, which is a dream rather than reality.

Giving tax breaks to big oil companies while their gas prices cripple our U.S. economy is self-destruction for our economy.

To hear John McCain, the George Bush clone, talk about "change" when he along with Bush and others of like mind achieved this 8 years of nightmare democracy detour is a bad joke!

^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
November 2nd, 2008, 07:35 PM

The Real Story
of the
110th Congress:
The Right-Wing Block-And-Blame Game

As the 110th Congress nears its close, the impact of a record-breaking campaign of obstruction by a conservative minority in the Senate is now more clear than ever. The right-wing strategy of "block and blame" has driven the public perception of a "do-nothing Congress." In reality, the 110th Congress would have achieved truly landmark accomplishments—including safely bringing the troops home from Iraq, reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and its contribution to global warming, and funding long-neglected domestic priorities—had it not been for conservative obstruction.

Our October 2008 block-and-blame analysis cuts through the political spin. We document how what is being reported as political stalemate is really the product of a conservative political strategy, both in Congress and the White House, to sabotage the new majority in Congress as it responds to the mandate it received from the American public—even if it means bringing down public support for the entire Congress in the process.

Get the full story:

» Report: "The Real Story of the 110th Congress: The Right-Wing Block-And-Blame Game"

Previous reports and articles:

» Robert Borosage on "The Roots of Obstruction"

» Report: "Block and Blame: The Conservative Strategy of Obstruction in the First Session of the 110th Congress"

» “FILIBUSTERED: How the Right is Obstructing America’s Progress”

» The chart of presidential veto threats and a report on why they matter.

» Voting records of senators who are obstructing or supporting the people's agenda.

» The polling data that shows the popularity of the reforms being blocked.

» The comebacks you can use to rebut conservative talking points on the Iraq war.

» More articles and actions on obstruction
Senate Obstruction Leader
Go on-site for photo.

As far back as January 2007, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he would assume the role of Senate Obstruction Leader by insisting on a 60-vote supermajority, rather than a simple 50-vote majority, for getting bills through the Senate.

He claims “that’s the ordinary procedure.” But he’s wrong, and we have the proof. The reality is, his abuse of Senate procedures to block the majority will on legislation is unprecedented. McConnell and Senate Republicans like the filibuster now, but they didn’t when Democrats used it more sparingly in the 109th Congress against President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees. Learn more about McConnell and the Republican filibuster flip-flop »

Go on-site for the numerous links within this article and to see the related articles as well. An informative and interesting site. Just click on the following URL:


The Majority Doesn't Count

Secretary of the Senate

Go on-site to view chart:
As this chart shows, never have so many filibusters been threatened as in the first session of the 110th Congress. In just the first year, Republicans filibustered more legislation, and required more cloture votes to break those filibusters, than in any Congress in recent history. By the time this term ends, Congress could well more than double the number of cloture votes of previous Congresses — including the ones that Republicans controlled and complained of Democratic 'obstruction.'

This is the result of a deliberate effort by the Republican minority to undercut the will of the majority of the American public, expressed when voters placed a Democratic majority in control of both houses of Congress. The filibuster, a procedure unique to the Senate to block an up-or-down vote on legislation unless a 60-vote supermajority agrees to proceed, has been historically used by both parties. But it has never been used as routinely as it has been by Republicans since January 2007.

» Read our up-to-date chart on judicial nominations.
The Plot To Bury Progress

Our cameras caught the conservative mastermind leading obstruction in Congress. Watch the video and pass it on to help revive the fight for progress


Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 01:39 PM
* * * * *

November 3, 200
Posted Sunday 4:52 PM

Tick, Tick, Tick: Obama Leads But What Can Go Wrong?


Obama Holds His Lead
Obama 49.5%, McCain 43.8%
There is no escape from the pundits and the projections and the ads and the speculation. The only thing missing was interjected into the discourse by none other than Tom Friedman, NY Times superstar in a column noting that none of the issues that matter the most have been central to the campaign.

I can't remember a presidential campaign that was so disconnected from the actual challenges of governing that will confront the winner the morning after. When this election campaign began two years ago, the big issue was how and for how long do we continue nation-building in Iraq. As the campaign comes to a close, the big issue is how and at what sacrifice do we do nation-building in America.
PREPARE FOR A LET-DOWNJayne Stahl says that come Wednesday, if there are no major suprises, there will be an outbreak of post partum-like depression:

This morning, The London Times reports that the Obama team has already been talking about how to deal with post-partum depression following his historical victory, and right they are. The way things are stacking up, people are flocking to the polls thinking that they will elect a president who all buts walks on water.

The presidential hopeful is right to try to mitigate against any kind of emotional upheaval which may well result when people realize that the country, and the world, is so deeply immersed in this economic morass, socioeconomic disenfranchisement, racism, and religious intolerance that even Houdini would be hard pressed to step into the Oval Office, wave a wand, and make everything better.

After all, we're electing a mere mortal…
Greg Palast explains why:
1. The number of voters challenged or missing from the voter rolls on Tuesday will exceed six million - double the number from 2004. In that election, 1.1 million provisional ballots were rejected: this time, rejected ballots will easily double to 2 million - overwhelmingly Obama supporters. This is the result of a mass purge of voter rolls orchestrated by Republican Secretaries of State. The purge has been staggering - over ten million names disappeared since the last election.

And not just any voters. Analysis shows that purged voters who cast provisional ballots are overwhelmingly Black, Hispanic and Native American - that is, Obama voters.
2. Absentee ballots disqualified and not counted will double from 2004 to 1.5 million minimum. This is the result of a massive increase in mail-in ballots - but mostly from the hundreds of thousands of new voters who don't know that, in many states, they will have to include a photocopy of their ID with the absentee ballot. They won't, or they'll do it wrong, and lose their vote.
3. Spoiled ballots (unreadable, blank, mis-marked) will stay well over one million (there were 1.4 million of these in 2004). The chance a Black voter will find their vote lost to technical error, according to a US Civil Rights Commission study, has been 900% higher than for a white voter.
4. New voters: ID and 'verification' losses. For the first time in US history, new voters must pass through a "verification" of their identity by states. Up to 42% of new registrations have been rejected, the vast majority due to errors in government records and matching systems. New voters are Obama voters - 69% to 20% - according to a Wall Street Journal survey. 'FTF' (First-Time Federal) voters now will also have special ID and absentee voting restrictions that will disqualify voters and votes by the millions.

The total number of votes cast but not counted was, officially, 3 million in 2004. Double that this time, to at least six million. That will be concentrated in swing states where Republican Secretaries of State have conducted mass purge-and-block operations, such as Colorado, where GOP officials quietly purged 19.4% of the all the names on the state's voter rolls.

Obama can still win, but he'll have a beat a margin of voting law manipulation that will cost him nearly six million votes.

I just came across a piece I posted last May. The questions remain the same:

WHY IS THE MEDIA DOWNPLAYING THE INTEGRITY OF VOTING?New York, May 19: Explain this to me: Why do so few of our TV "journalists" and political reporters seem interested in all the questions that have been raised about the integrity of our voting system?

Voting is at the heart of our democracy. Billions of dollars are spent on political campaigns and tens of millions on covering them. All the networks have election units complete with pollsters, analysts and experts up the kazoo. All of them sound authoritative and spice their commentary with personal war stories and a parade of insider anecdotes.

Just tune in any election night to marvel at the space age technology, fancy graphics and computer assisted projections. The anchors seem to know as much about what the history of voting percentages in each Congressional district as fanatical baseball fans remember earned run averages and the speed of each pitch.

If there are ten military men and women backing up each soldier in the field, there are tens of political aides, advisors, interns and hangers on "supporting" our elected professionals. Handicapping elections is one of their specialties and they know most of the races and players by heart.

Compared to corporate machinations, or even military-industrial decisions, politics is over-covered, And yet the actual process of voting-the machines, the counting, the verification, and the questions raised by well informed journalists and analysts is ignored and seems to bore them.
Kathy Dopp writes:If the presidential results are close, the number of yet-to-be-counted ballots may be larger than the spread between candidates in swing states.

If the vote count is close on Tuesday night, there's a good chance
Americans will become as familiar with a special kind of voting -
known as a provisional ballot - as they were with hanging chads in
Florida in the aftermath of Florida's disputed 2000 presidential

That is because in several battle ground states the number of
provisional and uncounted mail-in ballots - which have to be checked one by one after Election Day to validate the voter's registration information before counting - plus the number of uncounted mail-in ballots are likely to exceed the margins of victory.

In other words, if it is a close vote, you can expect Republican and
Democratic Party lawyers to start fighting over the state-by-state and county-by-county rules concerning provisional ballot eligibility.

Provisional ballots were created by Congress after the 2000 election,
but each state was given the leeway to implement its own rules for
accepting or rejection these ballots.

3 days until Election Day.
Via Mark Crispin MillerJust a comment to those who want to dismiss 'vote-flipping' as voter error. All kinds of people go to the polls to vote. They are highly educated and high-school dropouts. Rich and poor. They have long fingernails and nails bitten to the quick. They have thin fingers and wide fingers. They are going to softly touch the screen or touch it hard. Vendors and election officials tend to blame vote-flipping on the voters. They touched the screen too hard; drug their finger; had long fingernails; or their fingers touched too large an area. So, is it the voters fault? NO! It is the vendors who designed, built and sold these machines that don't work for all voters and it is the election officials who bought those machines.

Comment on this post... (Go on-site to view comments.)
. . . . .
More Banks Bailed Out, New Site Monitors The Money, FED on Meds
Bailout Sleuth reports:Two more banks have announced plans to sell stakes in themselves to the federal government under the Treasury Department's $700 billion program to inject capital into the financial markets.

The banks, in Ohio and Arkansas, would sell as much as $120 million in preferred shares to the Treasury Department. Four other banks said they had applied, or planned to apply, for more than $1 billion in federal assistance.

First Financial Bancorp., a Cincinnati-based bank holding company with $3.5 billion in assets, said it had been approved to sell as much as $80 million in preferred stock to the Treasury Department.

Claude Davis, the company's president, said the capital would strengthen the bank, increase its lending capacity and help it take advantage of strategic growth opportunities.
NEW WEBSITE TRACKING BAILOUTMark Cuban, chair of HDNet and blogger, has played a key role in setting up a Web site to keep an eye on the massive financial bailout. According to Cuban, Bailoutsleuth.com will try to publish daily updates on how the federal government is spending tax dollars, and how the bailout is impacting people and companies. "Its job is simple," Cuban wrote, 'keep an eye on our taxpayer dollars and call Bullshit when necessary." Cuban, who writes Blog Maverick, helped finance and set up Sharesleuth.com to uncover fraud and misinformation in publicly traded companies. He's now working with Sharesleuth.com to build Baioutsleuth.com.

America. Is. Crazy.If you do nothing else today, read this outstanding New York Times article about how five Wisconsin school boards somehow invested $200 million in insanely risky international financial instruments created by an German bank based in Dublin.

The investment bank that sold this to the school boards, collecting a fee of $1.2 million in the process, is called Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.
DW: Global crisis sends east Germans flocking to Marx
Two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, communism's founding father Karl Marx is back in vogue in eastern Germany - thanks to the global financial crisis.

His 1867 critical analysis of capitalism, "Das Kapital," has risen from the publishing graveyard to become an improbable best-seller for academic publisher Karl-Dietz-Verlag.

"Everyone thought there would never ever again be any demand for 'Das Kapital'," managing director Joern Schuetrumpf told Reuters after selling 1,500 copies so far this year, triple the number sold in all of 2007 and a 100-fold increase since 1990.

"Even bankers and managers are now reading 'Das Kapital' to try to understand what they've been doing to us. Marx is definitely 'in' right now," Schuetrumpf said.

The revival of Marx's treatise reflects a broader rejection of capitalism by many in eastern Germany, a communist country until 1989 and now racked by high unemployment and poverty.

A month of intense financial turmoil has toppled banks in the United States and forced a series of government bailouts in Germany and elsewhere, reinforcing anti-capitalist sentiment.

Nickolas Jones on Seeking Apha on the FED rate cutrs:"For those who are praising this act as a boost for the economy are kidding themselves. I've never been a believer in the Fed's ability to drive a multi-trillion dollar economy by manipulating short term interest rates. That couldn't be more true in today's markets.

Not only can the Fed not control the U.S. economy through interest rate manipulation, they can't even control short term interest rates through interest rate manipulation. What this does affect are the rates tied to official fed funds rate numbers like savings account rates.

What this doesn't affect are any of the short term commercial paper markets used to finance economic activity. In essence, while the Fed is not affecting the interest rate markets, they are reducing savings rates and fueling inflation.

The Fed's Real IntentionsThe Federal Reserve has dug in their heels in the mightiest bought against deflation since the 1930s. If they fail, we are looking at deflation that would dwarf that seen in the Great Depression.

In order to be successful in this fight, Bernanke and company will be forced to use all of their monetary tools, and some that were thought not to exist. The standard monetary tools have included FOMC policy and creation of money and credit.

Some of the more historic measures taken include: massive cumulative bailout, money market security blanket, commercial paper assistance, creation of more lending facilities that one can ever imagine, change in discount lending rules, direct stakes in insurers, direct stakes in banks, nationalization of privatized loss, etc. I mean at this point you could go on and on.

If it hasn't come clear to you yet, I don't know what to say. THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS ON THE PATH TO HYPERINFLATION. You need to prepare yourself financially. Things like social security will be worthless in 10 years. $100 of goods will soon buy you what would have been $10 worth. All of these things will weigh on us economically with higher interest rates and double digit unemployment.

CFR: Two two-trillionairesThe Fed's balance sheet just surpassed 2 trillion dollars. It has grown by a trillion dollars over the course of the year. Literally. See "total factors supplying reserve balances" at the close of business on October 29. That growth was financed by Treasury bill issuance ($560b from the supplementary financing facility) and a large rise in banks deposits at the Fed ($405b).
Comment on this post...

SOUTH AFRICA: Shikota announces launch of new partyThe Shikota movement on Saturday declared its intention to launch a new political party that will rival the ANC during the 2009 elections.


The Miami Herald reports: Mud, misery rule storm-ravaged Haitian cityColossal clouds of dust stretch for miles along a post-apocalyptic scene of human misery where schools, streets, homes and hospitals remain buried under heaps of dry earth.

Nearly two months after back-to-back storms ravaged their forgotten city, the people of Gonaives subsist in mud-caked ruins, sleeping on rooftops, in classrooms, and in shacks fashioned from tattered bedsheets and rusted tin.

After what is unequivocally one of the worst natural disasters to hit this deeply impoverished country in 100 years, international aid for recovery has stopped at slightly more than a third of the $106 million the United Nations asked for. And the recovery is mired in a lack of leadership, infighting by political and relief organizations and profiteering.

Qatar Strives to End Darfur Crisis
The Media Line news agencyQatar is trying to broker a deal to end the crisis in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, part of Doha's efforts to mediate several conflicts in the region.

Qatar's minister of state for foreign affairs, Ahmad Bin 'Abdallah Al Mahmoud, is heading to Chad this week to meet with Chadian President Idris Deby and the chairman of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfur rebel group.

Chad has repeatedly complained it has been marginalized in efforts to solve the Darfur crisis.

SALUTING STUDSLong time media critic and former FAIR director Jeff Cohen salutes the late Studs Terkel. (One of the cable nets, I think CNN was running a Saturday night calling Terkel an actor.)

Studs Terkel: He'll Never Be SilencedThe irrepressible Louis "Studs" Terkel was many things - oral historian, radio and TV host, actor, activist, Bronx-born icon of Chicago, the "great listener" who was hard of hearing, Pulitzer Prize-winner. But most of all he was an inspiration. He inspired every younger activist or independent journalist who ever met him. And who among us wasn't younger than Studs.

The self-described "guerilla journalist" died Friday at 96. He was almost 70 when I first met him, more than twice my age. But I couldn't keep up.

Whenever I did catch up with him, he never turned down a request for help - whether he was sick, under a book deadline, or in mourning over the death of his beloved wife Ida. If it was an issue of social justice or muckraking journalism, he (along with Ida) was ready to sign up and help out.

In 1986 when I launched the media watch group FAIR, Studs became a charter member of our advisory board. Along with I.F. Stone (whom he called "the north star of independent journalists"), Studs signed FAIR's first protest statement ever: a telegram to ABC News criticizing its exclusion of progressives.

Studs received generally favorable treatment from mainstream media. The respect was not mutual. He decried the elite media's coziness with the powerful, the timidity that subverted public television, and the censorial ways of corporate media bosses. He was outraged when GE/MSNBC muzzled Phil Donahue for questioning the Iraq invasion.

Studs wrote the following in his 1997 introduction to Wizards of Media Oz (a book by Norman Solomon and myself):

"When I was young and easy, an old Wobbly rewarded me with a tattered copy of The Brass Check by Upton Sinclair. The title referred to the coin that young brothel women were handed by their tricks; they, in turn, cashed them in with their madam at the end of their day's labors.

Sinclair's game, however, was not the kept women; it was the kept press. The former recognized her work as demeaning; the latter served their publishers, if not tremulously, gladly. And righteously. Need we mention William Randolph Hearst and his derring-do reporters covering - or, in the words of San Simeon's master, furnishing - the Spanish-American War?

A century later, our press, especially the Respectables, have gone Hearst one better. They helped make the Gulf War yellow ribbon time. It was glory, glory all the way. Our most prestigious journals found the horrors visited by our smart bombs upon Iraqi women and kids news not fit to print. It is no secret that our media - TV and radio, owned by the same Big Boys, compounding the obscenity - played the role of bat boys to the sluggers of the Pentagon.

With his legacy of best-selling books and historic recorded interviews, Studs will no more be silenced by death than Wobbly songwriter Joe Hill was by a Utah firing squad. If Howard Zinn wrote A People's History, Studs developed "A People's Journalism" - putting the stories and wisdom of poor and working class Americans on tape and the printed page.- was hitting the stores.

No matter his age, Studs always seemed a step ahead of everyone else. He was a premature anti-fascist in his youth. He was a premature, unrepentant anti-McCarthyite in the early 1950s: "I was blacklisted…I signed many petitions that were for unfashionable causes and never retracted." With mainstream media largely enthralled by Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" propaganda in 1986, he neatly sized up the era: "The only thing trickling down from the top is meanness."

My most treasured memory of Studs was the day we flew him from Chicago to New Jersey to be a special guest on the (short-lived) primetime MSNBC Phil Donahue show in August 2002 - at a time the show was getting heat from MSNBC management not to appear liberal. I was a Donahue senior producer. This was years before Rachel Maddow and way before Olbermann began his dissent. With little critical journalism, Bush's approval rating stood at 70%….

Shedding his normal coat and tie, Phil decided to imitate his guest's fashion sense and wore the traditional Studs garb: red-and-white check shirt and red socks. The two looked like bookends in a Saturday Night Live skit - but, with Studs as the solo full-hour guest, it was not all fun and games.

"What have I got to lose? I'm 90 years old." Studs declared, in taking off after Bush. "We have a mindless boy right now with the most powerful job in the world. And that is perilous. We have an attorney general [Ashcroft] who is like the guy Arthur Miller described in The Crucible in Salem, Massachusetts, 300 years ago, who urges people to spy on other people, witchcraft and all."

….The end of the show turned to the end of life, with Studs saying: "I've had a pretty good run of it. And so if I kick off at this moment, I do OK."

When Phil asked about busloads of fans coming to grieve, Studs responded: "I don't want them to grieve. I want them to celebrate."

PHIL: You won't slow down. You're going to be tap dancing all the way to the end, right? That's your plan?

STUDS: My plan - my epitaph is "Curiosity did not kill this cat."
* * * * *


FINALLY, A VIDEO ON A RECENT BOOK STORE APPEARANCE DISCUSSING MY NEW BOOK PLUNDER (available on at Amazon.com)I will be doing a few shows to discuss the election, Press TV in Iran, Between the Lines in Connecticut Monday Night, KBOO, GRIT TV AND REAL NEWS on Tues.

My blog is a bit truncated today since my compter is in the shop (yes, again!) so I am posting Sunday afternoon.

Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org
Comment on this post...

If you have ideas or suggestions, please write to Dissector@mediachannel.org

Thank you!

Spread The Word: Please forward this to interested friends and colleagues >>
Become a Member
Concerned about the media? TELL A FRIEND!

© 2008 MediaChannel.org

Click on the following URL to gain access to these articles and more. URL:



* * *

Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 02:29 PM
* * * * * * *


Closing Arguments: McCain

November 3, 2008

McCain and Palin close their campaign with a new set of dubious attacks.

In the final week, the McCain-Palin campaign unleashed some all-new misleading attacks on Obama:

. McCain strained to tie Obama to a Palestinian professor whose views on Israel are quite different from Obama's.

. McCain and Palin both distorted a seven-and-a-half-year-old radio interview with Obama concerning the court system and civil rights.

. McCain and the GOP ran ads claiming Obama's military budget would mean huge job cuts in Virginia, despite Obama's proposal to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps – and McCain's own calls for ending wasteful weapons programs.

This is just the first-half of our final series on the candidates' closing arguments. Be sure to check out our companion pieceon Barack Obama's final pitch.

Note: This is a summary only. The full article with analysis, images and citations may be viewed on our Web site:

Desktop users Mobile users

Please consider supporting FactCheck.org and expanding our audience by Digging this article: Go on-site to gain access to this function. Just click below on the following URL:


This message was sent from FactCheck.org to %Member:Email% . It was sent from: FactCheck.org, 320 National Press Building, Washington, DC 20045. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

Forward to a Friend
* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 03:11 PM

Daily Tracking Poll:
Not Just Economy and Bush;
Palin Is Trouble for McCain Too
Obama Leads McCain 54-43 in Latest ABC News/Washington Post Poll

Nov. 3, 2008—
Go on-site for photo's, etc.


Barack Obama's strong close in the 2008 campaign has been boosted by more than the shell-shocked economy and the Bush legacy. There's also Sarah Palin, and the concern she incites, especially among voters who are worried about John McCain's age.

Forty-six percent of likely voters now say having Palin on the ticket makes them less likely to support McCain -- up 14 points in just the past month and more than double what it was in early September. And among those who call the candidates' age an important factor in their vote, more, 61 percent, say Palin makes them less likely to back McCain.

Click here for PDF of analysis with charts and questionnaire. (Adobe)
Age in and of itself is a negative for McCain; 48 percent call it an important factor, and 71 percent of them prefer his opponent. Far fewer, by contrast, describe Obama's race as an important factor in their vote, and those who do so are no less likely to support him.

But there is a racial difference: Among whites who call race an important factor, Obama does less well; among nonwhites who call race important, Obama soars.

As reported Sunday night, Obama retains the overall lead in this ABC News/Washington Post poll, 54-43 percent among likely voters interviewed Wednesday through Saturday. Support for the candidates has run in a narrow band for weeks, with Obama at 52 to 54 percent in every ABC/Post poll since Oct. 11, McCain between 43 and 45 percent in that same period.

Other elements in this poll include a look at the level of final-week get-out-the-vote contacts, the extent of lobbying by family/friends, and an excitement/fear measure: No more likely voters are "scared" about the possibility of either Obama or McCain as president, and twice as many are "excited" about the prospect of Obama.

GOTV  There's been an extraordinary level of contacts by both campaigns, with a small advantage to Obama nationally but parity between the two in battleground and toss-up states. Overall, 26 percent of likely voters say they've been contacted directly by the Obama campaign, 21 percent by the McCain side -- tens of millions of personal contacts by both campaigns, either in person or by phone, e-mail or text message.

Contacts are higher in the 18 battleground states and five-toss-up states (Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana) as identified by the ABC News Political Unit. McCain campaign contacts are reported by 35 percent in the battlegrounds and 38 percent in the toss-ups; Obama contacts, by 37 percent in both.

What matters, though, is not just the number of contacts but their targeting and/or effectiveness. There Obama has a very large advantage nationally: Among likely voters who report a contact by the Obama campaign 72 percent support him, while among those who report a McCain contact, 54 percent support the Republican.

This gap is narrower, however, in the battleground states: There Obama's supported by 66 percent of those who've been contacted by his campaign, and McCain's supported by 58 percent of those who've heard from him.

FRIENDS/FAMILY  A corollary to campaign contacts is lobbying by family and friends, and there Obama also has an advantage. Thirty-one percent of likely voters say a family member or friend has asked them to support Obama; fewer, 22 percent, say the same about McCain. Nationally, those lobbied about Obama support him by 73-24 percent; those lobbied about McCain support him by a narrower (but still wide) 62-36 percent.

There are some differences among groups, fitting the candidates' support profiles. Fifty-eight percent of African-Americans, 45 percent of voters under age 30 and 42 percent of Democrats say a friend or family member has asked them to support Obama. For McCain, such appeals have peaked among Republicans, 35 percent; evangelical white Protestants, 29 percent; and conservatives, also 29 percent.

Thirty percent of independents and 36 percent of political moderates say someone close has asked them to support Obama, outnumbering the 23 and 20 percent, respectively, who've been approached by a friend or family member on behalf of McCain.

EXCITED/SCARED  Twenty-two percent of likely voters say they're "scared" by the prospect of an Obama presidency, essentially equal to the number who are scared by the idea of McCain as president, 23 percent. Naturally these views are highly partisan and ideological.

It's the opposite emotion that underscores Obama's longstanding advantage over McCain in enthusiasm. Thirty-five percent of likely voters say they're "excited" by the idea of an Obama presidency. Half as many, 17 percent, are excited about McCain as president.

RACE  As noted, while 48 percent call McCain's age an important factor in their vote, fewer, 21 percent, call Obama's race an important issue. That is up from 15 percent in a Sept. 22 poll; the rise has occurred disproportionately among African-Americans. Now 40 percent of blacks call race an important factor, as do 18 percent of whites.

Overall, likely voters who call race important support Obama over McCain by 58-42 percent. But there's a difference by race. Whites who call race a factor favor McCain by 62-38 percent. Nonwhites who call it a factor prefer Obama, almost unanimously.

This, of course, leaves aside the vast majority of likely voters, 79 percent, who say race is not a factor in their vote. They support Obama over McCain by 54-43 percent, precisely the same as his support among all likely voters in this survey.

ISSUES/GROUPS As noted in a separate analysis last night, Obama's being boosted chiefly by his advantage on the economy, but he also continues to lead on taxes and remains competitive with McCain in trust to handle a crisis  cutting to the experience question that has been Obama's greatest risk.

The economy is far and away the top voting issue, and Obama leads McCain by 55-40 percent in trust to handle it. Obama's also held a steady lead, now 52-41 percent, in trust to handle taxes, a chief target of McCain's.

On experience, 56 percent see Obama as a "safe" choice for president, despite McCain's suggestions to the opposite. Slightly fewer, 51 percent, see McCain as a safe choice.

Among groups, Obama's 54 percent support among men is his best this year, as his 46 percent among white men, customarily a more Republican voting group. In these and many other groups, Obama's support is markedly higher among those who cite the economy as the top issue in their vote, underscoring its strength in vote choices this year.

Part of Obama's advantage comes from his campaign's ability to turn out early voters; 27 percent say they've already cast their ballots, a strongly pro-Obama group, 59-40 percent. Among first-time voters, moreover, Obama has a nearly 2-1 advantage.

METHODOLOGY: Interviews for this ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll were conducted by telephone Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, 2008, among a random national sample of 2,172 likely voters, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a 2-point error margin for the full sample. Questions 21 and 42 through 44 were asked Oct. 31-Nov. 1 among 1,248 likely voters; those results have a 3-point error margin. Question 45 was asked Nov. 1 among 618 likely voters; that result has a 4-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, PA.

Go on-site for this article, and related ones, as well as photo's and any links if they occurr.

Click here for PDF of analysis (text) with charts and questionnaire.



Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 04:50 PM
$ $ $ $ $ $ $

$1.3 million ‘Stockpiled’ Ivory Sale Held
Oct. 29, 2008
10:38 AM

So, the buying and selling of ivoryis illegal, right? Nope, wrong. It is supposed to be illegal; ’supposed’ being the operative word here. China and Japan have has recently been given the green light to buy up ’stockpiled’ ivory. Stockpiled here meaning ‘died of natural causes’ or (get this) from ‘population management programmes’. Nations signatory to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), including the UK, voted to allow China and Japan to buy ivory from four Southern African nations and as a result, Chinese and Japanese bidders have now bought no less than over 7 tonnes of stockpiled ivory (I can feel us all taking a big step backwards at this point towards pre-1989 when the trading of ivory was outlawed).

This is surely, by extension, sending the go-ahead message to poachers who will doubtless embark on a fresh slaughtering campaign. It may seem cynical but it doesn’t bode well that China, the central hub of the world’s illegal ivory trade, and where carved ivory is a highly lucrative business, has been allowed to buy up much of this ’stockpiled’ ivory… alarm bells ringing, anyone?

eBay has stated recently (just prior to claims that they were contributing to the trading of endangered animal products) that they have imposed a global ban on the sale of ivory. The ban will kick in by January 2009 and is primarily the result of an investigation that found well over 4,000 illegal ivory listings on EBay. Shocking eh?

It’s hard to imagine not seeing the inherent irony of these ’stockpiles’ of ivory being sold and the proceeds being used for nature conservation. Logically, I’d say there are a few holes in that idea.

Ok, brace yourselves, how about this for an idea – leave the elephants alone, it’s radical, I know, but bear with me. They were born with tusks and have no intention of selling them because they don’t consider themselves a commodity. It doesn’t matter how the resulting ivory from these ’stockpiles’ was obtained – it came from elephants and it is theirs to keep, not to be sold to anyone.

Image: MSN Encarta / CC

I'm not a member of Peta and think that some of their campaigns are foolish and ill informed, but this latest deal with ivory is something I pretty much am in accord with; their take on the ivory trade is how most people I know of believe as well.

How about drying up the desire to even own ivory? Then, perhaps, the elephant can last a few more decades. A harder task than one could imagine, just look at whaling and the protests over just this one assault on another one of our fellow creatures.

Drastic measures need to be taken to stop the urge to own ivory. Somehow this form of greed needs to be curtailed, howerver, as long as there are those who want ivory for any number of artifacts, this horrific slaughter will continue. As long as animal and man compete for the same spaces, there will be slaughter, and as long as men think of so many animal parts as a cure for their ailing mojo, well, we know the story. . . there's to be no end in sight to this mindless and unnecessary slaughter of our most endangered and majestic animals. SRH

* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 05:57 PM
Juror who vanished during Stevens trial lied about father's death

Associated Press
This article is good for a laugh. I just can't imagine what she was thinking, this whole thing is hilarious, and again, what was she thinking? Amazing little story about a great big trial. And to think, she's a paralegal. BOY! SRH

Last update: November 3, 2008 - 4:06 PM
WASHINGTON - A juror who vanished during Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' corruption trial told the judge Monday she lied about her father dying and flew to California to see horse races.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered Marian Hinnant, identified as juror No. 4, to return to court to explain why she disappeared during jury deliberations. Hinnant, 52, brought a stack of handwritten notes with her to the court on Monday along with public defender A.J. Kramer, and told the judge that her father hadn't died and she was at the Breeders' Cup in Arcadia, Calif.

She apologized for lying, and then started a long rambling story about horses, which included references to horse breeding, the Breeders' Cup, drugs, President Ford's son Steven and her condo in Florida being bugged.

"I am thoroughly convinced you would not have been able to continue to deliberate," Sullivan interrupted.

"Can I have a case of my own?" Hinnant asked. Sullivan referred her to Kramer and the federal public defender's office, and excused her from his courtroom.

Outside the courthouse, Hinnant refused to answer questions about whether she was on medication or had been hospitalized. When asked what she thought about Stevens' case, she said: "He didn't do anything any other congressman or senator or governor or president has not done. He was guilty but these other ones are just as guilty if not more guilty."

When asked if she thought Stevens was guilty, she replied: "I didn't say that."

Hinnant told court officials late on Oct. 23 that her father had died and that she had to fly to California the next morning. The judge halted the deliberations, which had begun the day before, to give her a chance to take care of her father's affairs. However, Hinnant refused to return telephone calls from court officials.

Sullivan replaced her on Oct. 27, and the jury convicted Stevens the same day on seven felony counts of lying on Senate documents to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars of gifts and home renovations from a millionaire businessman.

Hinnant, a paralegal who works in the mortgage industry, said she had returned to the District of Columbia on Oct. 27.

Stevens said it is clear Hinnant "lied to the court," and his whole trial was plagued with "unusual occurrences."

"It is now even clearer this was an unjust trial and a flawed verdict," Stevens said. "My defense team will work vigorously in the next few weeks to clear my name."

Stevens, who has represented Alaska in the Senate since 1968, is in a tight race with Democratic challenger Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage. He said he is going to appeal his conviction.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/congress/33754914.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD 3aPc:_Yyc:aUnciaec8O7EyUsr

Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 06:12 PM

What's at Stake

Bernie Horn
November 2nd, 2008 - 11:36pm ET
Go on-site for more functions than just text.
There’s no doubt that George W. Bush’s administration has been a catastrophe, and that historians will one day rank him as one of our nation’s very worst presidents. It’s not because Bush has been incompetent, it’s because his team has pursued goals that violate our nation’s basic principles. That’s why Tuesday’s election is so critical—America’s fundamental values hang in the balance.

By “values,” I don’t mean the anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science mores of the right wing. Values distinguish right from wrong. They define fairness; they describe a philosophy. In politics, values are ideals that express the kind of society we are trying to build. And American ideals have been besieged for the past eight years.

Three of the most cherished American values are freedom, opportunity and security. In the society we are trying to build, freedom guarantees everyone’s constitutional and human rights; opportunity gives every person equal access to the American dream; and security means economic security, as well as physical safety, for all.

But look where conservative policy has taken us.


. The National Security Agency conducts warrantless eavesdropping on the phone calls and e-mails of innocent Americans, even listening in to “pillow talk” between American servicemen and their sweethearts.

. The FBI’s TALON database shows that the government has been spying on peaceful domestic groups, including Quakers, the Campus Antiwar Network, and Veterans for Peace.

. The Pentagon and the CIA use national security letters to pry into the lives of Americans.

. Just 45 days after the September 11 attacks, with almost no debate, Congress approved the USA Patriot Act, broadly increasing government power to search medical, tax and even library records without probable cause, and to break into homes to conduct secret searches.

America was founded on the principle of freedom. But freedom has been hijacked by the right wing, and a conservative-leaning Supreme Court has barely come to its defense.


. Wage inequality has grown. Between 1996 and 2001, the richest one percent of Americans received 21.6 percent of all the gains in national income. CEO pay, especially, has skyrocketed. Today, the richest 10 percent of Americans own 71 percent of all the wealth—the top one percent own 33 percent of all assets.
. Poverty has increased. Although the number of Americans living in poverty steadily declined from 1993 to 2000, at least six million have fallen below the poverty line since George W. Bush took office.
. Tax inequality has widened. Over the course of ten years, 36 percent of the Bush tax cuts enacted in 2001 will benefit the richest 1 percent of Americans. Only nine percent of the Bush tax cuts benefit the least affluent 40 percent of Americans.
. Educational inequality has worsened. Economic (and often racial) segregation of schools has increased, with schools in poorer areas having less money per student and paying less per teacher while dealing with larger class sizes, crumbling facilities, and inadequate equipment. Students who need more resources are given less.

The gauzy mist of the American dream is being blown away by a hurricane of conservative policy. The truth is, the affluent few have used every political opportunity to crush opportunity for all.


. The Bush Administration’s doctrine of preemptive war, its utter contempt for our traditional allies, its violations of the Geneva Conventions, and its refusal to comply with important treaties have sacrificed America’s moral standing in international affairs. As a result, our nation is now far less able to protect Americans and American interests worldwide.

. The right-wing attack on Social Security is just one small facet of what has been a coordinated, cold-blooded plan to dismantle New Deal and Great Society programs that protect our health, our safety, and our environment.

. The profligate spending and massive tax breaks for the wealthy enacted by a conservative-controlled Congress have restricted our nation’s ability to deal with threats to our security—from emergency preparedness to protection of the vulnerable in our communities.

In every important way, the Bush administration and its conservative allies have made Americans less secure.

What’s at stake tomorrow? It is the soul of America. It’s our most beloved and essential political principles. It is the survival of the American dream.

The writer is a Senior Fellow at Campaign for America’s Future and author of the recent book, Framing the Future: How Progressive Values Can Win Elections and Influence People.


Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 06:32 PM

The Evidence Establishes, without Question,
Republican Rule Is Dangerous:
Why It Is High Time to Fix This Situation,
For the Good of the Nation

Friday, Oct. 31, 2008

Occasionally, during the past eight years of writing this column, I have addressed the remarkably dangerous manner in which Republican Party officials rule the nation when they control one or more of the three branches of the federal government. Over the same period, I've also made this argument, even more directly and loudly, in three books on the subject.

In this column, I will be more pointed on this subject than I have ever been, while also repeating a few key facts that I have raised earlier - because Election Day 2008 now provides the only clear remedy for the ills of Republican rule.

The Republican Approach to Government: Authoritarian Rule
Republicans rule, rather than govern, when they are in power by imposing their authoritarian conservative philosophy on everyone, as their answer for everything. This works for them because their interest is in power, and in what it can do for those who think as they do. Ruling, of course, must be distinguished from governing, which is a more nuanced process that entails give-and-take and the kind of compromises that are often necessary to find a consensus and solutions that will best serve the interests of all Americans.

Republicans' authoritarian rule can also be characterized by its striking incivility and intolerance toward those who do not view the world as Republicans do. Their insufferable attitude is not dangerous in itself, but it is employed to accomplish what they want, which is to take care of themselves and those who work to keep them in power.

Authoritarian conservatives are primarily anti-government, except where they believe the government can be useful to impose moral or social order (for example, with respect to matters like abortion, prayer in schools, or prohibiting sexually-explicit information from public view). Similarly, Republicans' limited-government attitude does not apply regarding national security, where they feel there can never be too much government activity - nor are the rights and liberties of individuals respected when national security is involved. Authoritarian Republicans do oppose the government interfering with markets and the economy, however - and generally oppose the government's doing anything to help anyone they feel should be able to help themselves.

In my book Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, I set forth the facts regarding the consequences of the Republicans' controlling government for too many years. No Republican - nor anyone else, for that matter - has refuted these facts, and for good reason: They are irrefutable.

The McCain/Palin Ticket Perfectly Fits the Authoritarian Conservative Mold

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican candidates, have shown themselves to be unapologetic and archetypical authoritarian conservatives. Indeed, their campaign has warmed the hearts of fellow authoritarians, who applaud them for their negativity, nastiness, and dishonest ploys and only criticize them for not offering more of the same.

The McCain/Palin campaign has assumed a typical authoritarian posture: The candidates provide no true, specific proposals to address America's needs. Rather, they simply ask voters to "trust us" and suggest that their opponents - Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden - are not "real Americans" like McCain, Palin, and the voters they are seeking to court. Accordingly, McCain and Plain have called Obama "a socialist," "a redistributionist," "a Marxist," and "a communist" - without a shred of evidence to support their name-calling, for these terms are pejorative, rather than in any manner descriptive. This is the way authoritarian leaders operate.

In my book Conservatives Without Conscience, I set forth the traits of authoritarian leaders and followers, which have been distilled from a half-century of empirical research, during which thousands of people have voluntarily been interviewed by social scientists. The touch points in these somewhat-overlapping lists of character traits provide a clear picture of the characters of both John McCain and Sarah Palin.

McCain, especially, fits perfectly as an authoritarian leader. Such leaders possess most, if not all, of these traits:
. dominating
. opposes equality
. desirous of personal power
. amoral
. intimidating and bullying
. faintly hedonistic
. vengeful
. pitiless
. exploitive
. manipulative
. dishonest
. cheats to win
. highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic
. mean-spirited
. militant
. nationalistic
. tells others what they want to hear
. takes advantage of "suckers"
. specializes in creating false images to sell self
. may or may not be religious
. usually politically and economically conservative/Republican

Incidentally, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney also can be described by these well-defined and typical traits - which is why a McCain presidency is likely to be nearly identical to a Bush presidency.

Clearly, Sarah Palin also has some qualities typical of authoritarian leaders, not to mention almost all of the traits found among authoritarian followers. Specifically, such followers can be described as follows:

. submissive to authority
. aggressive on behalf of authority
. highly conventional in their behavior
. highly religious
. possessing moderate to little education
. trusting of untrustworthy authorities
. prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals and followers of religions other than their own)
. mean-spirited
. narrow-minded
. intolerant
. bullying
. zealous
. dogmatic
. uncritical toward chosen authority
. hypocritical
. inconsistent and contradictory
. prone to panic easily
. highly self-righteous
. moralistic
. strict disciplinarians
. severely punitive
. demanding loyalty and returning it
. possessing little self-awareness
. usually politically and economically conservative/Republican

The leading authority on right-wing authoritarianism, a man who devoted his career to developing hard empirical data about these people and their beliefs, is Robert Altemeyer. Altemeyer, a social scientist based in Canada, flushed out these typical character traits in decades of testing.

Altemeyer believes about 25 percent of the adult population in the United States is solidly authoritarian (with that group mostly composed of followers, and a small percentage of potential leaders). It is in these ranks of some 70 million that we find the core of the McCain/Palin supporters. They are people who are, in Altemeyer's words, are "so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds."

The Problem with Electing Authoritarian Conservatives
What is wrong with being an authoritarian conservative? Well, if you want to take the country where they do, nothing. "They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result," Altemeyer told me. "The problem is that these authoritarian followers are much more active than the rest of the country. They have the mentality of 'old-time religion' on a crusade, and they generously give money, time and effort to the cause. They proselytize; they lick stamps; they put pressure on loved ones; and they revel in being loyal to a cohesive group of like thinkers. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away."

I would nominate McCain's "Joe the Plumber" as a new poster-boy of the authoritarian followers. He is a believer, and he has signed on. On November 4, 2008, we will learn how many more Americans will join the ranks of the authoritarians.

Frankly, the fact that the pre-election polls are close - after eight years of authoritarian leadership from Bush and Cheney, and given its disastrous results - shows that many Americans either do not realize where a McCain/Palin presidency might take us, or they are happy to go there. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me, for there is only one way to deal with these conservative zealots: Keep them out of power.

This election should be a slam dunk for Barack Obama, who has run a masterful campaign. It was no small undertaking winning the nomination from Hillary Clinton, and in doing so, he has shown without any doubt (in my mind anyway) that he is not only qualified to be president, but that he might be a once-in-a-lifetime leader who can forever change the nation and the world for the better.

If Obama is rejected on November 4th for another authoritarian conservative like McCain, I must ask if Americans are sufficiently intelligent to competently govern themselves. I can understand authoritarian conservatives voting for McCain, for they know no better. It is well-understood that most everyone votes with his or her heart, not his or her head. Polls show that 81 percent of Americans "feel" (in their hearts and their heads) that our country is going the wrong way. How could anyone with such thoughts and feelings vote for more authoritarian conservatism, which has done so much to take the nation in the wrong direction?

We will all find out on (or about) November 5th.

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

An accusatory post, yet it says the evidence bears out. SRH.

Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 09:08 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

The Super-Close Senate Race You've Never Heard Of
In 2002, Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss was running against Senator Max Cleland (D-Ga.), in one of the most bitter races of that election cycle. With 9/11 still fresh, Chambliss ran an attack ad featuring a photo of Osama bin Laden that accused Cleland, a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee, of not having the "courage to lead" on national security. The ad worked; Chambliss won. But even Republicans thought the attack on Cleland's patriotism was over the top: Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) called it "beyond offensive." This year, Democrats are looking to get their revenge by kicking Chambliss to the curb. And they think Jim Martin, a longtime state legislator and former candidate for lieutenant governor, is just the man to avenge Cleland.

Can Democrats really pick up a seat in deep-red Georgia? Until late September, it didn't look possible. Chambliss led by a 17-point margin in a poll released on September 16. But as the economy worsened, Chambliss suddenly appeared vulnerable. Now most polls have Martin within a few points. Martin has yet to show a lead in a major non-partisan poll, but Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com thinks the polls are "lowballing" Martin and the race is closer than it seems:

The polls, from what I can tell, are showing a fairly high undecided vote among the African-American population. Rasmussen's most recent poll, which had Saxby Chambliss up by two, shows that 12 percent of black voters are undecided in the senate race. Were those voters to split 4:1 to Jim Martin, that would be worth a net of around 2 points to him, making the race a tie. SurveyUSA, likewise, shows a higher rate of undecideds among black voters (7%) than among whites (3%).

Even if the Georgia Senate race didn't have the Cleland backstory, Democrats would find it fascinating. Ever since they took control of the Senate in January 2007, Democrats have been frustrated by an unprecedented number of Republican filibusters.

If they can pick up at least nine seats in the Senate, the Democrats would have the 60 votes (including independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman) they need to break Republican filibusters. Winning the Georgia race looks increasingly crucial to that strategy. If the Democrats win the easy seats in Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado, the closer races in Oregon, New Hampshire, Alaska, and North Carolina, and the squeaker in Minnesota, they'd still need one more seat to get to 60. The only remaining races within single digits are in Southern states: Mississippi, Kentucky, and Georgia. And many Democrats think Martin and the Georgia race are a good bet.

That Martin, who calls himself a "proud Democrat and a proud progressive," might have a chance in deeply conservative Georgia might come as a shock. But in an interview with OpenLeft's Matt Stoller, Martin said he thinks progressives can run and win in the South, because "people are fed up with where we are as a country, and they are looking for real change."

Perhaps Martin's most interesting position is his opposition to the $700 billion mortgage bailout bill. Martin says the bailout "failed to address the fundamental problems created by the deregulation of Wall Street. And it lacked consumer protections to stem the abusive lending practices that are at the root of this crisis." Chambliss supported the bailout bill.

If Martin manages to pull out a victory in Georgia, not only will the Democrats be closer to thwarting GOP filibusters; progressive Democrats will have a new advocate in Washington. (That is, a reader points out, if Martin manages to get more than 50 percent of the vote on election day. Otherwise, a runoff will be scheduled for December).


:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 09:34 PM

The capacity to learn is a gift;
The ability to learn is a skill;
The WILLINGNESS to learn is a choice."



"The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."

John Ruskin


"The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history."



"Philosophy begins when one learns to doubt - particularly to doubt one's cherished beliefs, one's dogmas and one's axioms."

Will Durant


"I became aware of my destiny: to belong to the critical minority as opposed to the unquestioning majority."

Sigmund Freud


"The more extensive a man's knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do."

Benjamin Disraeli


"It's easy to curb the freedoms of others when you see no immediate impact on your own."

Malcolm Forbes


"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious Things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them."

Mark Twain
U.S. author.
Following the Equator, ch. 20
"Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar" (1897)


"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain Security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."

Thomas Jefferson


Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 09:48 PM

to the
Palin/Sarkozy prank tape

Submitted by BuzzFlash on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 1:06pm. Alerts
Go on-site to gain access to it. Just click on URL at end of post.

One of the responsibilities of a president and vice president is speaking to foreign leaders. One thing that would help is whether you can figure out if you are talking to that foreign leader.

As we found out, Sarah Palin still needs a few lessons. Gov. Palin got pranked by Marc Antoine Audette of CKOI, Montréal. She thought Audette was French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Oops.

transcript from Canadian Press

French singer Johnny Hallyday
There were numerous clues. His American adviser was Johnny Hallyday, a French pop singer and sixties rock star who could be a dead ringer for Todd Palin.

Audette referred to the Prime Minister of Canada as "Stef Carse" (a singer) and the prime minister of Quebec as "Mr. Richard Z. Sirois," (who is a Quebec radio host). The Prime Minister of Canada is Stephen Harper, a fact Palin should have known, and there is no prime minister of Quebec (the head of the province is Premier Jean Charest). He asks her whether the "Quebec prime minister" came to one of her rallies. If that existed, why would he come in the audience to a rally?

But the fun parts are in francais. Audette discusses shooting animals from a helicopter, noting that "like we say in French, on peut tuer les bébés phoques aussi." The English refers to killing baby seals, but the true punchline is that "phoques" is pronounced "f*ck." Palin has to be able to hear that, yet it flies by.

Later, Audette as Sarkozy, refers to his wife, former supermodel Carla Bruni, as being "so hot in bed" and notes that Bruni wrote a song for her entitled, "Rouge aux levres sur un cochon." The French title is "Lipstick on a Pig," but he says the song is about Joe the Plumber. He refers to a similar vision of Joe the Plumber as Marcel with bread under his armpit.

There is so much in the 6 minutes or so of audio. He talks about an edgy documentary from Hustler called "Nailin' Palin." Either Palin is being extremely polite or doesn't follow the exchange.

He asks that Dick Cheney not come along on the hunting trip, but Palin says "I'll be a careful shot." And she refers to "killing two birds with one stone."

He ends with this thought: "If one voice can change the world for Obama, one Viagra can change the world for McCain."

But words do not sum up the anguish and embarrassment of Gov. Palin. Maybe she'll understand this when she actually talks to the real Nicolas Sarkozy. Someday.



» login or register to post comments | printer friendly version
This "Interview" shows palin in her finest

Submitted by kjlovell on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 8:55pm.
This "interview" shows palin (bible spice) in her finest, demonstrates those skills she will bring to the WH should the gop steal this election too. It would be even more funny if this delusional, inept woman wasn't so damned dangerous.
» login or register to post comments



Saundra Hummer
November 3rd, 2008, 10:34 PM

Hi folks,

It's Sunday morning, the presidential 'election' mere hours away. I was just subjected to Bob Schieffer (on Face the Nation) telling me that he is going to vote because his mother once told him that voting "makes you feel big and strong."

Okay, that's it. I'm not going to keep my trap shut as I promised myself I would…so…

Some Thoughts on the Election
Why a McCain/Palin Victory Might Be Our Best Hope

First, let's set this up, establish an important and obvious given.

Given: When politicians tell the truth it's a coincidence, an accident. In other words, truth is not a factor in what they say. This doesn't mean they are always lying. They'll tell the truth when it's to their advantage to do so.

This is so obvious that I'll not try your patience with evidence thereof.

So what do we do? How do we listen to a politico speak?

We listen to subtext, which is closely akin to motive - what's in it for the speaker to say whatever he says - and deep motive. Deep motive (in what a politico says) is slipperier, and more significant than regular, garden variety motive, since most often the politico is not consciously aware of his deep motive. The clichéd 'Freudian slip' is an example of what I'm talking about. This sort of subtext can sometimes tell us everything.

As I write in Can't You Get Along With Anyone?, subtext is what's really going on.

But listen: You gotta pay attention!

Let's listen and pay attention to the subtexts of some words of Obama's running mate, Joe Biden.

"Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking… Remember I said it standing here. If you don't remember anything else I said… I guarantee this is gonna happen. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

More of the Biden Blurt:

A wild-eyed insider blows it in subtext. "(Obama) is 'going to have to make some tough decisions. And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you… to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right." (emphasis added)
But not just a crisis; according to Biden, a generated crisis.

What does Biden mean by a generated crisis? What's the subtext here?

The crisis will be contrived. Artificial. Not real, in the sense of being misleading, either as to who did it and/or why they did it.

But this part is the giveaway: Remember I said it standing here. If you don't remember anything else I said… I guarantee this is gonna happen.

Subtext? Try this: He knows for a fact what's going to happen.

And Obama "is gonna have to make some tough decisions."

Subtext: The crisis ain't gonna be pretty. He's talking catastrophe here.

And: "…it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

Never mind the subtext, I gotta say it: This is incredible, if you think just a little about it. This fucking guy knows exactly what's going to happen. Otherwise, how could he possibly know "it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

But how could he know exactly what sort of contrived crisis/catastrophe we're in for?

Going out on a short subtextual limb: He knows because he's either involved in generating the crisis, or knows the people/forces who are generating it.

More subtext: I wrote recently that Obama is the one 'they' (the powers that be, call them 'Wall Street') want for our next president, one indication being that Wall Street contributed three times as much to the Obama campaign as to McCain's. The above quote saying that Obama will need our (the people's) support because it's not going to look like we're right is indirect verification that I am correct.

Why? Because of the Cult of Personality Factor. Both Congress and the people are way more apt to support Obama on a controversial decision than McCain. This is so obvious that it needs no rationalization.

Since 'the decision' (whatever the hell it is) will be in Wall Street's favor - who can doubt that? - Obama would be a far more effective president than McCain (from Wall Street's point of view).

So why doesn't he tell us what this crisis/catastrophe is/will be? If he went public, whatever he's talking about could maybe be prevented. (When I thought a hit man was out to get me in Costa Rica, hired by the asshole I call Logan, first thing I did was to go public - via the newspapers, the embassy, the cops - with the assumption that Logan would have to back off. [See Can't You Get Along With Anyone?])

Again, why doesn't Biden go public?

Hold on, let's back up. If Biden knows, so does Obama. Right?

Right. Of course.

So let's rephrase: Why doesn't Obama go public with his knowledge of the coming crisis/catastrophe?

Hold on, let's back up further. Maybe you're thinking that my premise is off, that Biden was just mindlessly shooting off his mouth, in spite of his 'Remember I said it standing here,' and so forth comments that would seem to back me up.

Need verification? Go to this Colin Powell interview and slide the thingee button over to 2:38. (The interview took place on the same day as Biden's Blurt, October 19th.)

"There's going to be a crises on the 21st or 22nd of January, that we don't know about right now."

But whoa.

I mean whoa! Think about it. When Colin Powell names the dates, you know he knows exactly what's up. Biden's got a big mouth and sometimes has his head up his ass, agreed. Not so with Colin Powell.

I would submit that these two blurts - made within hours of each other, from politicos who are amongst the cognesceti - amount to subtextual verification that our government has foreknowledge of a coming catastrophic crisis. (As they had with 9/11; the evidence of this is so extensive that I won't insult your intelligence by delving into it.)

Biden/Obama compares Obama's coming catastrophe/tough decision based on a contrived crisis to JFK's, presumably the Cuban Missile Crisis. There's a problem here though. The Cuban Missile Crisis certainly was not contrived. That sumbitch was the real thing. So forget the JFK bullshit; a red herring.

More from Colin Powell's interview (on the above YouTube link):

(Obama should) "start using… the power of his personality to convince the American people and convince the world that America is solid…" blah blah

Do you think Powell would recommend that McCain should start 'using the power of his personality'? Who (be it Congress, our European allies, or us, the people) is going to 'follow McCain anywhere'?

So Biden and Powell both made comments the subtext of which is that Obama is going to have to make a decision that nobody is going to like.

Do you think this decision is going to be in our interest? Do you think the bail out bill, for example, which Obama supported and voted for - was in our interest? You do?

Okay. Try this on for subtext: (A freedom of information act paper with blacked out areas, Private message me for copy of letter.)

Remember how Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson promised full transparency in spending the $700 billion bailout money?

Paulson is blacking out the sections of government contracts that spell out how much private firms will be paid for their services in administering taxpayer money.


Paulson and his cronies should be in jail. Do you understand that? Instead, Bush and the Congress gave them about four trillion dollars of our money and let them do with it what they please (the $700 billion figure was a lie).

And you know what they're doing with it? Paying themselves billions of dollars. (The Lehman Bros. thieves in New York, for example, paid themselves 2.5 billion dollars in bonuses.)

Utter contempt.

But what's going on with this?

Wall Street is looting the treasury. (In the Third World, the looting of the treasury is what happens just before the country descends into chaos.)

Why did Obama vote for the bail out bill, knowing full well what it would lead to, i.e., the looting of the treasury? (Since I knew, I presume he did.)

Wall Street wanted the bill and Obama does Wall Street's bidding.

Remember: Nothing that Wall Street wants is in our best interest.

To cut right to the chase: A McCain presidency would be better for us because it would more likely lead to a paralyzed federal government (a strongly oppositional Congress), i.e., less government, i.e., one unable to follow the presidential (actually Wall Street's) will.

Am I recommending that you vote for McCain?


Why not? I mean, with all this subtext bullshit it seems pretty obvious that…

I dislike McCain so much that I can't wait to see his veins popping, his pasty face turning a vibrant (healthy) crimson, when he loses. And who knows what hilarious shit will come out of his (and Palin's) mouth in the aftermath of defeat.

I guess I'm putting entertainment ahead of survival. (Well isn't that just like me?)

But what's my goddamn point in all this?

WAKE UP, FOLKS! Don't put up with being the object of all this contempt.

I'll be in touch.


P.S. I'm curious to know if I'm correct in my assessment of these matters, so I'll make a few predictions; down the line we'll see how it goes:

1. Obama will be elected. (Right: Not a very long limb on this one.)
Going further, though: If there is no attempt, or only a faint-hearted one, by the Republicans to steal the election, this would be an indication that Obama is Wall Street's choice. (Which would tend to verify all my assertions.)

We'll have to keep an eye on Greg Palast's reporting on this; Palast broke the stories of the thefts of the 2000 and 2004 elections (google him or read his book, Armed Madhouse).

Note: I really can't lose in the above, since a McCain victory would mean another stolen election, which itself would mean we do not live in a democracy, which in turn is what I've been trying to tell you for some time. Okay. All right.

2. Within six months of Obama's inauguration, there will be a crisis, contrived or instigated by elements of the U.S. government, although it will not appear so.
My fear is that it will be a false flag terrorist incident like 9/11, perpetrated to rationalize martial law. (Might the declaration of martial law be the tough and unpopular decision Biden and Powell spoke of?) A nuclear event is the worst case scenario, possibly detonated from the hold of a ship on the East Coast. (One thing in our favor is that - according to a Scripts Howard University poll - 36% of Americans know that 9/11 was an inside job. This might scare them off.)

Other scenarios include incidents meant to rationalize war with Iran or an expansion of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East or the Balkans. A contrived conflict with Russia or China is even possible. (A good example of media disinformation is the blatant lie that Russia, unprovoked, invaded Georgia in early August. The fact is that it was Georgia who was the aggressor, almost certainly at the behest of the Bush Administration. This is an indication that conflict with Russia is in the offing.)

3. Obama's actions in his first six months as president should be a giveaway as to whether or not his motives are pure (he is who he says he is), or if he indeed is a Wall Street puppet. Here are some of the actions he should take if the former is the case:

a) Reinstate the writ of habeas corpus, which guarantees a person (a 'person' says the Constitution, not just a citizen) the right to face his accuser in a court of law.

b) Related to the above: Abrogate the 'enemy combatant' legislation, which likewise is a blatant affront to the spirit and letter of the First Amendment.

c) Rescind the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive of May 2007, which declares that in the event of a "catastrophic event", the president can become what is best described as "a dictator":

"The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."

This legislation effectively turns the whole constitution into… a joke.

d) Speaking of jokes, albeit bad ones, there's the Military Commissions Act, which includes the above writ of habeas corpus travesty. It should be rescinded within six months of an Obama presidency. This act, with its Orwellian wording and when taken en toto is perhaps the scariest piece of legislation even imaginable.

e) Abrogate the establishment of Northcom, which in effect gives the military the authority to police us. This is in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

In case you don't know: Northcom has recalled from combat duty in Iraq a full brigade (5,000 troops) to assist, if needed, in 'civil unrest' and 'crowd control' on U.S. soil.

If the image of a few thousand wild-eyed, battle fatigued, pissed off grunts patrolling your neighborhood doesn't make you nervous, I would submit that nothing will. Good for you.

f) Rescind the Executive order that authorizes torture in the interrogation of 'enemy combatants'.

Keep in mind that Bush has given the president the authority to label any U.S. citizen, i.e., you, an enemy combatant (google 'Jose Padilla').

g) Rescind the legislation authorizing eavesdropping on U.S. citizens, another clear and blatant violation of our Constitution.

h) Obama should (at the very least) ask for an amendment to the bail out legislation that will make the actions of the Treasury Department transparent, and, more importantly, make legally responsible those who are, in my words, looting the Treasury.

I could of course go on.
I could point out that Obama - if he truly believes in rule of law - would demand a special prosecutor to bring to justice George W. Bush, for war crimes, among other felonies. (Keep in mind that Clinton was impeached for blow job-related crimes.)

But enough.

My point, in case you forgot: If Obama is who he says he is, if he has our interest at heart, he would do all of the above within six months of January 21, 2009 (my birthday!).

I predict he won't.

Too much to ask, you say? Meaning that he get all that done in six months.

I predict he will not do even one of the above. Not one.


Okay. Most blabbermouths don't hang themselves out there with specific predictions. At least you can't say that about this blabbermouth.


On a lighter note!

Some Canadian merry pranksters phone-called Sarah Palin, claiming to be the president of France offering his support and hoping he and Palin will someday go hunting together because 'killing all those animals is great fun.' It's hilarious and instructive regarding candidates for president in the U.S. as the puppets of behind the scenes forces.

Click here for a grin.

Here's another indication of recent voter fraud.

If you found my rant worthwhile, please consider forwarding it to... everyone. Let's wake this country up!

To subscribe to this newsletter, go to Banditobooks.com


There are graphs/charts, photo's and links to other articles and facts within Alans newsletter. PM me and I'll forward the letter to your own email. Saundra

Write to: acwdownsouth@yahoo.com

Saundra Hummer
November 4th, 2008, 06:29 PM
* * *

The Huffington Post

Tim Robbins' Polling Place Nightmare: He's Turned Away!
November 4, 2008 02:45 PM

Politically active actor Tim Robbins almost didn't get to vote in New York.

TMZ reports Robbins was turned away at his polling place.

There was some kind of ruckus and the cops were called.
Apparently Robbins has been voting at that polling place for more than a decade, but today his name wasn't on the register. They told Robbins he had to fill out a provisional ballot but he didn't want to do it. An argument erupted between Robbins and the poll worker. Robbins allegedly got loud and the poll worker said he was calling the cops.

Robbins accused the poll worker of trying to intimidate him so he wouldn't vote.

Robbins went downtown to the City Board of Elections to get proof he was good to vote.

That's where a TMZ camera caught up with him. Robbins held up his papers and told the camera:

"This is what you have to do to vote... I had to go down to see a judge... My name was not on the roll, and I'm not the only one. According to workers, 30 people in 5 hours had been taking off the rolls. You can do the math on that. 6 per hour, per district across America..."


Popular Stories on HuffPost
Election Predictions: Pundits Weigh In
Make your own predictions below... Karl Rove Winner: Obama Electoral

Fox News' Major Garrett Defends Obama Against "Fox & Friends" In Leaked E-Mail
Fox News correspondent Major Garrett shot back in defense of...
Final Presidential Polls
UPDATE - 2:00 PM ET on November 4 GWU: Obama 49, McCain 44 Rasmussen: Obama 52,...
John Cusack No Currency Left to Buy the Big Lies As I contemplated the real possibility of an Obama victory and listened to right...

Keith Thomson The Most Accurate Election Forecast? Hardcore Gamblers
Recently I was in Kentucky, reporting on horseracing for...

Arianna Huffington Enter The HuffPost Election Forecast Contest
Update: This Election Forecast Contest was originally going to...

John McCain On Saturday Night Live With Tina Fey As Palin (VIDEO)
Live from New York was the real John McCain alongside Tina Fey as Sarah Palin...

The Obamas' Greatest Family Moments (SLIDESHOW)
This was originally published on October 16th. After the outstanding response...

Saturday Night Live's Olbermann Sketch: Affleck's Pompous, Cat-Owning Keith (VIDEO)
Ben Affleck impersonated...

Shakir Stewart, Jay-Z's Successor At Def Jam, Suicides
ATLANTA — The executive who succeeded Jay-Z as the head of hip-hop music label...

Starbucks Offers Free Coffee On Nov 4th For Those Who Voted (VIDEO)
Starbucks is doing its part to stimulate civic participation. On November 4th...

Russell Bishop Election Anxiety: Advice From Abraham Lincoln
By the time the votes are tabulated and our choice for President...

Buffett, Google Invest In Prolific Renewable You've Never Heard Of
"There's no smoke. Very little noise," said Paul Thomsen, director of policy and...

* * *
HUFFPOST'S BIG NEWS PAGES Indiana Judge: GOP Poll Watchers Violated Court Order On Foreclosure Lists On The Ground 2008
Dem Pollster: "I've Never Been Less Worried" Election 2008 Coverage
Lieberman: 'I Fear' That 'America Will Not Survive' If Dems Get 60 Senate
* * * * * * *
Post Comment
You must be logged in to comment of this article. Log in or Create an account

Want to reply to a comment? Hint: Click "Reply" at the bottom of the comment; after being approved your comment will appear directly underneath the comment you replied to

View Comments: Newest First Oldest First HuffPost's Picks
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next › Last » (14 pages total) (Page 1 of 14)
- + FatherKindly See Profile I'm a Fan of FatherKindly I'm a fan of this user permalink
In my polling place the problem was not with partisan hanky-panky but with an age raddled volunteer who couldn't work her touch-screen computer and therefore she could not verify the legitimacy of registered voters. She first told me that I was not registered to vote, then told me that I was at the wrong polling place (she didn't know how to find the right one) and then told me I needed a specialized voting machine made for the hearing disabled (I am not hearing disabled). I stood my ground and called over her supervisor whoc corrected her errors in seconds while she pawed at his arm saying, "Let me do it! Let me do it!"

After I had successfully voted (and not with a provisional ballot) I passed her post on my way out and found her quarreling with an apparently fit thirty-something whom she was informing that, since he was hearing disabled, needed to go to another precinct with specialized equipment to cast his vote.

I immediately returned home (upstairs in the same building as the polling place) and reported her to the Board of Elections. I went back a while later and she was gone.
Posted 05:42 PM on 11/04/2008
- + judesedit See Profile I'm a Fan of judesedit I'm a fan of this user permalink
If they steal this election again, we MUST march on Washington! No excuses. No way can we let another illegitimate administration destroy this country even more. America speak out!
Posted 05:37 PM on 11/04/2008
- + taquinas See Profile I'm a Fan of taquinas I'm a fan of this user permalink
The system needs to be revised that if you're a born or naturalised citizen you should be able to vote. Not be registered where some can disqualify you. Biometric scans have developed so much that they can be used. People worried about privacy need not vote. Either way how much privacy do you have when you have to register to vote? If you're independent both parties call/bug you. If people are made to use a thumb print to sign documents and checks at banks it can be used to cast a vote. Easy and fast.
And while we're trading nuclear secrets with India maybe we can learn something from their election process. Information about their "Electronic voting machines" is proven to work in the biggest democracy in the world. It's from the a world country but is simple and the final results out in 2-3 hours after the close of the election. What went wrong here in the U.S. is the federal government let the States make a business out of it, letting private companies run the show. Therefore the whole election is at risk.
Posted 05:35 PM on 11/04/2008
- + just4shiggles See Profile I'm a Fan of just4shiggles I'm a fan of this user permalink
Apparently whoever took Tim's name off of the list didn't know who he was. If not that, they might want their 15 minutes of embarrassment like backward B girl! We will definitely be hearing from Tim a lot in the future about this little incident. Get em Tim!!!
Posted 05:35 PM on 11/04/2008
- + ernieson See Profile I'm a Fan of ernieson I'm a fan of this user permalink
Purple fingers in Iraq were given more support in their voting rights by our government than citizens of our own country. How many citizens, unlike Tim Robbins, just give up and do not pursue their voting
right when denied?
Posted 05:34 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Ron1951 See Profile I'm a Fan of Ron1951 I'm a fan of this user permalink
Congratulations to Tim Robbins for standing up for his constitutional right to vote in a free election. He stood up for what he believes in and espouses on any given opportunity. We need more people who stand up for their voting rights like this.

But obviously, we need a better system of voting in this country. The situation Tim faced down was just ridiculous. I wonder who took his name off the rolls? I hope he takes the time, energy, and money necessary to get to the bottom of this. Somehow I suspect he will. Good for him!
Posted 05:33 PM on 11/04/2008
- + remtom46 See Profile I'm a Fan of remtom46 I'm a fan of this user permalink
Think about people trying to vote and are not movie starts like Tim Robbins
Posted 05:27 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Tyrione See Profile I'm a Fan of Tyrione I'm a fan of this user permalink
``This is what you have to do to vote... I had to go down to see a judge... My name was not on the roll, and I'm not the only one. According to workers, 30 people in 5 hours had been taking off the rolls. You can do the math on that. 6 per hour, per district across America...''
No wonder this country is so indebted. This guy's mathematical analysis skills are attrocious. His grasp of Probability and Statistics for a non-linear set of equations is ZERO.
Please, if you lose, get the hell out of here and move to Italy. You'll love the tax rates.
Posted 05:27 PM on 11/04/2008
- + IowaCali See Profile I'm a Fan of IowaCali I'm a fan of this user permalink
His skills are "attrocious" are they? And your spelling is great.
Posted 05:31 PM on 11/04/2008
- + OhComeOnNow See Profile I'm a Fan of OhComeOnNow I'm a fan of this user permalink
What do you expect from someone who comments primarily on celebs articles...
Posted 05:40 PM on 11/04/2008
- + KoolBreez See Profile I'm a Fan of KoolBreez I'm a fan of this user permalink

Way to go Iowa.
Posted 05:40 PM on 11/04/2008
- + minapod See Profile I'm a Fan of minapod I'm a fan of this user permalink
I went to my old poling place to get a sticker today. I became a mail in voter two years ago after they changed my polling place after twenty years at the same location. Sadly, the manager of my old polling place was a hostile, rude and aggressive fellow who was ordering everyone around, poll workers, voters and myself, causing a lot of bad feelings. He did give me my sticker though!

I went home and called the City Clerk and filed a complaint against him. If citizens must put up with intimidation and other bad experiences while attempting to vote it certainly decreasing numbers of voters next time around. That's why I vote from home and drop it in the slot at the local post office, with a "lick and a promise" it gets to the right place and my votes are recorded properly. I'm sad you had to go through that Tim, and everyone else who is having problems voting today - not for the meek or weak at heart!
Posted 05:24 PM on 11/04/2008
- + FrictionSoul See Profile I'm a Fan of FrictionSoul I'm a fan of this user permalink
Do you have the serial number of your ballot? Out here in Colorado we have them so we can track them via the County Clerk's website.
Posted 05:31 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Ourrias See Profile I'm a Fan of Ourrias I'm a fan of this user permalink
Hopefully, with Obama in office and Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress (with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate) we wil FINALLY get a uniform, national voting law that every state secretary of state in this nation will be compelled to follow to the letter.

Paper ballots ONLY.

Addresses confirmed by tax return filing with simple change of address notification.

No more caging, no more vote suppression, no more voter intimidation.

Is this asking TOO MUCH?!?!?
Posted 05:23 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Carolab See Profile I'm a Fan of Carolab I'm a fan of this user permalink




Posted 05:25 PM on 11/04/2008
- + FrictionSoul See Profile I'm a Fan of FrictionSoul I'm a fan of this user permalink
You've got that totally mixed up. HAVA ensures that that the GOP can cheat, yes, but it also ensures that local places get to do it how they see fit. We're the only democracy on the planet without uniform voting rights.

Yes we should vote with paper ballots and hand count those votes, but shouldn't that be a nationwide/uniform voting process, so that voting is the same everywhere?
Posted 05:34 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Carolab See Profile I'm a Fan of Carolab I'm a fan of this user permalink
Now, tell me again, Republicans, WHO is CHEATING?
Posted 05:22 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Zahzy See Profile I'm a Fan of Zahzy I'm a fan of this user permalink
Same thing happened to me. Purged. Had a letter from the register-recorder. Proper I.D....My polling place is IN my condo building! Same place I've voted for the last six years. Where I voted for the primary election. And all of a sudden...I don't exist.
Posted 05:21 PM on 11/04/2008
- + VeroucaSalt See Profile I'm a Fan of VeroucaSalt I'm a fan of this user permalink
Are you registered as a Dem?
Posted 05:26 PM on 11/04/2008
- + RoXXanne See Profile I'm a Fan of RoXXanne I'm a fan of this user permalink
Whooohooo, they clearly picked the wrong guy to f*ck with! LOL

I saw Tim Robbins on Bill Maher's Real Time, actually WARNING people about these sort of tricks!
05:20 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Carolab See Profile I'm a Fan of Carolab I'm a fan of this user permalink



Posted 05:27 PM on 11/04/2008
- + xsquid See Profile I'm a Fan of xsquid I'm a fan of this user permalink
Gee, could this be karma coming back to bite Robbins in the butt after he backstabbed Ralph Nader in 2004??

Sure looks like it.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:18 PM on 11/04/2008
- + Carolab See Profile I'm a Fan of Carolab I'm a fan of this user permalink


Posted 05:28 PM on 11/04/2008
- + johnqsittinzen See Profile I'm a Fan of johnqsittinzen I'm a fan of this user permalink
No, doesn't look like that at all. Pay attention to the big picture, not your quibbling personal issues with the celebrity personality. Is it karma for everyone who is being mysteriously purged from their home district and being offered a provisional ballot as an adequate substitute?
05:22 PM on 11/04/2008
- + salsmom See Profile I'm a Fan of salsmom I'm a fan of this user permalink
what a horrible concept - voting provisionally - he is a US citizen who has voted in that same district for years. maybe we should have all US senators be told that their vote today is a provisional vote and see how fast the election laws are changed.

Interesting to see. SRH


* * * * * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 4th, 2008, 06:49 PM
* * * * * * *

Republican Right Crying "Election Fraud" Already!

Bill Hare
11/04/2008 03:39:18 PM EST
They fear that the handwriting was on the wall with the heavy Democratic Party registration coupled with gigantic voter turnouts.

The response by the perpetual deniers of the Republican Right is in current evidence as the future scripts of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are being written.

Fox News is devoting huge attention to allegations that Black Panther members are standing with nightsticks at one Philadelphia voting precinct and seeking to intimidate white voters they find suspicious. In the clip I viewed there was not one shred of video evidence revealing anyone standing outside the precinct intimidating anyone.

Meanwhile World Net Daily and Free Republic are joining the mounting chorus of shrieks that fraud is in the air. One report exists of two voters being "challenged" in North Dakota.

On the Free Republic site one blogger seeking anonymity with an obviously created name is claiming freedom attainment. "For the first time" in this individual's life that person is casting a straight Republican ticket vote from the top to the bottom of the ballot. The reason is that "my former party" is riddled with "sexism."

Oh yes. The Republican right has been so supportive of equal pay for equal work and highly tolerant of a woman's right to choose. Dare we question the authenticity of these disclosures by a newly liberated Republican?

It is heartening to see that the Republican right is so committed to ethics in balloting. This is sited as the reason why roadblocks have been established, to keep the system honest. Meanwhile it is the Democratic Party and Obama that represent a corrupted system.

These were the same individuals who in 2000 lauded Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris as a beacon of liberty and showered her with more acclaim at Bush's inaugural activities than the designate selected by a 1-vote Supreme Court majority.

There is also a racist-tinged article on the Free Republic site revealing how the nation's money will run out in a future nanny state featuring welfare handouts presided over by Obama and the Democrats.

Free Republic's definition of freedom has never resonated with that which I gleaned from my reading of history and the citizens who generated it. Katherine Harris, for one, never made the grade.

I haven't seen or heard anything about any of this article, but if Hate Media is saying and doing such as this, how terrible of them. They know full well they stand the liklihood of inciting violence, and should they, it is on their heads.

No wonder people working to get out the vote, and those who are working to insure a fraud and intimidation free vote were urging we voters take video cameras with us to the polls.

Hearing and seeing such as this? In the United States? What in the world have we come to? I wouldn't have ever believed we would see times such as these. SRH

* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 4th, 2008, 08:25 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

McCain Campaign
Pushes Black Panther Story

Tommy Christopher
Nov 4th 2008 5:00PM
Update: I have confirmed, with a Philadelphia police spokesman, that both men were members of the New Black Panther Party, and that the man with the nightstick was asked to leave. He complied, and no charges were filed.

Dave reported earlier on videos that have surfaced featuring 2 men standing in front of a polling place in Philadelphia, one of whom brandished a nightstick. There's a new video, below, of police confronting the men. According to Fox, the unarmed man is an official poll watcher.

Disturbingly, the McCain campaign is pushing the story, sending out a memo to all press. The full memo is here, but here's an excerpt:

In Philadelphia, PA, Black Panthers Are Intimidating Voters By Standing Outside Of A Polling Station While Holding A Night Stick. Fox News' Rick Leventhal: "I do not even know where to begin, but we have reached a polling place in the city of Philadelphia. One of the two black panthers who was allegedly blocking the door is standing right over here, [and] accused us of intimidating voters because we were here with a camera and microphone. He did not answer questions, other people here have confirmed that another person in black panther attire was holding a night stick and apparently the concern was that they were intimidating people who were trying to go inside to vote. A republican poll observer actually called the police, the police were here and we miss[ed] them, they came and left." (Fox News; "America's Newsroom 2008," 11/4/08)
None of these reports provide any proof that these men are Black Panthers, that I'm aware of. If some exists, I'd like to see it.

The memo goes on to detail a precursory statement from several days ago, from a New Black Panther Party spokesman: (click through)

Go on-site for link's photo's, YouTube, etc. Just click here:

The New Black Panther Party Promised To "Protect Its Interest" On Election Day. "We will not allow some racists and other angry whites, who are upset over an impending Barack Obama presidential victory, to intimidate blacks at the polls,' Muhammad said. Most certainly, we cannot allow these racist forces to slaughter our babies or commit other acts of violence against the black population, nor our black president.' Muhammad added, "We must organize to counter and neutralize these threats using all means at our disposal. This is a great time for our people, and we must ensure that peace prevails for our people.'" (Tyrone Tony Reed, Jr., "New Black Panthers Visit Alamo," Jackson Sun, 11/2/08)
It seems highly irresponsible of the McCain campaign to push such an inflammatory story, on the strength of one unidentified individual's actions. This is especially true given that the man in question was immediately escorted, compliantly, away.

I'll watch this story for updates.

Tommy Christopher co-hosts "Unusable Signal",on BlogTalkRadio, Tues through Thurs at 10pm, and Fri, and Sat at 11pm. (Eastern) Click here for the Unusable Signal homepage.


The comments are something to see, the bigotry and ignorance is astounding in this day and age. For gods sake we aren't living in some third world country, even though many of the comments sure do look as though we are. I think in so many ways, the people in this country are regressing, progress isn't anything they seek or strive for, in politics or in themselves for that matter. The McCain campaign has capitalized on voters basest fears and their ignorance, the Palin/McCain campaign has been an insult to those who are better educated and caring. Because of Sarah Palin alone, I couldn't vote for him, due to the myriad of problems the Sic Em Sarah woman brings to the table.

A newsbreak just in says that the Obama/Biden ticket has taken Vermont I believe and McCain/Palin, Kentucky. No surprise there. And that a Democrat has taken a Virginia senate seat. Susan Collins (R) has defeated Tom Allen (D) in Maine.

I have to say, those fellows with nightsticks weren't thinking too straight, regardless if they are New Black Panthers or not. Just what is it they are they trying to do? Insure the McCain/Palin ticket draws in white voters in droves? Standing about with nightsticks? Another dumb move. One incident doesn't make it a movement, that's for certain, but I don't like it happening, as it's a provocation, and a windfall for McCain/Palin in many aspects.

I keep hoping that violence doesn't become any sort of factor in this hard fought race. I know there's been a lot of fear's being played on and what seems to be an attempt to incite violence from the McCain camp, especially in Sarah Palins flaming rhetoric, but it's died down quite a bit as she became more and more of a joke. But this? What will it cause? Hopefuly, nothing. I do hope that nothing drastic will happen. and I have to believe that any voter with a lick of sense won't be deterred in how they vote by any of this. The ticket of Barack Obama & Joe Biden isn't a threat; no way. They're a promise of better things to come. SRH

TJ, THE CLINTONITE5:14PMNov 4th 2008


PCL5:30PMNov 4th 2008

Yes, if.

gris truse5:34PMNov 4th 2008


IBELINDA25:43PMNov 4th 2008


jan5:44PMNov 4th 2008

My God, McCain is being a jerk down to the last second. Every time I think he can't get any lower, that his fans can't get any stupider, lo and behold.

JVZaccaro5:46PMNov 4th 2008


To date, the Obama campaign has experienced:

A 20 year relationship with a radical religious mentor who said “God Damn America”

Active ACORN voter registration fraud investigations in 15 states.

$150 million of questionable campaign funds collected in September.

Financial fraud related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A list of friends that would keep him from qualifying as his own Secret Service bodyguard.

A personal commitment to end the American Coal Industry.

Voter intimidation by Black Panthers in Philadelphia.

A running mate who says Obama will be “tested with a crisis” within 6 months.

Is this the CHANGE Americans want? YOU must decide and YOU must VOTE.

Mat5:47PMNov 4th 2008

Once I could have supported McCain. I respected him. But he went wrong somewhere along the line.That Palin, who wants some right wing zealot as vice president? Not me. Had enough of that with Cheney. The lies. I've never seen any campaign try to stir up so much FEAR since Lyndon Johnson. McCain is saying "don't vote for me because I'm a good man with good ideas, vote for me 'cause the other guy is really scary ". I want ideas and hope for a better future, not more scare stories. Sorry McCain, you blew it.

simpsontrucking5:52PMNov 4th 2008

Why cant you show the whole damn thing. Tommy you are biased as they come.PPL go to youtube the whole video is on there. McCain didnt report it fox did dumdass

mike bruno6:35PMNov 4th 2008

once again you liberals must be blind or just plain ignorant.. it was on fox news and there were two, one was holding a nightstick and was escorted away the other seemed like he had a third grade education,or at least needed a dentist lol.. but you wouldnt have seen it on msnbc so i guess u dont believe anything that would be true reporting would you? vote mccain

lobo1211486:36PMNov 4th 2008

Your either a Ghetto Queen with a computer, No brains and in need of spell check software or a Wigger needing the same.
I don't know which one is worse. Either way your the kind of people Obama counts on for support. His class warfare approach is a typical socialist ploy.The economic meltdown has its roots in previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican. It was Bill Clinton who sold the unions down the river with NAFTA. If Obama gets in office and the Dems control both houses, WHO are you going too blame if things don't improve fast enough for you? Maybe that's what this country needs, 4 years of socialism lite and then they might realize that different isn't always BETTER!

bob6:40PMNov 4th 2008

Yeah, let's not concentrate on the two jackasses attempting to intimidate voters.

Let's worry about the McCain camp making mention of it.

Tommy, if this was two guys at a polling place in Mississippi wearing white hoods and holding baseball bats you'd be condemning them as extremist McCain supporters and suggest they represented the whole lot.

Bettybb7:00PMNov 4th 2008

Why was a man with a weapon allowed to remain outside a polling booth for over an hour? Why weren't the police called immediately? Why was he not arrested?

What with the Dem county in VA trying to invalidate servicemen's ballots, and now this voter intimiation, it appears that the Dems are going to be the bad guys this election.

Sal7:01PMNov 4th 2008


Sal7:01PMNov 4th 2008


waggonnerjoe7:03PMNov 4th 2008


Trae Fennell7:04PMNov 4th 2008

I wish the so called BLACK PANTHERS would have came down to Alabama and tried to intimidate our voters! Of course fear mongers won't go where they cant scare people because they are too scared themselves!

JohnBoy7:04PMNov 4th 2008

just send in the klan, the panthers will scatter like the cockroaches they are.

PCL7:06PMNov 4th 2008

JohnBoy7:04PMNov 4th 2008
just send in the klan, the panthers will scatter like the cockroaches they are.
I really doubt that--I noticed that the panthers don't wear sheets to hide behind.
Just an observation.

jhnlkrnbch7:09PMNov 4th 2008


brianguy7:09PMNov 4th 2008

who else would brandish a nightstick at a polling place, dressed in all black militant gear than the NEW BLACK PANTHERS????

idiot. do your homework... nice 'reporting'

| 1 | 2 | 3 | Most Recent | Next 20 Comments

http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2008/11/04/mccain-campaign-pushes-black-panther-story/?icid=200100397x1212433106x1200760650 [B]
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 4th, 2008, 10:20 PM

Politico.com Breaking News:
Barack Obama has won Iowa, AP reports.

For more information...http://www.politico.com

Obama takes commanding lead

Bill Nichols
November 4, 2008
10:07 PM EST
Barack Obama was on the verge of becoming the nation's first African-American president Tuesday night and Democrats picked off four Senate seats - moving the party toward unified power in Washington.

Obama's victories in Ohio and Pennsylvania - a red state and a Democratic-leaning state McCain hoped to peel off - gave the McCain campaign a painfully narrow path to the White House.

Obama also took Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey,New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

McCain posted victories in West Virginia, Utah, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, North Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming. Indiana and Virginia — two normally red states Obama hoped to steal away — remained too close to call, as did Florida and even McCain's home state of Arizona. The tightness of those states was more bad news for McCain.

Democrats picked up Senate seats in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and New Hampshire.

"We like what we see," chief Obama strategist David Axelrod told CNN.

Polls has closed in dozens of states by 10 p.m. - hours after Obama, Joe Biden, McCain and Sarah Palin cast their ballots along with millions of other Americans. It was the culminating act in a two-year-long process that will result in a new president-elect to lead a nation living under the shadow of two wars and a transcendent economic crisis.

Exit polls showed a country ready for change and fearful of economic uncertainty. Six in 10 voters rated the economy as their top concern — potentially good news for Obama, whom polls have consistently shown connecting with voters on that issue.

At stake were two historic firsts: the possibility of the nation’s first black president, should Obama win, and the country’s first female vice president, in the event of a McCain-Palin victory.

See Also
Things to watch on Election Day
25 key counties to watch
Networks ready Election Night gizmos
Go on-site for photo's, links, other articles of interest, etc.

In Congress, Democrats also hoped to widen their advantage by roughly 20 seats in the House and believed a 60-seat, filibuster-resistant majority in the Senate was within the party’s grasp. In addition to all 435 House seats, 35 Senate seats were up for grabs as well as 11 gubernatorial races.

So far, Democrats have added four seats to their majority and hoped for more. Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, as expected, handily defeated another former governor, Jim Gilmore. Democrat Kay Hagan defeated incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina. In New Hampshire, former governor Jeanne Shaheen defeated incumbent Sen. John Sununu. And in New Mexico, Democrat Tom Udall won the
seat held by retiring Republican Pete Domenici.

One piece of good news for Republicans: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won a tough re-election battle in Kentucky.

In the House, Democrats had picked up 3 seats by 10 p.m.

Both tickets ended their general election showdown with a final sprint across an array of battleground states — many of them traditionally redder than the McCain campaign would like.

Tuesday morning, it was up to the respective get-out-the-vote teams and, finally, to the bulk of the nation’s voters to have the final say. Anecdotal evidence indicated a huge turnout in both parties, with long lines the norm at polling place after polling place.

Heavy turnout was reported both inside and outside the battleground states, with some election officials predicting rates exceeding 80 percent.

Broken machines, long lines and polling places opening late caused problems across the East Coast and Midwest this morning, according to voting rights advocates. But no widespread problems were reported.

Obama joined the nation's earliest voters Tuesday. "I voted," he said, holding up the validation slip he was handed after turning in a ballot at his Chicago neighborhood's precinct. He planned a final campaign event in nearby Indiana before speaking to a massive evening rally in Chicago.

Obama was accompanied by his wife and two young daughters. "The journey ends," Obama told reporters, "but voting with my daughters, that was a big deal."

In Delaware, Biden went to the polls with his elderly mother.

In Phoenix, McCain left his high-rise condominium to cast a ballot at a nearby church before preparing to fly to Colorado and New Mexico for events in two crucial battleground states. He gave supporters a thumbs-up sign and was in and out of the polling place within minutes.

After stops in Colorado and New Mexico, a subdued McCain came back to talk to reporters on his campaign plane. His wife, Cindy, had tears in her eyes. "Well, my friends, this is our last flight on this airplane together, so I just wanted to stop back," he said. "We've had a great time and I wish all every success. Look forward to being with you in the future. Thanks very much."

Palin returned to Wasilla, Alaska — the tiny city where she once served as mayor — to vote. "Here in Alaska, where we've cleaned up the corruption and we've taken on some self-dealing and self-interests, we've been able to really put government back on the side of the people," Palin told reporters after voting. "I hope, pray, believe I'll be able to do that as vice president for everybody in America, helping to transform our national government, too."

Polls showed Obama a clear favorite — but an unyielding McCain camp continued to insist it was closing the gap and warned against counting out a candidate who has always run best when his chances for success seemed bleakest.

In Democratic circles, there was a kind of queasy confidence mixed with a fatalism that the party has so often snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

If there is a clear victor by Tuesday night, Wednesday could bring a rapid transition, given the staggering magnitude of the economic slowdown and continued volatility on Wall Street.

Aides in both campaigns have hinted they could move forward with White House staff choices or perhaps even a nominee for Treasury secretary within days.

But for a few more hours on Tuesday, there was the uncomfortable limbo known only to politicians and their staffs and followers on Election Day.

Given the challenges that the country faces and the stark differences between the candidates, there was a palpable sense in the nation that this is an election that will truly matter.

“I think most people understand this is not just a choice between candidates,” former President Bill Clinton said after voting Tuesday morning in Chappaqua, N.Y. “It’s a choice between philosophies."

Jeanne Cummings, Lisa Lerer and Amie Parnes contributed to this story.

© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC

Go on-site for photo's, related articles, etc.

Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 02:48 AM

Troops hope Obama brings them home responsibly

Tim Cocks
Wednesday, Nov 5, 2008
2:24am EST

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Watching election results that showed Barack Obama would be their new commander-in-chief, U.S. soldiers in Iraq said they hoped he would fulfill his promise to bring them home quickly and responsibly.

Breakfast was already being served in Baghdad on Wednesday morning when Tuesday's polls closed back home, and at Forward Operating Base Prosperity all eyes in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne were on the dining hall's giant TVs.

Someone whooped when NBC called the election, but mostly the troops sat in rapt silence, eyeing their new president while eating their eggs.

"What soldier's going to say they don't want to go home? I have a wife and four kids. I want to go home. But one thing we all want is to make sure the friends we lost over here weren't for nothing," said Captain Ryan Morrison, from Colorado Springs.

"We have to pull out responsibly. I have the feeling he wants to do it responsibly," he said.

Obama has pledged to pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office, a promise that seemed bold when he first made it last year but now coincides roughly with the timetable favored by Iraq's government.

"I'm excited. He's going to be president and he's going to pull us from over here," said Sergeant First Class Norman Brown.

"If McCain had won we'd be over here for years, and I mean years and years. I reckon even people here don't want us here."

With levels of violence falling -- last month saw the fewest violent deaths among both Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops since the war began -- Iraqis increasingly express their hope that the force of more than 150,000 U.S. troops can leave soon.

"I as an Iraqi am asking Obama to keep his promises about the withdrawal of the U.S. security forces from our land," said Baqi Naqid, a Baghdad journalist. "We don't need an occupation."

The Iraqi government is negotiating a security pact with the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush that would require U.S. troops to exit by the end of 2011. But some Iraqis still fear violence may return if U.S. troops leave too rapidly.

"They came on a mission. They should complete it. There should be 100 percent security before they leave," said Baghdad housewife Um Saba, 58. She said she preferred the Republicans for supporting an increase of troops last year that she credited with helping to curb violence.

Among U.S. troops, political loyalties were divided and debate spirited during the long campaign. African American soldiers described Obama's victory as inspirational.

"It gives me hope that anybody can accomplish anything no matter what your race, color or creed," said Los Angeles native Staff Sergeant Andre Frazier, adding he hoped it would improve the U.S. image abroad.

"We're going to get back to where we were as a nation before the turmoil kicked in, in terms of other nations not seeing us as we are," he said.

There was also a great deal of support for Obama's defeated rival John McCain, whose own war record makes him popular in a military that socially tilts toward the right.

"I supported McCain because he's closer to the constitutional values I believe in and because he clearly supports the military," said another soldier from Colorado who asked not to be named when giving his political preference in uniform. "But in the end it doesn't matter. We'll serve whoever is the commander in chief."

(Additional reporting by Aseel Kami; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Jon Boyle)

© Thomson Reuters 2008. All rights reserved.



Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 12:33 PM
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rosa Parks sat
so Martin Luther King could walk,
so Barack Obama could run,
so Americans can fly.
~ ~ ~

French journalist on Charlie Rose quoting a woman voter.
She was one of the supporters of Obama out to take part in the process of voting.

An unknown source.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 01:50 PM
* * * * *

The End of International Law?
Robert Dreyfuss
November 04, 2008 - -"The Nation" -- -10/28/2008 -- A parallel new Bush doctrine is emerging, in the last days of the soon-to-be-ancien regime, and it needs to be strangled in its crib. Like the original Bush doctrine -- the one that Sarah Palin couldn't name, which called for preventive military action against emerging threats -- this one also casts international law aside by insisting that the United States has an inherent right to cross international borders in "hot pursuit" of anyone it doesn't like.
They're already applying it to Pakistan, and this week Syria was the target. Is Iran next?

Let's take Pakistan first. Though a nominal ally, Pakistan has been the subject of at least nineteen aerial attacks by CIA-controlled drone aircraft, killing scores of Pakistanis and some Afghans in tribal areas controlled by pro-Taliban forces. The New York Times listed, and mapped, all nineteen such attacks in a recent piece describing Predator attacks across the Afghan border, all since August. The Times notes that inside the government, the U.S.Special Operations command and other advocates are pushing for a more aggressive use of such units, including efforts to kidnap and interrogate suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. Though President Bush signed an order in July allowing U.S. commando teams to move into Pakistan itself, with or without Islamabad's permission, such raids have occurred only once, on September 3.

The U.S. raid into Syria on October 26 similarly trampled on Syria's sovereignty without so much as a fare-thee-well. Though the Pentagon initially denied that the raid involved helicopters and on-the-ground commando presence, that's exactly what happened. The attack reportedly killed Badran Turki Hishan al-Mazidih, an Iraqi facilitator who smuggled foreign fighters into Iraq through Syria. The Washington Post was ecstatic, writing in an editorial:

"If Sunday's raid, which targeted a senior al-Qaeda operative, serves only to put Mr. Assad on notice that the United States, too, is no longer prepared to respect the sovereignty of a criminal regime, it will have been worthwhile."
Is it really that easy? To say: We declare your regime criminal, and so we will attack you anytime we care to? In its news report of the attack into Syria, the Post suggests, in a report by Ann Scott Tyson and Ellen Knickmeyer, that the attack is raising cross-border hot pursuit to the level of a doctrine:

"The military's argument is that 'you can only claim sovereignty if you enforce it,' said Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'When you are dealing with states that do not maintain their sovereignty and become a de facto sanctuary, the only way you have to deal with them is this kind of operation,' he said."

The Times broadens the possible targets from Pakistan and Syria to Iran, writing (in a page one story by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker):

"Administration officials declined to say whether the emerging application of self-defense could lead to strikes against camps inside Iran that have been used to train Shiite 'special groups' that have fought with the American military and Iraqi security forces."

That, of course, has been a live option, especially since the start of the surge in January, 2007, when President Bush promised to strike at Iranian supply lines in Iraq and other U.S. officials, including Vice President Cheney, pressed hard to attack sites within Iran, regardless of the consequences.

On October 24, I went to hear Mike Vickers, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, speaking at the Washington Institiute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israeli thinktank in Washington. He spoke with pride about the vast and growing presence of these commando forces within the U.S. military, noting that their budget has doubled under the Bush administration and that, by the end of the decade, their will more than 60,000 U.S. forces in this shadowy effort. Here are some excerpts of Vickers' remarks:

"If you look at the operational core of our Special Operations Forces, and focus on the ground operators, there are some 15,000 or so of those -- give or take how you count them -- these range from our Army Special Forces or our Green Berets, our Rangers, our Seals, some classified units we have, and we recently added a Marine Corps Special Operations Command to this arsenal as well. In addition to adding the Marine component, each of these elements since 2006 and out to about 2012 or 2013 has been increasing their capacity as well as their capabilities, but their capacity by a third. This is the largest growth in Special Operations Force history. By the time we're done with that, there will be some things, some gaps we need to fix undoubtedly, but we will have the elements in place for what we believe is the Special Operations component of the global war on terrorism.
"Special Operations Forces, I think through this decade and into the next one, have been and will remain a decisive strategic instrument. ... "

"There's been a very significant -- about a 40 or 50 percent increase in operational tempo and of course more intense in terms of the action since the 9/11 attacks. On any given day that we wake up, our Special Operations Forces are in some sixty countries around the world. But more than 80 percent or so of those right now are concentrated in the greater Middle East or the United States Central Command area of responsibility -- the bulk of those of course in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Notice what he said: operating in 60 countries.

Of course, the very invasion of Iraq was illegal in 2003, and it flouted international law. So some may say, these cross-border raids are small potatoes. But they're not. This is a big deal. If it becomes a standard part of U.S. military doctrine that any country can be declared "criminal" and thus lose its sovereignty, then there is no such thing as international law anymore.

When Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked about this, here's what he said, as quoted in the Post article cited earlier:

"'We will do what is necessary to protect our troops,' Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in Senate testimony last month, when asked about the cross-border operations. Under questioning, Gates said that he was not an expert in international law but that he assumed the State Department had consulted such laws before the U.S. military was granted authority to make such strikes."

Not an expert in international law? He'll leave it to the State Department? And this is the guy that Barack Obama's advisers say ought to stay on at the Pentagon under an Obama administration?

Click on "comments" below to read or post comments

Comments (37) Comment (0)

Go on-site to gain access to the NUMEROUS links within this article and to view comments or post your own thoughts. Just click on the following link:


* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 02:02 PM
* * * * *

Bush's Last 100 Days the Ones to Watch

By Jesse Jackson

November 4, 2008 "Chicago Sun-Times" -- The air crackles with anticipation. Fingers are crossed. It gets hard to breathe. Hope, for so long locked in a closet, begins pounding on the door.

And throwing caution to the wind, many already are talking about Barack Obama's first 100 days. Will he move directly to the Apollo investment agenda, providing money to refit buildings, implement the use of renewable energy and generate jobs in the drive to reduce our dependence on foreign oil? Will he put forth a comprehensive health-care plan or begin by covering all children? Will workers finally be given the right to organize once more? How will he handle mortgage relief and/or help cities burdened by poverty?

But even as our minds, against all discipline, look beyond this day to the possible victory and change, we'd better start paying attention to another 100 days -- President Bush's last months in office.

Bush and Vice President Cheney represent a failed conservative era -- and they know it. As the administration moves into its last 100 days, there seems to be a flurry of activity: regulations to forestall Obama's new era of accountability; a flood of contracts to reward friends and lock in commitments; a Wall Street bailout that is pumping money out the door.

Consider: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is handing out $350 billion to the banks, drawing a special circle around nine banks -- including Goldman Sachs, the firm he previously headed -- as clearly too big to fail. The money apparently has no conditions, even though the entire purpose was to get the banks to start lending once more to one another and to companies and individuals.

Now it appears that banks plan to hoard the cash, to use it to help pay for mergers with other healthy banks (not weak ones), or to pay out dividends and bonuses. And Paulson, instead of publicly rebuking them, has let it be known that mergers would be a good thing.

Instead of getting the banking system working for small businesses and people again, our money is being used to consolidate the strength of a few megabanks.

There has been a rapid increase in military outlays over the last few months. Is the Pentagon being called on to help bolster the economy -- and perhaps McCain -- in these final weeks? Or, more likely, is the Pentagon pumping out money to reward its friends and lock in spending before the new sheriff gets to town?

The Washington Post reports that the White House is "working to enact an array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January."

About 90 new rules are in the works, and at least nine are considered "economically significant" because they would impose costs or promote societal benefits that exceed $100 million annually. Many will make changes that the new administration will find it hard to reverse for years to come. More emissions from power plants; more exemptions from environmental-impact statements; permission to operate natural gas lines at higher levels of pressure -- the changes could be the last calamities visited upon us by the Bush administration.

Congress -- the old one, not the new one just elected -- comes back into special session right after the election. Representatives Henry Waxman and John Conyers would be well advised to convene special hearings to try to curb what Bush has cooked up for his last 100 days. Let's not let the new dawn that is possible be dimmed by clouds left over from an old era that has failed.

© Copyright 2008 Digital Chicago, Inc Click on "comments" below to read or post comments
Comments (62) Comment (0)


* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 03:30 PM
* * * * * * *

Hallelujah! And Now, The Work Begins

Robert Borosage
Created 11/05/2008 - 7:10am

Americans wake today to a new dawn, a new possibility.

You don't have to drink the Kool-Aid to appreciate how extraordinary this is. We will look at one another with new eyes. We are a better, bigger, more generous, more optimistic people than many—particularly Karl Rove's acolytes in the McCain campaign—assumed.

The world will also look at America with new eyes. For a shining moment, we will be once more that city on the hill, the example of a free people choosing a remarkable new leader. A similar choice—the son of a native born woman and an African—could not happen in Europe, in Japan, in China or much of Asia. Amazing grace.

It wasn't easy. It took a candidate of remarkable intelligence, discipline and ease, organizing a truly exemplary campaign. It took the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression and the worst foreign policy debacle in Iraq since Vietnam. It took the self-immolation of Republican John McCain. It took Americans deciding not to fall for the old politics of division—not this time.

But this victory is grounded in far more than the campaign or the candidate. This is a country disfigured by slavery from the start. The Constitution even dictated that slaves would count as three-fifths of a person for apportionment (even though they couldn't vote). A century and a half of slavery; 100 years of legal apartheid, known as segregation; a slow and hard struggle to overcome.

Yet this same country was founded on an idea—that all men (and now women) are created equal, endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That same Constitution that counted slaves as less than human guaranteed the right to speech and assembly, freedom of and freedom from religion. Each generation has been given the opportunity and the mandate to struggle to extend freedom and to make America better.

Many sacrificed; many died to get to this day. Barack Obama, as he knows, stands on the shoulders of giants. So this is a time to celebrate ourselves and to honor those who came before. Hallelujah!

And now the work begins. Obama inherits the desert—with the situation far more dire than many, even now, understand. Manufacturing is at levels not seen since the deep recession in 1980. Consumers are cutting back spending. The banking system is still reeling from losses and shocks. The recession now has gone global. Homeowners have lost $5 trillion in housing values.

So forget about the routine chattering-class babble about how America is a "center right" nation and Obama must "govern from the center." (For a good mashup of quotes from ThinkProgress, go here. [1] David Sirota tracks the "center-right watch" from ourfuture.org, here.) [2] With independents and moderates looking more Democratic and liberal on issue after issue, the claim that this is a center-right nation was misleading even before this election. Americans are voting for a northern, liberal, Ivy League-educated, African-American, former college professor to be president, someone who campaigned on raising taxes on the wealthy, affordable health care for all, investing in new energy, getting out of Iraq and against trickle down economics. Conservative nation?

Govern from the center? Americans voted overwhelmingly for change. And to be successful, Obama will have to be bold. In reality, the center has moved. Wall Streeter Robert Rubin now is for a large, deficit-financed fiscal stimulus. Conservative Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Christopher Cox now tells us "self-regulation" doesn't work, and calls for re-regulating the banks. Alan Greenspan admits his ideology blinded him to reality—or at least that he got it wrong. "We're all populists now," says Will Marshall, a leader of the Democratic Leadership Council, the Wall Street wing of the party.

Mandates are not given; they are claimed. Majorities do not form; they are forged. The center is not frozen; it is molded by events, moved by leaders and movements.

But this Beltway clamor about the center serves as a warning to progressives. The entrenched forces of the status quo are already in motion. Obama takes office as the Reagan era comes to a close, bankrupted by its own failures. But change, as Obama says, isn't easy. He said in Chicago Tuesday night: [3]

"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. ... There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years—block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand."

Even the best presidents need to be pushed to act. Even the most calcified Congresses can be driven to move. The best of the New Deal—Social Security, the Wagner Act that gave workers the right to organize, fair labor standards that gave us the weekend—came not from Roosevelt's first 100 days, but two years later, in what became known as the Second New Deal. That was driven in large part by an active and mobilized labor movement, and by the growing political threat posed by a populist left—Huey Long, Father Coughlin, Francis Townsend—that gave Roosevelt both reason and excuse to move. "I agree with you," Roosevelt reportedly told labor's Sidney Hillman. "Now go out, and make me to do it."

Obama will need that same kind of pressure. We will need to build an independent progressive movement to push for reform, to challenge those who stand in the way. So celebrate. And then get ready to work.

[1] http://thinkprogress.org/2008/11/04/center-right-watch/
[2] http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2008114503/center-right-nation-watch-mark-penn-edition
[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/05/AR2008110500013_pf.html

Published on OurFuture.org

1825 K Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006
202-955-5665 (tel) | 202-955-5606 (fax) | www.ourfuture.org
* * * * * * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 04:47 PM
. . . . .

Ten Conservative Myths
National Security

By Sara Robinson
Created 09/12/2008 - 1:59am
Published on OurFuture.org


In the seven years since the U.S. was hit by a terrorist attack, a few of the myths promulgated in those first few years have hardened firmly into a new conventional wisdom—some so stubbornly that you often won't even find progressives questioning them any more. The time has come to call out a few of these persistent myths that are still being taken as fact and start firing back on them.

True confession: I was terrified on 9/11—for all the right reasons.

I wasn't afraid of the terrorists. There are plenty of countries where people have lived for decades under the constant threat of unholy acts of terror—and yet people still get on buses and subways and airplanes, and life goes on. I'd like to think that Americans are at least as courageous as Israelis or Indonesians. Our "land of the free and home of the brave" mythos insists we should be. So I was damned if I was going to respond to the crisis by giving into irrational fears and thereby, as we used to say, "let the terrorists win."

No, what I was really afraid of was that too many of my fellow Americans would forget the lessons of their own history—that they'd lose track of who we are and where we've been and what we're made of. I knew there was a real possibility that this time, we'd fail to live up to our reputation for cool, calm clarity in the face of crisis, and instead be goaded into taking counsel of our fears. I feared the bad choices that would inevitably follow if we stampeded down that road. And I dreaded that it would be the soul death of the country I loved.

The Ten Myths"Islamofascism" is our biggest national security threat. [1]
We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here. [2]
Military solutions are the only effective national security solutions. [3]
What we're doing is working; we haven't had another 9/11. [4]
"Law enforcement" approaches to terrorism don't work. [5]
We don't need allies; we can do this on our own. [6]
You don't negotiate with dictators. [7]
National security spending is different from pork-barrel spending on other programs. [8]
Airport security is critical to our anti-terrorism effort. [9]
It's always necessary to give up our civil liberties in a time of war. [10]Go on site to see numbered links.

I hate having been right about this, though I can hardly blame average citizens for succumbing to the sirens of chaos. Americans trying to make correct sense of the new reality found their efforts stymied everywhere they turned. With the White House distorting intelligence to sell a war, corporate opportunists fanning the coals of panic to heat up vast new business opportunities, media editors milking the drama to keep their ratings high, and terrified hordes quick to shout "treason" whenever anyone dared to question the path we were taking, it was hard for even thoughtful Americans to locate the truth of the matter. And as long as confusion reigned, the terrorists really did keep winning.

Seven years later, as the miasma dissipates, more and more of us are able to calm down, take a step back, draw a big, cleansing breath and start to sort things out more rationally. Unfortunately, though, a few of the myths promulgated in those first few years have hardened firmly into a new conventional wisdom—some so stubbornly that you often won't even find progressives questioning them any more. The time has come to call out a few of these persistent myths that are still being taken as fact and start firing back on them.

1. "Islamofascism" is America's biggest national security threat.
Not hardly. This is the hot new idea among far-right demagogues who literally can't define who they are without a devil to contrast themselves against, and military hawks looking for an excuse to keep the military-industrial complex's big all-night party rolling in the bleary morning-after of a post-Cold War world. But, as the Center for American Progress notes in this article [11], it's a dangerous meme that disables our ability to think clearly, and it will almost certainly lead us into even more catastrophic misadventures.

To begin with, "Islamofascism" itself is an impossible idea, and those who promote it betray a fundamental political ignorance. True fascism can only occur within an industrialized nation-state, few of which exist in the Islamic world. And many of our most intransigent problems with terrorism come from the opposite problem: modern terrorists have no state affiliations, and are thus free to drift across international borders with fluid ease. Defeating them means coming to grips with this fact. Calling them "fascists" makes it that much harder to grasp.

Worse, "Islamofascism" suggests that the Muslim world is some kind of vast monolithic conspiracy, equal in might and will to the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany back in the day—and that's another dangerous delusion. Just like Christianity, Islam covers a widely diverse range of cultures and political attitudes. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims are not jihadis, and consider terrorism abhorrent. Turning one-quarter of the world's people into The Enemy will blind us to the subtle but critical distinctions within Islam. It will doom us to serious blunders, alienate potential allies, and cost us important opportunities to make real inroads against terrorism.

Spencer Ackerman suggests the term "anti-Western Salafist jihadism" as a replacement. Less catchy, perhaps, but more specific and not nearly so fraught with wrong assumptions that can cloud our thinking.

Having dispatched "Islamofascism," though, the more important point remains: Anti-Western Salafist jihadism isn't even America's biggest security threat. It's on the short list—but so are global pandemics, loose nukes, our dependence on foreign energy, the catastrophic effects of climate change, the U.S.'s vast and bloated national debt, and our growing helplessness at producing essential goods for ourselves. As long as we're mired in an endless war to "defeat Islamofascism," we're going to remain weak, distracted, and grossly unprepared for the other serious security threats we face.

2. We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here.
False. The image here is that Iraq is some kind of roach hotel for global terrorism. The truth is, it's become the international finishing school where a new generation of terrorists is getting a front-line, real-time education against the American war machine—and perfecting low-tech ways to close the gap against a high-tech army.

The U.S. official National Intelligence Estimate concludes that the war in Iraq has made new Islamic radicals where none existed before, greatly increasing the terror threat around the world. The number of significant terrorist incidents worldwide has risen every year of the war. In a bipartisan survey of national security experts last year, the consensus found that that the war in Iraq is making the world more dangerous for Americans. (To be fair, this same panel is a bit more upbeat this year, but still thinks the war is a grave mistake.) In the meantime, al-Qaida has regrouped in Pakistan, and is back at full strength—while we've suffered more than 35,000 casualties and spent more than $550 billion, while alienating friends around the world.

"Fighting them there" hasn't been nearly the solution we were promised it would be. But too many of us were eager to buy into that promise, because we'd already been sold on another persistent myth:

3. Military solutions are the only effective national security solutions.
Wrong. So wrong that Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich (who is nobody's liberal) has written an entire book [12] on America's dangerously naïve faith in the military as the only viable solution to everything that ails us.

Which is ridiculous, when you consider all the things military force can't do. Smart bombs won't stop global warming. Battlefield nukes won't cure pandemics. Air strikes won't reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources. Sending in the Marines is no way to reduce the national debt. As we saw above in No. 1, terrorism is just one of a number of real national security threats we're facing—and as we'll see, it's not even clear that that the military is the right answer there, either.

On the other hand, there's a surprising level of consensus among security experts on both the left and right on what real, effective national security would look like:

. We need to beef up our intelligence agencies—in a way that's consistent with the Constitution—so they can monitor terrorist groups and keep dangerous technologies out of their hands.
. We need to provide consistent and effective domestic security around ports, chemical plants, and other high-risk targets—something that should have been done immediately after 9/11, but is still largely neglected.
. We need to revisit our national infrastructure for disaster preparedness and response. Whether it's floods or fires, evacuation or epidemic, insurgents or industrial accidents, we will be more secure if we have a well-planned, coordinated response, and trained people prepared and in place to handle it.
. We need our friends. Diplomacy, alliances, international cooperation, intelligence sharing and police work are the essential tools for pre-empting real threats to our security.
. We need to become more self-sufficient. Asked by the Foreign Policy Index to rate strategies for strengthening the nation’s security, 55% of Americans listed “Becoming less dependent on other countries for our supply of energy. Only 17% said “Attacking countries that develop weapons of mass destruction” would enhance our security.
America has very few problems that can best be solved by military means—and a great many problems that require us to look for other strategies.

4. But—what we're doing is working! After all, we haven't had another 9/11...
True, we haven't—but not for the reasons you think. Which leads us to another myth....

5. Everybody knows that "law enforcement" approaches to terrorism don't work.
False. They do work. In fact, they're about the only thing that really does work. Every single terrorist plot that's been prevented since 9/11—both the serious ones, and the ones that were "more aspirational than operational"—were prevented through good old-fashioned police and intelligence work.

Taking the wide view, the fateful choice to send in soldiers rather than international cops turned out to be a major win for the terrorists. Conservative blogger Steve Chapman explained it this way: [13]"By framing the fight as a global war, we have helped Osama bin Laden and hurt ourselves. Had we treated him and his confederates as the moral equivalent of international drug lords or sex traffickers, the organization might not have the romantic image it has acquired. By exaggerating the potential impact, we also magnified the disruptive effect of any plots, which is just what the terrorists seek."

6. We don't need allies: we can do this on our own. Besides, moral authority doesn't matter when you have superior firepower.
More fatal hubris. One of the more noxious side effects of American exceptionalism is that we cling stubbornly to the idea that we're the only country on earth that matters and owe nothing to anyone else.

That wasn't even true back in 1776, when Thomas Jefferson duly noted the new nation's obligation to have "a decent respect" for "the opinions of mankind" in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. It's considerably less true now that we are so dependent on so many for so much. Insisting that we can go it alone in this deeply interconnected world—where our oil comes from the Saudis, our cars come from the Japanese, and our money and everything else comes from China—is very much like a headstrong 14-year-old who insists that they don't need Mom and Dad for anything—except maybe housing and food and an allowance and a ride to the mall.

And that's about how Americans look to the rest of the world whenever we strike this "I'll do it myself, so there" posture: immature, petulant, spoiled and ignorant of all the ways we depend on the family of nations for our continued well-being. Yes, we're big and strong and capable of doing tremendous damage if we get angry. But we can only throw that weight around for so long—by and by, the other nations will band together to find alternatives to dealing with us, and may even start actively looking for ways to knock us down to size. In some places, this is already happening, and it's not in our long-term interest for it to continue.

It's time for us to remember our grown-up manners and return to our seat at the global family table.

7. Negotiating with "irrational" dictators is pointless, and a sign of weakness.
Catastrophically dumb. Conservatives condemn the idea of presidents talking to their counterparts from "enemy" countries, but 67 percent of Americans disagree, according to a June 2 Gallup poll [14]. "Large majorities of Democrats and independents, and even half of Republicans, believe the president of the United States should meet with the leaders of countries that are considered enemies of the United States," the poll says. Fifty-nine percent of Americans, for example, would support the U.S. president meeting with the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

If FDR could confer with Stalin and JFK could negotiate with Khrushchev and Nixon could go to China and sit down with Mao, there's no reason whatsoever our current president can't arrange a meeting with Ahmedinejad. Bush's refusal to do this is a sign of his essential smallness of character and the narrowness of his worldview. The problem with all ideologues is that once they decide that "you're with us or against us," then no further discussion—let alone compromise—with the other side is possible. That's a dangerous trait in a president, and one we should watch out carefully for in the future.

8. Government spending on national security is different than pork-barrel spending on other programs.Another myth busted. Recall [15] that when the Republicans controlled Congress, they devised a formula that diverted security money from high-risk (and mostly liberal) states like New York and California to lower-risk (and mostly conservative) places like Wyoming and Nebraska. This made no logical sense from a security standpoint—the only explanation was that the Republican Congress was using 9/11 as an excuse to dole out pork.

Homeland security has grown up to become one of the biggest pork barrels in American politics. Security professionals are quick to point out [16] that too many of these efforts aren't designed to provide objectively effective security—in fact, as we'll see below, many of them are based on flawed assumptions about how effective security works. Instead, the contracts are written in such a way that the only way to fulfill them is to funnel our tax dollars into the pockets of well-connected conservative cronies. The upshot is that we spend more than we should, and get less real protection than we deserve.

And perhaps worst of all: Seven years of this unregulated, unfocused spending has created a booming new industry that can only survive as long as it keeps selling us on new threats to fear—which has long-term implications for our entire national culture.

9. Airport security is a critical part of our anti-terrorism effort.

True, but not as true as it should be. Security experts are still deeply concerned about at least two big holes in the system that make the high drama of the passenger screening area into nothing much more than a farce.

The first one is that we're still not adequately inspecting air cargo. Any competent engineering student can make and ship a timed bomb, which is why the 9/11 Commission Report insisted on aggressive inspection of all air cargo. At this point, most airports are doing random profiling and screening of parcels; but it's a far cry from the careful one-by-one inspection being given to people and luggage traveling on the same plane. In 2007, the Transportation Security Administration spent $5 billion inspecting passengers and luggage, and just $55 million on cargo going on the same planes. Cargo inspectors comprise less than 1 percent of the TSA workforce. Feeling safer yet?

The other security hole big enough to fly another 9/11 through comprises the various programs that allow crew members, frequent fliers, people with security clearances, and other "trusted travelers" to bypass inspection. As Bruce Schneier points out [17], these programs are based on the dangerous myth that terrorists match a particular profile, and that we can somehow pick terrorists out of a crowd if we only can identify everyone and get them all on watch lists.

Schneier, who has consulted with the TSA, is emphatic [18] that dividing the world into "trusted travelers" and people on watch lists creates more security problems than it solves. "Most of the 9/11 terrorists were unknown and not on any watch list. Timothy McVeigh was an upstanding U.S. citizen before he blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel are normal, nondescript people. Intelligence reports indicate that al-Qaida is recruiting non-Arab terrorists for U.S. operations." Furthermore, if you create a low-inspection loophole in the system, would-be terrorists will aim for that loophole—and are more likely to get through it. The only way to prevent this is to throw out the watch lists and inspect everyone—no exceptions.

Schneier and other airline security experts will tell you that most of the safety gains since 9/11 come about through just two developments: hardening cockpit doors, and passengers who now know that they may have to fight back. "Everything else—Secure Flight and Trusted Traveler included—is security theater," writes Schneier. "We would all be a lot safer if, instead, we implemented enhanced baggage security—both ensuring that a passenger's bags don't fly unless he does, and explosives screening for all baggage—as well as background checks and increased screening for airport employees."

10. It's always necessary to give up our civil liberties in a time of war.

Wrong. So horribly wrong, in fact, that my very conservative eighth-grade civics teacher wouldn't have graduated a kid who failed this part of the exam. She put the fear of the Founders in us, along with a clear sense of our obligations and rights as citizens. There hasn't been a day since 9/11 that I haven't mourned the fact that America has not produced nearly enough Mrs. Hermans.

Last night, I was watching NBC's presentation of "9/11: As It Happened," a two-hour summary of its coverage that awful morning seven years ago. At one point, late in the broadcast, Tom Brokaw made a comment: "We are a country at war now....we're going to have to reconsider some of the freedoms we now enjoy." The smoke of the towers was still rolling up the streets of Manhattan, and NBC's senior anchor was already declaring a new era in which patriotic Americans must be willing to surrender their liberty for security. I was left wondering how someone who wouldn't have made it out of eighth grade at Home Street School ended up in a national anchor spot—and remembering all over again just what it was on that day that made me so deeply, truly afraid for my country.

Lincoln suspended habeus corpus during the Civil War, and FDR claimed extraordinary powers for himself during World War II—but neither of them ever tried to argue that being at war was a natural excuse for suspending the entire Bill of Rights. In fact (as we have seen) the more dangerous the times, the more important those liberties become. In times of huge social transformation or economic upheaval, when everything else is up for grabs, our worldview and our values—the internal qualities that define who we are, the things nobody can ever take away from us—move to the front and center. Everything else can go up in smoke; but as long as we hold onto those core beliefs, we will be able to survive the worst, and find everything we need within us to rebuild the world anew.

The Declaration and the Constitution are the defining documents of our country, expressing the central ideals that determine who we are. If we abandon those ideals, we will simply cease to be American—and, perhaps, lose the chance of ever restoring America again. If we are truly concerned about national security, this is, beyond a doubt, the worst thing we could ever allow to happen.

1825 K Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006
202-955-5665 (tel) | 202-955-5606 (fax) |


Go on-site for them, they are numerous and interesting.

Go on-site to gain access to this article and numerous others, as well as photo's, links, etc. Just click this URL:

. . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 05:07 PM
* * * * * * *

The Pits: Georgia's GOP Swipes the Peach State

Greg Palast
for SuicideGirls.com
November 5, 2008

The evil little &*%$'s are doing it again.

Even as they drown in the anger of platoons of pissed-off voters, Republican operatives are swiping ballots with both hands.

Ground zero is Georgia. It's here where the sick little vulture named Saxby Chambliss won the US Senate seat six years ago by calling his Democratic opponent, a guy who'd lost three limbs in Vietnam, a friend of Osama bin Laden.

There's no way in hell that Chambliss can slime his way back into the Senate in the face of over half a million newly registered voters (Black and young - 69% for Obama) without jacking them out of their votes. That's what the Republicans are up to. Right now. As we speak.

Over 50,000 the new voters in Georgia have been blocked from voting by using a nasty little new law, the Help America Vote Act signed by George Bush. (Bush is helping us vote - look out!)

I just got this from Christina Rush in the Peach Pit state:

"They really have stolen my vote and I don't know what to do about it at this late stage. I just found out 2 days ago that I do not exist on the voters rolls in Georgia. I have disappeared. After calling 866-OUR VOTE and the Secretary of State (for GA), it has been determined that the last vote I was accounted for was the 1996 General Election. That's awfully strange to me, considering that I voted in the recent Primaries and that last two General Elections (2000 and 2004)."

............"Everyone is 'very sorry' this is happening, but no one can tell what I can do to make my vote count for THIS election. The only advice I've been given is to fill out a new voters registration form and I'll be eligible for any future elections, just not THIS one."

............"So, what can I do except tell anyone and everyone who will listen?"
And no one is going to listen to you or the other 50,000 dumped voters in Georgia.

But here's the good news: it won't save them. The GOP is toast. Paint the White House black and blue and Congress the same hue.

But the steal in Senate races may allow the GOP to savage, obstruct, sabotage President Obama's ability to repair the damage of eight years of looting by the unelected junta of the Bush regime. They begin with the theft of the Georgia Senate seat, now heading into a run-off.

* * *
I've been studying the purge of voters and the blockade of new registrants all year with my co-investigator, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Here's what we know is happening: While Obama is brushing his tux for his Inaugural, several million votes are getting disappeared. We're awaiting the count on provisional ballots, those bouncing baloney ballots they give to the purge, The raw data is ill-making. We predicted a six-million vote heist and we're looking grimly accurate. Visit our site, www.GregPalast.com, to get the full report as the numbers come in - the totals of the UNcounted you won't see on the CNN website.


Sign up to receive the Greg Palast's investigative reports for BBC Television and Rolling Stone Magazine at:


Palast is a Nation Institute/Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow in investigative reporting.
* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 5th, 2008, 08:11 PM
:: :: :: :: ::



Newsmax is saying more crazy things, and even more now, since this article was written, as it's spinning and reeling from yesterdays loss at the polls.

They aren't capable of being real. "Fairness" isn't a word they should be using, nor is fairness a thought they're capable of embracing. A level playing field? It's not anything they can bear thinking of. A divergent thought? How liberal of us. We're not allowed to play ball in their yard? Frankly, who would feel the need to anyway. It's more fun finishing a thought without a Rush Limbaugh, or a Bill O'Riley being able to interrupt and scream, us leaving them no recourse but to grin and bear it. Their tirades are never ending it seems. We know we aren't on the same thought wave or air wave. We can blog, and post, saying our piece and those who are wanting to throw out the chaff, the talk radio/tv media nonsense, can, taking up, and blogging a sensible view, if they so choose, without dissention, without having the bullies not letting our voices be heard. Like on the view, Elisabeth Hasselbeck believes the louder and more animated she becomes, that she's getting her point across. Poor child, all logic has illuded her. The girl is nice, attractive, and obviously intelligent, she is likeable, however, logic as well as common sense aren't her strong suites when it comes to what she thinks she knows about political actions. Has she ever even heard of, or tried for that matter, to have an open mind? We know where a lot of hate mongers on talk radio are coming from, .... It's their bread they're buttering, as no one else is as dense about the issues as poor Elisabeth. The Hannity's and the O'Rilley's are making money hand over fist with their nonsense, poor Elisabeth, she's just a true believer. There's the difference.

Now the writers at NewsMax are claiming that Barack Obama and Senator Schumer are going to ban talk radio.

Newsmax has become so accustomed to the Cheney Bush administration's abuse of our constitiution that they must believe the abuses are destined to continue to happen without so much as a hiccup once Barack Obama and Joe Biden take up the reins of power. I for one don't believe we will ever see such abuses ever again; not in our lifetimes. If I'm proven wrong, I'll be the first to admit it. I just don't see it happening, as these are two honest and decent men; men who have other's interests at heart, not just their own selves, not as Cheney and Bush have had; the war machine's; special interest groups; Blackwater and Big Oil. There are others of course, but this paints a clear enough picture. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are made of different stuff; the right stuff I believe.

Here is part of NewsMax's ludricous newsletter. Each time they send one out it is full of the wildest claims, and such hate mongering that if there weren't true believers out there, people who drink their Kool Aid, their articles would be down right hilarious. Talk about skewed to play to stupidity. They have the art of that down pat. Too bad it isn't truth they're so into. They could then be part of the solution, instead, they are part of the problem. SRH

The Battle for Talk Radio:
Powerful Foes Want to End the Gabfest
The 2008 election has been decided and one thing is clear: the enemies of talk radio are firmly in control of the White House and Congress. Sen. Chuck Schumer and his fellow Democrats are promising an all-out attack on talk radio.

With a new "Fairness Doctrine" backed by an Obama White House, political talk, as we know it, will end.

If these forces of darkness win, Rush, Imus, Hannity, Savage, Beck, and dozens of other major hosts will be muzzled by using federal regulations to control political talk.

So, what's their plan of attack?

As Newsmax magazine reveals in its just-released special report, "The Battle for Talk Radio," leading liberals in Congress, the Democratic presidential candidates, and even some Republicans speak openly of their plans to end conservative talk radio using federal regulations.

Their weapon: a revived Fairness Doctrine, which would once again require stations to air divergent points of view — a clever ruse that makes station owners leery of airing controversial talk-radio hosts fearing law suits and federal sanctions.

With a new Fairness Doctrine, you could see many top conservative radio hosts canned.

This Newsmax special report also features an exclusive interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly who tells Newsmax there is no question a plan is being hatched. "The far-left kooks will try, but they will fail," O'Reilly says.

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 6th, 2008, 01:34 PM


November 6, 2008 by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, and Ryan Powers


The Center-Right Myth
On Tuesday, President-elect Obama resoundingly defeated Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), delivering a mandate for Obama's progressive policy agenda. Obama ran on the most progressive platform of any presidential candidate in at least 15 years, "including a promise of universal health care coverage, a dramatic transformation to a low-carbon economy, and a historic investment in education." Nevertheless, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), whose party suffered tremendous losses Tuesday, insisted, "Democrats should not make the mistake of viewing Tuesday’s results as a repudiation of conservatism," adding, "America remains a center-right country." Similarly, Newsweek's Jon Meacham wrote an Oct.19 cover story titled "America The Conservative." In fact, some pundits are illogically arguing that both President Bush's 2004 election and Obama's 2008 election are proof that the country leans conservative. But the progressive direction of the country, symbolized in Tuesday's victory, is clear. Just prior to the election, 85 percent of Americans said they thought country was seriously off track. As Media Matters observed, "It is difficult to find an issue on which the public is more conservative now than it was 20 years ago."

THE PUNDITS' CLAIMS: An extensive list of conservative and mainstream pundits are claiming that the country is "center-right." Meacham wrote in his cover story that America "is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal" (he admitted that his argument was "probably going to look dumb, or at least out of step, for many months to come"). MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said on Oct. 29, "It is a center right country," particularly "on economic issues." Bill O'Reilly yesterday said, "America is still a center right country, even though the folks voted left last night." After the 2006 elections, pundits used the same argument. "These Democrats that were elected last night are conservative Democrats," said CBS' Bob Schieffer. "In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right," wrote the New York Times. In fact, the class of 2006, which came to power in part due to public disapproval of the Iraq war, was remarkably progressive, favoring raising the minimum wage, opposing Social Security privatization, and promoting "fair trade."

PROGRESSIVE BY THE NUMBERS: On Tuesday, the country both rejected conservative ideology as well as embraced new, progressive priorities. The latest Pew Research poll showed that only 25 percent of the public agrees with the centerpiece of the conservative tax program: making Bush's tax cuts permanent. The public also agrees by 58 percent to 35 percent that the government should guarantee "health insurance for all citizens even if it means raising taxes." Exit poll data showed that 60 percent of voters were worried about rising health care costs and that 66 percent of those people backed Obama. A majority of Americans also want to expand environmental protections, increase the minimum wage, recognize same-sex marriage, and end the Iraq war, to name a few. Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) explained that the center of the country is progressive.

MANDATE DOUBLE-TALK: Pundits also are claiming that Obama's margin of victory does not give him a mandate for progressive change. Columnist Robert Novak wrote yesterday that Obama "neither received a broad mandate from the public nor the needed large congressional majorities." But in 2004, as Bush crowed about his "political capital," Novak argued that Bush's narrow victory was "of course" proof of a conservative mandate. Winning 52.4 percent to McCain's 46.3 percent, Obama's popular vote margin stands at 7,401,289 -- more than twice Bush's 2004 vote margin -- and he netted 63 more electoral votes than Bush. Novak also dismissed the 57-seat Democratic Senate majority (with two more seats potentially up for grabs). But conservativism's so-called 2004 "mandate" netted only four new seats, for a total of 55.

ECONOMY -- OBAMA PLANS GREEN ECONOMY 'LISTENING TOUR' BEFORE INAUGURATION: Dan Kammen, the director of the Renewable & Appropriate Energy Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley and a top adviser to President-elect Barack Obama, told E&E News that Obama may conduct a nationwide "listening tour" to allow his team to hit the ground running for a green recovery. According to Kammen, "the incoming Obama team is considering a listening tour "in an attempt to build momentum for its policies and legislative plans." Last month, Obama told Time's Joe Klein that an "Apollo project" for a "new energy economy" is would be a "No. 1 priority when I get into office." In the 75 days before Obama takes office, he will have to weigh in on other environmental issues, like an economic stimulus package that includes funding for infrastructure projects "in a way that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, [and] creates good green jobs in America." Also - in what may be his first major act as President-elect on the international stage -- Obama has pledged to send a team of representatives to the next round of international climate negotiations, which take place in Poznań, Poland, in December.

POLITICS -- PALIN 'DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THAT AFRICA WAS A CONTINENT': Fox News's Carl Cameron reported last night on the latest revelations in the strained relationship between Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) during their campaign for the White House. According to Cameron, Palin had "real problems with basic civics, government structures, municipal, state, and federal government responsibilities. She didn't know the nations involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement." More astonishingly, Palin "didn't understand...that Africa was a continent and not a country" and asked senior McCain aides "if South Africa wasn't just part of the country as opposed to a country in the continent." In addition, Newsweek reports that Palin spent far more on clothing than the $150,000 reported last month. According to a preview by Politico's Mike Allen, "McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy." The New York Times reports today that "one of the last straws for the McCain advisers" in their strained relationship with Palin came just days before the election when Palin took a call from whom she thought was French President Nicolas Sarkozy but was actually a prank by Canadian radio hosts.

GAY RIGHTS -- LAWSUITS AND UNCERTAINTY FOLLOW CALIFORNIA'S PASSAGE OF PROPOSITION 8: In California on Tuesday, 52 percent of the electorate voted in favor Proposition 8, enshrining into law that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Though the high-profile ballot measure does not bar civil unions in the state, its passage casts doubt on the status of "17,000 same-sex unions performed in the state" since same-sex marriages were declared legal by the State Supreme Court in May. Before the measure was passed, some legal commentators speculated that the law could "retroactively invalidate all same-sex marriages performed in the state." Giving some solace to same-sex couples in the state, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said yesterday that while he will "defend the law as enacted by the people," he will also "oppose any effort to use Proposition 8 to nullify the thousands of same-sex marriages recorded since the Supreme Court ruling took effect in June." In the short time since Proposition 8 passed, gay rights supporters have already filed three lawsuits asking the state's Supreme Court to overturn the measure. All three lawsuits are arguing that "the anti-gay-marriage measure was an illegal constitutional revision -- not a more limited amendment, as backers maintained -- because it fundamentally altered the guarantee of equal protection."

The number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits reached a 25-year high, jumping by 122,000 to 3.84 million in late October. It is the "highest level since late February 1983," according to the Labor Department.

Yesterday, after a wrap-up meeting with his campaign advisers in the morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) talked about what he’ll do next. "He's thinking about the future and getting engaged with the Senate again," senior adviser Charlie Black said. McCain plans to focus on "Iraq, Afghanistan and the other foreign policy issues."

Cabinet rumors: Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) says he isn't interested in becoming Secretary of State. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who is reportedly being considered for health secretary, says he'd consider a potential position. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is a leading contender to return to that post.

Joe Biden is eyeing Walter Mondale -- not Dick Cheney -- as a vice presidential role model. "Mondale, who served under President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, was consulted on almost every appointment and had access to the same documents as the president." "Biden will be more interested in carrying out the Obama agenda as opposed to his own agenda," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA).

Yesterday, talk show host and LGBT activist Ellen DeGeneres put out a statement saying she is "saddened beyond belief" that California voters approved a ban on marriage equality. Gay marriage backers have also filed three lawsuits asking the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8. More » Go on-site to view.

A group of conservative power brokers are meeting today in Virginia to "discuss the future of the movement and the GOP." Convened by Brent Bozell, head of the right-wing Media Research Center, the meeting will include "roughly twenty leaders" and "conservative political and media strategists."

71 million: Number of viewers who tuned into election night television coverage on Tuesday, according to Nielsen. In 2004, 59.2 million viewers tuned in as President Bush defeated Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and 61.6 million watched the election-night coverage of Bush and Al Gore in 2000.

Fearing a terrorist attack during the presidential transition, "Homeland Security officials are working with Congress to ensure that the Senate moves quickly to confirm a key Cabinet nominee." The top senators on the Senate Homeland Security Committee are now arguing "that the DHS secretary must be bumped up to top priority, and the secretary should be confirmed on or close to Inauguration Day."

CentCom Commander Gen. David Petraeus "has decided to reduce the number of U.S. combat brigades in Iraq from 15 to 14 about six weeks earlier than planned, as a result of dramatically lower violence there." A brigade from the 10th Mountain Division "was scheduled to go to Iraq in its place will instead deploy to Afghanistan."

Ryan Crocker hosted 250 Iraqi officials at the first event in the new American embassy in Baghdad, which cost half a billion dollars and has not yet officially opened. He reminded his guests, "Our president today is George Bush, and he will be our president for the next two and a half months," and said the size of the embassy reflects America's long-term "commitment to democracy in Iraq."

And finally: Juror 11 is ready to tell all. This person was one of the jurors in the corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), who was eventually found guilty on seven felony counts. Now, this juror has decided to start a blog, telling how he or she became Juror 11 and the story behind the missing juror: "Through out the trial and deliberations I had to check my emotions at the door and reserve my comments, but now that it is over let the flood begin!"

"The percentage of Americans who voted in this year's historic presidential campaign appeared to reach the highest level in four decades."

CALIFORNIA: "California's voters decided to spend billions of dollars on public projects, including a high-speed rail system and hospitals for children."

FLORIDA: "An obscure ballot initiative in Florida intended to end a legacy of bias against Asian-Americans was defeated Tuesday, apparently because voters incorrectly assumed it would prevent illegal immigrants from owning property."

CIVIL RIGHTS:"Opponents of same-sex marriage scored resounding victories in Arizona and Florida on Election Day."

THINK PROGRESS: The world reacts to President-elect Barack Obama: "A new deal for a new world."

WONK ROOM: Seizing on the health care mandate.

OPEN LEFT: The pluralist coalition manifests.

RAW STORY: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she is "especially proud" of President-elect Obama's victory.


"[Obama] neither received a broad mandate from the public nor the needed large congressional majorities."
-- Columnist Robert Novak, on President-elect Barack Obama's 7.5 million popular vote margin win, 11/05/08


Q: Bob Novak, is 51 percent of the vote really a mandate?

[B]NOVAK: Of course it is. It's a 3.5 million vote margin.
-- Novak, on President Bush's 2004 re-election, 11/06/04

The research team that brings you The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org needs fall interns!


This is only a summary, so go on-site to view the complete article and to gain access to the many links within this newsletter. They are also asking for fall interns.

Saundra Hummer
November 6th, 2008, 01:58 PM

Great Expectations
Al Meyerhoff
November 6th, 2008
10:50am ET
End climate change. End the war. End Wall Street corruption. Achieve universal health care. Rebuild trust in government. Given the election results, this is just some of what is now expected by Barack Obama's supporters, especially progressive Democrats and the young. Time for a Newer Deal. A New Frontier. A New Agenda. A Mandate for Change.

The other drums are beating too, of course. Don't overreach. Govern from the center. And yet there are those pesky expectations. Democrats, significantly including those chairing critical House committees, have been waiting for this moment for decades.

So what exactly will be the Obama agenda? Who will set it? How will it be accomplished with the many often disparate interests within the Democratic Party and Obama's far broader electoral base? Given past failures—on both the left and the right—can he bring about lasting change?

Now pundits debate not if but why Karl Rove failed. How will Obama avoid this fate? These are the conversations that must be had over the coming weeks.Much has been made of the sizable majorities the Democrats will now hold in Congress. But the Senate is still not filibuster-proof; and many Senate Democrats are decidedly "blue dog." In 2001, President George W. Bush claimed a broad mandate (despite having lost the popular vote by more than half a million votes—the audacity of nope). The GOP next took both houses of Congress, yet spent much of their time seeking to "save" a brain-dead woman and promoting a brain-dead idea, privatizing social security.

Before that, there was the Clinton administration—when Democrats, as now, controlled Congress. Yet with only 44 percent of the popular vote and a House leadership atrophied from 40 years in the majority, the Clinton agenda was stymied. Within two years, the GOP would sweep both houses and announce its own "Contract With America," most also never actually adopted. Change isn't easy. We lost LBJ's War on Poverty. Even the Reagan Revolution sputtered and now has brought a counter-revolution; regulation is back. The pendulum swings.

Some are saying the best Obama analogy is 1933. That was a heady time for change, especially those famed First Hundred Days. In accepting the nomination, Franklin Delano Roosevelt put his goals eloquently: "Throughout the nation men and women forgotten in the political philosophy of Government look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth [uh oh]...I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms."

Employing a Brain Trust of insiders and outsiders, FDR's New Deal accomplished a great deal—empowering unions, creating jobs, establishing Social Security. Yet even the New Dealers were not entirely successful. Many reforms were tossed out by the Supreme Court, repealed by a subsequent Congress or came undone by later deregulation.

Obama has sounded his own call to arms, that "fierce urgency of now." "Now" has come. While some of the challenges Roosevelt confronted remain with us—the power of Big Business, the maldistribution of wealth—we are not (at least not yet) facing a national economic collapse and 25 percent unemployment. Yet in some respects what confronts the Obama administration is equally daunting: the continuing shock waves of globalization, the loss of the nation's industrial base, a deepening recession, massive deficits and a nearly $10 trillion national debt, the health care crisis, climate change, two wars, terrorism—such challenges could overwhelm any administration, even one backed by a broad based coalition and a unified Congress.

A common goal of any new presidency is to create just such a governing coalition. Few have achieved it. Witness Karl Rove. After the Bush re-election, he touted the 60 million votes Bush received as beating Reagan at his best. Then came Katrina, immigration and the rest.

Now pundits debate not if but why Rove failed. Direct mail guru Richard Vigurie claims Rove took the Republican Party so far to the left (no, really) with his deficits and leaving no child behind as to render him "the architect of George W. Bush's betrayal of the conservative cause." Others decry Rove's scorched earth tactics alienating those in Congress on both sides of the aisle. How will Obama avoid this fate? By reaching consensus now among the major segments of his new coalition on what to achieve, how and by when—providing the foundation for his own First Hundred Days.

To do so, his own Brain Trust will need a truly large brain. Perhaps drilling offshore (or in ANWR) will be the price required for a comprehensive energy policy. Perhaps trial lawyers will need to reform their own house to achieve corporate accountability. Perhaps a carbon tax will be required to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Perhaps unions will need to eliminate discrimination in their midst to achieve The Employee Free Choice Act. Perhaps American consumers cannot afford to own that new house or car or boat on credit.

Perhaps not.

These are the conversations that must be had over the coming weeks to make the extraordinary promise of this new administration a reality.

Movers and shakers on the right—the NRA, the Chamber of Commerce, pro-lifers and religious fundamentalists—have often (not always) done a fair job at coalition politics. Yet despite years with allies in power, many of their objectives—ending abortion, gay marriage and gun control (admittedly they got close)—remain unrealized. Nor has their ilk disappeared—especially the business community, happy to help "reform" Wall Street. On the left, there are literally thousands of advocacy organizations, many in competition with each other for their own constituency (think labor) and in conflict with others for limited resources. Who speaks for seniors? For children? For working men and women? For minorities? For the environment? Can they find common ground? These will be a critical questions in determining Obama's success.

After the 2004 Bush re-election, Republican Party chief Ken Mehlman said, "something fundamental has...happened. [The Republican Party] is in a stronger position that at any time since the Great Depression." That lasted four years. So is this election truly a "realignment" of American politics? Decidedly maybe. As one historian put it recently, "2008 certainly smells like a critical election." The opportunities are there. The public demands change and with sufficient leadership this time, real change—systemic change—may truly come.


Al Meyerhoff is a civil rights/labor/consumer/environmental lawyer in Los Angeles. This was originally published in The Huffington Post.
We know who will be fighting this newly elected administration, and their force is monsterous. Monsterous in size, and intent. There is of course, big oil, the energy czars, pharmaceuticals, the war machine. and on. and on it goes. Not to mention outside forces which newly elected administrations are always tested by. Of course established long sitting administrations have always had to deal with the unforseen as well. So do we think of what lays ahead of Barack Obama and Joe Biden as an easy job? It isn't, and with radical right wing opposition, the task is multiplied beyond belief. God Speed Barack Obama and Joe Biden. You have our best wishes. I can't imagine the job that lies ahead. It's a terrible mess you're left with to straigten out. We, who love this country, are behind you 100%. SRH

Saundra Hummer
November 6th, 2008, 02:11 PM


Thursday, November 6, 2008
Posted by Jim Hightower

Listen to this Commentary

With his usual keen insight, George W recently offered this comment about the Wall Street collapse: “Anyone who makes bad decisions should fail.”

One wonders if he ever looks in the mirror.

His own bad decisions aside, however, he’s now rushing up to Wall Street bankers who made terrible decisions and is stuffing their pockets with billions of our tax dollars to keep them from failing. Sending an even worse moral message, Bush is attaching no strings to this reward for incompetence and malfeasance. The bankers do not even have to use the bailout money to increase business and consumer loans that would help our economy. Instead, generous George lets them apply the windfall as they see fit – they can fatten their own banks’ balance sheets, buy up other banks – or even use it to pay fat dividends to themselves (it's estimated that $250 million from the bailout will go to such executive dividends this year alone).

And these are people who’ve been trying to tag Barack Obama as a socialist! We’re talking about at least $700 billion here, coming right out of our public treasury. Imagine if that sum was invested for public purposes – what could it achieve?

We could repair all of America’s deteriorating bridges, roads, and levees – projects that would create a million or more good jobs.

We could launch a “Green Deal” to make all of America’s homes and buildings energy efficient – all of FDR’s New Deal public works projects, for example, cost only half as much as Bush’s Wall Street bailout.

We could replace the Hubble telescope, put a new international space station into orbit, and launch a new Apollo-style exploration of our planetary system – all for less than the bailout’s cost.

You might recall that we've always been told that there’s no money to do such big American projects. Really? Then where did they find that $700 billion they're now handing out to Wall Street?

“Raising the Grades: Small Steps for Big Improvements in America’s Failing Infrastructure,” www.asce.org, 2008.

“No Magic From the GOP,” The Washington Post, October 11, 2008.

“This Bailout Doesn’t Pay Dividends,” The New York Times, October 21, 2008.

“Oh, what the government could do with the financial bailout billions,” Associated Press, October 2008.


Jim Hightower, All Rights Reserved
-2006Copyright Saddle-Burr Productions, 1996-2006

I like to listen to Jims articles, as he has a great way with words, so listen to him for a much better experience, and take, on what it is he's talking about.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
November 6th, 2008, 04:43 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

Is The Nightmare Over Yet?
By Timothy V. Gatto
06 November, 2008

Last night, when President-Elect Obama gave his speech in Chicago, I was duly impressed. However, the next U.S. President was a bit off on the true facts about his rise in the Democratic Party and his eventual nomination. He talked about two years ago, when he had no sponsors or endorsements, that the way ahead seemed like an impossible dream. I know this sounds very uplifting, that Barack Obama could come out of nowhere, defeat the Clinton political machine and then the Republican vote-tampering syndicate and end up getting elected to the Oval Office. This truly sounds like a dream come true, but it really didn’t happen that way, and I’d like to explain why. I’m not writing this to defame the President-Elect, but to educate the American people on the political process in this country.

I have been following this election from the start. I knew that Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee before the first vote was cast in the Democratic Primaries. How could I possibly have figured that out? I did it by simply looking at corporate contributions from The Center for Responsive Politics and their website at opensecrets.org. It didn’t take a political genius to figure out the fix was in. I only had to look at where Goldman-Sachs and other investment bankers were donating too. For the first time in 12 years, the bankers and other key donators to political parties were betting on a Democrat.

So where does that leave us? It simply means that by the time most Americans realized who the prime movers and shakers were out there, the stage was already set. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I believe that most Americans have become keenly aware of what drives corporate politics in this country, and where that leaves the average citizen. President-Elect Obama ran a brilliant campaign and managed to get grassroots support for his candidacy. He has inspired many young people to care about the direction of this country, and he has proven that change is still possible in, and those things alone are enough to command respect. This new President will not owe anyone anything, but the naming of Rahm Emanuel as the President’s Chief of Staff shows how ingrained Obama is in the Democratic Party. I wonder when Kucinich and Gravel were tossed out of the debates, is this the reward? I’d like to know if this was the DNC working behind the lines. I guess we will never know.

One message we must bring to the new administration is that the American People won’t forget about the crimes and policies that Bush and the neo-cons put forth that changed the direction and the conscience of this nation. The draconian laws such as The Military Commissions Act of 2006, The FISA Law, The Patriot Act and many Presidential Executive Orders and signing statements that enabled Bush and Cheney to operate outside the boundaries of American and International Law must be investigated. The reason for this is a moral one. The facts are that if we the people do not hold the Bush Administration accountable for the things they did during their term, we are also responsible.

Over 1.2 Million Iraqi’s died because of Bush’s hubris and his lies. Over 4,000 American servicemen and women in Iraq lost their lives on a lie. There is just so much that we as citizens should stand for. Ignoring the violation of laws both American and International is tantamount to becoming co-conspirators or accomplices of those that knowingly broke those laws. I urge people in this country not to let Bush and his minions off the hook. I can understand that most people just want to go back to a semblance of normality (whatever that is). The law is the law and we cannot decide to selectivity prosecute only those that followed orders. To stop a renegade administration from ever doing what the Bush Administration has done since 2001 is reason enough to prosecute.

I wish Barack Obama the best and I hope he is more liberal than he let on in the presidential race. I support him 100% and hope that we will come together as a people and understand that we must keep one eye open in the future. What happened over the last eight years should never happen again. I pray that January 20th of next year will mean the end of this eight year nightmare of giving up our liberty for temporary security.



:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 6th, 2008, 05:21 PM
:: :: :: :: :: :: ::


First Posted 6 PM Wednesday.



Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed -
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

Here’s a song to get us going today:

Memo to Langston Hughes in the Great Beyond: Maybe America IS Becoming America Again.


What a night last night. Nielson reports: From 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 ET the average audience was 78.5 million viewers. This compares to 59.2 million in 2004 and 61.6 million in 2000.

And yet as we consider the moment we are in, do remember the history of this day, Nov 5, the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament in England

“Remember, Remember
The fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”
We, all of us, may have blown up the American political system, non-violently. And by the way, had it not worked, there was a contingency ESCAPE plan in the works.

I have had letters from Denmark, Bulgaria and Indonesia and from across this country, an outpouring of words to accompany the outpouring of emotion.

We have to remember and deepen the meaning of November 4th, a day many of us never expected in our life times. It brought me back to Election Day l994, sitting in the headquarters of the African National Congress, a building which right wing racists had tried to blow up, sitting with the late Joe Slovo as South Africa went to the polls for the first time> He was one of Nelson Mandela’ s closest comrades, formerly the most wanted man in the old South Africa, labeled a terrorist and worse and there he was on the eve of the big change, telling me that he had to “pinch myself to remember I am not dreaming.”

I have been receiving moving letters today, reflective letters that can help us savor this moment in time and reflect on its meaning. One of them came from a South African describing a visit that Barack Obama made to Robben Island, the prison to which Mandela and his fellow liberation fighters were condemned.

“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,” Mandela said in a letter to Obama.

“We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere.

“We wish you strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead. We are sure you will ultimately achieve your dream of making the United States of America a full partner in a community of nations committed to peace and prosperity for all.”

Another letter is from the photographer Steve Cagan in Celeveland who I traveled with to Vietnam while the war raged in l974:

” This morning, I heard a description of the victory party in Chicago last night on the radio. A reporter for National Public Radio described Jesse Jackson standing in the crowd, “tears streaming down him face.” “Well, of course,” I thought, “How could he not be overwhelmed?”

Tuesday I spent the day as a poll watcher for the Democrats, observing two precincts in Cleveland’s near west side. I left the house before 5 AM and spent the entire day in the polling place, arriving at the house of friends to watch the results for a while after 9 PM. On the drive back to my area, I was listening to National Pubic Radio. Of course, I was pleased to hear that Obama was apparently headed for victory, but it was just short of my friends’ house, when NPR called the state of Ohio for Obama for Ohio, that I lost control, and sat in the car crying, And the truth is, I’ve been crying off and on ever since. Why has this been so emotional for me?

First, perhaps the most important personal element is something the press has perhaps noted, but not given the attention it deserves: Obama’s victory is the culmination of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. The 50s and 60s were important and formative years for us, and our personal experiences—as the ideals and values that led us into those activities and were strengthened by our participating in them—naturally inform our understanding of the meaning of this election.

I can’t think about Obama without remembering being a high school student and riding my bike to monitor the Woolworth picket lines in the Bronx. Last night and today I’ve been thinking about all the marches, the picket lines, the sit-ins, the arrests. I’ve been thinking particularly about a night in 1967, the night before the Kentucky Derby, when we sat and sang civil rights songs for hours in a big African-American church in Louisville. We had arrived from Bloomington, Indiana, with a group of fellow graduate students from Indiana University to support demonstrations around the Derby for fair-housing rights in Louisville, and while the leaders met in an office, hundreds of people clapped and sang for hours. Finally, we students were sent off to occupy the first places on the lines at the racetrack. Of course, we were arrested immediately…

That was a period of an overwhelming optimism about the future—we KNEW we were on the verge of a new world, a world we were helping to create. In later years, of course, that optimism was cruelly beaten down, in a period that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and, we all hope, ended yesterday.

So the strongest reason for all the emotion I’m feeling is that while in the most important sense this electoral victory is only the opening of a door which Obama and the Democrats (and all of us) may or may not actually walk through, still both symbolically and materially this election is indeed the culmination of a struggle of decades. If my arithmetic is correct, Obama wasn’t even born when the students sat down at that lunch counter—and certainly not when Rosa Parks sat down—but his election is the culmination of a stage in the struggle for justice and humanity that started back then, and that for some of us has been a central theme of our lives. How can we not weep for joy at that?”

Da’ud X Mohammad writes from Oregon where I held forth today over the airwaves of KBOO Radio in Portland:

The great poet Charles Bukowski wrote “good weather is like good women - it doesn’t always happen, and when it does it doesn’t always last.”
* * * * *On this morning after, I remembered back to Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel in LA like it was yesterday, and the excitement we all shared in, in our hope of taking his campaign from California all the way to the White House… and then the gunshots rang out broadcast live on local TV ended it all, ’til last night.

Just as “the shuttle Columbia began breaking up over California minutes before it disintegrated in the skies over Texas” broke the spell of 9/11, Barack’s speech last night finally jolted us from stupor of the unresolved JKF and Dr. King, and Bobby, and Malcolm assassinations.

The election of Barack is the implied promise of justice for all like a sword that cuts both ways. Maybe some who would have otherwise gone to jail arbitrarily won’t anymore. Some who might have otherwise escaped justice might instead be found guilty of their white collar and war crimes and be dealt with accordingly.

And to the likes of such losers as Joe Scarborough, Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh, take note that President Mwai Kibaki declared Thursday a national holiday in Kenya.

Janet Rogozinski writes from Maryland:

On November 4, 2008, the American people proved to themselves, their country and the world, that, Yes they can take back control of their country. It took the energy and commitment of Americans across this great land, and many in far reaches of this planet coming together as one voice for one shared purpose, electing an American President who we can believe in and trust to steward this nation and our people. But, the challenge now is to keep this spirit of commitment, the job for all of us began last night, when President-Elect Barack Obama said, “The Victory belongs to us and the challenges we face are the greatest in our life time….the road ahead is long and the climb will be steep, but we as a people we will get there….each of us must pitch in…..We rise and fall as one nation…this is our moment….this is our time….and out of the many, we are one”.

And, as my friend Kate reminded me this morning, “One nation, under G-d, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

My message to all of you who believed along with me, when I sought early support for Obama, NOW WE HAVE TO KEEP THIS GREAT COUNTRY!!!! Each American needs to participate and give back. To get us back on track, Obama cannot do it alone. He couldn’t win an election alone, he can’t make the change we need alone.

A terrible plane crash in the middle of Mexico City last night, was a reminder of the violence that shakes our close neighbor and ally, Mexico. The life of a dedicated government officials were taken in a flash, with likely culprits, the devastating drug traffickers who have spread violence across the country. A war continues in Iraq and Afghanistan. We continue to lose sons and daughters. Jobs are being lost as we speak. The halls of our hospitals and emergency rooms are filled with people fighting for their lives, many uninsured, over worked healthcare workers, physicians doing the best they can. The schools of this great land have a lot of catching up to do. We need to give like we gave to win this election. We the people need to be put back on the agenda.

Yes we did, last night and now we can today.

Thank you very much for believing, hoping and contributing, now let’s begin to make this country work again by the people. for the people and of the people.

This is the first day of a new beginning. Time to get to work.

For those in my tribe, there was more good news:

Obama Wins, Jews Got Over Obamaphobia
Wednesday November 5, 2008 - By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield
Jewish voters went with their consciences and not with their fears in selecting Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. Exit polling indicates that about 77% of the Jewish vote went to Obama, which is a wonderful thing.

It’s wonderful, not because we know for certain that Obama will be a better President than John McCain would have been. We do not - though now that he is elected, we all better hope he will be at least as good. It’s wonderful because these numbers indicate that Jewish voters brought their usual voting values with them into the booth and not simply a great deal of baseless fear or racist suspicion.

The 76% is in line with past elections, indicating that Jewish voters did not change political course, despite earlier indications that they would do so in this election. It’s not that I necessarily believe Jewish values and Democratic values are more in line with each other. In fact, I believe that the tradition which I follow is bigger than can be contained within the policies of any one party, and wiser than any single candidate.


Writes William F. Brabenec:

”Yesterday wasn’t an election for a new president.

For most Americans, black skin had little to do with the event.

Yesterday was a revolt.

Tuesday was a classic revolution.

Instead of muskets firing powder and shot, Americans Tuesday fired their .50 caliber ballots. They stormed the precincts and raised the original American flag over every polling booth in the land.

Americans revolted against Corporate America and against Wall Street and against the Federal Reserve and against Big Pharm and against the Power Elite and against Big Money and against all the social leaches who suck the financial blood from the 95% of people in this great land who struggle every day to live.

Americans didn’t vote for President Obama because he was black. Americans didn’t really vote for a president. They revolted – once again – to be free.

O say, can you see our flag finally flying without the dollar signs of corporatism in place of the stars! Without the banner of Empire flying over the White House! It’s been a long time coming. But it’s here.

Now, let’s put our house in order and clean, reload and cock our ballots for the next attack.

And there will be a next one.

I woke up this morning feeling an enormous sense of pride. I am deeply proud of President-Elect Obama. He ran a campaign that was so much more than political strategy. He inspired people to vote, to volunteer, to contribute, to engage civically in a way that seemed all but impossible just moments ago. All of us at Demos applaud him, and we look forward to working with him as he confronts the incredible array of challenges that our country faces.

I also feel proud of the American electorate. We turned out in record numbers, in many cases braving long lines and other problems to be part of this historic moment. We have crossed an enormous racial barrier. And rejecting cynicism and division, we have given Obama a mandate to deal boldly with our problems, and an even greater gift: our trust and hope.

“Hallelujah! And Now, The Work Begins
Americans wake today to a new dawn, a new possibility. You don’t have to drink the Kool-Aid to appreciate how extraordinary this is. We will look at one another with new eyes. We are a better, bigger, more generous, more optimistic people than many — particularly Karl Rove’s acolytes in the McCain campaign — assumed.


Posted in Daily Dissections by: Danny

Go on-site for links within this article by clicking on the following URL:

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 6th, 2008, 11:24 PM
* * * * *

November 5th, 2008

Obama-related spammed trojan propagating worldwide

Posted by Adam O'Donnell @ 11:30 am

Several security companies including F-Secure, Sunbelt, and my employer Cloudmark (disclosure) are reporting a large volume of Obama-related spam that links to malware. This is just the latest twist on the long-running theme of social engineering end users into installing web-based malware.

The lures consist of e-mails with subject lines like:

Obama win preferred in world poll
Can Obama win popular vote but lose election?
New president’s
Will American Voters Elect a Black President
Election Night Results

The message body does not vary much:
Barack Obama Elected 44th President of United States

Barack Obama, unknown to most Americans just four years ago, will become the 44th president and the first African-American president of the United States.
Watch His amazing speech at November 5!

Proceed to the election results news page>>

2008 American Government Official Website
This site delivers information about current U.S. Foreign policy and about American life and culture.
Jamie Tomasello, manager of the security operations center at my employer Cloudmark (disclosure) has estimated the prevalence of this particular spam strain to be on the order of tens of millions. Given the lure’s low rate of content mutation, anyone with a decent spam filter should be able to catch the spam.

As I have said before, the malware-lure style spam will likely never go away. The snap desire innate in all of us to look at alarming news will always provide an opportunity for attackers to exploit desktop systems. Our only chance at preventing this style of attack in the future is solid anti-spam and a massive improvement in the state of anti-virus technology as it exists today.

Adam J. O'Donnell, Ph.D. is an R&D engineer who has focused on computer security since 2000. He currently is the Director of Emerging Technologies at Cloudmark, a messaging security company located in San Francisco. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Go on-site for the links within this article for more information.

* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 01:40 PM
. . . . . . .


November 7, 2008 by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, and Ryan Powers


Propping Up Prejudice
On Tuesday, California, Arizona, and Florida voted to ban marriage equality. A fourth state, Arkansas, voted to deny unmarried couples the right to adopt children, widely seen as a way to prevent gay couples from adopting. The success of such prejudiced ballot measures on Tuesday was a narrow, but significant victory for the radical right and constituted the "most potent ingredient making Tuesday's election bittersweet" for the progressive cause. Of the four measures, the most high-profile was California's Prop. 8, which for the first time in state history repealed a previously-recognized right. Californian's voted 52 percent to 47 percent in favor of amending the state constitution to "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California." The measure, while initially opposed by a majority of Californians, attracted enormous amounts of money from out of state. The well-funded "Yes On 8" campaign flooded the state with misinformation and false claims about the effects of gay marriage on communities, children, and the economy. It is unclear whether the measure will survive a series of fresh legal challenges, which argue that Prop. 8 violates other provisions of the state constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

LGBT RIGHTS IN AMERICA: Gay couples can marry in just two states, Massachusetts and Connecticut. New York recognizes marriages from couples married in other states, and New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington all offer gay couples the ability to form civil-unions that grant couples varying rights and benefits under the law. With the passage of Tuesday's ballot measures, 30 state constitutions now ban same-sex marriage, while a total of 37 states have passed legislation defining marriage between one man and one woman. Marriage equality is needed to establish for gay couples the same rights and benefits that heterosexual married couples are given. Unfortunately, legalizing gay marriage at the state-level offers no rights or benefits to couples at the federal level. Indeed, at the federal level same-sex couples are unrecognized as a result of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which "defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws" and "provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex." Gay couples are prohibited from adopting children in six states: Michigan, Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida. In 30 states, employers are allowed to fire employees just because of their sexual orientations.

BUYING PREJUDICE:California's Prop. 8 overturned the California Supreme Court ruling that "declared same-sex couples had the right to marry under the California Constitution on the grounds of privacy and equal protection." According to polling, California's Prop. 8 was initially opposed by a majority of the state's residents. Just 40 percent of Californians in May 2008 believed the state should ban gay marriage via Constitutional amendment. But as Nov. 4 approached, enormous amounts of money supporting the ban poured into California. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group, gave $1.25 million, while James Dobson's Focus on the Family contributed more than $400,000 to the Yes On 8 campaign. The Mormon Church dedicated millions more, giving an estimated 40 percent of the $15.4 million dollars raised for the effort by June of 2008. In all, the "Yes on 8" campaign raised $35.8 million. The funds went to disseminating misinformation through the Internet, TV ads, and direct mailings. The supporters of the ban falsely claimed that if it did not pass, gay marriage would be "taught in schools," churches would lose their non-profit status, and people could be sued for their "personal beliefs." The Yes on 8 campaign masked its bigoted efforts, claiming, "I think we won because we stuck to our guns of being pro-marriage and not anti-gay."

THE WAY FORWARD: The one bright spot is that Prop. 8 was opposed at significantly higher rates among California's youth. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, a poll taken before the election showed that 59 percent of likely voters aged 18 to 34 opposed the anti-gay measure. Indeed, young Californians "from high schoolers -- some of them not even old enough to vote themselves -- to college students" worked to educate the public about the discriminatory effects of Proposition 8. It's unclear, however, exactly what will happen to California's gay couples who already married. The state's attorney general maintained yesterday that their marriages would still be valid, but others are not so confident. Despite its narrow approval, Prop. 8 is not final. Yesterday, "gay rights supporters filed three lawsuits Wednesday -- including one by the ACLU -- asking the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8." The suits claim, "Lawyers for same-sex couples argued that the anti-gay-marriage measure was an illegal constitutional revision -- not a more limited amendment, as backers maintained -- because it fundamentally altered the guarantee of equal protection," the LA Times notes.

IRAQ -- OBAMA VICTORY HELPS EASE STALEMATE ON IRAQ SECURITY AGREEMENT: The Bush administration and the Iraqi government have been engaged in contentious talks over a security agreement to determine the legal status of U.S. forces in Iraq. At issue has been a timeline for withdrawal requested by Iraqis and whether to provide immunity for U.S. contractors operating in Iraq. But the election of President-elect Barack Obama, given his commitment to withdrawing from Iraq, "is already beginning to shift the political ground in Iraq and the region," the New York Times reports today. Iraqi Shi'ite politicians and a Bush administration official are now indicating that "a new security agreement about American troops" could be completed faster and possibly ratified as early as the middle of this month. Sh'ite politicians had been under intense pressure from Iranian leaders not to sign a security agreement. "But now, the Iraqis appear to be feeling less pressure from Iran, perhaps because the Iranians are less worried that an Obama government will try to force a regime change in their country," the Times notes. Jabeer Habeeb, an independent Shi'ite lawmaker and a political scientist at Baghdad University, put it simply: "Obama's election shifts Iraq into a new position."

RADICAL RIGHT WING -- KRISTOL FLOATS REVIVED 'PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY' TO SUPPORT NEOCONS IN THE WILDERNESS: In 1997, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan co-founded the Project for a New American Century, a neoconservative organization meant "to promote American global leadership" through "military strength and moral clarity." The organization, whose statement of principles was signed by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, is largely credited with putting America on the path to the preventative invasion of Iraq. In an interview with Hugh Hewitt yesterday, Kristol said that he would like to set up a similar organization to operate during an Obama presidency."I actually think there are people talking about this. And there's a lot of good foreign policy and defense thinking on our side...But a little bit of a political organization for them wouldn't be bad," he said. Kristol mentioned conservative foreign policy thinkers Bob Kagan and Reuel Gerecht - who were both employed by the original PNAC -- and Fred Kagan and Victor Davis Hanson, who are currently at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution, respectively.

ADMINISTRATION -- PUBLISHERS HAVE LITTLE INTEREST IN PUBLISHING BUSH'S MEMOIR: President Bush has reportedly expressed interest in writing a memoir of his White House years soon after he leaves office. However, the Associated Press reported yesterday that a number of publishers have a suggestion for Bush: "Take your time." "If I were advising President Bush, given how the public feels about him right now, I think patience would probably be something that I would encourage," said Paul Bogaards, executive director of publicity for Alfred A. Knopf, which released Bill Clinton's "My Life" in 2004. "Certainly the longer he waits, the better," says Marji Ross, president and publisher of the conservative Regnery Publishing. When Bush finally gets a book deal, other publishes say that he will probably not see the amount of money past presidents have received. "I don't think Bush can get the kind of money Clinton did if only because the foreign rights interest will be considerably less," says Jonathan Karp, of Hachette Book Group USA.

U.S. companies cut 240,000 jobs in October. The nation's unemployment rate spiked to 6.5 percent, the highest since March 1994. The numbers are worse than economists had predicted.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) "is pushing his party's leadership to expel Sen. Ted Stevens from the Senate during this month's 'lame duck' session." DeMint, "one of the most conservative members of the Senate, is said to be angry with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for tolerating a convicted felon in the GOP caucus."

Yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) "took a first step" toward "finding out what punishment he may face" for backing John McCain for president, by meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Reid said that nothing had been decided, although an aide revealed that he was "leaning toward removing Lieberman as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee."

"The word most used to label George W. Bush's presidency will be 'incompetent,' historians say." "Right now there is not a lot of good will among historians. Most see him as a combination of many negative factors," said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton. More »

President-elect Barack Obama is said to be considering Lawrence Summers and New York Fed Reserve President Timothy Geithner for Treasury Secretary. "Democrats are split" over the two choices. "They're all qualified, that’s the good news, unlike if you look back at the Cabinet of this past president -- not always the case," said one Democratic member of Congress.

New accounts call into question the Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against Russian aggression this summer. Instead, they "suggest that Georgia's inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire" that put civilians in harm's way.

A strategy review by the Bush administration is likely to recommend "to the incoming Obama administration that the U.S. push for further expansion of the Afghan army as the surest path to an eventual U.S. withdrawal." The strategy review, which began in September and is expected to be presented in December, is meant to be "a kind of road map for the next administration."

And finally: Barney, President Bush’s beloved Scottish terrier, may look cute and friendly, but watch out. Yesterday, Reuters reporter Jim Decker reached down to pet Barney, who then bit him. Watch the incident here. The LA Times writes, "Maybe Barney, a Scottish terrier, was fed up with liberal media bias."

Colorado's Amendment 46 has been defeated, "the first time that a Ward Connerly supported anti-affirmative action ballot amendment has been struck down by voters."

MINNESOTA: Somali translator on Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-MN) payroll reportedly pressured voters at polls.

MICHIGAN: "Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she will release $150 million from the state treasury for banks and credit unions to loan to businesses and consumers squeezed by the nation's credit crunch."

CIVIL RIGHTS: Federal election officials are pushing for early voting for all states.

THINK PROGRESS: Glenn Beck claims that conservatives voted for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hoping he would die in office so Gov. Sarah Palin could take over.

YGLESIAS: The Right's inequality challenge.

MEDIA MATTERS: It's not just Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.


"I don't think anybody could tell you right now if we're in a recession or not."
-- White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, 10/07/08


"We are currently in -- or the National Bureau of Economic Research will shortly determine we're in -- a recession."
-- U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive Bruce Josten, 11/06/08



The research team that brings you The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org needs fall interns! Click here for more information.

Go onsite to access the numerous links within this article. They aren't shown in this post. This post is only a summary. There's much more to read up on.
Just click on the following URL:

::: ::: :::

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 02:02 PM
* * * * * * * * *

Never Failing, Always Failed
Terrance Heath
November 7th, 2008
12:20pm ET

Sometimes the most pointed — or preposterous — comes from unexpected sources. This time, it's The Onion providing the former and the Wall Street Journal serving up the latter.

The best satire comes wrapped around a grain of discomforting truth. Daniel De Groot unwrapped one in a headline from The Onion that should give Democrats something to think about. Read his post for more on that.

The jaw-dropper, though, comes from the Wall Street Journal, (hat-tip to Steve Benen at Political Animal) where they've apparently learned well (or not so well) something Rick pointed out earler: Conservatism never fails; it is only failed.

A big part of how I understand the American right—it's lurking behind most of what I write, though I rarely discuss it explicitly—is the concept of innocence. Most conservatives I've met and corresponded with can be most usefully taxonomized, not according to whether they're "theocons" or "neocons" or economic conservatives or whatever else, but by the particular routines by which they wash themselves in the blood of the lamb—in other words, how they pronounce themselves and those they class themselves with to be without sin: conservatism never fails, it is only failed. The conservative African American thinker Shelby Steele has borrowed a concept from Soren Kierkegaard to describe what he sees as black Americans' tendency to bad-faith excuses that exempt themselves for any possibility of owning their own failures: "seeing for innocence." Myself, I've found this an indispensable concept for understanding how contemporary conservatives assess the past, present, and future of their movement. Conservatives are really crappy at personal responsibility.
That explains the admonishment from WSJ columnist Jeffrey Scott Shapiro: President Bush has not failed; we have failed him.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.
I guess that we shouldn't have been dancing in the streets on Tuesday night.

The last time Americans danced and cheered in the streets was in 1945, when the nation finally defeated its enemies in the Second World War. I have no memories of those exuberant days. But I'm an historian and I've seen plenty of pictures and read many descriptions of the joy and happiness that swept over the country.

Obama's stunning victory is the first time in 63 years that Americans once again danced and cheered in the street. Here on the Left Coast, thousands of Berkeley students danced in the city, wildly cheering his victory. In Oakland's Jack London Square and in San Francisco's Castro District, tens of thousands more gathered for joyous street parties, dancing in the street. It was a bittersweet victory because of the success of those who sought to ban same-sex marriage. That day, too, will come. Of this I'm sure.

Elsewhere, people also danced in the streets. In Chicago, a friend describes the thousands of young people who poured out of trains to join the tens of thousands already celebrating in Grant Park. In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the largely African American and Caribbean population celebrated in the streets, dancing and setting off fireworks.

All across America, in these blue enclaves, celebration and joy was in the air. The morning after the election, I received emails from friends all over the world who described how the election would transform not just the United States, but the rest of the world. On the Berkeley campus, colleagues, as well as strangers, hugged each other. Smiles sprouted on students' faces. It was as though everyone were awakening from an eight year low-grade depression.
I guess we shouldn't have burst into a collective expression of joy over a new beginning, and — at long last — the beginning of the end.

The nation's capital came alive after 11 PM on election eve, as thousands poured into the streets to celebrate a victory that everyone was calling historic. Car horns blaring, whooping and shouting, high fives all around, multi-racial crowds celebrating joyously. Historic it is, most obviously in the election of an African-American president, in a country where millions of black people could not even vote when the new president-elect was born. The rapper Jay-Z elegantly expressed the Obama campaign's connection to the long struggle for equality, along with the enthusiasm that it generated: "Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so that Obama could run. Obama's running so that we all can fly."

But there is another sense in which this election will likely turn out to be historic. For nearly four decades, this country has been moving to the right.

...Now that long journey into darkness has finally come to an end.
How thoughtless and dangerous to celebrate the end of an administration and an era dominated by a political philosophy that has:

brought us an economy that's lost 1.2 million jobs this year;
including job losses in 41 out of 50 states last month;

increased consumber bankruptcy;

brought manufacturing to its lowest level in 26 years;
left 20% of homeowners "underwater";
actually shrank the economy;
given us the third highest rate of income inequality in the world (after Mexico and Turkey);
but not without making the rich richer;
and reversing the gains we made against poverty in the 1990s;
And that's just what I could come up with in five minutes of searching my own memory banks, without even Iraq or Afghanistan.

Dancing in the streets at the prospect that all of the above might be coming to an end? That the light we can finally see at the end of the tunnel might be a way out, instead of an oncoming train?

How could we, when none of this would have happened if only we'd clapped hard enough?

Shapiro's right. Nevermind our enemies. What would our friends think? What would the world think?

Oh, Wait. They probably didn't notice because they were celebrating too.


Go on-site to view video, and to gain access to the numerous links within this article. Link is at bottom of this post.
History will have the final verdict, and it may admonish us too? But at least one group of historians has described the Bush presidency as "battered, incompetent" and "unlucky."

With record low approval ratings and intense criticism for his handling of the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina and the economy, the word most used to label George W. Bush's presidency will be "incompetent," historians say.

"Right now there is not a lot of good will among historians. Most see him as a combination of many negative factors," said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.

"He is seen as incompetent in terms of how he handled domestic and foreign policy. He is seen as pushing for an agenda to the right of the nation and doing so through executive power that ignored the popular will," he added.

But like so many presidents before him, Bush's reputation could change with time.
Maybe. But right now, incompetent seems an appropriate label for the Bush presidency; one that has left many feeling battered an unlucky.

Can anyone blame us — or the rest of the world — for being glad it's over, and finally hopeful that better days are ahead?

I guess so.

* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 02:20 PM
* * * * *


Byrd would voluntarily give up chairmanship

By: David Rogers
November 7, 2008 02:06 PM EST

Senate legend Robert Byrd, approaching 91 this month and hailing a “new day in Washington” , said he would voluntarily give up the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee with the new Congress.

“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven” said Byrd, who had fended off earlier challenges this past spring and summer.“Those Biblical words from Ecclesiastes 3:1 express my feelings about this particular time in my life.”

“I have been privileged to be a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee for 50 years and to have chaired the Committee for ten years, during a time of enormous change in our great country, both culturally and politically. I have learned that nothing is quite so permanent as change. It is simply a part of living and should not be feared. “

“To be serving in the Senate at such a momentous time in our history fills me with enormous pride. I endorsed President-elect Obama because I believed that we had taken the wrong course both at home and abroad. I am delighted with his victory. I was an early critic of the war in Iraq, as was the President-elect, who decried this war even before he was running for a United States Senate seat. I wish our new President every success with his commitment to unite us as one people.

"From the Chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee effective January 6, 2009.”

“A new day has dawned in Washington, and that is a good thing. For my part, I believe that it is time for a new day at the top of the Senate Appropriations Committee,”

© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC


Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 03:05 PM
* * * * * * * * *



weekly hits, bits and buzz from the CREDO community

what we're doing:
Tracing toxins. Did you know that the FDA doesn't require companies to test the safety of some of the most commonly used products, including shampoo, makeup and soap? Skin Deep, a project of Environmental Working Group, pairs ingredients in more than 37,000 products against 50 toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind.

Click here to see what's in your toothpaste:


— Wendy H., CREDO Mobile Employee

* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 04:24 PM
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


please go here:

Go on-site for "Black Commentator" perspective's on many issues as well as the current views of our election results.

This message is an email notice of publication only
BlackCommentator.com exists on the Internet at http://www.blackcommentator.com
Please go to the Website to read all the articles listed here

Our snail mail or postal address is:
Suite 254
127 Bridgeton Pike - Unit B
Mullica Hill, NJ 08062
~ ~ ~

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 04:51 PM
. . . . .

Thousands in Los Angeles protest gay-marriage ban

By Associated Press | Friday, November 7, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | West

Photo by AP Go on-site to view

LOS ANGELES - Outside the gates of a Mormon temple, Kai Cross joined more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates in a chorus of criticism of the church’s role in a new statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

Once a devout Mormon who graduated from Brigham Young University, the 41-year-old Cross was disowned by his family and his church after he was outed as a gay man in 2001.

"They are on the losing side of history," Cross said Thursday of the church’s opposition to gay marriage. Cross and other protesters blame leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for encouraging Mormons to funnel millions of dollars into television ads and mailings in favor of Proposition 8.

The ballot measure passed Tuesday, which was sponsored by a coalition of religious and social conservative groups, amends the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act. It overides a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.

The protest came amid questions about whether attempts to overturn the prohibition can succeed and whether the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in California over the past four months are in any danger.

For Cody Krebs, 27, four months was not enough time to fulfill his "intense hope" to marry one day; he and his boyfriend have been together for little more than a year, so they aren’t ready to wed.

On Thursday, Krebs dodged eggs hurled at protesters from an apartment building. He said he’d seen worse growing up in Salt Lake City.

"It’s important to come out like this because it gets the gay community into the public eye," Krebs said. "I feel like this has started a lot of conversations that had to get started."

The demonstration began outside the temple in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and noisily spilled through the western side of the city, with chants of "Separate church and state" and "What do we want? Equal rights." Some protesters waved signs saying "No on H8" or "I didn’t vote against your marriage," and many equated the issue with the civil rights struggle.

Two people were arrested after a confrontation between the crowd and an occupant of a pickup truck that had a banner supporting Proposition 8. One demonstrator ended up with a bloody nose in the fracas. Seven arrests occurred during Los Angeles-area street marches late Wednesday.

The temple protest was organized by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Its chief executive, Lorri Jean, announced a Web-based effort dubbed InvalidateProp8.org to raise money to fight the constitutional amendment.

Gay-marriage proponents filed three court challenges Wednesday against the ban. The lawsuits raise a rare legal argument: that the ballot measure was actually a dramatic revision of the California Constitution rather than a simple amendment. A constitutional revision must first pass the Legislature before going to the voters.

Andrew Pugno, attorney for the groups that sponsored the amendment, called the lawsuits "frivolous and regrettable."

"It is time that the opponents of traditional marriage respect the voters’ decision," he said.

The high court has not said when it will act. State officials said the ban on gay marriage took effect the morning after the election.

"We don’t consider it a ’Hail Mary’ at all," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "You simply can’t so something like this — take away a fundamental right at the ballot."

With many gay newlyweds worried about what the amendment does to their vows, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said he believes those marriages are still valid. But he is also preparing to defend that position in court.

The amendment does not explicitly say whether it applies to those already married. Legal experts said unless there is explicit language, laws are not normally applied retroactively.

"Otherwise a Pandora’s Box of chaos is opened," said Stanford University law school professor Jane Schacter. Still, Schacter cautioned that the question of retroactivity "is not a slam dunk."

An employer, for instance, could deny medical benefits to an employee’s same-sex spouse. The worker could then sue the employer, giving rise to a case that could determine the validity of the 18,000 marriages.

Supporters of the ban said they will not seek to invalidate the marriages already performed and will leave any legal challenges to others.

A 2003 California law already gives gays registered as domestic partners nearly all the state rights and responsibilities of married couples when it comes to such things as taxes, estate planning and medical decisions. That law is still in effect.

Article URL:


Related Articles:
California voters approve ban on gay-marriage

© Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Media.

. . .

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 05:34 PM
* * * * * * *

The GOP Hypocrite of the Week

So many Republican Hypocrites, So Little Time

William Kristol

November 7, 2008
Welcome back to the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

Bill Kristol is kind of the Neo-Con Zelig. Wherever he peddles his punditry, you know that disaster, hypocrisy, and ruin will follow.

What is this bloated-mouthed elitist of such interminable judgmental errors doing still popping up regularly on television as a "credible" pundit?

How many times do you have to be profoundly wrong to lose your line in rotation as a D.C. insider spokesperson?

The damage done by Kristol has been real and deadly. He was a key cheerleader for the Iraq War, for Guantanamo, for the reign of fear in the United States, for going to war with Iran. And it goes on and on.

All you can say is that being around Kristol is like sitting next to a dirty bomb; he's radioactive with failure.

In fact, Kristol is credited with "discovering" Sarah Palin while on a cruise of right-wing honchos who docked in Juneau and met with the Alaskan governor. Of course, as Palin turned out to be a nitwit, Kristol then called for the McCain campaign staff to be fired.

Kristol has brought hypocrisy to a red alert level, and he's always beaming amidst the disaster he advocates and cheers on. He never admits that he is wrong, which would be a daily occurrence given his record.

From urging Bush to invade Iraq to encouraging the McCain campaign to pick Sarah Palin as the GOP vice presidential nominee, Kristol has completed an infamous arc of arrogant misjudgment -- and a tenacious commitment to hypocrisy.

Remember our motto: So many Republican hypocrites, so little time.

Catch up with you soon.

* * *
William Kristol has previously won the HOTW Award on October 21, 2005.

* * *
This GOPHypocrites.com Web site and The GOP Hypocrite of the Week are projects of and ©


* * * * * * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 07:42 PM
. . . . . . .

From The Raw Story...

Barack Obama Launches A New Website - change.govBarack Obama seems to be keeping his promise of change, starting with a website. Today the site change.gov was launched. The site is an open platform, that hopes to engage the American people in the governmental process

Go on-site to view

The official website of US President-elect Barack Obama for his transition to the White House, www.change.gov, went online on Thursday inviting users to offer their ideas for the future of the country.

Under the headline of "Open Government," the website asks readers to "Share Your Vision" via email.

"The story of the campaign and this historic moment has been your story," the website states. "Share your story and your ideas, and be part of bringing positive lasting change to this country."

The website's homepage notes that it's "75 days until inauguration," when Obama is to be sworn in as president on January 20, 2009.

It also features a quote from Obama: "Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today."

From Getting Attention...

Less than 48 hours after winning the election, the Barack Obama transition team has launched Change.Gov.

Like many sites, it's a work in progress. For example, I see "content to come" as the only element on the America's Service Plan page (at 11/6, 7pm eastern).

Frankly, it's good to see that authenticity. After all, I'm sure there's not an organization out there that's launched a 100% complete, 100% error free site, especially in two days. The way that Obama's team shows their humanity is engaging. They're not afraid of being real, like you and me, and that makes us feel closer to them. Win!

From Communicopia...

Besides giving those of us under 40 our first positive "do you remember where you were when..." moments, US President Barack Obama has given me, and everyone in my field, the most powerful case study possible of how web values translate into big success, not just online but in the real world.

Have you checked out the website? What do you think?

November 7, 2008 - Posted by Catherine Morgan


add a comment Laurie H.
Friday November 7, 2008, 4:20 PM
President- elect Obama is ALREADY bringing new hopes and dreams closer to reality for ALL AMERICANS! I believe and predict that the entire world will be viewing us differently! CHANGE IS COMING AND ALMOST HERE! This website is a fantastic idea!

Edc Weintraub
Friday November 7, 2008,3:48 PM
The country will now have a bright, energetic President who will lead our country back to a shining example of freedom and pride.

Bobbie Allison
Friday November 7, 2008, 3:44 PM
I'm excited about the website. This shows change already!

Heather H.
Friday November 7, 2008, 11:56 AM
I really like the signal this sends--that the Obama administration intends to run the government more openly and being more solicitous of feedback and comments from citizens. Welcome to the 21st Century!

:: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 7th, 2008, 07:56 PM
Robert F. Kennedy,Jr.
Being Considered by Obama Team for Top EPA Post

November 5, 2008 at 14:44:40
Headlined on 11/5/08
Rob Kall (Posted by Rob Kall)
One of the first appointees being mentioned for the Obama Cabinet hits a grand slam home run. Robert F. Kennedy,Jr., according to politico.com, is being "strongly considered.

Kennedy is one of the strongest voices for the environment I know of. He's walked the talk and passionately discusses the responsibilities of industry to pay its way, if it engages in pollution. He's been involved for years in protecting rivers and a lot more. Politico reports,

The selection of Kennedy would be a shrewd early move for the new presidential team. Obama advisers said the nomination would please both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

It also would raise the profile of the EPA, which would help endear Obama to liberals who may be disappointed on other issues important to the Democratic left because of budget restrictions.

The EPA enforces clean air and clear water laws. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and son of the late senator and attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, has long championed a cleaner water supply for New York City.

As an officer and attorney for the environmental watch group Riverkeeper, Kennedy has taken on governments and companies for polluting the Hudson River and Long Island Sound.

Kennedy, a falconer and white-water rafter, also worked as an assistant district attorney in New York City.

Kennedy gained Washington experience by fighting anti-environmental legislation in Congress in 1995 and 1996, when Newt Gingrich took over as House speaker.
No doubt, Obama will be choosing some cabinet members and other appointees who will be disappointing to the left. But Kennedy is a phenomenal start in an important cabinet position.

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 8th, 2008, 12:41 PM

A Call to Arms Against the Mormon Church. End Its Tax-exempt Status Now!

Sandy Sand
November 7, 2008

Go on-site to gain access to this article and the numerous comments regarding Sandy Sand's take on this subject. Just click on the following URL:



Saundra Hummer
November 8th, 2008, 01:56 PM
* * * * * * *


'He Was on His Way Out Anyway'


There's no escaping it. Video Games have become embedded in our sports culture. That's long been a sad fact for me, until now. Rated M for mature, Blitz the League II bills itself as the "ultimate alternative to the watered-down, licensed competition" by offering all things that are NFL taboo from gratuitous steroid use to celebrated flagrant fouls to nasty compound fractures to off-the-field licentiousness. And who is their poster boy? None other than living NFL legend Lawrence Taylor. We caught up with LT who warns that Joe Theismann couldn't bear to watch this game, promises Pacman Jones he'd feel right at home and tries to get me to fall for one of his old pregame tricks (pun intended).

Gruesome Sports Injuries
Michael P. Malarkey, WireImage31 photos (Go on-site to view any photo's, video's etc., there are more than I've shown).

Gruesome Injuries
Lawrence Taylor knows all about playing rough and tough in the NFL. After he combined with Harry Carson to sack quarterback Joe Theismann during a game in November 1985, Theismann had to be carted off the field with a broken leg. The compound fracture would mark the end of Theismann's 12-year career. Check out other cringe-inducing injuries through the years.

Michael P. Malarkey, WireImage
Nov. 1, 2008: Pacers forward Danny Granger leaves more than his heart out on the floor while leading his team to victory. Granger, bottom, hustles for a loose ball, but loses his two front teeth after getting crunched by Celtics star Paul Pierce.

NBA/Getty Images
Feb. 26, 2007: Clippers guard Shaun Livingston falls awkwardly following a missed layup, tearing knee ligaments in the process. Watch Video (Graphic Content)

Harry How, Getty Images
Aug. 13, 2008: Weightlifter Janos Baranyai of Hungary suffers a dislocated elbow while attempting a lift at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Phil Walter, Getty Images
Feb. 8, 2007: Bryce Davison's skate blade catches the face of his figure skating partner, Jessica Dube, at an international competition. She later receives 80 stitches to repair a laceration on her cheek and nose. Both skaters would go through stress therapy for the incident, but they returned to competition together.
Watch Video (Graphic Content)

Elaine Thompson, AP
Sept. 28, 2008: Anquan Boldin of the Arizona Cardinals catches a pass in the end zone, gets hit in the back by one defender and and then takes a helmet-to-helmet shot from another one, knocking him unconscious. He's carted off the field and misses several weeks of action with fractured paranasal sinuses. Watch Video (Graphic Content)

Gene Lower, Getty Images
June 28, 1997: Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has a chunk of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson during a boxing match. Tyson was disqualified from the title bout by referee Mills Lane.

Jed Jacobsohn, Getty Images
Aug. 2, 2007: At the Summer X Games, skateboarder Jake Brown lost his balance on a quarterpipe ramp, flew into the air, and fell about 45 feet. He managed to walk away, but was found to have sustained a lacerated liver, a lung contusion and stress fractures in his vertebra as well as a small hand fracture. Watch Video (Graphic Content)

Reed Saxon, AP
Sept. 8, 2000: Red Sox pitcher Bryce Florie is hit by a line drive in the face off the bat of Yankees' Ryan Thompson. The blow fractured his cheekbone and damaged his retina, but he was able to make a comeback in 2001.

Michael Dwyer, AP
July 16, 2008: U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach breaks her left leg in a collision with a Brazilian defender in the final match before the 2008 Summer Olympics. She fractures both her tibia and fibula and missed the Beijing Games. Watch Video (Graphic Content)

Donald Miralle, Getty Images


DAVE HOLLANDER: I wonder if you could go over some of features in the new Blitz the League II.
LAWRENCE TAYLOR: Sure, no problem. What would you like to know?
DH: Tell me about "precision aim tackles" which is described a "new hit-targeting control system to inflict serious pain on explicit areas of your opponent's body."
LT: Well, for example, you may find out a certain player on the other team -- like a running back -- may have a knee problem. When you go tackle that player you can direct the area you want to attack. You might want to attack that knee to put him out of the game and thereby enhance your possibilities of winning. The other team would have to make some other decisions whether they want that injured player to come back.
DH: Explain this next feature to me, called the return of the "cornerstone" of the Blitz® franchise: Late Hits.
LT: The game is full of late hits! (laughs) This is like no referees on the field. After player is down, you can stomp 'em, kick 'em, punch 'em. This is like prison football.
DH: Cool. I also understand there is a new "three-man tackle" features where we'll see helmets shatter, bones cracking, ligaments tearing and teeth flying.
LT: Yeah you can see all that. The thing about is, we do it in slow-mo. Even when you have an injury we go all the way down into the anatomy. Like if a bone breaks, we show you everything -- an inside view of it. This is about as raw as you can get.
DH: Speaking of bones breaking, Joe Theismann isn't too busy these days. And you and he did a little stomach-turning, compound fracture work together before.
LT: Joe can't watch this. He has too many bad memories. He can't watch this, man.
DH: The promo materials state "If you don't (buy this game) LT will hunt you down and treat you like Joe Theismann!!"
LT: (chuckles) Joe and me, we're pretty good friends. We talk all the time, him and me. I mean, hell, he's making a lot of money telling that doggone story about when his leg got broke. Hell, he's lucky because he was on his way out anyway. I just gave him another career is all.
DH: Blitz the league II also offers an "entertaining off-the-field drama." What's that all about?
LT: That's part of life, you know. Football is not just played on the field. Off the field is where some of the most exciting things happen. In this particular league, we're allowed to do a lot of things. We can drink. There may be a couple women involved. But I'll let the user find out what that means.
Lingerie Football LegendsRobert Laberge, Getty Images14 photos Video games aren't the only thing Giants legend Lawrence Taylor has shown an interest in during his post-football career. He also served as a coach in the 2004 Lingerie Bowl, which has now transformed into the Lingerie Football League and will kick off its inaugural season in 2009. Click through to see other past Lingerie Bowl celebrities.

Lingerie Football Legends
Video games aren't the only thing Giants legend Lawrence Taylor has shown an interest in during his post-football career. He also served as a coach in the 2004 Lingerie Bowl, which has now transformed into the Lingerie Football League and will kick off its inaugural season in 2009. Click through to see other past Lingerie Bowl celebrities. Go on-site to gain access to the numerous photo's and video.

DH: Your character is Quentin Sands of the New York Nightmare. How much is autobiographical?
LT: (laughing) Autobiographical, (laughs again) wow. You know what? I'm not going to say whether ... look, Quentin Sands is Quentin Sands. He looks like me. He plays like me. But you know, I don't do that type if bad (stuff). I'm not that type of person.
DH: Will we see your old trick of sending prostitutes to opposing running backs the night before the game to tire them out?
LT: You're just mad because I don't have your room number and I didn't send you one. I'll send you one if you want one. Ain't no problem.
(long pause)
DH: Getting back to the video game, I also understand that after some of these bones get broken and spleens get ruptured, the steroid needle comes out. The NFL must love that.
LT: This is not an NFL sanctioned game. Midway broke away from the NFL a long time ago. They do their own thing. Matter of fact, this may be more a throwback to the old-time football. It something that used to happen back in the day. It doesn't happen now, but it happened back in the day.
DH: You mention back in the day. It seems like every time turn on an NFL game these days and I see a hard hit, it gets a penalty flag and a huge fine. Is the NFL getting too soft?
LT: I'll tell you. I don't watch a lot of NFL football. I really don't. But I was watching the Pittsburgh (vs. Giants) game. I was with some friends and we'd just got done playing some golf. And we're watching the game and I'm wondering the same thing. Because I'm watching the whole second half and they're throwing flags for horse-collaring. Back in my day that how brought people down, you horse-collared 'em. The game has gotten so -- man, it's funny. You can't do anything without getting flagged and if you don't get flagged you get fined. And off the field you can't even drink. You can't have a speeding ticket. I know there's that zero-tolerance thing and that's a part of life. The game we play in Blitz, it's a much tougher game. This is gladiator football.
DH: More like the game you actually played?
LT: Yeah, it's a lot closer to game we actually played. Now I guess they're paying so much money they don't want nobody to get hurt. There's so much money in football. It's all about PR and everything. Blitz the League II is the game I played. That's the real football we're talking about.
DH: Are there some defensive players in pro football now who can't play their full game -- who are inhibited by the rules?
LT: The guys playing now didn't play back in my day. So I guess they've always grown up with this type of football. That's why you see offenses scoring so many points. I looked at it the other day. A corner has no chance. The receiver can do anything he wants to the corner and the corner can't touch him. At some point they gotta put the pads back on and play some ball.
DH: Pacman Jones' agent, Michael Huyghue, is trying to start another league: the United Football League. It was created to "fulfill the unmet needs of football fans in major markets currently underserved by professional football." It promises top players. They will play in the fall, on Friday nights and "provide every fan with an affordable, accessible, exciting and entertaining professional football experience." Can it work?
LT: I don't think that would fly. NFL got such a lock on football. And Pacman will probably get suspended from that league, too. Now the Blitz League? He can play in that league. We'll allow that.
DH: Any dogfighting in the Blitz the League II?
LT: We didn't address that this time. We got a lot of cat fights but no dog fights, yet.
DH: Last question: How 'bout them New York Giants?
LT: The Giants are playing well. The most exciting things about the Giants? You know at the beginning of the season when all those guys started going down and you thought the defensive line was going to be decimated and all that? They just keep plugging in guys and guys kept showing up. They're playing hard. They're playing good football. Justin Tuck. Antonio Pierce, Mattias Keewanuka, these guys are playing great football. And the wide receivers, (Plaxico) Burress got suspended and they put in the other guy and he played great.

It's amazing how much depth this team has. They can play with anybody. Out of the three or four teams that are showing themselves contenders for the championship, the Giants got to be at the top. It's amazing what a little bit of confidence and good personnel can do. I think Eli Manning -- there's games he's going to have a great game and there's game that he will be okay, but he never puts you in a position where he hurts you. He's playing smart and steady.

Dave Hollander is the author of 52 WEEKS: Interviews with Champions! and blogs for The Huffington Post. Info at: www.davehollander.com
2008 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2008-11-04 14:54:23


* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 8th, 2008, 02:43 PM
* * * * *


22 to Know

Our Picks for an Obama Cabinet: Parts 1 & 2

In These Times Editors and Contributors
September 26, 2008

In 2007, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll asking Americans if they could identify a man named Robert Gates. As the Iraq War raged, fewer than one in four respondents knew he was the secretary of defense. Is this a sad commentary on whether the public is following events in Iraq? Perhaps. But more likely it's a reflection of the overall obscurity of our government's top decision makers.

In a media environment that portrays presidents as the sole messianic implementer of their agenda, the steep drop-off in name recognition is predictable -- even if it belies how power really works.

Far more than a brain trust of advisers, the U.S. Cabinet has been the instrument by which political rhetoric becomes public policy. From Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (under FDR) to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (under Ford and Bush II), Cabinet officials have been the chief sculptors and enforcers of the best -- and worst -- presidential policies.

In many ways, administrations are the sum of their Cabinets' work, and that axiom would be especially powerful should Sen. Barack Obama win the 2008 election. With just four years of federal legislative experience, the Illinois senator would be the antithesis of the old Washington hands who tend to occupy the Oval Office -- and based on his campaign themes, he will likely enter office with a mandate for progressive change.

Which raises the question: What would a truly progressive Cabinet look like? There has been no such thing in at least a generation (if not longer), so it is a difficult -- but critical -- question to answer. After all, who heads our federal government's major departments will have an impact on all issues, from Africa policy to zero-tolerance criminal sentencing.

In These Times asked its editors and writers to suggest their top progressive choices for a potential Obama Cabinet. We asked that contributors weigh ideological and political considerations, with an eye toward recommending people who have both progressive credentials and at least an arguable chance at being appointed in an Obama White House.

This group of people would represent at once the most progressive, aggressive and practical Cabinet in contemporary history. Of course, it is by no means a definitive list. It is merely one proposal aimed at staring a longer discussion about the very concept of a progressive Cabinet -- and why it will be important to a new administration, especially if that administration is serious about change.

-David Sirota

Energy: Dan Reicher
Climate change and America's fossil-fuel dependency are two of the biggest challenges an Obama administration will face. Ironically, the job of energy secretary is ill-suited for tackling them. Most of the Energy Department's $25 billion budget goes toward maintaining the nation's nuclear-weapons stockpile and handling waste disposal -- leaving only a fraction for developing alternative energy sources. It's tough to direct a clean-energy revolution with that portfolio.

Still, there's room for improvement. Under the Bush administration, the department has abandoned many of its successful partnerships to boost efficiency and curb emissions in dirty industries, while prioritizing costly clean-coal and hydrogen fuel-cell boondoggles that have achieved little.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has voiced interest in this position, but a head-cracking superstar like him might be better slotted in a new "climate czar" role. After all, the task of de-carbonizing the U.S. economy will be so titanic that someone will need to coordinate all the different agencies -- from agriculture to transportation.

The Energy Department needs a smart manager who values sound research and understands the importance of efficiency -- the cheapest, quickest way to curb our carbon output. Over the past year, Dan Reicher, a former assistant secretary of energy under President Clinton, has been doing just that -- as head of Google's new climate and energy fund, seeding innovative projects across the country, from geothermal research to plug-in hybrids. His recent congressional testimonies have smartly laid out how better federal policy could spur trillions in private investment toward cleaner and more-efficient technologies -- just the questions the department should be obsessing over.

--Bradford Plumer

Labor: David Bonior
Obama's best choice for secretary of labor would be David Bonior, who from 1976 to 2002 served as the progressive congressman from the Macomb and St. Clair County suburbs outside Detroit -- the famous district of Reagan Democrats. During his tenure, Bonior championed unions, opposed trade agreements like NAFTA, and criticized both President Reagan's Central American counter-insurgency policies and President Clinton's civil liberties policies.

After Michigan Republicans re-drew his district in 2000 and he lost a bid for governor two years later, Bonior became chair of American Rights at Work, a labor-sponsored coalition of non-union groups advocating worker rights, especially the freedom to organize unions.

That work bolsters his credentials for pushing one of organized labor's top legislative goals: the Employee Free Choice Act. The measure would provide for union recognition when a majority of workers in a workplace sign cards indicating they want a union, increase penalties for labor law violations and guarantee access to arbitration to establish a first contract if employers refuse to bargain seriously.

Leaders on both sides of the AFL-CIO/Change To Win divide respect Bonior, who managed John Edwards' presidential campaign. Bonior's time as party whip for a decade gives him experience working with Congress for what will be a tough fight on behalf of the Employee Free Choice Act, even with a large Democratic majority. And his stature would guarantee a strong voice in Obama's Cabinet for both unions and broader workers' interests, from the local workplace to the global economy.

--David Moberg

Transportation: Earl Blumenauer
Last summer, as Congress wrestled with energy legislation, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) offered a simple, $1 million proposal to encourage bike commuting. To his disbelief, the plan was ridiculed by a number of Republicans, including Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who called two-wheelers "a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem." In a prospective Obama administration, Blumenauer should get the last laugh.

An eco-friendly labor advocate from Portland, Blumenauer couldn't be more representative of his liberal district, which he's served since 1996. In the Oregon legislature and later on the Portland city council, Blumenauer helped direct Portland's planning renaissance, championing bike lanes, light rail and streetcars. He brought his emphasis on smart growth to Washington, advocating for high-speed rail and launching the Congressional Bike Caucus. In fact, nobody in his congressional office applies for a parking permit.

An early and vocal supporter of Obama, Blumenauer could be tapped as transportation secretary, a post that will undoubtedly grow in importance as the United States grapples with rising energy prices and climate change. He seems to be preparing for the role. In July, he co-wrote a substantive energy bill that subsidizes telecommuting, public transit and transit-friendly affordable housing.

But the biggest challenge facing the new transit guru will come next year, when Congress revisits the Transportation Bill. If Blumenauer can redirect more revenue from the nation's gas tax to alternative forms of transit, he'll be laughing his way to a future where Americans live better with less oil.

--Adam Doster

U.S. Trade Representative: Marcy Kaptur
Polls show the public overwhelmingly opposes America's NAFTA-style trade policies, and Obama has committed to reforming those policies as president. Part of doing that means naming a fair-trade voice as his lead trade negotiator -- and no voice for trade reform has been more dogged than Rep. Marcy Kaptur's (D-Ohio).

A 13-term House member, Kaptur serves on the Appropriations Committee -- one of Congress' most powerful panels. As Toledo's representative, she has seen firsthand the devastation that comes with unfair trade pacts, and has led the fight against every major lobbyist-written deal that has come through Congress -- from NAFTA to China PNTR to CAFTA.

That personal connection to the trade issue would serve Kaptur well in international negotiations where compromise too often means selling out the American worker. Similarly, Kaptur's longtime experience in the House would be critical in powering fair-trade deals through what remains a corporate-dominated Congress.

Presidents of both parties have treated the trade representative position as an ambassadorship to a banana republic, appointing go-along-to-get-along hacks -- such as former Clinton campaign chairman Mickey Kantor -- who use the department as a taxpayer-funded training program for their post-government career in the corporate whorehouse.

Kaptur would be far different.

--David Sirota

Head of EPA: Daniel Kammen
To head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Obama would make a smart choice with University of California, Berkeley, public policy professor Daniel Kammen.

A senior energy and environmental aide to the Obama campaign, Kammen is the founder and director of the school's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, which designs, tests and disseminates renewable energy systems for industrialized and developing nations. He is also co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, which looks at environmental problems and their solutions.

At 46, Kammen signals the kind of youthful vitality the EPA needs. And as someone outside the Washington bubble, he hasn't been tainted by the political wranglings that have screwed up U.S. environmental policies for so many years.

As someone with a background in environmental issues and a primary focus on energy, Kammen has the necessary experience to address the two-headed beast of sound energy and climate policy.

He was also a coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, which means that, unlike the current political appointees in the EPA, Kammen is well aware of the significance and urgency of this threat.

--Kate Sheppard

Federal Reserve Chair: Marion or Herbert Sandler
Firing up the printing press at the U.S. Mint and handing over billions in cash to Wall Street con artists isn't a serious monetary policy -- but that's been Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's response to the housing and credit crisis. When Bernanke's term expires in 2010, either Marion or Herbert Sandler would be a welcome replacement.

Over four decades, the husband-and-wife team built Golden West Financial into one of the most stable and successful mortgage companies -- and they did it through the kind of responsible lending practices that the greed-is-good crowd mocked.

As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2007, "Golden West historically had very low levels of bad loans, which Mr. Sandler has attributed to his bank's careful vetting of borrowers and their credit." Indeed, the Journal noted that the Sandlers were "frequent critic[s] of competitors who required no down payment, set interest rates that reset quickly at high rates and sold bundled loans to far-off investors." They also spoke out against "the lax lending practices that pervaded the industry for the past few years -- even writing a letter to federal regulators last year in support of tighter standards." That's precisely the kind of foresight America's bank of banks desperately needs.

What's more, the Sandlers are about as progressive as bankers come -- and they put their money where their politics are. Their foundation underwrites, among others, the Center for Responsible Lending and the National Women's Law Center.

A Federal Reserve chairperson with a vague familiarity with -- much less a connection to -- such groups would inject a populist perspective into an institution whose secrecy and insularity has made it one of the elite's most reliable weapons in the class war.

--David Sirota

Defense: Sarah Sewall
Admittedly a long-shot candidate, Sarah Sewall should be the next defense secretary.

During the Clinton administration, Sewall served as the first deputy assistant secretary of defense for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance.

Currently the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University and a lecturer in public policy, Sewall also directs the Center's program on national security and human rights.

Sewall has worked at a variety of defense research organizations. In addition to writing the introduction to the University of Chicago edition of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual (2007), she has written widely on U.S. foreign policy, multilateralism, peace operations and military intervention. She currently focuses on civilians in war, facilitating dialogue between the military and human rights communities on the use of force.

One of the biggest challenges facing our country today is recognizing -- and adequately responding to -- the broad spectrum of threats we face in our globalized world. That includes environmental changes and disease pandemics that are contributing to global conflicts. It also includes the weaponization of space; the proliferation of nuclear weapons; and the extravagance of bloated military budgets -- while our schools crumble and nearly 46 million Americans go uninsured.

The mindless use of military might -- at the expense of meaningful diplomacy -- has left the United States much disliked today. America seems to have lost its moral compass and with it, the ability to lead by example -- once a hallmark of our nation.

With Sewall's extensive background in policy, defense and national security, she understands these challenges and would work to restore American leadership.

--Jody Williams

Commerce: Margot Dorfman
For decades, the Department of Commerce has represented the interests of the U.S. global business elite to the detriment of healthy and sustainable commerce.

Since the '80s, the department has done little to abate the destruction of Main Street enterprise, the collapse of our manufacturing base, the looting of our public infrastructure, massive global outsourcing of jobs, and rampant tax shifting to overseas tax havens.

A prospective Obama administration should nominate Margot Dorfman for secretary of commerce. Dorfman would advocate for Main Street, not Wall Street, and for business owners and employees, not absentee shareholders. She would support high-road enterprise that encourages real investment and healthy growth, not speculation, outsourcing and exploitation.

As CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, Dorfman has supported sustainable business development, durable economic policies, community entrepreneurship, worker education, and small business development for women and people of color. Prior to that, Dorfman worked for General Mills and several small enterprises.

When the U.S. Chamber of Commerce led the fight against raising the federal minimum wage in 2007, Dorfman and the Women's Chamber led the fight to raise it. "We all lose when American workers are underpaid," she said. She has been a leading voice with Business for Shared Prosperity, a national network of forward-thinking business leaders.

Sub-appointments: Van Jones, of the Ella Baker Center, to direct the Commerce Department's new "green jobs initiative," and John Arensmeyer, of Small Business Majority, to oversee the economic development administration.

--Chuck Collins

Interior: Susan Williams
The most serious challenge facing the new secretary of interior will be the bureaucratic mayhem that politicians have created. Worse, many of these lawmakers still fail to recognize Native people as part of true sovereign nations, especially in relation to the United States.

Susan M. Williams -- a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota tribe -- would help untangle this mess. Her commitment to the environment and her involvement in civic affairs make her an excellent choice for the post.

After getting a degree from Harvard Law School (and working there as a lecturer), Williams worked in firms committed to Native law and served on boards that focus on improving relations between the federal government and tribes.

Typically, the Interior Department oversees efforts to uphold treaty rights and agreements with the federal government. What's at stake for Native people is the right to live on healthy land, have access to clean water and maintain control over their natural resources. The department also assists Indigenous tribes in creating a sustainable future for themselves.Williams lobbied for amendments that affected tribes' water rights and tax status.

Add to this résumé Williams' membership in various bar associations -- the American Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar, New Mexico Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar -- and she couldn't be better qualified for the position.

--Winona LaDuke

FDA Commissioner: David Blumenthal For Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, the pick should be Dr. David Blumenthal, director of the Institute of Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

One of the top issues the next commissioner will face is regulating the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries.

Under the Bush administration, FDA scientists have been beset with low morale and widespread concern that they cannot do their jobs without risk of inappropriate political interference.

This decade, Blumenthal has shown independence from the pharmaceutical industry. He is a critic of detailing, drug-makers' use of salespeople to pressure physicians to prescribe their most expensive medicines. He supports government use of drug formularies, which is an effective way of negotiating lower drug prices and protecting access to needed medicines. Blumenthal also advocates for comparative effectiveness research -- an approach to studying the safety and efficacy of medicines that could save many lives.

Blumenthal was the founding chairman of AcademyHealth, the national organization of health services researchers. From 1995 to 2002, he served as executive director for the Task Force on Academic Health Centers at the Commonwealth Fund -- a foundation whose goal is to improve healthcare quality for low-income people, the uninsured, young children, people of color and the elderly.

--Raman Castellblanch

Director of National Intelligence: Ellen Laipson
For director of national intelligence, President Obama should nominate Ellen Laipson, president and CEO of the Henry L. Stimson Center -- a nonprofit public policy institute that focuses on peace and security issues.

I worked with Laipson at Stimson for four years and I know she values the knowledge found inside the bureaucracy -- even if that knowledge can be difficult to extract. As director, Laipson would modernize the institution so that the intelligence community is the best information resource in government.

From 1997 until 2002, Laipson was vice chair of the National Intelligence Council. Before that, she was special assistant to the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. She has had stints working for the Congressional Research Service, on the policy planning staff of the State Department and as a policy director at the National Security Council, giving her an invaluable perspective on policy.

In 2000, Laipson was responsible for one of the most forward-thinking public documents on intelligence and national security: Global Trends 2015, which pointed out transnational threats like criminal networks and terrorism. It remains highly relevant today.

Successful intelligence gathering in the coming years will require mending international good will. In that regard, Laipson's U.N. experience will serve her well. More importantly, her expertise lies in the Middle East -- especially Iran, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula.

As director of national intelligence, Laipson must restore Americans' trust in its intelligence agencies. She can do this by working to resolve concerns about torture and surveillance, by putting a stop to the privatization of intelligence, by including Congress in the dialogue, and by communicating with Americans to build mutual understanding and respect.

--Lorelei Kelly

Secretary of State: Jim McDermott
Secretary of state has two major tasks: To define and represent U.S. interests in the world, and to bring the rest of the world's interests to the United States. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) -- a 10-term member of Congress and a Progressive Caucus stalwart -- would do both.

McDermott has been a consistent voice for single-payer healthcare, for increased funding for the U.S. and global HIV/AIDS crisis, and for maintaining the estate tax. And he has stated unequivocally that Big Oil and the Iraq War are causing skyrocketing oil prices.

Like any U.S. politician, his record isn't perfect, particularly on trade. But unlike most of his colleagues, McDermott is independent and willing to think and act outside the Washington box.

McDermott actively opposes U.S. threats of war against Iran, and he has challenged Israel directly, saying it's "both appropriate and urgent for the U.S. to raise questions about intentions" toward Iran.

Secretary McDermott would not only call for redeploying combat troops out of Iraq, he would also press for bringing home all U.S. troops and mercenaries. He would enforce ignored laws prohibiting U.S. bases there. And he would immediately renounce U.S. efforts to control Iraq's oil. In fact, he read into the Congressional Record the full text of the 1930 Anglo-Iraqi treaty, which set the same terms for British control of oil that the Bush administration is trying to impose on Iraq today.

Secretary of State Jim McDermott would reclaim the primacy of diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy.

--Phyllis Bennis

FCC Chairman: Michael Copps
In his two terms on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Michael Copps has done yeoman's duty, consistently protecting the public's stake in the communications spectrum under a string of hostile chairmen.

In his first term, Copps helped launch a series of public hearings about media consolidation. In 2007, he announced his American Media Contract, which asserts citizens' rights to "programming that isn't so damned bad so damned often." And at the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform, Copps called for tougher, more frequent FCC monitoring of local broadcast licenses, and the enforcement of net neutrality principles.

Trained as a historian at the University of North Carolina, Copps would bring nearly four decades of public and private sector experience to the position. He'll need all of it to deal with the coming disruptions in the media environment.

On Feb. 17, 2009, the analog broadcast signal will be shut off, turning many Americans' TVs into doorstops unless they subscribe to commercial cable or satellite services, or obtain a converter box. Coupons for those boxes are limited, and advocates for elderly, minority and low-income Americans warn that they may be cut off from crucial emergency and public information services.

A battle is also raging over new spectrum allocations: Consumer advocates argue that "white spaces" should be left open to provide options for affordable public wireless networks, while broadcasters counter that this would interfere with broadcast quality.

Meanwhile, media consolidation continues. Current FCC Chairman Kevin Martin approved the recent merger of XM and Sirius, even though the move created a monopoly in satellite radio. Copps dissented, citing, as usual, the public interest.

It's long past time such dissent became mainstream.

--Jessica Clark

Education: C.J. Prentiss
An African American from Ohio, C.J. Prentiss has the background needed to confront the key tasks of any education secretary: maintaining a focus on student achievement, closing the achievement gap and mobilizing a broad constituency to demand reform beyond the current emphasis on teaching children to fill in bubbles on standardized tests.

For more than a quarter-century, Prentiss has been a legislator, policy-maker and community activist adept at building bridges among diverse groups. She currently heads a new initiative by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to increase the state's graduation rate for African-American males.

Prentiss began as an organizer in the '80s, working on literacy campaigns in housing projects. She went on to serve 15 years in the Ohio legislature, rising to become the Democratic leader in the Ohio Senate. For eight years, Prentiss also headed the Education Committee of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

She has developed initiatives that put into practice oft-stated goals of investing in children, involving parents and community, changing teacher practices, and closing the achievement gap. She demands more of teachers and schools, but refuses to scapegoat them: a delicate balance essential to any meaningful reform.

Because education is primarily a state responsibility, such a background will serve Prentiss well as education secretary.

--Barbara Miner

Urban Development: Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Jarrett's blue-ribbon résumé delivers a potent blend of corporate, government and civic "street cred."

Jarrett, 51, is CEO of the Habitat Co. -- a clout-heavy Chicago real estate firm -- and the court-appointed overseer of the city's massive plan to transform its notoriously decrepit public housing developments.

A lawyer by trade, Jarrett has served as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's deputy chief of staff and planning commissioner, and has chaired the boards of the Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Stock Exchange.

In 1991, Jarrett recruited Obama's then-fiancée Michelle Robinson, for a job in Daley's office. But first Jarrett had to pass muster with Obama. They sealed the deal over dinner, and today, Jarrett is a tight family friend and indispensable Obama confidante.

She's well prepared for the treacheries of the Washington Beltway. Jarrett has stood down an array of Chicago characters, like cranky transit riders, vociferous public housing activists and mendacious aldermen. Friend and foe consider her a no-nonsense, astute operative.

The first woman at Housing and Urban Development's helm will need to navigate multiple threats to the American Dream of home ownership: the subprime loan debacle, an affordable-housing crisis and skyrocketing foreclosures, to name a few. Whatever her prescriptions, she'll have the president's ear.

Then again, Jarrett -- who has been called "the other side of Obama's brain" -- may be better suited for a Karl Rove-ian role in the White House.

--Laura Washington

Attorney General: Charles Ogletree Jr.
For the post of attorney general in an Obama administration, Charles Ogletree Jr. would be a good choice.

Ogletree, a tireless advocate for social justice causes, is the founder and director of the Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, which focuses on issues relating to race and justice, sponsors research and provides policy analysis.

Ogletree is another one of Obama's Harvard professors-turned-adviser. He counsels the candidate on constitutional and criminal justice issues. He would be the perfect antidote to a justice department poisoned by illegal, politicized hiring, a reprehensible tolerance for torture and a refusal to enforce civil rights legislation.

Before joining the Harvard faculty in 1985, Ogletree served as a public defender in the District of Columbia, a position that helped shape his focus on civil rights and criminal justice issues. He has since earned a reputation as a brilliant legal theorist.

In 1991, he was legal counsel to Anita Hill during the Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Ogletree has also been a prominent media presence, moderating several PBS forums and serving as a commentator on national news programs.

He is author of several books, including From Lynch Mobs To The Killing State: Race And The Death Penalty In America in 2006, and the 2004 book All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half Century of Brown v. Board of Education.

Ogletree is co-chair of the Reparations Coordinating Committee, a group of attorneys pursuing a legal route to reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans.

In 2000 and 2002, the National Law Journal named him one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America."

--Salim Muwakkil

Agriculture: Jim Hightower
Two current U.S. senators would make excellent secretaries of agriculture.

One is Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Harkin has been a committee chair and leader on agriculture issues, opposing deregulation and favoring supply management, conservation, antitrust actions and many progressive policies -- only some of which he has managed to put into law.

The other is freshman Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), an organic farmer with a distinctive flat-top haircut. Tester is a populist who is sympathetic to environmental issues and critical of corporate globalization. He might push more comprehensive reform than Harkin would.

But here's the problem: Both are needed in the Senate.

Luckily, Obama can call on Jim Hightower, who is best known for his crusading print and radio journalism and his pithy, punchy, populist proverbs -- like his book title, "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos."

But the funny, feisty Hightower also knows his farm and food issues. As Texas Agriculture Commissioner from 1983 to 1990, he promoted organic agriculture, alternative crops (like wine grapes and native plants), direct international marketing by small farmers, strong pesticide control and comprehensive environmental management.

Hightower would be a cheerfully combative complement to Obama's ultra-cool post-partisanship (although he may have been too post-partisan for some Democrats by supporting Ralph Nader in 2000).

If Obama ever needs a Cabinet member to attack the fat cats who keep the sweet stuff for themselves on the top shelf -- out of reach for the little guy -- he could send Hightower, who would perform the task with glee.

--David Moberg

Homeland Security: Donald J. Guter
Retired Rear Adm. Donald J. Guter, one of the many principled military lawyers who voiced strong opposition to the failed policies of the Bush administration, would make a great secretary of homeland security.

Guter was the Navy's top lawyer from 2000 until retiring in 2002, after 32 years of service. (He was also in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.)

One of the first insiders to challenge then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Guter waged an internal battle against the military tribunal system, arguing that it was inherently unjust.

In 2003, he was one of three high-ranking military officers to file an amicus brief on behalf of detainees being held indefinitely at the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay.

Last year, when Attorney General Michael Mukasey was mumbling murky answers about the legality of waterboarding during his Senate confirmation hearings, Guter and three other retired military lawyers sent a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), arguing that "waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal." He is currently dean of Duquesne University's law school.

First order of business for Guter as secretary of homeland security? Change the department's awful, Third Reich-sounding name. Next, he should work closely with the attorney general to restore the full rule of law, from which true security derives, by abolishing racial and religious profiling, repudiating programs that encroach on the privacy rights of citizens (warrantless wiretapping, spy satellites on domestic targets, and the like), and implementing a humane and equitable immigration policy.

--Moustafa Bayoumi

FEC Chairman: Spencer Overton
If Barack Obama is elected, he would take office with arguably more knowledge about what's wrong with our current election system -- and how to reform it -- than any president since the framers of the Constitution. At the University of Chicago, Obama taught election law courses covering public financing, the Electoral College, proportional representation and universal voter registration. He has sponsored state legislation to establish instant runoff voting and federal legislation to stop deceptive electoral practices.

As a result, Obama's choice to head the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which regulates campaign finance legislation and provides a bully pulpit for improving democracy, should be a good one. He could do little better than George Washington University law professor Spencer Overton.

A visionary academic grounded in reality, Overton has served on the boards of Common Cause -- a nonprofit that advocates for an open and accountable government -- and of Demos -- a nonpartisan public policy research and advocacy organization. He has written widely on campaign financing and knows the rules, regulations and needed reforms.

More than one in four eligible U.S. voters is unregistered to vote, and campaign finance inequities are worse than ever. Moreover, our system's winner-take-all rules make most voters spectators in presidential and congressional races.

With more than 12,000 jurisdictions making independent decisions affecting federal elections -- often with limited guidance and insufficient funding -- a strong FEC member is needed to revamp the country's antiquated, voice-suppressing, vote-wasting elections, and to unify a partisan commission. Overton would bring the passion, knowledge and civility necessary to do just that, and ensure every vote counts and every vote matters.

--Rob Richie

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Maj. Ladda "Tammy" Duckworth
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the federal government's second largest department (after defense). With an annual budget of more than $90 billion, the VA employs more than 230,000 people at hundreds of VA medical centers, clinics and benefits offices that assist many of the 60 million U.S. veterans and their families.

But the Bush administration has woefully mismanaged the department, which is suffering from overcrowded facilities, lenghty waiting lists and a backlog of disability claims. The present state of affairs is the result of poor leadership and a failure to anticipate and allocate the requisite funding to support the needs of an escalating veteran population.

According to Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz, "The number of disability claims exceeds 600,000, with another 1.6 million claims expected in the next two years." Overcrowded VA mental health facilities cannot provide comprehensive care to the hundreds of thousands of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Not surprisingly, the suicide rate among veterans and service members is the highest it has ever been.

Maj. Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee pilot of the Iraq War, has the character and credentials to serve as our nation's secretary of veterans affairs. Her years of distinguished military service and her firsthand knowledge of the VA system -- she has served as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs since 2006 -- would serve her well.

Duckworth is the best choice to deliver what millions of veterans need -- and have failed to receive from the current administration.

--Luis Carlos Montalván

Health & Human Services: Kathleen Sebelius
For secretary of health and human services, Obama would do well to pick Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Three major obstacles face the next secretary. One, tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance. Two, any attempt to deal with this crisis will result in the private insurance industry -- and its lobbyists -- swooping in to turn policy changes into a windfall for itself. And three, for eight years, the department has been crippled by low morale and staff departures caused by Bush administration mismanagement.

The next secretary must have the ability to help undo this damage.

Sebelius has shown independence from the healthcare industry. While serving as Kansas insurance commissioner from 1995 to 2003, she rejected an attempt by Anthem insurance company to buy out Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. As governor, she has challenged the pharmaceutical industry by advocating for the import of prescription drugs. She also set up a state agency to work on plans to obtain better prices for prescription drugs and other healthcare services.

Sebelius has a strong background in health policy, having served on President Clinton's Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry.

Most importantly, her experience as a governor could provide her with the needed executive ability to fill this vital post.

--Ramon Castellblanch

Treasury: Elizabeth Warren
If treasury secretaries have legacies, the two with the most memorable in the last 16 years are Clinton Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin and recent Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. At different points in their careers, both men championed extremist free-trade policies, had a hand in the deregulatory policies that led to corporate meltdowns; contributed to boom-bust cycles; and spent time heading investment banking behemoth Goldman Sachs. Perhaps the latest financial meltdown will break Goldman Sachs' death grip -- and maybe, just maybe, Elizabeth Warren will be the first woman to head this key department.

A renowned Harvard Law professor, Warren may seem an unconventional choice for a position typically held by a business titan. But a presidency whose economic prospects will pivot on cleaning up conservatives' laissez-faire wreckage could use a tough-minded regulator at the helm of the government apparatus responsible for collecting taxes and policing Wall Street. Warren fits that description perfectly as one of the nation's leading experts on the laws and regulations that the treasury department is supposed to enforce, but too often doesn't.

Having made national headlines as a bestselling author and a leader in the fight against the lobbyist-written Bankruptcy Bill of 2005, Warren would set a new tone for a treasury department that has often been a bought-and-paid-for appendage of Corporate America.

--David Sirota

David Sirota is a senior editor at In These Times and author of The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington (Crown Publishers). For a full list of biographies, click on “More Information.”

Please consider subscribing to the print edition and supporting independent media: http://www.inthesetimes.com/subscribe/
This article is permanently archived at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/main/article/3933/
* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 8th, 2008, 03:28 PM
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy

John Bowe


Why is BuzzFlash offering such a "down" book during a week of celebration because democracy was saved by a whisker on Tuesday?

Because this is what progressivism is all about, continuing to tackle the injustices in our society.

And what could be more unjust than virtual slavery?

From Publisher's Weekly:Starred Review. In this eye-opening look at the contemporary American scourge of labor abuse and outright slavery, journalist and author Bowe (Gig: Americans Talk About their Jobs) visits locations in Florida, Oklahoma and the U.S.-owned Pacific island of Saipan, where slavery cases have been brought to light as recently as 2006. There, he talks to affected workers, providing many moving and appalling first-hand accounts. In Immokalee, Florida, migrant Latino tomato and orange pickers are barely paid, kept in decrepit conditions and intimidated, violently, to keep quiet about it. A welding factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma imported workers from India who were forced to pay exorbitant "recruiting fees" and live in squalid barracks with tightly controlled access to the outside world. Considering the tiny island capital of Saipan, Bowe explores how its culture, isolation and American ties made it so favorable an environment for exploitative garment manufacturers and corrupt politicos; alongside the factories sprouted karaoke bars, strip joints and hotels where politicians were entertained by now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The detailed chapter gives readers a lasting image of the island, touted a "miracle of economic development," as a vulnerable, truly suffering community, where poverty rates have climbed as high as 35 percent. Bowe's deeply researched, well-written treatise on the very real problem of modern American slavery deserves the attention of anyone living, working and consuming in America.

So, let's keep doing our homework and continuing our advocacy from the bottom up for change. Obama can't do it without us.

From Random House, the publisher:
Most Americans are shocked to discover that slavery still exists in the United States. Yet 145 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, the CIA estimates that 14,500 to17,000 foreigners are “trafficked” annually into the United States, threatened with violence, and forced to work against their will. Modern people unanimously agree that slavery is abhorrent. How, then, can it be making a reappearance on American soil?

Award-winning journalist John Bowe examines how outsourcing, subcontracting, immigration fraud, and the relentless pursuit of “everyday low prices” have created an opportunity for modern slavery to regain a toehold in the American economy. Bowe uses thorough and often dangerous research, exclusive interviews, eyewitness accounts, and rigorous economic analysis to examine three illegal workplaces where employees are literally or virtually enslaved. From rural Florida to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the U.S. commonwealth of Saipan in the Western Pacific, he documents coercive and forced labor situations that benefit us all, as consumers and stockholders, fattening the profits of dozens of American food and clothing chains, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, McDonald’s, Burger King, PepsiCo, Del Monte, Gap, Target, JCPenney, J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, and others.

In this eye-opening book, set against the everyday American landscape of shopping malls, outlet stores, and Happy Meals, Bowe reveals how humankind’s darker urges remain alive and well, lingering in the background of every transaction–and what we can do to overcome them.

“Investigative, immersion reporting at its best . . . Bowe is a master storyteller whose work is finely tuned and fearless.”
–USA Today

“A brilliant and readable tour of the modern heart of darkness, Nobodies takes a long, hard look at what our democracy is becoming.”
–Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?

“Bowe dramatizes in gripping detail these stolen lives.”
–O: The Oprah Magazine

“The vividness of Bowe’s local stories might make you think twice before reaching for that cheap fruit or pair of discount socks.”
–Condé Nast Portfolio


About the Author:

John Bowe has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The American Prospect, National Public Radio’s This American Life, McSweeney’s, and others. He is the co-editor of Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs, one of Harvard Business Review’s best books of 2000, and co-screenwriter of the film Basquiat. In 2004, he received the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, the Sydney Hillman Award for journalists, writers, and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good, and the Richard J. Margolis Award, dedicated to journalism that combines social concern and humor. He lives in Manhattan.

Fight Ignorance:
Read BuzzFlash
and Spread Democracy

Fight Ignorance: Read BuzzFlash.com

:: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 8th, 2008, 03:50 PM
* * * * * * *

College Rodeo
Monday, May 21. 1951

"Fannin' and battin'" the shanks of a red-eyed Brahman bull, Harley May of Sul Ross College came winging out of the chute, absorbed three spine-cracking jolts, and ended up flat on his back on the tanbark of Fort Worth's Will Rogers Coliseum. Grinning sheepishly, May got up, dusted off his skintight blue jeans and admitted ruefully: "I didn't do so good."

It was one of the few events in which 24-year-old Harley May had not done well in the fledgling (three-year-old) National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association championships. The son of a New Mexico rancher, May helped found N.I.R.A. three years ago, ever since has been the association's "All-Around Cowboy." Last week Cowboy May, who got his riding start atop a mule at the age of two, was out to repeat in the roughest of all collegiate sports.

Wild & Woolly. The 1951 championship, backed by the fast-growing 41-college association, was not on the grand scale of the famed Pendleton Roundup, but even the old pros admitted that the kids put on quite a show. Before the competition began, the Hardin-Simmons College cowboy band came whooping into the Coliseum, followed by the Apache Belles, a 34-girl marching and dancing group from Tyler Junior College, dressed in abbreviated white satin outfits and Indian headdress. Down behind the riding chutes, the college cowboys carefully checked over their equipment—from the slick "piggin strings" (for tying calves) to the larger pieces of "rigging" (saddles, boots, chaps) that cost the more sharply dressed competitors more than $600 an outfit.

For the five days of the championship competition, 73 competitors roped and rode through the full rodeo schedule. The rough & tumble rides (for eight-second "eternities") on the 1,500-lb. brutish Brahmans* were matched by other wild & woolly events: bareback bronc riding, bulldogging, wild cow milking.

It was no game for beginners. Explained 22-year-old Cotton Rosser of California Polytechnic, who has been competing as a rodeo pro† since he was 14: "This is a sport you have to grow up with. It isn't just something you go out for."

Pounding Hooves. By the last performance ("go-round" in cowboy lingo), the contestants' gaudy shirts were in tatters, the carefully creased broad-brimmed hats had been mashed and shredded by pounding hooves, and the embroidered boots were mud-splattered. But the show was a rousing success.

Thousands of Fort Worth rodeo fans had come to watch the educated cowboys, had seen little Sul Ross College (enrollment: 1,000) of Alpine, Texas, ride off with the team title for the third straight year. Cotton Rosser's tight seat on the "rank" (i.e., fighting) stock won him individual show honors. But Sul Ross's captain, Harley May, again rode away with the All-Around Cowboy title (based on total points accumulated in year-long competition), with an all-around performance.

* To make sure that rodeo mounts will come out bucking, they are harnessed with a tight "flank" strap, fastened around the belly and croup. The strap is tightened just before the chute door opens, is quickly released again at the end of the ride.

† When legally competing for a college, N.I.R.A. recognizes a competitor's amateur standing, no matter how much money he has won in the professional circuit.

Find this article at:

Three-time world champion Harley May dies at 82

Courtesy PRCA
Monday, November 3, 2008
Harley May, a three-time world champion steer wrestler and member of the inaugural class of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, died Oct. 28 in his Santa Ana, Calif., home after a lengthy battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease). He was 82.

One of the first college-educated rodeo cowboys, May entered the pro ranks after his graduation from Sul Ross State College (Alpine, Texas) and won the first of his world championships as a Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA) rookie in 1952.

He would claim the steer wrestling gold buckle again in 1956 and 1965.

Over the course of his career, May won 44 saddles and more than 200 buckles, including championships at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days; Pendleton (Ore.) Roundup, California Salinas Rodeo, Madison Square Garden Rodeo (New York City), San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and the Calgary (Alberta) Stampede.

May was born and raised in Deming, N.M., where he worked on his father's ranch and dreamed of being a rodeo cowboy. When just a teen, he began competing in nearby rodeos and won his first trophy saddle for being the all-around cowboy at a junior rodeo at the age of 13.

His dreams of turning professional would be temporarily put on hold when he enlisted for a three-year stint in the Army Air Corps and served in the South Pacific during World War II. Upon discharge from the military, May went back to work on the ranch — but that didn't last long.

While plowing the field one day, Bill Rush, a local cowboy, pulled up to the field where May was working. As Harley approached the big convertible and matching horse trailer that he was driving, Rush told him he was hitting the rodeo trail, and that he wanted May to come along. "That was all it took," May said years later. "I raced back to the house, threw some clothes in a suitcase and headed toward the rodeo in Silver City, N.M. I think I even left the tractor running!"

Realizing the importance of a good education, May began his college career at New Mexico A&M (now New Mexico State), then later transferred to Sul Ross State, where he majored in Range Animal Science and graduated in 1951.

May was a founder of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) while still a student there and won eight NIRA titles, including the first three all-around buckles.

Always eager to do whatever he could to advance the sport, May held several high-level posts with the RCA, including president from 1957 to 1959, when the organization created the National Finals Rodeo.

He was part of the RCA delegation that went to the White House in 1959 and presented the ceremonial first ticket to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

May's last administrative position with the PRCA was as Chairman of the Competition Committee, a title he held from 1985 to 1999.

After retiring from full-time rodeo competition in 1970, May moved to Oakdale, Calif. and sold real estate through his California Ranch Brokerage for 20 years, raised paint horses, worked as an environmental engineer on a pipeline project and served as rodeo coach at his alma mater, Sul Ross State, for 3½ years.

Harley had a much more interesting life than written here. He lived well to say the least. He was a tall and handsome fellow, (you might remember he and Benny Reynolds in the Lipton Tea ads, "Out behind the chutes", which we all had a big hearty laugh about.

Harley never ceased to surprise me with what he doing; who he was marrying next, what he was up to, or with his thoughts.

He used to fly his own plane and if he were to get a bit lost, he would fly down low to read the street signs, scaring his passangers out of their wits. An end of an era, one can say. The last time I talked to him he was into living in Palm Springs and liking it. God Speed Harley. SRH

* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 8th, 2008, 08:27 PM
* * * * * * *


My Chance Encounter With Obama in Hawaii
Sat Nov 8, 2:45 pm ET
It was three days before the new year in late 2006, and I was eating a burger with the traveler and writer Paul Theroux on Oahu's North Shore. Beside us in the rickety little shack was a quintessentially Hawaiian group of Chinese Americans, African Americans, semi-Southeast Asians and kids who could have been any or all of the above, waiting for the dad in the group to bring over their avocado burgers from the counter. It took Paul and me a few seconds to realize that the dad in question - who looked like a skinny teenager - was, in fact, the freshman Senator from Illinois, who was expected to enter the presidential race in the next week or two. (See pictures of presidential First Dogs.)

We couldn't help breaking in on his private moment to say hello, and Barack Obama, intruded upon in a place he'd probably come to get away from people like us, could not have been more friendly and engaged; we felt we could have talked burgers - and places and books - with him all day. But you expect that of a politician, whose livelihood depends on winning hearts. The more remarkable thing, we both felt, was that this sparkling stranger was so much like the kind of people we meet in Paris, in Hong Kong, in the Middle East: difficult to place and connected to everywhere. Like the air of his home island (not really Eastern or Western, but a vibrant mingling of the two), he spoke for the dawning global melting pot of today. (See pictures of Barack Obama's family tree.)

It has become part of the familiar story now, repeated so often we can barely hear it, but anyone who steps out of the U.S. today, in any direction, quickly sees that the American Century has become the Global Century and that where a generation ago much of the globe was trying to look like America, now it's America that needs to get in tune with the rest of the globe. The very presence of someone like Obama shows this is possible. But the story of the 21st century so far has been of a fast-moving train that the U.S. (like its enemies) declines to board.

Everywhere I've been this year - from Jerusalem to Japan to Colombia to Italy and back again - I've heard people essentially say that America is an overweight, white plutocrat who is not only out of touch with the world but also shows no signs of wanting to grow closer to it. This is as unfair as any image - contradicted at every moment by the kindness and curiosity of many Americans - but it remains a potent one in a world where people communicate more with images than ideas and assumptions travel faster than truths. The best way to begin to correct it is to show the world a leader who can't really say how much he's African or Asian or American or just a product of their mixing in Hawaii. The point is not just that Obama will bring globalism to America; in his name, his face and his issues, he'll bring America back to the globe.

You could, in fact, say it is the questions that he draws from his experience that are as important as any answers he may come up with. How to make a peace between the black and the white inside him (or inside our cities and our country)? How to do right by our relatives in Africa without dishonoring the grandparents from Kansas who raised us? How to bring the modest Muslim school in Java together with Harvard Law School? The questions Obama has been thinking about all his life are the very ones that dominate the world today. And the mounting economic crisis only makes the construction of a wider identity - and conversing across the waters - more urgent, not less so. I happened to be in Alaska the week Sarah Palin was introduced to the world, and around me I saw the America I had grown up on: full of open space and possibility, blessed with great oil reserves and immigrants from everywhere, scenically gorgeous - but tied to the go-it-alone spirit of a "last frontier." It looked as much like the America of my boyhood as Hawaii and the burger joint looked like the America of tomorrow. The kids next to us in the North Shore shack seemed much less concerned with where they came from than with where they were headed.

Barack Obama the man is sure to disappoint some of the expectations his fans have; any man would, especially in the age of the 24/7 news cycle. But the past and the future that he speaks for are precisely the ones that belong so uniquely to the new century and the 95% of humans who are our neighbors at the global burger table. It's more than possible to make your fortune in Alaska - but I'd much rather find the future in Hawaii.

See pictures of Barack Obama's campaign behind the scenes. Go on-site.

See pictures of the world reacting to Obama's win. Go on-site to gain access to photo's and other topical articles. Just click the following link.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081108/us_time/mychanceencounterwithobamainhawaii;_ylt=AjC0XSVRmi KaB_soFhFBY9vLLJ94

View this article on Time.com

Related articles on Time.com:My Close Encounter With Obama in Hawaii
The World Sees Obama's Victory As a New Beginning for America
What Obama's Election Really Means to Black America
Obama Meets O'Reilly: No One Dies!
Editorials - The Morning After

Copyright © 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saundra Hummer
November 9th, 2008, 02:23 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

MRFF To Demand That Pentagon Immediately Cease All Connections To Obama-Bashing Ministry

Chris Rodda
Sun Nov 09, 2008
08:32:52 AM EST

Violations of IRS regulations prohibiting 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations from endorsing candidates and attempting to influence the political process were rampant in this year's election. These violations, however, are likely to be forgotten now that the election is over, and I, for one, am determined not to let this happen. So, over the next few weeks, I'll be writing about some of the worst offenders, and doing what I can to ensure that these lawbreakers are held accountable for their actions. Topping the list is a ministry that, as Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), I've been watching for months -- Revival Fires Ministries.

topic: Dominionism in US Military

Each month in our online newsletter, MRFF highlights a "Violation on Video." As the title of this feature suggests, these are videos uncovered by MRFF in which a member of our military is caught violating military regulations. This month's video stars Navy Chaplain LCDR Brian K. Waite, speaking at the 2008 Revival Fires campmeeting in Branson, Missouri. Back in June, in a post titled Christian Ministry Attacks Obama and Lies About Bibles For Our Troops, I wrote about Revival Fires' connection to the Pentagon, the attacks on Barack Obama by the ministry's founder, Cecil Todd, and the lies of Todd's son, Tim Todd, about Bibles for our troops. Since writing that post, I've acquired a video of the Revival Fires campmeeting, clips from which make up the video at the end of this post. It should be clear to anyone viewing this video why MRFF will be demanding that the military take action against Chaplain Waite, and that the Pentagon immediately cease to have any association with Revival Fires.

MRFF's investigation of LCDR Waite began last winter, when one of our volunteers stumbled upon a photo of this officer in uniform, along with his letter endorsing Revival Fires, on the ministry's website, a discovery made in the course of gathering information on the Pentagon's involvement in the large scale shipment to and distribution in Iraq and Afghanistan of Bibles carrying official Department of Defense seals on their covers. Revival Fires, "at the request of the Chief Chaplains of the Pentagon," has been shipping Bibles to Iraq, via military airlift, since 2003, and, according to a ministry press release, this "full Bible is designed and authorized by the Chief Chaplains of the Pentagon."

The investigation of Chaplain Waite turned up that his educational credentials consisted primarily of diploma mill degrees, and that he had written a virulently anti-Muslim book in 2002, which was pulled off the market when it was revealed that much of its content was plagiarized and that Waite had faked two of the endorsements on its back cover. Waite, who, as you will see in the video below, claims to have left his mega-church in Oklahoma to re-enter the military as a result of 9/11, didn't actually decide to do this until the spring of 2002, which was, coincidentally, right after his plagiarism scandal became public.

Back in March, Jason Leopold wrote two articles, Navy chaplain who called for attack on Islam finds his credentials under scrutiny and Navy chaplain fired from teaching job after report exposed his anti-Islamic views, exposing Chaplain Waite's dubious educational credentials, anti-Muslim writings, and plagiarism scandal. This led to the immediate removal of Waite from the civilian institution where he was the director of a doctoral program in military ministry, but no action by the Navy.

Waite has a very close association with Revival Fires and Cecil Todd, who clearly holds the same anti-Muslim views expressed by Waite in his book, and has appeared in uniform at the ministry's campmeetings for the past three years. Waite's photo and endorsement also currently appear on the ministry website of Cecil Todd's son, Tim Todd, right next to the younger Todd's statement:

"We must let the Muslims, the Hare Krishna's, the Hindu's, the Buddhist's and all other cults and false religions know, 'You are welcome to live in America...but this is a Christian nation...this is God's country! If you don't like our emphasis on Christ, prayer and the Holy Bible, you are free to leave anytime!' " The video below consists of clips of this year's Revival Fires campmeeting, held in June. To show the clear anti-Muslim views of Cecil Todd, and that this event, at which Chaplain Waite appeared in uniform, was not only religious, but political, the first few minutes of the video are from Cecil Todd's sermon. This is followed by clips of Chaplain Waite, which include his not quite true story about re-entering the military right after 9/11, as well as his admission that he had appeared at two prior campmeetings in uniform. Go on-site to gain access to this articles links and the video by clicking on the following URL:


Full discussion: story/2008/11/9/83252/5402
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
November 9th, 2008, 02:34 PM

Links to Information and Documentaries on Palin's Churches

Bruce Wilson
Fri Sep 05, 2008
11:46:52 AM EST
Palin’s Churches and the Third Wave Series

Link here to chronological list of the over 50 stories on Sarah Palin published at Talk To Action

Series of Documentary Videos and Supporting Articles in Palin's Churches and the Third Wave Series

The following are links to articles and videos that have been posted on Talk2action.org in an ongoing series, documenting the research on Sarah Palin's Churches and the Third Wave. They are listed in chronological order with the latest articles first. Below the links is a brief overview of the New Apostolic Reformation.

The Palin Scandal in the Living Room http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/11/5/13585/8320/

Katherine Harris, Sarah Palin Linked to Same Prayer Warfare Network http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/11/2/115526/519

Palin’s Movement Urges Godly to Plunder Wealth of Godless http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/11/1/14522/8804/

Palin’s Spiritual Warfare Network Partners With Homeland Security http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/31/115724/94/

New Report Documents Activities of Spiritual Warfare Network Tied to Palin http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/29/23723/734/
Links to PDF of 36 page report:Spiritual Mapping and Spiritual Warfare – Muthee and the “Transformations” Franchise http://www.talk2action.org.nyud.net/pages/docs/Transformation.pdf http://www.talk2action.org/pages/docs/Transformation.pdf

Palin Linked to Second Witch Hunter http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/24/125017/31

Killing Mother Theresa with their Prayers http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/20/195730/89/

Palin Anointer Muthee Fights Catholics, Witches and “Python Spirits”

Palin Put Religious War Advocate on Alaska Suicide Prevention Council

Seven Questions That US Media Have Neglected to Ask About Sarah Palin

Palin and the Apostles

Fishers and Hunters - The Continuing Saga of Christian Zionism

A Heartbeat Away or Why Palin’s Churches Matter

Buzzflash Interview with the Palin Churches Research Team

In Video, Pastor Annoints Palin, Urges “Infiltration” of Schools, Government, Business

The “Lions in the Pews”

Palin, Muthee, and the Witch- Journalists Miss the Major Story

YouTube Censors Viral Video Documentary on Palin's Churches

Palin’s Churches and the Holy Laughter Anointing, Video, Documentation, and Article

Sarah Palin’s Demon Haunted Churches, Complete Edition With videos, documentation , and article

Sarah Palin’s Churches and the Third Wave, Part Two

Sarah Palin’s Churches and the Third Wave, Part One

Direct video links:
Sarah Palin’s Churches and the Third Wave, also titled Palin’s Demon Haunted Churches

Sarah Palin, the Seven Mountains and retaking the Mountain of Business

In the Land of Queen Esther: The Unauthorized Sarah Palin Video
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/18/211616/13 ( By Max Blumenthal, produced by Michael W. Wilson, also producer of Silhouette City )

Palin's Churches and the Holy Laughter Anointing

Palin, Muthee and Killing Mother Theresa

Palin Anointer Thomas Muthee Fights Catholics, Witches and Python Spirits.

topic: All Topics

The New Apostolic Reformation/Third Wave
The New Apostolic Reformation is a recently institutionalized Protestant sect that emerged from specific Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, sometimes referred to collectively as the Third Wave. These are revivals of a 1940s and 1950s movement named as a heresy by the Assemblies of God at that time. The New Apostolic Reformation can now be defined as a distinct movement with a unique theology. The central figure in the movement, C. Peter Wagner has organized the sect structure and defined its primary theology. He declared 2001 as the beginning of the new Apostolic Age. Wagner’s extensive Apostolic network includes 500 Apostles from the U.S. and 42 other countries, each with their own network of churches and ministries, some with hundreds or even thousands. This network is interconnected with other Apostolic networks around the world who share media, conferences, schools, and training, and revivals.

The major tenets of the adherents of this sect include the belief that we are living in the final years before the return of Christ. However, they differ from other Fundamentalist Protestants in their belief that they must defeat evil on the earth and purify the existing churches before Jesus can return. Furthermore, the building of this “Kingdom of God” is not to be delayed until after the Rapture, or to be built in a heavenly sphere. They believe that they have a mandate to build the Kingdom in the present and in the physical realm. In preparation for this task, this final generation is being “imparted” with special supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit that will allow them to wage spiritual warfare and take control of the earth from the devil and an array of demons. The mandate for building the Kingdom includes their current Seven Mountains strategy for the taking control over government, arts and entertainment, media, education, family, religion, and business.

This effort includes extensive mission work around the globe featuring their well developed spiritual warfare strategies which have been published in books and videos. The goal of these spiritual warfare tactics is to take cities and communities from the territorial demons that control theses geographic areas and that they believe prevent their efforts in planting their own Apostolic churches. Spiritual warfare around the globe includes the goal of taking control of cities through the expulsion of witches and demons, and the conversion of Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and all other religions. They also believe that there must be a civil war in the Protestant church during this “Third Reformation” in order for them to purify that institution before Jesus can return. The movement has an extensive focus on youth, with several leaders specifically prophesying that those born after 1973 are to be the trainers and warriors for God’s army.



Saundra Hummer
November 9th, 2008, 02:51 PM


Hi Saundra,

An Army Space and Missile Defense engineer collected $350 million of government money to fund falsified or failed missile defense projects.

Enforce defense spending oversight! »

Michael Cantrell, the Alabama engineer, procured defense projects that he knew were a waste of money, such as the building of a new missile launching facility in Alaska. And he earned himself millions of dollars along the way. Cantrell got this money by illegally lobbying on Capitol Hill.

In an NY Times article, Cantrell stated, "We just paid for meaningless work, and there was so little oversight that no one noticed." In the article Cantrell candidly explained how easy it was to corrupt the system.

The Pentagon caught Cantrell in his illegal activity years ago but only gave him verbal warnings. The corruption continued. This is just one more example of absent checks and balances for frivolous defense spending.

Stop corruption and wasteful spending in the Defense Department. Let your elected representatives in Washington know that it's time to take a closer look at defense spending. »

Don't Let the Pentagon Get a Free Ride
Target: U.S. Congress
Sponsored by: IOUSA: The Movie

Why is it that fiscal hawks who complain incessantly about "government waste" seem to want to give the Defense Department a free pass? The Pentagon has become a bloated bureaucracy.

With the Department's budget exceeding half a trillion dollars per year including war costs, and with Pentagon waste in the billions and endemic, it's high time that our elected officials demand a full accounting of how this money is being spent. For too long, the Pentagon has been allowed to operate with poor financial management and little to no accountability.

We want a strong defense, and we honor those in uniform who serve our nation. But they are trapped in an inefficient and outdated system. At a time of record deficits and increasing economic hardship, there is absolutely no excuse for the waste and lack of oversight that has characterized the Defense Department for years, if not for decades.

Let your elected representatives in Washington know that it's time to show some leadership and finally start to cut waste within the Defense Department.

deadline: Ongoing...
goal: 25,000


Send Letter (Go on-site to use this function), see who signed this

Thanks for taking action!



Saundra Hummer
November 9th, 2008, 03:38 PM
? ? ? ? ?

An Excerpt from NewsMax. It's an article which they've posted from the American Spectator. This just floors me. It is in a NewsMax newsletter! It's an American Spectator Article. Have they lost their collective minds? This is just the opposite of what they've been espousing (propagandizing), for eons. SRH

American Spectator:
Conservatives Sold Their Souls for Bush
Conservatives lost their way by stubbornly standing behind President George Bush even as he pursued policies directly at odds with conservative principles.

That’s the core assertion that Philip Klein, a reporter for The American Spectator, puts forth in the November issue of the conservative magazine.

“While the benefit of hindsight will be required to assess the Bush presidency in its broadest sense, this is nonetheless an important time for conservatives to reflect on what the past eight years has meant for conservatism itself . . . so that conservatives can begin to examine their own behavior during this time, and thus draw lessons from their own mistakes and false assumptions,” Klein writes.

Conservatives made a big mistake by assuming “that just because Bush appealed to their own cultural sensibilities and angered liberals so much, he must be one of their own.”
Klein pointed to a series of mistakes the Bush administration made during its two terms in office, including the launch of “a costly and unnecessary” war in Iraq, the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, the appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the ballooning of the federal budget, the erosion of civil liberties, and the failure to head off the current economic crisis.

“Because of Bush’s management failures, conservative governance has become associated with incompetence for a generation of Americans,” Klein maintains.

Bush decided that the only path to victory for a Republican was to “co-opt liberalism,” the writer opines, citing the Medicare prescription drug plan and the expansion of the role of the federal government in education.

Conservatives, Klein states, “often deluded themselves into thinking they had more in common with the man than they actually did . . .

“The bottom line is that for too long, conservatives treated President Bush as one of their own, defended him ferociously, and as a result often gave him a free pass even when his policies and job performance warranted criticism.”

In the future, Klein says, conservatives should actively support policies consistent with their principles and be “more intellectually honest about the flaws of leaders who claim to be conservatives, and more willing to oppose them vigorously when they stray off course.”

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 9th, 2008, 04:33 PM

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

John Kenneth Galbraith
Whence It Came, Where It Went.


Maybe this world is another planet's hell.

Adous Huxley


He who believes that the past cannot be changed has not yet written his memoirs.

Torvald Gahlin


Love your enemies. It makes them so damned mad.

P.D. East


And on the eighth day God said, "Okay, Murphy, you're in charge!"

Author Unknown


If you cannot answer a man's argument, all it not lost; you can still call him vile names.

Elbert Hubbard


Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill


He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past.

George Orwell.


Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

Edmund Burke


I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism

P D James


One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.

John Stuart Mill


History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

Martin Luther King Jr


Saundra Hummer
November 9th, 2008, 06:04 PM
. . . . . . .


Sunday Nov 09, 2008

72 days to inauguration —
Obama: 'Just give me the ball' —
Sunday-show viewers get 'the new, coy Rahm Emanuel'

Nov 09, 2008
11:35 AM EST

GOPersheading to Iowa – Opening agenda: 'Big bang,' or baby steps? -- Birthdays: John F. Harris, who celebrated by appearing on 'Face the Nation'; Sean Redmond

Good Sunday morning. BREAKING: Incoming White House Chief of Staff RAHM EMANUEL tells George Stepanopoulos on ABC's 'This Week' that a middle-class tax cut will remain one of President-elect Obama's first proposals. During the campaign, Obama promised a $1,000 'Making Work Pay' tax credit. Emanuel's chief message for the day: 'We have a huge economic crisis here at home that is looming large. That is going to be the focus of his policies. ... The business of what we have to do when we get sworn in is focusing on what the American people care about. Priority 1 is the economy.'

Emanuel, on CBS's 'Face the Nation,' told Bob Schieffer about the timing of the economic team announcement: 'You should know -- one cautionary note. In past times, there hasn't been announcements until December. But he has already been meeting, going through the names. He's already participated in a couple of meetings to review people for key economic slots.'

But transition chief JOHN PODESTA teases on 'Fox News Sunday': 'Across the board, whether it's national security, the economy, the senior leadership that will manage health care, energy and the environment, I think he intends to move very quickly. And you know, he's beaten a lot of records during the course of the campaign. I think people probably don't know this, but with the exception of President Bush 41, which was an intraparty transition, no new president has named a cabinet secretary before December, going back through the Kennedy administration.
And I think we're moving aggressively to try to build out that core economic team, the national security team, and you'll see announcements when they're ready.'

DAVID BROOKS, following Emanuel on 'Face': 'Suddenly, the new, coy Rahm Emanuel. You know, next thing he'll be Mr. Peaceful. He's been reading the history books. And FDR faced this exact problem in 1932. He was elected, people wanted him to get immediately involved, before the inauguration, and solve the crisis. And he held back, and he took a lot of political hits for it. Because he said on inauguration day, I want that to be the clean break, not election day. And I want to be able to come in on inauguration day totally fresh.'

OBAMA TO MAKE QUICK USE OF EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY -- On Fox, Podesta told Chris Wallace that the transition reviewing President Bush's executive orders: 'On stem cell research, on a number of areas, you see the Bush administration even today moving aggressively to do things that I think are probably not in the interest of the country. They want to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah that they're going to try to do right as they -- walking out the door. I think that's a mistake. ... We're looking at -- again, in virtually every agency to see where we can move forward, whether that's on energy transformation, on improving health care, on stem cell research. There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that to try to restore the -- a sense that the country is working on behalf of the common good, that we're going to try to restore wages, give people the right kind of ways that they can build on their own lives, and when they work hard that they'll be rewarded for it.'

***Podesta said that in planning the agenda, the transition is aware of the 'danger of trying to, I think, sort of, if you will, clutter the agenda.'

Also on Fox, Rep. ERIC CANTOR (R-Va), running to be the second-ranking Republican in the House (minority whip), said: 'I think that the Republicans in Congress will stand ready to work with this new president. ... There is going to be, I think, a willingness to try and get things done. But at the end of the day, I think you will see a Republican Party in Congress serving as a check and a balance against Mr. Obama's power and Speaker Pelosi's power.'

VALERIE JARRETT on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' per AP, told Tom Brokaw that Michelle Obama as first lady will be focused on her two daughters and has no interest in 'co-president' or having a seat at her husband's decision-making table. Jarrett says Michelle Obama first will get her daughters -- 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha -- settling into their new life at the White House. Jarrett says Michelle Obama wants to get to work helping women juggle a career and motherhood. She's also interested in helping military spouses and promoting volunteerism.

THE BIG IDEA – Peter BAKER, lead story of The New York Times, on the opening agenda: 'The debate between a big-bang strategy of pressing aggressively on multiple fronts versus a more pragmatic, step-by-step approach has flavored the discussion among Mr. Obama's transition advisers for months, even before his election. The tension between these strategies has been a recurring theme in the memorandums prepared for him on various issues, advisers said.'

Politico's John Harris, on 'Face the Nation': 'The only way he could pursue the big-bang theory is if all the talk about wanting to create a bipartisan tone in Washington, he's willing to sacrifice that. Because it would only be on an all- Democratic basis that you would get an agenda that ambitious done. I do think there are sort of two theories of presidential power at stake here. One says you're never more powerful than on January 21st, the day after inauguration, and you spend down that account, and you better get as much as you can, because it's going down. The other [is] ... there's a slow but steady approach that says a president can, by doing modest things first, getting them done, being effective, build up reservoirs, and so you can actually have more leverage, more power in your two, three and four than you do in year one. And we are really looking for clues as to which theory Obama believes.'

On 'Week,' Emanuel punts on whether Senator Lieberman, who supported McCain, should remain chairman of the Homeland Security Committee: 'What happens on the House and Senate, on chairmanship is their business.'

OTHER WIRE HEADLINES: Bloomberg: 'Emanuel Says Auto Industry Essential Part of U.S. Economy.'
Reuters: Emanuel -- 'Don't link stimulus with trade pact.'

CHRIS WALLACE: 'Starting next Saturday at 9 p.m., I'll be hosting a five-part series on Fox News Channel, 'Television and the Presidency.'

OBAMANIA: TIME magazine, after printing 100,000 extra copies of its Barack Obama commemorative issue with a cover photo from the victory speech in Chicago, has gone back to press twice, printing hundreds of thousands more.

***Senator McCain will make his first post-election appearance on ... Jay Leno. On Tuesday, Veterans Day.

'JUST GIVE ME THE BALL'-- Ryan LIZZA, in The New Yorker, on 'How Obama Won': 'Obama, who is not without an ego, regarded himself as just as gifted as his top strategists in the art and practice of politics. Patrick Gaspard, the campaign's political director, said that when, in early 2007, he interviewed for a job with Obama and Plouffe, Obama said that he liked being surrounded by people who expressed strong opinions, but he also said, 'I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director.' After Obama's first debate with McCain, on September 26th, Gaspard sent him an e-mail. 'You are more clutch than Michael Jordan,' he wrote. Obama replied, 'Just give me the ball.' ...

'In July, after Obama toured the Middle East and Europe, and spoke in Berlin at a rally where two hundred thousand people came to cheer him, a McCain ad compared Obama to Paris Hilton. ... 'We've had a 'presumptuous watch' on since then,' [senior adviser Anita] Dunn said. .... The campaign kept Obama away from celebrities as much as possible. A Hollywood fund-raiser with Barbra Streisand became a source of deep anxiety and torturous discussions. The campaign was on the phone for days trying to make sure it was going to work, and almost cancelled it. In Denver, celebrities who in past Presidential campaigns would have had major speaking roles were shielded from public view. ...

'Much of the Obama campaign was consumed with making the candidate look Presidential. The theory was that the [up-for-grabs voters] wanted to be for Obama, but needed some help visualizing him as Commander-in-Chief. His aides had a term for the process of getting voters comfortable with a President Obama: 'building a permission structure.' Bill Burton explained it this way: 'There were a lot of questions about Senator Obama from the start. Who is he? What's with the name? Is America ready to vote for a black guy for President?' There were four major moments in the general election-Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe, his selection of a running mate, his Convention speech, and the debates-and each was designed to add another plank to the permission structure.'

NOT 'THE ONION' – REPUBLICANS HEAD TO IOWA -- Politico's Jonathan Martin: 'Two potential candidates will be in Iowa before month's end, multiple prospects - almost certainly including Sarah Palin - will make high-profile appearances next week at the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) meeting and Newt Gingrich's name has already being floated in a Bob Novak column. For a party anxious to move past a brutal election up and down the ballot, and especially a presidential campaign they'd just as soon forget, it's not too soon to start thinking about 'next time,' as the pros call it. ...

'Huckabee, winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, returns to the Hawkeye State on November 20th for stops in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines to hawk his new book, 'Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America.' Huckabee, who is making his trek in a campaign-style bus with his likeness emblazoned on the side, is also slated to make five stops in South Carolina. ...

' Jindal, elected governor of Louisiana in 2007 after serving in Congress and holding health care posts in state and federal government, makes his first trip to Iowa on November 22nd. He's keynoting the statewide banquet of the Iowa Family Policy Center, a Christian conservative group, in suburban Des Moines and will tour flood-ravaged Cedar Rapids, offering his insights as a hurricane-state governor to state and local officials. ... Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, who wanted Jindal to be McCain's vice-presidential nominee this year, said flatly: 'Jindal will be president. I don't know the year.'

Also on JMart's short list: Governor Romney, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Vice President GORE writes a New York Times Op-Ed, 'The Climate for Change': 'What follows is a five-part plan to repower America with a commitment to producing 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years. ... First, the new president and the new Congress should offer large-scale investment in incentives for the construction of concentrated solar thermal plants in the Southwestern deserts, wind farms in the corridor stretching from Texas to the Dakotas and advanced plants in geothermal hot spots that could produce large amounts of electricity. Second, we should begin the planning and construction of a unified national smart grid for the transport of renewable electricity from the rural places where it is mostly generated to the cities where it is mostly used. ...

'Third, we should help America's automobile industry (not only the Big Three but the innovative new startup companies as well) to convert quickly to plug-in hybrids that can run on the renewable electricity that will be available as the rest of this plan matures. ... Fourth, we should embark on a nationwide effort to retrofit buildings with better insulation and energy-efficient windows and lighting. Approximately 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States come from buildings - and stopping that pollution saves money for homeowners and businesses. ... Fifth, the United States should lead the way by putting a price on carbon here at home, and by leading the world's efforts to replace the Kyoto treaty next year in Copenhagen with a more effective treaty that caps global carbon dioxide emissions and encourages nations to invest together in efficient ways to reduce global warming pollution quickly, including by sharply reducing deforestation. Of course, the best way - indeed the only way - to secure a global agreement to safeguard our future is by re-establishing the United States as the country with the moral and political authority to lead the world toward a solution'.

HOPE YOU'RE SITTING DOWN – WashPost lead story, 'Preparing for the Obama Era: Bush Officials and President-Elect Working Together On Pressing Issues,' By Robert Barnes, Dan Eggen and Anne E. Kornblut: 'Faced with one of the most important transfers of presidential power in American history -- amid wars on two fronts, the looming threat of terrorism at home and a full-blown economic crisis -- the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama team have responded with exceptional cooperation on those issues, aides and outside experts say. Serious decisions, and potentially divisive ones, still remain for the politically and ideologically divided camps, such as access to classified information and, in particular, battles over the regulations and executive orders that will define the policy of the two administrations. But the days since Tuesday's election have shown a striking level of comity following the rancor of the campaign, enhanced by President Bush's months-long efforts to pave the way for a smooth transition and President-elect Barack Obama's preelection determination to move quickly.'

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY, at Virginia Military Institute yesterday: 'As President Bush and I finish our terms of office, we will ensure smooth and graceful transition of power to President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden, as they take up the duty of protecting America. In the struggle at hand, the stakes remain high, but I am confident of the outcome. Those who hate America are no match for those who love America. (Applause.)'

TALK RADIO ALERT – N.Y. Daily News cover, 'YES, I WILL TAX RICH: Obama tells doubters he'll let W's tax break for wealthy run out,' By Kenneth R. Bazinet: 'For the rich, the party is over - as promised. Despite speculation to the contrary, President-elect Barack Obama will act on his campaign promise and roll back the Bush administration's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, an Obama senior adviser told The Daily News. The Obama camp rejected the overnight analysis by some pundits who speculated the language at his first news conference Friday suggested the President-elect was backing away from his tax plans. 'No change to the tax plan - at all,' the aide said.'

SCOOP – FULL-TEXT MEMO-- Politico's Alexander Burns: 'TO: Obama Foreign Policy Experts FROM: Tony Lake and Susan Rice DATE: November 7, 2008 RE: Thank You We want to thank you, and thank you again, for all that you have done to help elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Your wisdom and expertise have been invaluable. We will remain extremely grateful for your incredibly hard work and for your many personal and collective contributions.

'We are obviously entering a new phase now with the transition. The transition will be a separate operation from the campaign, which is now disbanding. So too must our foreign policy expert teams disband. The transition operation will be brief and comparatively lean. Given the need to complete this work expeditiously and efficiently, please understand that only a limited number of people will be able to support those activities. But, please also be assured that participation in the transition is in no way a prerequisite to, nor an assurance of, being offered any position in the Obama-Biden administration.

'Finally, and importantly, we ask each of you please do not under any circumstances speak to the press, any foreign officials, or embassies on behalf of the transition or President-elect Obama. Please also do not encourage solicitation of such contacts. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of this request. It would be highly damaging for foreign governments or media to receive information that they believe falsely to represent the views of the President-Elect.'

BREAKING – AFP, 'More than 20 dead in Russian nuclear sub accident: At least 20 people were killed and 22 injured in an accident on a Russian nuclear submarine in the Sea of Japan, the navy said Sunday, the worst such incident since the 2000 Kursk disaster.'

AP, 'Obama and Russian president Medvedev chat on phone': 'President-elect Obama spoke to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday as the future American leader had another round of phone calls with leaders in other nations. ... A Bush administration plan for setting up a missile shield close to Russia's borders has been a sore point with the Kremlin and has served as another dent in its battered relationship with the U.S. On Wednesday, the day after Obama's election, Medvedev threatened to move short-range missiles to Russia's borders with NATO allies even as the U.S. offered new proposals on nuclear arms reductions as well as missile defense. ...

'Obama foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough said Saturday that Obama had 'a good conversation' with Polish President Lech Kaczynski about the American-Polish alliance but that Obama had made no commitment on the missile shield plan. 'His position is as it was throughout the campaign, that he supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable,' McDonough said. That was in contrast to a statement issued by the Polish president. Kaczynski said Obama 'emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership of Poland and the United States and expressed hope in the continuation of political and military cooperation between our countries. He also said that the missile defense project would continue.'

THE ONLY STREET NOT CELEBRATING -- A coverline on this weekend's BARRON's: 'Presidential Rally Turns to Post-Election Rout.'

AP: 'Obama's election was preceded by a big rally, during which the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index surged 18.3 percent in six sessions up through Tuesday. This was followed by a two-day loss of about 10 percent in the major indexes, including a 929-point drop in the Dow, as investors turned their focus once more to the economy's woes.' The marts were back up Friday. 'For the week, the Dow fell 4.1 percent ... Paper losses for the week in U.S. stocks came to $500 billion,

OBAMA STOCK WINNERS, LOSERS -- Steven E. Levingston, WashPost's 'Investing in Politics': 'Citigroup Global Markets sees some risks. Big oil companies stand to lose from Obama's proposed windfall profits tax. The levy would go into effect when oil sells for more than $80 a barrel. Shares of brokers and asset managers could suffer from a proposed increase in the capital gains tax. Tobacco companies are targeted for a federal excise tax to support expanded children's health insurance.

'Citigroup also has identified potential winners. An Obama administration aims to grant subsidies to ethanol producers. Universal health care, which needs to keep prices low, would help generic drugmakers. Low-end retailers could get a boost if low-income families get tax cuts. Jim Wiandt of IndexUniverse.com, which focuses on index-based investing, says the profits of fast-food restaurants could come under pressure if Obama succeeds in raising the minimum wage.'

DRUDGE'S BANNER IS A PHOTO OF SPEAKER PELSOI AND 'SAVE THE CARS,' linked to WashPost front-pager 'Reid, Pelosi Urge Treasury to Extend Aid to Automakers,' By Lori Montgomery: 'In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) asked Paulson to 'review the feasibility . . . of providing temporary assistance to the automobile industry during the current financial crisis.' The letter notes that Congress granted Paulson broad discretion to use the bailout money to 'restore financial market stability. A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market security,' the letter continues, as well as to 'the overall health of our economy, and the livelihood of the automobile sector's workforce.'

'If the request is granted, it would expand the federal government's role in private enterprise far beyond the financial sector. Critics have warned that a bailout of GM would attract a long line of other companies to Washington to argue that their survival, too, is critical to the economic health of the country. The move would push the Bush administration to decide winners and losers in yet another huge sector of the economy, and it would force President-elect Barack Obama to manage a complex restructuring of the ailing automotive industry.'

LOBBYING BONANZA -- L.A. Times A1, 'Economists see revival of an old fix: Public works projects, once dismissed as too slow, are on the table for again. Obama backs the FDR-era idea,' By Richard Simon and Jim Puzzanghera: 'Most experts still think infrastructure spending is a slower way to put money in consumers' hands than simply mailing out government checks the way President Bush did over the summer. What's changed is that the economic crisis now looks to be so deep and likely to last so long that a stimulus plan that pumps out benefits for months and years seems to fit the situation -- with the added bonus of providing long-term benefits to the country. ... Infrastructure spending, which is supported by President-elect Barack Obama, is expected to be a centerpiece of a $60-billion to $100-billion stimulus package Democrats may bring before Congress in a postelection session later this month.

'Lawmakers are looking at a wide range of projects, such as building new roads and repairing old ones, improving airports, and constructing schools and sewage treatment plants. They also are considering making funding available to help transit agencies buy buses and rail cars. The focus will be on job-producing projects that can get underway quickly. In a new twist, Obama and congressional leaders have talked about ensuring that a good chunk of the infrastructure spending goes to 'green jobs,' providing funds for energy-efficiency projects, for example, promoting growth while reducing oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions.'

FRIENDS OF BARACK – L.A. Times A1, Peter Nicholas: 'At the upper reaches of the Democratic Party, 'FOB' used to mean 'Friend of Bill,' as in Clinton. With Obama's victory on Tuesday, 'FOB' is the new acronym for the close-knit corps of Chicago neighbors, graduate school classmates, pickup basketball teammates and family friends of the incoming president. ... [Marty Nesbitt is one of Obama's intimates, referred to by a mutual friend as 'FOB #1.' Nesbitt, a resident of the Obamas' Hyde Park neighborhood, founded an off-airport parking operation called the Parking Spot and is chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority. As with many of Obama's closest friends, he met the president-elect through Michelle's side of the family. ... Obama is godfather to Nesbitt's 4-year-old son. And Nesbitt's wife, a physician, delivered the Obamas' two daughters. ...

'[Valerie] Jarrett is both a friend and a top advisor. In her day job, she is chief executive of the Habitat Co., a large residential property manager. Friends said they would not be surprised to see her accompany Obama to Washington. ... Jarrett met Obama in the early 1990s, when she was recruiting Michelle for a job in Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's administration. A measure of her influence is the in-box of Obama's BlackBerry. One time he was asking her the whereabouts of a memo. She told him she had e-mailed it to him and advised him to search for it by her name. He tried, but then complained: 'There are too many e-mails from Valerie Jarrett!'

HOW HE DID IT – L.A. Times A1, 'Texas in Democrats' sights: Latinos could play a role in changing the state from red to blue,' By Peter Wallsten: 'A multiethnic bloc of Latinos, blacks, young people and suburban whites helped to broaden the party's reach Tuesday well beyond its traditional base in the Northeast and the West Coast -- carrying Barack Obama into the White House and expanding the party's majorities in Congress. That new formula was evident in state exit polls and county-level election results showing that Democrats scored gains from a voting base that is growing progressively less white than the population that helped forge Republican advantages in past elections. In state after state, from GOP strongholds like North Carolina, Indiana and Colorado, minorities made up a larger share of the vote than in the past, and in each case they helped turn states from red to blue.

'A major shift in the Latino vote took place in Florida and the Southwest, where the Obama campaign spent at least $20 million on targeted appeals and organizing, including one television ad in the final days featuring the candidate reading Spanish from a script. Latinos made up a greater share of the electorate than in the past in every Southwestern state, according to exit polls compiled by CNN. And in each Southwestern state, as well as Florida, the Democrat pulled a bigger percentage of the Latino vote -- a turnaround from 2004, when President Bush cut deeply into Democrats' hold on Latinos and won that bloc in Florida, where many Cuban Americans remain loyal to the GOP.

***'The Democrats have built what looks like a coalition they can ride for 20 or 30 years,' said Simon Rosenberg, head of the pro-Democratic group NDN, which has spent millions of dollars targeting Latino voters. Obama's winning coalition, some Democrats said, could mark a turning point in history: Republicans can no longer achieve an electoral college majority with their decades-old strategy of winning whites in the South and conservatives in the heartland. Now, Democrats have a path through the Rocky Mountains and even some states in the old Confederacy.'

[B]SPOTTED: Davis White, at the Outback Steakhouse in Warrenton, Va., watching the Crimson Tide beat L.SU.
Go to Playbook Now >>

Top 5 Politico Stories

1. GOP gears up for 2012
2. Obama will stick to middle-class tax cut
3. Senate runoff a test for Obama
4. That huge voter turnout? Didn't happen
5. Obama sits out fight over his Senate seat

© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC

. . . . .

Saundra Hummer
November 9th, 2008, 06:29 PM
Impeach Bush Before He Pardons Himself
According to Seymour Hersh there is a conga line of insiders waiting until January 20th to spill the beans on the gross criminality of the Bush/Cheney administration. Waiting . . . because if they did it now the two of them would be tarred and feathered on the way out the door.

But we the people do not have to wait. We can and must demand the immediate impeachment of both Bush and Cheney for what is already known. At the very least the defiance of congressional subpoenas at the behest of the White House is an open and shut case for accountability now.

Impeach Now Action Page: http://www.usalone.com/impeach_now.php

Because as his final constitutional insult, his final spit in the face to the American people and all rule of law, it is transparently obvious that Bush is planning the most wholesale and wrongful pardon of the worst political criminals in American history, his whole criminal gang, INCLUDING himself.

And don't think that is not their precise plan. Please, what power has Bush NOT abused? What heinous, self-serving, shameless and dishonest act has he ever shied away from, when he was torturing and eavesdropping and lying us into wars of corporate aggression. Does anyone doubt that is what he is planning on doing?

And when you submit this action page, you will have one last chance to get one of the "Impeach Both!!!" caps, which after January 20th will no longer be available from us for love or for money.

Impeach Now Action Page: http://www.usalone.com/impeach_now.php

Will Congress now act? That is not the yardstick of the worth of our activism. We speak out because we must speak out, whether we are heeded or not. Let history record that we spoke out until the last minute to the eternal shame of those who did not. Because when enough of us speak out at once, the worst thing that can possibly happen is that we are building the progressive base for the REAL change of the future.

So Bush most certainly is planning on pardoning himself. And all the right wing lock down ideologues in the corporate controlled media will call it "healing". Let's all make nice with war criminals? Shall we all make nice with the gang rape of our economy, our environment and our Constitution? We think not.

And one more thing. You know that come January 20th the right wing will start calling for the impeachment of our new president, over a endless litany of the most ridiculous of trivial trifles. In fact it has already started even though he has not even taken office. If they are so hot on impeaching someone, let them speak out now, when it truly is called for, or shut the hell up in 73 days.

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at http://www.usalone.com/in.htm

Powered by The People's Email Network
Copyright 2008, Patent pending, All rights reserved

Saundra Hummer
November 10th, 2008, 01:44 AM
It's being reported that Newt is on the comback trail, however, for now, he's only putting his chubby little toes in the political waters. He is saying that if a majority of RNC members were to want him as chairman, he would be "willing to serve".

You betcha he would, and from that position of power, no telling what kind of havock he would wrought. Look back on some past history involving him. Wherever he goes, there's little whirlwinds if not down and out tornado's; all the while turning the process, along with policies upside down. His is a topsy turvy world.

It's being said that Rush Limbaugh would be his champion. No kidding! What a shock.

It's also being said that if the GOP is wanting to shift towards the middle, then Newt certainly isn't their man.

Saundra Hummer
November 10th, 2008, 03:47 PM



Bailout Watch: Bush's Subtle Scheme to Stop Obama Reforms

David Sirota
Created 11/09/2008 - 12:56pm

In his first radio address as President-elect [1], Barack Obama made this strong statement:

"[We will] ensure that the rescue plan that passed Congress is working to stabilize financial markets while protecting taxpayers, helping homeowners and not unduly rewarding the management of financial firms that are receiving government assistance."
That's an important marker - this Financial Week story [2] shows, the corporate community takes the declaration seriously. All of that is good news. As Naomi Klein ably shows [3], fixing the bailout is not just a piddling side project - if left the way it is, it could cripple the economy.

That said, it looks like the Bush administration is going to do everything it can to keep things just the way they are.

Buried in the Washington Post's paean [4] to George Bush's newfound commitment to transparency and bipartisanship, we get this nugget that suggests a more pernicious motive to the niceties:

Likewise, the administration is laying the groundwork for an unusual level of access to the Treasury Department and other agencies involved in attempts to stabilize the foundering economy. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Friday that Treasury is preparing office space that will allow Obama aides to sit alongside current administration officials.

Fratto said such efforts are intended to send a signal that Treasury's approach will not change too abruptly when Obama takes office. (emphasis added)
There you have it - in newspaper print, no less. The current administration on record saying the objective of involving Obama's transition team in Treasury decisions is to try to coerce that team into backing off Obama's own promises (to use the Times' own phrasing) to abruptly change Treasury's current approach.

Now, I don't think for a second the scheme is going to fully work. Obama's not filling his first economic declarations with promises of bailout reform with the intent of allowing a humiliated Bush administration to stop him. I may be cynical, but I'm not cynical enough to believe that Obama goes totally flaccid on this issue. He saw the presidential exit polls showing the bailout bill is more unpopular than ever. And he clearly has the capacity to understand that a poorly executed bank rescue could destroy his ability to right the economy.

That said, anyone who has worked in government knows things are never black and white. When expectations are forged, subtle pressure administered, and devilish details written, it can be difficult to convert foundational principles into federal law, especially when you are effectively sharing power with another power player (in this case, the outgoing president).

So bottom line: The bailout, because it vests so much power in the White House, is certainly something to keep a close watch on during this transition and in the early months of the Obama administration. The incoming president will have near-dictatorial control to change the program any way he sees fit, without much input from Congress at all. But the outgoing president has that dictatorial control now - and is now on record saying he's going to try to use that control to try to preemptively tie the hands of President Obama.

1825 K Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006
202-955-5665 (tel) | 202-955-5606 (fax) | www.ourfuture.org

Go on-site for the numerous links within this article, etc. Just click on the URL up above.


Saundra Hummer
November 10th, 2008, 06:33 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Should Chinese Government be Hired to Obtain Bush Administration E-mails?
Submitted by meg
on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 11:59am.
by Meg White
With the recent revelation of what seems to be the Chinese government hacking into the White House computer system and stealing information, perhaps Congress should look into hiring them.

With the inability of lawmakers such as Reps. John Conyers and Henry Waxman to get access to White House e-mails and other information, even after issuing subpoenas, this frightening news might get some wheels turning in Congress.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon admitted to being foiled by the Chinese, reportedly losing a prolonged cat-and-mouse game with persistent hackers. Other governmental agencies, from Labor to Health and Human Services to Commerce, have reported similar breaches. There are also indications that the Chinese have hacked into the computer networks of both the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns. Even Congress itself says it has been the target of Chinese hackers.

So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or at least get them working for you.

Congress has failed to get information from the White House and other government agencies in a variety of cases, including Plamegate, the illegal firing of U.S. attorneys, the rationale for going to war with Iraq, the use of RNC e-mail accounts to do government business, and warrantless wiretapping, not to mention dozens of additional subpoenas and requests for information with which the White House has refused to comply or even openly mocked.

If it's too late to impeach Bush for ignoring subpoenas, then perhaps Congress should go after the information in the only way that's shown successes: subversion.

But, in all seriousness, this is a real cause for concern. The Chinese are doing this sort of thing all over the planet, in a concerted effort to achieve "electronic dominance" over the rest of the world by 2050.

Still, they are specifically targeting the U.S. And it's not just innocuous information they seek, either. The Pentagon attack reportedly was an effort to get the technology to jam our aircraft carrier battle fleet.

The Chinese have used a variety of techniques to gain access to information at all levels of the U.S. government. This is a huge problem.

Let's hope the incoming president, with his post-Baby Boom worldview, will be as interested in defending our technology and information as the last president was in protecting oil companies' interests. If the way Obama's campaign was run is any indication, he's got a few tech-savvy people at his disposal. And let's all thank our lucky stars we didn't end up with the candidate who doesn't know how to use a computer.


^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
November 10th, 2008, 07:03 PM
:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Right-wing media feeds its post-election anger

RIGHT WING: "The game has begun," Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience of 15 million to 20 million last week.
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dive shamelessly in, talking about the 'Obama recession' and other partisan lines.
(Go on-site for photo.)

By J
November 9, 2008
Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

You have to give Rush Limbaugh a perverse kind of credit. At least when he is demonizing Barack Obama, fabricating Obama policies, blaming Obama for single-handedly causing the recession and the stock market crash, he doesn't pretend to be fair.

Opening his first post-election rant against the president-elect, Limbaugh launched in with a certain relish. "The game," he told his radio listeners, "has begun."

Sean Hannity, on the other hand, insisted on feigning a post-election detente, telling his Fox News television audience last week, "I want Barack Obama to succeed."

Didn't he think anyone would notice that, just a moment later, he was back parroting the failed campaign argument that Obama is a "mystery"?

"I fear [this] is the guy that has these radical associations 20 years ago," Hannity added, an odd way of demonstrating support for the new commander in chief.

A healthy skepticism is not only the media's right but its obligation. Indeed, commentators at many mainstream outlets -- including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal -- have already argued that Obama's best bet to succeed will be if he hews to a centrist path.

But many on the losing end of last week's election want to hold on to their anger. And there are those in the media -- led by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity -- only too ready to feed that animus, along with their own ratings.

"The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen," Limbaugh told his radio audience of 15 million to 20 million on Thursday. "Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression."

Apparently the tanking of the real estate market, record losses in the auto industry, and massive failures in the banking and investment industry have very little to do with our problems. The economic system is collapsing, Rush wants us to know, because it anticipates the tax increases Obama has pledged on capital gains and for the highest income earners.

But maybe that shouldn't be so surprising, because radio's Biggest Big Man also assures us that the Democrat welcomes "economic chaos" because it gives him "greater opportunity for expanded government." In a time when the nation calls out for cool leadership and rational discussion, Limbaugh stirs the caldron, a tendency he proved in a particularly grotesque way last week when he accused Obama's party of plotting a government takeover of 401(k) retirement plans.

"They're going to take your 401(k), put it in the Social Security trust fund, whatever the hell that is," Limbaugh woofed. "Trust fund, my rear end."

A slight problem with Limbaugh's report: Obama and the Democrats have proposed no such thing.

The proposal, in fact, emanated from a single economist, one of many experts testifying to a congressional committee.

The president-elect has thus far shown as much interest in taking over your 401(k) as he has in moving the capital to Nairobi. (If you look hard, you might find that one somewhere out there in the blogosphere, too.)

To broadcast such a report -- so drained of context as to constitute a lie -- would be a shameless act at any time. But Limbaugh needlessly stirred the fears of the millions he holds in his thrall -- making the 401(k) thievery sound like nearly a done deal. Shameless.

Hannity and Limbaugh filleted Obama's selection as chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, in a way that exposed their partisan gamesmanship.

Mainstream newspapers have filed plenty of unflinching accounts of Emanuel's tough, occasionally ruthless tactics as a Democratic congressional leader and onetime operative in the Clinton White House. That assessment of bare-knuckle partisanship Hannity seized on. But it wouldn't do to report another aspect of Emanuel's record -- his Clintonesque bent for the political center.

So the Fox-man simply created a new persona for Emanuel as, you guessed it, "one of the hardest left-wing radicals on the left."

Ever open-minded, Hannity concluded, "I think they're going to overreach, and I think we're going to see the person that I think Barack Obama is. I think he is hard, hard left."

Then, I kid you not, Hannity ended with this pledge: "We'll see. We'll give him an opportunity."

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham apparently didn't get the memo requiring Obama's opponents to sink immediately and mindlessly into rank partisanship.

The South Carolina senator, one of Sen. John McCain's closest allies in his bid for the presidency, praised Obama's selection of Emanuel as "a wise choice." He added that the new chief of staff could be a tough partisan, but was also "honest, direct and candid" and willing to "work to find common ground where it exists."

Perhaps Hannity, Limbaugh and the rest of those intent on poisoning the soil before bipartisanship can take root might recall words of wisdom from Brit Hume, a veteran newsman who is close to leaving the Fox anchor desk for semi-retirement.

The problem with the accusations of Obama being "dangerous" and "radical," Hume said on election night, "was that it just didn't fit with the man you saw before your eyes."

This from Brit Hume? I'm really at a loss for words. What is going on with him after so many years of serving up Kool Aid to the faithful, Fox's devoted following? Has he developed an aversion to it, having sipped of it ad-nauseum himself? Has he found he has a bitter taste in his mouth? I'm more than a bit surprised to see him say this. How long will it take for the other shoe to drop, I'm thinking? SRH

Rainey is a Times staff writer.



:: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 02:04 PM
+ + + + +

ADL: White Supremacist Rage Boils Over After Obama Victory
US Newswire
NEW YORK, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the aftermath of the election victory of Barack Obama, white supremacists rushed to online discussion forums to vent anger and disbelief that voters had chosen an African-American candidate as the next president of the United States.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors and exposes extremist activity and rhetoric, said anger among white supremacists and other right-wing extremists in response to Obama's victory resulted in an avalanche of vitriolic postings on racist Web sites. At one point, the chatter so overloaded the server of the most popular white supremacist Internet forum, Stormfront, that the site was temporarily shut down.

According to ADL, racists are incredulous that Obama was elected primarily by white voters and are seething with anger at the prospect of an America led by an African-American man.

"We always expect a reaction from the bigots when events occur that they believe are contrary to their interests and worldview," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While it's clear that race didn't matter to the vast majority of the American people in this election, race matters to racists."

Mr. Foxman added: "The amount of invective, anger and rage being vented on white supremacist sites in the aftermath of the election is startling. Many racists are convinced that President-elect Obama's achievement means that whites have lost their place in America, and they are predicting the beginning of a race war."

The League has posted a sampling of comments from white supremacist online discussion boards and Internet forums on its Web site at


Well-known extremists, like former Klan leader David Duke, as well as anonymous individuals online blamed everyone from white "traitors" to Jews, minorities, and Republicans for bringing about this event and destroying their vision of a race-divided America.

The white supremacist chatter on the election has focused on several themes:

-- "Tragedy" for America: White supremacist and former Klansman David Duke announced on an Internet radio show on election night that, "I believe tonight is a night of tragedy and sadness for our people in many ways ... the country is not recognizable any more." -- Predicting a "Race War:" While some racists announced that they would leave the United States, others suggested that Obama's election win would provide a catalyst that would move whites to become active racists. Some predicted the election would prove a boon to racist recruitment efforts. Still others suggested they were planning on arming themselves with guns and ammunition to defend themselves in a coming "race war." -- Calls to Violence: While making no direct threats against the president-elect, some white supremacists expressed a hope that Obama would be killed or die while in office. One racist referred to a recent alleged plot by neo-Nazi skinheads to kill Obama and minorities, expressing a hope that someone else would carry out an assassination attempt: "... hopefully he'll get assassinated before he gets into office. Just don't be (expletive) idiots about it like those skinheads were," wrote "Trellen R." An anonymous poster on white supremacist Hal Turner's blog went further: "Someone will kill him! And I will celebrate! It's just a matter of time." -- Blaming Jews: Not surprisingly, many white supremacists are blaming Jews, suggesting that Jews control U.S. government and media and promote multiculturalism. Others suggested Jews exercised control over the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

SOURCE Anti-Defamation League
2008-11-10 13:21:00

We came upon a Klan Meeting one evening in 1982, just before Halloween. It was being held in a Restaurant/Motel and in all places, it was at the Shasta Inn, in Redding, California. At first glance,, it didn't hit home with me as to what was going on, I was thinking, "Costume Party? That's it, it's an early Halloween costume party." But then I saw all of the other people in the lobby, they too were in their Klan gear, dressed in all the colors of the Klan, not just their white robes and dunce caps we are so used to seeing. There had been so much violence occuring at their meetings at that particular time, such as gun and bomb threats, cars being driven into crowds, that I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was driving a four door crew cab, and pulling a 27' long gooseneck trailer loaded with all of our gear, feed and supplies, with the 5 bulls and 1 heifer, so it took some jockying around in such a confined and small space. I was sweating it. We were heading to a ROM Hereford livestock show in Plymouth and from there we were heading to the Cow Palice for another big ROM show, and all I could think of was getting out of that crowded parking lot and quickly in case any other violence should occurr. California! The Klan! I just couldn't believe my eyes. Odd but the motel had Klan colors for their decor and large outdoor signs, in white, orange, green and purple, I had always commented on their colors when we would travel down by there, saying how odd they were, but somehow it worked, but odd that they would use such unusual colors for their place. I never put it together that it was a Klan meeting place.

So, this organized bigotry and hatred is everywhere, even in liberal and forward thinking California. Things can't get any stranger? Oh, but they can. Our daughter came upon a cross burning in Modesto, California. Scared her as well, she couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Just never forget that people with this mindset are vipers. They're terribly dangerous. SRH

+ + + + + + +

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 03:43 PM
:: :: ::


Sarah Palin:
"I'll Plow Through [God's] Door" Prematurely

By Dean Powers
November 11, 2008
In an interview with Fox News's Gretta van Susteren, Gov. Sarah Palin said she prayed God would open a door for her to the White House, but if God only showed her a closed door she would "plow through that door" anyway.

"Even if it's cracked up a little bit," Palin said, "maybe I'll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."

Reckless woman! Careless wrecking ball! Has she any respect for the Evangelical tenet that God's Will must come before self-will?

My name is Pastor Bob, I just made that up--like Sarah Palin and her phony invocation of God. Join me as I take a walk with Jesus and point out the ridiculous hypocrisy that is the life of Sarah Palin. Together, we'll discover a higher purpose, a greater calling and a deeper knowledge of the human soul.

Friends, the lesson today is: don't vandalize God's property. I know, it's not one of the Ten Commandments, but it's important. Please turn to Romans 12:1-2.

Plowing through God's doors is technically vandalism. Moreover, it's not the neighborly Christian way. God has a lot of priorities: supervising 6 billion souls is time-consuming. The last thing He wants to do at the end of the day is mend a busted up door.

Imagine the frustration. It puts me in mind of dear old Aunt Polly, reluctant guardian to Tom Sawyer... (only Tom Sawyer was a child and Gov. Palin is a Governor and soon will be a grandma).

What's next? Is Gov. Palin going to spike God's coffee? Feed God's cat cough syrup? She's prayin', but gosh-darnit, if God doesn't come through, He might just sit down on a thumb tack one of these days.

Now the Bible says,

"Therefore, brother, by the mercies of God present yourselves a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable, which is your spiritual act of worship. And do not be conformed any longer to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)

If God closes the door to the presidency of the United States, but you just "plow right on through," you are not practicing the "good and acceptable and perfect will of God," are you? You are practicing the will of Bob Vila, and God has a special place for those who bust up His doors. Ever heard of the "make My day" law? There's no wiggle room for a plea agreement.

So, friends, today's lesson reminds us to be wary of Sarah Troopergate Palin (Stalin for short). Be wary of a woman who is committed to following God's Will until it fails to meet her expectations. God neither deserves the credit nor the blame if you elect her president, ever.

Authors Bio:
Dean Danger Powers is an international man of mystery.

Go on site for the links within this article:

Original Content at:

Contact Author
Contact Editor
View Other Articles by author
:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 04:51 PM

Obama urged to scrap some Pentagon programs
Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
WASHINGTON: A senior Pentagon advisory group, in a series of bluntly worded briefings, is warning President-elect Barack Obama that the Defense Department's current budget is "not sustainable" and that he must scale back or eliminate some of the military's most prized weapons programs.

The briefings were prepared by the Defense Business Board, an internal management oversight body. It contends that the nation's recent financial crisis makes it imperative that the Pentagon and Congress slash some of the nation's most costly and troubled weapons to ensure they can finance the military's most pressing priorities.

Those include rebuilding ground forces battered by multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and expanding the ranks to wage the war on terrorism.

"Business as usual is no longer an option," according to one of the internal briefings prepared in late October for the presidential transition, copies of which were provided to The Boston Globe. "The current and future fiscal environments facing the department demand bold action."

The briefings do not specify which programs should be cut, but defense analysts say that prime targets would probably include the new F-35 fighter jet, a series of navy ship programs, and a massive army project to build a new generation of ground combat vehicles, all of which have been skyrocketing in cost and suffering long development delays.

Pentagon insiders and defense budget specialists say the Pentagon has been on a largely unchecked spending spree since 2001 that will prove politically difficult to curtail but nevertheless must be reined in.

"The forces arrayed against terminating defense programs are today so powerful that if you try to do that it will be like the British Army at the Somme in World War I," said Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information in Washington. "You will just get mowed down by the defense industry and military services' machine guns."

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, funding has grown for both the annual defense budget and emergency spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The latest Pentagon budget, for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, is an estimated $512 billion, not including more than $800 billion in additional war spending that has been allotted since 2001.

But a series of forces are now at play that make such large expenditures untenable, according to the Defense Business Board, the Pentagon oversight group that includes about 20 private-sector executives appointed by the secretary of defense.

The board, which meets at least four times a year, has a full-time staff and is an official government body. Because the board's report has not been made public, a Pentagon spokesman would not comment on it.

One factor is historical: Since the end of World War II, there have a been four periods of significant increases in U.S. defense spending; all were followed by significant decreases in funding from Congress, the group says.

Added pressure on the Pentagon budget comes from what the briefing calls "fiscal constraint in a tough economy" that is saddled with rising deficits and growing support for increased government spending in other areas.

Exacerbating the problem, according to the advisory group, are the rising costs of military personnel, their health care, and overhead. The documents estimate that more than half the annual defense budget now goes to "people costs," including $60 billion a year for the health care of service members and retirees.

They will almost certainly grow, even with a reduction in U.S. troops in Iraq, given that the Pentagon has said it would increase ground forces by more than 70,000 troops over the next few years.

That leaves dozens of weapons systems and other equipment under development as prime areas for savings, according to Steven Kosiak, vice president of budget studies at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.

"The areas most likely to get cut are acquisition and procurement," Kosiak said. "As long as the administration is committed to increasing troop strength you have to pay those people costs, and there is not a lot of flexibility when it comes to benefits."

A recent analysis by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, assessed the Pentagon's 95 largest weapons programs and found that as of March 2008 they had collectively increased in cost by nearly $300 billion over initial estimates.

"None had proceeded through development while meeting the best-practice standards for mature technologies, stable design and mature production processes - all prerequisites for achieving planned cost and schedule outcomes," the GAO said in documents published last week to help guide the presidential transition.

It added: Over the next five years, the Defense Department "expects to invest more than $357 billion on major defense acquisition programs. Much of this investment will be used to address cost overruns rooted in poor planning, execution, and oversight."

All the branches of the military are in a similar situation. The army plans to invest an estimated $160 billion in the coming years on a set of new combat vehicles collectively known as the Future Combat System. But its capabilities "are still early in development and have not yet been demonstrated," according to the GAO.

The navy, meanwhile, has continued to bust its budget for shipbuilding. The service's six most recent ship designs have experienced cumulative cost growth of $2.4 billion over original estimates, according to the GAO. Their delivery has also been delayed, on average, by 97 months.

The air force's portfolio for new equipment, meanwhile, "will demand unprecedented levels of funding," according to the GAO transition materials. Its development costs have increased nearly 50 percent above original estimates, and eight separate programs have had to report cost breaches to Congress.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - designed for the air force, navy and Marine Corps and the most costly aircraft procurement effort in history - "faces considerable risks stemming from its decision to reduce test assets and the flight-test program to pay for development and manufacturing cost increases," according to the GAO.

Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune
* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 06:30 PM
:: :: :: :: ::


Terror Officials Explore Possible Germany Link
In a series of raids, French law-enforcement officials have arrested at least 10 people suspected of being involved in weekend attacks on the French railway system. Investigators are looking into possible links to the left-wing scene in Germany.

11/11/2008 06:26 PM
Coordinated attacks on French railways stranded thousands over the weekend. Go on-site for photo and links. Just click on the URL at end of article.
French police arrested a number of people Tuesday suspected of having taken part in a coordinated series of attacks on the country's high-speed rail network that left thousands of commuters stranded and saw one train plough through two concrete slabs at 150 kph (90 mph).

The police stated that those arrested are believed to belong to a far-left anarchist group waging protests against nuclear waste that was being transported from France to the Gorleben radioactive waste storage site in northwest Germany, according to the BBC.

In Germany, these protests saw 16,000 policebattle an estimated 15,000 protesters, who succeeded in causing a 20-hour delay in the shipment of 123 tons of radioactive waste.

The arrests were carried out in three cities by members of France's anti-terrorist police force. In a statement, France's interior ministry said Tuesday that several hundred officers from the domestic intelligence service and anti-terror police had been monitoring members of the "anarcho-autonomous" movement for months.

Although 20 people were initially arrested in the raids, only 10 remain in custody, according to the BBC.

"These individuals are characterized by a total rejection of any democratic expression of political opinion and an extremely violent tone," Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told reporters, according to Reuters.

Alliot-Marie confirmed statements from the government and SNCF, France's national railway operator, that the attacks appeared to be coordinated acts of sabotage, stating: "Indications collected on the group allowed us to establish connections between the sites."

The interior minister also stated that investigators had "found that this ultra-left movement has links in five European countries" -- including Belgium, Germany, Italy and Greece -- "and in other non-European countries," according to the AFP.

The AFP also quoted a source close to the investigation as saying that anti-terrorist officials were examining "possible links between the suspects and the German hard-left, which has claimed responsibility for actions against trains carrying nuclear waste."

A spokesman from Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) told SPIEGEL ONLINE late Tuesday that his office had yet to be contacted about possible connections between the groups that allegedly carried out the attacks in France and those responsible for blocking the progress of trains carrying nuclear waste in Germany.

Sophisticated & Coordinated Attacks
The four attacks on Saturday involved sabotaging high-speed TGV lines by hooking metal bars on overhead 25,000-volt power cables. The attacks took place on lines north, east and south of Paris, causing sudden and widespread delays in traffic national traffic, Eurostar services to Brussels and London, and on Thalys routes to the Netherlands and northern Europe. Over 20,000 passengers were delayed and 160 trains disrupted as a result of the attacks, according to the SCNF.

In a separate and possibly related attack on Sunday, saboteurs placed two concrete slabs across railway tracks near the southern French town of Narbonne. The train, which was estimated to be travelling at 150 kph when it met the slabs, sustained some damage but remained on the tracks and arrived in Perpignan only an hour behind schedule. No passengers were injured.

The arrests brought relief to unions representing railway workers. Owing to the high degree of technical knowledge and familiarity needed to carry out attacks on the high-tension power cables, there had been suspicions that a railway employee might have been involved in the attacks.

Attacks on trains have been a perennial source of fear in France. In February 2004, French authorities found and safely detonated a home-made bomb planted on a railway line north of Lomiges. The bomb was linked to a group that had threatened to bomb the railways if they were not given $5 million (€3.93 million) in ransom. Other attacks have been threatened by Basque separatist guerrillas and militant trade unionists.

More recently, thousands of passengers in western France had to deal with long delays and cancellation on Nov. 1 after overhead power lines were apparently shot by vandals.

jtw -- with wire reports



Anti-Nuclear Protest Reawakens: Nuclear Waste Reaches German Storage Site Amid Fierce Protests (11/11/2008)
The World from Berlin: The Renaissance of the Anti-Nuclear Movement (11/10/2008)
'An Airplane on Wheels': Air France Plans High-Speed Train Business (09/09/2008)

All Rights Reserved

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 06:43 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

George Bush,
the Most Unpopular President
Since the U.S. Was Founded

Bob Kendall
11/10/2008 11:56:26 PM EST
Why wasn't George Bush impeached years ago? That is the question that will be asked for years.

As the Bush administration trampled what had been traditional rights, such as habeas corpus, suspected terrorists languished in Guantanamo. Numerous traditional rights were disposed of, ignoring U.S. constitutional safeguards.

But the overpowering mystery remains of why impeachment investigation proceedings never took place. The so-called religious right that worked overtime in frenzied anxiety to impeach President Bill Clinton for consensual sexual acts with an adult went wild to do everything in every conceivable way to impeach him.

One heavy-handed investigation into a real estate transaction cost the taxpayers millions and went nowhere as no laws had been broken. But these rabid do-gooders were silent when it was provable that the Iraq War was launched on lies.

Years from now the names of every congressional member who failed to act, failed to investigate every detail of how the U.S. got into the Iraq War debacle, should become public. They should be questioned as to why Geneva Convention war rules could be broken while they did nothing.
Don't think the American public stood by and refused to act in righteous indignation and outrage.

There were anti-Iraq War marches in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and many other cities throughout the U.S. But this had no effect. Perhaps if someone high up in the administration had sex at high noon on the White House lawn it might have captured their attention.

Sexual conduct of an inappropriate nature is an American attention grabber, that is for sure. But apparently U.S. service personnel returning in coffins was conveniently not show much on TV. And the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis could not get this congressional conscience to act.

No way! The U.S. was busy building the largest U.S. Embassy in the world, and trying feverishly to negotiate for 50 U.S. bases in Iraq, along with long term leases on 63 of 80 of Iraq's oil wells.

That, no doubt, whetted the appetites of the oil barons who socked it to the U.S. public with sky high oil prices. In the meantime, the U.S. was hastily demolishing the infrastructure of Iraq and 2 ½ million Iraqis fled to Iran, Syria and Jordan. Some big business cheats were flying down to earth with "golden parachutes" when they left their jobs.

The Exxon-Mobil big shot exited with nearly a $400 million bonus plus a mere million a year consulting fee, country club dues paid, and use of the company jet, of course.

All this occurred while in Nigeria, where Exxon-Mobil obtains much of its oil, its citizens are not able to earn a decent living or have clean drinking water. Sadly 80% of the oil wealth goes to 1% of Nigerians.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who formerly headed Goldman-Sachs, fared very well working there, having accumulated approximately $700 million.

Shearson-Lehman, a company that had been around 150 years, was carried to collapse by none other than Richard S. Fuld, Jr.

The New York Times on October 7 reported this:

"Richard S. Fuld, Jr. blamed the news media. He blamed the short-sellers. He blamed the government as well as what he characterized as an extraordinary run on the bank.

"Instead in his first public appearance since Lehman's collapse, Mr. Fuld said in sworn testimony before a congressional panel on Monday, that while he took full responsibility for the debacle, he believed that all his decisions 'were both prudent and appropriate given the information he had at the time.'"

Fuld approved nearly $20 million in exit bonuses for a couple of departing executives.

While all this money is leaving with these executives at collapsing Shearson-Lehman, how many millions are being lost in lifetime savings by their customers, or don't they count?

The November 8 Seattle Times tells how busy Mr. Bush is these days, cutting Medicaid services for outpatients in an article by Robert Pear of the New York Times:

"In the first of an expected avalanche of post-election regulations, the Bush administration narrowed the scope of services that can be provided to poor people, under Medicaid's outpatient services.

"John Bluford, president of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., said: 'This is a disaster for safety-net institutions like ours. The change in the outpatient rule will mean a five million hit to U.S. Medicaid accounts for about 55 percent of our business.'"

Bush has signed more executive orders than all the other presidents since the U.S.A. was founded.

How sad that he has also spent the U.S. into near bankruptcy with a national debt nearing $10 trillion, greater than all prior national debts combined, but at the same time had cut health care for the poor.


^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

November 11th, 2008, 07:24 PM
A clear confirmation of what many of us have been saying for years.


Anyone seen any Bush supporters around here lately?

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 08:23 PM
A clear confirmation of what many of us have been saying for years.


Anyone seen any Bush supporters around here lately?

The problem was, so many were saying we were un-American for daring to voice our dislike of Bush's policies (therefore Cheney's ), but we knew from previous times what those two men and those they surrounded themselves with were all about. Here's the saddest part, no one believed us and even with all of our fears, and trepidations, what these men in office did, along with those on their sidelines, exceded the worst of what we thought could happen. Then just remember how it all came about with the Supreme Court. Who would have ever thought that that body of men and women could be so corrupt? The ones that weren't, the upstanding and honest ones, being left powerless.

We with all of our fears; we found out that things were worse than even we could dream. Much, much worse. And it just went on and on, until there wasn't anything that one could look at happily as a good accomplishment, other than the Hawaii Preserve. Wish I were wrong about this, as after 9/11 I gave the Cheney/Bush team the benefit of the doubt, but that didn't last long at all. They proved over and over how right I was about them before they were ever sworn into office.

I'm with you Ron, where are the people who thought we were trying to harm our country instead of trying to protect it, as we so obviously were, and what are their memories of those times? There wasn't anything of honor coming from the Cheney and Bush administration for them to have felt proud of.

Thank goodness for new days.

November 11th, 2008, 09:22 PM
...where are the people who thought we were trying to harm our country instead of trying to protect it, as we so obviously were, and what are their memories of those times? There wasn't anything of honor coming from the Cheney and Bush administration for them to have felt proud of.
Thank goodness for new days.

Those "people" have scampered back into their holes and scurried into the woodwork. Bush being the worst president isn't the only thing that's been confirmed. I think we'll learn a lot more about these criminals next year. Obama has stated that he will seek investigations of possible criminal or unconstitutional activity in the Bush administration. Once we have an ethical Attorney General, we may very well see Rove, Gonzales, Meirs, Cheney and others being led into a courtroom. Scooter Libby will, no doubt, be pardoned by his terrorist boss. And that's a shame.

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 11:32 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

This group of Klansmen have dug a hole for themselves with this latest crime. Unimaginable. Their IQ's are in question. We are learning they're not the sharpest bulbs on the block, but as we can see by this latest crime, not having all of their smarts, doesn't make them any less dangerous.

Police Say Woman Killed at KKK Rite

posted: 59 MINUTES AGO

COVINGTON, La.(Nov. 11)-
An Oklahoma woman invited to a rural Louisiana campsite for a Ku Klux Klan initiation ritual was shot and killed after she asked to be taken back to town, the sheriff of a New Orleans suburb said Tuesday.

Eight people were arrested after authorities found the woman's body hidden under some brush, on the side of a road several miles from the remote campsite where the initiation was planned.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office / AP
Go on-site to view photo.
Alleged Klan leader Raymond Foster is charged with second-degree murder.
Investigators found weapons, several flags and six Klan robes at the campsite, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain said in a news release.
Strain said the woman, whose identity was not released, was recruited over the Internet to participate in the ritual and then return to her home state to find other members for the white supremacist group.
But Strain said the group's leader, Raymond "Chuck" Foster, 44, shot and killed the woman Sunday after a fight broke out when she tried to leave. Foster was charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bond.

Capt. George Bonnett, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said he didn't know what the initiation involved.

"We haven't completely sorted out if they finished the initiation," he said. "I assume that they had started it, but I don't know if they were finished."
Bonnett said he doesn't know if Foster has an attorney. He also said that in three years with the department, this was the first time he had seen a case involving the KKK.

Seven others — five men and two women from 20 to 30 years old — were charged with obstruction of justice and were held on $500,000 bond at the St. Tammany Parish jail. All eight of the suspects live in neighboring Washington Parish, but Bonnett said he couldn't immediately identify their hometowns.

Authorities said some of the suspects tried to conceal the crime by burning the woman's belongings along with other items at the campsite.
Strain said the woman arrived in the Slidell, La., area last week and was met by two people connected to the Klan group. She was taken over the weekend to the campsite near Sun, La., on the banks of the Pearl River. Sun is about 60 miles north of New Orleans.

Authorities said the group's members called themselves the "Dixie Brotherhood."

"The IQ level of this group is not impressive, to be kind," Strain said, adding, "I can't imagine anyone feeling endangered or at risk by any one of these kooks."

Mark Pitcavage, directive of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League, said the Dixie Brotherhood appears to be a small, loosely organized group of people.

"This is not what I would call an established Klan group," he said. "The Klan has a pretty high association with violence. Some of these guys are just crooks, sociopaths."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press

:: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 11th, 2008, 11:36 PM

Barack Obama puts a lid on lobbyists
Calcutta News.Net
Tuesday 11th November, 2008

US President-elect Barack Obama has decided to restrict the presence of lobbyists on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Mr Obama's transition chief John Podesta has said the president-elect will introduce "the strictest, and most far reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history".

Mr Podesta told reporters: "President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to change the way Washington works and curb the influence of lobbyists."

Lobbyists have long been accused of peddling favours and influence to sway legislators in making laws.

Under the anticipated new measures, Mr Obama will not allow lobbyists who petition the federal government to do any such work while working with the transition.

The guidelines will also prevent anyone who has acted as a lobbyist over the last 12 months from working on any policy area in the transition in which they had been active.


Saundra Hummer
November 12th, 2008, 07:27 PM

Citing ‘High Percentage Of Minority Vote’ In GA, Chambliss Laments Not Getting ‘Our Folks’ Out To Vote»


In last week’s election, Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) received more votes than his Democratic challenger Jim Martin but fell 0.2 percent short of the 50-percent-plus needed under Georgia law to win the election. Both candidates are expected to be headed for a runoff election next month.

Last night on Fox News, when asked why he wasn’t able to “close the deal” with Georgia voters on election day, Chambliss said that because of Barack Obama, there was a “high percentage of minority vote” and that his campaign wasn’t “able to get enough of our folks out” to vote:

COLMES: Why do you think you’ve been unable…[to] close the deal with the people of Georgia in terms of what happened on Election Day?

CHAMBLISS: Well, listen, we have, for the first time in the history the our state, a 30-day advanced vote period, and let’s give the Obama people credit. They did a good job of getting out their vote early.

There was a high percentage of minority vote, and I am tickled to death that as many Georgians as did examined their right to vote. That’s what make our election process the envy of the whole free world, but we weren’t able to get enough of our folks out on Election Day.

Watch it: (Use this link to gain access to article and the link for the video.)


Apparently, when Chambliss refers to “our folks,” he’s talking about Georgia’s white voters. He added that it’s going to be a “challenge to get them out in the runoff” but that his campaign “look[s] forward to that challenge.”

In fact, Chambliss has used racially loaded, us-versus-them rhetoric in this campaign before. Just prior to Nov. 4, Chambliss bluntly warned his white base that “the other folks are voting,” adding that the “rush to the polls by African-Americans early” has “got our side energized early, they see what is happening.”

However, it seems that Chambliss’s base wasn’t as energized as he thought.
Badmoodman Says:
Citing ‘High Percentage Of Minority Vote’ In GA, Chambliss Laments Not Getting ‘Our Folks’ Out To Vote»
- - Cracker, and I mean that in a sodium-rich, hydrogenated oil and starchy preservative kind of way.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Leftside Annie Says:
Racist slimebag. He really needs to STFU.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Badmoodman Says:
Citing ‘High Percentage Of Minority Vote’ In GA, Chambliss Laments Not Getting ‘Our Folks’ Out To Vote»
- - Chambliss is already stockpiling the hand sanitizer for his first meeting with Obama. He may even wear a latex glove.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

upside99 Says:
For what he did to Cleland alone makes him the biggest scumbag in the scumbag Repug Party. I just hope enough Gerga voters recognize for what he truly is and will not want this assklown to represent their state any more.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

upside99 Says:
Sorry for the typos in #4, entering from my Blackberry.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

jb Says:
Chambliss, representing the rich white people, and the stupid white people and the racist white people. Wow, what a constituency.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

freeman Says:
This man probably got into his post through election fraud in the first place ! There is no longer enough hate to energize the GOP’s shrinking base !The days of diebold elections and close races are over Sax .
Now it remains to be seen if by controlling both houses and the executive branch the democrats can remain more viable than the republican have managed to become !
November 11th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

avchavis Says:
OMG! I hope Chambliss loses the runoff election - what a rascist pig.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

misshusseinmolly Says:
So what does he mean by “our folks”? Surely he can’t just mean white people, since Georgia has plenty of white people, and presumably many of them voted.
No, I think he means “white, bigoted, hateful people who are idiotic enough to vote for me” — and there may be fewer of them. But apparently still enough to force a run-off.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:15 pm

freeman Says:
Are we half way through the process of the death of the 2 party system ……….Stay tuned .
November 11th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

katy Says:
think OBAMA can or will go down to help martin?
wish he would… not sure if he should, given his new status…
November 11th, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Gregor Samsa Says:
Good, let this man talk some more.
Let’s make obvious for everyone that, when Republicans say ‘we’ or ‘us’ they are talking about racist, bigoted Caucasians -the White Supremacy crowd.
The more this twit and others like him talk in those terms, the quicker their party will become the Whites-only party, and their hatemongering, race-baiting can finally slip into irrelevancy.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Buckie Boy Says:
“Our Folk”, you mean the soon to be permanent minority repukes? Those Folks?
Conservatives are on the way out, not so trendy anymore, get used to it.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Keith H. Says:
By ‘our folks’ he meant all of the over 70 crowd who are still holding on to the racists values they grew up with.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Fred Says:
Chambliss defended an ad he ran against 2004 opponent Sen. Max Cleland
No veterans in Georgia. Maybe a few of us should visit the area during the runoff.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Uncle Ho Says:
Saxby’s campaign against Cleland was the sleaziest and shameful I’ve ever seen in my entire life. What’s even more galling is, it worked.
Draft-dodging Chickenhawk Chambliss smears triple-amputee Vietnam vet Cleland. There is NO justice in this world.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:29 pm

suziq Says:
He’s gonna find out he is SO LAST CENTURY!!!!!
November 11th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Uncle Ho Says:
BTW- I think that POS ought to be the guest of honor at a blanket party of vets.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Oval12345678 aka James K. Sayre Says:
Fair honest elections in Georgia? Not with Diebold Corporation “counting the votes” in secret, with their own secret software, with not even a paltry papertrail. Chambliss stole his Senate seat in 2002, electronically. That’s how the GOP got their Senate “majority” in Jan. 2003 after electronically stealing Senate seats in Georgia and Minnesota.

Twenty-two (22) states in the 2004 election had thousands of Kerry votes flipped into Bush “votes,” electronically. The GOP electronic vote flipping and electronic election stealing machinery is still in place for use in 2010 and 2012. Return to hand-counted paper ballots as they do in Spain, Italy, France, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia and in most of the richer countries in the world.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Zimzone Says:
“That ad was very fair,” Chambliss said, “that is a lightweight ad.”
And you are a lightweight Senator, you Saxy thang…
November 11th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Dr. Hussein Matt Says:
Chambliss sounds like the poster Little Brain….blaming them darned black voters!
November 11th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Dr. Hussein Matt Says:

Uncle Ho Says:
BTW- I think that POS ought to be the guest of honor at a blanket party of vets.
He doesn’t deserve such kind treatment. Keelhauling would be more fitting.
November 11th, 2008 at 2:44 pm

trollsbwild Says:
Can’t wait when he is voted our in the runoff election. His hate and fear mongering, along with the “our folks” is sooooo yesterday.
Bye, bye, bigot!
November 11th, 2008 at 2:47 pm

CentMapleStreet Says:
Maybe, could it just possibly be getting out the base and still appealing to enough non-base to get a good percentage of their vote too ?

Let’s face it, Chamblis has done everything but drop the N-word. That alienates not only people of color but also a lot of other people too.

November 11th, 2008 at 2:49 pm



Saundra Hummer
November 12th, 2008, 07:40 PM
* * *

Sitting on top of the world

Garrison Keillor
November 12, 2008

Be happy, dear hearts, and allow yourselves a few more weeks of quiet exultation. It isn't gloating, it's satisfaction at a job well done. He was a superb candidate, serious, professorial but with a flashing grin and a buoyancy that comes from working out in the gym every morning. He spoke in a genuine voice, not senatorial at all. He relished campaigning. He accepted adulation gracefully. He brandished his sword against his opponents without mocking or belittling them. He was elegant, unaffected, utterly American, and now (Wow) suddenly America is cool. Chicago is cool. Chicago!!!

We threw the dice and we won the jackpot and elected a black guy with a Harvard degree, the middle name Hussein and a sense of humor—he said, "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher." The French junior minister for human rights said, "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes." When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours? Ponder that for a moment.

The world expects us to elect pompous yahoos, and instead we have us a 47-year-old prince from the prairie who cheerfully ran the race, and when his opponents threw sand at him, he just smiled back. He'll be the first president in history to look really good making a jump shot. He loves his classy wife and his sweet little daughters. At the same time, he knows pop music, American lit and constitutional law. I just can't imagine anybody cooler.

It feels good to be cool, and all of us can share in that, even sour old right-wingers and embittered blottoheads. Next time you fly to Heathrow and hand your passport to the man with the badge, he's going to see "United States of America" and look up and grin. Even if you worship in the church of Fox, everyone you meet overseas is going to ask you about Obama, and you may as well say you voted for him because, my friends, he is your line of credit over there. No need anymore to try to look Canadian.

And the coolest thing about him is the fact that back in the early '90s, given a book contract after the hoo-ha about his becoming the First Black Editor of The Harvard Law Review, instead of writing the basic exploitation book he could've written, he put his head down and worked hard for a few years and wrote a good book, an honest one, which, since his rise in politics, has earned the Obamas enough to buy a nice house and put money in the bank. A successful American entrepreneur.

Our hero who galloped to victory has inherited a gigantic mess. The country is sunk in debt. The Treasury announced it must borrow $550 billion to get the government through the fourth quarter, more than the entire deficit for 2008, so he will have to raise taxes and not only on bankers and lumber barons. His promise never to raise the retirement age is not a good idea. Whatever he promised the Iowa farmers about subsidizing ethanol is best forgotten at this point. We may not be getting our National Health Service cards anytime soon. And so on and so on.

So enjoy the afterglow of the election awhile longer. We all walk taller this fall. People in Copenhagen and Stockholm are sending congratulatory e-mails—imagine! We are being admired by Danes and Swedes! And Chicago becomes The First City. Step aside, San Francisco. Shut up, New York. The Midwest is cool now. The mind reels. Have a good day.

Garrison Keillor is radio host and author.

How wonderful it is that we can now, once and for all, put this shameful time, the time under Dick Cheney and GW Bush, behind us. How wonderful that the rest of the world can see what we are truly like as a nation. We still have our crazy aunt in the attic, and a relative who's in jail or going there, however the majority of us are decent and caring, and we've long been wanting better for everyone, not just ourselves. We are, after all, capable and willing to do right, to do good. Our honor is bright. SRH
* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 12th, 2008, 10:20 PM


Radio Treason: Hannity Continues Radical Anti-Obama Fearmongering

Gustav Wynn
November 12, 2008

When the election is over and the people have spoken, it's time to get behind the incoming commander-in-chief to signal to our children and the world that we are a country united in democracy. But Sean Hannity has continued his faux-panic, planting doubt and implying Obama has radical, extremist loyalties even after the argument fell flat and drew wide criticism.

Hannity can now be considered anti-American by his own measure - for years he's criticized anti-war activists of not supporting the President. Now it is he who is undermining the authority of the incoming President.

The people heard the smears on Hannity's top-rated radio and TV shows and felt there was not enough basis in fact, calling for a loftier conversation of issues. Following the historic election, Hannity continued to make the same accusations: Obama is not to be trusted, an evil side of him will emerge. The back up? Hannity specifies nothing, flailing at undefined evil, doubting the electorate's ability to decide and discern. Without tangible evidence for these claims, who is the extremist now?

Perhaps Sean Hannity's father never had that talk with him. You know, the one fathers and sons have when the kid, just learning how American politics works, sees his preferred candidate has lost and continues to bad-mouth the winner. That's when the grown-up explains the American tradition to the child. My father told me plainly, when the election is called, it's time for the whole country to get behind the new leader and give the benefit of the doubt, because we are a representative democracy.

Some call it grace, being a gentleman, sportsmanship, or showing character - but elections in America and Zimbabwe are vastly different because win or lose, Americans defer to majority rule and established laws in peaceful transitions of power between administrations, especially given our diversity and established history of party pendulum swings.

But times may be changing. Sean Hannity's post-election broadcasts continue the same impugning of the incoming President's character McCain himself hesitated to use, because it was based more on conjecture then the concrete. Hannity's arguments ignore or distort Obama's policy proposals, for example telling listeners Obama wants to raise their taxes when most would receive a net tax cut under the new structure. Hannity also emphasizes a trillion in new spending without factoring in the expected military cuts that would greatly offset this.

Throughout the campaign, Sean's tactics were almost exclusively unsubstantive and negative, hinging on indeterminate musings and speculation. Hannity's plan was to plant suspicion based on radical theories - Obama as terrorist, Muslim, Marxist, racist, anti-American, election cheat, you name it.

It's true a handful of Barack Obama's past associations have detracted from his storybook narrative, but the level to which these relationships were used to smear Obama were alarmingly disproportionate to any facts established. Relative to known scandals marring our other choices, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Obama's were minute, only affirming that the idea that insider experience in this Congress was exactly what swing voters opposed. They heard the allegations, followed the discourse on Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko, made their decision and moved forward.

Unfortunately, all sides in campaigns use isolated clips today to magnify misstatements, inconsistencies and embarrassing photos, but to continue doing so beyond election day is particularly suspect. Though our expectations for media have sunk, parents and educators in particular know we set examples of moral authority for our young. Broadcasting for perpetual discord shows a deliberate intent to pit Americans against eachother and distract us from intelligent discourse. Senator McCain showed great poise in his concession speech, showing the world why American democracy is a model for peaceful, orderly transitions of power.

The suggestion that democracy did not work here exposes Sean Hannity's prioritization of his personal causes: tax advantages for the very wealthiest, deregulation, and a free hand for the most aggressive war-hawks. Along with #1 juggernaut Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio industry is a daily infomercial for the neoconservative movement and military-industrial complex we were warned about by President Eisenhower in 1961. In other words, this is not your father's Conservative, calling for small government, strong ethics and fiscally responsibility. Sean is a neocon, combining the unethical campaign tactics used by Nixon with cowboy foreign policy and deficit-be-damned defense spending seen under Reagan.

This is not to say the incoming President should not be questioned or criticized - just the opposite, he should be engaged in continuous dialogue with the American people. The Obama administration's first email blast just went out this week, asking for the input of ordinary people in shaping the future of America at change.gov (the selection of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff has already been heavily questioned from the left). But having the President enjoin the millions on his email list in two-way conversation is a refreshing use of technology to push democracy forward.

Hannity, by contrast, seems to be facing several dead ends, trying to claim voters rejected "Republicanism" while they still love Conservatism. Hannity is playing games with nomenclature to defend himself after supporting President Bush and Dick Cheney throughout both terms, praising their economic and security policies daily and even giving them air time on his show. The public has overwhelmingly rejected Bush, but it doesn't erase that Hannity called him one of "our greatest modern presidents", a "masterful crisis president" and a "defender of our liberties".

In fact, Hannity's broadcasts have run so closely parallel to the Bush's daily talking points, many questioned whether Hannity was in direct contact with the White House. When Bush's former Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirmed Karl Rove did in fact have a "massive operation" running from the White House to supply comprehensive talking points to friendly talk show personalities, Fox's Bill O'Reilly bent over backwards to deny he was involved in this violation of domestic anti-propaganda laws. Hannity has not yet denied whether he has been in direct contact without disclosure, but as soon as Karl Rove left his White House post, he began appearing on Hannity's TV and radio shows in heavy rotation.

In full-on panic mode today, Hannity complains that a larger Democratic majority will enact some version of the Fairness Doctrine to silence him, cleverly painting himself as a victim. In fact, the Fairness Doctrine was never used to censor anyone, rather to compel them to provide responsible journalistic balance to the best of their ability. For example, Hannity wouldn't be able to state that Obama sat in Rev. Wright's pews for twenty years listening to hate-filled diatribes without also giving the fuller picture that the vitriolic rantings of Rev. Wright made up only a very tiny portion of the known sermons he's delivered over the decades and nothing available proves Obama was present during any such controversial speeches.

Before 1987, it was the broadcasting corporations who chose not to air lopsided political arguments because it was cheaper and easier to avoid back and forth debate. Enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine was difficult and inconsistent. Today, those who suggest reviving some version of the law are concerned about a serious issue - wholesale ignorance. The U.S. has been long ridiculed internationally for wrongly believing Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 and it's no news to anyone who our top rated "news" sources are - Fox on TV and Limbaugh/Hannity on radio. Our founding fathers created public education so our voters could not only discern candidate choices intelligently, but could keep an informed eye out for shenanigans.

Are not call-in talk shows better for their controversy and difference of opinion? Not on The Sean Hannity Show, where the guests are predominantly on the same page as the host, the make-up of aired calls doesn't approach real-world diversity, and the news items cited exclude altogether events like the filing of Articles of Impeachment in Congress against the President and Vice President, the removal of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, or the polls showing great national disapproval of continuing the Iraq War.

Instead, Sean's discussion focuses on the evil intentions of liberals to create cradle-to-grave government dependency, and the bias of of the left-wing "Obama-mania media". Hannity whines about what he says is tilted reporting, but at the same time feels there should be no regulation to encourage fairness. Facing the reality that he seems to be fighting against the majority sentiment of his country, Hannity searches for scapegoats and enemies to blame, seeking to cram-fit cherrypicked facts and news of the day into his existing neocon precepts, like America is supposed to be a see-saw of deception and distortion.

For instance, Hannity has been defending General Motors, a long-time sponsor. The company is truly in dire straits with sales plunging alongside the economy and available credit. But GM management refuses to make more fuel-efficient cars in order to compete. Hannity, an open Escalade driver, fails to cite stats that show fuel efficiency and profitability in automaking have dovetailed for market leading carmakers. Hannity continues to assert that GM makes the best cars in the world and is failing because of crushing external government regulation, leaving out the important counter-argument that Toyota and Honda adhere to the same domestic regulations in assembling 85% of their fleets here in the U.S.

Hannity is a major cheerleader for domestic drilling, claiming the short-term relief of our energy problem lie in immediate exploration and extraction of offshore oil, but lies by omission in not telling you the major commercial and environmental studies see no significant relief in domestic drilling unless the U.S. first reduces its oil-guzzling ways.

During the closing weeks of the election, Hannity implied many times that the crash of the financial markets resulted from Obama's work as a Chicago community organizer who helped steer unqualified minorities into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-held mortgages. He also magnified the role of an Obama advisor with ties to the firms, but neglected the even more damning news item that McCain's chief strategist, Campaign Director Rick Davis was on Fannie/Freddie's payroll during most of the election.

In short, Hannity's greatest ethical failure is intellectual cowardice. Instead of debating today's most pressing issues against the most qualified opponents, he censors them, refusing to show how his logic and theories fare in the face of all relevant facts and the "rest of the story". This in turn, makes us question his faith in his own arguments.

The biggest, most glaring example of this is the collapse of every major financial institution on Wall Street just in the last few months. Hannity has theorized for years that free market deregulation is key to prosperity in America, cutting taxes and reducing government spending to allow businesses to grow, innovate and create jobs. This is exactly what the Bush administration enacted, relaxing rules for reporting or verifying the viability of speculative financial instruments.

The result? Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., Merrill Lynch, AIG and others oversold credit default swap policies for trillions more then could be covered. The risky sub-prime mortgages, hidden within much larger mortgage-backed securities triggered mammoth implosion of the unregulated CDS markets and when called, busted the firms for trillions. This is a clear-cut case in which government deregulation led to an urgent and widespread economic crises which will now affect all Americans and perhaps everyone in the civilized world.

Hannity continues unrepentant however, claiming that Reagan's trickle-down economics are still what we need. This is after the middle class has given Bush's rich-skewed tax cuts every chance to work, butas a result has seen their quality of life go downhill. This is after Bush allowed rampant government spending with ballooning annual and federal deficits. This is after the preventable collapse of Wall Street. This is after the majority of Americans chose Obama's economic proposals to spread the tax cuts more widely across the middle-class.

Hannity was called out on Veteran's Day by a listener named Lisa from Georgia who tried to explain to him that the people had spoken and his negativity is palpable. Hannity simply couldn't relate to the woman because he has made $500 million by sticking to his script, putting him in the top one-tenth of 1% of taxpayers who would continue to save hundreds of thousands per year under Bush's tax cuts.

This is why Hannity is fighting hard to continue Bush's economic and military policies - he has such a large personal financial stake in trickle-down and receives such acclaim and rewards from military-industrial profiteers, he has become an opponent of the average American taxpayers who have clearly exercised their rights and voted for a change.

Authors Bio: GW is a proud American from NY State, concerned about media manipulation and overconsumption. He believes in fiscal responsibility, small government and strict ethics. He recently changed careers to become an inner city schoolteacher. A firm proponent of international adoption and curbing overpopulation, he hopes to adopt a third child and enjoys history, "honest" music and art and obscure vinyl records.

Original Content at

News media that do as Hannity's doing must not care that they are inciting already deep seated hatreds and fears into a viable threat to the safety of our elected officials as well as their families. This needs to be stopped. Surely those who own the airwaves can see the danger in what their hirelings are doing. I know they all know and that they just don't care. It is ridiculous, it truly is, this meaness and visciousness that permeates the radical far right.

Saundra Hummer
November 13th, 2008, 03:18 PM

Urge Congress to Find Rove in Contempt

Dear Saundra R,

I wanted you to know that the 11th Circuit in Atlanta will hear my appeal on December 9th. The hearing will begin at 9:00 A.M. My case may not be the first case to be heard but we are confident it will be over before noon.

As you know the 11th Circuit Court let me out of prison pending the outcome of my appeal, saying that there were "substantial questions of law and fact likely to result in a reversal."

While we are hopeful, please say a special prayer that the 11th Circuit will rule favorably and that this horrible legal ordeal will finally come to an end.

Thank you so much for helping to get us this far down the road to freedom: freedom from the Bush administration, freedom from war and racial prejudice and freedom from injustice.

I am especially grateful for all you have done for my family and me over these past several months and grateful for your help in keeping Congress focused on digging for the truth.

Together, we must continue to fight to hold Rove accountable. So please go to www.ContemptForRove.com to send a strong word of encouragement to your Member of Congress.


Don Siegelman
Governor of Alabama

Visit: ContemptForRove.com

Paid for by Friends of Don Siegelman 2008

Don Siegelman

Our Democracy has been threatened. Our constitutional rights have been subverted, the Department of Justice was hijacked and used as a political weapon to win elections. Evidence gathered by the Inspector General's office as well as the House Judiciary Committee conclusively shows Karl Rove's involvement in the firing of U.S. Attorneys who would not engage in partisan prosecutions. There is also sworn testimony that Karl Rove was involved in getting the Department of Justice to prosecute me in an effort to destroy my chances of winning reelection.

The people's faith in their government has been shaken. The Department of Justice and U.S. Attorneys offices around the country have been filled with Rove clones who were approved for their positions based upon their partisan ideology. Until these partisans get weeded out, our democracy will be eroded from within.

John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Linda Sanchez, Robert Wexler and Tammy Baldwin have shown extraordinary courage in standing up to Karl Rove. The Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Rove and documents only to be ignored by Rove and the Department of Justice. Unless the House stands up to this illegal behavior, the House's constitutional oversight role will forever be meaningless and ignored.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats have a lot to gain and a lot to lose.

Most importantly, our democracy will suffer if Congress refuses to do its duty.

Rove has many friends now deeply embedded in the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's offices throughout the United States. Unless Rove and his accomplices are held accountable for their abuse of power, they will strike again.

Go on-site to gain access to the letter and the petition. Just click on the following link:


November 13, 2008

November 13th, 2008, 03:52 PM
Good for you and thanks, Sandi! I just went to the site and sent my rove message. We can't let that bastard get away.

Saundra Hummer
November 13th, 2008, 03:57 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

Costa Rica at a Crossroads

Published November 11, 2008 10:00 AM
The Crucitas open-pit gold mining project in northern Costa Rica could become an environmental cross to bear for the government of Óscar Arias.

For more than two decades Costa Rica has cast itself as a pioneer when it comes to environmental matters.

But the concession for a gold mine granted to the Industrias Infinito company, a subsidiary of the Canada-based Infinito Gold, has stirred things up between environmentalists, who are opposed to the project, and the government they accuse of double dealing.

Infinito obtained a government permit to cut down 191 hectares of forest in Las Crucitas de Cutris, in the northern province of Alajuela. The area is habitat to the almendro tree (Dipteryx panamensis), highly prized for its hardwood and for its role in the feeding and nesting of the great green macaw (Ara ambigua), which is facing extinction in Costa Rica.

In northern Costa Rica, deforestation in recent decades has left less than 30 percent of the original forest standing.

Furthermore, the possible use of toxic substances like cyanide to extract gold from the ore, and the proximity of the mine to the San Juan River, which Costa Rica shares with Nicaragua, have awakened opposition to the mine across the border.

In an executive decree, President Arias and Environment and Energy Minister Roberto Dobles declared the mine a project of national interest. In response, the attorney general's office opened an investigation of both officials for breach of duty.

When "functionaries dictate resolutions contrary to Costa Rican and international law," they are committing breach of duty, attorney and environmental consultant Mario Peña told Tierramérica.

Costa Rica, which has protected the almendro tree by law, is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

This Central American country requested the inclusion of the tree in the Convention's Appendix III, aimed at protecting the species in at least one country. The Convention then asks the rest of the CITES nations for help in controlling trade. The green macaw is listed on Appendix I -- species that face extinction and the trade of which can occur legally only in exceptional circumstances.

But Peña does not believe the lawsuit will go anywhere because "everyone is claiming ignorance. The president says he trusted the opinion of the minister, and the minister trusted his legal department. I don't think the criminal case is going to succeed," he said, because for charges of breach of duty to stick, it is necessary to prove that the person who committed the offence was fully aware of what they were doing.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 20, the Supreme Court's constitutional chamber ordered a halt to the logging in response to an appeal for protection against the executive decree filed by citizen Edgardo Araya and the local association Norte por la Vida (roughly, North for Life).

The Infinito company estimates that it will extract 700,000 ounces of gold from the mine over the next decade, with an investment of 66 million dollars.

The 873-square-km rural district of Cutris is home to 8,000 people who live in dire poverty. Most work in Ciudad Quesada, the capital of San Carlos.

A large portion of the population is in favour of the gold mine because it would create jobs. Also, the company has promised to improve local health centres and schools.

"It's not that I'm in favour of the mine, but I am in favour of development opportunities, and that's what it represents for us," said Luis Guillermo Álvarez, a resident of Coopevega, one of the communities near the mining site.

"The infrastructure that the company leaves behind is going to help develop the area. Beyond the 10 years that it is here, the roads, bridges, electricity, telephones -- all of that will remain," he added.

"Whoever says there won't be environmental problems is lying, but some of the environmentalists are extremists. It is a modern mine and will be regulated by the government. We have to sacrifice a little environment in order to survive. They should monitor the mitigation policies," said Álvarez.

"The environmentalists have demonised the issues of the green macaw, but I've lived here 25 years and I've seen thousands of almendros cut down," he said.

Peña says he understands the people of Las Crucitas, because "the government has forgotten about certain areas, facilitating projects like this that distribute crumbs to the community. They are projects that should take time to carry out, and they prefer to risk their health and their future for those crumbs."

Minister Dobles denied on Oct. 27 before the legislature that the green macaw nests in Las Crucitas, noting that the concentration of the almendro tree is not significant in that area. He also stated that the mining company is required to plant 100 trees for each one cut down.

Peña responded that it "is a mistaken idea...Probably Mr. Roberto Dobles knows a lot about energy and telecommunications (the other branches of his ministry), but not about the environment. A forest takes 40 to 50 years to recover."

The minister assured that the entire mining project is supported by studies from the national environmental technical secretariat and that if the constitutional court upholds the decree, the project will move forward.

But not even the lawmakers of the governing National Liberation Party supported Dobles. Legislative deputy Maureen Ballestero, who also heads the permanent special committee on the environment, criticised the fissure being created between economic development and the environment.

Much of the country's growth has come from tourism, which "has provided more wealth than exports have," she said. "And Costa Rica's tourism is based on its exuberant wildlife and nature."

Citizen and environmental groups gathered Oct. 27 outside the Environment Ministry and Congress to protest the gold mine project and to demand Dobles's resignation. But groups in favour of the mine also rallied, which led to some tension on the streets.

On Nov. 14, groups opposed to the mine in San Carlos plan to stage a nationwide protest.

(*This story was originally published by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank.)


Costa Rica expropriates land to
protect turtles
Costa Rica plants 5 million trees
Costa Rica Aims To Win Carbon Neutral Nation Race
Costa Rica Probes Deaths of 500 Pelicans

2007. Copyright Environmental News Network

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 13th, 2008, 04:10 PM
Good for you and thanks, Sandi! I just went to the site and sent my rove message. We can't let that bastard get away.

So glad you're on this as well Ron, and you're so welcome~

I never have sent out a bulk mailing, not ever, but today I did. I know it will ruffle more than a few feathers as a lot of the people on my list are die hards when it comes to the Republican party, however, these men in office, in power, I can't think of as Republicans, instead they are self seeking b*^%$#@s. Karl Rove himself is a menace and has done more damage to our country's well being and security than any unelected civilian, or government official in my memory. He has irreparably harmed our country and he has done much to distroy this man, Don Siegelman. Read up on the history of this one case alone.

It's just not right that Karl Rove be left unaccountable for much that he has done. He's downright dangerous, and not about to fade away unless we see to it.

Saundra Hummer
November 13th, 2008, 05:49 PM
* * * * * * *

« Minnesota Recount: An Update (And Corrected) | Main | Huck For Chip »

Why 2010 Won't Be Like 1994

10 Nov 2008 04:38 pm

As president-elect Barack Obama begins to hash out their agenda, Republicans are predicting Democratic overreach and pointing back to the example of 1994.

But 2010 isn't 1994.

Consider: Bill Clinton had no experience working with the House and Senate; he had to learn on the job and made some early mistakes in this regard. Obama, on the other hand, has a working knowledge of the legislative process, and has a whole host of allies within the Democratic caucus.

In 1994, the realignment of the Southern states, which had happened on the presidential level in 1980, finally broke through on the Congressional level. The trends now are moving the other direction, with moderate Republicans in blue states being replaced by Democrats. (See: Shays, Christopher).

The Clinton White House lost the PR battle against Newt's army and "Harry and Louise". It's hard (though not by any means impossible) to imagine the Obama communications department being similarly outmaneuvered, considering what we've seen from both sides in the current cycle.

More likely, if and when President Obama attempts to pass big-ticket items, the PR offensive coming from the White House on will be on the "shock and awe" side of overwhelming, if the recent campaign is any guide.

Bill Clinton was elected with 43% of the vote. Obama's share of the popular vote is 53%, a clear majority. Psychologically, this matters a great deal to both sides and to the media.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Why 2010 Won't Be Like 1994:

» Conservative Think Tank Official: Republicans “Must Change To Survive” from The Moderate Voice
The Republican party will have to change some of its positions on traditional conservative “hot button” issues — or it’s not going to win national elections for a long time, warns a Republican associated with a conservative thi... [Read More: Go on-site to gain access to this article.)

Tracked on November 10, 2008 8:37 PMhttp://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/11/_lots_of_talk.php
* * *

Saundra Hummer
November 13th, 2008, 07:00 PM

"Some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue."



"Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason."



"There are some micro-organisms that exhibit characteristics of both plants and animals. When exposed to light they undergo photosynthesis; and when the lights go out, they turn into animals. But then again, don't we all?"

Steve Monak
On human psychology


"Anger is never without reason, but seldom with a good one."

Steve Monak
On human psychology


"Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure."

Steve Monak
On human psychology
"I just don't know why they're shooting at us. All we want to do is bring them democracy and white bread. Transplant the American dream. Freedom. Achievement. Hyperacidity. Affluence. Flatulence. Technology. Tension. The inalienable right to an early coronary sitting at your desk while plotting to stab your boss in the back. That's entertainment."

Hawkeye Pierce


Saundra Hummer
November 13th, 2008, 08:27 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

'Chicken And Chips' Theory Of Pacific Migration
ScienceDaily (July 30, 2008) — A new study of DNA from ancient and modern chickens has shed light on the controversy about the extent of pre-historic Polynesian contact with the Americas.

The study questions recent claims that chickens were first introduced into South America by Polynesians, before the arrival of Spanish chickens in the 15th century following Christopher Columbus.

It is published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (July 28) by an international research group, including scientists from the University of Adelaide's Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD).

ACAD Director Professor Alan Cooper says there has been considerable debate about the existence and degree of contact between Polynesians and South Americans, with the presence of the sweet potato throughout the Pacific often used as evidence of early trading contacts.

"Similarly, Polynesians are known to have spread chickens across the Pacific at least as far as Easter Island, but were not thought to have introduced them to South America," he says.

A recent study claimed to have found the first direct evidence of a genetic link between ancient Polynesian and apparently pre-Columbian chickens from archaeological sites in Chile, supporting the idea that there was extensive contact between Polynesia and South America and that chicken and `chips' had been traded in opposite directions.

The current work challenges this conclusion however, by generating DNA data from 41 native Chilean chicken specimens, and comparing these with over 1000 modern domestic chickens from around the world, and the previously published DNA from Polynesian and Chilean chicken bones.

"The results showed that the ancient Polynesian and Chilean chickens possessed a genetic sequence that is the most common in the world today, the so-called `KFC' gene" Professor Cooper says.

"This sequence would undoubtedly have been common in the early Spanish chickens, and therefore provides no evidence of Polynesian contact. So while we can say the KFC chicken was popular amongst early Polynesian voyagers, we certainly can't use it as evidence for trade with South America."

The researchers did find a highly unusual DNA sequence in the ancient Easter Island chickens, which originate from Indonesia or the Philippines, but this apparently did not get passed on to South America.

"This is important because Easter Island is commonly thought of as a major jumping off point for Polynesian contact with South America," says team member and ACAD PhD student Nicolas Rawlence.

According to project leader Dr Jaime Gongora from the University of Sydney, many people in South America like to believe they are descendants of Polynesians. "This study does not disprove this idea, but we have found no evidence to support pre-historic contact."

Adapted from materials provided by University of Adelaide
University of Adelaide (2008, July 30). 'Chicken And Chips' Theory Of Pacific Migration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 13, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com* /releases/2008/07/080729133618.htm.

Web address: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080729133618.htm
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
November 14th, 2008, 01:33 PM
* * * * * * *

BuzzFlash Reviews
Can You Imagine Bush Actually Reading a 944-Page Historical Book and Making It the Foundation of Forming His Cabinet. No, He Didn't. But Obama Did.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Paperback). The Book Barack Obama Uses as His Historical Guide in Putting Together a Cabinet.
By Doris Kearns Goodwin

BuzzFlash.com's Review (excerpt)

Yes, Barack Obama is a stark contrast to Bush in oh so many ways. For one, he actually reads books -- and writes them too, oh my gosh! -- instead of just having his PR flacks claim that he is reading them.

And it is hardly a secret that the most formative influence on Obama's views on assembling a cabinet is the book by historian and Pulitzer-prize winner, Doris Kearns Goodwin: "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln."

"Team of Rivals," written awhile back, is enjoying a renaissance of interest, given that the President-elect has found it so fascinating and Lincoln's governing strategy so ingenious.

Of course, it's only appropriate that the Junior Senator from Illinois (soon to be former Junior Senator from Illinois) looks to Lincoln for guidance, since our homestate at BuzzFlash is, after all, the Land of Lincoln.

(Little noted is that when Obama announced his presidential quest nearly two years ago in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, he was standing about 30 yards from Lincoln's old law office, which one can still visit.)

But back to "Team of Rivals." Not only is Kearns one of America's finest historical researchers and writers, she can weave historical detail and observation together in a way that can make a book that runs more than 900 pages compelling. That's quite a feat.

As one online reviewer noted:

Ms. Goodwin has created a gem of a masterpiece with her most recent book on Lincoln. In the millions of pages already written on the subject, there are no books that I know of that do in essence, a character study on Lincoln and his cabinet members. The text is one of the best ever written regarding the true and underlying nature of those men who served with Lincoln in his cabinet.

While events and persons such as Antietam, Jefferson Davis, Fort Sumter, Maryland's secession attempt and many other events receive short shrift from Ms. Goodwin, this treatment is as it should be for her book concentrates on the personality and character of Lincoln and his cabinet.

While Lincoln never committed himself during the convention to any of his rivals in terms of cabinet positions, to gain votes for his eventual nomination; he voluntarily chose most of his cabinet from men who were his greatest rivals for the Presidency. He did this with clear and present knowledge that they were the best men for the jobs and the country at the time. The incredibly impressive exposition of the character of these men and especially that of Abraham Lincoln and his political and personal acumen in holding them together is given new life in this book.

Through careful reading and perusal of literally thousands of personal letters from cabinet members and from President Lincoln, Goodwin is able to put together a wonderfully clear and unique picture of the character of these men. In addition, she is able to paint a picture of each in words, and point out how their true character differed often from the public perception that abounded.

Ms. Goodwin should be noted for her fine and excruciating work in creating this book which will remain as a must read classic for Lincoln scholars of the present and the future. All of us who track the Lincoln Presidency, 140 years after its termination are grateful for her assiduous work in creating this wonderful book.

Question from BuzzFlash: sound like anyone we know, as in Barack Obama, the President-elect from the Land of Lincoln.


* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 14th, 2008, 02:04 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

Obama backs crackdown on tax havens

Nick Mathiason
Heather Stewart
November 9 2008
00.01 GMT

The Observer, Sunday November 9 2008 President-elect Barack Obama plans to crack down on international tax havens, including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, within weeks of taking power in January, putting him on a collision course with Gordon Brown.

There is growing international pressure to outlaw the secretive practices of tax havens as a key part of reforms to the world's battered financial system, as the leaders of the world's 20 most powerful economies gather for a major conference in Washington next weekend.

Britain has been notably lukewarm, but Obama, whose approval will be key to any reform package over the next 12 months, was one of the signatories of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, legislation put to Congress last year that blacklisted Jersey, Guernsey and 32 other jurisdictions. Key aides to Obama said he will introduce a similar law as part of a wide-ranging revenue-raising and tax-reform package, within weeks of taking power.

Obama advisors estimate the measure could raise at least $50bn (£32bn) per year in lost US tax revenues, and Washington sources say leading accountancy firms have already hired lobbyists in anticipation of a fierce battle to water down the proposals.

Key measures are likely to include: revealing the beneficial owners of secretive trusts; prohibiting accountants from charging fees on specific tax services; and identifying 'offshore secrecy jurisdictions' that 'unreasonably restrict US tax authorities from obtaining needed information'. The measures could end years of financial secrecy that have protected the super-rich and international businesses as they move money from one jurisdiction to another.

Joe Guttentag, deputy assistant secretary for international tax in the Clinton administration and a key figure in the Obama campaign, is likely to drive the policy through, along with Professor Reuven Avi-Yonah, who helped frame the act. 'It is expected that something like this will happen,' Avi-Yonah told The Observer. 'There is a sense that if you can raise revenue by doing this, it will not be controversial.'

The measure comes as the UK faces international condemnation for blocking moves in the United Nations to upgrade its tax committee to intergovernmental status.

Brown has been keen to portray himself as the leader of efforts to reform the global financial system, boosting his credibility at home and distracting attention from the looming recession.

But as the Prime Minister prepares to set out his proposals for next weekend's conference in a speech at the Guildhall tomorrow night, anti-poverty campaigners will stage a noisy protest, urging him to 'call time on global greed'.

They fear Brown is too wedded to the light-touch regulation New Labour has championed for the past decade to be in the vanguard of a new economic system. 'Brown seems to have spent the past two weeks resuscitating the International Monetary Fund and refilling its coffers, so that it can lend on the same basis as the past 20 years,' said Nick Dearden, director of the Jubilee debt campaign. 'He doesn't seem to have done any soul-searching about how this crisis began.'

Contact the Business editor
business.editor@guardian.co.uk Report errors or inaccuracies: reader@observer.co.uk
Letters for publication should be sent to: letters@observer.co.uk
If you need help using the site: userhelp@guardian.co.uk
Call the main Guardian and Observer switchboard:
+44 (0)20 7278 2332

Related information

Tax and spending
World news
Barack Obama
McCain and Obama on the Wall Street crisis
Sep 18 2008:
John McCain and Barack Obama sell their economic messages as the first opinion polls since the Wall Street meltdown show shift towards Democratic candidate

More video
Nov 8 2008
Polly Toynbee: Barack could teach Brown to say boo to the goose
Nov 6 2008
Stephen Moss: How will the First Daughters fare in the limelight?
Nov 4 2008
Oliver Burkeman's Campaign Diary: Liveblogging the 2008 US presidential election
Oct 29 2008
Jo-Ann Mort: Obama's populism echoes American-style socialism of early 20th century
Super Tuesday parties
Feb 6 2008: February 6 2008: It was all smiles, hugs and handshakes for the Democrat and Republican contenders at their Super Tuesday primary parties

More galleries
:: :: ::
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008
Go to: guardian.co.uk home UK news World news

:: :: :: ::: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 14th, 2008, 02:22 PM

Media is a Plural -- November 14, 2008

Free the New York Three!

Rory O'Connor

Photo: go on-site to gain access to it and other articles.
I must protest - even at the risk of having my press credential arbitrarily and summarily revoked - the latest undemocratic decision by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Fresh on the heels of having abrogated the decision of the people at the ballot box regarding the matter of term limits, Hizzoner's current controversy revolves around a boneheaded decision by his Police Department to deny official 'working press' passes to three men, Rafael Martínez Alequin, Ralph E. Smith and David Wallis, all of whom work for online or nontraditional news outlets - such as this one!

One of them - David Wallis - is well known to me as the founder of featurewell.com, a professional syndication service that provides news coverage to 1,500 publications worldwide. (Disclosure: Wallis and featurewell have syndicated many of my blog posts and articles in the past.) There is NO question that Wallis - who had a valid press identification card for many years, beginning in 1994 - is a legitimate and noted journalist. His articles, for example, have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and numerous other prominent publications, and he is also the editor of two acclaimed collections of censored articles and cartoons. Nonetheless, as of last year, he has been deemed illegitimate by the NYPD and denied credentials - without explanation. As a direct result, his ability to engage in professional journalistic activities has been hampered, and he says he eventually "ceased to pursue opportunities to report on newsworthy events."

Mr. Smith, a public information officer for the city's Correction Department, is also publisher of The Guardian Chronicle, a Web site for black law enforcement workers. He had a press credential from 1996 until 2007, when his application to renew was also denied without a written explanation. And Mr. Martínez Alequin, identified by the Times as "a longtime City Hall gadfly" who had become "persona non grata in City Hall," has already had his troubles with the powers-that-wannabe. (For example Rudolph Giuliani, that paragon of politesse, once called him a "jerk" and an "embarrassment.")

For nearly twenty years Martínez Alequin published The Brooklyn Free Press, after which he began the online New York City Free Press, and then the blog Your Free Press. He too was credentialed as a journalist for years - from 1986 to 2000 and again in 2005 and 2006. But in the apparently fateful year of 2007, his application to renew his press pass was denied, and as a result, he was barred for a time from Mayor Bloomberg's news conferences.

It is unclear whether the fact that Martínez Alequin often criticized Mayor Bloomberg - just as he did with Bloomie's City Hall predecessors like rude Rudy G - had anything to do with the refusal to grant him credentials. But even if that is not the case, the decision to hold back official recognition of his role as a journalist is blatantly stupid - if only because that inference can and will be made as a result. Why is the Mayor opening himself up to charges that police permits are denied to journalists who may have viewpoints considered controversial? Is the problem perhaps that Martinez Alequin has been insufficiently reverential of powerful politicians? (He once angered Giuliani by noting that the NYPD was "trigger-happy when it comes to blacks and Latinos," and was later publicly chastised by the current mayor for referring to his autobiography "Bloomberg by Bloomberg" as "Bloomberg on Bloomberg." Whatever!) In any event, Martinez Alequin has it right when he says, "There are many questions that have to be asked to the mayor or to any elected official that I think the mainstream media very seldom asks."

After exhausting other means of appeal, the New York Three have now filed a federal lawsuit asserting that the Police Department violated their constitutional rights. The suit contends -- rightly, to my mind - that the city's regulations governing press credentialing are "unconstitutionally vague," and the plaintiffs are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

Norman Siegel, the attorney representing the three men, told the Times in a phone interview that, "The system of granting press credentials in New York City has run amok and needs to be changed immediately." Siegel is correct - but why does it require literally making a federal case out of this for the city to begin "investigating the plaintiff's concerns thoroughly?"

The Times report on the matter by Sewell Chan framed the conflict as one of determining, "In the ever-shifting media landscape of 2008, who, exactly, is a journalist?" Wrong in its entirety! There can be no doubt that people like David Wallis, Rafael Martínez Alequin, and Ralph E. Smith are practicing journalism. That makes them, de facto, practicing journalists.

The City of New York should promptly get this entire matter out of federal court, issue credentials to the three journalists -- along with an official apology -- and then get busy rationalizing their ridiculous credentialing process, or else just get out of the press pass business entirely.

Come on, Mayor Bloomberg -- you're better than that… Free the New York Three!

Comment on this post...
go on-site to gain access to this function, as well as links, the title of this article has a link:


Saundra Hummer
November 14th, 2008, 04:11 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Another AIG Resort 'Junket': Top Execs Caught on Tape

KNXV Discovers $343,000 Secret Gathering, AIG Signs and Logos Hidden

November 10, 2008—

Even as the company was pleading the federal government for another $40 billion dollars in loans, AIG sent top executives to a secret gathering at a luxury resort in Phoenix last week.

Reporters for abc15.com (KNXV) caught the AIG executives on hidden cameras poolside and leaving the spa at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, despite apparent efforts by the company to disguise its involvement.

"AIG made significant efforts to disguise the conference, making sure there were no AIG logos or signs anywhere on the property," KNXV reported.

(click here to see the full KNXV report)
A hotel employee told KNXV reporter Josh Bernstein, "We can't even say the word [AIG]."

A company spokesperson, Nick Ashooh, confirmed AIG instructed the hotel to make sure there were no AIG signs or mention of the company by staff.

"We're trying to avoid confrontation, keep our profile low," said Ashooh. "Some of our employees have been harassed."

Click here to read AIG's full response.
"What do they have to hide," asked Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who said he had been promised by AIG CEO Edward Liddy that the company would stop such "junkets."

"They came to us and said they were drowning and needed help. A person who is drowning doesn't jump up and start partying," said Congressman Cummings.

Cummings said Liddy should resign as AIG CEO.

The AIG spokesman said Cummings "was mistaken" about the nature of the Phoenix event.

"It's terrible," said former AIG chairman Hank Greenberg. "I don't think the left hand knows what the right hand is doing there."

AIG came under fire last month when Congressional investigators revealed its executives attended a seminar for independent insurance agents at another luxury resort, in Southern California.

The AIG spokesman said the meeting in Phoenix was for independent financial advisors and "was the kind of thing we have to do to run our business."

Company officials confirmed the company spent an estimated $343,000 to sponsor the 2008 Asset Management Conference. A spokesperson said much of the cost would be recouped from product sponsors at the conference.

KNXV said the president of AIG unit Royal Alliance Associates, Art Tambaro, stayed in a two-story Casita suite and worked out at the spa while others participated in seminars.

Tambaro and other AIG executives declined to comment when approached by KNXV.

The AIG spokesman said the Casita suite was provided for free by the hotel because it had booked so many rooms.

AIG confirmed that former football quarterback Terry Bradshaw had been scheduled to appear and sign autographs. The company said it canceled Bradshaw's appearance which was to have been paid for by another company that was a sponsor of the event.

AIG said it conducted a "top to bottom review" of expenses "to validate that only expenses required to ensure the meeting's success are incurred."

The president of the AIG Advisor Group, CEO Larry Roth declined to speak to KNXV.

In a written statement, he said "We take very seriously our commitment to aggressively manage meeting costs." He said financial planners were charged a registration fee and for their travel.

A spokesman said the rooms at the luxury resort were made available at a discount rate of $189 a night.

The reports of the resort gathering came on the same day the U.S. Treasury announced it would invest $40 billion in AIG to bring the amount the federal government has put up to prevent the troubled insurance company from declaring bankruptcy to $150 billion.

"This action was necessary to maintain the stability of our financial system," said Neel Kashkari, who heads the government's bailout program.

"In return," said Kashkari in a speech today, "AIG must comply with stringent limitations on executive compensation for its top executives, gold parachutes, its bonus pool, corporate expenses and lobbying."

In addition to Roth and Tambaro, the AIG executives who spent last week at the Phoenix resort, according to KNXV, were Mark Schlafly, president and CEO, FSC Securities' Gary Bender, senior vice president, Investment Advisory Services; and Stuart Rogers, senior vice president.

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Go on-site to gain access to the numerous links within this article, just click the following address:
AIG's suites of offices all across the country are luxurious in themselves, and I have to believe that there are rooms with enough space to hold meetings for days on end without any of them ever having to leave the building. There are probably restaurants or kitchens in their buildings, or just down the street. There's always take out.

Traveling and staying in luxury spas and resorts isn't called for, and it seems, criminal. If not, it should be.

When you're trying to save a wounded person, you throw down a matt on the floor and stay by their side until the danger has passed, if that's what it takes. By their actions, we are witness to how these people are only concerned with Number Uno. Themselves. It is all too obvious. Life at AIG is continuing on in almost the same manner, while the American people and several businesses flounder, that is if their investments and livelyhoods haven't already been axed. SRH
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
November 14th, 2008, 04:43 PM
Irate Congressman Demands Resignation of AIG CEO

Rep. Elijah Cummings: Latest "Junket" Violates AIG Pledge

November 11, 2008

A leading critic of AIG today demanded the company's CEO resign in the wake of the disclosure of yet another "junket" at a resort spa. In a letter to AIG's CEO Edward Liddy, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said the decision to hold an event for independent financial advisors last week at a luxury Phoenix resort was "outrageous" given an earlier pledge by Liddy to curtail such events.

Cummings wrote that AIG can begin to restore its trust with Congress "by accepting your resignation from the positions of chairman and chief executive officer."

Reporters for abc15.com (KNXV) caught top AIG executives on hidden camera at a secretive gathering last week at the luxurious Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix. AIG instructed the hotel to make sure no company logos and signs were seen on the property, according to a company spokesman.

Click here to see the full KNXV report.

In his letter, Cummings questioned how the Phoenix event could have taken place given Liddy's earlier assurances that "not one cent of taxpayer dollars" would by used to pay for such events. The decision to hold the event while AIG was asking for billions of dollars more in federal loans was "even more shocking", wrote Cummings.

"Having received this assistance, which has been nothing less than a lifeline for AIG, you have decided to continue to hold corporate parties as if nothing has fundamentally changed with your business.
Click here to read letter. Go on-site to gain access to link
An AIG spokesman has said that Cummings "was mistaken" about the nature of the Phoenix event. The spokesman said the meeting at the resort was for independent financial advisors and that most of the $343,000 cost would be paid by product sponsors.

Click here to read AIG's full response. Cummings asked Liddy to provide him with details on who the sponsors were and how much money they were providing, as well as an itemized list of expenses incurred by AIG. Cummings also requested a list of each of the 160 planned events that AIG said it had cancelled on or after October 30.

"The American taxpayers who have prevented your firm from literally disappearing will judge your commitment to re-establishing their trust by your willingness to act in accordance with their expectations for the effective and efficient use of their money," Cummings wrote.

Meanwhile, leading government watchdog groups are also taking AIG to task over the Phoenix event.

"AIG executives should be ashamed of themselves," said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste. "Individuals across the country are on the precipice of financial ruin while AIG personnel still attend extravagant getaways at the taxpayers' expense."

The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense also weighed in on on the controversy. "AIG officials are obviously sensitive to public perception. Just look at how they hid their sponsorship and logos," said Stephen Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "But you're not just supposed to hide your actions, you're supposed to change your behavior. AIG has lined up at the taxpayer trough again and yet current leadership still seems intent on living the lavish life."

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.
Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

AIG execs at posh Phoenix resort after $85 billion bailout

Reported by:
Josh Bernstein
Email: jbernstein@abc15.com
Produced by: Dan Siegel
Last Update: 11/11 12:46 pm

:: :: :: :: ::

Congressman wants AIG CEO to resign after Phoenix meeting

Slideshow Click the play button on the video window to the see the story
Go on-site to use this function

To the outside observer, the 2008 Asset Management Conference held this week at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix was nothing out of the ordinary.

Conference participants, however, were notable because of the publicity they've received for their role in the ongoing financial crisis.

The conference at the posh resort included many senior managers at American International Group, or AIG, one of the world's biggest insurers and recipients in September of more than $85 billion from the federal government.

See the ABC15 confrontation with AIG executives at Sky Harbor Airport

AIG made significant efforts to disguise the conference, making sure there were no AIG logos or signs anywhere on the property.

An AIG spokesperson said there were no AIG markers in order to minimize signage costs and to lower the company's profile.

A hotel employee told ABC15, "We can't even say the word [AIG]."

In addition to the nearly 150 independent financial planners in Phoenix for training and education, the conference attendee list was a Who's Who of AIG leaders, including Larry Roth, President & CEO, AIG Advisor Group; Art Tambaro, President & CEO, Royal Alliance Associates; Mark Schlafly, President & CEO, FSC Securities; Gary Bender, Senior Vice President, Investment Advisory Services; Bruce Levitus, Senior Vice President, Investment Advisory Services; and Stuart Rogers, Senior Vice President.
The ABC15 Investigators went undercover at the resort and found AIG executives having poolside meetings while drinking coffee and working out at the spa while other attendees were in conference rooms for seminars.

We also watched as half a dozen of the executives went to dinner at McCormick & Schmick's at the Camelback Esplanade, racking up a bill of more than $400 for drinks, appetizers, and meals.

The three-day event at the resort was also supposed to feature hall of fame football quarterback Terry Bradshaw as a motivational guest speaker, but the company canceled Bradshaw's appearance shortly before the start of the conference, according to a company spokesperson.

According to the Washington Speakers Bureau, which manages Bradshaw's speaking engagements, he commands a fee of more than $40,000 per appearance.

When confronted about the conference before departing Sky Harbor Airport on Friday morning, Roth and Tambaro referred all questions to the company's public relations department.

See the ABC15 confrontation with AIG executives
In a press release provided to ABC15 following our attempt to speak directly with the executives, AIG claims product sponsors were underwriting $320,000 of the total meeting cost of $343,000.

An AIG spokesperson told the ABC15 Investigators that AIG was paying for the conference and then would be reimbursed by sponsors.

AIG also said the cost of the Bradshaw appearance was to be paid by a sponsor, not the company.

Roth said in the press release, "We take very seriously our commitment to aggressively manage meeting costs. Our success in enlisting product sponsors to pay for the vast majority of conference costs, while charging financial planners a registration fee and for their travel, has resulted in minimal cost to AIG. In turn, our financial planners benefit from strong educational and training content and the ability to earn Continuing Education (CE) credits."

Late Friday afternoon, AIG spokesperson John Pluhowski told ABC15 that, as part of the conference package, the casitas at the resort where executives stayed cost AIG the same per night rate as standard suites.

Pluhowski also said Roth and Tambaro flew round-trip in coach class.

Full AIG News ReleaseAIG Advisor Group will host its 2008 Asset Management Conference (AMC) at the Point Hilton Squaw Peak hotel and conference facility in Phoenix, Arizona on November 5 – 7, 2008. Nearly 150 financial planners, who operate their own independent businesses and are not AIG employees will participate in the event. Financial planners attending the meeting represent 23% of total AIG Advisor Group revenue as of September 30, 2008.

The goal of the AMC is to provide an educational, training and networking forum for financial planners. The AMC meeting agenda includes seven general sessions, twenty-two classes, and two working lunches. Topics range from alternative investment products and advisory services strategies to business-building programs, productivity tools, and portfolio management.

Eighteen participating product sponsor firms are underwriting $320,000 of the total meeting cost of $343,000. The company’s portion of the total meeting costs is under $25,000. Additionally, financial planner attendees are responsible for their travel-related expenses, registration fee ($199), and guest registration fee ($250).

AIG Advisor Group has conducted a top to bottom review of all AMC meeting expenses to validate that only expenses required to ensure the meeting’s success are incurred. Consistent with that review, the company determined that the appearance of Terry Bradshaw as a guest speaker was not required. Although costs related to his appearance were to be paid by a product sponsor, his appearance has been cancelled.

In commenting on the event, Larry Roth, President and CEO, AIG Advisor Group, said, “We take very seriously our commitment to aggressively manage meeting costs. Our success in enlisting product sponsors to pay for the vast majority of conference costs, while charging financial planners a registration fee and for their travel, has resulted in minimal cost to AIG. In turn, our financial planners benefit from strong educational and training content and the ability to earn Continuing Education (CE) credits.”

Financial planners are required to complete professional development programs to both earn and maintain industry certifications and designations. AMC attendees are eligible to fulfill CE requirements including: 9.5 hours of CE credits toward Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) certification and 9 hours of CE credits toward three Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) designations: Certified Investment Management Analystsm (CIMA), and Chartered Private Wealth Advisorsm (CPWA).

AIG Advisor Group conducts training and educational meetings periodically. The purpose of these meetings is to ensure that independent financial planners receive the knowledge, skills, and training required to meet the evolving needs of their clients. These meetings are also designed to introduce new investment products and technology tools that support the growth of a financial planner’s business.

Conference Sponsors
(as seen on a board in one of the conference rooms)

AIG SunAmerica Mutual Funds
-Russell Investments
-Brinker Capital
-Investment Advisory Services
-Curian Capital
-Dimensional Fund Advisors
-eMoney Advisor
-Financial Guidance
-Genworth Financial
-Hanlon Investment Management
-Invesco AIM
-Icon Advisers
-John Hancock
-Lockwood Advisors
-Rochdale Investment Management

Copyright 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved.

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 14th, 2008, 05:22 PM
. . . . . . . . .

New Blackwater Iraq Scandal: Guns, Silencers and Dog Food
Ex-employees Tell ABC News the Firm Used Dog Food Sacks to Smuggle Unauthorized Weapons to Iraq

November 14, 2008—
A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, ABCNews.com has learned.

Under State Department rules, Blackwater is prohibited from using certain assault weapons and silencers in Iraq because they are considered "offensive" weapons inappropriate for Blackwater's role as a private security firm protecting US diplomatic missions.

"The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.

Six Blackwater employees are under investigation by another federal grand jury, in Washington, D.C., in connection with the shooting deaths of at least 17 civilians in September, 2007 at a Baghdad traffic circle. Prosecutors are expected to return indictments in the next few weeks, according to people familiar with the case.

The investigation of the alleged dog food smuggling scheme began last year after two Blackwater employees were caught trying to sell stolen weapons in North Carolina. The two, Kenneth Cashwell and William "Max" Grumiaux pleaded guilty in February and became government witnesses, according to court documents.

Two other former employees tell ABCNews.com they also witnessed the dog food smuggling operation. They say the weapons were actually hidden inside large sacks of dog food, packaged at company headquarters in North Carolina and sent to Iraq for the company's 20 bomb-sniffing dogs.

Larger items, including M-4 assault weapons, were secreted on shipping pallets surrounded by stacks of dog food bags, the former employees said. The entire pallet would be wrapped in cellophane shrink wrap, the former employees said, making it less likely US Customs inspectors would look too closely.

Last year, a US Department of Commerce inspector at JFK airport in New York discovered an unlicensed two-way radio hidden in a dog food sack being shipped by Blackwater to Iraq, according to people familiar with the incident.

A Blackwater spokesperson, Anne Tyrrell, said certain arms shipmens were sent to Iraq surrounded by dog food "to secure them on the airplane and not to smuggle them." Tyrrell said she could not comment on specifics because of "the ongoing investigation" but she denied the company had done anything wrong.

In addition to the grand jury investigation, Blackwater sources say the company is facing a multi-million dollar fine for some 900 instances in which it violated State Department licensing requirements for the export of certain weapons.

Of the 900 cases, about 100 of them have been referred to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution, according to lawyers briefed on the case.

Last month, Blackwater hired a team of former federal law enforcement officials and defense experts that it said would review the company's compliance with export laws.

Andrew Howell, Blackwater's general counsel, said, "Ongoing reviews by the Department of Justice, State and Commerce have highlighted the need for a significant and systems-wide initiative."

Another former Blackwater insider who talked with ABCNews.com said company executives made the decision to smuggle the weapons and silencers in the dog food "because it's a war over there and our guys need them."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
November 14th, 2008, 08:45 PM
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Potential threats against Barack Obama more than any past president-elect, officials say

Associated Press
November 14, 2008
WASHINGTON - Threats against a new president historically spike right after an election, but from Maine to Idaho law enforcement officials are seeing more against Barack Obama than ever before. The Secret Service would not comment or provide the number of cases they are investigating. But since the Nov. 4 election, law enforcement officials have seen more potentially threatening writings, Internet postings and other activity directed at Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect, said officials aware of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue of a president's security is so sensitive.

Earlier this week, the Secret Service looked into the case of a sign posted on a tree in Vay, Idaho, with Obama's name and the offer of a "free public hanging." In North Carolina, civil rights officials complained of threatening racist graffiti targeting Obama found in a tunnel near the North Carolina State University campus.

And in a Maine convenience store, an Associated Press reporter saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The sign solicited $1 entries into "The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool," saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama was attacked. "Let's hope we have a winner," said the sign, since taken down.

In the security world, anything "new" can trigger hostility, said Joseph Funk, a former Secret Service agent-turned security consultant who oversaw a private protection detail for Obama before the Secret Service began guarding the candidate in early 2007.

Obama, of course, will be the country's first black president, and Funk said that new element, not just race itself, is probably responsible for a spike in anti-Obama postings and activity. "Anytime you're going to have something that's new, you're going to have increased chatter," he said.

The Secret Service also has cautioned the public not to assume that any threats against Obama are due to racism.

The service investigates threats in a wide range. There are "stated threats" and equally dangerous or lesser incidents considered of "unusual interest" — such as people motivated by obsessions or infatuations or lower-level gestures such as effigies of a candidate or an elected president. The service has said it does not have the luxury of discounting anything until agents have investigated the potential danger.

Racially tinged graffiti — not necessarily directed at Obama — also has emerged in numerous reports across the nation since Election Day, prompting at least one news conference by a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Georgia.

A law enforcement official who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly said that during the campaign there was a spike in anti-Obama rhetoric on the Internet — "a lot of ranting and raving with no capability, credibility or specificity to it."

There were two threatening cases with racial overtones:
_ In Denver, a group of men with guns and bulletproof vests made racist threats against Obama and sparked fears of an assassination plot during the Democratic National Convention in August.

_ Just before the election, two skinheads in Tennessee were charged with plotting to behead blacks across the country and assassinate Obama while wearing white top hats and tuxedos.

In both cases, authorities determined the men were not capable of carrying out their plots.

In Milwaukee, police officials found a poster of Obama with a bullet going toward his head — discovered on a table in a police station.

Chatter among white supremacists on the Internet has increased throughout the campaign and since Election Day.

One of the most popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day, according to an AP count. The site, stormfront.org, was temporarily off-line Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received after Election Day. On Saturday, one Stormfront poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, "I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how 'messiahs' come to rest. God has abandoned us, this country is doomed."

It is not surprising that a black president would galvanize the white supremacist movement, said Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who studies the white supremacy movement.

"The overwhelming flavor of the white supremacist world is a mix of desperation, confusion and hoping that this will somehow turn into a good thing for them," Potok said. He said hate groups have been on the rise in the past seven years because of a common concern about immigration.


Associated Press writers Lara Jakes Jordan in Washington and Jerry Harkavy in Standish, Maine, contributed to this report.

© 2008 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

This is a serious flaw in our make up, these who would kill to further their own agenda or due to their backward hatreds and fears. This is serious and it needs to end.

How do you stop your next door neighbor from spewing such nonsense? you can't. You can let them know what they're saying is against all you believe in, but you can't stop them short of shooting them, but then you join in with the insanity.

How is it that you can't yell fire in a crowded theatre, or gun on an airplane, but a media 'darlin' can cause those who are fully willing to kill another human being to ratchet up their hatreds to the point of acting on all they're being pumped full of. With all of the big money sponsored, studied bigoted words, they're having their heads filled with day after day, for two years now (and more), do you really believe attempts on our President Elect's life won't come about? I hope and pray not, but it's not the age of reason we're living in.

Too many radical wacko's out there, lapping up hate media Kool Aid.

It's freedom of speech. We want this right?!! however, we are also sick of it being abused by those making huge salary's, playing to the hate filled bigots, because they know what the meanest and craziest among us want to hear.

I'll not knowingly buy a product that sponsers these men and women of hate. Let me know just what these products, would you? As the only time I know what they're saying these days is when we learn of some other off the wall dangerous tactic they're employing against all that is reasonable and true.

How about shouldering a responsible attitude boys and girls. Quit with the hate. We can see you carry your money to the bank. We know full well, you, the hate mongers, wouldn't prosper without our own people having so much hate and bigotry in their souls. The sponsors even count on it, with you playing to stupidity and ignorance, you with your low opinion of your own audience.

How white of them. SRH
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saundra Hummer
November 15th, 2008, 02:31 PM
* * * * *

From the Los Angeles Times

Obama expected to push net neutrality

The president-elect campaigned on the concept and he might appoint a new FCC chief to implement it.
Cecilia Kang
November 15, 2008

Reporting from Washington — President-elect Barack Obama famously made the World Wide Web a pillar of his campaign, so it is not surprising that the man already being called the nation's first "wired" president has championed the idea of an open Internet.

And that is what Sprint Nextel Chief Executive Dan Hesse said recently "should scare" the telecom industry the most.

Republican lawmakers and technology regulators have fought the idea of an open Internet -- popularly known as net neutrality -- calling it a "solution in search of a problem."

But it is widely expected that Obama will make net neutrality and access to broadband Internet connections in rural and poor areas a key part of his agenda to close economic divides and help spur job creation.

The task of putting net neutrality -- the notion put forth by academics that network operators should be banned from selectively slowing, blocking or altering Internet content and technologies -- into practice would probably fall to the Federal Communications Commission, business leaders and analysts said.

The FCC has been criticized by consumer groups for trailing technology changes in the marketplace by grappling with reforms on land-line programs while falling short on consumer protections and rules for wireless operators.

Under the Obama administration, however, many high-tech leaders and analysts say the agency first formed to hand out broadcast licenses will be more important than ever.

"There is going to be a sea change. Technology has been primarily ignored by the Bush administration but Obama from the beginning made it a central part of his push for change," said Maura Corbett, a partner at Qorvis, a tech public relations firm. "He understands that technology has a multiplier effect on the economy and that is something we've never needed more right now."

The telecom industry has become more consolidated, with giants AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. dominating Internet, land-line phone and wireless services. The nation has dropped to 15th place in ranking for broadband access, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Obama's technology and innovation plan, put forth in the campaign, addressed providing broadband access to underserved areas. FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin has tried to do that by modifying a $7-billion federal program for phone lines so that it could be applied to broadband service.

Yet adapting the program, a move that has vocal critics in both parties, has been difficult, analysts said. "It's the elephant in the room," said Joe Farren, spokesman for CTIA, a wireless trade group. "This is an intersection of the old and new but there may be a unique opportunity to change the fund and refocus it on providing consumers with what they want and need -- wireless and broadband."

On net neutrality, there is pressure from Congress and the FCC to address the issue.

Richard Wiley, a partner at the Wiley Rein law firm, said at a conference this week that net-neutrality regulation could include additional guidelines on broadband management that would ban discrimination against technologies that transfer Web content.

The FCC punished Comcast last summer for deliberately slowing the transfer of video files using the software application BitTorrent, an order that the cable operator has appealed in court.

Ben Scott, policy director of the public interest group Free Press, said at the same conference that the broadband principles needed to clearly include wireless service providers, particularly as technological innovation continues to make mobile devices more versatile.

One question is how quickly the Obama administration might tackle these issues and, if as expected, how soon he might replace Martin atop the FCC.

Much of Obama's focus has so far been centered on filling key Cabinet positions and seats at the Treasury and Justice departments, analysts said. That lends a level of unpredictability about who might lead the FCC, the nation's rule-making body for broadcasters, cable providers and land-line, wireless phone and broadband providers.

Obama's campaign advisors included many tech veterans such as Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, and former FCC chairmen Reed Hundt and Bill Kennard.

"They've got this very deep bench of people to draw from and a really good group of people doing campaigning and policy advice and fundraising from the telecom world," said Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, an investment firm.

A few notable figures in telecom policy were mentioned for the position during the campaign, including:

* Blair Levin, an investment analyst for Stifel Nicolaus, former chief of staff to Hundt and an advisor during the campaign.

* Julius Genachowski, a member of Obama's transition team and former chief counsel to Hundt.
* Scott Blake Harris, founder of the Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis law firm, a fundraiser and advisor on tech policy for the campaign who served as the FCC's international bureau chief from 1994 to 1996.

Kang writes for the Washington Post.


Net Neutrality 101

Learn about Network Neutrality and why we must fight to protect it



Frequently Asked Questions

What is this about?
What is Network Neutrality?
Who wants to get rid of Net Neutrality?
Is Net Neutrality a new regulation?
Isn't the threat to net neutrality just hypothetical?
Isn't this just a battle between giant corporations?
What else are the phone and cable companies not telling the truth about?
What's at stake if we lose Net Neutrality?
What's happening in Congress?
Who's part of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition?
Who else supports Net Neutrality?
What can I do to help?
What is this about?

When we log onto the Internet, we take a lot for granted. We assume we'll be able to access any Web site we want, whenever we want, at the fastest speed, whether it's a corporate or mom-and-pop site. We assume that we can use any service we like -- watching online video, listening to podcasts, sending instant messages -- anytime we choose.

What makes all these assumptions possible is Network Neutrality.

What is Network Neutrality?

Network Neutrality -- or "Net Neutrality" for short -- is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Put simply, Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.

Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It protects the consumer's right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data -- not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

Learn more in Net Neutrality 101.

Who wants to get rid of Net Neutrality?
The nation's largest telephone and cable companies -- including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner -- want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won't load at all.

They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video -- while slowing down or blocking their competitors.

These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services -- or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls -- and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.

The big phone and cable companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to gut Net Neutrality, putting the future of the Internet at risk.

* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
November 15th, 2008, 06:17 PM

Will Barack Obama’s victory force hip-hop to change its tune?

Barack Obama was in his last year of high school in 1979 when hip-hop broke out of the ghettos of New York on its way to becoming a national phenomenon.

He is in many ways a child of hip-hop, but sometimes a reluctant one. Even as the president-elect claims to "love hip-hop" he has spoken out against its more explicit lyrics. When Ludacris released "Obama’s Here" a few months ago, the Southern rapper extolled the future president’s credentials while viciously putting down Obama’s rivals. An Obama spokesman issued a stinging rebuke: "While Ludacris is a talented rapper he should be ashamed of these lyrics."

Yet Obama has been embraced by the hip-hop community like no presidential candidate in history. Bill Clinton was the first president to forge a bond with the ’60s and ’70s classic-rock generation (even persuading Fleetwood Mac to reunite and perform at his inaugural ball in 1993). Obama now commands the respect of the voters who came of age when hip-hop transformed pop culture.

The non-partisan group Hip-Hop Caucus and rappers T.I., Jay-Z, T Pain and others spearheaded the "Respect My Vote" campaign, which registered voters between the ages of 18 and 29, most of whom voted for Obama. Will.i.am wrote and produced no fewer than three songs in recent months extolling the Obama campaign, including the YouTube hit video "Yes We Can." Rappers such as Common, a native of Chicago’s South Side, and New York’s Talib Kweli were dropping Obama references into their songs as early as 2007. The video for Common’s ’07 hit "The People" flashed on an "Obama ’08" bumper sticker.

At the time, it seemed like wishful thinking: A black man in the White House?

But hip-hop, at its best, has always functioned on two levels: as a reflection of what’s happening now ("the black CNN," as Public Enemy’s Chuck D once called it) and as a window into the future (rap songs by Ice Cube and Ice-T, among others, presaged the riots that broke out after the 1992 verdict in the Rodney King beating).

Though hip-hop initially emerged as an art form primarily developed by African-Americans, it soon became a shared language for youth that cut across racial lines.

Just as rock ’n’ roll galvanized teenagers in the ’50s, hip-hop in the ’80s and ’90s linked inner-city b-boys with listeners living in soccer-mom households in the suburbs. By the end of the last decade, together with contemporary R&B, hip-hop had become the biggest selling genre in the $14 billion-a-year music industry.

Obama has embraced hip-hop whenever he has been asked about the subject in interviews, specifically citing Jay-Z, Kanye West and Common as personal favorites. But he also has been outspoken in his disgust for rap lyrics that go too far.

"There are times, even on the artists I’ve named, the artists that I love, that there is a message that’s sometimes degrading to women, uses the ’n’ word a little too frequently," he said in an interview on BET. "But also something that I’m really concerned about is (they’re) always talking about material things, about how I can get something; more money, more cars."

In the wake of racially charged remarks by talk show host Don Imus last year, Obama said rap wasn’t blameless because it too contained derogatory language. Hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons called Obama "a mouse, too, like everyone else," and urged him to take a closer look at the social conditions that made such lyrics commonplace.

In the wake of Obama’s victory, Simmons struck a more conciliatory tone, calling it a "glorious" affirmation of "the hip-hop generation and its young people."

"I was just defending hip-hop," he said of his earlier criticism of Obama. "It’s good for politicians to say they’re against hip-hop. But hip-hop’s job is to tell the truth, and the truth can be shocking."

Though many older activists didn’t believe Obama could win the presidency, convinced that his race was too big of a barrier, the "hiphop generation said, ’Why not?’" Simmons said. "It’s like when Run-DMC first appeared on MTV. There really hadn’t been any black artists on MTV offering a real depiction of inner-city life, and hip-hop broke that barrier. Hip-hop’s attitude has always been, ’Why not?’"

But activist Rev. Al Sharpton said Obama’s victory will force hip-hop to change its tune. "You can’t be using the ’b’ word, the ’n’ word, the ’h’ word when you have Barack Obama redefining overnight the image that black people want to have. Here’s the greatest political victory in the history of black America, and the thug rappers can’t come near it. They will have to change or become irrelevant."

Simmons says that’s hogwash. "Young people will use their language the way they want," he said. "If it’s in their heart, they will express it."

Hip-hop has always been far too diverse to ever be so narrowly defined. Even before Obama became a serious candidate, the more thuggish brands of hip-hop were already in commercial decline, while some of rap’s biggest recent successes - Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, OutKast - have been notable for their more high-minded lyricism.

As Obama said in the BET interview: "The potential for (rappers) to deliver a message of extraordinary power, that gets people thinking (is there). The thing about hiphop today is it’s smart, it’s insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable."

It’s also sometimes reckless and irresponsible. And why would anyone who values creative expression want it any other way? Art that tries to conform to a vision of what it is or what it should say instantly dies.

President-elect Obama will have far bigger problems to address than the content of rap lyrics when he takes office. Meanwhile, rappers will begin confronting a new reality starting Jan. 20: How rebellious can they be when one of their fans occupies the most powerful office in the world?

Greg Kot: greg@gregkot.com

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/music/general/view.bg?articleid=1132616

Related Articles:

Election spurs ‘hundreds’ of race threats, crimes


Obamas enjoy fine food, wine, but hold the beets

Arrests in Election Night attack on black NYC teen


Saundra Hummer
November 15th, 2008, 06:23 PM
. . . . . . .

Politico.com Breaking News:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Exclusive: Greg Craig to be named White House counsel By Mike Allen Gregory B. Craig, a well-known Washington lawyer who quarterbacked President Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense, has been chosen White House counsel by President-elect Obama, according to Democratic officials. Craig is intimately familiar with the president-elect’s record because he played the role of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in debate preparations. The officials said Obama has settled on Craig, but were not sure when it would be announced. The choice gives the president-elect both experience and loyalty. During the primaries, Craig was an early Clinton alumni defector to Obama. Columnist Robert D. Novak reported back in the winter of 2007 that Craig had told him he “was impressed with Obama when he first met him at the home of investment banker Vernon Jordan, an intimate friend and supporter of the Clintons.” Craig was an Obama foreign policy adviser during the campaign. At the start of the Clinton administration, he had been the State Department’s Director of Policy Planning, the head of State’s in-house think tank. He also was senior adviser on defense, foreign policy and national security to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). The White House counsel, among the most powerful members of the West Wing inner circle, serves as the president’s lawyer, giving him legal advice and handling pardons and conflict-of-interest issues. Craig, 63, is a protégé of the late Edward Bennett Williams, the legendary Washington power lawyer. Craig is currently a partner at Williams & Connolly. His selection adds to the surprisingly heavy number of Clinton White House veterans who are at the top of the Obama roster. Craig, who had been friends with Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham at Yale Law School, was recruited for the impeachment job by John Podesta, then deputy White House chief of staff and now a leader of Obama’s transition. A Washington Post “Style” section profile in 1998 by Lloyd Grove and John F. Harris reported: “Craig brought along his best bedside manner when Clinton summoned him to the White House residence on the night of Sept. 10 -- the day after independent counsel Kenneth Starr's lurid report to Congress was published on the World Wide Web. On a balcony overlooking the South Lawn, Clinton and Craig sat talking for two hours.” Among Craig’s other high-profile cases: successfully representing Elian Gonzalez's father, a Cuban, in his efforts to regain custody of his son; and representing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in connection during the Volcker Commission's investigation of the Oil-for-Food Programme at the U.N. From Craig’s official biography: “In September 1998, President Clinton appointed Mr. Craig to be Assistant to the President and Special Counsel in the White House where Mr. Craig served as quarterback of the President's team that was assembled to defend against impeachment. Mr. Craig was also a member of the President's trial team in the United States Senate and presented the President's defense with respect to Count One during that trial. “In 1997, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright appointed Mr. Craig to be one of her senior advisors, and he served the Secretary as her Director of Policy Planning during the years 1997 to 1998. “For five years (1984-1988), he served as Senator Edward Kennedy's Senior Advisor on Defense, Foreign Policy and National Security issues. “Mr. Craig also has taught trial practice at both Yale Law School (1975-1976) and Harvard Law School (1981-1984).”

For more information...
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
November 15th, 2008, 07:02 PM


Share your Family History for free!

The AncientFaces community is the source for free genealogy research. Share your memories today.

Share your free family history:

Family Photo
Family Story
Family Recipe
Military Story
Military Photo
Mystery Photo
Success Story


This is a fun site. Free and not hard to navigate. The photo feature is fun to see, and I've found some more than likely distant cousins. One little girl even looks a lot like my cousin and a lot like me as well. All but for the blond hair when it comes to me. Her hair is more like my cousins; dark. A little child who is blond reminds me of other relatives We know these are relatives as the only Vermillions to ever migrate to this country were all related to Giles Vermillion who came here in Colonial times. He married a Jane Hutchinson (Hutchens, using the different spelling for girls and women.) Wish the Smiths, and the Jones were as easy to check into. They are daunting, and hard to do, but I've been told that Nancy Jane Smith Vermillion is related to the Joel Smith family and the Jones family of North Carolina, along the border of South Carolina over near the coast. Fun to try to find everyone. They were all very early settlers, so that narrows it down some, before the huge migration. Giles was a Hugenot, and I see that now there is a Hugenot search engine which I should look into.

If you're into genealogy or if you are looking for the identity of someone in a photo, this is the place to visit and post. The other sites are charging so much lately, and the church ladies can drive you wacko, where so far none of that here. Just people looking and being helpful. Not into controling how you ask a question and other silliness you see on some search and information forums. SRH

. . .

Here's the Hugenot page:

Hugenot - Hutchinson encyclopedia article about Hugenot
Hutchinson encyclopedia article about Hugenot. Hugenot. Information about Hugenot in the Hutchinson encyclopedia.

encyclopedia.farlex.com/Hugenot - 31k - Similar pages

History of the Huguenots
The organised large scale emigration of Hugenots to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa occurred during 1688 - 1689. However, even before this large ...

www.geocities.com/hugenoteblad/hist-hug.htm - 20k - Similar pages

Hugenot Quarter- Cork, Ireland - VirtualTourist.com
Insider tips on Hugenot Quarter in Cork. Reviews, tips and photos of Hugenot Quarter posted by real travelers and locals.

www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Ireland/Cou... - 97k - Similar pages

Hugenot Family Tree and Genealogy Links at Surname Finder
Resources for your Hugenot family tree research project. Saves time by doing multiple searches from one convenient page.

www.genealogytoday.com/surname/finder.mv?Surname... - 35k - Similar pages

HUGENOT: Genealogy Queries
Search and post genealogy queries for Surname HUGENOT in All regions.

www.cousinconnect.com/p/a/0/s/HUGENOT - Similar pages

stock.xchng - hugenot's sxc home
hugenot's sxc home on the largest free stock photo site on the web - download stock photos or share your own work.

www.sxc.hu/profile/hugenot - 22k - Similar pages

Hugenots I
Hugenot Surnames. All materials on this page are used with the kind permission of Pat Traynor. HUGUENOT FAMILIES. These lists were taken from "Irish ...

www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~fianna/surname/hug1.h... - 24k - Similar pages

HUGENOT Genealogy and Family History Research
Below is a list of the newest databases which contain HUGENOT genealogy records. ... HUGENOT search results at Ancestry.com - Automatic search through more ...

distantcousin.com/SurnameResources/Surname.asp?S... - 13k - Similar pages

. . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
November 16th, 2008, 03:06 AM
:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

How much more damage can they do?

Nicole Colson reports on the Bush administration's beneath-the-radar push to lock in conservative regulatory changes before a new president takes over.

Analysis: Nicole Colson
November 13, 2008
GEORGE W. BUSH may have less than 70 days left in the White House, but it appears he's intent on doing as much damage as possible on his way out the door.

As the New York Times put it in an editorial on Election Day:
President Bush's aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others--few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush's case, it is more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next president to identify, and then undo all of the damage.

The push is on now because many regulations go into effect 30 to 60 days after they are finalized. If they aren't in effect when the next president takes office, the new president can simply not put them into practice--as Bush did with many rules finalized at the end of the Clinton administration.

But, as Reuters reported:"If [new regulations] are in effect [when Obama takes office], it will be hard for the next administration to undo them, and in any case, this may not be the top priority for a new president," said Matt Madia of OMB Watch, which monitors the White House Office of Management and Budget, through which these proposed regulations must pass.
"This is typical," Madia said of the administration's welter of 11th-hour rules. "It's a natural reaction to knowing that you're almost out of power."

Short of actions taken by the courts and potential lawsuits, the new administration's option would be to restart the rule-making process--which can take a long time to complete.

In preparation for the coming change of power, Bush's chief of staff Joshua Bolten sent a memo to regulatory agencies in May telling them to come up with any proposed rule changes by June in order to have them in place by November. According to the Times, "This, Mr. Bolten explained, was to avoid a mad dash for midnight regulations--those last-minute tweaks to federal rules made in the twilight of a departing administration. Of course, room would be made for 'extraordinary circumstances,' Mr. Bolten wrote."

But according to OMB Watch, "it appears there are a lot of 'extraordinary circumstances' to be found." As the Washington Post reported on October 31:
The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.

Those and other regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining...

As many as 90 new regulations are in the works, and at least nine of them are considered "economically significant" because they impose costs or promote societal benefits that exceed $100 million annually. They include new rules governing employees who take family- and medical-related leaves, new standards for preventing or containing oil spills and a simplified process for settling real estate transactions...

The burst of activity has made this a busy period for lobbyists who fear that industry views will hold less sway after the elections. The doors at the New Executive Office Building have been whirling with corporate officials and advisers pleading for relief or, in many cases, for hastened decision making.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -SOME OF these lame-duck regulations have been in the works for months, like those expected to be announced by Michael Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services.

Abortion rights advocates have warned since August that Leavitt seemed near to announcing new rules that not only uphold the right of doctors and other health care providers to refuse to perform abortions, but define abortion so broadly that it would also allow health care professionals to opt out of providing basic medical care like prescribing or dispensing contraceptives, including emergency contraception, birth control pills and IUDs.

Leavitt has since claimed that it was simply a misunderstanding. "An early draft of the regulations found its way into public circulation before it had reached my review," he wrote in August. "It contained words that lead some to conclude my intent is to deal with the subject of contraceptives, somehow defining them as abortion. Not true."

However, pro-choice activists are right to remain skeptical. As lawyer and bioethicist R. Alta Charo told the Washington Post, "Until the regulation removes the redefinition of abortion and it clearly states that it deals solely with abortion (and not with any other procedure, nor with any refusals based on the nature of the patient, such as single or gay), I would not be satisfied."

Leavitt claims the new regulation is necessary to "protect" medical providers who wish follow their "consciences in not participating in abortion." But as the New York Times points out, several existing federal laws already uphold the right of medical professionals to refuse to participate in actual abortions.

The changes, say the Times, "would extend the so-called right to refuse to a wide range of health care workers and activities, including abortion referrals, unbiased counseling and provision of birth control pills or emergency contraception, even for rape victims."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -ALSO POTENTIALLY devastating are the host of business-friendly environmental rules that the Bush administration looks likely to ram through in the coming weeks.

The New York Times speculates about a number of draconian changes that could be in the works, including dismantling of federal review of the impact of projects on threatened species; a weakening of the Clean Air Act; and a loosening of regulations on the dumping of toxic waste. As the Times notes:

Mr. Bush's secretary of the interior, Dirk Kempthorne, has recently carved out significant exceptions to regulations requiring expert scientific review of any federal project that might harm endangered or threatened species (one consequence will be to relieve the agency of the need to assess the impact of global warming on at-risk species). The department also is rushing to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list--again. The wolves were re-listed after a federal judge ruled the government had not lived up to its own recovery plan.

In coming weeks, we expect the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a final rule that would weaken a program created by the Clean Air Act, which requires utilities to install modern pollution controls when they upgrade their plants to produce more power. The agency is also expected to issue a final rule that would make it easier for coal-fired power plants to locate near national parks in defiance of long-standing congressional mandates to protect air quality in areas of special natural or recreational value.

Interior also is awaiting EPA's concurrence on a proposal that would make it easier for mining companies to dump toxic mine wastes in valleys and streams.

And while no rules changes are at issue, the interior department also has been rushing to open up millions of acres of pristine federal land to oil and gas exploration.

One proposed Interior Department rule would erode protections for endangered species in favor of mining interests. When the proposal drew more than 300,000 comments from the public, Bush administration officials said they planned to "review" those comments in a week--a blatant move to "rubber stamp" the new rule.

As the Washington Post noted, the proposed environmental regulations are so blatant that even some conservative groups are joining with environmental campaigners in an effort to block them:

Even some free-market organizations have joined conservation groups to urge a moratorium on last-minute rules proposed by the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

"The Bush administration has had eight years in office and has issued more regulations than any administration in history," said Eli Lehrer of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "At this point, in the current economic climate, it would be especially harmful to push through ill-considered regulations in the final days of the administration."

There are other giveaways to big business being planned. One comes in the form of a Department of Labor rule on calculating the severity of on-the-job risks, specifically exposure to toxic chemicals. That rule, according to OMB Watch, "sped through Labor Secretary Elaine Chao's office without consultation with occupational health experts in the department. The rule is based largely on a report prepared by an outside consultant paid $349,000 by the department. That report has not been disclosed to the public."

The Bush administration also plans on doing even more damage to civil liberties--after eight years of such attacks. One rule likely to be enacted is a Justice Department plan to allow the FBI to engage in spying on Americans even where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Under the new regulation, civil liberties expert Juan Cole explained on Salon.com in July, FBI agents can instead:

establish a terrorist profile or pattern of behavior and attributes and, on the basis of that profile, start investigating an individual or group. Agents would be permitted to ask "open-ended questions" concerning the activities of Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans. A person's travel and occupation, as well as race or ethnicity, could be grounds for opening a national security investigation.

As the New York Times points out, one last-minute change that the Bush administration won't be making is to shut down the U.S. prison camp in Guantánamo Bay Cuba, "the most shameful symbol of his administration's disdain for the rule of law."

What else to read
The OMB Watch Web site [1] contains updated information about the rules and regulations the Bush administration is proposing. Its report "Midnight at the White House: Bush using rules to cement legacy" [2] offers a detailed picture of what's at stake.

The Washington Post report "A last push to deregulate" [3] and New York Times editorial "So little time, so much damage" [4] also examines the Bush administration's last-minute rush to cement its ideological and business friendly agenda.

[1] http://www.ombwatch.org/
[2] http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/4400/1/550
[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/30/AR2008103004749.html
[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/opinion/04tue1.html
[5] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 16th, 2008, 04:11 AM

Commentary: They’ve squandered lives, fortunes and our sacred honor

Joseph L. Galloway
McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on
Monday, November 3, 2008
Here’s to the American people, the electorate, for finally coming to their senses and voting for something different, for someone different and for a chance to fix the multitude of man-made disasters that confront us.

By their votes, the Republican revolution and all it's wrought — an economic meltdown, two endless wars, class warfare that’s enriched the very rich and beggared everyone else and a treasury bulging only with IOU's — will be crushed.

That revolution began to take root with the criminality of Richard Nixon's administration, with its paranoid enemies list. It gathered steam in the time of Ronald Reagan and with Newt Gingrich’s seizure of Congress.

To be sure, there have been pauses, first during Jimmy Carter's four years and then during Bill Clinton’s eight, in the GOP's rush to recover — with interest — the presidential power that Nixon lost to a second-rate burglary and assorted other dirty tricks.

High tide arrived with the unlikeliest occupant of the Oval Office in our history, the beady-eyed, smirking, tongue-tied, counterfeit cowboy George W. Bush, and a Congress that after 9-11 was run by runaway Republicans who were too busy enriching themselves and their friends to care what their president was doing to the country, the Constitution and even their own party.

Little wonder, then, that Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin will go down to defeat after a campaign of sheer desperation that’s been nasty, brutish and long.

Bush and his clutch of unindicted co-conspirators will leave Washington at high noon on January 20, 2009, two months and a few wakeups from now, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

Oh, there will be more outrages as they leave. Bush and his gang are busy drafting and issuing Executive Orders and new regulations gutting the last surviving federal rules that bedevil their rich, polluting friends, and no doubt they're just as busy drawing up presidential pardons by the bucketful for themselves and their partners in crime.

These Republicans arrived with a strange combination of contempt for government and hunger for its power, and during their time in the saddle they've done everything they could to destroy the government and the Constitution that our forefathers so carefully constructed to check and balance any self-anointed monarchs' ability to do evil or accumulate dangerous and excessive power.

Where were we the people while this evil was being unleashed on us? Remember the fable of the grasshopper and the ant? We were, with the encouragement of our president, busy playing grasshopper. In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, our president urged us to go to the shopping mall. Go be grasshoppers. Consume everything, save nothing, live like there’s no tomorrow, like winter will never come.

Guess what? Winter has arrived.

In the name of national security, of homeland security, our right to privacy has been whittled away, legally and illegally. Big Brother has been listening, but only for our own good.

With the arrogance common to those who are ignorant of both history and the world, these people threw away our standing in that world, declaring that everyone must either be with us or against us. We hardly noticed as the world paid attention to what we did, not what we said, and then quietly chose the latter option.

In pursuit of our newfound civic duty as consumers, we hardly noticed that nearly everything we bought was marked "Made in China."

Made in China and bought on credit, our credit and our country's. Made in China and made with lead paint and poisonous plastics that threatened the lives of our children and killed our dogs, substances that escaped notice until far too late because the rabid deregulators had pulled our watchdogs' teeth.

They demanded unfettered capitalism, and in the hands of the Wall Street robber barons that was turned into pure evil, pure greed and pure folly. Now millions of Americans are losing their homes in the mortgage meltdown, and millions more have seen their life savings, their 401ks and IRAs, their hopes of a comfortable retirement, blow away like so many leaves on a cruel Texas norther.

They played on our fears like a mighty Wurlitzer Organ, frightening us with lies into an unnecessary war in Iraq. Frightening us into re-electing George Bush, even after we knew that he was anything but presidential, anything but intelligent, anything but a worthy, effective leader.

They frightened us so badly that we voluntarily surrendered the precious rights that a million American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and others bought for us with their lives during two centuries of freedom and democracy.

They used fear to violate international law, to torture and imprison thousands of suspected enemies without charges or trials. They used fear and invoked national security to suspend the right of habeas corpus, the foundation of our freedoms.

For these and far too many other sins and transgressions to list in so short a space as this, we the people have every right, and perhaps a duty, to cast them aside, and with them their only hope of avoiding justice and judgment — John McCain, who voted with them 90 percent of the time.

We're right to toss them all aside, and to hope and pray that it's not too late to start repairing the damage they've done to a nation that once was the last, best hope of mankind.


Saundra Hummer
November 16th, 2008, 03:47 PM

This is spooky. You need to be aware!



November 16, 2008

Study Confirms Genetically Modified Crops Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety

By Institute for Responsible Technology

Austrian Government Study Confirms Genetically Modified (GM) Crops
Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety

Advocates Call for Immediate Ban of All GM Foods and GM Crops

IMMEDIATE RELEASE (November 13, 2008)
(Los Angeles, CA.) - A long-term feeding study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, managed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health, Family and Youth, and carried out by Veterinary University Vienna, confirms genetically modified (GM) corn seriously affects reproductive health in mice. Non-GMO advocates, who have warned about this infertility link along with other health risks, now seek an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world.

Feeding mice with genetically modified corn developed by the US-based Monsanto Corporation led to lower fertility and body weight, according to the study conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Lead author of the study Professor Zentek said, there was a direct link between the decrease in fertility and the GM diet, and that mice fed with non-GE corn reproduced more efficiently.

In the study, Austrian scientists performed several long-term feeding trials over 20 weeks with laboratory mice fed a diet containing 33% of a GM variety (NK 603 x MON 810), or a closely related non-GE variety used in many countries. Statistically significant litter size and pup weight decreases were found in the third and fourth litters in the GM-fed mice, compared to the control group.

The corn is genetically modified with genes that produce a pesticidal toxin, as well as genes that allow it to survive applications of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup.

A book by author Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette, distributed to members of congress last year, documents 65 serious health risks of GM products, including similar fertility problems with GM soy and GM corn: Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce. Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells. The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning. Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed on GM corn varieties. Additionally, over the last two months, investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products.

The principle GM crops are soy, corn, cottonseed and canola. GM sugar from sugar beets will also be introduced before year’s end.

Mr. Smith, who is also the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology says, “GM foods are likely responsible for several negative health trends in the US. The government must impose an immediate ban on these dangerous crops.” He says, “Consumers don’t need to wait for governmental action. They can download a free Non-GMO Shopping Guide at www.HealthierEating.org.”

Monsanto press offices in the UK and USA were unable to provide a comment on the findings for journalists yesterday.

The Institute for Responsible Technology’s Campaign for Healthier Eating in America mobilizes citizens, organizations, businesses, and the media, to achieve the tipping point of consumer rejection of genetically modified foods.

The Institute educates people about the documented health risks of GMOs and provides them with healthier non-GMO product choices.

The Institute also informs policy makers and the public around the world about the impacts of GMOs on health, environment, the economy, and agriculture, and the problems associated with current research, regulation, corporate practices, and reporting.


Institute For Responsible Technology
Media Contact: NJ Jaeger
Expert Contact: Jeffrey M. Smith
Email: njmail@cox.net
Phone: +1-310-377-0915

Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety
Corporate Communication: Univ.-Doz. Ingrid Kiefer
Tel: +43 50 555-25000; E-Mail: ingrid.kiefer@ages.at


Austrian Study:
Institute for Responsible Technology:

Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Austrian-Government-Study-by-Institute-for-Resp-081115-414.html

Saundra Hummer
November 16th, 2008, 05:23 PM

Obama election spurs race crimes around country
AP National Writer
Sun Nov 16, 6:19 am ET

Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama." Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

There have been "hundreds" of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

One was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: "I hope Obama gets assassinated." That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law's front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.

She described her emotions as a combination of anger and fear.

"I can't say that every white person in Snellville is evil and anti-Obama and willing to desecrate my property because one or two idiots did it," said Millner, who is black. "But it definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with, and makes you wonder what they're capable of and what they're really thinking."

Potok, who is white, said he believes there is "a large subset of white people in this country who feel that they are losing everything they know, that the country their forefathers built has somehow been stolen from them."

Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white Georgia native, expressed similar sentiments: "I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.

"If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama's) church being deported," he said.

Change in whatever form does not come easy, and a black president is "the most profound change in the field of race this country has experienced since the Civil War," said William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina. "It's shaking the foundations on which the country has existed for centuries."

"Someone once said racism is like cancer," Ferris said. "It's never totally wiped out, it's in remission."

If so, America's remission lasted until the morning of Nov. 5.

The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama's victory.

Tyler spoke at a press conference by the Georgia chapter of the NAACP calling for a town hall meeting to address complaints from across the state about hostility and resentment. Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.

The student's mother, Eshe Riviears, said the principal told her: "Whether you like it or not, we're in the South, and there are a lot of people who are not happy with this decision."

Other incidents include:
_Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

_At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."

_Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

_Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted "assassinate Obama," a district official said.

_University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. "It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork," Houston said.

_Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.

_Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

_A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted 'Obama.'

_In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."

Emotions are often raw after a hard-fought political campaign, but now those on the losing side have an easy target for their anger.

"The principle is very simple," said BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and co-author of the diversity book "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins." "If I can't hurt the person I'm angry at, then I'll vent my anger on a substitute, i.e., someone of the same race."

"We saw the same thing happen after the 9-11 attacks, as a wave of anti-Muslim violence swept the country. We saw it happen after the Rodney King verdict, when Los Angeles blacks erupted in rage at the injustice perpetrated by 'the white man.'"

"It's as stupid and ineffectual as kicking your dog when you've had a bad day at the office," Gallagher said. "But it happens a lot."
. . . . .

Associated Press writers Errin Haines, Jerry Harkavy, Jay Reeves, Johnny Clark and researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved

More on Barack Obama & Joe Biden

Obama's White House Hires Reflect Respect for Hill CQPolitics.com

Financial overhaul added to Obama's to-do list AP

Obama resigns his US Senate seatAFP


Saundra Hummer
November 16th, 2008, 06:10 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

GCC vulnerable to cyber-criminals

Global organized crime has gone high-tech, complete with auctioning sites selling malware and stolen bank card details, reports regional security experts.

United Arab Emirates:
Sunday, November 16 - 2008 at 11:53
Organized crime is now the major driving force for illegal web activities. Due to the relative ease of operating almost invisibly over the Internet, criminal's shift from physical to cyber safe has been swift.

The rate of growth of malware has shot up exponentially in the last few years. In 2007 over 5 million unique malware samples were detected. At the current growth rate, this conservatively projects to over 230,000,000 by 2010.

A recent regional security survey conducted by Trend Micro and ITP.net revealed that in the past three months alone, 80% of users were affected by spam; 31% were affected by viruses; and 23% were affected by viruses and Trojans. Startlingly, 25% were unaware that threats existed in the region.

The survey also revealed that, people in the Middle East are fairly knowledgeable about security threats such as spam, viruses, worms and Trojans, but only about 18% have heard of 'rootkits' - a set of tools that allows hackers to gain access to key root functions on a server.

'The Middle East's economic success signals a lucrative target for cyber criminals,' said Ian Cochrane, Regional Marketing Manager, Trend Micro. 'All attacks are financially motivated. Given the sophistication and stealth of these attacks, it is imperative that regional businesses have the right level of protection.'

Web threats can be installed on a PC without the user's implicit knowledge and permission. Because 72% of regional employees browse web-sites unrelated to work, the chances of downloading malicious software are much higher.

Unprotected hot spots are particularly dangerous. The study shows that 73% of employees use laptops outside of work, increasing the chances of infection.

Trend Micro's Smart Protection Network is a unique approach designed to stay one step ahead of the cybercriminals. This new cloud-client hybrid technology enables organizations to protect laptops, workstations, servers and gateway systems. Trend Micro's real-time infrastructure, sitting in the cloud, then checks the signature for malware. Once checked, a response is sent back to the client.

This structure insures customers have immediate access to the latest and strongest protection wherever and however they connect to the internet - from home, within the company's network, or on the go.

'Our Smart Protection Network uses advanced threat correlation to halt web attacks at the source while minimizing the resource demands on your IT environment. Trend Micro's next generation of anti-malware technology has arrived, blocking the most sophisticated threats before they reach your corporate network,' added Cochran.

At the heart of the Smart Protection Network is a move beyond the conventional approaches of blocking threats and towards a global network of threat intelligence that uses Trend Micro's cloud-based technology to block Web threats before they reach a network or computer. Leveraged across Trend Micro's on-premise products, as well as hosted solutions that have effectively protected millions of customers since the company's inception 20 years ago, Trend Micro Smart Protection Network takes the fight against crimeware into the Internet cloud.

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 16th, 2008, 06:32 PM

What’s Good for G.M. Is Good for the Army

Op-Ed Contributor
Jason Logan

Published: November 16, 2008
Little Rock, Ark.

AMERICA’S automobile industry is in desperate trouble. Financial instability, the credit squeeze and closed capital markets are hurting domestic automakers, while decades of competition from foreign producers have eroded market share and consumer loyalty. Some economists question the wisdom of Washington’s intervening to help the Big Three, arguing that the automakers should pay the price for their own mistakes or that the market will correct itself. But we must act: aiding the American automobile industry is not only an economic imperative, but also a national security imperative.

When President Dwight Eisenhower observed that America’s greatest strength wasn’t its military, but its economy, he must have had companies like General Motors and Ford in mind. Sitting atop a vast pyramid of tool makers, steel producers, fabricators and component manufacturers, these companies not only produced the tanks and trucks that helped win World War II, but also lent their technology to aircraft and ship manufacturing. The United States truly became the arsenal of democracy.

During the 1950s, advances in aviation, missiles, satellites and electronics made Detroit seem a little old-fashioned in dealing with the threat of the Soviet Union. The Army’s requests for new trucks and other basic transportation usually came out a loser in budget battles against missile technology and new modifications for the latest supersonic jet fighter. Not only were airplanes far sexier but they also counted as part of our military “tooth,” while much of the land forces’ needs were “tail.” And in those days, “more teeth, less tail” had become a key concept in military spending.

But in 1991, the Persian Gulf war demonstrated the awesome utility of American land power, and the Humvee (and its civilian version, the Hummer) became a star. Likewise, the ubiquitous homemade bombs of the current Iraq insurgency have led to the development of innovative armor-protected wheeled vehicles for American forces, as well as improvements in our fleets of Humvees, tanks, armored fighting vehicles, trucks and cargo carriers.

In a little more than a year, the Army has procured and fielded in Iraq more than a thousand so-called mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. The lives of hundreds of soldiers and marines have been saved, and their tasks made more achievable, by the efforts of the American automotive industry. And unlike in World War II, America didn’t have to divert much civilian capacity to meet these military needs. Without a vigorous automotive sector, those needs could not have been quickly met.

More challenges lie ahead for our military, and to meet them we need a strong industrial base. For years the military has sought better sources of electric power in its vehicles — necessary to allow troops to monitor their radios with diesel engines off, to support increasingly high-powered communications technology, and eventually to support electric propulsion and innovative armaments like directed-energy weapons. In sum, this greater use of electricity will increase combat power while reducing our footprint. Much research and development spending has gone into these programs over the years, but nothing on the manufacturing scale we really need.

Now, though, as Detroit moves to plug-in hybrids and electric-drive technology, the scale problem can be remedied. Automakers are developing innovative electric motors, many with permanent magnet technology, that will have immediate military use. And only the auto industry, with its vast purchasing power, is able to establish a domestic advanced battery industry. Likewise, domestic fuel cell production — which will undoubtedly have many critical military applications — depends on a vibrant car industry.

To be sure, the public should demand transformation and new standards in the auto industry before paying to keep it alive. And we should insist that Detroit’s goals include putting America in first place in hybrid and electric automotive technology, reducing the emissions of the country’s transportation fleet, and strengthening our competitiveness abroad.

This should be no giveaway. Instead, it is a historic opportunity to get it right in Detroit for the good of the country. But Americans must bear in mind that any federal assistance plan would not be just an economic measure. This is, fundamentally, about national security.

Wesley K. Clark, a retired Army general and former supreme allied commander of NATO, is a senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations at the University of California at Los Angeles.

More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on November 16, 2008, on page WK14 of the New York edition


Op-Ed Contributors: How High Gas Prices Can Save the Car Industry (November 16, 2008)
Op-Ed Contributor: Have You Driven a Bus or a Train Lately? (November 16, 2008)
Times Topics: Auto Industry Bailout



Saundra Hummer
November 16th, 2008, 07:05 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^


When Liberals Become the Religious Right

Frederick Clarkson,
2008-11-15 15:23:04
Section: Front Page
Topic: Language and Framing

After posting a Short Takes item about liberal Catholic writer E.J. Dionne's call to capitulation on reproductive rights, I went on to develop it into a more detailed discussion over at Daily Kos


When Liberals Argue for Continuing Bush Policies

Frederick Clarkson
Sat Nov 15, 2008
09:18:46 AM PST
Various Beltway Insiders and Professional Pundits are saying that president elect Obama should not undo the various anti-abortion executive orders issued by the Bush administration. They say doing this would avoid pissing off prolifers and show that he is governing from the middle and that it will make it easier for Congress to move his anti-poverty agenda.

It is a seductive argument, but I believe it is also wrong and if Obama falls for it -- will be correctly viewed as an error of historic proportions -- not only politically, but in terms of the human costs of continuing horrific policies of the Bush administration.

Frederick Clarkson's diary :: ::
Consider a column this week by E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post in which he joined other Washington Insiders in arguing that the best way for Obama to find common ground on abortion is to capitulate to the demands of Religious Right anti-abortion activists. He says Obama should reward his prolife supporters by not rescinding Bush era antiabortion executive orders and not pursue prochoice policies. In other words, the president should betray his pro-choice supporters and continue policies that are not based on science but on religious right ideology. He says, Obama should govern as the "cultural moderate he promised to be. He should not lose his chance to make cultural warfare a quaint relic of the past."

Dionne has made a recent career of declaring that the Religous Right is on the wane and the culture wars are receding. Apparently he does not keep up on the news -- like the battle of Prop 8 in California, before and since the election. Longtime Religious Right leader Chuck Colson had called the California initiative "the Armageddon of the culture war." Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage said: "This is ground zero in a culture war that the California Supreme Court just declared on Christianity and every single faith." Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told The New York Times, "It’s more important than the presidential election." Huh. And their side won on that initiative -- the first roll-back of a court-ordered civil rights advance in American history.

But perhaps most tellingly, Dionne seems to have missed major news reports on the recent meeting of the Roman Catholic bishops in Baltimore where fresh anti-abortion attacks were made not only on Obama, but the very common grounders who persuaded anti-abortion Catholics to vote for Obama and who Dionne says Obama needs to appease. As the Associated Press report (and others I read) make clear, many Catholic bishops are in no mood for common ground, and that any gestures such as that proposed by Dionne (and a host of other pundits from Michael Gerson to Bill O'Reilly lately) will not quiet or quell their raging opposition.

BALTIMORE – The nation's Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights, saying the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new presidential administration.

In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy. Many condemned Catholics who had argued it was morally acceptable to back President-elect Obama because he pledged to reduce abortion rates.

And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching. Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., singled out Vice President-elect Biden, a Catholic, Scranton native who supports abortion rights.

Let's also note that all of these pundits are quiet about the Bush administration's Orwellian plans to redefine contraception as abortion for a wide range of public policy purposes, as described in a Recommended Diary by Planned Parenthood.

The punditocracy is also silent about the devastating human cost of the the Global Gag Rule:

The Global Gag Rule was reinstated by President George W. Bush on his first day in office in January 2001. Officially termed the Mexico City Policy, these restrictions mandate that no U.S. family planning assistance can be provided to foreign NGOs [non governmental organizations] that use funding from any other source to: perform abortions in cases other than a threat to the woman’s life, rape or incest; provide counseling and referral for abortion; or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country.

Called the "gag" rule because it stifles free speech and public debate on abortion-related issues, the policy forces a cruel choice on foreign NGOs: accept U.S. assistance to provide essential health services – but with restrictions that may jeopardize the health of many patients – or reject the policy and lose vital U.S. funds, contraceptive supplies and technical assistance.

Our continuing research shows the gag rule is eroding family planning and reproductive health services in developing countries. There is no evidence that it has reduced the incidence of abortion globally. On the contrary, it impedes the very services that help women avoid unwanted pregnancy from the start.
Here are a few examples from a joint study by international family planning groups:

The demand for contraceptives has never been higher in developing countries, yet the funding available for supplies is not keeping pace with demand. Compounding this crisis is the fact that NGOs that refuse to sign the Global Gag Rule lose access to U.S.-donated contraceptives. It is ironic that the Global Gag Rule denies many NGOs access to in-kind donations of the very contraceptives that can prevent recourse to abortions. For example:

In Ethiopia, one of the world’s poorest countries, where the rate of maternal death is exceedingly high, women are often desperate for contraception. A rural clinic in Ethiopia that is now ineligible to receive USAID supplies due to the Global Gag Rule reported being nearly out of Depo-Provera, a long-acting contraceptive method used by 70 percent of its clients.

In Lesotho, one in four women is infected with HIV/AIDS — one of the highest rates in southern Africa. Over a three-year period, from 1998-2000, the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) received 426,000 condoms, along with smaller quantities of IUDs and Depo Provera — all donated by USAID. Because of their refusal to agree to the gag rule restrictions, they no longer receive USAID contraceptives including condoms. LPPA was the sole recipient of USAID supplies; 2000 was the last year that USAID shipped family planning supplies to Lesotho.

The impact of the Global Gag Rule on access to contraceptives including condoms is far-reaching. Desperately needed USAID-supplied contraceptives are no longer being shipped to 16 developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. These family planning organizations were the only recipients of USAID contraceptives in their countries. The leading providers of family planning in 13 other developing nations are also no longer receiving USAID contraceptives.

The pundits who want Obama to betray his own principles by not rescinding the global gag rule, (among other Bush administration atrocities) in the name of finding "common ground" should ask themselves how many victims of unconscionable policies they are willing to bury under that common ground.

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

But that discussion also belongs here. Various Beltway Insiders and Professional Pundits are saying that president elect Obama should not undo the various anti-abortion executive orders issued by the Bush administration. They say doing this would avoid pissing off prolifers and show that he is governing from the middle and that it will make it easier for Congress to move his anti-poverty agenda. It is a seductive argument, but I believe it is also wrong and if Obama falls for it -- will be correctly viewed as an error of historic proportions -- not only politically, but in terms of the human costs of continuing horrific policies of the Bush administration.



This is the Daily digest for Talk To Action

Saundra Hummer
November 17th, 2008, 08:47 PM
The Nation
War & Peace
Blackwater Busted?
Jeremy Scahill
November 14, 2008

AP Images
Plainclothes contractors working for Blackwater USA take part in a firefight, April 2004. Go on site to gain access to photo, and related information.

After more than five years of rampant violence and misconduct carried out by the massive army of private corporate contractors in Iraq--actions that have gone totally unpunished under any system of law--the US Justice Department appears to be on the verge of handing down the first indictments against armed private forces for crimes committed in Iraq. The reported targets of the "draft" indictments: six Blackwater operatives involved in the September 16, 2007, killing of seventeen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square.

The Associated Press reports, "The draft is being reviewed by senior Justice Department officials but no charging decisions have been made. A decision is not expected until at least later this month." The AP, citing sources close to the case, reports that the department has not determined if the Blackwater operatives would be charged with manslaughter or assault. Simply drafting the indictments does not mean that the Blackwater forces are certain to face charges. The department could indict as few as three of the operatives, who potentially face sentences of five to twenty years, depending on the charges.

If the Justice Department pursues a criminal prosecution, it would be the first time armed private contractors from the United States face justice.

But that is a very big "if."

"The Justice Department has had this matter for fourteen months and has done almost everything imaginable to walk away from it--including delivering a briefing to Congress in which they suggested that they lacked legal authority to press charges," says Scott Horton, distinguished visiting professor of law at Hofstra University and author of a recent study of legal accountability for private security contractors. "They did this notwithstanding evidence collected by the first teams on the scene that suggested an ample basis to prosecute. The ultimate proof here will be in the details, namely, what charges are brought exactly and what evidence has Justice assembled to make its case. Still, it's hard to miss Justice's lack of enthusiasm about this case, and that's troubling."

Even if some Blackwater operatives face charges, critics allege it is the company that must be held responsible. "I am encouraged that the Justice Department is finally making progress in the investigation, but I am disappointed that it took over a year and a lot of pressure for the department to take any action," says Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who introduced legislation that seeks to ban using Blackwater and other armed security companies in US war zones. (She was also the national campaign co-chair of Barack Obama's presidential campaign and is a top candidate to replace him in the US Senate.)

"While it is important to hold these individual contractors accountable for their actions, we must also hold Blackwater accountable for creating a culture that allows this type of reckless behavior," adds Schakowsky. "The indictments do nothing to solve the underlying problem of private security contractors performing critical government functions. The indictments will likely get rid of a few bad apples, but there will be no real consequences for Blackwater. This company is going to continue to do business as usual--the solution is to get them out of this business."

News of potential indictments over the Nisour Square shootings comes as the State Department is reportedly preparing to hit Blackwater with a multimillion-dollar fine for allegedly shipping as many as 900 automatic weapons to Iraq without the required permits. Some of the guns may have made their way to the black market.

Blackwater has served as the official bodyguard service for senior US occupation officials since August 2003, when the company was awarded a $27 million no-bid contract to guard L. Paul Bremer, the original head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. To date, the company has raked in more than $1 billion in "security" contracts under its arrangement with the State Department.

Despite widespread accusations of killings of civilians and other crimes, not a single armed contractor from Blackwater--or from any other armed war corporation--has faced charges under any legal system. Instead, they have operated in a climate where immunity and impunity have gone hand in hand. At present, private contractors--most of them unarmed--outnumber US troops in Iraq by roughly 50,000 personnel.

There is no doubt that the Bush administration will continue enthusiastically to use armed private forces until the second Bush leaves office. This means that the future of Blackwater and the hundreds of for-profit war corporations servicing the Iraq occupation will lay with President-elect Barack Obama. This includes Blackwater and at least 300 other companies, which have been hired by the US government for privatized armed services in Iraq to the tune of about $6 billion in taxpayer money.

"One of the biggest problems that Barack Obama is going to have is turning the government back into a civil service and getting rid of all the private contractors," says Washington Democratic Representative Jim McDermott. "The private contracting thing is the most erosive thing that this administration has done.... You look at all the things that are being run by private contractors, you simply cannot be handing money to a private contractor who is not under the law of that country or the law of this country and can do anything they want. They're really--they're rogue outfits."

Obama has been a passionate critic of the war industry and is the sponsor of the leading Democratic legislation in the Senate to bring more effective regulation and oversight to it. But he has stopped short of supporting Schakowsky and Senator Bernie Sanders's legislation seeking a ban on using Blackwater and other armed contracting companies in Iraq. One of his top foreign policy advisers told The Nation earlier this year that Obama "can't rule out [and] won't rule out" using these companies in Iraq.

In a brief interview with Democracy Now! in February, Obama explained his position when asked about the report in The Nation.

"Here's the problem: we have 140,000 private contractors right there, so unless we want to replace all of or a big chunk of those with US troops, we can't draw down the contractors faster than we can draw down our troops," Obama said. "So what I want to do is draw--I want them out in the same way that we make sure that we draw out our own combat troops."

As Obama's inauguration day draws near, he is facing increased calls from Democrats who have spent years investigating Blackwater to ban the company. Most prominent among these is Henry Waxman, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He called on Obama to cancel Blackwater's security contracts. "I don't see any reason to have a contract with Blackwater," says Waxman. "They haven't lived up to their contract, and we shouldn't be having these private military contracts. We should use our own military."

As of now, Blackwater's Iraq contract expires in April (it was extended for a year by the State Department despite numerous investigations). "I think there should be very strong handcuffs put on this whole outsourcing question, but particularly with these private security contractors like DynCorp and Blackwater," says Vermont Democrat Peter Welch, who serves on the Oversight Committee with Waxman and supports the calls for Obama to cancel Blackwater's security contracts. "It's just an incredible waste of taxpayer money. It dishonors the Code of Military Conduct. Our soldiers are over there. They abide by rules. Blackwater doesn't."

But not all Democrats agree. Senator John Kerry, who is reportedly among the people being considered for Secretary of State in the Obama administration, shares the president-elect's view. "I don't think they should be banned," says Kerry. "I think they need to operate under rules that apply to the military and everybody else."

As of January 20, 2009, if Obama decides to keep Blackwater and other armed war corporations on the US payroll, these private forces would go from being Bush's mercenaries in Iraq to Obama's. As commander in chief, he would be responsible for their crimes. As for the accountability issue, many critics allege that the most serious problems in holding contractors responsible for their crimes stem from the Bush administration's covering-up of their misconduct and immunizing them from prosecution, and the total lack of political will to bring them to justice. When Obama appoints a new attorney general, there will be more than five years' worth of crimes to investigate--and prosecute.

Also By
Blackwater's Not Going Anywhere
Jeremy Scahill:Anyone who thinks Blackwater is in serious trouble is dead wrong. Business has never been better for Blackwater and its future looks bright.
Blackwater's Private Spies
Jeremy Scahill:The notorious mercenary firm is now a one-stop shop for security outsourcing, offering CIA-like services to Fortune 500 companies.
» More
Blackwater Busted?
Jeremy Scahill:Six Guards may be charged in Iraq massacre, but critics fear the company's 'reckless behavior' will continue.
Blackwater's Not Going Anywhere

About Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, published by Nation Books. He is an award-winning investigative journalist and correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!. more...


Saundra Hummer
November 17th, 2008, 10:11 PM

The Christmas Wars MMVIII:
Attack of the Atheists
Seems like every year Christmas decorations in stores go up earlier. Even the Banana Republic across the street from Mother Jones' offices has installed its celebratory, yet demure, holiday displays well in advance. Appropriately, the "War on Christmas" is also getting an early start this year. Already a pro-atheist group, the American Humanist Association, has launched a literally godless ad campaign that's riling up the pro-Christmas soldiers at Fox News and other conservative outlets. The ads (seen left) are shamelessly posted on 200 secular buses throughout D.C. In addition, the American Humanist Association will post billboards in Lamb's-blood-red Colorado Springs and Denver that say, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

The congenial press contact for the campaign, Fred Edwords, says he will appear on CNN and Bill O'Reilly's show tonight. That promises to be interesting since O'Reilly prophesized that a lack of a properly Christian Christmas could lead society to embrace other "...secular progressive programs, like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious-based, usually." Instead of leading to gay marriage, O'Reilly would prefer Christmas lead to religious celebrations and the purchase of specialty, fleur-de-lis emblazoned doormats sold on his site which boldly proclaim "We Say Merry Christmas."

Bill O'Reilly isn't the only one worried about Christmas, though. The book publishing world is pinning its hopes not on a Jewish guy in sandals, but on a blonde British woman in pointy boots: J.K. Rowling. Her new book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, is reportedly the shining hope of what promises to be an otherwise rather gloomy time for Border's. Christmas will also be not-so-fun for folks at Hearst. And Morgan Stanley. And Viacom. Merry Christmas!

Posted by:
Jen Phillips on 11/13/08 at 12:52 PM

Go on-site to view more and to gain access to the links within this article and it's photo, as well as to view the comments about this touchy subject, or to just add your own. To gain access to this site, just click on the following URL:


November 18th, 2008, 03:43 AM
Outdoor strings of colored lights, winter seasonal beers, and the resumption of the Holiday Naming Rights; all things I look forward to when the snow starts falling. Thanks, Saundra. I always forget about the Holiday Holy Wars that roll around this time of the year. I look forward to reading more posts as they, inevitably, occur with greater frequency. And I might, just might, make a post or two of my own. :angel

Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 01:11 PM
Outdoor strings of colored lights, winter seasonal beers, and the resumption of the Holiday Naming Rights; all things I look forward to when the snow starts falling. Thanks, Saundra. I always forget about the Holiday Holy Wars that roll around this time of the year. I look forward to reading more posts as they, inevitably, occur with greater frequency. And I might, just might, make a post or two of my own. :angel

I love the holidays, even when we aren't plush. It's a joyful time of year for me. Even when they're so commercialized, it's an enjoyable time; full of fun and good cheer. A cliche? But, not for me.

Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 01:30 PM

Lieberman keeps Homeland Security post

November 18, 2008
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) offered a qualified apology -- and accepted a relatively light punishment -- in exchange for a deal that keeps him firmly in the Senate Democratic fold.

Democrats, meeting in the Capitol this morning, voted secretly to allow Lieberman to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee -- despite his support for John McCain and criticism of Barack Obama during the presidential race.

Lieberman's punishment for what many Democrats saw as an unacceptable betrayal: He will lose his seat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he has been an outspoken critic of Bush administration global warming policies.

"It's a resolution of reconciliation and not retribution...I appreciate it," Lieberman told reporters after the two-and-half hour meeting in the Old Senate Chamber.

Lieberman gave a nod to President-elect Barack Obama who had reportedly urged a mild rebuke that would keep the former Democratic nominee from defecting to the GOP caucus.

But he saved his warmest thanks for Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), who introduced today's compromise resolution.

The vote on Lieberman's fate came in a closed-door session in which Lieberman, members of the Democratic Senate leadership and some current and soon-to-be-senators all spoke.

Update - Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) all spoke out in favor of Lieberman during the meeting, as well as Sens.-elect Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) spoke out in favor of Lieberman, according to Democratic sources

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) spoke out in opposition, saying they wanted to see Lieberman lose his Homeland Security gavel even if Lieberman threatened to walk out of the caucus

Sources who were inside the meeting said Lieberman did not apologize for supporting McCain during the campaign, but that he did say he was sorry for some of the statements he made about Obama.

Lieberman also retained his chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee Airland subcommittee.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who pushed for tougher punishment prior to Obama's intervention, bristled when reporters asked if he had let Lieberman off lightly.

"Is this the time to walk out of here and say, 'Boy, did we get even,'?" he asked. "No one was more angry than me... I feel good about what we did today."

Reid said keeping Lieberman happy would help Democrats fend off the GOP if they attempted to filibuster Obama's legislative initiatives. Democrats enjoy a 57-40 edge in the upper chamber with three races still undecided.

"There is a time in Joe Lieberman's career I will never understand or approve," he added. "The question is, 'Do I trust Sen. Lieberman?' The answer is 'Yes, I trust Sen. Lieberman.'"

Glenn Thrush and Patrick O'Connor contributed to this report.

John Bresnahan
11:53 AM


Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 02:23 PM
* * * * *



Dear Richard R.,

October saw an increase in bankruptcies -- 108,595, an average of 4,936 every business day.

President Bush hosted the G-20 summit - the official menu included fruitwood-smoked quail, thyme-roasted rack of lamb and baked Vermont brie with walnut crostini, along with three wines .

More than a quarter million U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in October. A total of 279,561 properties got a default notice, were warned of a pending auction or were foreclosed.

World leaders washed down their quail and lamb with three expensive wines - one Shafer Cabernet "Hillside Select" 2003 sells at $499 a bottle.

Have these leaders ever heard of Maria Antoinette and the French Revolution?

The stock market continues to drop, unemployment is rising, home prices are falling, retail sales saw a record drop, credit is tight - the world leaders get together for Bush's farewell supposedly to save the world economy and produce . . . nothing.

Last week, the Federal Reserve - the banksters central bank, run by banksters for the banksters - refused to say where the $2 trillion they have put into bailout banks was spent or for what collateral. Treasury, reversed itself and is no longer buying "toxic assets" but buying equity stakes in banks - infusing banks with taxpayer cash (of course, they're not getting a seat on the board like a major investor should). Oh . . . and Treasury has been blacking out key information on their contracts, like how much people they are hiring from Wall Street are getting paid to bailout their Wall Street friends.


We're joining together to Break the Bailout. The first step is a moneybomb on December 7. We want Washington, DC to know that they will be held accountable, their votes will be watched and reported to the American people.


The Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics has started a transpartisan coalition with Break the Matrix (famous for the Ron Paul Moneybombs), AfterDowningStreet and 16 other organizations - the Break the Bailout campaign - visit www.BreakTheBailout.com to see what we're planning. We're going to build a community, a citizen's movement, to fight for the economy we want. We know the country is outraged and we're going to redirect that outrage into constructive action.

Take action today. PLEDGE - We're holding a MONEYBOMB on December7, 2008 to show elected officials we're serious. Pledge today by filling out the "please pledge now" form on http://www.BreakTheBailout.com, then come back and join us on December 7 - the moneybomb day - to make your donation and watch the collections mount up. Become a Bailout Breaker!

Acting alone, we can achieve nothing; acting together, we can change everything. Join us today.



Kevin Zeese
Executive Director

P.S. Tonight at 8 Eastern Time you can watch the new Break The Bailout TV Show at


© BreakTheBailout.com

2842 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Blue underlined areas are the links within the newsletter. Go on site to gain accss to them by clicking on the following URL, or the ones above


I can't pledge, but it's good to see that there are dedicated fronts to fight these carpet baggers.

They really just don't care about the American people; this is more than obvious.

Actions speak louder than words and as we lose everything, the money men and their cohorts are getting their's, and they're getting it in grand style. How many of us out here in the real world make a habit of visiting luxury spas, drink expensive wines, and have our every wish kow~towed to? It's not in our everyday lives, not as they've come to expect and know in theirs.

They know we haven't any public guillotines; as they themselves cut off the tips of their expensive Cubans, doing this with minature ones in gold; smug in their belief that they are untouchable. Are they really? I don't think this needs to be true. Not when the American people have the intestinal fortitude to decide to do what needs to be done, and that is to have them make amends and pay for what it is they've done to all of us; to our country. We are after all what The U.S. of A. is made of, and it can only be as good as we allow it to be. Geatness can be ours once again, that is, as long as enough of us are willing to stand up and fight internal forces which aren't made up of patriots, but self seeking thugs. SRH

* * *

November 18th, 2008, 02:42 PM
Please, Mr. Obama, don't choose Hillary Clinton for Sectretary of State. :cry:

Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 04:26 PM
:: :: ::



Congress Must Debate The Implications Of A Bush Self-Pardon
Many people have been asking us, "Could Bush actually pardon himself?". Would it be despicable? Sure it would. Would it be shameless and cowardly? Yes, that and that too. But all those adjectives fit Bush like O.J.'s glove before it shrunk from being soaked completely in blood. Which means he is absolutely is planning on doing it.

And only impeachment could stop it. We need to talk about this. We need Congress to talk about this. And Congress is in session this week, so we need you to speak out this week while there is still time.

Impeach Now Action Page:http://www.usalone.com/impeach_now.php
Tens of thousands of you submitted the action page on this last week. Do it again. Please speak out again while we still can. There is already a drum beat in the right wing media calling on Bush to pardon his whole administration. Only our voices can raise the price of such action so that there would be real consequences.

We have not given up, and will never give up hope on justice. We will be taking delivery of another huge shipment of the "Impeach Both!!!" caps that are still so popular. But this might be the last batch. So if you want to demonstrate your support for impeachment, please request yours now from the return page of the action page submission.

Impeach Now Action Page:

Will Congress now act? That is not the yardstick of the worth of our activism. We speak out because we must speak out, whether we are heeded or not. Let history record that we spoke out until the last minute to the eternal shame of those who did not. Because when enough of us speak out at once, the worst thing that can possibly happen is that we are building the progressive base for the REAL change of the future.

So Bush most certainly is planning on pardoning himself. And all the right wing lock down ideologues in the corporate controlled media will call it "healing". Let's all make nice with war criminals? Shall we all make nice with the gang rape of our economy, our environment and our Constitution? We think not.

And one more thing. You know that come January 20th the right wing will start calling for the impeachment of our new president, over a endless litany of the most ridiculous of trivial trifles. In fact it has already started even though he has not even taken office. If they are so hot on impeaching someone, let them speak out now, when it truly is called for, or shut the hell up in 65 days.

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at:


Copyright 2008, Patent pending, All rights reserved


Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 05:57 PM

Documented hate group
People standing strong against hate
(shaded by density)
Go on-site to view graphic. Amazing.

Racism is a serious problem in America. We've identified 888 organized hate groups — a staggering 48% increase since 2000.

This increase in the number of hate groups — white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-immigrant extremists, anti-gay groups and others — is an alarming trend.

The dots on the map above represent the organized hate groups operating in our country. Is there hate in your state?

As the ranks of hate swell, people of goodwill must stand up and be counted.

Add yourself to our map as a voice for tolerance. Join people across the nation who are standing strong against the hate, racism, and intolerance infecting our communities, schools and political debate.

At the Southern Poverty Law Center, we track and expose the activities of hate groups in the United States and use innovative legal strategies to put them out of business.

Thank you for standing strong against hate.

Add yourself to the map.
Stand strong against hate.
* First name (Go on-site to fill in this form)

* Last name

* Enter your e-mail address:

* Re-enter your e-mail address:

* Zip code (five digit zip only)

* = Required fields
Your name and address will not be posted publicly on our map.
Please send me occasional email updates about SPLC's work.


Southern Poverty Law Center

Saundra R., thank you, again, for standing strong against hate by adding yourself to our map as a voice for tolerance. People of goodwill can make a difference in the fight to expose organized racism and hate in our country. Remember to be an advocate for justice and speak out against hate wherever and whenever you see it.

Tell your friends to stand strong against hate:


Learn about hate groups in your area on our Hate Map:


Learn to respond to everyday bigotry and speak out against hate through our Speak Up! and 10 Ways to Fight Hate publications.


Donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center and support our work for justice and tolerance.


You can contact the Southern Poverty Law Center online:


Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 06:39 PM

900 Oven-Ready Owls, 7,000 Live Lizards Seized in Asia

Stefan Lovgren
National Geographic News

November 18, 2008

More than 7,000 live monitor lizards, almost 900 owls—plucked and plastic wrapped for easy cooking—and other wild animals were seized in two raids in a single week by Malaysian officials earlier this month.

Experts on illegal wildlife trade expressed astonishment at the huge number of rare owls seized.

"It's the first time we've ever seen a big shipment like this of owls," said Chris Shepherd, a senior program officer for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

The scale of both hauls indicates that Asian wildlife smuggling is growing more sophisticated, Shepherd said.

"Shipments this size show that the trade is becoming more and more organized by syndicates, rather than just opportunistic individuals trying to make a buck off a few animals," said Shepherd, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Oven-Ready Owls

The first of the two raids—carried out by the country's Department of Wildlife and National Parks—took place on November 4 in the town of Muar on the southern tip of Malaysia.

In a freezer and storage room, agents found 796 barn owls, 95 spotted wood-owls, 14 buffy fish-owls, 8 barred eagle-owls, and 4 brown wood-owls.

The owls, smaller than chickens, had been frozen. Their feathers had been removed, but their heads and feet were intact—a sign that the owls were to be sold as food.

"I've heard of owls being used for superstition and in traditional medicine, but I've never heard of anybody eating them," said Colin Poole, director of the Asia program for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"There must be some market specifically for owls."

The haul also included live monitor lizards and live juvenile wild pigs. Only parts were found from other animals: wild pig, Malayan porcupine, reticulated python, Malayan pangolin, greater mouse deer, and sun bear (sun bear photo and facts).

A local man was arrested at the raid. But after pleading "not guilty" and posting bail of 19,000 ringgits (U.S. $5,300), he was released three days later.

Since Muar is a port town, experts believe the shipment was probably headed China, where the demand for game meat and for wildlife used in traditional medicine is driving the Asian trade.

All of the species seized in Muar are protected to some degree under Malaysian law. Sun bears, in particular, are banned from international trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Some Chinese covet the bear's bile as medicinal, and its paws are considered delicacies.

Poaching fueled by such demand "could easily wipe out the species," said Siew Te Wong, a University of Montana biology Ph.D. student who has been studying the small bears in the Malaysian part of Borneo island for ten years.

Three days after the Muar raid, agents acting on a tip obtained during the seizure raided a storage facility in the town of Segamat, where they found more than 7,000 live clouded monitor lizards.

The lizards were also likely destined for dining tables in China, according to the international conservation organization WWF.

CITES prohibits international trade of the roughly one-and-a-half-yard-long (one-and-a-half-meter-long) reptiles, which range throughout Southeast Asia.


Large-scale commercial traders buy wildlife "dirt cheap" from local people working in plantations or in the forests, according to Shepherd, of TRAFFIC.

"They have massive networks spread all over the countries in Southeast Asia," he said.

"You can go to any village and everyone knows that if you catch, for example, a pangolin [scaly anteater], you can sell it."

In 2005 countries in the region formed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network, or ASEAN-WEN, to combat illegal wildlife trade.

The crackdown sparked by the new collaboration seems to be bearing fruit.

In July officials in Indonesia seized a China-bound shipment of 14 tons of scaly anteaters. And during a raid in Vietnam, officials found 24 tons of the anteaters, which had been shipped from Indonesia.

"Historically, governments [in the region] have reacted with skepticism about the scope of the problem," said Michael Zwirn, director of U.S. operations for the Wildlife Alliance, based in Washington, D.C.

"These kinds of large shipments indicate the severity of the issue," he said.

"We hope that governments will look at this and realize that their natural heritage is being siphoned off."

But ASEAN-WEN is not yet functioning properly, due to a lack of resources, experts warn.

TRAFFIC's Shepherd says the chances of any given trader getting caught are still "fairly slim."

"If they do get caught, the penalties are very small and definitely not a deterrent," he said.

The local man arrested in the Muar raid, for example, had been arrested on the same kinds of charges a few years earlier.

Poole, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said: "It's important to do these busts. But following through and making sure that these people are prosecuted to the extent of the appropriate laws, I think, is critically important."

© 1996-2008 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

Go on-site for photo, and to gain access to the links within this article.


Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 07:08 PM
Please, Mr. Obama, don't choose Hillary Clinton for Sectretary of State. :cry:

Time to put on your mourning clothes Ron, and whomever, as it's being reported that Hillary does indeed have it, that is, if Bills foreign dealings aren't the monkey wrench in the wheel, or is that the cog in the wheel???

Here's the latest on Buzz Flash:

Clinton to accept offer of secretary of state job

Ewen MacAskill in Washington guardian.co.uk
Tuesday November 18 2008
00.01 GMT

The Guardian,
Tuesday November 18 2008
Article history
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Jonathan Freedland on the pros and cons of Hillary Clinton becoming US secretary of state Link to this video:

(Go on-site to gain access to link for video and others within this article. If the following link doesn't work, use the one at bottom of article)


. . .

Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned.

Obama's advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton's foundation, which distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to ensure there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats believe the vetting will be straightforward.

Clinton would be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice. Since being elected senator for New York, she has specialised in foreign affairs and defence. Although she supported the war in Iraq, she and Obama basically agree on a withdrawal of American troops.

Clinton, who still harbours hopes of a future presidential run, had to weigh up whether she would be better placed by staying in the Senate, which offers a platform for life, or making the more uncertain career move to the state department.

As part of the coalition-building, Obama yesterday also reached out to his defeated Republican rival, John McCain, to discuss how they could work together to roll back some of the most controversial policies of the Bush years. Putting aside the bitter words thrown about with abandon by both sides during the election campaign, McCain flew to meet Obama at his headquarters in the Kluczynski Federal Building, in downtown Chicago.

Obama, speaking before the meeting, said: "We're going to have a good conversation about how we can work together to fix up the country." Asked by a reporter whether he would work with Obama, McCain, who favours a bipartisan approach to politics, replied: "Obviously".

Sources on both sides said Obama did not offer McCain a cabinet job, but focused on how the senator for Arizona could help to guide legislation that they both strongly favour through Congress.

Given Obama's status as president-in-waiting, the two met in a formal setting, a room decked out with a US flag, and were accompanied by senior advisers. Although the two clashed during the election campaign over tax policy and withdrawal from Iraq, they have more in common than they have differences. They both favour the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention centre, an increase in US troops to Afghanistan, immigration reform, stem cell research and measures to tackle climate change, and oppose torture and the widespread use of wire-tapping.

After the meeting, they issued a joint statement saying: "At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time. We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy and protecting our nation's security." (Did anyone read the pre-election Rolling Stone Magazine article on John McCain? It is more than damning, it leaves you with nothing to like about the man. Hard to imagine he is as evil as he's portrayed in it. I mean really. It's in the same issue as the article on Karl Rove is in. No surprises there, but John McCain? Whew, it's more than awful. Can he really be as bad as the author says? SRH)

Although Democrats made gains in the Senate in the November 4 elections, they fell short of the 60 seats that would have allowed them to override Republican blocking tactics and will need Republican allies to get Obama's plans through. This was highlighted yesterday when the Democratic leadership in Congress announced that a broad economic stimulus package Obama sought was not likely to be passed because of Republican opposition.

Obama confirmed at the weekend that he would offer jobs to some Republicans. One of the names that crops up most often is Chuck Hagel, (I really do like C. Hagel. Where will he be if tapped for a position? SRH), the former Republican senator who is a specialist in foreign affairs and a critic of the Iraq war.


:: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 08:12 PM

Barack Obama is Not the First "Black President"

Concord Times (Freetown)
18 November 2008
Posted to the web 18 November 2008

Abdul Karim Bangura
Washington, DC

That every election has its own share of myths is hardly a revelation, and this year's American presidential election is no different. One of the most pernicious of the myths during the campaign was the one that Barack Obama will be the "first Black President" should he win. Around 10:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, every radio and television station repeated ad nauseam the myth that "America has elected Barack Obama as its first Black President in what is its most unprecedented historic election."

The following morning, the print media repeated the same myth. But is Obama the first Black elected to be President of the United States? The answer, of course, is no. A corollary question then is why do the media (White, Black and others) keep repeating this myth? There may be at least two plausible answers to these questions. The first answer is that the media do not know that there had been at least one "Black

President" of the United States, if by Black we mean a person with African blood. This is not a plausible answer, since there are many folk in the media, particularly the Black media, who are well read in African American history. The second answer is that the Black media did not want to dampen the excitement of voters who wanted to be part of an "unprecedented historical event" in electing the "first Black President of the United States" while the White and other media did not want to acknowledge a very important aspect of American history that is Black. This second answer seems the most tenable to me. A related question then is the following: Why did Black professors who know better not step forward and nip the myth in the bud?

While I do not know what was going on in other Black professors' heads, I did not attempt to correct the myth because I did not want other Blacks to pounce me in their belief that I tried to dampen the enthusiasm of those voters who were excited about electing their "first Black President." My experience on several listserv discussions when I made it public that I was a supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton during the primaries was quite bitter.

I was called an "Obama hater," an "Uncle Tom," a "Sell-out," a "House N_ _ _ _ _," a "Closet McCain-nut," and so on. A Black person could not even offer an opinion that contradicted that of Obama in a Black medium without being insulted with all sorts of hateful monikers. Now that the election is over, it is time to educate those who do not know and those who need to be reminded that Obama is not the first Black elected to be President of the United States. I am quite sure that any such attempt at the height of the election would have received very little attention or simply characterized as an attempt to suppress the enthusiasm of those who were gung-ho about electing their "first Black President."

There are several sources that have discussed the notion of the "first Black President" of the United States. These sources range from the ridiculous to the interesting. Toni Morrison, for example, called Bill Clinton "the first black president" in her October 1998 New Yorker article. Her condescending characterization is that while Clinton is White, culturally, he "displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas." There is also the story of John Hanson, a "Black" man, a Moor, who is said to have been the "first President of the United States from 1781 to 1782 under the Articles of Confederation," making George Washington the first President under the United States Constitution.

Another rendering is the one using C. Stone Brown's article titled "Who were the 5 Black Presidents" that appeared in a February 2004 edition of Diversity Inc magazine, ophthalmologist Leroy Brown's book titled Black People and Their Place in History, J.A. Roger's book titled Five Black Presidents and William Herndon's book titled The Hidden Lincoln. These sources together yield six American Presidents believed to have had "Black blood": Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Dwight David Eisenhower. These sources, however, do not offer compelling empirical evidence to support their claims. A more empirically grounded source is the article titled "Harding was first 'black president'" that appeared in the Baltimore Sun on October 7, 1998 (p.2A) written by Theo Lippman. The following is a retelling of Lippman's findings.

President Harding's Black origins are traced to the President's great-great grandfather, Amos Harding, "a West Indian Negro" who pioneered and settled in Blooming Grove, Ohio. Each generation of the Hardings after Amos, as they grew up in Ohio in the 19th Century, was teased and presented by schoolmasters as "part black" and other racist descriptors. Race consciousness was widespread and cruel even in the non-slave states in the North and West. To ease his grandchildren's anxiety, Amos Harding late in his life told them that the story about his Black lineage was the lie of an enemy. Nonetheless, Warren Harding told one of his friends that the story was true.

The rumors persisted into his generation and into his adult life. When Warren, as a newspaper editor in Marion, Ohio, had a feud with a rival paper, its editors dismissed him as a "kink haired youth," a reference to his race. The rumors circulated widely in the state when Harding rose to prominence in business and civic life in Ohio and decided to run for office. The rumors' impact was minimal and did not circulate beyond Ohio until 1920 when Senator Harding was being considered among others for the Republican presidential nomination.

The story became widespread when Professor William Estabrook Chancellor of Wooster College arrived at the party's convention and made the rounds of delegations with fliers stating that Harding had not one but two lines of Black ancestors. Chancellor revealed that in addition to Amos Harding being Warren's great-great grandfather, he also had a "Negress" great grandmother. The pamphlets were distributed widely in Ohio, but they were having very little effect outside the state until a Dayton newspaper editor attacked them in print. That led to a number of stories about the issue in other national newspapers, including the New York Times. Chancellor went national with a pamphlet he titled

"To the Men and Women of America." In a decade that saw the Ku Klux Klan exert a great deal of political influence, the pamphlet was as racist and demeaning to Blacks as anything the terrorist organization ever issued. Democratic leaders, including President Woodrow Wilson, were urged by some of the party's advisers to publicize the pamphlet and its content more widely, but the leaders declined. Nonetheless, some Democratic supporters paid for the printing and distribution of numerous copies of the pamphlet outside Ohio. This action prompted Wilson to directly order the United States Post Office to confiscate copies of Chancellor's pamphlet.

In his essay, "The Election of 1920," that appeared in the book edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Fred L. Israel titled History of American Presidential Elections (1971), Professor Donald R. McCoy states that political historians are in agreement that the rumors about Harding's racial genealogy had no impact on the vote outside the South, as he was elected President by a landslide. He received 60 percent of the popular vote to 31 percent for James Cox, his Democratic opponent who was also a newspaper owner.

Copyright © 2008 Concord Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).


Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 08:55 PM
* * *

Politico.com Breaking News:

AP reports that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has lost his reelection bid to Democrat Mark Begich.

For more information...

Saundra Hummer
November 18th, 2008, 10:07 PM

Just as I've been saying here on the site, Rush doesn't believe what it is he's all about, he's only running to the bank with all the cash it brings to him. Like I've said before, the one who believes all and everything is poor little Elizabeth on "The View". To her it is all very real, as logic isn't her strong suite. As bright as she is, she hasn't found a way to logically deal with all of the political spin and the hate mongering.

Rush Limbaugh: Making Millions Spouting Deceitful Nonsense

By Bill Hare
11/17/2008 07:30:25 PM EST

When Rush Limbaugh left his job as a nurse he switched to radio broadcasting in Sacramento. It has been reported that a discovery he made prompted him to develop an approach that has served him ever since as a key to riches.

Limbaugh observed that when he turned into a sour curmudgeon spouting hate for the approval of the perpetually disgusted his ratings soared. The rest is history as he achieved a radio standing in which he reportedly plays to an audience of 30 million listeners per week as delighted sponsors reward him with contracts involving millions of dollars.

Limbaugh's on the air blitzkriegs, while offensive to those of sensibility and sensitivity, provide a measure of comfort to those who delight in being uncomfortable.

His non-stop gutter sniping at anyone to the political left of his listening audience, which might well be anyone other than his 30 million faithful along with those so busy watching Fox News that they lack sufficient opportunity to pay him sufficient due, is a two step approach.

The first step is to unleash a barrage of hatred to develop and hold an audience comparable to a depression version of Archie Bunker. The difference is that the late Carroll O'Connor fashioned his character as comedic and lived in the real world, a well read and highly articulate political liberal.

Limbaugh may lay claim to injecting comedy, but it is aimed at the violently ill, the type that enjoys stripping the wings off caterpillars. (As I've been saying for years now, ever since I first heard him during the Anita Hill flurry, I've been saying he plays to his audiences basest instincts, as he thinks so lowly of them. In my opinion, he believes his audience are lowlife's, who aren't all that bright, therefore the more hatefilled, farout "radio speak" he dished out to to them, the more who will be there to, listen to, and believe him, thus making himself a bloody fortune. I've been saying this about this bully of an opportunist for years now. Has his audience pegged doesn't he? How maddening, as they can be a danger don't you think? Rush Heads, his "Ditto Heads", are an irritating lot. SRH)

Limbaugh's second point is that you deliver consistent, unrelenting verbal fusillades to reinforce the collective ignorance of your audience by distorting the true and reality at staggering levels to the point at which one must be willing to accept what is said as blind article of faith.

The erudite Lewis Carroll, creator of "Alice in Wonderland," had a word describing what Limbaugh does regularly, and on which he has become a specialist. The word is jabberwocky, defined as nonsensical poetry, but generically means spouting perpetual absurdity, that which is totally lacking in reason or logic.

With Limbaugh a commentary does not have to make any kind of logical sense. The only essential component is playing to a warped gallery constantly hungering for red meat.

Limbaugh fed some red meat of jabberwocky to his lap dog faithful affectionately known as "ditto heads" while they collectively snarled over the election of Obama.

With the stock market recording reverses during a period marking the culmination of radical right economics which Limbaugh and his listeners heartily supported, he asserted that America is currently immersed in a "Barack Obama recession."

This absurdity was mouthed more than two months from the time that Obama will take office on January 20, 2009. Such reasoning is obviously unfair because it constitutes reason in a Limbaugh world monopolized by red meat jabberwocky.

Get ready for much more of the same not only because a Democrat is assuming presidential office, but due to Limbaugh's filthy-mouthed racism, which in the past has prompted him to tell one African American caller to "take the bone out of your nose." The radio king of red meat jabberwocky also stated that he has noticed how much certain criminal defendants resemble Jesse Jackson.

One time Limbaugh's foul racist act cost him a job at ESPN after the sports network unwisely hired him to do commentaries.

Racism trumped any semblance of reason as Limbaugh lamented that Donovan McNabb, star quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, had achieved his status not due to physical talent but because that vast liberal conspiracy he sees everywhere wanted to promote an African American at that showcase position.

The racist content was matched by a pathetic level of ignorance. At the time McNabb was cited by Limbaugh as a quarterback being promoted because of his race he had already been chosen by his peers with 3 Pro Bowl selections.

The good news was that the pressure generated by the McNabb comment resulted in his dismissal, an unscheduled landing on his backside.

Such landings are the only known acts of man or beast that can rival the volume of Limbaugh's on the air tirades.


November 18th, 2008, 11:46 PM
i'm putting this into this thread [thanks saundra] because i know most of you who frequent this thread have strong feelings about our country and what should be done about the current state of affairs. i may occasionally 'bump' it up if that's cool w/ sandi...

The election is over and we must begin turning our country around now, or the opportunity may not come again. By quickly organizing ourselves in each of the 435 congressional districts, over the next 100 days, we can make single-payer healthcare, a living wage, and a less militaristic society our long-term reality. We must do this because the founders of these United States gave us the power to do it. Please watch the video and sign up today:

Organize (http://november5.org)

Whatever your thoughts on Ralph Nader, this post-election grass roots campaing he's helping to organize has little to do with him. It's much bigger. It's a truly non-partisan, from the bottom up effort to change our country into the place we the people want it to be - not we the corporation. The idea of organizing early in this administration's term in our own congressional districts to put pressure on our individual congressional representatives is a very powerful idea. if it actually catches on things may actually get done!

whatever your goal, go here:

Make It Happen (http://november5.org)


Saundra Hummer
November 19th, 2008, 01:16 AM
i'm putting this into this thread [thanks saundra] because i know most of you who frequent this thread have strong feelings about our country and what should be done about the current state of affairs. i may occasionally 'bump' it up if that's cool w/ sandi...

The election is over and we must begin turning our country around now, or the opportunity may not come again. By quickly organizing ourselves in each of the 435 congressional districts, over the next 100 days, we can make single-payer healthcare, a living wage, and a less militaristic society our long-term reality. We must do this because the founders of these United States gave us the power to do it. Please watch the video and sign up today:

Organize (http://november5.org)

Whatever your thoughts on Ralph Nader, this post-election grass roots campaing he's helping to organize has little to do with him. It's much bigger. It's a truly non-partisan, from the bottom up effort to change our country into the place we the people want it to be - not we the corporation. The idea of organizing early in this administration's term in our own congressional districts to put pressure on our individual congressional representatives is a very powerful idea. if it actually catches on things may actually get done!

whatever your goal, go here:

Make It Happen (http://november5.org)


Any time at all, as many times as you think is good.

We have a good chance here to fix what ails us, let's not squander it as Cheney and Bush squandered the good will of everyone after September 11.

We need to be active and participate sensibly, not following some wacked out white agenda of sorts. We can't let the crazies win.

Saundra Hummer
November 19th, 2008, 06:15 PM

Who among us believe any judge in our packed courts will let this stand? Will let it go forward? It's not likely to happen, but good to see the effort nonetheless. This needed to have come about years ago. No one is running scared anymore it seems, so now is better than never, yet what a day it would have been to have seen this done and accomplished much earlier on. It would have saved many from pain, suffering and perhaps even death and saved our country from degrading it'self any further. As it is now, how will we recover our standing in the free world to where it had been. We haven't always been perfect, but to sink to where these men have taken us; it's more than shameful. SRH

Texas grand jury indicts Cheney, Gonzales of crime

Tue Nov 18, 10:57 pm ET
Go on-site for photo's by clicking on the URL as the end of this post.
Featured Topics: Barack Obama Presidential Transition Reuters – In this combination photo, Vice President Dick Cheney (L) is seen after a meeting with members of his ….

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A grand jury in South Texas indicted U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday for "organized criminal activity" related to alleged abuse of inmates in private prisons

The indictment has not been seen by a judge, who could dismiss it.

The grand jury in Willacy County, in the Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexico border, said Cheney is "profiteering from depriving human beings of their liberty," according to a copy of the indictment obtained by Reuters.

The indictment cites a "money trail" of Cheney's ownership in prison-related enterprises including the Vanguard Group, which owns an interest in private prisons in south Texas.

Former attorney general Gonzales used his position to "stop the investigations as to the wrong doings" into assaults in county prisons, the indictment said.

Cheney's office declined comment. "We have not received any indictments. I can't comment on something we have not received," said Cheney's spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

The indictment, overseen by county District Attorney Juan Guerra, cites the case of Gregorio De La Rosa, who died on April 26, 2001, inside a private prison in Willacy County.

The grand jury wrote it made its decision "with great sadness," but said they had no other choice but to indict Cheney and Gonzales "because we love our country."

Texas is the home state of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Bush and his Republican administration, which first took office in January 2001, leave the White House on January 20 after the November presidential elections won by Democrat Barack Obama. Gonzales was attorney general from 2005 to 2007.

Chris Baltimore
JoAnne Allen, Editing by Frances Kerry)

Saundra Hummer
November 19th, 2008, 07:59 PM

Dick Cheney Is Not Going to Prison
Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales have been indicted by a grand jury for illegal detention practices! Time for some celebratory terrorist fist jabs!

Not so fast, champ. Cheney and Gonzales have been indicted in a South Texas county, and it has nothing to do with Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, or black sites. Cheney was indicted because he invests in the Vanguard Group, which holds financial interests in private prison companies that run holding pens for illegal immigrants in South Texas. (This is a booming business in the Lone Star state; we've written about it before.) Gonzales was indicted because he allegedly used his position while in office to stop a 2006 investigation into abuses at one of these privately-run prisons.

Conditions at these places are pretty awful, but that doesn't mean Cheney and Gonzales should somehow end up in jail. The always-delightful Will Bunch gives us all the reasons:

Dick Cheney is not going to jail, not any time soon, at least, and not because of the bizarre report that the vice president of the United States has been indicted in a small, obscure county deep in the heart of South Texas in a scandal over federal prison and detention abuses there. Aside from the obvious fact that a Willacy County, Texas, grand jury lacks authority over federal actions, the indictment of Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other is not even signed by a judge, and the result of a wacky -- controversial wouldn't do the man justice -- renegade lame duck DA. It's almost not even worth noting that Cheney's alleged tie -- investing his millions in Vanguard mutual funds that are major owners of publicly traded federal prison contractors -- is weak beyond belief; by the grand jury's reasoning, one could surmise that others with Vanguard 401K plans (example: journalists at the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer!) could be charged as well.
The lesson? You shouldn't give a law degree to just anybody. This prosecutor and Alberto Gonzales both prove that.

I feel that had more attorney's and judges been part and parcel of this mind set, the willingness to go after those in the wrong within the Cheney/Bush administration, that perhaps a consensus could have been built from their lone initial actions, and perhaps it would have been like the handwriting on the wall, with these men and women realizing they wouldn't be getting the free ride they were expecting and that they obviously received.

Small dreams becoming mighty bridges. It might have worked. SRH

Saundra Hummer
November 19th, 2008, 08:39 PM
:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda deputy brands Barack Obama a 'house negro'

Ayman Zawahiri tried to paint Barack Obama as an enemy of '"honourable" African-Americans. Go on-site for Ayman Zawahiri:

David Byers
Al-Qaeda today invoked the speeches of Malcolm X in a propaganda exercise designed to divide African-Americans, accusing Barack Obama of being a "house negro".

In his first video message to Mr Obama since the Illinois senator was elected on November 4, Ayman Zawahiri attempted to vilify the president-elect in comparison with the black power radical, whom he described as an "honourable" African-American.

His message, entitled The departure of Bush and arrival of Obama, appeared to have been carefully choreographed. It was staged in front of pictures of Mr Obama praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem during a pre-election visit to Israel, and Malcolm X, who was murdered in 1965.

As Osama bin Laden's deputy spoke, old footage of the black power leader's speeches was played in the background. In one of the speeches, Malcolm X used the term "house negroes" in reference to domestic slaves who were considered more docile towards their masters than the field slaves.

“You represent he opposite to honourable Black Americans like . . . Malcolm X."

He scolded Mr Obama for “choosing to be an enemy of Islam and Muslims”, saying that the Muslim “nation had bitterly received” the US President-elect's pledge of support for Israeli security and the peace process with the Palestinians.

“You have chosen to stand in the ranks of the enemies of Muslims and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim that your mother is Christian,” Mr Zawahiri added.

Also in his video, he threatened to work towards Mr Obama's removal if he went ahead with his proposals to withdraw troops from Iraq in order to concentrate on Afghanistan, urging him to remember "the fate" of President Bush, President Musharraf of Pakistan and Afganistan's former Soviet occupiers.

The recording came after an interview, broadcast on Sunday, in which Mr Obama said that he would push ahead with his campaign promise to begin pulling troops out of Iraq and switch the military focus to Afghanistan.

“What you have announced before . . . that you will withdraw [US] troops from Iraq [and send them] to Afghanistan is a policy that is doomed to failure,” Mr Zawahiri said in the message, made available by the SITE Intelligence Group.

"If you still want to be stubborn about America’s failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them,” he added.

Mr Obama refused to comment, declining to get into a "tit for tat with a terrorist group", according to CNN.

The tape was not unexpected. Intelligence officials and Mr Obama's campaign team have been bracing themselves for terrorist groups to take advantage of the presidential transition period.

Both President Bush and Mr Obama have acknowledged that extremists could stage attacks to destabilise the period, which ends when Mr Obama is inaugurated on January 20.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
1965: Malcolm X shot dead at Harlem rally
A sawn-off rifle was discovered behind the stage

Related Links

Al-Qaeda: the cracks begin to show
Al-Qaeda allies are a threat to Europe
Hamas releases message from kidnapped soldier
“It is true about you and people like you . . . what
Malcolm X said about the house negroes,”
he said, naming Colin Powell, the former Secretary
of State, and his successor, Condoleezza Rice.

Have your say

The trouble is that here in the U.S. our government procedures have essentially been taken over by small, rich, political, and sometimes religious themed groups. U.S. policy in the middle east is the policy of these groups and the majority here suffer. War is good business and foreign aid needs war.

Norman, Los Angles, U.S.A.

Have your say

Go on-site to gain access to this function. Just click below:

:: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
November 20th, 2008, 03:39 AM
. . . . . . .

After the back and forth on a Gay Marriages and Civil Liberties, I found this interesting article about homosexuality and physical make up. I only posted a small part of it, there is more to read, and there are other studies which go into more detail. But this article is an interesting one, exploring predisposed tendency's towards sexual orientiation having nothing to do with ones gender. SRH

What Makes People Gay?

The debate has always been that it was either all in the child's upbringing or all in the genes. But what if it's something else?

Researcher Alan Sanders signs up Daniel Velez Rivera on Boston Common for a study using gay brothers to search for the genetic basis for homosexuality. (Illustration / Chris Buzelli; Globe Staff Photo / David Kamerman)

By Neil Swidey | August 14, 2005

With crystal-blue eyes, wavy hair, and freshly scrubbed faces, the boys look as though they stepped out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. They are 7-year-old twins. I'll call them Thomas and Patrick; their parents agreed to let me meet the boys as long as I didn't use their real names.

Spend five seconds with them, and there can be no doubt that they are identical twins - so identical even they can't tell each other apart in photographs. Spend five minutes with them, and their profound differences begin to emerge.

Patrick is social, thoughtful, attentive. He repeatedly addresses me by name. Thomas is physical, spontaneous, a bit distracted. Just minutes after meeting me outside a coffee shop, he punches me in the upper arm, yells, "Gray punch buggy!" and then points to a Volkswagen Beetle cruising past us. It's a hard punch. They horse around like typical brothers, but Patrick's punches are less forceful and his voice is higher. Thomas charges at his brother, arms flexed in front of him like a mini-bodybuilder. The differences are subtle - they're 7-year-old boys, after all - but they are there.

When the twins were 2, Patrick found his mother's shoes. He liked wearing them. Thomas tried on his father's once but didn't see the point.

When they were 3, Thomas blurted out that toy guns were his favorite things. Patrick piped up that his were the Barbie dolls he discovered at day care.

When the twins were 5, Thomas announced he was going to be a monster for Halloween. Patrick said he was going to be a princess. Thomas said he couldn't do that, because other kids would laugh at him. Patrick seemed puzzled. "Then I'll be Batman," he said.

Their mother - intelligent, warm, and open-minded - found herself conflicted. She wanted Patrick - whose playmates have always been girls, never boys - to be himself, but she worried his feminine behavior would expose him to ridicule and pain. She decided to allow him free expression at home while setting some limits in public.

That worked until last year, when a school official called to say Patrick was making his classmates uncomfortable. He kept insisting that he was a girl.

Patrick exhibits behavior called childhood gender nonconformity, or CGN. This doesn't describe a boy who has a doll somewhere in his toy collection or tried on his sister's Snow White outfit once, but rather one who consistently exhibits a host of strongly feminine traits and interests while avoiding boy-typical behavior like rough-and-tumble play. There's been considerable research into this phenomenon, particularly in males, including a study that followed boys from an early age into early adulthood. The data suggest there is a very good chance Patrick will grow up to be homosexual. Not all homosexual men show this extremely feminine behavior as young boys. But the research indicates that, of the boys who do exhibit CGN, about 75 percent of them - perhaps more - turn out to be gay or bisexual.

What makes the case of Patrick and Thomas so fascinating is that it calls into question both of the dominant theories in the long-running debate over what makes people gay: nature or nurture, genes or learned behavior. As identical twins, Patrick and Thomas began as genetic clones. From the moment they came out of their mother's womb, their environment was about as close to identical as possible - being fed, changed, and plopped into their car seats the same way, having similar relationships with the same nurturing father and mother. Yet before either boy could talk, one showed highly feminine traits while the other appeared to be "all boy," as the moms at the playgrounds say with apologetic shrugs.

"That my sons were different the second they were born, there is no question about it," says the twins' mother.

So what happened between their identical genetic starting point and their births? They spent nine months in utero. In the hunt for what causes people to be gay or straight, that's now the most interesting and potentially enlightening frontier.

WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHERE HOMOSEXUALITY COMES FROM? Proving people are born gay would give them wider social acceptance and better protection against discrimination, many gay rights advocates argue. In the last decade, as this "biological" argument has gained momentum, polls find Americans - especially young adults - increasingly tolerant of gays and lesbians. And that's exactly what has groups opposed to homosexuality so concerned. The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian think tank in Washington, D.C., argues in its book Getting It Straight that finding people are born gay "would advance the idea that sexual orientation is an innate characteristic, like race; that homosexuals, like African-Americans, should be legally protected against 'discrimination;' and that disapproval of homosexuality should be as socially stigmatized as racism. However, it is not true."

Some advocates of gay marriage argue that proving sexual orientation is inborn would make it easier to frame the debate as simply a matter of civil rights. That could be true, but then again, freedom of religion enjoyed federal protection long before inborn traits like race and sex.

For much of the 20th century, the dominant thinking connected homosexuality to upbringing. Freud, for instance, speculated that overprotective mothers and distant fathers helped make boys gay. It took the American Psychiatric Association until 1973 to remove "homosexuality" from its manual of mental disorders.

Then, in 1991, a neuroscientist in San Diego named Simon LeVay told the world he had found a key difference between the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men he studied. LeVay showed that a tiny clump of neurons of the anterior hypothalamus - which is believed to control sexual behavior - was, on average, more than twice the size in heterosexual men as in homosexual men. LeVay's findings did not speak directly to the nature-vs.-nurture debate - the clumps could, theoretically, have changed size because of homosexual behavior. But that seemed unlikely, and the study ended up jump-starting the effort to prove a biological basis for homosexuality.

Later that same year, Boston University psychiatrist Richard Pillard and Northwestern University psychologist J. Michael Bailey announced the results of their study of male twins. They found that, in identical twins, if one twin was gay, the other had about a 50 percent chance of also being gay. For fraternal twins, the rate was about 20 percent. Because identical twins share their entire genetic makeup while fraternal twins share about half, genes were believed to explain the difference. Most reputable studies find the rate of homosexuality in the general population to be 2 to 4 percent, rather than the popular "1 in 10" estimate.

In 1993 came the biggest news: Dean Hamer's discovery of the "gay gene." In fact, Hamer, a Harvard-trained researcher at the National Cancer Institute, hadn't quite put it that boldly or imprecisely. He found that gay brothers shared a specific region of the X chromosome, called Xq28, at a higher rate than gay men shared with their straight brothers. Hamer and others suggested this finding would eventually transform our understanding of sexual orientation.

That hasn't happened yet. But the clear focus of sexual-orientation research has shifted to biological causes, and there hasn't been much science produced to support the old theories tying homosexuality to upbringing. Freud may have been seeing the effect rather than the cause, since a father faced with a very feminine son might well become more distant or hostile, leading the boy's mother to become more protective. In recent years, researchers who suspect that homosexuality is inborn - whether because of genetics or events happening in the womb - have looked everywhere for clues: Prenatal hormones. Birth order. Finger length. Fingerprints. Stress. Sweat. Eye blinks. Spatial relations. Hearing. Handedness. Even "gay" sheep.

LeVay, who is gay, says that when he published his study 14 years ago, some gays and lesbians criticized him for doing research that might lead to homosexuality once again being lumped in with diseases and disorders. "If anything, the reverse has happened," says LeVay, who is now 61 and no longer active in the lab. He says the hunt for a biological basis for homosexuality, which involves many researchers who are themselves gay or lesbian, "has contributed to the status of gay people in society."

These studies have been small and underfunded, and the results have often been modest. Still, because there's been so much of this disparate research, "all sort of pointing in the same direction, makes it pretty clear there are biological processes significantly influencing sexual orientation," says LeVay. "But it's also kind of frustrating that it's still a bunch of hints, that nothing is really as crystal clear as you would like."

Just in the last few months, though, the hints have grown stronger.

In May, Swedish researchers reported finding important differences in how the brains of straight men and gay men responded to two compounds suspected of being pheromones - those scent-related chemicals that are key to sexual arousal in animals. The first compound came from women's urine, the second from male sweat. Brain scans showed that when straight men smelled the female urine compound, their hypothalamus lit up. That didn't happen with gay men. Instead, their hypothalamus lit up when they smelled the male-sweat compound, which was the same way straight women had responded. This research once again connecting the hypothalamus to sexual orientation comes on the heels of work with sheep. About 8 percent of domestic rams are exclusively interested in sex with other rams. Researchers found that a clump of neurons similar to the one LeVay identified in human brains was also smaller in gay rams than straight ones. (Again, it's conceivable that these differences could be showing effect rather than cause.)

In June, scientists in Vienna announced that they had isolated a master genetic switch for sexual orientation in the fruit fly. Once they flicked the switch, the genetically altered female flies rebuffed overtures from males and instead attempted to mate with other females, adopting the elaborate courting dance and mating songs that males use.

And now, a large-scale, five-year genetic study of gay brothers is underway in North America. The study received $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health, which is unusual. Government funders tend to steer clear of sexual orientation research, aware that even small grants are apt to be met with outrage from conservative congressmen looking to make the most of their C-Span face time. Relying on a robust sample of 1,000 gay-brother pairs and the latest advancements in genetic screening, this study promises to bring some clarity to the murky area of what role genes may play in homosexuality.

This accumulating biological evidence, combined with the prospect of more on the horizon, is having an effect. Last month, the Rev. Rob Schenck, a prominent Washington, D.C., evangelical leader, told a large gathering of young evangelicals that he believes homosexuality is not a choice but rather a predisposition, something "deeply rooted" in people. Schenck told me that his conversion came about after he'd spoken extensively with genetic researchers and psychologists. He argues that evangelicals should continue to oppose homosexual behavior, but that "many evangelicals are living in a sort of state of denial about the advance of this conversation." His message: "If it's inevitable that this scientific evidence is coming, we have to be prepared with a loving response. If we don't have one, we won't have any credibility."

AS THE 21-YEAR-OLD COLLEGE JUNIOR IN A HOSPITAL JOHNNY slides into the MRI, she is handed controls with buttons for "strongly like" and "strongly dislike." Hundreds of pornographic images - in male-male and female-female pairings - flash before her eyes. Eroticism eventually gives way to monotony, and it's hard to avoid looking for details to distinguish one image from the rest of the panting pack. So it goes from "Look at the size of those breasts!" to "That can't be comfortable, given the length of her fingernails!" to "Why is that guy wearing nothing but work boots on the beach?"

Regardless of which buttons the student presses, the MRI scans show her arousal level to each image, at its starting point in the brain.

Researchers at Northwestern University, outside Chicago, are doing this work as a follow-up to their studies of arousal using genital measurement tools. They found that while straight men were aroused by film clips of two women having sex, and gay men were aroused by clips of two men having sex, most of the men who identified themselves as bisexual showed gay arousal patterns. More surprising was just how different the story with women turned out to be. Most women, whether they identified as straight, lesbian, or bisexual, were significantly aroused by straight, gay, and lesbian sex. "I'm not suggesting that most women are bisexual," says Michael Bailey, the psychology professor whose lab conducted the studies. "I'm suggesting that whatever a woman's sexual arousal pattern is, it has little to do with her sexual orientation." That's fundamentally different from men. "In men, arousal is orientation. It's as simple as that. That's how gay men learn they are gay."

These studies mark a return to basics for the 47-year-old Bailey. He says researchers need a far deeper understanding of what sexual orientation is before they can determine where it comes from.

Female sexual orientation is particularly foggy, he says, because there's been so little research done. As for male sexual orientation, he argues that there's now enough evidence to suggest it is "entirely in-born," though not nearly enough to establish how that happens.

Bailey's 1991 twin study is still cited by other researchers as one of the pillars in the genetic argument for homosexuality. But his follow-up study using a comprehensive registry of twins in Australia found a much lower rate of similarity in sexual orientation between identical twins, about 20 percent, down from 50 percent. Bailey still believes that genes make important contributions to sexual orientation. But, he says, "that's not where I'd bet the real breakthroughs will come."

His hunch is that further study of childhood gender nonconformity will pay big. Because it's unclear what percentage of homosexuals and lesbians showed CGN as children, Bailey and his colleagues are now running a study that uses adult participants' home movies from childhood to look for signs of gender-bending behavior.

Cornell psychologist Daryl Bem has proposed an intriguing theory for how CGN might lead to homosexuality. According to this pathway, which he calls "the exotic becomes erotic," children are born with traits for temperament, such as aggression and activity level, that predispose them to male-typical or female-typical activities. They seek out playmates with the same interests. So a boy whose traits lead him to hopscotch and away from rough play will feel different from, and ostracized by, other boys. This leads to physiological arousal of fear and anger in their presence, arousal that eventually is transformed from exotic to erotic.

Critics of homosexuality have used Bem's theory, which stresses environment over biology, to argue that sexual orientation is not inborn and not fixed. But Bem says this pathway is triggered by biological traits, and he doesn't really see how the outcome of homosexuality can be changed.

Bailey says whether or not Bem's theory holds up, the environment most worth focusing in on is the one a child experiences when he's in his mother's womb.

LET'S GET BACK TO THOMAS AND PATRICK. BECAUSE IT'S UNCLEAR why twin brothers with identical genetic starting points and similar post-birth environments would take such divergent paths, it's helpful to return to the beginning.

Males and females have a fundamental genetic difference - females have two X chromosomes, and males have an X and a Y. Still, right after conception, it's hard to tell male and female zygotes apart, except for that tucked-away chromosomal difference. Normally, the changes take shape at a key point of fetal development, when the male brain is masculinized by sex hormones. The female brain is the default. The brain will stay on the female path as long as it is protected from exposure to hormones. The hormonal theory of homosexuality holds that, just as exposure to circulating sex hormones determines whether a fetus will be male or female, such exposure must also influence sexual orientation.

The cases of children born with disorders of "sexual differentiation" offer insight. William Reiner, a psychiatrist and urologist with the University of Oklahoma, has evaluated more than a hundred of these cases. For decades, the standard medical response to boys born with severely inadequate penises (or none at all) was to castrate the boy and have his parents raise him as a girl. But Reiner has found that nurture - even when it involves surgery soon after birth - cannot trump nature. Of the boys with inadequate penises who were raised as girls, he says, "I haven't found one who is sexually attracted to males." The majority of them have transitioned back to being males and report being attracted to females.

During fetal development, sexual identity is set before the sexual organs are formed, Reiner says. Perhaps it's the same for sexual orientation. In his research, of all the babies with X and Y chromosomes who were raised as girls, the only ones he has found who report having female identities and being attracted to males are those who did not have "receptors" to let the male sex hormones do their masculinizing in the womb.

What does this all mean? "Exposure to male hormones in utero dramatically raises the chances of being sexually attracted to females," Reiner says. "We can infer that the absence of male hormone exposure may have something to do with attraction to males."

Michael Bailey says Reiner's findings represent a major breakthrough, showing that "whatever causes sexual orientation is strongly influenced by prenatal biology." Bailey and Reiner say the answer is probably not as simple as just exposure to sex hormones. After all, the exposure levels in some of the people Reiner studies are abnormal enough to produce huge differences in sexual organs. Yet, sexual organs in straight and gay people are, on average, the same. More likely, hormones are interacting with other factors.

Canadian researchers have consistently documented a "big-brother effect," finding that the chances of a boy being gay increase with each additional older brother he has. (Birth order does not appear to play a role with lesbians.) So, a male with three older brothers is three times more likely to be gay than one with no older brothers, though there's still a better than 90 percent chance he will be straight. They argue that this results from a complex interaction involving hormones, antigens, and the mother's immune system.

By now, there is substantial evidence showing correlation - though not causation - between sexual orientation and traits that are set when a baby is in the womb. Take finger length. In general, men have shorter index fingers in relation to their ring fingers; in women, the lengths are generally about the same. Researchers have found that lesbians generally have ratios closer to males. Other studies have shown masculinized results for lesbians in inner-ear functions and eye-blink reactions to sudden loud noises, and feminized patterns for gay men on certain cognitive tasks like spatial perception and remembering the placement of objects.

New York University researcher Lynn S. Hall, who has studied traits determined in the womb, speculates that Patrick was somehow prenatally stressed, probably during the first trimester, when the brain is really developing, particularly the structures like the hypothalamus that influence sexual behavior. This stress might have been based on his position in the womb or the blood flow to him or any of a number of other factors not in his mother's control. Yet more evidence that identical twins have womb experiences far from identical can be found in their often differing birth weights. Patrick was born a pound lighter than Thomas.

Taken together, the research suggests that early on in the womb, as the fetus's brain develops in either the male or female direction, something fundamental to sexual orientation is happening. Nobody's sure what's causing it. But here's where genes may be involved, perhaps by regulating hormone exposure or by dictating the size of that key clump of neurons in the hypothalamus. Before researchers can sort that out, they'll need to return to the question of whether, in fact, there is a "gay gene."

THE CROWD ON BOSTON COMMON IS THICK ON THIS SCORCHER of a Saturday afternoon in June, as the throngs make their way around the 35th annual Boston Pride festival, past booths peddling everything from "Gayopoly" CONTINUED....

To on site to gain access to the rest of this article. Just click on the following URL:


Here's another bit on this subject, a link and in this link there are others which deal with this subject:

Gay brains structured like those of the opposite sex (6/16/08)
Gay men, straight women share brain detail: report (6/16/08)
Scans see 'gay brain differences' (6/16/08)
Study Says Brains of Gay Men and Women Are Similar (6/16/08)
Gay men and straight women have similar brains, study says (6/17/08)
Here's more recent research from Camperio Ciani and colleagues:

Bisexuality passed on by 'hyper-heterosexuals' (8/15/08)
Tags: homosexuality, evolution
Labels: evolution, sex and relationships

posted by Charles Daney • 6/29/2008 04:37:00 PM

. . . . .

Saundra Hummer
November 20th, 2008, 03:48 AM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^


Flunking the Electoral College

Published: November 19, 2008

On Dec. 15, the United States will endure a quadrennial ritual born in the economics and politics of slavery and the quill-pen era. Members of the Electoral College are scheduled to meet in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to formally choose the next president.

There is no real doubt about how the electors will vote, but it is disturbing that they have any role at all in making this vital choice in the 21st century. The Electoral College is more than just an antiquated institution: it actively disenfranchises voters and occasionally (think 2000) makes the candidate with fewer popular votes president. American democracy would be far stronger without it.

There is no reason to feel sentimental about the Electoral College. One of the main reasons the founders created it was slavery. The southern states liked the fact that their slaves, who would be excluded from a direct vote, would be counted — as three-fifths of a white person — when Electoral College votes were apportioned.

The founders also were concerned, in the day of the wooden printing press, that voters would not have enough information to choose among presidential candidates. It was believed that it would be easier for them to vote for local officials, whom they knew more about, to be electors. It is hard to imagine that significant numbers of voters thought they did not know enough about Barack Obama and John McCain by Election Day this year.

And, while these reasons for the Electoral College have lost all relevance, its disadvantages loom ever larger. To start, the system excludes many voters from a meaningful role in presidential elections. If you live in New York or Texas, for example, it is generally a foregone conclusion which party will win your state’s electoral votes, so your vote has less meaning — and it can feel especially meaningless if you vote on the losing side. On the other hand, if you live in Florida or Ohio, where the outcome is less clear, your vote has a greatly magnified importance.

Voters in small states are favored because Electoral College votes are based on the number of senators and representatives a state has. Wyoming’s roughly 500,000 people get three electoral votes. California, which has about 70 times Wyoming’s population, gets only 55 electoral votes.

The Electoral College also makes America seem more divided along blue-red lines than it actually is. If you look at an Electoral College map, California appears solidly blue and Alabama solidly red. But if you look at a map of the popular votes, you see a more nuanced picture. More than 4.5 million Californians voted for Mr. McCain (roughly as many votes as he got in Texas), while about 40 percent of voters in Alabama cast a ballot for Mr. Obama.

One of the biggest problems with the Electoral College, of course, is that three times since the Civil War — most recently, with George W. Bush in 2000 — it has awarded the presidency to the loser of the popular vote. The president should be the candidate who wins the votes of the most Americans.

The best way to abolish the Electoral College is to amend the Constitution. Until that happens, a national popular vote movement is working to get states representing a majority of the electoral votes to agree to award their votes to the candidate who has the most votes nationally. That would effectively end the Electoral College. Several states, including New Jersey and Illinois, have already enacted popular vote laws, and others are considering it.

When the 2012 presidential election approaches, efforts to reform the electoral system will be viewed through a partisan prism, with a focus on which party they would help or hurt. With the next election still four years away, now is an ideal time to get serious about abolishing the Electoral College.



Saundra Hummer
November 20th, 2008, 03:57 AM
$ $ $ $ $ $ $

The Former Attorney General’s Legal Bills

Published: November 19, 2008
The Justice Department has reportedly agreed to hire a private attorney to represent Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, in a federal lawsuit that accuses him of politicized hiring. It is galling to think that Mr. Gonzales, whose department trampled over the rights of so many people, is having taxpayers pay for private counsel, but it may be appropriate.

Go to The Board » What is clearly inappropriate is the department’s refusal to make the arrangement public. (Go on-site to gain access to this feature.)

When Justice Department officials are sued in connection with their jobs, they are often represented by lawyers from the department’s civil division. But according to a McClatchy Newspapers report, the department has decided to pay for a private lawyer to represent Mr. Gonzales in a civil lawsuit filed by eight law students. They are accusing Mr. Gonzales and other department officials of discriminating against job applicants who were thought to be liberal.

McClatchy reported that the Justice Department has agreed to pay up to $200 an hour, or $24,000 a month, for Mr. Gonzales’s lawyers. The Justice Department, however, has refused to comment on the arrangements.

We have long wanted Mr. Gonzales to be held accountable for his disastrous tenure as attorney general. His prosecutors brought a series of cases that helped Republicans win elections and hurt Democrats. They put Georgia Thompson, a Wisconsin civil servant, in jail on spurious charges for four months after she refused to implicate her state’s Democratic governor in a baseless corruption investigation.

Still, Mr. Gonzales is entitled to appropriate legal representation. According to Stephen Gillers, a New York University Law School ethics expert, there are legitimate reasons the government may want him to have a private lawyer. As the case proceeds, for example, Mr. Gonzales and the government might want to stake out different positions on the law or facts of the case.

That does not absolve the department of its obligation to let the public know whether it is paying for a private lawyer, and if so, why it is making these unusual accommodations. It also should let taxpayers know how much they can expect to spend on the former attorney general’s defense.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

November 20th, 2008, 12:31 PM
Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, who received piles of hate mail during the Presidential campaign for questioning Sarah Palin's credentials, has written a column for the Washington Post which also seems likely to court internecine criticism. The piece, entitled, "Giving Up on God," makes a sustained argument that the GOP's courting of the religious vote above all has led the party dangerously astray.

As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.

Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

Saundra Hummer
November 20th, 2008, 02:01 PM
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

November 20, 2008 by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, and Ryan Powers


Right-Wing H8

On Nov. 4, Californians approved Prop. 8, amending the state constitution to "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California." "Responding to pleas for legal clarity from those on both sides of the issue," the California Supreme Court said yesterday that it would take up the case of whether Prop. 8 was constitutional. The court accepted three lawsuits seeking to nullify the initiative, which all claim the Prop. 8 "abridges the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group. They argue that voters alone did not have the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change," according to the AP. The court battle is only one part of the ongoing struggle for LGBT rights. Since Nov. 4, same-sex marriage proponents have swept the country in protests and demonstrations against Prop. 8. At the same time, the right wing has escalated its rhetoric, downplaying the importance of gay rights and hyperventilating over a few instances of violence that have resulted from anti-Prop 8. protests.

'GAY AND SECULAR FASCISM': Since Nov. 4, same-sex marriage proponents have taken to the streets in dozens of peaceful demonstrations. LGBT rights advocates have turned out in at least eight countries, 50 states, and 300 cities in support of marriage equality. Thousands have gathered across California to protest Prop. 8. As the Dallas Morning News noted in an editorial yesterday, "The protests, which have gone beyond California, have been largely peaceful." Yet the right wing is blowing the scale of the protests out of proportion. On his Nov. 14 show, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly tried to define the entire anti-Prop. 8 movement by a few protests. "In the last three or four days, really nasty stuff. ... We had a church in Michigan invaded by gay activists. ... We had a guy in Sacramento fired from his job," he said. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded: "Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants impose its will on the rest of us. It is prepared to use violence, to use harassment."

THE VIOLENCE THRESHOLD: On ABC's "The View" on Tuesday, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee suggested that, compared to the push for civil rights in the 60s, the gay rights movement hasn't suffered enough violence to be a real issue. "But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge," he said. Similarly, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins claimed that gay rights and civil rights are "totally different." Tara Wall of the Washington Times wrote Tuesday that "there is no comparison" between the two rights movements because "blacks were stoned, hung, and dragged for their constitutional right to 'sit at the table.'" But gay people have suffered serious violence. Roughly 16.6 percent of all hate crimes reported by the FBI in 2007 "resulted from sexual-orientation bias." A 2007 University of California-Davis study found that nearly four in 10 gay men and about one in eight lesbians and bisexuals "have been the target of violence or a property crime because of their sexual orientation." The violence that LGBT activists face will gain more attention in the upcoming, when "Milk," a film about the first openly gay elected official, is released. Harvey Milk, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was ultimately killed for his struggle for political equality.

'DID NOT PROHIBIT' SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Interviewed on the Bill Bennett show yesterday, Huckabee claimed that in approving Prop. 8, California did not "ban" marriage equality, but affirmed marriage as between a man and woman. "I refuse to use the term, 'ban same-sex marriage.' That's not what those efforts did. They affirmed what is. They did not prohibit something," he said. As the California ballot read, however, Prop. 8 "eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry." In fact, since June, 18,000 gay couples have wed. But under Prop. 8, same-sex couples lose this right. Keeping with their efforts to downplay the importance of gay rights, conservatives have been attempting to claim gay marriage is different than interracial marriage. "You try to compare this to interracial marriage. It is not the same thing," said Tony Perkins on Nov. 12. But as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) noted, "It's the same as...when blacks and whites were not allowed to marry. This falls into the same category."

ETHICS -- REP. ACKERMAN: AUTO EXECS' PRIVATE JET TRAVEL IS LIKE SOMEONE 'AT THE SOUP KITCHEN IN HIGH HAT AND TUXEDO': Yesterday, the CEOs of the Detroit Big Three returned to Capitol Hill to continue asking for $25 billion in loans. Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner insisted, "We're all slashing back" on non-essential expenses, promising, "We're going to be dramatically leaner." The other executives echoed Wagoner's pledge. However, as ABC news reported, all three executives flew private jets to Washington, D.C., for the hearings. Wagoner's trip "cost his ailing company an estimated $20,000." Minutes after Wagoner claimed to be "slashing back" on expenses, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) said, "There's a delicious irony of seeing private luxury jets flying into D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hands. It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo." Later in the hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) asked if any of